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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 | instagram | letterboxd 

 

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COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Monday
Nov112013

Oscar Contenders Stack the Decks at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Glenn here. Rarely discussed by Oscar commentators for reasons unknown to me are the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Held annually on the Gold Coast in Australia, these awards recognise, well, cinema from Asian and Pacific regions. This year's batch of contenders are from a typically diverse group of nations with several high profile Oscar contenders in the mix. Amongst this year's roster of nominees are the foreign language submissions from Palestine (Omar), Iran (The Past), Saudi Arabia (Wadjda), China (Back in 1942), Hong Kong (The Grandmaster), Singapore (Ilo Ilo), New Zealand (White Lies), South Korea (Juvenile Offender) and Kazakhstan (The Old Man) as well as films amongst the long lists for animation (The Wind Rises) and documentary (The Art of Killing). Just imagine if Japan had chosen Like Father Like Son and India had chosen The Lunchbox!

Some history and this year's nominees after the jump.

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Monday
Nov112013

Happy Birthday, Leo! (And a Monologue)

Andrew here  to join the Wheeler clan in wishing Leonardo DiCaprio a happy birthday…

…although, he doesn’t seem especially delighted at the well-wishes.

Is that image from Revolutionary Road a dismal birthday scene or what, though? Sometimes I imagine if I had a bloggers' party to celebrate Leo's actorly talents the soiree would be just as dismally attended. Am I wrong?

As odd as it may sound, I often find myself feeling sorry for Leonardo DiCaprio. Sure he's got good-looks, money and the perceived love of millions of fans, yes, but of the actors in his demographic he always seems the least likely to be considered a good actor. If I were to say that he’s my favourite actor under forty, I always expect raised eyebrows in response, and they are generally forthcoming. DiCaprio is not the most diverse actor in his demographic, but I'm often suspicious of attaching quality necessarily to variation. He has specific gifts and even more specific flaws. Many actors are at their best when they exploit their gifts but considering my favourite performance of his for today's monologue, I find I like Leo best when he exploits his flaws.

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Monday
Nov112013

Looking back on the 2003 Best Animated Feature nominees

Andrew Stanton with the first of his Animated Feature OscarsTim here. This November, we’ve been reflecting on the films of 2003, in preparation for the newest edition of the Supporting Actress Smackdown, and I’d like to use this as the opportunity to return us all to a simpler time. An easier time. A saner time. A time when the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards wasn’t routinely filled up with five nominees because some much-too-small arbitrary threshold had been reached.

There were three nominees in the category that year, out of a field of eleven. And even that was not quite a small enough number to keep away from something a bit like a filler nomination (looking at the list, the fact that Satoshi Kon could have two eligible titles in Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, and swing a nomination for neither of them, depresses me something fierce). But it’s not a bad mix of films at all, anchored by two films that have survived the intervening decade as bona-fide classics of the medium, and one film that… hasn’t, though it’s clung to an appreciative cult.

Fish, Bear and Other after the jump

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Monday
Nov112013

Juliette & George, Together Again

It hadn't even occurred to me that August: Osage County wasn't the first collaboration between George Clooney and Juliette Lewis. Nearly 20 years ago the two starred together in From Dusk till Dawn battling vampires in Texas with Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and a python-loving Salma Hayek. A lot has changed since then and it's doubtful you'd find either making a gory horror flick again, but it was nice to see Lewis post this photo of the pair on Instagram. 

As an aside, how glad do you think Clooney is that The Momunents Men got booted into 2014 and so doesn't have to spend months promoting it for awards season alongside August and Gravity

As a secondary aside, will Juliette Lewis have her own Dallas Buyers Club soon? A role that, like Jared Leto's this year, makes audiences remember that she was once an incredible actor who just couldn't find a spot in the Hollywood system and so turned to rock music? I can only hope so!

As a third aside, don't we all look forward to Nathaniel's thoughts on August once he returns from AFI Fest? I know I do!

Monday
Nov112013

Thoughts I Had... Staring at the Poster for "Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical"

Glenn here. Remember when The Film Experience asked what "fictional art you want to experience"? The Broadway show from Woody Allen's 1994 classic Bullets Over Broadway was a definite favourite. The new stage adaptation directed by Susan Stroman will likely be the closest we will ever get, so I guess we should take a look at the new poster (or, at least, new to me).

 

  •  Hopefully this is a bigger success for Stroman than the recently opened - and now recently closing - stage adaptation of Big Fish. Stroman also directed the immensely popular The Producers so this period is certainly in her wheelhouse.
  • How much do you reckon the budgetary figure for "neon signs" is going to be on this production?
  • I was unaware that Woody Allen himself was in charge of writing the adaptation. It should come as no surprise, however, that the music will not be original. That's a big shame I think since the Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest) and Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly) characters could especially have some fun original tunes written for them, don't you think?
  • Purists will certainly like the use of songs from the "American Songbook" (a horrifying term) I am sure, especially the light of The Great Gatsby.
  • I actually really like the poster. It's colourful and vibrant, plus bonus points for not alerting anybody to the fact that Zach Braff stars in the John Cusack role (image below via Braff's Twitter feed).

  • As natural as it feels for Bullets Over Broadway to make the leap to the stage, I actually think other Allen titles could work just as well, if not better. They could certainly do some interesting things with The Purple Rose of Cairo (an actual cinema screen on stage that its cast walk in and out of? actors dressed and made up in black and white while everyone else is in color? use of the audience as part of the set?), and Melinda & Melinda could actually prove a fascinating tour de force for the right actor in the right adaptation. I would also be awfully surprised if nobody's figuring out how to make Midnight in Paris work since its rotating sets and eras would likely prove popular and brand recognised.
  • If it's a hit, will we get a film adaptation? Who would possibly want to come up against Woody Allen in the comparison game? Stroman didn't fare too well in the screen adaptation of The Producers (I am a fan, though) so I doubt she would return to that well. Any suggestions? Speak up in the comments!
Monday
Nov112013

AFI: Agnes and "Cleo"

The film is called Cleo From 5 to 7, but it’s actually Cleo From 5 to 6:30 Exactly”

Agnes Varda states with a chuckle. Varda is the Guest Director for the 2013 AFI Fest, so four of her films are being screened at the festival, starting with her most famous film, Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962). The woman who has been rightfully called the Godmother of the New Wave practically bounces in her chair, which is surprising for a woman her age. I hope I age half as well. Filmmaking and boundary-breaking agree with her.

Cleo From 5 to 7 takes place over a single afternoon. A young singer (Corinne Marchand) waits for results from her medical exam to tell her whether she has cancer. More surprisingly, the story takes place in real time; starting at 5pm and ending at 6:30pm. The film has the hallmarks of many French New Wave films: the preoccupation with cinematic form, the unflagging coolness that comes with good sunglasses and disaffected youth, the filmic experimentation. Cleo From 5 to 7 is different from Breathless or Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Agnes Varda’s unique voice has been attributed to her gender (the New Wave could be a talented boys club), but she attributes it to her background in art instead of film.

Varda says during the discussion that she purposely watched as few films as possible before becoming a filmmaker. Her purpose was to create something totally new and from scratch. Other New Wave auteurs were film lovers first (think of the fantastic book Hitchcock Truffaut). Varda speaks with the same rapture about Picasso and the artists in other mediums that inspired her. Of specific importance to Cleo From 5 to 7 is a painting by a 16th century German artist named Hans Baldung. In the painting, called The Three Ages Of The Woman and The Death, a young woman gazes into a mirror while a ghastly skeleton whispers into her ear.

Varda observes that the picture seems almost scandalous because beauty and death aren’t supposed to go together. Certainly that’s Cleo’s belief in the film. She worries constantly through the film that illness will ruin her beauty. Like the woman in the painting, Cleo constantly looks at herself, and the many people she meets look at her too. This, Varda states, is her feminist message: “Women become real when they stop looking at themselves and start looking at other people.” Cleo is an object to be stared at. The singer’s moment of revelation happens at 5:45pm, during this haunting song:

Agnes Varda sets the song as a midway point: from 5:45pm on, Cleo actively observes instead of passively being observed. The act of observing and the looming question of death make every moment precious. The challenge of making the story seem to unfold in exactly ninety minutes makes it not only a technical marvel - there are a lot of clocks in frame that need to be set precisely - but also inspires deeper examination of moments that might otherwise be missed. As Agnes Varda winds up the discussion, the bubbly auteur tells the audience that this is the theme of the film: fear gives texture to reality.