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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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Tuesday
Nov182014

P.T. Pinups

 


I'm not a fan of Inherent Vice much but it will inspire lots of fun fan art and/or official stuff... like this banner poster starring Katherine Waterston as "Shasta Fay". (Her hair is filled with secrets characters.)

I wish P.T. still wrote memorable female characters (sigh) even the kind of vacant bimbos like Rollergirl used to be awesome. With There Will Be Blood he basically left them behind altogether. Inherent Vice has a dozen or so female roles and only two of them are halfway interesting (Yay, Jena Malone and Jeannie Berlin cameos).

Uh-oh... I feel a list attack coming on. It can't be stopped 

Female Characters in P.T. Anderson films from Most Fascinating to Least
(not comprehensive but the major ones) 

 

  1. Amber Waves (Boogie Nights)
  2. Linda Partridge (Magnolia)
  3. Rollergirl (Boogie Nights)
  4. Gwenovier (Magnolia)
  5. Lena Leonard (Punch-Drunk Love)
  6. Peggy Dodd (The Master)
  7. Clementine (Hard Eight)
  8. Jessie St Vincent (Boogie Nights)
  9. Becky Barnett (Boogie Nights)
  10. Elizabeth Egan (Punch-Drunk Love)
  11. Claudia Wilson Gator (Magnolia)
  12. Hope Harlingen (Inherent Vice -cameo)
  13. Aunt Reet (Inherent Vice - cameo)
  14. Rose Gator (Magnolia)
  15. Xandra (Inherent Vice)
  16. Helen Sullivan (The Master)
  17. Petunia Leeway (Inherent Vice)
  18. Penny (Inherent Vice)
  19. Japonica Fenway (Inherent Vice)
  20. Sortilege (Inherent Vice - great voice that Joanna Newsom has, though)
  21. Shasta Fay Hepworth (Inherent Vice)

 

Tuesday
Nov182014

Foreign Oscar Watch: Iran's "Today"

[This post is part of our continuing series on this year’s contenders for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. We're aiming to review (gasp) half of them. Here’s Amir with the Iranian entry, Today. He has also interviewed the director and discussed the film on his Iranian cinema podcast "Hello Cinema". - Editor]

Reza Mirkarimi is probably overdue for an Oscar nomination. Sure, his name doesn’t ring a bell for a lot of cinephiles and doesn’t carry the same weight as internationally renowned Iranian auteurs such as Kiarostami, Panahi or Asghar Farhadi, but consider this: He is the only filmmaker to have had his films shunned by both the Academy and the Iranian committee that submits them!

His first try for gold came back in 2005 with So Close, So Far, a meditative and moving portrayal of a broken father-son relationship. It was far stronger than all five of the eventual nominees but that was before voters in this category had begun to vote for what is actually best. Still, he had every reason to be hopeful in 2012 with A Cube of Sugar, a distinctly Iranian film with a regional flavor that surprisingly won awards at every festival it played at. Coming on the back of A Separation’s win, it was reasonable to expect the raised profile of Iranian cinema to help the film along the finish line. Yet, the Iranian committee submitted the film and boycotted the Oscars later on the same day! Remember that strange story?

So, two years on, Mirkarimi is back with Today, a consensus option that wasn’t exceptionally well received in its home country, but saved the committee a whole lot of political trouble compared to their other choices...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov182014

Curio: Coin Characters

Alexa here with your weekly art break. Brazilian-born, Frankfurt-based graphic designer Andre Levy uses his free time from his job in advertising to create more personal work.  One of these projects has gotten a lot of attention on the internet: entitled "Tales You Lose," the project has Levy transforming coins into portraits of pop culture icons. 

Amelie, Bride of Frankenstein and more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov172014

The legacy of The Little Mermaid, 25 years later

Tim here, to celebrate the silver anniversary of one of the most important films in the annals of American animation. 25 years ago today – some of you are going to have to brace yourselves, because you’re about to feel very old – Walt Disney Pictures released The Little Mermaid, in one fell swoop rewriting the landscape for family entertainment and animation alike.

As hard as it is to believe now, once upon a time, Disney was an embarrassing underdog, whose theme parks were solely responsible for keeping its saggy movie division propped up. 1989 was only four years removed from the disastrous release of the pricey The Black Cauldron, and the takeover of the company by executives Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, who managed to stabilize the live action filmmaking division, while putting the animation studio under the command of Peter Schneider.

It was Schneider who managed an ambitious and terrifyingly foolhardy plan, concocted by Jeffrey Katzenberg  to restore the luster of Disney animation after a generation or more of mismanagement, by releasing a new animated feature on an annual basis. The first film produced on that model was 1988’s Oliver & Company, a rock-solid hit, but hardly the triumphant return of Disney animation that everyone was hoping for. That came with the second film in Schneider’s plan, The Little Mermaid, and the rest is history.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov172014

New Trailer: 50 Shades of... Prada?

Manuel here offering an off-beat theory on that new 50 Shades of Gray trailer.

The worldwide phenomena got a Beyoncé-scored trailer that debuted during last week's Scandal which suggests the marketing team at least know who they're courting. "Haunted" really is a great trailer song & when paired with (intentionally?) campy dialogue like

My tastes are very... singular.
Enlighten me then...

it makes for quite the breathy, pulpy trailer, but am I the only one noticing that this trailer makes the film look like an oddly humorless gender-bending fan-fiction of The Devil Wears Prada?

Between the Runway-looking office reception, Jamie Dornan's teased "gird your loins" entrance, and Dakota Johnson's Andy Sachs-esque outfit, I half-expected Dornan's Gray to give us a sibilant monologue on cerulean fabrics. Alas, despite its gorgeous London skyline shots and a "getting ready to meet Mr Gray" setup scene that might as well be scored to KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See," this trailer doesn't seem to be aiming for the fun and flirty sensibility of that other best-selling novel adaptation. So many moody shots seem right at home in a horror flick (is he stalking her at a... hardware store?) suggest this film will try to battle its sudsy image by wearing a self-serious smoldering scowl. To be fair, Dornan wears those well (anyone else watch The Fall?) and despite an odd accent and a lack of his usually gorgeous facial hair, his Gray is sure to be the most ogled male film lead since the Magic Mike boys dropped trou. Of course, now I'll just keep imagining what Gray would've been in the hands of Streep; might that have netted her her fourth Oscar? I kid, though it does seem odd that this trailer would so openly (if unconsciously) crib images from that 2006 flick, or am I just imagining things?

Check out the full trailer below and tell me you weren't sad when there were no Emily Blunt or Stanley Tucci one-liners to buffer the self-seriousness of it all:

Enlighten me readers, does this new trailer whet your apetite enough to buy a ticket? Are these just words you're scrolling through in hopes I saved a shirtless Dornan shot at the end of the post?

Monday
Nov172014

Beauty vs Beast: I'm Not That Innocence

Howdy folks, Jason from MNPP here with Monday's weekly dose of "Beauty vs Beast" -- you might be forgiven for having mistaken this series for an episode of G.L.O.W. as of late (please tell me that some of y'all are my age and know and love that reference) - it seems like it's been a lot of lady match-ups, I mean. So when I saw that today is Martin Scorsese's 72nd birthday, at first I was all, "Finally I can inject some testosterone in here! Pesci! De Niro! Guns and phalluses and junk!"

But then I looked at Marty's filmography I saw the first thing I always regrettably see these days - namely his last movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. And I haaaaaaated WoWS. And my stomach tumbled. And so in my indignation I turned against the testoterone, and where did that leave me? Lady fight!

 

I know aksing The Film Experience community to even consider a vote against Michelle Pfeiffer is akin to blasphemy, but know this: my vote is for May, May all the way, May got her man and didn't slink away without a fight. All the prime years of Daniel Day-Lewis were hers; nyah nyah nyah Countess Loser.

PREVIOUSLY And speaking of hauling ass to the ladies, last week we trained our eyes on the cutthroat world of high school girls, which also involves a lot of whispers in hallways and note-passing - in the battle for the Queen of Clueless, it's Cher Horowitz who gets the seat at the center of the lunch table. Said Ben:

"Have to go with Cher, due to our shared love of Beavis & Butthead and Snickers. And can you believe they still haven't put R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty? As if!"

Monday
Nov172014

Oscar Prediction Updates. 10 Questions

It's a participatory round! The Oscar Charts are updated in every category but here are ten questions that are on my mind. Try to answer them (or at least some of them) in the comments. 

01. Why am I the only pundit that has faith in Jake Gyllenhaal as a Best Actor nominee?
Many many people were more than wow'ed by his work. I realize that as a non-recovering Gyllenhaalic for many years now my wildcard prediction will be thought of as Wishful Thinking but I've heard so much negativity about Foxcatcher that I'm starting to think only Ruffalo makes it. That makes room for other leading contenders to rise if Carell and Channing are weaker than expected.

02. Can Ava DuVernay and Damien Chazelle both really score Best Director nods? 
The Academy has been notoriously standoffish about female directors. But has the tide turned with all the attention that's been paid to that factoid? Will they admire her grasp of a large canvas or is she still too much of an outsider? Is passion for Whiplash growing or levelling off? I hear it brought up at every industry party like "oh, I LOVED that movie." Or will a Screenplay nomination have to do for 2nd time young director Damian Chazelle? If you think they're missing who do you think would be there instead?

03. Is it insane that I have Birdman leading the nomination tally with 9? 
Divisive formally ingeniuous showbiz meta pictures aren't exactly the norm for the Academy but neither are there all that many of them made. For nominations, passion counts for a lot with #1 placements.  If you don't think it's Birdman, what do you think will lead the pack on Nomination Morning?

04. If Whiplash is not the 5 nomination Best Picture threat that I think it is, does that mean Supporting Actor is an actual race?
Or do you think J.K. Simmons' name engrave on a statue is going to happen regardless? Confession: So rooting for either Ruffalo or Norton to finally win.

Selma's cinematography. Most of it isn't this showy.

05. Can Bradford Young finally get an Oscar nod for Cinematography?
Or will his work on Selma and A Most Violent Year split his support within that branch? 

06. What do you think of TFE's predictions for the Foreign Film 9-wide Finalist List?
Too strong? Too weak? Just right? Which country do you think absolutely shouldn't be underestimated right now?

06. Will anyone remember Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?
That was such a big critical and audience deal this summer and it seems like a likely contender in several categories. But is anyone talking about it? Or will it end up like its predecessor with only a Visual Effects nomination despite its incredible Production Design and so on.

08. Who do you want to see performing our Original Song nominees?
I'm just throwing darts at this category because god only knows with the music branch. Is even "Lost Stars" safe since they regularly shun presumed powerhouses in the category? 

09. Interstellar's Reviews Mean...?
We know that some major directors admire it but Nolan has still not been nominated for Best Director. Does the mixed response mean this is closer to The Dark Knights Rises Oscar nomination tally (0) or Inception's (8)

10. Which movie do you think lands the most Oscar nods without a corresponding Best Picture placement?
I suspect that's going to be either Into the Woods, Interstellar or Grand Budapest Hotel depending of course on which doesn't make the list and how many Best Picture nominees we actually get. It can't really be 9 films every year! 

every Oscar chart 

Monday
Nov172014

Review: Rosewater

Michael C. with your weekly new release review...

A key part of Jon Stewart’s appeal is that no matter how maddening the news is he doesn’t lapse into ironic detachment. His isn’t someone throwing up his hands in surrender, but the guy who can’t help but marvel at the variety of ways government finds to sabotage our best intentions and allow stupidity to win out over rationality. So it should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Stewart that Rosewater, his directorial debut, is marked by the same earnest intellectual curiosity.

As director and screenwriter Stewart brings a sly complexity to material that could have been one note or overwrought in other hands. His trademark wit is not absent from the film but it has been restrained and left to simmer under the surface as Maziar Bahari’s months long imprisonment and torture at the hands of Iranian government steadily edges into the realm of absurdity. “Why would a spy have his own TV show?” Bahari protests when his interrogator presents a Daily Show appearance during which he is jokingly referred to as a spy as evidence. It’s a moment of indisputable logic that gets him nowhere, oppressive regimes not being famous for their sense of humor.

Of course, Bahari’s arrest, torture, and solitary confinement for over 100 days was not simply the matter of a joke gone awry. [More...]

Click to read more ...