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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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More Poirot
Kenneth Branagh may get those sequels he wants

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Comment(s) Du Jour
Spirit Nominations
Call Me By Your Name leads with 6

"I think Good Time is going to do better this award season then people realize. It's slowly developing a cult following similar to Drive. " - Mike

"Really happy to see Harris Dickinson in male lead. That's a great category." - Joseph

Ugh Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name reeks of Rooney Mara in Carol all over again. LGBTQ film with two obvious co-leads where one is relegated to supporting and pushes out a fantastic, legit supporting player (Sarah Paulson/Michael Stuhlbarg)." - Aaron

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Friday
Jan012016

Who's Your Favorite Dame?

Imelda Staunton. Photographed by David Rose. [Source]Here's Murtada on his favorite subject; British ladies of a certain age who delight on screen and stage.

Happy New Year! Some Brits usher in the new year celebrating their newly bestowed knighthoods. This year Queen Elizabeth II honors, among others, Idris Elba and David Oyelowo. There are different designations to the honor. For example Imelda Staunton became a CBE i.e. not yet a Dame but well on her way. It’s obvious The Queen hasn’t ventured out to the theater in 2015 or Staunton would be Dame Squared for her triumphant Mama Rose alone.

This year’s newly minted Dames are British TV stalwart Barbara Windsor (EastEnders, the Carry On movies) and Welsh stage veteran Sian Phillips (Daniel Day Lewis’ mother in The Age of Innocence), who was once Mrs. Peter O’Toole.

But when we talk dames we mostly talk about the holy trinity who still have vibrant movie careers: Judi, Maggie and Helen. No last names necessary if you say Dame first. Oscars and other awards, big successes on the boards on both sides of the Atlantic and long thriving careers for all three.

But who is your favorite? To help you decide let’s dig a bit deeper. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312015

December. It's a Wrap

No. No. We aren't wrapping 2015 yet. There's still prizes to hand out and a few more lists to finish writing. But we can and must wrap up December since it ends in a few hours when everyone will be kissing on everyone and screaming "Happpy New Year!" 

Since the film year doesn't truly end until the last Oscar statue is handed out, it'd be more accurate to scream...

Happy New Calendar Year -- the Oscars Are Only 58 Days Away!"

But try convincing the drunk masses to scream that one out at midnight tonight!

 

December Highlights
• SAG Ensemble who got left out even though their film was nominated? 
• Son of Saul Interview the director and star of Oscar's foreign film frontrunner (now playing)
• Star Wars Oscar History then but now?
• Critics Choice Shark Jump we embarrassed ourselves like never before over the new Star Wars
• Outstanding Achievement in Abs meet the new Tarzan, more eight-packy than the previous Tarzans
• Mildred Pierce Manuel looked back at Todd Haynes pre Carol, HBO miniseries
• Julianne Moore Acts for Tips in Times Square
• Brokeback Mountain, Mermaids, and Doctor Zhivago we celebrated the 10th, 25th & 50th anniversaries with our favorite scenes and memories
• Production Design: Room one of the year's most creatively boxed-in challenges 
• "You Need Serious Hair" magical DIY makeovers

BEST OF 2015. PERIOD
We spent a lot of time obsessing over the year's best picture Carol, it's true. But mostly we've had a ton of fun sharing our "15 best of '15 lists". There's a few more coming but if you've missed any please do dive in. We've already covered:

• Scariest Moments BOO!
• Hardest Working Actors ubiquity for days
Best Things on TV from Veep to Penny Dreadful
• Greatest Screen Hunks dino trainers, strippers, boxers, and farmhands ohmy
• Movie Animals Not all of which try to eat Leonardo DiCaprio!
• Co-Star Chemistry these pairs caught lightning in a bottle!
• Biggest Box Office Hits in 4 different categories

• Worst of the Year Hateful Eight and other things that aggravated
• Red Carpet Looks only one per lady allowed 
• Delicious Music Videos Sia, Tame Impala, Madonna and more
15 Most Popular Tweets

 COMING IN JANUARY
The Film Bitch Awards for 2015 (we stuck one toe in thus far), the BAFTA nominations, The Golden Globe and SAG Awards, various Guild Nominations, and much Oscar Mania. You should also expect lots more on the big Oscar titles including interviews and second looks. Plus we'll gaze at Sundance from afar (since we couldn't afford the trip this year - tight budget for 2016). ANY REQUESTS?

Thursday
Dec312015

To Gong Li on Her 50th Birthday

One of the screen's all time great beauties turns 50 today and she's still completely ravishing. Gong Li holds the fascinating distinction of being the only Chinese cinema star that Oscar has ever been consistently interested in. Despite Oscar's historic (and frankly bizarre) resistance to Asian cinema, even in the foreign film categories, an incredible six films from her resume have been nominated for Oscars.

Alas she has not been nominated herself, though she was "in the conversation" as it were on two separate occassions.  A Gong Li beauty break and those six of her most famous films after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312015

Women's Pictures - Celine Sciamma's Girlhood

In Yes Please, Amy Poehler writes,

If you ever want to see heaven, watch a bunch of young girls play. They are all sweat and skinned knees. Energy and open faces.

Celine Sciamma's 2014 film Girlhood opens with just such a small slice of heaven: a group of French teenage girls play American football in an empty stadium. Unobserved by outside eyes, the girls throw, and tackle, and sprint. If not for the flashes of eyeliner and braids peaking out of their helmets, you'd be hardpressed to figure out who these young athletes were at all. This brief but intense scene is the last time these young women will be so carefree and unwatched. The rest of Sciamma's film is about growing up watched and watching, as one girl tries to break free of the constraints placed on her by class, gender, and race.

Marieme is a tall, shy tomboy living in the outskirts of Paris. Played with openfaced observance by Karidja Touré, Marieme is a frustrated dreamer. Told by her counselor that she doesn't have the grades for 2 years of high school, she leaves school rather than accepting vocational training. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312015

FYC: Sarah Paulson, Carol's Best Supporting Actress

The Film Experience is proud to welcome back Matthew Eng for this personal FYC

Sarah Paulson photographed for VarietyThese days, to simply see Sarah Paulson’s name in the opening credits of any project is enough to make me sit back, relax, and sigh with deep and reverent relief that — no matter the lapses in storytelling, the dubiousness of politics, or the haphazard efforts of other actors — I am in the hands of at least one supremely assured and eternally convincing performer.

As someone who missed Aaron Sorkin’s infamous Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the extensive list of sitcoms and serials she appeared in from the mid-nineties to the late-2000s (not to mention her numerous stage roles and occasional film appearances), my Sarah Paulson fandom is fairly recent. Of course, like many, I’d seen and admired her wry gal pal in Down with Love, which remains a fun but frankly flaky memory.

But truthfully, I wasn’t fully onboard the Paulson bandwagon until 2012, when she offered American Horror Storys peak Asylum season a truly new and refreshingly tough-minded depiction of devastated-turn-mobilized female victimhood and then, a year later, sauntered into Steven McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave as one of contemporary cinema’s most memorably unrepentant villainesses, terrorizing Lupita and manipulating Fassy with ferocious, bone-chilling conviction.

When I heard Paulson had joined Carol, I took another of those deep and reverent sighs of relief, as if to say, 'Alright, this film will actually be as perfect as I need it to be.'  [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec312015

Don't Forget About Michael Keaton

Greetings from Chris, wishing you all a Happy New Year! And a Happy Voting to Academy members finally filling out their nomination ballots. With plenty of FYC blurbs out on the internet proclaiming personal favorites outside of the race, I want to talk about someone much more obvious that's somehow missing out on the love: Michael Keaton in Spotlight.

Of course, he's winning attention as part of Spotlight's ensemble, but it's a headscratcher that he missed nominations from SAG, the Globes, and BFCA. Even various regional critics groups are favoring Mark Ruffalo to single out. The potential reasons for Keaton's omission (too much competition from his own film, category confusion, the notion he doesn't have a "scene") feel petty given the gravitas and soulfulness he brings to the narrative.

Some say Spotlight lacks threat or conflict, that the big, bad church we keep hearing will put their weight on the Boston Globe for their investigations never actually does. But what Spotlight is really about is getting the story right and facing up to our own culture of ignorance and the times we've looked the other way. All of that is perfectly embodied by the resurgent Keaton. It's not just that he's the member of the ensemble that has the clearest arc, but the grace to which he fills Walter "Robby" Robinson with regret and anger. Ruffalo's "scene" allows that actor a catharsis that Keaton's coiled disposition doesn't receive until the final moment when his team's efforts are shown to have an effect on the lives of victims.

The performance is a study gentlemanly rage. He underplays every scene where he is calling for justice, filling silences with loaded pauses and a judging stare that fuels the film's angry undercurrent. If you think he doesn't have a showy moment, rewatch any time wherein he studies the layers of spin and bullshit delivered by Billy Crudup's sleaveball lawyer and tell me that Spotlight's central conflict isn't right there on Keaton's expressive face. Where Birdman allowed him to run wild with mannered anxiety and deep well of emotion, Spotlight serves us the actor at his confident and naturalistic best.

Following the Birdman miss, it's particularly odd that Keaton is on the outside of the nomination conversation. Best Supporting Actor often favors combacks from older actors and previous losers, so you think he'd be a plum candidate to ride the past year's momentum in a Best Picture frontrunner at that. He'll soon return to leading roles in John Lee Hancock's McDonalds biopic The Founder, but don't let the opportunity to reward some of his best work pass you by!