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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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Emmy Aftermath - how to fix the Emmys?

"Personally, I'm opposed to capping wins or even nominations, even if seeing Modern Family win year after year drives me up the walls. I think it look punishing to the winners, instead of addressing the real issue, which are the voters and the voting system, and how even as things change and get more diverse and they try to catch up, they still don't vote that outside that box at all. It still takes that little aura of prestige for different shows to break in, and there is such a gap between what's great and what's awards-material." - Tee

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Saturday
Jan192013

Sundance Chaos Begins: Crystal Fairy, Two Mothers, Etc...

It'll be tough this year to follow the happenings from afar at Sundance without accidentally reading anything about Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, which reunites Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for a third go round, but I shall try! In truth though Sundance, like TIFF and other A list festivals is nearly impossible to follow in general -- even if you're there!  The "Opening Night" Film badge is kind of an annual myth -- this year that was May in the Summer from Amreeka director Cherien Dabis which drew mixed reviews -- as there are always multiple films playing at any big festival.

Celebrity Tweet:

 

I couldn't not share from the cuteness. That's Ellen Page and Juno mamma Alison Janney reunited for Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely (Josh Pais, pictured is alo in the cast). Shelton's follow up to Your Sister's Sister also stars Rosemarie DeWitt in the lead role of a massage therapist.

While we're on the subject of Juno, here's a strange trivia note about Sundance '13: Michael Cera has made not one but TWO unrelated pictures with the Chilean director Sebastián Silva (most famous for the wonderful dark comedy The Maid) and they're both showing at Sundance. The first is  Crystal Fairy which is about a boorish American (Michael Cera) travelling in Chile and 'creating chaos at every turn' as he and his friends seek a shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus.  More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously: The Honorable Mentions

Often during the calendar-straddling list-making frenzy of "top ten season" a scene or a line of dialogue or even a whole film will refuse to dislodge itself from any internal conversation you may have with oneself about the year. That moment for me this year was Kylie Minogue's cameo late in Holy Motors when she arrives in a trenchcoat, like some lost Casablanca love, to sing:

Who were we. When we were. Who we were back then?

It'd be ineloquent bathos, too crudely and redundantly stated, if it weren't sung. But this heightened musical longing for a lost identity, lifts and soars with pathos instead. The year's best films kept reinforcing this most interior of questions as they wrestled with their past selves towards an uncertain future.

Nathaniel's Top Ten of 2012
From all movies screened that received US theatrical releases...

ZERO DARK THIRTY (Kathryn Bigelow)
Sony/Columbia. December 21st 

[SPOILERS FOLLOW] My favorite exchange in Mark Boal's dense script occurs between a government official and a CIA operative. "What the fuck does that mean?" "It's a tautology". I laughed at the wordplay in the film but wasn't expecting the widespread tautological eruptions that followed the film's premiere as everyone bent themselves into self-affirming pretzels to debate its portrayal of torture in the film's opening scenes as if there were only one way to look at the damn movie... as if torture were the only thing worth discussing about the film! To Zero Dark Thirty's credit, though I too was discomfited by its suggestion that torture yielded useful intel, there's nary a comfortable or pandering moment in the film. Like The Hurt Locker before it, ZDT attempts something like an apolitical stance though how successful that is (or ever can be) will be left to each viewer to decide. In my mind, Bigelow doesn't suggest that you're meant to enjoy torture or even embrace the mission's success, exactly...

more on Zero Dark and 9 more triumphs after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

"The Hours" Discussion Pt. 1: Nervous Hands, Ravenous Kisses

[Editor's Note: for the centerpiece of our 10th anniversary celebration of The Hours, I asked Joe Reid and Nick Davis if they'd like to talk about the movie and it turned out they already had. A heretofore unpublished conversation. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did! - Nathaniel ]


JOE REID: Three (!) years ago, I had planned out an end-of-decade feature for my own blog, wherein I would converse about my favorite films of 2000-2009 with a selection of writer friends. The logistics of it got away from me, but I did manage to get started. One such conversation lost to history was with my fellow Film Experience Podcast panelist Nick Davis on the subject of The Hours. With the ten-year anniversary of The Hours upon us, I thought I'd dig up this abandoned reflection and let it see the light of day.

***

JOE: The Hours is absolutely on the list of movies from the past decade that I truly, unabashedly loved. I suppose there's something chromosomal about a movie starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore (and Toni Collette, and Allison Janney, and Miranda Richardson). But it's more than just watching all these fantastic actresses hand off scenes to each other for two hours. It's also the suicides and the repression!  

Of course, after signing you on to correspond with me on this entry -- and many thanks for that, by the way -- I checked up and found that your feelings on it were decidedly more ambivalent. Is this an "every time I watch it I feel differently about it" kind of thing, or is it always the same kind of mixed bag for you?

 As for me, while there are a BUNCH of aspects of The Hours I'm hoping we can touch on, for some reason, my most recent screening of the movie made me anxious to mention two things: kitchens and hands. I couldn't stop watching Nicole Kidman's hands, either when Virginia is gripping her pen with a desperately tight claw grip or deep inhaling those cigarettes. And Meryl Streep separating egg yolks as she's unraveling in her kitchen has always been a favorite image.

And that brings me to the whole kitchen thing...

kitchen melodrama and sapphic smooches after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

Re: Ben Affleck

I would like to go on record... as saying that this hideous idea of a "write-in" vote for Ben Affleck which is making the webrounds should not be humored by any Academy member or Oscar pundit who respects that the votes are what the votes are come what may. We all have disagreements each year. I mean I think it's ludicrous / embarrassing / etcetera that Crash won best picture but I haven't demanded a recount or a retroactive do-over. The Oscars are what they are: a historical document of a given moment in time and what an elite group of people in Hollywood in those fields valued at the time. 

To deny the directors their ability to choose the five Best Directors is tantamount to overthrowing the entire system in which the nominations come from their own branch of expertise. What's next, actors being able to choose which 5 sound engineers should be up for awards? Documentarians choosing which 5 costume designers should be nominated because, they themselves understand so much about character and clothing?

If I were Ben Affleck I would shut this down immediately somehow. No one likes a sore loser. 

Friday
Jan182013

Best Director. My Choices and Theirs.

This is one of those awards seasons in which I curse my time management skills. I prefer to post my annual Film Bitch Awards in the traditional Oscar categories before the nominations to avoid undue influence from the west coast, however subtle that influence may be. I didn't manage in time this year, partially due to Oscar's rushed schedule. Imagine my joy when both Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke were nominated for an astonishing debut and a culmination of gifts respectively for Oscar's Best Director list. Then imagine my frustration when I realized that nominating them both a week later -- though they'd been irreplaceable factors in every lineup I considered naming -- would seem like sloppy seconds. I had predicted that Haneke's decade long ascendance as a World Great would be enough for Oscar's Director's Branch to recognize him this year but I was genuinely surprised to see Zeitlin's work on Beasts of the Southern Wild recognized instead of big Hollywood names. I personally don't care who they had to shove aside to make room for him because he absolutely deserved the kudos. If it looks like I am only copying AMPAS's two most brilliantly fringe nominations this year, so be it. They're the only Oscar choices that show up on in my nominated director's field.

No really. To me Soderbergh is an OBVIOUS choice for any lineup this year

I imagine that my most controversial choice will be Steven Soderbergh but that strikes me as madness and typical of the dearth of imagination that most awards bodies (and, yes, to their shame critics groups) suffer once you've dropped them anywhere outside a 5 mile radius of "prestige". Consider how wrong Magic Mike could have gone in any number of ways but instead it's this beautifully subtle and earnest slice-of-life drama and character/ milieu study despite the pelvic thrusts and plentiful ass cheeks. (But points to Soderbergh for not skimping on those either for the sake of "reputable" filmmaking.)

MY NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Have you voted on the Oscar poll yet in this category?