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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Back to Back Oscars for Eddie?

""The Molly Ringwald Story"?." -Rick

"I can't help but think there is going to be significantly more backlash here after Dallas Buyers Club. Also, is trans the new Oscar-bait? I don't know how to feel about that." -BD


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Yes, No, Maybe So: Grand Budapest Hotel

Hospitality is all about speed, charm and mind-reading. Get them checked in, ingratiate yourself, anticipate their every need. Movies have to do that in reverse so the new poster (discussed) and the trailer have arrived to charm and anticipate our needs. Will you check into his GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL in Spring 2014? Let's check off our yes no maybe so boxes...


• ohmygod the colorology! I'm in ♥ with all the reds and purples and whites on view here. Wes Anderson movies may all look exactly like Wes Anderson movies but they do change up the color palette, so points for that.
• And speaking of which... I really think costumers and production designers on his movies do not get enough credit. It's insane to me that Karen Patch, for example, wasn't Oscar nominated for her instantly iconic work on The Royal Tenenbaums. This time it's the legendary Milena Canonero (on her 3rd Anderson picture) and Adam Stockhausen (who graduated to Production Designer on Moonrise Kingdom), respectively.
• If Wes Anderson were a hotelier, I imagine he'd have to run a very small exclusive boutique, building the perfect meticulously designed dollhouse rooms for his devout fanbase and repertory actors to squeeze into. I would glady pay rack. 
• Ralph Fiennes as a ladykiller concierge named "Gustav H"
• Tilda as an unrecognizably old rich lady horny for him? 


• Oh noooos. Tilda dies to kick off the plot? That's too little Tilda.
• ...Especially since the cast list is otherwise a total sausage party. 


• Why is this trailer square? Is Wes challenging himself with an old school aspect ratio? [update after writing: yep, apparently there are three aspect ratios here] I know people complain about his center framed horizontals but I LIKE horizontal, and love his unique aesthetic.
• Do you think this one will skew too forced whacky? (the roundelay of face-punching, the skiing) or too precious (the secret code, the name of the painting, the "lobby boy" cap)
• ...can a Wes Anderson movie even be too precious? Or, if so, should they all be animated like Fantastic Mr Fox?
Moonrise Kingdom will be hard to top but he doesn't need to. Even his least satisfying movie (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) still has all sorts of corners and hallways and portholes to look into and at.


Are you a yes, no, or maybe so... and in what ways? Do tell.


Two Graces at War

It's Julien your French correspondent to pass a bit of a contentious interview your way. After tampering with the ending of August: Osage Country and cutting 20 minutes off Snowpiercer, it seems Harvey Scissorhands is at it again. Grace of Monaco director Olivier Diahan spoke to French newspaper Libération (in an article published today) about his ongoing feud with Weinstein.

The disagreement is apparently the cause of the film's delay:

What’s complicated right now is to make sure that the critics will be able to judge my own version of the film, and not another one. But it’s not over yet, I haven’t given up. (…) There are two versions of the film: mine and his… which I found catastrophic.”

Quite a strong assessment from the guy who directed My Own Love Song, wouldn’t you say?

Click to read more ...


Shutdown Movie-Thon (Week Two!)

The Government Shutdown is Over! But our previously furloughed friend Lynn Lee (once reader spotlighted) was kind enough to complete her movie binge diary for us. - Nathaniel

"Filmgoing Adventures of a Furloughed Federal Employee"

Previously on Part 1: Gravity (in 2D), Rush, and Mr Smith fantasies

DAY 8: Museum Hours is the film that’s been eluding me for the past month, and the only place it’s still playing at locally is the Avalon, on the border between D.C. and Maryland.  The Avalon is one of those old-school theaters with a balcony in the main theater but creaky, decidedly non-stadium seats, and a more cramped secondary theater that can only be reached by a set of steep, narrow stairs.  Still, the place has a certain rickety charm, and offers my last chance of catching this movie before it leaves theaters altogether.  So there I go, feeling more than ever like I’m playing hooky because this time I’m solo.  It’s just me, one older woman, and two senior, clearly retired couples who I’m pained to watch ascending those awful stairs with difficulty.

I can’t speak for them, but for me the film turns out to be well worth the trip.  Ostensibly about two strangers who meet and forge a platonic connection at an art museum in Vienna, at its heart it’s about the connection between art and life, and the human instinct to capture the fleeting beauty of ordinary people going about their lives—whether as an observer, an artist, or both.  It makes me suddenly aware of how little we see of random passers-by just doing their thing in most movies; whenever our attention is drawn to a person, it’s for a very specific, plot-driven purpose.  Museum Hours lacks that narrative compulsion, and while it may feel aimless to some, to me it feels like a revelation.  I walk down the arthritis-baiting stairs in a strangely exalted state of mind. 

DAY 9: Lazy day after a late night out.  Ponder on Museum Hours and decide it’s on the short list for favorite film of the year so far.  Also ponder whether to see Gravity again in 3D.

DAY 10: Another day, another schlep to Maryland—this time Bethesda, to see Short Term 12, about a temporary group home for troubled kids and the barely-older adults who work there.  It’s a dreary rainy day, Bethesda is far, and I’m tempted to wait for the DVD.  But I resist the urge, and once again, the film rewards my journey.  It isn’t perfect; some of the character arcs feel a little overdetermined, and the conclusion just a little too neat.  Yet emotionally, it feels completely organic, thanks in large part to the terrific acting, and it may be the only movie I’ve seen all year that actually deserves to be called “heartwarming.”  My fellow audience members—another smattering of older couples—seem to agree, even the man who kept asking his wife in what he probably thought was a whisper what the characters were saying.

DAY 11: Lunch with four fellow furloughed work friends—aka Ladies Who (Normally Don’t) Lunch—at which Congress gets thoroughly skewered, followed by a matinee show of Enough Said, the Nicole Holofcener rom-com in which a fortysomething divorced woman (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) strikes up a relationship with a nice, age-appropriate divorced man (the late James Gandolfini) only to discover that he’s the ex-husband of her new client and BFF (Catherine Keener). 

The film’s less screwball comedy and more a ruefully funny, surprisingly poignant look at the difficulties of moving on to a new stage of life.  I find myself tearing up towards the end, and am glad to find my friends similarly afflicted.

DAY 12: The AMC theater two blocks from my place was recently refitted with cushy reclining seats - perfect for watching a movie as tense as Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass's white-knuckle take on the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates in 2009. Tom Hanks is his usual capable Everyman self as the captain, though he's nearly upstaged by the actors playing the hijackers. Turns out all of them are friends and first-time actors from a Somali community in Minneapolis, but they fully inhabit the fierce, desperate lives of the pirates; Barkaad Abdi is the standout as their diminutive but strong-willed leader. Last third of the movie could have been shortened up a bit, but the prolonged waiting does underscore the agony for everyone involved.

DAY 14: I finally see Gravity in 3D IMAX. Verdict: you should see it that way if you can; but if you can't or have already seen it in 2D, don't worry, it's the same essential movie. It's not so much the big, scary action set pieces that benefit from the 3D as little touches like Sandra Bullock's tears, instead of falling down, rolling up into a bubble and floating towards you. I still find the last scene with her and Clooney kind of clunky; but the one right before that, when she's about to give up, is one of the best scenes I've seen in any movie all year. It loses no punch the second time around, even knowing what follows.  

BACK TO WORK: Gravity turns out to be the last film I see in theaters before Congress finally does what it should have done two weeks ago and passes an appropriations bill that reopens the federal government. I can't say I'm sorry to go back to work, but I also can't help thinking a little wistfully of how much I enjoyed all those afternoons at the movies. Of course, given that the current bill only funds the government through mid-January and the ongoing dysfunctionality of Congress, I may well be back in the movie theaters a few months from now, getting a head start on all the Oscar contenders. Here's hoping it doesn't come to that - but I know what to do if it does! 


The very brief history of slavery in cinema

Tim here. Barring the unexpected end of civilization between now and January, 12 Years a Slave is going to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and has the clearest shot of anything right now to taking the win altogether. Everyone reading this site knows that as sure as we know anything, which makes it a little shocking when you step back a bit and realise that, as of the day I write this, the film still hasn’t technically been released yet. So I guess we can add “general audiences thinking it sucks” to the list of reasons that it might crash and burn, though I think the end of humanity is at least as likely.

This will be the second time in two Oscar cycles that a film about slavery in the United States will be competing for the big prize. 2012 had Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent pastiche Django Unchained of course, and two more diametrically opposed films on the same topic can hardly be imagined: a white American making a hugely irreverent piss-take of the whole edifice vs. a black Brit with his excoriating historical drama. [more]

Click to read more ...


haven't seen her in a while

Hilary Swank yesterday in NYC

What was she thinking when this paparazzi shot was taken? Your guess in the comments!