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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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Remember when Samuel L Jackson used to ACT?

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Saturday
Feb212015

"Spirit Awards" Live Blog!

A great and gracious good evening everyone! Anne Marie here, slightly late and very winded. While the Spirit Awards may not suffer TV delays, the LA Metro system is not nearly as reliable, so I sprinted three blocks trying to get here on time.

The Spirit Awards are an odd group. Ostensibly, the rule is that any "indie" is eligible, but as often as not they end up looking too much like the rest of awards season. This was an especially strong year for small (by Hollywood standards) films, so it looks even more homogenous. Still, I support the effort to celebrate the smaller side of Hollywood.

I turned on the TV right as Kristin Bell and Fred Armisen broke into song, so I'm still trying to play catch up. Awards and more after the jump!

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Saturday
Feb212015

100th Birthday: Ann Sheridan

Tim here. Today would have been the 100th birthday of Ann Sheridan, a star at Warner Bros. in the '30s and '40s who died at the age of 51. She's not as well-known today as some other actresses from that era: with no Oscar nominations to her name, the collection-obsessed among us have no reason to keep track of her, and none of her lead roles were in canonized classics. But around World War II, she was a major star and sex symbol, one of the most popular pin-up girls with the soldiers overseas.

Sheridan moved easily between genres, taking major roles in prestige projects like the Best Picture nominee Kings Row or high-end comedies including The Man Who Came to Dinner and I Was a Male War Bride, opposite Cary Grant, under the direction of Howard Hawks (this latter film was also her final big hit). But 21st Century viewers are probably most likely to recognize her thanks to her steady presence in crime dramas and films noirs made at Warners, such as 1938's excellent Angels with Dirty Faces and 1940's City for Conquest, both opposite James Cagney, Raoul Walsh's acerbic trucking thriller They Drive By Night, where she stole the film from tough guy icons George Raft and Humphrey Bogart, and the under-seen Nora Prentiss from 1947.

Nobody could ever accuse Sheridan of belonging in the company of a Barbara Stanwyck, to name an approximate contemporary who worked in the same territory of burning sexuality and harshness. But in her best roles, like They Drive by Night and Nora Prentiss, she exudes a bluntness and sharp wit that stand up exceedingly well by modern standards. The mixture of toughness and sensuality she was best at served her well in the narrow time period when she thrived, and if you've never encountered any of her stand-out roles – and they are, admittedly, not always the easiest things to scrounge up – there's no time like this anniversary to fix that.

Saturday
Feb212015

Black History Month: Whoopi Goldberg in "Ghost" (1990)

Our Black History Month through the lens of Oscar continues with abstew on Whoopi...

It took fifty-one years after Hattie McDaniel's historic win for Gone With the Wind (1939) for another black actress to hear her name called as the winner on Oscar night. Her successor scored an Oscar factoid of her own becoming the first black actress to score two Oscar nominations (thankfully, she is no longer alone with that distinction, having been joined by Viola Davis). Instead of prestigious talents along the lines of a Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, or Alfre Woodard, the honor went to a comedienne that took her stage name from a gag toy that makes fart sounds. Not exactly the typical Oscar winner, but that uniqueness has always been what defined Whoopi Goldberg as a performer and her Oscar win for playing medium Oda Mae Brown in the hit film Ghost (1990) is perhaps the quintessential Whoopi performance.

Born Caryn Johnson, Goldberg's first encounter with Oscar came for 1985's The Color Purple from director Steven Spielberg and based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winner. While performing in her one-woman show on Broadway, Goldberg was asked by Spielberg to play the lead, Miss Celie, in the film. She won the Golden Globe and became the 5th black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award, but she lost the Oscar that year to sentimental favorite Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful, who finally won her Oscar on the 8th try. 

Goldberg had much better luck the second time around, but her Oscar-winning performance was almost not to be. [More...]

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Saturday
Feb212015

César Winners: Kristen Stewart (!!!), Timbuktu, and More

Can Timbuktu upset IDA for foreign film at the Oscars? The big winner of the 40th annual César Awards (aka the French Oscars) was the Oscar-nominated foreign language film from Mauritania, Timbuktu. It took home seven prizes but despite the excitable headlines 'round the web it wasn't quite a clean sweep and not quite super dominant since it had no acting nominations. But it did terrifically well, all told, losing only one of its 8 nominations, Set Decoration, to another retelling of The Beauty and the Beast starring new TFE obsession Léa Seydoux. Can we please get that one stateside?

Saint Laurent, France's Oscar submission this season (mixed reviewed but also loved by Team Experience) won only Costumes. If it had such restrained love at home, one wonders why France submitted it as it was not typical Oscar bait - way too gay/risque for AMPAS.

The history-making news is that Kristen Stewart became the first American woman to win a competitive César for acting (Adrien Brody won for The Pianist previously). The César Awards often give American stars tributes and honoraries (like Scarlett Johansson last year and Sean Penn this time) but they don't regularly compete and they certainy don't win. The prize was Best Supporting Actress for Clouds of Sils Maria. We can vouch that she's just fantastic in it as the close confidante / personal assistant of Juliette Binoche's diva actress. Their chemistry is, as Margaret said, "insane".  

Which is why this part of Kristen's acceptance speech is so great...

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Saturday
Feb212015

'Unite the Seven' What?

The first image of Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Given that it's still 1252 days until this movie comes out (July 2018) Aquaman is a real preemie. Since I have no emotional connection whatsoever to this character (as I do some heroes from childhood) and I have as of yet been unimpressed with Momoa as an actor, I can't say that I'm excited about. Plus I always pictured Aquaman as a skinnier superhero for better hydrodynamic form under water. Momoa is too bulky to believably swim real fast but we're getting massive Game of Thrones Drogo minus his Dothraki aquaphobia.

I realize that the "seven" probably means the seas or Justice League heroes but for a split second I was like "Unite the seven what?" samurai? magnificent peeps? deadly sins? most recent best actress winners? times that Julianne Moore has played an actress/performer (omg I'd devour a movie about that --Julianne Orphan Black style. Imagine Amber Waves meeting Havana Segrand!)? wonders of the world? liberal arts? brides for brothers? makeup artists who have to do those tats everyday on his flesh?

On a scale of -10 to 10 how excited are you about the Aquaman movie?

 

Saturday
Feb212015

Tweets o' The Week Victory Lap

This week's Tweet Collection is short and completely random. I haven't been goofing around online as much what with the countdown to Oscar on. The finish line is upon us. And, just my luck, I got super sick yesterday so there goes a few more treats I had planned for you and I may be Oscar blogging surrounded by pillows and kleenex! Good times.

Anyway here are a dozen or so Tweets I just loved this week...

  

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Friday
Feb202015

Black History Month: Do The Right Thing (1989)

Our Black History Month celebration (through an Oscar lens) continues with Matthew Eng on Do The Right Thing's Screenplay

Whenever I think about Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, and I’ve thought about it with depressing frequency this past year as I’m sure many cinephiles and non-cinephiles alike have, I often think about one of two things. One is inarguably the greatest opening credits sequence of all time because it’s still such a resilient, red-hot act of hip-hop aggression and because the under-heralded national treasure that is Rosie Perez is never too far from my mind.

The second is a tiny, wordless connection that plays out at the end of a mid-film scene between Ossie Davis’ elderly, self-appointed voice of the community Da Mayor and Christa Rivers’ Ella, the lone girl within the comedic teenage foursome that we see running around throughout the course of the movie. 
In the scene, Ella’s friend Ahmad (Steve White) has just lambasted Da Mayor for daring to criticize the behavior of he and his friends since he himself is a drunk and irresponsible vagrant whose infamous reputation is old news within their Bed-Stuy neighborhood. 

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