in theaters

new on DVD/BluRay

review index



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


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

The BIG EYES Poster

"I didn't even notice the stars at first but that's why I like it. Tag line is clever. I hope Burton gone substance over style (while being stylish) with this one." - Jija

"The art is ugly creepy kitsch... that is, slightly above dogs playing pool and black-velvet Elvis. I have a hard time grasping why we should care who created it..." - Owen

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?

Readers' Ranking: Streep's Oscar Noms, #10-6

Previously on Streep Reader Rankings we covered The French Lieutenant's Woman, Music of the Heart,  Doubt, The Deer Hunter, One True Thing, and IronweedNow we hit the top ten. Ten and Nine were a statistical tie, constantly trading dominance as I tallied the results of your ballots. Since both films were listed in last place on 7% of the ballots, I broke the tie by looking at first place votes. Only one of the two had any.

According to The Film Experience Readers

10. Julie & Julia (2009)
Role & Balloting
: Streep has played many biographical parts in her long career which accounts for some of her record-obliterating nomination haul (8 of her 17 nominations are for biographical roles and she is now 5 nominations beyond her nearest rival Jack Nicholson). This widely seen warm serio-comic interpretation of the famous chef Julia Child is the last film in the countdown without any #1 placements on reader ballots.

Who Won the Oscar
: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Other Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Meryl (Julie & Julia), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?
:  One supposes the fifth slot was neck and neck between Mirren and Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria). There wasn't a ton of enthusiasm for either film though, since the top four candidates absorbed all the Oscar heat. 

09. Out of Africa (1985)
Role & Balloting: Streep had another huge success with this romantic epic about the Danish author Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen). If Geraldine Page hadn't been so absurdly overdue (It was her 8th nomination which was at the time the longest stretch by any actor without ever having won the gold. Peter O'Toole now holds the record with 8 nominations without a win) the Best Actress race would've been between Whoopi and Streep both headlining very very big hits. (The Eighties were a different time with box office and moviegoing;  people still flocked to prestige dramas in big numbers.)

Who Won the Oscar: Geraldine Page, The Trip To Bountiful
Other Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple), Meryl (Out of Africa), Anne Bancroft (Agnes of God) and Jessica Lange (Sweet Dreams)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?:  Cher was left on the outside looking in for Mask as the mother of a deformed boy. The snub even resulted in an Oscar night moment when Cher, clad in one of her typically outre outfits quipped:

As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress."

Reader Comment. Marcos writes:

I first noticed Streep in The Deer Hunter. I liked her a lot and was impressed, but I became utterly fascinated when I was able to realize the extent to which she immersed herself in roles that were so different. Choosing between Bridges and Out of Africa [for #1] was difficult. One of Streep's best scenes ever was her lover's funeral. She moves forward to grab a handful of earth to throw it on Robert Redford's grave. She moves ahead, but the camera stays still. She grabs some earth and extends her arm to throw it on his grave. Her hand starts shaking and, without releasing the earth, she brings it to her chest and walks away."

Three more Oscar roles after the jump

Click to read more ...


Link on a Hot Tin Roof

Movie|Line Posters for Jean Dujardin's latest film, the sex comedy Les Infidels, have been deemed too racy for France. For France? Really? This surprises me.
Guardian has a funny piece on blaming Twilight for everything but particularly the explosion of supernatural characters. Saturation point!
Coming Soon I am really scared of this new photo of Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man. Emma Stone is gorgeous and only 23 years old. She doesn't need photoshopping and definitely not photoshopping that makes her look like a CGI creation! 

In Contention wonders if it might be Brad Pitt's year after all. STOP TRYING TO GET MY HOPES UP.
IndieWire sexually explicit Serbian drama Klip wins big in Rotterdam
Awards Daily When Jessica Chastain met Meryl Streep. 
Washington Blade has a good piece on Madonna reemerging in the Lady Gaga era and what it all means. I love that Matthew Rettemund calls it "homosexual civil war" but Matt and I both agree it's silly. There's no rule that says you can only enjoy one pop diva at a time. I certainly have never been monogamous with my actressexuality and I never will be. Boring!

Finally, RIP to Ben Gazzara, the original "Brick" from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Paul Newman took over his part for the movie version but Gazzara had an enduring career in all three Actors Playgrounds: film, stage and television. On the movie side he was part of the winning cast of Anatomy of a Murder (pictured right) but he'll most likely be rememberd as a key star in John Cassavettes repertory of actors. I always love reading Sheila O' Malley's pieces on stars who have passed on. Here's a small taste...

He was in his 40s when he found himself on the cutting edge of the independent film scene in America. He wasn’t a young, hungry guy. He was middle-aged. Married. With a kid. They all were married, with kids. It wasn’t a hipster sensibility, or a Bohemian type of “let’s make a movie with my friends” kind of thing. They were artists. Who understood compromise, they all had had extensive careers, but nothing compared to the roles that Cassavetes gave them. Gazzara had already been around forever. He had worked with Hitchcock, for God’s sake. And Kazan. So to take that risk … to sit in the theatre watching Cassavetes’ Faces and admitting that he felt jealousy. Jealousy of Cassavetes’ talent, and also – an ambition: I must work with that guy."

And as always the Daily Notebook has a collection of quotes and obits.


I Met Madonna. And Other "W.E." Stories

As some of you may recall from a couple of breathless tweets, I met Madonna two months ago at a W.E. press event though we weren't allowed to publish the pieces until this week. I was invited by way of my columnist gig at Towleroad so I wrote that up now that W.E. in in theaters, well past its Oscar-qualifying run (which netted it a nomination for Most Costumes). Here's a snippet:

She repeats all of our names back to us. Madonna saying your name back to you is a strangely surreal experience, both utterly mundane and impossible. 

She has entered 'The (Mostly) Gay Room' as its been dubbed to discuss her new film W.E., since most of the journalists are with gay publications. "Cool." is her monosyllabic response. She's promised we'll put her in a good mood for the rest of the day. "Let's start with levity," she says though it sounds more hopeful than bossy.  We're all squished round a table with recorders on. 

[read the full article]

In regards to those recording devices. If you had yours on before Madonna entered the room, you could hypothetically listen to Madonna saying your name over and over again on loop once you got home. HYPOTHETICALLY. I mean, who would do that? [ahem]

More including W.E. thoughts and Madge's new video...

Click to read more ...


Technical Difficulties

Apologies but it seems the link function has stopped working and stopped working retroactively replacing links with odd coding. Many of the links are malfunctioning on older posts as well as the new link roundup which I have now removed. Currently investigating. Posting delayed until solved. Bear with us. 


Oscar Symposium Day 3: Farewells and Futures

On Day 1 of the symposium we partied with the Best Picture field and considered Star Vehicles. On Day 2 we discussed movies that are hopelessly in love with themselves (to good and bad effect), the forever contentious Lead vs Support debate, the invisible arts of editing and screenwriting. We pick up there. Nathaniel was admitting he wasn't entirely comfortable falling for Margaret.... 

Nader & Simin: A SeparationNATHANIEL:  I've scraped my knees up on cold hard pavement. I too was caught up in #TeamMargaret excitement. I love it when critics remember that part of their job is to advocate for buried treasure rather than merely rubber stamping the critical darlings over and over again (Did Michelle Williams really need to hog the majority of critics awards for My Week With Marilyn, which is straight down the middle awards bait? They didn't see anything off the golden path that was worthy of praise?). But when I finally saw Margaret, I left somewhat dejected. There's a lot to love. But there is also just an awful lot. It plays, to me, like a series of brilliant pieces that haven't quite been shaped to fit the genius-level mosaic they're intended for. Or maybe I was just thrown by the length and those phone calls to daddy. Lonergan is a brilliant writer but a brilliant actor not so much.

And maybe I was still just high on A Separation (my choice for Best of the Year) which illuminates a bit of the same ground in terms of personal actions creating ripples that we can't possibly grasp the full reach of. And they both show us how flawed people (i.e. all of us) can get tangled up in very difficult moral, social, religious, political and ethical webs they probably helped spin.

KURT: I'm glad you brought up that comparison between A Separation and Margaret, because it's definitely something I was thinking about while watching the latter (in between all the reveling in how Lisa initiates an allegorical, post-9/11 war that's ultimately futile and only reaps money for people who don't deserve it). Though vastly different in structure (one drum-tight, one manic and sprawling), these two scripts hold a lot of similarities, and are, in my opinion, at the tip-top of the year's best.

I'm also glad that Mark brought up Margin Call and Tinker Tailor in the same thought bubble because I found myself linking those two in my head a lot as well. Both films are essentially corporate dramas with power players coping with crisis, and both teem with a kind of impenetrable language you really have to crack. I hail from the team that doesn't really buy all the "Speak to Me Like a Golden Retriever" crap, because A) I don't believe those folks would actually expositionally coddle each other, or need coddling, in that way, and B), as mentioned, the movie keeps promising through dialogue that it's clearing things up, when it's really just thickening its fog of jargon. I do believe Chandor took a highly commendable crack at presenting this world, and I don't know if I've seen anyone do it better in terms of writing (Oliver Stone certainly didn't), but there's a lot of pretense about those scenes that irks me. (I prefer his small details, like the gross arrogance the company shows by firing Tucci's head risk manager, and little shots like the one of Demi and Simon Baker in the elevator with the cleaning lady.)

...and we've reentered MI6 where we began!

As for Tinker Tailor, there isn't a lick of coddling, just a glimpse into a radically rarefied world, filled with so much code talk, names and lingo it's like Tolkien does MI6.

Symposium Wraps with Bridesmaids, eye candy and film futures after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Randomness: Who Will Cher Vote For at the Oscars?

I'm working on a Madonna piece at the moment but couldn't resist popping in to share tweets from another legendary pop diva we adore who dabbles in the movies: the Oscar winning Cher. She regularly responds to fan tweets and this very random question about eating at McDonalds with Britney Spears 'would she?' gets a funny response. 

She recently answered a question of who she loved with working with "Meryl,Stanly,Kurty,My darling little girls CR&Nonie !!!" Yes, Meryl, who we've just been discussing, was name-checked twice this week. But then there's this...

Cher *just* saw The Help, one presumes at an AMPAS screening, and it sounds like for the first time.  She tweeted that she came out of the theater crying. But if she only just saw The Help one has to wonder whose names she scribbled down on the nomination ballots weeks ago. She must be way behind on her screeners.

Silly Comment Game of the Day: Tell us who you think Cher nominated and who she is going to vote for? She loves The Help "you brought joy to my heart!" but her dear friend Mary Louise Streep is also in the running. Predicament



Readers' Ranking: Streep's Oscar Noms, #16-11

Last month we asked readers to rank all of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominated performances...

There were 16 of them when the polling began since The Iron Lady was still unseen by many and too fresh for retrospective rank as well. Here are the results in ascending order.

I've included comments on and from the ballots for extra flavor. You'll also find details and guesstimates about that year's Oscar voting though I'm sure you'll "correct" me if you have different ideas about how it all went down, won't you?

16. Music of the Heart (1999) 
Role & Balloting: Streep's true story arts-friendly role about a violin teacher (yes, she learned the difficult instrument) is widely seen as her most obvious "default" nomination and though not everyone agrees with its low place in the Streep canon, it ended up in last place with Film Experience readers on 30% of the ballots. Quite a feat when you consider that it was also one of the least seen, absent from another 30% of the ballots. Yikes.

Who Won the Oscar
: Hilary Swank, Boys Don't Cry
Other Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Annette Bening (American Beauty), Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds) and Julianne Moore (The End of the Affair) and Meryl (Music of the Heart)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?
:  T'was obviously Reese Witherspoon in Election, damnit. Oscar should've picked Flick!

15. Ironweed (1987)
Role & Balloting: Her performance as a severe alcoholic former singer "Helen Archer" was greeted in the 80s as one of her strongest "technical" performances since she's virtually unrecognizable. Nowadways it's the least seen Streep nominated role and one of the most divisive considering where it ranked on ballots that had seen it (all over the place). Ironweed got some attention recently when Anne Hathaway resurrected Streep's "He's Me Pal" for the Kennedy Center Honors.

Who Won the Oscar
: Cher, Moonstruck
Nominees in Guesstimate Order of AMPAS Love: Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Holly Hunter (Broadcast News), Sally Kirkland (Anna) and Meryl (Ironweed)
The Dread Sixth Place Finish?
: I was personally nuts for Emily Lloyd's debut in Wish You Were Here but she wasn't Globe nominated so maybe she didn't have traction. Any 80s Oscar obsessives have an idea about who finished sixth that year? I don't have a strong sense of who.

#14 through #11 and more Oscar hoopla after the jump 

Click to read more ...