Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

Review Book Club


"While it doesn't seem groundbreaking, I know I will watch it eventually because of the four legends in the cast." - Rebecca

"Adored both Bergen and Keaton (and Garcia!), liked Fonda and unfortunately, thought Steenburgen kind of drew the short straw here. Overall, had a ball!" - Andrew


Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 470 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe
Thursday
Sep152016

TIFF on Fire: "Pyromaniac" and "Death in Sarajevo"

Nathaniel R, reporting, still at the Toronto International Film Festival where you'll notice I tend to give dual grades. This is the way to go in the mad rush of festival going. As nourishing as festivals can be from a cinephile, they aren't actually the best climate in which to generate definitive feelings because when you're done with one piece of art you have to rush on to the next one. Here are two films I saw this week that were quite combustible.

Dag lights up a small Norwegian town... unfortunately it's with matches.

Pyromaniac (Dir. Erik Skjoldbjaerg, Norway)
One of Norway's best known directors (Pioneer, Insomnia) is back with another unsettling thriller. The peculiar dichotomy of a fireman who also sets fires is the focus. Create your own dream job, they do always say. Dag (Trond Nillsen, King of Devil's Island) is the son of the local firechief and when he returns to his hometown after military service a small town is suddenly plagued by arson, first in the woods but slowly closing in on actual residences. As fires go this thriller doesn't build to an inferno, as a more traditional movie might, so much as it threatens to consistent. Like someone waiting with gasoline by a small fire. The result is a discomforting slow burn, elevated considerably by artful intuitive detours with female characters. These don't serve the plot so much as bring humanity up face-to-face with inexplicable evil; some see it for what it is (one scene with a piercing scream and a lit match is absolutely terrifying), others flippantly dismiss it. Dag's own mother (a great Liv Bernhort Osa) is handed the painful evasive denouement. [Trivia Note: Strangely Norway has yet to submit Skjoldbjaerg for the Oscar race in Best Foreign Language Film though he's been a finalist before and was again this year. They didn't even submit him for his international breakthrough Insomnia (1997) famously remade by Christopher Nolan a few years later.] B/B+

a talk show host and her volatile guest come to fascinating verbal blows

Death in Sarajevo (Dir. Danis Tanovic, Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Bosnia & Herzegovina's Oscar Submission
Danis Tanovic came to fame with the anti-war drama No Man's Land (2001) which took the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in its day. Fifteen years later Tanovic is still committed to deeply felt statement films and still righteously angry about senseless wars. The entire film takes place within a cash-poor luxury hotel in Sarajevo that will soon host a meeting of European dignitaries. Everyone is on edge, nobody is getting paid, the workers are ready to strike, and guests are arriving. Though the film beguns with the taping of a talk show on the violent cycles in South Slavic history, fears that this might be little more than educational history lesson were quickly assuaged by strong storytelling and multiple interesting characters like the hotel's laundress, a lovelorn cook, an ambitious female manager, and the cerebral but fierce talk show host and a guest she berates as a "thug" who fits this description but is multi-faceted, too. In one witty but distressing bit another guest of the talk show praises the affect of all the civil wars on the Bosnian people  'it protects us from uniformity of thought.' Uniformity of thought is not a problem with these characters. We know that all the separate stories with their personal dramas and opposing agendas we'll eventually collide (that's what happens in this subgenre of drama) but it's still fascinating to watch them braid together and Tanovic does this artfully. Some of the political content still went over my American head -- especially the story of a man rehearsing a political speech (the film is based on a one man show "Hotel Europe" and this section seemed to be the most direct lift). But as with all fine political dramas, this one understands that politics is personal and vice versa. B/B+ 

more TIFF reviews

Thursday
Sep152016

10th Anniversary: The Black Dahlia

David looks back at Brian de Palma's wildest film, ten years on from its release.

The Black Dahlia is a curious artefact. It is likely to be remembered simply by virtue of being in the catalogue of Brian de Palma, even if the film’s quality is negligible compared to his biggest hitters Carrie and The Untouchables. When compared to the other famous James Ellroy adaptation, the Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential (which celebrates its own birthday, its 19th, in just a few days), de Palma’s effort certainly pales. In the career of cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (the film’s sole Oscar nominee), it’s likely to be a footnote in the late man’s incredible career, coming after his work with Spielberg, Cimino and Altman. The film’s stars probably took a year at most to write it off as a failure on all their parts.

Yet the film continues to fascinate - to lure you back into its craven web...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep152016

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (S1. E15-16)

Dancin' Dan back again to cover the next two episodes of the EMMY AWARD WINNING Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Yes, it's true! At the Creative Arts Emmys, our favorite musical comedy TV show won two trophies: Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series (for the pilot episode) and Outstanding Choreography (for the numbers I'm So Good at Yoga, A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes, and Settle For Me). CONGRATULATIONS, SHOW!

But now, back to the business at hand. This time out, Rebecca learns something with a little help from her friends, and embarks on an attempt to make healthier choices in her life.

S1. E15: "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!"

After running away at the end of last episode, Rebecca falls asleep on her plane to New York and is visited by a "Dream Ghost" vesion of her therapist, who takes her on a journey through her past. Meanwhile, no one else knows where Rebecca is, prompting lots of panicking back in West Covina.

Let's rank the crazy!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep152016

Shia LaBeouf as John McEnroe

by Murtada

The bad boy of movies is playing the bad boy of tennis. Is this a case of too on the nose casting? What matters of course is if Shia LaBeouf can approximate John McEnroe’s look convincingly. Looks like it. The fro helps.

However it seems that LaBeouf is trying to reform that bad boy image. To promote Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, which comes out later this month, LeBeouf gave a long interview to Variety. In it he might have come up with the best rebuttal for Jared Leto’s recent shenanigans about being committed to the craft. LaBeouf said that he doesn’t think of himself as a method actor anymore:

“The word is getting embarrassing. You don’t hear about female method actors. The whole thing has turned into weird, false masculinity shit.”

Indeed. Could it be that Shia finally said exactly what everyone wants to hear? Good on you, Shia.

The movie, Borg vs.McEnroe, is a sorta Scandinavian affair. Also starring Swedish actors Sverrir Gudnason as Bjorn Borg and Stellan Skarsgard as his coach, the director is Danish Janus Metz Pedersen (HBO’s True Detective). Currently shooting in Prague, it will trace the battle for tennis supremacy in the 70s and 80s between McEnroe and Borg. No release date is set yet but expect it sometime next year.

What do you think of Shia's look and his recent comments?

Thursday
Sep152016

Audra McDonald, Mel Brooks, Philip Glass Amongst National Medal of Arts Recipients

In his last few months as Commander-in-Chief and, more pertinently here, commander of the National Medal of Arts selecting committee, President Barack Obama has once again demonstrated discerning taste in awarding the annual honors for excellence in the American arts. With the inimitable (and once again Emmy-nominated) Audra McDonald leading the list, you won’t hear any veto threats coming from this side of the aisle. Comedy legend Mel Brooks, actor/voiceover artist Morgan Freeman, and brilliant composer Philip Glass make up the other predominant names from the world of film and television, but mentions for Motown founder Berry Gordon and The Laramie Project playwright Moises Kaufman deserve a tip of the hat in their own rights.

It’s always fun to parse the recipients of the National Medal of Arts against the sitting president that awarded them; you can drive yourself crazy wondering how the Academy votes but this decision ultimately belongs to a one-person committee and you know exactly how he feels publicly on a whole host of issues. And when it comes to doling out gold totems, President Obama knows when to give Ricki and the Flash co-star Meryl Streep another one. Conversely, does he regret slapping the necklace onto Clint Eastwood in his first year of office instead of waiting to hear the Hollywood legend's strongly held opinions on empty chairs? Other awardees under Obama’s watch include Elaine May, Tony Kushner, Albert Maysles, Sally Field, Rita Moreno, and John Williams. While I’d love to have seen Bill Clinton fete Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, nothing for me beats the image of Twyla Tharp getting the phone call that George W. Bush wanted to host her at the White House. Had he just seen Movin' Out?

Wednesday
Sep142016

Red Carpet: TIFF Finally Does Couture

Jose here. Color me impressed with all the couture at Toronto this year! Congrats to stylists for bringing it, and when there are so many great looks to discuss, let's get to it. Amy Adams is the epitome of "if it ain't broke", she has rarely looked sexier than she does in this simple Tom Ford design. Her Rita Hayworth-esque locks and the perfect earrings might just make this her best look in years. No one can pull off as many shades of yellow as Emma Stone as proved by this textured Chanel minidress, which sees her at her most playful. Rooney Mara wearing color warms my heart, especially when it's such bold pieces as this Aouadi bolero dress, knowing the unique design was more than enough, her makeup and accessories are minimal, love that the strappy sandals make it look as if she's floating. Lupita Nyong'o in Carolina Herrera is the thing fashion photographers dream about, gotta love her red lipstick too. Can she do any wrong? The answer is no.

More looks after the jump. 

Click to read more ...