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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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The Scarlet Linker

Hollywood Reporter on the highlights from the Gotham Awards. Patton Oswalt and Elizabeth Olsen were apparently big hits.
Tom Shone Best Performances of 2011. Love this fluid quick take annual feature.
I Need My Fix Is Christopher Meloni joining True Blood for Season Five? Could that show possibly contain yet more explosive sexiness?
GQ interviews director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows) and yes he actually talks about Madonna and the divorce.... which...
Lainey Gossip has an interesting take on what he means when he says "I'm glad I made money" in the interview with which I would totally agree if that's what I was sure he meant. But it seems highly interpretable to me. Maybe that's not what he meant at all. 
Stale Popcorn Glenn speaks out on Meryl Streep's anti-auteur tendencies and what's going on with the quest for that third Oscar. Good piece.

Coming Soon Lizard concept art from The Amazing Spider-Man 
Alt Screen get yourself to Film Forum over the next two months and bone up on the silent film masterpieces they're showing.
Liz Smith shares a funny e-mail from showbiz widow Tita Cahn about J. Edgar.

Worst line ever spoken between two men in a movie -  'will you be my number two?' "

Hee. That's just one piece of it.

Telegraph TFE friend Tim Robey pays tribute to the one and only Ken Russell, remembering their last encounter at a screening of The Devils
Perez Hilton Wow. Apparently Meryl Streep donated her Iron Lady salary to the National Women's History Museum
Movielicious offers up this poster comparison, Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War (which I'm not hearing good things about) and Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey (which I am).


My New Plaid Pants Have you heard about this reboot of The Munsters. I'm trusting JA to keep me informed as he's knowledgable on all things Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls) one of the best and most idiosyncratic TV minds out there.
MTV Charlize Theron's 2011 Tour of Comedic Movie Star Amazement continues whilst discussing Snow White and the Hunstman.

I haven't really worked with [Kristen]. I've done some small things with her, but we're about to shoot our big showdown, and fingers crossed for me. It's the big battle. I'm just really, really, really hoping I get to kill her. That is how the story ends up, right?"

[For more on her awesome Tour of Tours check out the Actress Roundtable post and the DGA screening of Young Adult.]


 Movie|Line has a great interactive Shame map. You can follow Brandon's ritual around the city. It beats an expensive trip to the Museum of Sex here in NYC. 


Top Ten: My Favorite Muppets... And Yours?

Camilla's favorite muppet is Gonzo. Duh!I'm going to let Kurt close out our Muppet week tomorrow with a holiday-specific post but before we stop oohing and aahing about our favorite felt friends, I just had to share this weird revelation. Over Thanksgiving break, while drinking with my closest friends I asked everyone "What's your favorite muppet?". Somehow I didn't know the answer to this question at all and I was shocked to discover that everyone's favorite Muppet described something very very real about them, though people weren't really giving explanations. For example, one of my friends, who fears nothing more than publicly humiliating himself and is wildly accident prone said "Tie: Fozzy and Beaker", another who is frustratingly cynical and hard to please said "Statler and Waldorf" instantly, and another who is just about the most efficient organized stage manager type you'll ever met said "Scooter". I didn't know that Scooter was anyone's favorite Muppet let alone one of my closest friends! It went on like that around the table, the answers were always telling.

I highly suggest trying this the next time you're partying with your close friends and report back. I feel safe in guessing that you'll be shocked at how well their favorite reflects them... which makes me appreciate this video about the adult personas of the Muppets much more.

For what it's worth I thought I'd list my ten favorites muppets off the top of my head. I'm sure I've forgotten someone I love but such are off the top of your head lists.

Nathaniel's Favorite Muppets

order varies and sometimes someone else will steal a spot away from them.

and the total favorites. always the favorites.

Beaker and Animal make me laugh harder than any other muppets. Kermit and Gonzo really hit me emotionally on occassion. Though The Muppet Movie (1979) is clearly the best Muppet Movie, my actual favorite is The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) because it's the one that Miss Piggy just thoroughly owns. I lived for her appearances as a little boy. And what that says about me I can guess but would prefer not to!

YOUR TURN. Please to share yours in the comments. What did you think of the new movie and are you hoping that "Life's a Happy Song" or one of the other numbers from The Muppets (2011) gets nominated at the Oscars


Mike Mills on "Beginners" and Making Stories About Ourselves.

Christopher Plummer and Mike Mills promoting "Beginners"Sometimes the beginning of awards season offers pleasant surprises. Such is the case with Beginners, one of the year's best films, which recently debuted on DVD and is now suddenly on the shortlist of potential Oscar contenders with early and surprisingly robust attention from both the Gotham Awards where it won the top prize and the Independent Spirit Awards (3 nominations including Best Feature). 

I had the opportunity to speak with writer/director Mike Mills recently about Beginners, his second feature. The film famously draws heavily from Mills' own life to depict the relationship between a lonely artist named Oliver (Ewan McGregor) and his gay father Hal (Christopher Plummer) who comes out late in life shortly before succumbing to cancer. Oliver does his own romantic soul searching with an actress named Anna (Melanie Laurent) after his father's death.

The film moved me deeply this past summer and I told Mills as much as we began to talk. I had just rewatched the film on the morning we spoke.

NATHANIEL: It's so fresh in my memory, but how about you? Have you watched the movie recently?

MIKE MILLS: No. You know, most of my friends are filmmakers. A lot of filmmakers I know, we never watch our films after they're done. They're like old lovers or old worlds we were in. Since I premiered it at Toronto in 2010 I haven't watched the whole thing straight through. I watch parts of it and when I do Q&As I end up watching the end a lot or I peek in. Parts of it are tolerable but watching the whole thing is slightly torturous. More than slightly torturous.

Because you've lived with it for so long?

MILLS: Yeah. I've seen it probably a hundred times in making it. It's not the same experience for me, obviously, as it is for the audience. I'm thinking of all the strings behind the puppets. Maybe in a few years. It's strange. It's kind of sad. My wife [Miranda July] doesn't -- I have a lot of director friends and none of us look at our movies. 

Well, Beginners is also so autobiographical. So is it at all harder to watch for that reason, than say your first feature Thumbsucker

MILLS: It's not -- well, I don't think so. While it is very autobiographical by the time I've written it, turned it into a story, cast Christopher and all these people, it is a story for me; it's not 1 to 1. For me, I'm the most aware of how much it is not my life. But having said that, I do watch the end a lot. So often, I watch Hal die. I've watched Hal die so many times. The section right after that where it talks about what you do when someone passes away, there are some very real things in there. The daisies at the end -- there's a black and white photo of daisies. That's my mom's photo. That part can really hit me. One, it reminds me of my mom. Two, 'whoa! I put something incredibly intimate and vulnerable in this very public thing.' It almost surprises me every time that it's in there.

"They're just personal photos, they're not art."

I was going to ask. It feels so personal. The very specific can become universal of course. But on the other hand, we are aware that it's based on your life. So...

I'm very happy to remember my dad. It's not like a painful thing. Even his death and even his illness and all of that, we had a lot of great times around that. We had more closeness than we had ever had. So most of the stuff I'm showing you in the film are positive memories, things I enjoy being around. To be honest, most of the stuff with the dad... I pretty much wrote down things my father said to me to the best of my memory. But by the time you've put it in a different place, you've put it into a larger fictional context, and you have Christopher saying it, I really don't go "oh, that's my pop". Do you know what I mean?

But those flowers slap me in the face. They kind of sneak up on my every time.  I worked on the father stuff so much and I got really used to thinking of it as the weird hybrid of personal and story.

[more on his fine screenplay, his art, and working with Oscar-buzzing Christopher Plummer]


Click to read more ...


Spirit Awards: "Take Shelter" & "The Artist" Lead the Nominees

The New York Film Critics Circle isn't even finished with its announcements yet and now we've got The Spirit Award nominations. They have the longest lag time between nominations and ceremony since they aren't even held until the day before the Oscars. Like the NYFCC they've been swerving ever closer to Oscar over the years, often championing a runner-up type of candidate like, say, Sideways or Black Swan. That could be good news for The Artist or The Descendants this year depending on which takes the lead in the Oscar race. Though if you believe the nomination tallies here this could be a very big night for Take Shelter.

50/50 (3 noms total) -review
Beginners (4 noms total) -review
Drive (3 noms total) -review
Take Shelter (5 noms total)
The Artist (5 noms total) -review
The Descendants (4 noms total)

I'm super fond of ½ of this lineup and whenever you're super fond of ½ a lineup you should smile. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the way awards season is aiming to go, The Descendants is my least favorite from their preferred lineup.  


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NYFCC. (Ready, Set, Go: Awards Season!)

Here we go... 

Actress MERYL STREEP (The Iron Lady)
Actor BRAD PITT (Moneyball and The Tree of Life)

• Big day for The Artist (top two prizes and also the leader at the Spirit Award nominations) and The Tree of Life (three prizes) and Moneyball (two prizes)
• So pleased to see Brad Pitt rewarded for two very different but totally compelling and soulful performances. Pitt's awards history has been strange so it could well be time for career honors.
• They first listed Meryl Streep's win as for "The Lady". Do you think Michelle Yeoh got her hopes up for a  minute? This is Streep's fifth win from NYFCC. They also gave her the title for Julie & Julia, A Cry in the Dark, Sophie's Choice and a multiple films win in 1979.

Supporting Actor ALBERT BROOKS (Drive)
Supporting Actress JESSICA CHASTAIN (Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter)
Screenplay STEVEN ZAILLIAN and AARON SORKIN (Moneyball)
Cinematography EMMANUEL LUBEZKI (The Tree of Life)

• Happy for Lubezki & Moneyball. Fine choices and NYFCC had me worried at the beginning.
• Does this mean they thought Jessica Chastian sucked in The Debt and Coriolanus? If you're going for multiples go for multiples. P.S. Chastain's best performance this year was in The Help. It's true and you know it!

Foreign Film A SEPARATION (dir. Asghar Farhadi)
Documentary CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (dir. Werner Herzog)
Animated Film no prize this year? we're awaiting confirmation...
First Film MARGIN CALL (dir. JC Chandor)
Special 2011 Prize a posthumous honor for filmmaker Raoul Ruiz 

• I wish Sony Pictures Classic would push A Separation harder and release it earlier. It shouldn't be content with just a few foreign film wins here and there.
• More bad news for Martha Marcy May Marlene after its empty-handed night at the Gothams, it loses best first feature this morning.
• Is the Herzog vote in documentary a "take that, Oscars!" jab... (it didn't even make the finalists with Oscar. They have intermittent Herzog allergies over there in California) or their genuine favorite? 

To give you a little more perspective on the New York Film Critics Circle, herewith a list of previous top awards they've handed out over the past 15 years.

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Curio: Stanley Chow's Curvilinear Caricatures

Alexa here. UK illustrator Stanley Chow is one of my favorite pop caricaturists.  It's great fun to follow his flickr as he is quite prolific, adding posters and portraits weekly, all in his signature modern, curvilinear style.  His Mad Men character tributes were so successful that the Lions Gate lawyers forced him to stop selling them. Here is a selection of his film portraits, many of which are for sale at his shop. Snap 'em up before more lawyers get involved!

Click for more, including Michael Caine, The Great Escape and Margot from The Royal Tenenbaums

Click to read more ...


Gotham Award Winners

The Gotham Awards are going on at Cipriani's even as I type this. As you know Charlize Theron, Gary Oldman, David Cronenberg, and Tom Rothman are being honored with career tributes but competitive prizes are also being handed out.  

Tilda, Charlize, and Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) glam up the event

Breakthrough Actor Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)  
Breakthrough Director Dee Rees (Pariah
Ensemble Performance Beginners 

So it hasn't been a good night for Martha Marcy May Marlene which was nominated for all three of those prizes despite no Best Feature nomination.

Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You Scenes of a Crime directed by Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock
Audience Choice Girlfriend directed by Justin Lerner 
Best Documentary Better This World

The tie between Beginners and Tree of Life is a strange development. According to IndieWire the jury debated for 2½ hours. Though I am against ties on a fundamental level, it couldn't have happened to nicer movies ;) and it's kind of a great tense way to kick off the season. Let more strange "we can't decide!" developments follow. Total agreement for 3 consecutive months is B-O-R-I-N-G.

Eeep, we're here. It's happening again. Awards season has begun. Tomorrow morning the New York Film Critics Circle announces their honorees.