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


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Animated Feature Contender: A Letter to Momo

Tim, our resident animation guy, sounds off on the eligible films vying for Animated Feature

Between now and the announcement of the Academy Award nominees on January 16, I’ll be taking a look at some of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature award: specifically, the smaller, more easily-overlooked films from non-U.S. animation studios. For it strikes me that they are the more deeply in need of love and attention than the more visible mainstream American productions likely to dominate the race. Also, I don't imagine that anyone is desperate to have a conversation about Free Birds.

Our first subject is the oldest on the submission list: A Letter from Momo from Japan, which premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, only making its stateside bow this year.

[Does it deserve the comparisons to A Spirited Away? Find out after the jump]

Click to read more ...


Lone Surviving Open Thread

What's on your cinematic mind? What movie are you thinking about? Do share!

What's on mine? Well, I just got back from Peter Berg's Lone Survivor which I had to watch through my fingers it was so violent. Proud wuss in the movie house! If you want to see Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster (mvp), and Emile Hirsch just totally brutalized with makeup effects - burns, bruises, bullet holes, broken bones -- have I got a movie for you. Also if you share my fear of monster trapeziuses, please be warned that Taylor Kitsch's totally wants to grow up to be Tom Hardy's. 


Is The Man Who Is Tall Eligible? No, Sadly.

Glenn here to discuss a true one of a kind film. That it's directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) should make that statement come as little surprise, but surprised I was. The film has the unwieldy, and yet simple and effectively evocative, title of Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky. Needless to say, despite being animated, Gondry's film is not planning a head to head box office battle royale with Disney's Frozen (which we're going to discuss very soon).

Another arena where the two will not face off is the Academy's Animated Feature category. Despite clearing the animation percentage bar with ease, and beautifully so too for that matter - it's certainly the most incomparable and charming animation of the year - the film was not submitted. It is, however, on the longlist for documentary features, but so are 150 others and I doubt a relatively simple back-and-forth conversation between director and subject, albeit one as different as this, can make much headway amongst bigger, loftier titles.

I wonder why the studio chose to not submit it for the animated feature? Especially in such a dire year for the category, I wouldn't have put it past the branch to have nominated it based on style alone. It really can't be said how majestically hypnotic the animation in Gondry's film is with its mass of bold colors, hand-drawn forms and techniques. He weaves in crude psychedelia, superimposed collage projections, chaotic flashes, and even moments of tribal imagery that recalls the experimental work of John Whitney Jr not to mention any number of groundbreaking experimental animated works. The film is nothing if not dazzling to watch. I imagine audiences in the 1970s would have had a field day, if you know what I mean. It is full of personal anecdotes from both scientist and philosopher Noam Chomsky as well as Gondry. When it sidesteps the sometimes head-scratching physics and heads into personal territory, like a third act detour to WWII, it proves to be remarkably effective.

The film has its problems, definitely. For one, Gondry with his thick French accent thinks he is as much a star of the film as his subject. If you're going to make a film about someone like Noam Chomsky it's best you just shut up and let the man talk. Of course, the catch 22 is that for many - including myself, I admit - much of the talk will fly right over their heads. I do, however, feel smarter for just having watched the film, whether I understood all of it all not. It was wise of Gondry to use animation to tell the story since whether you "get it" or not, you will be able to marvel at the eye-popping animation. I'm also not sure exactly why it was made in the first place, but it will ultimately prove a fascinating gem to anybody investigating the careers of both men years into the future. It feels like a film one stumbles across at 1.30am on cable and then can't turn away until you realise it's 3 in the morning and you're as wide awake as ever, your mind expanded in a way one can't comprehend until morning (or next week). 

Look, I'm sure the last thing on Gondry and 84-year-old Chomsky's mind is an Academy Award nomination, but such a thing can help bring a film like this to a much wider audience. I mean, I can't imagine many people had seen The Secret of the Kells before nomination morning. So it's baffling why they wouldn't at least role the dice on Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy. With only 18 other titles to compete against they had a much easier try there than they ever did in documentary. Meanwhile, The Croods may be laughing all the way to a nomination. Sigh.

Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? closes the DOC NYC festival tonight and opens in limited release this weekend.


Link File

Balder & Dash Dan Callahan on Alfre Woodard's contribution to 12 Years A Slave
Pixar Times on The Blue Umbrella failing to make the Academy Animated Short finalists
Huffington Post wants a return policy on Dallas Buyers Club's AIDS history

Awards Circuit notices some campaign trickery chez TWC. Fruitvale Station's lead actor is now supporting? and it's screenplay is Adapted. Whaaaa? 
Man at Arms crafting Mjölnir, Thor's Hammer
THR on the success of black cinema this year. I'm alarmed at some of these clickbait (racebait?) headlines lately on this topic but i love sentences like "The Butler's success in crossing over is attributed to Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker, mainstream stars who relentlessly promoted the film"... relentlessly sounds so threatening given the context/headline. LOL!
AV Club kicks off a series of "firsties" with Guillermo del Toro. I'm not crazy about his films (I know this is an off consensus opinion) but he's always a good listen/read. Like this quote:

I’m not a brand. I’m an acquired taste. So who’s going to buy this? I’m a caviar-filled doughnut. There’s not a huge demand; it’s not going to be in every supermarket.

It would only take her 49 more years to get her ownFinally...
If you're still thinking about The Governor's Awards which brought us this hot pick, a smart off-mainstream honor, and those wonderful acceptace speeches, make sure to read Mark Harris's piece on why it's a travesty that these awards aren't still part of the Oscars. He calls it the worst decision the Academy ever made and I wholeheartedly agree. As stated in the comments of an earlier post, my whole indoctrination into cinephilia was prompted by the Oscars and I sought out and learned so much Old Hollywood BECAUSE of the ceremony's focus on multiple generations.  Meanwhile if you're still smiling from Angela Lansbury's win enjoy this old haiku for her at Dial M for Movies that's a sweet reminder of the anticipation.


Happy Birthday, Goldie!

She definitely doesn't look it, but Goldie Hawn is turning 68 today! She has many roles worth celebrating - The First Wives Club, Death Becomes Her, Private Benjamin, this jazzy Beatles cover - but today I'd like to shine a light on that zany show where she first got her start, the short-lived but always incredible Laugh In.

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Clip #6 Goldie... by RetroCafe

Like Judy Holliday before her, Goldie Hawn turned Blonde Ditz into an artform. Happy Birthday, Goldie, no matter what time zone you're in!


Celebrating International Transgender Day of Remembrance (With a List)

Today marks the annual commemoration event honoring those who've been killed in anti-trans crimes. You can find a list of events taking place from now through the weekend here if you're so inclined. Not all of the events are today some waiting for the weekend for better attendance numbers. Here in NYC the march starts in the Bronx and walks down to Harlem.

Since this is The Film Experience, and since identity politics are always shifting/evolving and since hate crimes don't care about the particulars of self-identification we thought we'd commemorate the day with a broad cloth. And with a list in chronological order..

27 Oscar and/or Globe Nominated Trans (or Cross Dressing*) Characters
*we realize these are different things
How many have you seen? Which are your favorite?

Click to read more ...