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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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Maureen O'Hara & Harry Belafonte

"This complete's Harry Belafonte's EGOT! Sure it's an honorary Oscar, but to quote Whoopi on this topic (on 30 Rock): "It still counts! Girl's gotta eat!- Charles

"It's time for the AMPAS to look hard at the 70's and 80's for indelible contributions. No need to wait til some of these ladies are 94.- Hayden

 "What I wish they would do is an hour long special devoted to the four recipients. They could show clips and have edited interviews with the honorees. Then it could be shown on PBS or TCM or something." - Dave


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Live Blog: Your In-Flight Movie "The Avengers"

The following was written on the flight from New York City to Utah last week as I left on my vacation (and awesome people took over). When I returned home I discovered that The Avengers was reopening on a ton of cinemas for one week only -- Happy Labor Day Weekend -- so I ought not to have strained my neck.

Somewhere in flyover country...

my craned neck view of "The Avengers"

I can't decide which screen to look at. The first one is right in my face (ouch my neck), the other too far from me for its pocket-square size. And another so far it's like looking across the row at someone's cel phone in a bout of nosyness - that won't get you anywhere. This three screen option is one kind of 3-D at least. I have plenty of time to decide which screen to look at because the opening few minutes of The Avengers were never its strong suit. 

The sound mixing is atrocious on airplanes. Also I just realized that I'm listening to the movie in a Spanish dub --  Damn you channel 2. I've switched over to English just in time for meaningless human exposition on Earth. It's not like I would have understood the aliens in any language.  

The Tesseract is misbehaving!"

Samuel L Jackson intones this silly sentence for $500k (he's in so little of this I figure each line delivery is worth ½ a mil) because, you know, everyone understands how a cosmic cube should behave so we all get when it's being a naughty teenager.

Cosmic Cube Rebel ! © Nathaniel R


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European Film Awards. You've Always Wanted to Visit Malta, Right?

Each year the European Film Awards move to a different location and this year for their 25th anniversary they'll be in Malta. If you vote on their Audience Award prize starting September 1st (today!) you become eligible to win a trip to the ceremony on December 1st (today in 3 months!). Voting closes at the end of October.

vote now

The audience prize nominees, an eclectic bunch, are...


I'm baffled about the inclusion of The Iron Lady as it certainly doesn't fit any "crowd pleaser" definition previously known to man. Unless by crowd you mean the entire population of StreepStanistan. Obviously in any "people's choice" situation the film that has been the most widely seen has the edge, so this prize is probably going to The Intouchables ($363 million globally) given its global phenom status. The Artist ($133 million globally), and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($131 million globally) look like the only possible spoilers.

Lest you dismiss the European Film Awards outright through headscratching over this particular list, please to remember that it's only their audience prize. Their regular nominations don't arrive until early November. Last year they were the only awards body to give the great Melancholia multiple statues.

In related Ocean-Crossing news, The Oscar Foreign Film Submission Charts are now up to detail the official Academy submissions as well as rumors of which films might compete:



August. It's a Wrap

Some people -- strange and unusual people -- don't spend much time on the internet in the summer. If you're one of those peculiar people and you're just rejoining us for Fall Film Season... here are ten highlights from the month that was!

Actress a Day - I started a new sketch series but I didn't get very far. Certainly not to "daily!"
Cosmopolis, or the Absence of Feeling - Beau took on the challenging new Cronenberg 
Dog Day Afternoon - Hit Me With Your Best Season 3 Finale. My god what a movie. What a good time season 3 was. Thanks for rallying.
Total Recall - I had way more fun writing about this movie than watching it

Melanie Lynskey's DVD Collection - a window into the actress's movie passions
"Growing up Cinephile" - a formative movies memoir from writer/director Lesley Headland (Bachelorette)
Team Experience and the Sight & Sound Poll - reactions to the month's most discussed list 
Cast This: All Female Expendables? - would you want that movie? who would you cast? 

Most Eyeballs: Jodie Foster is Wrong. On the Mandatory Price of Fame
Most Discussed:  Anne vs Amy. Supporting Actress Battle to Come?


How to lure you back daily? Hmmmm. Your input is appreciated. Give us bait by which to hook you little fishy.

Apart from our extra special guest stars Melanie & Leslye, August was a slow month. But prestige film season is upon us and things will heat up as the air cools down. Expect: Q&A sessions (we must!), Emmy Award Hoopla (how should we cover it? I'm all ears), P.T. Anderson's return with The Master, James Bond countdown to Skyfall, Jake Gyllenhaal's return with End of Watch, Finding Nemo, Joseph vs. Bruce/Himself in Looper, Viola & Maggie & back to school with Won't Back Down, Jodie Foster, the return of Revenge and more... What are you looking forward to most in September?  Boss me around a little. It's time for me to bunker down and blog up as we approach awards season.


Oscar Updates: Rule Changes, Germany's Submission, Child Stars

Oscar, continually bewildering himself with rule changesRULE CHANGES & THE BIG SHOW
If you thought you heard paradoxical wild-mild applause at Oscar's new rule changes that was, uh, me. The Art Direction category will now be called Production Design which is all well and good since it's the Production Designer (aka the boss) that wins the prize, not the Art Director (who reports to him/her). The Best Original Song category finally gave up its horrifically unfair voting procedures where you could sabotage competitors rather than voting for them (yuck) by scoring them with low marks and now it'll be a simpler process with a standard five nominees and ranked nomination ballots like all the other categories. I'm going to pretend that this is The Film Experience's fault for our years of bitching about how screwed up that voting process was. Oh shush. It's possible we talked some sense into them... especially since every other site seems to have been asking them to just cancel the category already. I'd rather stick with history and keep the same categories, but treat them fairly. Too bad we can't use a time machine to get Cher her rightful performance time at the 2011 ceremony.

Meanwhile, I know you've heard that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Chicago and Hairspray fame will produce this year's ceremony. If they're true to their roots maybe they'll rescue the newly reformed Song category with big ass production numbers? Or maybe they'll hire Hugh Jackman to host again since they'll need a song & dance man to move the High Holy Night along. Yes, Jackman hosting might get awkward if Les Miz is in the (major) running but the Tonys do that all the time (nominees as hosts). Not that we approve...

Oh and while we're on the Oscar topic, I have finished updating the charts. Just in time to alter them again when film festival season [Venice, Telluride, TIFF and NYFF comin' atcha] give us more info on the competition to come.

BARBARA (2012). Germany's new Oscar submission

The drama Barbara, from director Christian Petzold of Yella fame, will represented Germany in the Foreign Film competition. Can the drama about a doctor in trouble with the government in East Germany become their 17th nominee? Their 16th nominee last year was the 3D dance documentary Pina. Barbara stars Petzold's regular muse, the award winning actress Nina Hoss.

Ewan holds his family in the poster for THE IMPOSSIBLECHILD STARS FOR LEAD OSCARS?
Meanwhile Kris Tapley at In Contention weighed in on the somewhat suddenly buzzy tsunami family survival drama The Impossible and Summit's plan for a lead actor campaign for its 11 year old boy star Tom Holland (who plays the child of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts). With both Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Holland's camps planning lead campaigns, might it be time to reinstate the Juvenile Oscar?

Frankly, I don't much like it when children win acting prizes (I know Kris considers this objection "nonsense" but the world would be dull if we all agreed), for a variety of reasons. It's not because they aren't sometimes worthy but because they...

a) ...are usually fraudulently campaigned
b) ...often have an unfair advantage based on general cuteness (nothing wrong with voting with your heart so long as your head is allowed a word in edgewise)
c) ...accidentaly reveal Hollywood's ugly sexism since time and again the Academy has shown that they don't mind snubbing unOscared mature actresses for "thank heaven for little girls" moments but would never ever dream of giving an Oscar to a little boy when there are men who have paid their dues waiting -- don't believe me? Just look at how few little boys have won acting Oscars (i.e. never competitively) compared to little girls.
d) ...are unschooled in acting so it's hard to know how much of their performance we must credit to the director and how much they found on their own in the role.

I think the occassional juvenile Oscar for performances that are just too wonderful to ignore might be the way to go.

How are you feeling about the rule changes and the presence of child thespians in this year's race?


Melanie 'Must Be Going'... With A Playlist

Hello everyone! My little guest blogging stint has come to an end.

It has been really fun, and I want to thank Nathaniel from the bottom of my heart for entrusting me with his wonderful blog for a few posts.

"Hello, I Must Be Going" September 7th in theaters!

So, right now I am preparing for a movie that I'm shooting in October, and one of the things I always do to prepare is to create a playlist for my work. It's a collection of songs that will bring up specific feelings for me, or music I think the character would like, or songs that have an energy to them that feels right for the tone of the film. I usually find that while we're shooting, I will start to listen to one song from the playlist kind of obsessively, and that song will be my "theme song" for the movie. 

When I was shooting the strip club scene in Away We Go, I listened to the Band Of Horses song "No-One's Gonna Love You" so many times that it became the number one most played song on my ipod the next day. Doing The Informant! I only listened to music from the soundtracks to 80s movies. "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong" became my song for that one.  I have also noticed that I kind of do that same thing in my life... my theme song for the summer has been Conor Oberst's "Lenders In The Temple". I just keep going back to it right now. And crying, because it's gorgeous, and heart wrenching. 

the strip scene in "Away We Go"

My favourite thing about this little guest hosting thing has been interacting with all you smart, funny, film lovers in the comments.

So for my last post I would love to hear any and all of your stories about theme songs! Perhaps your life has a theme song right now? Maybe you like to listen to music at work, like I do, to get you in a certain frame of mind? Maybe there is a movie that uses music in a way you have really loved? My two favourite directors soundtrack-wise are Sofia Coppola (I lost my mind when The Cure's "All Cats Are Grey" started playing in Marie Antoinette!!!) and Wes Anderson (Nico in The Royal Tenenbaums comes immediately to mind). Or, we can be negative too! Maybe there's a song you hate that is used all the time in movies? If you have a story, or even just a random thought, I want to hear it.  And ask away in the comments if you want to know what my song was for any particular movie. Thanks for reading everyone and thanks again Nathaniel!!!

Wishing you all good things.

xo, Melanie

[Editor's Note. Thank you again to fine actress Melanie Lynskey for these amazing peaks into her process (here's a playlist to accompany her post), behind the scenes, into her DVD collection, and especially those love letters to and from her favorite talents in the movie industry. Give her a huge round of applause -- she really went all out! -- and go see "Hello, I Must Be Going" on Friday, September 7th when it opens. It's her best performance yet and a too rare opportunity to see her carry a whole film.  -Nathaniel R]