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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 | deviantart 


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Our Coven: Hermione

Team Experience is building its own coven of favorite screen witches. Happy Halloween! Here's JA on that know-it-all from Hogwarts. 

It's only been two years since the Harry Potter saga ended film-wise and for awhile I felt the need to take a break from it, it having eaten up a good decade of pop-culture and all, but I've got to admit I'm feeling some nostalgia for it these days all the same. And nowhere moreso than with Hermione, always my favorite character (I never stand a chance with the bookish ones, they always win) - what's she up to these days anyway, in between when the Battle of Hogwarts was won and that kid-laden flash-forward? Did she momentarily move to LA to take up robbing the rich and famous? More...

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Two (Links) of Every Kind

Empire Darren Aronofsky's Noah is having post-production / test screening trouble. Duh! Like evangelicals would love Black Swan or Requiem or or or 
Huffington Post has a candid interview with Alan Taylor the director of Thor: The Dark World. Apparently there's a shit ton of exposition in the movie. I wish it wasn't locked yet because cut cut cut  

Vulture I would have done so much better on this Brad Pitt Hair Quiz (I scored 11/15) if it was about which girlfriend he was imitating with which red carpet look
EW I was thinking Emile Hirsch was getting a little pudgy recently... now he's putting it to (potentially) good use: he's signed to star in a John Belushi biopic. Guess he'd like to get a little closer to Oscar than he got with Into the Wild

Backstage remembers Penélope Cruz's brilliant career makeover in Volver  
Cinema Blend Noomi Rapace taking on seven roles in sci fi flick What Ever Happened to Monday? This is totally messing with my plans to continue being uninterested in her.

Bests & Worsts
IndieWire stands up for 10 actresses that are running in longshot position for year-end honors
Salon calls The Counselor "The Worst Movie Ever Made"  

Guardian marketing gay films for straight people
Queerty has a two parter on the most realistic gay sex scenes on film

Nicks Flick Picks does his usual "anticipation" post set to diva beats. These are always amazing to return to for updates
My New Plaid Pants wraps up his amazing "13 Snakes of Halloween series. You need to watch them slithe

Today's Visuals
Anne Elizabeth Moore and Gabrielle Gambo investigate dozens of horror movies and discover disturbing gender/racial politics (in comic book form)

Click the photo for "The Truly Scary Politics of Horror Movies"

and Todrick Hall has fun with Disney Villianesses in this Chicago spoof "Spell Block Tango" 


Sarah Polley, Seaworld and 'The Act of Killing' Top the IDA Nominees

The International Documentary Association (IDA) aren’t necessarily the most indicative of where the Academy’s documentary branch will go, but they’re important and prestigious so it’s always good to see where their members go. This year’s selection of nominees is quite a highbrow collection with a heavy slant towards politics and activism with three very high profile contenders battling it out against a pair of smaller-scale, yet mightily intimidating, documentaries about prejudice some 30 years apart.

Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Let the Fire Burn
The Square
(NYFF review)
Stories We Tell

I am a big fan of Jehane Noujaim’s up-to-the-minute look at the Egyptian democracy crisis, The Square, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s disturbing look at SeaWorld’s animal cruelty, Blackfish, and Sarah Polley’s fragmented family tree, Stories We Tell, but the other two – sadly, two I have not yet had the chance to catch  are perhaps the most acclaimed of the IDA nominees. It will be interesting to see where this organisation goes when they announce their winners. They can go super mainstream (last year’s Searching for Sugarman) or super arthouse (Nostalgia for the Light in 2011). I’d put my money on Joshua Oppenheimer’s Indonesian genocide doco The Act of Killing, but with so many strong contenders who can tell?

'Blackfish' not 'Rust and Bone'

It is worth noting that all five nominees are on that epic 151 title-long list of Oscar-eligible docs along with contenders from two other IDA categories as well as the recipient of the special “Pare Lorentz Award”.

Humanitas Award
Anton's Right Here
Blood Brother (Director’s interview)
Let the Fire Burn
The Square

Pare Lorentz Award
A Place at the Table

ABCNews Videosource Award
All the President's Men Revisited
Free Angela and All Political Prisoners
Let the Fire Burn
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks

The only titles listed that aren’t eligible for Oscar are All the Presidents Men Revisited and Anton’s Right Here, neither of which I had heard of before today. Furthermore, I can’t say I’m a fan of Steve Hooper’s Blood Brother, but it showed up in the right category at least. This year has been a rather incredible one for documentaries – although maybe it’s just because I’ve been exposed to so many more now living in New York City – so I’m not surprised to see the year’s highest grossing doc, the feel-good 20 Feet to Stardom, not get a citation. I’ve long suspected the Academy will follow suit.

One last factoid: the only of the IDA’s documentary shorts to cross over with the Academy’s shortlist is Joshua Izenberg’s Slomo. Could certainly do worse than chalking that one up for a nomination at this stage.


Our Coven: Ursula The Sea Witch

Team Experience is assembling our own coven of preferred witches for Halloween. Here's abstew with ... well, you know who

After nearly two decades of sub par animated films (I'm looking your way, The Black Caldron) that would've made Uncle Walt turn over in his cryogenic freezer, 1989's The Little Mermaid, the studio's first fairy tale in 30 years, finally brought back the art of animation and started the modern Disney renaissance. The film had everything going for it - sassy red-headed mermaid princess, Caribbean accented crab, show-stopping musical numbers, and, most importantly, a voluptuously wicked, tentacled diva villainess.

Early concept art shows that Ursula the Sea Witch's look went through many transformations before the final look of half octopus / half woman (and what a woman - Ursula is said to be modeled after the drag queen Divine). To voice the sea witch, the filmmakers offered the part to Bea Arthur who turned it down due to her work on The Golden Girls and Elaine Stritch had been cast but clashed with lyricist Howard Ashman. Actress Pat Carroll brought Ursula to life delivering some of the film's best lines ("You got it, sweetcakes. No more talking, singing, Zip!) There's always time for a one-liner while being evil. And don't underestimate the importance of body language!

Broom? No use for them under the sea. And probably best not to mention anything wooden as she meets her demise staked by the bow of a ship.

Favored Spell: Fortunately she knows a little magic - it's a talent that she always has possessed. Her spell of choice is taking voices (conveniently stowed in her shell necklace - fashion and function) and turning fishtails into legs in return. Although, if you can't pay the price, you just might find yourself a part of her little garden.

Familiars: Her babies, her poor little poopsies: a pair of scheming eels named Flotsam and Jetsam. They each share a glowing yellow eye that allows Ursula to see what they see.

Pointy Hat?: Her shock of white hair (styled with mousse - how 80's of her!) is pointy enough.

"Only Bad Witches Are Ugly": Considering her beauty regime (waterproof lipstick!) and the fact that she can change you into a weird plant with eyes, I wouldn't call her ugly to her face. At one point she does transform herself into a brunette version of Ariel with Joan Crawford eyebrows, so she's got options. Plus, anyone modeled after a drag queen is gonna look fabulous!

Meet the other members of our coven



Vintage 1968: Ten Most Awesome People (And Other Lists)

Each month's Supporting Actress Smackdown inspires us to go back to the year in question for a little context. When the movies of 1968 were playing in theaters, making their case for Oscar glory the following spring, the world was experiencing a time of great unrest. The Vietnam War was raging; The Prague Spring was happening; Martin Luther King Jr was killed; Racial tensions ran high in the Civil Rights fight; student protests in France raged (derailing the usual Cannes process - no Palme D'Or that year); the Zodiac killer began his murder spree; Andy Warhol was almost killed. (All of these events have received cinematic treatments over the years in films like The Dreamers, Zodiac, I Shot Andy Warhol and countless historical epics and war films.)

1968 introduced Goldie Hawn, The Big Mac, "Hey Jude" and TV's first interracial kiss 

But our focus is on the movies, so let's investigate the cinematic crop.

Best Movies According to...
Oscar: Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Oliver!, Rachel Rachel, and Romeo & Juliet were the Best Picture nominees but Oscar obviously also really enjoyed Star! (a flop that still managed an incredible 7 nominations), 2001: A Space Odyssey (4 nominations) and the foreign film classic The Battle of Algiers (3 nominations) which finally opened in America.
Golden Globes: Hollywood's Foreign Press Association liked Charly, The Fixer, Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Lion in Winter and a movie I've never heard of called Shoes of the Fisherman (Drama) and they also sang and laughed with Finian's Rainbow, Funny Girl, The Odd Couple, Oliver!, and Yours Mine and Ours (Comedy/Musical)

Awesome people, dance parties, and more '68 trivia after the jump

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Curio: Monsters' Day Off

Alexa here. With spooky season almost behind us, it only seems right to feature these illustrations of various film monsters on their day off by Chicago illustrator Kiersten Essenpries.  Ever wonder how Michael Myers keeps his jumper so crease-free? How Pinhead makes a little extra cash? Whether Leatherface works in any medium besides flesh? Kiersten has the answers after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Coven: Throne of Blood

Team Experience is assembling our own coven of preferred witches for Halloween. Here's Michael C on Kurosawa's eery old ghost woman

The Japanese title of Kurosawa’s noh-inspired adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth Throne of Blood is literally “Spider Web Castle”. So in keeping with the films pervasive arachnid imagery, Kurosawa ditches the cauldron and transforms the play’s famous trio of future predicting witches (“Double, double toil and trouble”) into a single, demonic hag, who sits out in the forest like an eerily still, deadly spider, spinning her silk and waiting for prey like Toshiro Mifune’s Macbeth equivalent, Washizu, to stumble into her web.

It’s a stretch to call her evil, seeing as she only sets the stage for her prey’s downfall. The victim still has to do all the heavy lifting. On the other hand the unexplained piles of skulls around her lair do rate a raised eyebrow!

Broom: No. The witch in question punctuates her prophecies by floating straight into the air and vanishing in a blinding white light. The broom business might qualify as overkill, don’t you think?

Favored Spell: This lovely lady’s go-to move is providing misleading, selectively edited predictions of the future. Other pastimes include cackling in your face after you’ve been foolish enough to act according to her predictions and shape shifting into ones enemies so as to goad you into make an even greater mess of things.

Chieko Naniwa in "Throne of Blood"Pointy Hat: You don’t hide witch hair of this magnitude under a hat.

Familiar: She works alone but spider imagery is pervasive. 

"Only bad witches are ugly": How to be diplomatic about this. On a scale from Glinda to Elphaba she’s definitely not going to travel by bubble, if you catch my drift. That said, if you can get over her creepy, disconcertingly masculine voice she does lack all the traditional ugly witch traits like warts and a long pointy nose, so she might have a shot with guys who find themselves strangely attracted to the ghost from The Grudge