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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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CINDERELLA -Yes No or Maybe So ???

Cinderella's evil step family

YES "Sandy Powell is doing costumes and the team of Ferretti & Lo Schiavo are production designers so I am a-seein' it.-Johnny 

NO "Disney is so deeply devoted to itself. " -Deborah

MAYBE SO "That moment where Cate holds up the shoe and says, "Looking for this?" has me intrigued how they will spin the story...-Shawshank


Beauty vs. Beast


The countess is watching....
Does she have your vote

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It's National Bird Day ~ Best Birds on Film!

It totally is! Every 5th of January as it so happens.

There's no reason to post about it other than that I actually threw on this Finding Nemo seagull t-shirt this morning "MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE" ... before I knew! [insert eery music]

It's a sign that silly list-making is required of me. 

Though this year in cinema was definitely the Year of the Dog, we did get at least one memorable bird in Lord Shen, the villain of Kung Fu Panda 2. There were also feathers flying everywhere in Rio but I can't seem to bring myself to watch the screener because it never shows up in "Best Animated Film" nominations. Not that you should trust those when Cars 2 does ferchrissakes.

Favorite Feathered Film Things!

18 Ben Foster as Angel in Let Us Not Speak of That Movie or that guy from Barbarella I forget his name.
17 Kevin in Up (2009)
16 Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
15 Camilla from The Muppets 
14 Those ostrich costumes in Priscilla Queen of the Desert
13 The vultures from The Jungle Book

12 Maleficent's crow in Sleeping Beauty
11 The Crow (1994)
10 The mariachi owls from Rango
09 those seagulls "mine mine mine mine mine mine"
08 Natalie's final pirouette transformation in Black Swan
07 Matthew Barney's flock in Cremaster 5 (1997)

Cremaster 5

06 Björk at the Oscars
05 Babs in Chicken Run (2000). Remember her?
04 The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
03 Pixar's For the Birds
02 The Birds (1963)
01 Michelle Pfeiffer as Ladyhawke (1985)


P.S. Tweety-bird and Road Runner are assholes.

P.P. S. images that came up this morning when I searched for "Ben Foster Angel Screencaps"

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Interview: Charlize Theron on "Young Adult" and "Snow White"

Reason #103 to Love Charlize Theron: The Hello Kitty t-shirt in "Young Adult" was her idea!If I were brainstorming about the imaginary pop culture diet of fictional Mavis Gary, the self-absorbed alcoholic YA novelist at the cool heart of Young Adult I'd put this forth: She's never watched the Oscars but flips absently through fashion roundups in the magazines the day after every year. (Her beauty is only skin deep and her thought processes even shallower.) Her creators director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody and actress Charlize Theron, on the other hand all have a lot going on upstairs and are also intimately familiar with Hollywood's big event. If Academy voters widen their range a little to notice the brilliance of this smart acerbic comedy, who knows? They could be invited back again.

Not that any of this seems to concern Charlize Theron, who calls me herself on the night of our interview, to discuss her new role. As a producer on the film, she seems less concerned with statues and acclaim and more about finding the right audience for such a tricky unique film. "It's not a quintessential Jason Reitman film and it's not a quintessential Charlize Theron film," she says, matter of factly. Anyone expecting another Juno or Monster will be thrown. They planned carefully with pop up screenings and key theater appearances and a quick but not instantaneous wide release. Smart. Young Adult feels like just the kind of film that will grow its audience slowly (we're definitely already on board) and it's easy to imagine a Mavis cult gathering over time. 

"You have to celebrate the spirit of the movie you're making and release it into the world in that way." she says speaking like a producer. Though of course we know her first and foremost as an actress, a great oneAnd she's an enjoyable conversationalist in that regard, too, though she knows when to keep a secret about her films and her process.


Nathaniel R: When did you first feel you understood Mavis while reading the script. Did you have a moment of "I know this character?"

CHARLIZE THERON: It wasn't something specifically but I guess just an overall feeling. Otherwise i don't think i could have said yes to the film. She felt human to me. She felt real. This overwhelming need and want to be loved and this kind of loneliness and the horrible tool set that she has to go about getting those things.  I guess those things all kind of resonated with me? 

Nathaniel: If we were to look at your script: Is it pristine? do you write a lot of notes? How do you prepare?

CHARLIZE: How do I prepare? You know, it's a little bit like asking a magician 'How did you pull a rabbit from the hat?' I don't know if people really want to know that stuff. I think what we're trying to do ultimately is have people forget about that stuff. On top of that I don't have anything that's concrete. Every time is different. I know that I have a very obsessive compulsive mind. So when I know I'm doing something I think everything in my daily life i'm observing and filing and knowing that I might be able to use it.

From the moment I say yes it's breathing and living under my skin. I'm constantly thinking about it. And conversations with my director are sometimes important. But I don't talk about things too much. For me it's a very intimate experience and an "alone" experience. I have to go through it myself.

That's interesting since Mavis is so solitary. And writing is, too.

Diablo and Jason who are both writers know that world really well. I'm not a writer so I didn't realize how great they were at capturing that until writers came up to me and said "oh my god that's exactly my life." Everything kind of stops and disappears. There is no outside world. So, I have to give them credit for really nailing that.

Beauty is such an important issue to Young Adult but in your most famous role, Monster, your own beauty doesn't factor in. Do you think about your own beauty when playing roles like this? 

[Character Beauty, Three Consecutive Villains and that damn 'Hello Kitty' after the jump

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Beauty Break: Ewan in Blue

GQ is selling blue as the color of the moment. I tend to wear purples and greens -- not "The Joker" saturation levels, mind -- and browns but whatever Ewan McGregor sells I'm eager to buy so perhaps if I ever go shopping again, it'll be blue blue blue. 

Just looking at Ewan McGregor raises my melatonin levels. In 2005 I placed him on a ten favorites of the decade list as my least analytical choice. I just respond to him is all. I wrote...

He rises up jubilantly. I don't care if this sounds cheesy or sentimental but Ewan makes me feel and smile. 

Some actors we relate to as identity surrogates. We want to be them or see the story through their eyes. In the case of McGregor I find I'm always the other characters. I'm always with him. In the 90s when he first came to fame I was rooming with him in a conspiratorial way, painting words on his body, rocking out like a lustful fanboy at his concerts, or killing time and brain cells with him in illegal ways (just like his co-stars in Shallow Grave, Pillowbook, Velvet Goldmine, and Trainspotting) On this last: he's the only actor for whom I would dive into a toilet bowl.

I'm only sharing this to set up the quintessential film in my personal history with Ewan McGregor: Moulin Rouge! The apotheosis for me is probably the "Elephant Love Medley" scene. Like Nicole Kidman's 'Satine' I usually start out trying to resist him (my critical/cynical self usually in control). As he keeps battering away at my defenses with his unique spark, humor, and openheartedness (both as character and actor), I eventually start to cave. I resist, I complain, I explain all the reasons why not. But before long I am totally his.

It still applies. More New Blue Ewan after the jump.


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A Heart Full of Uh-Oh... Taylor Swift for "Les Misérables"

Last night while innocently checking Facebook, a reader forced me -- literally forced me -- to read unpleasant news, reaching through the screen, yanking my eyeballs out and plopping them right down on this news that Taylor Swift was joining the cast of Tom Hooper's Les Miserables as Eponine.

I said "Don't make me think about THAT!!!". I mean, I'd just shared my top ten list so I was still hooked up to an IV joy drip and he wanted me to focus on THAT. I couldn't do it! THAT would have to wait until tomorrow, I said.

But here we are in tomorrow and THAT is still whatever it is. So let's recap what's going on with the casting of the most important movie musical in the pipeline.

The Three Roles The Whole Thing Rests On
Jean Valjean.......................... Hugh Jackman
Inspector Javert .................... Russell Crowe
Fantine ................................  Anne Hathaway

We know that Jackman and Hathaway have spectacular golden age quality movie musical voices and that all three of these movie stars can really act. That's a crucial thing since Les Misérables is actually an epic weepie and not the more commonly seen musical comedy. If "Bring Him Home" (Valjean) and "I Dreamed a Dream" (Fantine) don't ruin you emotionally, Les Miz will lose 87% of its dramatic potency.

Crowe? Have we heard him sing outside of rock music? Hooper is supposedly NOT doing this musical in the typical way of pre-recording and then lipsynching / acting later on. Instead, or so we hear though it sounds complicated given the chaotic milieu of the story, that the actors will actually be singing while they act. This might make for an electric movie experience (I mean the source material is already great) but who knows.

the rest of the cast after the jump


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Great Art Direction... According to Art Directors 

Just as soon as we reached the end of the Critical Pile-Up, we hit Guild Mania. Awards season is a chain leading us to Oscar. Like SAG, the various guilds don't have as much overlap with Oscar as people think. Generally speaking the size of the Academy (just under 6,000 last I heard) wouldn't even fill one of the guilds and that includes all types and not just one profession. But it's still quite interesting to see what various artists think of their peers -- it's especially interesting when they look beyond Oscar buzz, which they sadly do less of than they should.

So what did the production designers get excited about this year... at least enough to scribble it's name on a ballot? Let's see...

I'm sorry but how PERFECT is that painting for Celia Foote's home?

THE ARTIST Laurence Bennett
HUGO Dante Ferretti
THE HELP Mark Ricker
ANONYMOUS Sebastian Krawinkel

This is the category people tend to get most excited about given that it's the one that most closely corresponds to Oscar's way of thinking. Some are already griping that War Horse missed the list but doesn't the cozy pretty storybook look scream "fantasy" rather than "period" -- perhaps they couldn't choose where to put it? Even the barb wire battleground looks less flesh-tearing tangible than gothically spooky movie fantastical. I understand what the film is going for but the choice sometimes feel odd -- especially all the coy looking away at the horrors of war, though that's a directorial thing and has nothing to do with the sets.

On the other hand it's not like Hugo and Anonymous prefer realism to fantasy and they're present so let's move on. 

Nice to see Djurkovic score here as her consistent but rangey interiors work is the absolute best think about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy -- all those sad beige boxed-in prisons stuffed with information, from cubicles to shafts to bedrooms to libraries to board rooms.

Great Looking Period Films They Didn't Nominate: 
A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, The Tree of Life, and W.E. 

Good luck finding what you're looking for in the haystacks of information in "Tinker Tailor"

Fantasy and Contemporary Films after the jump...

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Best of Year Pt 3: Nathaniel's Top Ten List

Best of Year Pt 1: Thirty-two flavors and then some. 2011 Treasures, guilty and otherwise.
Best of Year Pt 2: Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, Young Adult, Pariah, The HousemaidShame.


And so we reach the top ten list about which I endured my usual personal angst until I finally gave up the flip flopping, the future hindsight worrying and all the old ways and accepted the new sabremetrics of the game since I had accidentally shoved 11 films in. I ran out of time outs and it was either hit publish or forfeit my chance to play this beloved listing game.

MONEYBALL (Bennett Miller)
Columbia Pictures. September 23rd.
Who knew that a film about sports strategies and mathematic calculations -- two things I personally find enormously difficult to understand and care about even less -- could be so stirring?  Thank the typically sharp writing of Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, the assured unfussy direction from Bennett Miller who really knows his way around these sharply focused biographies (see also Capote) and an intensely pleasurable star turn from a perfectly cast Brad Pitt as a former golden boy trying to up his own game before his time runs out.

CERTIFIED COPY (Abbas Kiarostami)
IFC. March 11th.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than so to is the worth of any piece of art, whether it's a bonafide original or a copy. The worth of Kiarostami's dizzying intellectual game of a movie will vary greatly from viewer to viewer depending on whether they think the movie transcends its intellectual exercize. It's worth may even vary from screening to screening. For example, the first time I saw it I was riveted by the dialogue and Binoche's face though I thought it outstayed its welcome but the second time I was slightly annoyed with its archly comic tonal shift late in the film but also more impressed with its visual intricacies. Certified Copy spends a day in Tuscany with a weary antique shop owner (the exquisite Juliette Binoche as "She" --her character is never named) and an author by the name of James Miller (opera star William Schimmel). They are ostensibly strangers and their conversation about originals and copies (the subject of Miller's book) gives way to an increasingly complicated sense that the two of them are either play-acting at being lovers or are actually estranged spouses whose current union is a disappointingly inferior fascimile of its original form.

Fox Searchlight. October 21st

Martha Marcy May Marlene

With Lizzie, John Hawkes, Durkin's Team
A Perfectly Titled Time Machine
Martha Marcy May Marlene

Incantation. Puzzle. Dream.

[Review, Interview, Comic Strip]

BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig) Universal. May 13th
MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier) Magnolia. November 11th 
You're invited to a wedding. Don't start throwing rice yet. They're meant to be happy events but god do they try the patience. Especially when the bride or maid of honor is enormously depressed -- apocalyptically depressed even!

Brides, drivers and romantic troubles after the jump...

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Curio: Peter Strain Illustration

Alexa here. I recently came upon the work of Peter Strain and was instantly wowed.  Peter is an illustrator living in Belfast who has a vibrant, ink-saturated, dirty design aesthetic. He also happens to be the artist-in-residence at the Queens Film Theatre in Belfast, so he has focused much of his time on film posters for the indie cinema house.  And, lucky for us, he is selling prints of many of these posters at his shop. Here is a sampling, but really, you should check out all his work here.

More including Memento and The Lost Boys...

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