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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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The Greatest Sci-Films. A Top Ten

"Excellent list. I wish it had included John Frankenheimer's and Rock Hudson's Seconds. The War of the Worlds also coulda been a contender. We won't discuss Soylent Green- BCarter

"...something new for my Netflix list. "-John

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Wednesday
Aug072013

First Jay-Z... Now Lady Gaga?

...Marina Abramović really wants to be a household name.

After her hugely popular The Artist is Present work a few years back she's just collecting the celebrity proteges. Jay-Z just paid homage and now Lady Gaga is studying The Abramović Method to prepare her for "durational work".

This video is NSFW. Lady Godiva Gaga... sans horse. 

The Abramovic Method Practiced by Lady Gaga from Marina Abramovic Institute on Vimeo.

(Gaga is apparently determined to relive Madonna's career at higher speeds. She's basically already been through the 1983-1990 catalogue of light dance pop followed by more ambitious records, constantly shifting wardrobe, and complete global domination. Perhaps with Artpop we'll be entering her own deeply polarizing naked phase. She seems to have skipped over the "trying to be an actress" phase...)

Wednesday
Aug072013

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

While we're on the subject of Alfred Hitchcock, having just discussed the most memorable performances in his films, we thought we'd look at Hitchcock's own favorite Shadow of a Doubt (1943) for this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I wasn't surprised that the film failed to score in that list we just made, if only because the whole cast is so memorable. How do you choose amongst them? What's more, the subject of the film is, if you ask me, not the gruesome crimes that are continually referenced but the family unit itself. How protective and proud of one's own blood should you be? How do you preserve the family's happy cohesion, whether real or imagined? What to do about the rotten apple in the bushel? 

Since Shadow of a Doubt (1943) is strangely underseen given Hitchcock's own love of it and the endurance of so many of his films, I don't want to spoil any of its surprises (the writing was Oscar nominated and deservedly so). But I will say that the surprises do not include the nature of Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten). He's bad news.

But how bad?

That's up to his family to gaily ignore or vaguely worry over and for his favorite niece and namesake (Teresa Wright) to puzzle out. Shadow of a Doubt has several delicious shots that are case studies in Hitchcock's mastery of visual storytelling and his glorious understanding of the power of shot variation (which is, if you ask me, the single element of filmmaking with the greatest depreciation in quality over my lifetime). I'm absolutely crazy about the way he shoots the growing conflict between the niece and her uncle... which you think will play out like cat and mouse but is closer to cat and kitten in its visual language since Young Charlie is no scurrying fool but a resourceful creature. My favorite shot is one that should be welcoming, but plays out with just as much potency as a disturbingly intense closeup of Uncle Charlie earlier in the film during a particularly nasty monologue.

Uncle Charlie is merely standing on the porch this time. Young Charlie would "like to pretend the whole dreadful thing never happened" but she knows that her "typical American family" home is no longer a sweet or safe one. 

Other Best Shot Choices...

Cal Roth on Hitchcock's repetitive "truth reveal" shot
Film Actually likes the fourth wall broken and Cotten's intriguing performativity
The Entertainment Junkie loves the camera's retreat from Teresa in the library
Antagony & Ecstacy puts a ring on it. It's one of his favorite Hitchcocks.
The Film's The Thing there's evil right beside you!
And...
We Recycle Movies cheats by never getting past the opening credits! 

NEXT WEDNESDAY: The Color Purple (1985). Won't you sing 'Miss Celie's Blues' for us by selecting your "best shot" from that Spielberg hit?

Tuesday
Aug062013

Team Top Ten: Most Memorable Performances in a Hitchcock Film

Amir here, with this month's edition of Team Top Ten. To celebrate Alfred Hitchcock's birthday next week (Aug 13th), we've decided to celebrate his career by looking at something that isn't discussed quite as often as it should be: the performances he directed.

Hitchcock has more auteur cred than any other director so its understandable that his presence behind the camera attracts the most attention in all discourse about his oeuvre. Yet, his films are undeniably filled with amazing performances, from archetypal blondes and influential villains to smaller, eccentric supporting turns from characters actors. The list we've compiled today is the Top Ten Most Memorable Performances from Alfred Hitchcock's Films.

Make of "memorable" what you will! Our voters each certainly had their own thinking process. Some of us - myself included - took the word literally and voted for what had stuck with us the most, irrespective of size and quality of the performance. Some went for the best performances, some for the best marriage of actor and role and some for a mix of all of those things. Naturally, the final list veers towards the consensus, but as always, I've included bits and pieces of our individual ballots that stood out after the list.

Without further ado...

10. Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont (Rear Window)
There's memorable, and there's iconic. And then there's Grace Kelly in Edith Head. A performance all at once decadent and demure, Hitchcock's crown jewel struts and strolls glowingly in Rear Window, lithely giving off the allure to which she's come to recognize is her signature (and she worries, her sole) appeal. It's only as the mystery of the picture begins to unravel that the shades are lifted (literally) and the flinty little girl we thought we knew positions herself to be the real knight in shining armor. The famed icy Hitchcock blonde archetype manages that most remarkable and memorable of transformations in this, his best film; thanks to and because of Ms. Kelly, the sculpture discovers itself and its purpose. It's a beautiful thing when an actor can make a director forget himself and his tendencies. Something New Happens.
- Beau McCoy

9 more iconic turns after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug062013

Linkables

Pajiba the highest grossing modern movie stars who've never made a sequel - interesting that there are so many!
The Wrap Chris McQuarrie to direct Mission: Impossible V. It'll be tough to follow Ghost Protocol so good luck
Art of the Title looks at neon Spring Breakers
Gold Standard Harry Hamlin on his Emmy nomination for Mad Men
Towleroad Spike Lee speaks about charges that he's homophobic based on his movies
Twitch Harvey Scissorhands is back! He wants 20 minutes cut from Snowpiercer. Hey, as long as they aren't Tilda Swinton's scenes... 

Salon takes Jay-Z to task for disrespecting Harry Belafonte and asks that hip hop's political sensibilities grow up a little
My New Plaid Pants Dominic Cooper posing for his life
i09 'Break the glass, Sam Rockwell, Break the glass!' He may be joining the new Poltergeist movie
Film Dr 10 shallow pleasures of 2 Guns
Cinema Blend on the generic-looking boxy head poster for Don Jon... undoubtedly a tough movie to sell... though I'm not sure I follow the assertion that the midwest can't relate to porn addictions. LOL. Speaking of the internet (and thus the world's) porn addictions...
Boy Culture have you seen this Ryan Gosling strip scene from The Place Beyond the Pines that's making the rounds? Gosling's disgust at being asked to strip in the clip is his rebuke to the internet pervily watching it!

Tuesday
Aug062013

Beauty Break: It's Vera Farmiga. Fan Yourself!

I met Vera once for an interview, and I can verify that she is a vision in person... the startling eyes. the skin. the hotness. the shoes! (she was rocking a pair of heels she'd literally JUST bought before the interview) so today on her 40th birthday let's wish her all the happiness.

And does anybody look better in fanned collars or gowns? Witness!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug062013

The Lone Ranger Spawns Multiple Sore Losers

Can we take a moment to shake our heads collectively at Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and The Lone Ranger team for being sore losers? They're blaming critics and the media for the failure of the film at the box office -- as if opening weekends are determined by critics. LOL. Weirdly Armie Hammer tries to rope in World War Z to the conversation (which has a 67% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes versus their 28% and a much higher audience approval rating, too) 

They tried to do the same thing with ‘World War Z’,” Hammer said of the critical backlash.”It didn’t work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”

Because this is what critics do. They think "damn, people loved that movie I trashed? I shall have my revenge next time!" and then their tiny selves morph hive-like into Mega-Critic, a ugly monstrously powerful giant beast, big enough to do battle with the beautiful innocence of the Blameless Blockbuster. 

I always feel embarrassment, not schadenfreude, for stars and filmmakers when they blame everyone but themselves. It shows a complete aversion to looking inward and betrays a pampered creative life that actively works against continued evolution as an artist. When people only believe/accept adulation, they calcify. It's why so many artists become self parodies or get less interesting as they progress. I really don't think it's an age thing, though you often hear that people do their best work early in their careers. I think, rather, that it's an insular gated community problem, a result of entourages of "yes men" and belief in your own hype.

previously
Why did the Lone Ranger flop?
The Lone Ranger reviewed