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Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

"A miracle of a performance." -Mike

"Horrible, unwatchable performance." -Patryk

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I Wish... we'd get an "Into the-- Hey, I wasn't done wishing yet!

Well, this is unexpected. Just one day after releasing 10 new images, and an hour after posting about them, there's a teaser, too.

You'd think they'd want to space out the media attention since Christmas is still a long way away but we'll take it. As per usual, they're not quite admitting it's a musical yet in advertising. You hear the opening words "I wish..." of the prologue chorale number over and over again but nobody quite sings it as if the spirit of Rex Harrison has taken over. Anna Kendrick comes closest to sounding melodic while just speaking. But the teaser is enticing.

Come what may, for better and we-hope-not worse, it will be an event to see this musical on big screens during the holidays.


Thoughts I Had... while looking at new "Into the Woods" images

If there is one thing in life that's certain at TFE beyond daily postings, Actress mania, Oscar chart delays, and time-jumping movie coverage, it's this: if Meryl Streep is featured there are a bajillion comments. And yet the last two Streep attacks, a look back at 2009 and a subliminal Hours reunion proved the exception. Is this merely summer doldrums or a sign of the Streepocalypse? Or were people just waiting for Into the Woods news? If so, it has arrived.

UPDATE: And the Teaser too!

Yesterday a bunch of new images surfaced from the movie and you know how this goes. We look at the image and we list off thoughts as they come without self-censorship to keep the brain loose and the words flowing and to not be too mundane about what this actually is - free advertising for Disney and regurgitated photo sharing.

Meet Rapunzel
• I always forget her in Into the Woods because she's immobile and shares her scenes with the Witch (Meryl Streep) who invariably steals them.
• So annoying when movie studios release one image with different proportions than the others. Rapunzel gets a vertical rectangle. Is this to show off the hair? 
• I love Tangled.
• When I was a wee boy it was my dream to make a Rapunzel movie because it was the only fairy tale I loved that DIDN'T have a Disney movie and also because my big sister had long hair and Crystal Gayle was still famous and yes that makes me an ancient - shut up! #40somethingisthenew30something
• Mackenzie Mauzy is literally the only Into the Woods cast member I don't know from anything. I guess she was on soaps? Are you familiar?

10 more photos after the jump...

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BYO YNMS: Interstellar, November Man, Nightcrawler,Child of God, Cantinflas

Is it just me or are the trailers all coming in huge bundles lately? Space 'em out a little bit PR peeps, why don't you? Herewith, some I missed writing up so that you don't miss them. Bring your own Yes No Maybe So action to the comments.

I'm purposefully not watching Interstellar since I wrote up the first teaser and I only needed the cast list to convince me to see it and I don't want to know any more before seeing it. That said, I miss Anne Hathaway like forrealz muchly so it wasn't an easy decision. Five trailers after the jump

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Bergman's Ghosts

This is TFE's late entry into the Hit Me With Your Best Shot gallery of Cries and Whisper's finest moments

Ingmar Bergman will never die. We need not be literal about this. Yes, the great Swedish auteur passed on in 2007 but his rich inimitable* filmography is not of the corporeal so much as its of the spirit (however despairing) or at least the deep recesses of the psyche, if you'd care to differentiate. In collaboration with fellow geniuses cinematographer Sven Nykvist and actress Liv Ullman he captured many of the greatest close-ups in the whole of cinematic history. In a Bergman/Nykvist/Ullman close-up it's not the eyes that are the window to the soul so much as the face as the soul, fully visible even when its bathed in shadow. 

Yet even revealed it's still unknowable. 

best shot

When I first saw Cries and Whispers in college while pursuing my own self-guided lessons in film history, I was astonished by the film's signature move. Each of the  three "living" characters, if you can call them that, the sisters Maria (Liv Ullman) and Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and the family's housekeeper Anna (Kari Sylwan) are given bookend close-ups. These closeups house memories or dreams or scenes from their point of view. The closeups fade to red and are accompanied by indecipherable whispering. The impression isn't as simple as a haunting; Agnes (Harriest Anderson), who isn't afforded this expressive close-up luxury is still alive when this first starts happening. This unfathomably perfect artistic motif has already removed the film from the literal by the time Agnes dies at which point the film becomes even more incredible, disturbing and profound. What is haunting these women? Any answer feels correct whether you've imagined regrets, the abyss of death, life itself, or the living nightmare of toxic relationships.

See everyone else's choices for "Best Shot" here...

For completists of if you're curious I've included the two runner up shots I considered as "Best" after the jump

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Why I'm Not Seeing "Lucy"

"Lucy" will be discussed soon on the podcast but at least one member of Scarjo-loving TFE refuses to see it. Here's Matthew Eng to tell you why. - Editor

I don't care if Lucy is every bit the gloriously silly and shamelessly outré action fireworks show that gung-ho summer audiences have made into a "surprise hit." I care even less that Luc Besson has managed to curb his own gonzo cheese-fest tendencies to a running time of less than 90 minutes, compared to the ceaselessly spinning tops and chiseled self-mythologizing of every Christopher Nolan movie post-Insomnia. And, though it's been tempting, I finally don't care that Besson and Co. have seemingly put the newly-rejuvenated Scarlett Johansson (so good in Under the Skin; so great in Don Jon) on a pedestal of full-out Film Goddess proportions, in a genre where movies in which women are front and center and not merely killjoy bystanders or fatal love objects is an all too well-known rarity.

That last fact has been my greatest lure towards shilling out for Lucy (aka Scarlett), but I refuse to believe that we should have to tolerate, much less applaud, any old action movie, no matter how dire the prospects, because some Hollywood bigwig has had the amazing insight to put a more-than-deserving actress at the forefront. I, too, was giddy about Angelina Jolie snatching Salt right out of Tom Cruise's hands, until I actually sat down and watched the thing, only to realize what a sorry, secondhand vehicle Jolie was actually driving. If you really want to watch a fully-realized femme figure take names and kick ass with the full support (and smarts) of the filmmakers behind her, then by all means rent/stream/buy the Alien series or the Kill Bills or the Terminators, or, for something less familiar, take a gander at Kathryn Bigelow's exquisite Strange Days, in which a bravura Angela Bassett is every bit the strong and stalwart action heroine she needs to be, while also, you know, playing a recognizable human being.

But what finally set aside any and all chances of me seeing Lucy was this image, ℅ of Rena Meownegishi, who found it and translated. [more ...]


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A Year with Kate: The Rainmaker (1956)

 Episode 31 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn lets her hair down and rolls in the hay with Burt Lancaster.

 It makes a certain kind of sense that The Rainmaker, which is the last of Kate’s Spinster Films, should be the most archetypal of this phase of her career. N. Richard Nash’s screenplay about a silver-tongued conman (Burt Lancaster) who promises water to a town and love to an old maid (Kate) works almost as a genre checklist: Lonely Single Woman? Check. Scenes establishing that most folks find her plain? Check. Handsome outsider who sees the beauty in her? Check. Life affirming rendezvous? Check. Throw in a metaphor about the drought-stricken land and Lizzie’s lovelorn heart, and you have The Rainmaker.

Make no mistake, Lancaster and Hepburn elevate The Rainmaker. Their acting styles clash--Kate’s Old Hollywood manner butts against Lancaster’s charismatic, physical style (which he’d later hone for the incredible Elmer Gantry). Apparently, the two actors disagreed on the set as well. As a result, though both are compelling, they’re never connected in their scenes together. This works in the film’s favor. It’s completely believable that Starbuck and Lizzie are two people who can love each other for a night, but don’t like each other enough to truly fall in love for good. Their dreams are too different; they don't see each other for who they really are.

The best thing about having a film as unsubtle as The Rainmaker is that it relies heavily on its stars, both in acting talent and in star image. Much of this series has been devoted to identifying, attempting to dissect, and--as often as not--flat out worshipping Katharine Hepburn’s star qualities. We’ve touched on everything from Kate’s beauty to her tomboyishness to her charisma and comedic chops, but we’ve neglected one physical trait which was as defining to later Kate as her famous cheekbones: her hair. More specifically, this is about Katharine Hepburn’s hairography, in the key scenes where she unwound the topknot and let it all hang loose.

My official Katharine Hepburn Hair Theory after the jump

Click to read more ...


The Linkage

IndieWire takes the Verge to task for publishing a pro-torrent essay on Expendables 3
Nicks Flick Picks Nick & Joe Reid are doing Nick's trademark halfway'ish "Fifties" thing (which starts as soon as Nick has hit 50 movies in any given year. Delicious smart writeups on editing, screenplays, supporting actors and more
Comics Alliance the internet is all excited about this old test footage for that Deadpool movie that's not going to happen for some reason. Starring Ryan Reynolds.

Lincoln Center standby only for the John Waters and Isabelle Huppert event tonight. I'm sure the Q&A will be great but I didn't like that movie Abuse of Weakness much (my review)
CNN Money spends a day with a working Broadway actress
Newsweek explains the recent Buzzfeed scandal in the only way anyone should... through gifs of Shattered Glass
The Daily Beast has a great Susan Sarandon interview icymi where she talks David Bowie, drugs, politics and age discrepancies on film 
Variety Jessica Lange to be honored at the Santa Barbara Fest this year
MNPP who wore it best: Tom Hardy face masks
The Guardian the changing demographic of the movie audience that Hollywood is still ignoring in their quest for young white male dollars
AJ Bowen declares Melanie Lynskey the best actor of his generation 
Slate has an interesting review of two new sitcoms, one starring Judy Greer called Married 

Post Script
Remember The Village (2004)? It turns 10 years old today.

I remember so little about it but ten years turns out to be a long time. Back then people were still excited by the phrase "an M Night Shyamalan film," Joaquin Phoenix wasn't yet a Hallowed Serious Thespian (despite already being an Oscar nominee) and everyone thought Bryce Dallas Howard was THE FUTURE. How foolish we all were in 2004! Okay I remember a smidge more: people loved the score;  the colors red and yellow meant Something Significant (I enjoy my colorology); Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt were in it playing vaguely sinister intimidating stern "elders" - you know how they do for paychecks.

Do you have less vague memories of this one?