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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Yes No Maybe So - Beauty & The Beast

"Nice teaser but it going to be hard for Disney to top one of their true masterpieces of animation" - Jaragon

 "I don't have high hopes for the principals either, but the real draw is the supporting cast. I'm a NO on McGregor's accent and a YES on McKellen, so put me down as a MAYBE SO." -BD

 "CGI chandeliers? Damn, DIsney, let them build a set." -Jacob

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Monday
Feb032014

Podcast: Stranger by the Lake

On this week's brief podcast, Nathaniel, Nick, and Joe meet to discuss the erotic French thriller Stranger by the Lake currently in release after a successful multiple-festival run these past several months. But that's not all!

00:00 WGA & Jennifer Tilly
05:00 Frozen wins Annies, musical tangent
09:00 TCM's Oscar Doc
11:00 Actress '74: Burstyn & Rowlands 
14:00 Best acting shorlist this year?
16:00 Coming Soon: Liam Neeson in Non-Stop 
18:00 Stranger by the Lake 

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes and continue it in the comments! 

Stranger by the Guild Lake

Sunday
Feb022014

Links

Vidiocy Karina Longworth on the great Pauline Kael vs Meryl Streep wars
In Contention London Film Critics choose Cate Blanchett and Barkhad Abdi for honors (among others)
The Guardian on the Australian Oscars basically being one long party for The Great Gatsby (which won nearly every award it was up for)
Tom & Lorenzo what Cate Blanchett was wearing to that same event


Thompson on Hollywood TIFF is laying down the law with studios/filmmakers -- no more sloppy seconds due to Telluride "surprises"
Vulture how hot is Anna Kendrick? Improv class hot 

More on Philip Seymour Hoffman
TFE Amir already honored him here in case you missed it.
Kenneth in the (212) covering every major newspaper
Punch Drunk Critics told us that Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal for depression era creepy drama Ezekiel Moss...but this was the day before P.S. Hoffman died so who knows what will happen now. Sounds like a good project though
E Online tells that he hadn't yet finished filming his scenes for the two Hunger Games: Mockingjay films.


Slate strong piece positing that one particular scene in Boogie Nights made the actor a star
The Atlantic has a piece on PSH's talent that fascinated me. It's very well written but its thesis is EXACTLY the opposite about how I always felt about him as an actor, claiming that his greatest gift was understatement. I think he almost never understated anything... which is why he thrills people so much in big moments but also why I did not like his performance in Doubt at all (way too bold when that role needs exceptional restraint to cloud the issues, hence the title) and why my three favorite performances of his I consider very atypical because they have these lovely quiet non red-faced & screaming layers and subtle details. But it's a really good read. 

Sunday
Feb022014

Rest In Peace Master

Amir here. It's a Sunday and you're pobably expecting my box office column, but I feel too devastated to focus on anything but the tragic news about Philip Seymour Hoffman. A true giant of screen acting has left us today. There is speculation aplenty about why and how this happened, all of which amounts to very little of significance. All that really matters is that the man was too young to go and had many great perfomances ahead of him. And he leaves behind a rich body of work that speaks for itself.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb012014

Day of Rest

I need 101 Days of Sleeping but a single day must suffice. In the meantime there's a lot for you to catch up on like The Best of January, voting on who should win on each individual Oscar chart, all the Sundance reviews - forty-two of 'em!, and 14 whole anticipatory episodes of We Can't Wait aimed at 2014.

You should also check out this Variety report behind the Academy's reasoning for disqualifying "Alone Yet Not Alone" from the Original Song field which we were talking about just on Wednesday. Again, I really wish they would look into the music branch for MANY changes, not just this stand alone decision. They've done it before with Documentaries and Foreign Film and they have to have noticed by now how deeply troubled the music branch is, right? Oh god please tell me they've noticed!

We'll be back Sunday early evening yapping like an excited puppy for one final month of Oscar '13 madness.

Saturday
Feb012014

We Can't Wait #1: Carol

[The Film Experience's "We Can't Wait" series, highlighting the most exciting prospects of the 2014 film year concludes with new contributor Matthew Eng (you loved his Jennifer Lawrence piece) on the latest from Todd Haynes, long absent from the big screen. Thank you to Amir for managing this anticipatory series! - Nathaniel]

Carol
Set in 1950s New York City and based on the classic yet long-neglected novel of the same name (originally published under the title "The Price of Salt") by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr Ripley), Carol traces the blossoming lesbian romance between Carol, an older, dissatisfied housewife, and Therese, a young, infatuated shop girl. 

Talent
At long last, that magnificent maverick Todd Haynes makes his long-awaited return to the big screen, a full seven years after I’m Not There, with a sterling cast that includes soon-to-be two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (stepping in for Mia Wasikowska) as the film’s central couple, as well as the recently-announced Sarah Paulson as Blanchett’s gal pal. Phyllis Nagy (HBO’s Mrs. Harris) is scripting, and movie maestro Carter Burwell (FargoWhere the Wild Things Are) is scoring the thing.

Why We Can’t Wait
If only the directors you loved most were the ones who were most prolific. Yes, it’s probably harder for a filmmaker as gloriously provocative and fearlessly risk-taking as Todd Haynes to get a new project off the ground than it is for say, Woody Allen or Tyler Perry to. But the movies need Todd Haynes, who hasn’t exactly been napping in the years since I’m Not There, even though his last buzzed-about effort, the 2011 HBO miniseries adaptation of Mildred Pierce, is likely to be remembered more as a mega-sized Kate Winslet awards-magnet than it is as a feat of occasionally flat but more typically immersive and intelligent filmmaking.

Haynes has assembled a rich, actressexual-pleasing cast of actors for Carol, including his I’m Not There star Blanchett, who, with this and Blue Jasmine, seems poised to have something like a Jennifer Lawrence-year in 2014, with two buzzy, presumably Oscar-friendly performances within only two years of each other; Mara, who I’d like to continue her string of smart and striking work, in projects more deserving of her than unsavory slop like Side Effects; and Paulson, who was so indelibly tense and terrifying in 12 Years a Slave and whose current career surge is a delight to witness. Carol, which caused quite a stir during its initial publication in 1952 for its uninhibited and unashamed depictions of homosexuality and female agency, sounds like a perfect fit for Haynes, who is one of our most groundbreaking gay filmmakers . He's made a commendable career out of wrestling madly and marvelously with explicitly queer ideas of desire, obsession, and identity. Plus, the last time Haynes worked in a fifties milieu...

...need I say more?

But We Do Have to Wait
Filming hasn’t even begun yet, likely due to the fact that Cate Blanchett couldn’t possibly provide us with the most priceless acceptance speeches of this awards season and deliver yet another tremendous performance, right on the designer heels of Jasmine. But have no fear, shooting commences in the spring, in both New York and London, with the Weinsteins distributing and Haynes’ go-to collaborator Christine Vachon and her indie outlet Killer Film producing. A release date is still TBD, but so very highly anticipated. We may never stop having to wait those grueling five, six, or seven years betwen Todd Haynes creations  on the big screen. But when they do arrive, they make you wonder how your moviegoing life ever went on without them. 

The Complete List of "We Can't Wait" Titles
We'll be following all these titles closely this year! Which of your most awaited, didn't make our list?
01 Carol (TBA)
02 The Grand Budapest Hotel (March)
03 Foxcatcher (TBA)
04 Under the Skin (April)
05 Inherent Vice (TBA)
06 Into the Woods (Christmas)
07 Snowpiercer (TBA)
08 Nymphomaniac (March)
09 Boyhood (May)
10 Big Eyes  (TBA)
11 The Last 5 Years (TBA)
12 Gone Girl (Oct)
13 Can a Song Save Your Life (TBA)
14 Veronica Mars (March)
Runners Up:  How to Catch a Monster, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1,A Most Wanted Man, Godzilla, Untitled Public School Project, Tammy, Magic in the Moonlight, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Interstellar

Saturday
Feb012014

Maximillian Schell (1930-2014)

The most famous Austrian born actor prior to Schwarzenegger, and Oscar's favorite Austrian/Swiss actor ever, died overnight at 83. Maximilian Schell film debut came with the German anti-war film  Kinder, Mütter und ein General (Children, Mother, and the General) but it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling. 

He won a role supposedly through a misunderstanding/accident in the Brando/Clift vehicle Young Lions (1958). Global fame was just a few years away when he co-headlined the mega-star cast of the seminal Oscar Bait giant Judgement at Nuremberg (about Nazi war crime trials) with Hollywood legend Spencer Tracy and they were both were nominated for Best Actor - it's a oft-repeated fallacy of modern Oscar campaigning that people say that splits your vote and prevents you from winning; see also Amadeus. Schell also won the Golden Globe for that film. (As Rhett from Dial M for Movies pointed out on Twitter this morning, his death makes William Shatner (!!!) the sole surviving credited cast member from the courtroom classic)

Schell was quite gracious in his Oscar win and his acceptance speech is well worth watching. I'd argue he was fully aware of why he won ("honoring the movie"*) and I love that he doesn't do just the usual cheek kiss but actually a little bow/handkissing...as diva Joan Crawford warrants. 

Schell had a fine and long run as an actor with two more nominations following his win for The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) and Julia (1977 -- and yet another example of a double nomination in the same category. His co-star Jason Robards won that time). He won his second Golden Globe as recently as 1994 for a TV miniseries and a Lifetime Achievement Bambi in Germany just 5 years ago, which coincidentally was the same ceremony wherein Christoph Waltz, a clear modern equivalent of Austrian/Oscar love, won for Inglourious Basterds.

Schell's talents were many, though, and also behind the camera. He turned to filmmaking within a decade of winning Best Actor. His first two feature films First Love (1970) and The Pedestrian (1973) were both nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category for Switzerland and West Germany respectively. And then his first documentary Marlene (1984) which was about his legendary Nuremberg co-star, was also nominated in its category. That's a lot of awards love and a long and full career worth remembering. 

*Judgement at Nuremberg couldn't really win much elsewhere. 1961 was the year of one of Oscar's true phenomenons. West Side Story made nearly a clean sweep of its nominations winning 10 of its 11 Oscar nominations! Nuremberg only bested it in the Adapted Screenplay category where musicals have historically had a very hard time winning. Only two have ever managed: Going My Way (1944) and Gigi (1958). 

Friday
Jan312014

January. It's a Wrap

We spent most of January reeling from the Oscar nominations, braving mountain altitudes and indie film frenzy at Sundance, attending the Critics Choice Awards and counting down our most awaited films of 2014... a year doesn't really start for us until March 3rd when we can safely put 2013 behind us. But herewith, in case you missed them...

A dozen highlights from the month that was 
Sally Hawkins the actress that's worked with both Cate Blanchett and Godzilla
Katniss in Context just how rare is Jennifer Lawrence's box office success?
50 Best Movie Posters of 2013 Quite a beautiful collection
Joanna Scanlan Interview the ace character actor of Getting On fame told us about working with Pfeiffer, Dench, Blanchett, and Fiennes in her filmography

Sarah Paulson on her multiple breakthroughs, American Horror Story and 12 Years a Slave
Podcast "Bring Your Own Dream Date" we had so much fun on that one
Actors Who Need Their 1st Nom Andrew proposed just ten but opinions varied
The Real Maleficent a smart tribute to Disney's greatest villain
A Year With Kate is an awesome journey and Anne Marie just reached Hepburn's first taste of Oscar glory with, well, Morning Glory 

Most Discussed "American Hustle's Jennifer Lawrence Problem" This supporting actress performance essay by guest star Matthew Eng really took off. No surprise, really. It's fabulous.
Most Eyeballs Anything Oscar Race related, of course, and January had many golden upheavals. But the most exciting development was clearly that weird PGA tie or maybe that train wreck Original Song situation?

Coming in February? We'll wrap up 2013 properly with the Film Bitch Awards and more Oscar coverage. Any suggestions for other topics?