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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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Wednesday
Feb062013

Slithery Spacey & Co. Rule the "House of Cards"

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, returning after a major binge of quality television during the past seventy-two hours.

Yes, I have finished the first season of the newest business model for the entertainment industry, the David Fincher / Beau Willimon project "House of Cards", with a large cast led by Kevin Spacey as Francis "Frank" Underwood, a ruthless ambitious politician in DC.

I'll be perfectly honest in admitting that the show didn't do much for me. Whereas Homeland, Downton Abbey, Girls and Archer have proven to be tried and true addictions House of Cards treads over familiar territory with little to supplement the politics.

Spacey is, naturally, exceptional, having a ball with the material and the ability to flaunt his ungodly talents. The asides to the audience turn us into co-conspirators, advisers to his machinal, instinctual desire for revenge. Robin Wright (long one of my favorite actresses, who hasn't been given a fine enough opportunity to strut her stuff since Nine Lives years ago) fares slightly less well, given that her promising Lady Macbeth front slowly withers but all the drama is internal.

[more after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb052013

Film Bitch Awards Best Supporting Actress Prizes (2000-2011)

I'll announce 2012's nominees the second the write-ups are done (working on them this week). But until then another listy flashblack to year's past here at The Film Experience. My opinions have changed somewhat over the years (as many opinions should if we continue to evolve) and perhaps I'll detail which changes those were in the future but mostly I like to think of Awards, both mine and other people's as time capsules of What We Valued At That Moment.

So here you go... 

Nominees in Alpha Order
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy 
Diane Kruger, Farewell My Queen
Lorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere
write ups here 

Gold: Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Silver: Sarah Bayet, A Separation
Bronze: Carey Mulligan, Shame
Also Nominated
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Gold: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Silver: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Bronze: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Also Nominated
Kimberly Elise, For Colored Girls
Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

 
Gold: Mo'Nique, Precious
Silver: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Bronze: Marion Cotillard, Nine
Also Nominated
Samantha Morton, The Messenger
Rosamund Pike, An Education

*I believe this is my longest run of Oscar agreement as to winners in any category... throughout time. They went three consecutive years (2007-2009) making brilliant choices for wins in this category.


Gold: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Silver: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Bronze: Viola Davis, Doubt
Also Nominated
Samantha Morton, Synecdoche New York
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler


Gold: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Silver: Imelda Staunton, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Bronze: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Also Nominated
Charlotte Gainsbourg, I'm Not There
Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Gold: Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
Silver: Fiona Shaw, The Black Dahlia
Bronze: Meryl Streep, A Prairie Home Companion
Also Nominated
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Mira Kirshner, The Black Dahlia

Gold: Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Silver: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Bronze: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings
Also Nominated
Amy Adams, Junebug
Ziyi Zhang, 2046

Gold: Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Silver: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Bronze: Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill, Vol. 2
Also Nominated
Patricia Clarkson, Dogville
Natalie Portman, Garden State

Gold: Holly Hunter, thirteen
Silver: Miranda Richardson, Spider
Bronze: Catherine O'Hara, A Mighty Wind
Also Nominated
Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent

Gold: Michelle Pfeiffer, White Oleander
Silver: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago
Bronze: Meryl Streep, Adaptation
Also Nominated
Patricia Clarkson, Far From Heaven
Bebe Neuwirth, Tadpole

Gold: Kate Winslet, Iris
Silver: Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom
Bronze: Helen Mirren, Gosford Park
Also Nominated
Frances McDormand, The Man Who Wasn't There
Maggie Smith, Gosford Park

Gold: Catherine Deneuve, Dancer in the Dark
Silver: Samantha Morton, Jesus' Son
Bronze: Kirsten Dunst, The Virgin Suicides
Also Nominated
Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
Frances McDormand, Almost Famous/Wonder Boys

Do you remember these performances fondly?
Do you remember your choices over the past decade?


Tuesday
Feb052013

Beasts of the Southern Secret Garden

JA from MNPP here, taking a look at the news of the day - newly Oscar nominated writer Lucy Alibar, who adapted her play into the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, has just been announced as the writer of a new movie adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's much loved (not to mention much adapted) 1911 serial-turned-novel The Secret Garden. For a hot minute it seemed as if Guillermo Del Toro was going to direct it, but he's too busy making giant robots fight giant monsters so he's just gonna produce.

The Secret Garden is about, well, a largely orphaned girl who gets left to her own devices amid overgrown nature, where she allows her imagination to run wild. Sound familiar? I just can't imagine how Alibar got the gig. Apparently the action is being shifted from England to "the American South at the turn of the 20th Century," as well.

The Secret Garden's already been adapted several times - I remember liking the 1993 version with Maggie Smith, although it's been a very long time since I've seen it.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Burning Questions: What Kind of Sequels Should Be Made?

I've hijacked Michael C's column this week because I have a burning question of my own to ask. 

With that hot buzz for Before Midnight from Sundance warming the expectant hearts of even the coldest cinephiles this winter (it'll win more fans in warmer temperatures next month at SXSW), I've been thinking about movie sequels. Why do we get them, how we receive them, and whether or not we need them.

The first and usually sole reason of "why" is money. Humans are creatures of habit so it's an organic reality that nearly every artform indulges in sequels (whether they're named as such or not) and has since long before "branding" was a term people without business acumen understood. Branding is so common and catch-phrasey now that even non-sequels feel like sequels. What is, for instance, each new Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaboration but an endless series of sequels Johnny & Tim: Now...Vampiric. Johnny & Tim: Now... Caloric... Now... Johnny & Tim: in Garish 3D. Usually sequels make enough money to suggest that Hollywood should make them forever and preferrably split each sequel up into two parts to double investment. And, if they can control costs, make them for everything that was successful. 

But what kind of sequels should be made?

Maybe it's the edge-of-my-seat expectant bliss/wracked nerves regarding Before Midnight (dare I trust the critics who've already seen it? Critics are least trustworthy, I find, during the heat of festival mania and during the heat of awards season when constant conversation/groupthink and jetlag/movie-binging are most likely to affect them.) Maybe it's my now comical tries at seeing Yossi (things keep going wrong and I still haven't seen it!) which is the ten-years later sequel to the charming Israeli gay drama Yossi & Jagger (2003). The point being that I've decided that my absolute favorite kind of sequel is the "let's drop in on these characters again for no particular reason" When these films are done right it feels like they're done for the art of it, to illustrate what changes and insights the passage of time brings. And because we love spending the time with the characters. Now of course this doesn't always work out. The Evening Star was a big letdown for anyone expecting Terms of Endearment 2. But in concept, why not revisit one of the most indelible characters of 1980s cinema?

Terminator 2: The Return of Sarah Connor

Come to think of it this stance also helps explains my super-intense abiding love for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) which is a sequel of the traditional kind (i.e. this will make TONS of money!) but which I would rank -- easily -- near the tippity top of a list of the greatest sequels ever made. And that's largely because of the authentically shocking evolution of character. The Sarah Connor therein is nothing like the one we met in 1984 but once you're past the 'what the hell!?'reveal the new one feels like a natural progression nonetheless to traumatic events from the first film. And it immediately shows how lazily written most characters are in sequels where nothing between films has ever affected them. Big blockbusters so rarely feel that deeply rooted in actual human drama. 

What kind of sequels do you long for?
Which film characters would you love to drop in on again?

 

Monday
Feb042013

20 Days 'til Oscar: The Live Action Shorts

Amir here. Yesterday we had a look at the animated short films nominated for an Oscar this year. Today we’re moving on to the live action shorts. In a nice bit of symmetry with the animation category, this one also features two great films and three not-so-great ones. Collectively, however, these nominees are a much stronger bunch than last year’s.

First up is Death of a Shadow, a Belgian-French co-production starring Franco-cinema’s it-boy Matthias Schoenaarts. It’s a fantasy film about a soldier whose job it is to capture the moment of death on a camera that registers shadows. The images are stored in a collection by the (very creepy) patron of his photography. Eventually, his love for a woman called Sarah pushes him to make her lover the final victim of his photography. It sounds concept-y, and quite frankly, it is. The visual effects leave a bit to be desired, but the much bigger problem is the complete lack of emotional resonance. The biggest achievement of Death of a Shadow is the impossible feat of making Schoenaarts look unattractive.

Four more shorts after the jump including the probable Oscar winner

Click to read more ...