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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Wednesday
Jan112012

BAFTA's Narrow "Rising Star" Field

I don't even know why I'm posting this. BAFTA seems determined to be the least respectable awards group this side of "People's Choice". They apparently use a partially celebrity juru to select their 5 wide Orange Rising Star category from a field of 8. Ouch! Then the public gets to vote. NoooOOoooo THE DREAD PEOPLE'S CHOICE.

Which means it's another one of those torture devices like Oscar finalist lists for celebrities or movie hopefuls where less than half of the field have to be jettisoned to get the nominee list. "Congratulations. You were the last kid picked for the team. i.e. you weren't picked. Loser!" This year's losers are all buzzy actresses: Jennifer Lawrence, Felicity Jones, and Jessica Chastain. 

The official sausage party nominees...
I've added what they'd done lately though the award is for the person and not a specific work.

 

  • Adam Deacon (actor/rapper/director) ...Kidulthood, Adulthood, Anuvahood
  • Chris Hemsworth (actor/Avenger) ... Thor
  • Tom Hiddleston (actor/god) ... Thor, War Horse, Deep Blue Sea
  • Chris O'Dowd (actor/comedian) ... Bridesmaids, "the It Crowd"
  • Eddie Redmayne (actor/actor) ... My Week With Marilyn, "Red"

 

I was about to say "who would you vote for?" but it seems like more of a do, dump or marry? type field since it's such a tiny range of types -- all British or Australian guys born between 1979 and 1983! (I don't want to talk about how lame it is to not even consider the Weekend boys for this honor in honor of people who are already a lot more famous. "Rising star" is like "Breakthrough" in how much leeway it gives you to award people whose careers are already somewhat made. What is with the Brits and Weekend? They can't see its worth and it's right in front of them!) 

But back to the RISING STARS: Who do you think gets an Oscar nomination first and second and never?

Why do you think Jessica, Felicity, and Jennifer just weren't good enough for the jury of industry types which included the likes of Simon Pegg, Sienna Miller and Harry Potter director David Yates?

Tuesday
Jan102012

Interview: Bret McKenzie from The Muppets and Middle Earth

Bret McKenzie at the Muppets premiere in 2011Oscar's music branch has been known to throw an unpleasant curveball over the years  in the Original Song category (no Cher performance last year? Ouch! No Springsteen in 2008?! It still stings.) but if they don't deliver us a performance by the resurgent Muppets on the February broadcast, felt fur will surely fly. We get so few original musicals these days so The Muppets was the go to musical comedy last year.

Bret McKenzie has given Oscar ample reason to include the beloved characers on the big night. The actor/musician, most famous as one half of the Flight of the Conchords duo and soon to be seen as an Elf in Middle Earth (however briefly) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey wrote two songs that have landed on Oscar's Best Original Song eligibility list: "Life's a Happy Song" and "Man or Muppet". (The third eligible song from the movie "Pictures in My Head" has different composers).

I spoke to him recently on his awards buzz, his cult hit show and (very briefly) Middle Earth. He calls the response to his Muppets songs "Pretty incredible. I did not expect to get awards for this movie."

Nevertheless, the honors have been coming. Both of his Oscar eligible songs are up for the Critics Choice Award this Thursday (imagine competing with Elton John!) and who knows? An Oscar nomination (or even two!) could follow. 

 

Nathaniel R: Did you feel crazy pressure about taking on this job. The Muppets have "The Rainbow Connection" which is an all time classic. The music is very connected to their whole mythology. 

BRET MCKENZIE: It was a very intimidating job, taking on Paul williams shoes. Luckily I wrote one song at a time for it. Initially I wasn't writing three or four so I didn't feel so much pressure. But one of my friends was like 'Oh man, you're never going to write another 'Rainbow Connection' [Laughs] I was like 'Yeah, you're right!'

But, you know, we just did our thing really. Luckily James  [James Bobin director of The Muppets who also had a hand in Flight of the Conchords] and I had just spent the last five years doing Conchords. We had done a lot of comedy musical numbers so we were pretty comfortable with the genre. The challenge was just to make sure that the songs felt like Muppet songs.

Nathaniel: Was this a situation where they knew exactly where they wanted a song. "It goes here and it's about this!"? 

Bret: That's exactly it. When I came on they'd already done the script. I went in to James' office and he had the film mapped out on script cards on the wall, white cards. A blue card was a song. There were songs scattered throughout the movie. That's how we did Conchords as well, so you didn't have songs back to back. They had these sort of loose ideas for what the songs should be. They'd actually -- by the time I came on -- already had dozens of demos submitted. They got lots of people to write songs and they went through and chose their favorites. It was surprising how difficult it was for people to write songs that fit into the musical format.

So you knew which characters your songs would be for ahead of time.

Yes. I was writing for Gary and Walter who didn't exist. I knew who Jason Segel was. I had seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall so I knew him.  I knew he could sing a bit which is always good. Then I got the job of writing the rap for Chris Cooper which was one of the highlights of the film, teaching him how to rap. He's a very serious actor, an Academy Award wining actor. He was quite method! [Laughs] We're quite different people. I'm quite bubbly and he's very serious. 

Even about rapping?

He took it very seriously. He wanted to make sure it was a solid rap performance. I taught him over Skype how to rap! 

Did you test the Muppet music on your kids to see how they responded?

Musical Comedy Divas & Muppet-like Middle Earth Directors ...after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan102012

Save Jake

JA from MNPP here. perhaps you've heard that Jake Gyllenhaal just left CAA, his agency of fifteen years?  He's not homeless or anything, he's taking up residence inside WME, but coming as this does only a couple of months after leaving his longtime manager we Gylenhaalics are definitely left to wonder what's gone wrong. 
.
Looking at his IMDb page it's pretty clear something's been up for awhile. Once End of Watch comes out - directed by Training Day's David Ayer, Jake shaved his head for his role in the supposedly gritty LA cop drama - he has absolutely zero projects lined up. Oh sure there's David O. Russell's Nailed off in limbo-land but I imagine we'd have to shoot somebody in the head with a nail to get a look at that (we're willing!). He's been rumored for many a project - a Jake Namath bio-pic, a Damn Yankees musical - but they've come and gone and all we've gotten instead is the Prince of Persia.
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He has always tried to work with interesting directors - even Persia was helmed by Mike Newell. And Duncan Jones' Source Code was a bit of a disappointment, but I think it's also undervalued at this point. 
.
So my question for y'all is this: working under the assumption that you like Jake as much as I do, or Nat does for that matter, what would your advice be for Jake if you could bend his ear for a moment? What type of projects should he seek out? Should he sing and dance? Should he go make teensy tiny art movies again? How about Donnie Darko 2: Let's Forget That S. Darko Nonsense Ever Happened? Or maybe he should put explicit pup-tent rendezvous back on the front burner? 
Tuesday
Jan102012

"It's Her Year"

I think you have to hand it to both Meryl Streep and Viola Davis during this pre-season. The former co-stars (Doubt) and friends are constantly being pitted against each other by eager awards gurus and Oscar fans alike but they're both staying classy in regards to what may or may not be an epic upcoming battle for the Best Actress crown. Perhaps one of them will take the lead this week and never let it go starting at the Critics Choice (Thursday) and Globes (Sunday) but last night at the New York Film Critics Circle dinner they were their usual classy selves. Viola presented Meryl her Best Actress prize.

 

It’s a testament to her that she’d do this in this year, which is her year."

Meryl reportedly said when accepting the honor

"It's his/her year"

We hear that each and every year though the faces change. It's fascinating that it looks like it's coming down to Meryl or Viola when they're such gracious vocal fans of each other. Meryl even asked Hollywood to give Viola a big role when she won prizes for Doubt. Here we are a few years later...

Whose year is it anyway? 

Tuesday
Jan102012

Curio: Costumes, Designed

Alexa here. As I've been on a bit of a clothes-buying binge the last few days (Pats and Eddy were a less-than-subliminal influence), I thought of John Woo for my curio post this week.  No, not that John Woo; this John is an illustrator living in Hong Kong with a bit of a thing for Star Wars and fashion.  John makes illustrations of film characters dressed in the likes of Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garcons, and Band of Outsiders.  There is a J. Peterman vibe to the illustrations that I find hilarious. (Sidenote: remember when J. Peterman had all those Titanic-inspired items? Yeah, I bought the necklace. My only excuse is I was much, much younger then.) Here are some samples; you can buy prints at John's etsy shop.

Click for more, including Edward Scissorhands and T-1000...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan092012

With This Post, I Thee Link

Daily Mail the rumors are heating up yet again that Jamie Bell and Evan Rachel Wood are tying the knot. Remember when he was a little boy dancer (Billy Elliott) and she was a little girl anorexic (Once and Again)?!? If they have a baby soon I will officially feel as old as Luise Rainer who turns 102 this week! OMG. 
The Playlist Steven Soderbergh's The Side Effects will star Blake Lively (yes, they're still trying to make her happen), Jude Law and Channing Tatum. Funny how Soderbergh is more prolific than ever despite all that "retirement announcement" nonsense.
La Daily Musto hears a crazy story I've never heard about Rosemary's Baby. 

MUBI details the current controversy about The Artist appropriating a piece of Vertigo's score. Kim Novak is really really upset about it.
THR ...thinks she's taking her complaints way too far. 
The Playlist Yay. Katee Sackhoff, who we're always rooting for since she has more charisma than many whole casts combined, gets a big movie role... albeit in a tired franchise. Ready for another Riddick movie?
Scene Stealers Kansas City critics pick The Descendants as best picture (yes, I'm done writing up critics awards. Sorry!) and the NSFC may have given them the courage to go with Kirsten Dunst as Best Actress for Melancholia. I don't mean to suggest that smaller critics groups can't find their own courage but it seems fairly obvious on a year to year basis that a win for an off kilter choice from one of the three biggies (NYFCC, NSFC, or LAFCA) can often result in a chain link of appreciation. It's just too bad that Dunst's heat came so very late in the game.

I can't believe this is online but this is my favorite 2 and a ½ minutes of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ... the film that may finally cause all Oscar pundits, professional and amateur, to accept that Oscar is no longer wary of remakes, even instantaneous ones that no one has any excuse for making but for money.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Opening Titles from Onur Senturk on Vimeo.

 

Off Cinema
Tech Crunch more web-only TV series with bigger stars are coming.
Insider Chris Colfer and Lea Michele will stay on Glee somehow. I'd say "uh oh" but for the continual shark jumping of that show. It defies the very notion of shark jumping since there are sharks in each episode and this season... "Sharks" with "Jets". [groan. sorry]
Broadway Buzz Alan Cumming gets remarried to his man. Tells Rick Santorum to eat it. 

Monday
Jan092012

This &That: Makeup Finals, Foreign Beauties, Rule Changes

So I spent all of last night exuberantly "Oh No You Maggie Smith'nt!"* with friends over the 2 hour season premiere of Downton Abbey. Then I spent the better part of today at a table full of Oscar voters picking their brains (in a polite conversational way, mind you) at a luncheon for The Artist. More on both of those events soon but between last night and today, so many OscarQuakes or at least golden tremors.

*joke stolen from Patton Oswalt

Let's discuss four of them immediately! 

1. Hunger Games beauty Jennifer Lawrence will announce the Oscar nominations.
Usually people dress somewhat sedately for that super AM event but we're hoping Jennifer pulls out another one of those va va voom numbers she kept finding for last year's awards circus. The nomination event happens so early in the morning and if Jennifer wears skin tight white or form fitting red again, that's better than a pot of steaming coffee as an eye opener.

P.S. Is the publicity team behind Hunger Games the hardest working team in showbiz? You know this is all part of that evil world domination blitz. 

2. Documentary Rule Changes
Michael Moore and others proposed some Oscar Rule changes to the Academy and they've been adopted. The most controversial one, which we're totally fine with, involves requiring a review from the Los Angeles or the New York Times. The idea behind this rule is that the papers have a policy of reviewing each film that opens for a full week engagement. But it seems silly to stipulate that a review is required when the whole point is to get the movie in theaters for a full week. Why not just say "must play a week in Los Angeles and New York City to qualify?" Seems strange to put the qualification requirement on newspapers. According to Michael Cieply at the New York Times documentarians are not on board with these changes which would drastically reduce the number of qualifying entries.

I take a rather hard stance on this topic all the time and I assure you that it is not an anti-filmmaker stance. My stance is only a pro audience stance. I do not believe that films should be eligible for awards if they are not playing for the public. I'm tired of this elitist film culture where people only show their films in very discreet ways for very select audiences and hope that they'll win awards by which they will then try to lure paying audiences. On an individual case by case basis it's easy to see why the vast majority of pundits and filmmakers side with filmmakers on this topic and back these rules that make peekaboo engagements possible. But if you back up and look at the full picture it is much healthier for the survival of cinema if theatrical engagements are required and the audience is included. If movies aren't made to be seen there is no point in making them. If you want an engaged audience you have to create one. And to create one you've got to get the films out there in the marketplace. 

3. Makeup Citations
The bakeoff for Oscar's continually confounding Best Makeup category has finally happened and seven films are moving on to compete for the 3 wide nomination list. I've never found any reasonable explanation as to why this category has such a tiny amount of nominees given that a huge portion of movies require wig and makeup and prosthetics work but it is what it is. Despite "Best" often equating with "Most" J. Edgar and Green Lantern did not make the cut. Neither did that much talked about Michelle-to-Marilyn transformation wow them.

So your finalists go like so...

 

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • The Iron Lady

I am not remotely a fan of The Iron Lady but I think it'd be a very deserving nomination in that category since the makeup work on Streep is just flawless / transformative. The rest of the field I don't have strong opinions of. Do you? It's worth noting that no Harry Potter film has ever been nominated for Makeup though a few of the previous films have made it to pre-nomination lists like this one. 

4. Foreign Film Finalists Will Be Announced on... TBA?
I wish I knew when. If so I could plan better. Every day I wake up in fear that I will miss my chance to tell you how much I liked movie A or B before Oscar cuts them in the winnowing process, he says pessimistically. And every day I run out of time. I need a deadline! Last year they announced a week ahead of the regular nominations so I guess that gives me... 5 or so more days?

Left (France's Declaration of War) Right (Denmark's SuperClásico with the always awesome Paprika Steen)

For the record in case I get no other chance to say it should the Academy not respond well to them the 'Movie A' in question is France's cancer dramedy Declaration of War which is super lively, passionate, funny, and tearful (Take that 50/50... You are nothing to me now!) and the 'Movie B' in question is Denmark's divorce comedy SuperClásico starring the inimitable Paprika Steen (Applause) who you already know I 'stan for whenever I get the chance.

I interviewed her recently (we'll get to that eventually) and much to my delight she dubbed me a "nerdy film blogger!" Her exact words! Now I love her even more. I wish American directors would hire her because she speaks English fluently and is a great actress who can do both intense drama and spiky comedy. What more do they need? Why should the Nykqvists, Mikkelsens and Skarsgaards be the only Scandinavian actors Hollywood has on speed dial? Paprika can act circles around so many people. Get on that, Hollywood! Time is a wasting.