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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Friday
Feb152013

Posterized: Bruce Willis, Perennial

I raced excitedly to a A Good Day To Die Hard screening earlier this week though I couldn't quite put my finger on why. As a rule of thumb, I love Bruce Willis but I don't exactly seek his movies out and haven't seen a Die Hard since the second one. (I've been the furthest thing from a loyal fan mostly because he churns out so many disposable actioners.) I was just in the right mood I guess though I am sad to report that it felt like a phone-in.

But for this week's edition of Posterized, I thought we'd look back on his whole career. I've previously applauded him for his unheralded range. Which is to say that even though he is always "Bruce Willis" he can easily slip into auteur pieces, comedies, dramas, and action flicks without ever disrupting the site-specific tonal demands. That's as true of a definition of Movie Star who also happens to be a Fine Actor as I know of. But the posters disagree with me since every other one cribs some element from the original Die Hard (1988) poster, Bruce with a tense side stare, Bruce pursing those thin lips, Bruce holding a gun (or signifying that a gun is just outside the frame with battle gear on). Every movie wants to be Die Hard... especially all the subsequent Die Hards. Die Hard 2 may be the most hilarious example of the unspoken sequel motto ("be the same movie over again... only bigger")

The "Moonlighting" Years (85-89)
aka Cybil (TV) and Demi (The Movies) share him
Blind Date (1987), Sunrise (1987), Die Hard (1988)

Seemingly hundreds of movies after the jump! How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb152013

Days Until...*

9 Days Until... The 85th Annual Academy Awards
14 Days Until... Reader Appreciation Month kicks off: contests, reader spotlights and more. (read: a shameless begging to convince you to stick around daily once Oscar ends.)
19 Days Until... The 4th Season of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" Begins.
31 Days Until... The Bates Motel premieres on A&E. As a huge fan of Psycho and Vera Farmiga and Psycho-inspired art, I'm curious.
45 Days Until... we make our April Fools Oscar Predictions for 2013 and it all begins again. Noooooooooo (I mean "yes!")
51 Days Until... Mad Men Season Six premieres. Vulture has an interesting schedule for how to get caught up before the premiere but hurry because you're already two days behind. 
98 Days Until... Richard Linklater's Before Midnight the sequel to the utterly magical Before Sunrise & Before Sunset hits movie theaters
111 Days Until... my birthday. What are you getting me? How about a subscription to the site (see sidebar)
133 Days Until... Pedro Almodóvar's I'm So Excited hits movie theaters (in the US). I guess I better get cracking on that Pedro retrospective I promised y'all.

*in case you needed a reason(s) to go on living.

Thursday
Feb142013

10 Days 'til Oscar: Score, Song, & Sound

We're in the final crunch now. Oscar voters have to make their final decisions by Tuesday February 19th (with the winners announced Sunday February 24th) so I'm throwing up my own nominees (which I like to announce before the Oscar nominations even. Oy) so you can see my film bitch award picks for the best in the various aural categories here. But while we're on the subject of sound, a film craft I always vow to learn more about and then forget to educate myself, let's make some early Oscar predictions.

BEST SCORE
Naturally I prefer my nominees to Oscars. Unlike many pundits, I knew that the Beasts of the Southern Wild score didn't have a prayer since Oscar's music branch is notoriously exclusive. In addition to their resistance to new composers they also don't really cotton to directors muscling in on their territory, so step away from the sheet music Benh Zeitlin, Benh Zeitlin. (Even an Oscar God as Revered as Clint Eastwood hasn't been able to do it.) Nevertheless Oscar voters and I do have a bit of overlap here as we all swooned for Dario Marianelli's work on Anna Karenina and Mychael Danna's evocative score for Life of Pi. I'd be pleased if either of them won the category. As for the other nominees, I never quite understand the mandatory nature of John Williams nominations. He's certainly created some classic scores over the years but I swear if he just whistled a few bars on a soundtrack he'd be nominated. I also still don't get the Argo score being nominated since Desplat wrote about five film scores this year and they're ALL better than his decent but surprisingly generic work on Ben Affleck's well regarded thriller. A nomination for Zero Dark Thirty would've been so preferrable.

Should Win: Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Will Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi. (Even though the music branch is loathe to welcome new blood once they do, they don't tend to have issues with them actually winning the gold.)
Possible Spoiler: Despite Williams' endless nominations, Oscar voters don't seem to be sentimental about giving him a final (and sixth) statue, so I'm guessing Danna's only potential loss comes from Argo-Mania. Alexandre Desplate still hasn't won an Oscar which is starting to seem crazy. 

SONG
Though Oscar and I don't have much overlap -- look, I know Joyful Noise is a crap movie but Dolly Parton writes beautiful movie songs and still doesn't have an Oscar --  I really love the Oscar nominees anyway. All of 'em! It was a good year for original movie songs. I'm looking forward to the performances (should we get them... and it seems like we will).

007 Skyfall - Opening Credits (Best Quality Yet) from Gunnar Lien on Vimeo.

Should Win: Skyfall
Will Win: Skyfall (the night's biggest lock?)
Possible Spoiler: Skyfall... in case they decide to give Adele two Oscars just to see if she pisses herself laughing. 

SOUND EDITING & SOUND MIXING
Oscar likes exceptionally loud movies in the sound categories from the following genres: sci-fi, war, musicals. Which is why you rarely see fragile sounding haunted dramas like, say, The Deep Blue Sea, or fascinating soundscapes like Cosmopolis or artful indies like Beasts of the Southern Wild in the mix. So the weirdest nominee from their choices might be Lincoln which is not particularly loud or showy in terms of sound. I think they missed the boat in ignoring Prometheus in both sound categories this year... but the studio didn't really campaign so there's that. The sound categories can be difficult to predict since who knows what actors make of "sound", you know? And they make up the biggest voting block for winners. Greg P. Russell has been nominated 16 times without winning and he's up again for Sound Mixing on Skyfall. If enough voters become aware of his Oscarless plight, I can't see him losing for such a well loved widely seen film. But are they aware?

watery films are often popular in sound categories

Should Win (Mixing/Editing): abstain... I'm still thinking about this
Will Win (Mixing/Editing): Skyfall & Life of Pi... wild guesswork. They do sometimes split those prizes... and these two films might be in tough battle after tough battle for the entire first half of the ceremony in the craft categories.
Possible Spoiler (Mixing/Editing): Les Misérables & Skyfall

What are you rooting for soundwise with Oscar and what do you think of the film bitch award nominees

Thursday
Feb142013

Podcast: Side Effects & Oscar Symptoms

Have you ever sleepwalked? Joe, Katey, and I (Nathaniel) discuss this creepy phenom and a wide variety of other things that Steven Sodebergh's Side Effects brings to mind in this spoilery discussion including 'best in show' acting honors and which thrillers it reminds us of.

For those who'd like to see the movie fresh, the Side Effects discussion takes up the last half of the podcast. The podcast begins with very brief words on A Good Day To Die Hard (which just opened for Valentine's Day Weekend) before we move on to Oscar theories like "which Oscars can Lincoln and Amour win?" and "Who the hell will win Best Director?" as well as pressing Oscar-Obsessive-Only Worries like "will winning the Oscar kill Jennifer Lawrence's drive as a young actress?"

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the end of the post. 

 

Side Effects & Oscar Symptoms

Thursday
Feb142013

Hit Me With Your Best Shot ~ Season 4

Oscar season comes to an abrupt end at the end of February which frees up our time. One of The Film Experience's most popular series, a communal viewing party of sorts, returns for another season. BYOE (Bring Your Own Eyes) to these blog-a-thon like events wherein participates choose their single favorite shot from movies from all eras. Watch, Read, Converse -- It's Edumucational!


Wed March 6th THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) since Oz, the Great and Powerful is about to hit 
Wed March 13th BARBARELLA (1968) ...I've been itchy to revisit
Wed March 20th ???
Wed March 27th JACKIE BROWN (1997) Quentin Tarantino Week for his 50th birthday

...and more to be scheduled including, as ever, a mix of genres, eras, and anniversary celebrations. It's a great way to have a virtual visual conversation from other cinephiles, catch up on classics you've never seen, revisit films you've never looked at in terms of cinematography, and curiousities of other sorts.

I'll take suggestions in the comments too!

...so, break out the bubbly! We begin again

These are all the previous episodes in chronological order of the films (though not the episodes). These group viewing parties bring such fond memories back... 1920s Sherlock Jr (24), The Circus (28), Pandora's Box (29)  1930s Tarzan the Ape Man (32), Snow White (37) 1940s The Woman in the Window (44), Black Narcissus (47), Possessed (47), Easter Parade (48);  1950s A Streetcar Named Desire (51), Singin' in the Rain (52), How to Marry a Millionaire (53), Night of the Hunter (55), Rebel Without a Cause (55), Picnic (55), A Face in the Crowd (57) 1960s Rocco and His Brothers (60), Psycho (60), La Dolce Vita (60), Bonnie & Clyde (67) 1970s Pink Narcisuss (71), The Exorcist (73), Dog Day Afternoon (75), Story of Adele H (75), Eraserhead (77) 1980s Ladyhawke (85), Aliens (86), Law of Desire and/or Matador (86/87), Peggy Sue Got Married (86) 1990s Edward Scissorhands (90), Beauty & the Beast (91), Raise the Red Lantern (91), Heavenly Creatures (94), Se7en (95), Showgirls (95) 2000s Bring it On (00), Requiem for a Dream (00), X-Men (00), Moulin Rouge! (01), Memento (01), The Royal Tenenbaums (01), Road to Perdition (02), Angels in America (03), Mean Girls (04), Serenity (05) 2010s Pariah (11)

Wednesday
Feb132013

Best Supporting Actor: Oscar's Ballot & Mine.

I haven't been shy about my disappointment with this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar Ballot, a lineup lacking in narrative oomph (which shouldn't be a factor in judging "best" but still makes Oscar way less fun to follow when he eschews it for old favorites) and missing several electric, fresh, film elevating and moving performances in favor of merely solid work from Oscar winners in popular films. I'm all in for Tommy Lee Jones winning since he's the only nominee Oscar & I agree is worthy to hold a place in this particular shortlist. [While we're on the subject of votes, you should cast yours in the poll]

Will he win? That's another matter entirely. I'd wager he still has the lead by virtue of a very long one (since November when he took it from Matthew McConaughey... who never really had it *sniffle* in the first place) even if the precursors have never quite settled on a frontrunner and even if his no-show at SAG didn't exactly help his cause. Christoph Waltz's BAFTA win for his leading role in Django Unchained (which might more accurately be called Schultz Unchains Django Who Only Takes Over the Film-Carrying Duties For the Final ½ Hour of a 2½ hour Film) suggest that the tide has shifted but in the end with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook campaigns both fighting so hard in the final weeks for wins, I'm not so sure that votes won't still be all over the place in this category, letting Tommy take turn two at the podium.

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb132013

Links of Future Past Right Now

IndieWire Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac won't be ready for Cannes
E! the real life Navy SEAL who shot bin Laden gets all movie critic like, loving Jessica Chastain but taking some issues with Zero Dark Thirty
Erik Lundegaard has a neat interactive chart where you can rank the Best Picture winners from all Oscar years
Pajiba on Lena Dunham fat-shaming and the already famous new episode of Girls
Vulture power rankings of the Friday Night Lights cast post series finale 


In Contention Kris Tapley launches his well regarded annual top ten shots column
TMZ Vivienne Jolie-Pitt gets her first movie role. She'll play the toddler Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent opposite her scary mom
MNPP do dump or marry: Matthias Schoenaerts, Guillame Canet and Jean Dujardin
Broadway Blog fun multipart piece on Broadway's best love songs from Les Misérables through Avenue Q
Gawker loves Madonna's instagram account and so do I
AMPAS last year I did a piece for Slate on the hierarchy of thank-yous in Oscar acceptance speeches that I was super proud of. The research took me so long I made negative money an hour on the piece but now Oscar has gone and done the work for me, unfortunately after the fact, by archiving acceptance speeches. Can't wait to investigate this archive when I have more time.

one of my all time favorite comic book issues. I still remember buying this when it appearedEmpire RIP Oscar nominated editor Gerry Hambling who was 86.
Playbill Les Misérables will hit DVD on March 22nd. Tom Hooper will do commentary. 

Finally...
Cinema Blend Bryan Singer hasn't decided if Storm and Nightcrawler will be in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Alan Cumming told me he'd revisit the character if asked but can we please replace Storm? Since it's a time travel story why not give Angela Bassett the chance she deserved all along as a now older Storm? The cast list currently mixes X-Men First Class alums with previous X-Men franchise actors. Confirmed to appear: Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Patrick Stewart & James McAvoy (Professor Xavier), Ian McKellen & Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Anna Paquin (Rogue), and Sean Ashmore (Iceman), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (The Beast), and Rose Byrne (Moira McTaggert)

Who do you hope joins this mashup X-Men team or are you done with that franchise?