Oscar History
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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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Monday
Nov232015

PGA Documentary Nominations: Are They Actually Bad Luck for Oscar?

Precursor awards are like microwave popcorn. It takes a second for the bag to heat up and then things really start popping. Today the Producers Guild of America named their nominees for Theatrical Documentary Features. The Producers Guild Award winners will be presented on Saturday, January 23, 2016 in Los Angeles. 

Documentary Feature Nominees

The only one of these titles I hadn't personally heard of before today was Something Better to Come, a poverty-doc about children living on a gabarge dump in Moscow. More on what this list does and doesn't mean for Oscar after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov232015

Podcast: Room, Brooklyn, Spotlight

Nathaniel and Nick are back, after an unexpected podcast hiatus, to catch up before the Thanksgiving holiday. 

43 minutes 
00:01 Intros, Carol's opening, Hateful 8 gossip
04:30 Split feeling on Room
11:19 Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn
20:06 Complicated platform releases, audience confusion, and dismissed "flops" of October including Truth
32:25 Delayed reaction to Black Mass
34:40 Spotlight's conflicts, arc, quality

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments won't you?

Brooklyn, Spotlight, Room

Monday
Nov232015

Review: "Creed"

Our newest team member Chris Feil saw the latest in a long dormant franchise early. Here's his review - Editor

Making good on his mainstream sensibilities post-Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler returns with Rocky reboot/sequel/spin-off Creed. Born after his legendary father Apollo's death after an affair, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) attempts to forge his own boxing path without the Creed namesake, recruiting his father's notorious opponent and comrade Rocky Balboa. Similarly, the film tries to have it both ways, attempting to be a sideways stand-alone film while borrowing heavily on the iconography of the original. It is a bit of a left turn for cinema's current trend of cut-and-paste nostalgia, giving Coogler's film a much needed edge for a tired genre, but cursing it with enormous shoes it falls short of filling.

If Fruitvale showed us anything about Ryan Coogler's potential, it was that he could both emotionally invest the audience with a charismatic subject and that he knew how to structure a film's most intense scenes for their maximum dramatic effect. These skills make him the perfect candidate for a mainstream actioner that pulls on the heartstrings, and Creed provides a solid larger platform for him to deliver those goods. Unfortunately still present is his diminished sense of confidence and clarity of vision in extended dialogue scenes, lending to an overall flabby structure. He knows what we want as audience and how to give it to us, but here he has a tricky time transitioning between story beats.

more...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov222015

YNMS: Hello, My Name Is Doris

Manuel here. I caught Spotlight this weekend and among the endless trailers I had to suffer through before getting to watch Todd McCarthy’s dazzling film, the only one that piqued my interest was Hello, My Name is Doris. The Sally Field film premiered back at SXSW and is now scheduled to come out March next year. If the image above hasn’t already clued you in, the film gives the two-time Oscar winner the showiest role she’s had in years. The film was written and directed by Michael Showalter, who you might remember as “Coop” from Wet Hot American Summer (and Netflix’s recent prequel series).

“She’s like a good weird.”

That's how one character describes Doris and you really can't beat that for a description of Field's latest role. And so, without further ado, let’s put the trailer to our patented Yes No Maybe So test:

YES

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov222015

Box Office: Katniss Reigns (Softly) While Spotlight Gains

[Whistles Katniss theme]

As expected Katniss and her unmerry band of rebels dominated the weekend box office as The Hunger Games franchise finally wrapped up. Though this is the softest opening yet for the franchise it's not soft enough to end Hollywood's love of splitting final chapters into two for no good narrative reason so the trend will obviously continue for now. (sigh). I personally have no real ill will for this franchise  (it's okay but I bowed out after the second film -- just too dull for my personal tastes) but The Film Experience does have official stance ill will for franchise decisions that no reasonable trustworthy person could ever claim were based on anything other than milking more money from fans. "Event" showbiz is fun but the first priority really should be to the generous fan bases of serial cinema -- Hollywood owes fans good storytelling, not padding to take more of their paycheck once you've hooked them. You're not drug dealers, movie studios, you're showmen! Putting on a great show needs to be your priority. Hopefully the upcoming slate of finale splitting franchises fail in much more embarrassing / decisive ways so -- Hollywood deserves the wrist-slapping.

BOX OFFICE
(Nov 20th-22nd)
01 Hunger Games 4 (4,175 screens) $101 new Hunger Games & Oscar
02 Spectre (3,659 screens) $14.6 (cum. $153.7) Review
03 Peanuts Movie (3,671 screens) $12.8 (cum. $98.9)
04 The Night Before (2,960 screens) $10.1 new
05 Secret in Their Eyes (2,392 screens) $6.6 new
06 Love the Coopers (2,603 screens) $3.9 (cum. $14.8) 
07 The Martian (2,086 screens) $3.7 (cum. $213) Podcast
08 Spotlight (598 screens) $3.6 (cum. 5.8) First Impression
09 The 33 (2,452 screens) $2.2 (cum. $9.9)
10 Bridge of Spies (1,532 screens) $1.9 (cum. $65.1) Review, Tom Hanks
11 Goosebumps (1,787 screens) $1.7 (cum. $76) First Impression
12 Brooklyn (113 screens) $1.1 (cum. $2.1) Review, Saoirse & Best Actress
13 Hotel Transylvania 2 (828 screens) $.7 (cum. $166.4) on director Genndy Tartakovsky
14 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (283 screens) $.6 (cum. $3.9)
15 Suffragette (517 screens) $.5 (cum. $3.5) Carey's Performance, Review

Among the limited releases Spotlight and Brooklyn had the strongest per screen totals. Hopefully they'll stay strong in wider release since at heart they're quite accessible entertainments and it's infinitely depressing that anything non-genre that aims for adult audiences and quality these days is automatically viewed as "specialized" in its appeal. Room, a much trickier sell than either of those premise-wise is having a tougher time expanding but if the A24 Best Picture hopeful can hold out until top ten lists and awards noms give it some extra juice it should do well. It's already gathered a reasonable $2.8 million in its first month or so in release.

In extremely miniscule release Todd Haynes's latest masterpiece Carol earned a robust quarter million on just 4 screens... though in rather frustrating news it seems to be sticking to its originally aborted release date (opposite Star Wars) in terms of when it will show up in a lot of sizeable markets and won't be in some other smaller markets until Christmas day and beyond. In short: we're not sure when to schedule our proposed Carol week since it's going to take forever for many of you to see it. We feel your pain; you don't deserve the torturous wait.

What did you see this weekend? 
I had a homebody weekend looking at screeners for Black Mass (for the first time), Truth (again), and the first half of Jessica Jones (Netflix).

Saturday
Nov212015

London Adventures: "Gypsy" & "Photograph 51" 

In the crazed travelling of Oscar rev-up season it occurs to me that I never wrote about my London theater-going in that blessed October weekend. While I was in that great great city, I saw two favorite actresses in plays centered around their gifts: one was a revelation, the other a canny reminder.

Imelda & Nicole triumph after the jump...

Click to read more ...