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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Sunday
May122013

Review: "The Great Gatsby"

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad


"Gatsby. What Gatsby?"

Daisy asks with a rush of girlish 'it can't be!' alarm, her nerves far overpowering the tiny glimmer of hope you think you hear in her voice. Which is as sensible a reaction as anyone could have when hearing about the arrival of another Jay Gatsby in movie theaters. You don't mean THE GREAT GATSBY, do you?

The F Scott Fitzgerald classic is a tough book to crack for filmmakers, its power so tied to its gorgeous (slim) prose, its subtle and cynical evocations and condemnations of American wealth and unspoken caste system. Further complicating adaptations is that the story is subjectively narrated. It's all told by Nick Carraway and his is, despite blood ties to the wealthy, an outsider's point of view. It's an easy book to love but a difficult one to adapt. But Hollywood keeps trying once every thirty years or so. 

The story, if you are unfamiliar (though you won't want to admit that out loud) follows the attempts of the elusive mysterious extremely wealthy Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) to win back his lost love Daisy (Carey Mulligan) who he abandoned many years earlier while penniless to seek his fortune. More...

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Sunday
May122013

Happy Mothers Day! (What's the Last Movie You Took Your Mother To?)

Did you call your mother yet? I was just talking to mine. Before we hung up, apropos of nothing, she says...

I was watching Turner Classic Movies this week. Sometimes I think of you when I watch."

Which... well, from my mother that's like a huge bouquet of flowers and hugs since she isn't super verbally affectionate. When pressed about which movie(s) she couldn't remember. "You know... that actress"

Was it... Barbara Stanwyck? I asked, trying to help with the first name that popped into my mind. "No. But I've seen lots of her movies. I didn't used to like her but now I do." 

Her current obsession is The Pirates of Penzance (1983) with 'that great new actor Kevin Kline' (new, mom?). She has apparently been buying up his filmography on VHS at garage sales and also likes French Kiss (1995) "except for the awful language!" Last time I visited she wanted to see Snow White and the Huntsman and then closed her eyes for half the movie.

What peculiar movie tastes does your mom have? What's the last movie you took her to?

Sunday
May122013

Posterized: How Many Hepburns Have You Seen?

We end our Katharine Hepburn theme week on The Great Kate's birthday, today! Katharine Hepburn made 43 motion pictures in her 62 years on the big screen. How many have you seen? I've collected the posters here of only her Oscar nominated roles, 12 of them in total, because 43 is too many for an episode of posterized. Let's get all the Hepburn/Oscar talk out of our systems. Starting now...

Two things are thrown into sharp focus when looking at that sprawling Oscar track record stretching from 1932 to 1981. First, that though only Meryl Streep has ever bested her for Most Lead Actress nomination (14 versus 12) at least a couple of Hepburn's nominated roles would probably have been considered "Supporting" by today's much looser non-definition of the category (i.e. anything goes). Second, though four Oscars is still the record for any actor, male or female, her reputation as an Oscar magnet is arguably over stated since AMPAS weirdly didn't become OBSESSED until after she'd passed the age by which they usually start ignoring great actresses! A full 2/3rds of her nominations came after she turned 40 and 75% of her wins were after the age of 60! This is rather shocking considering that only 8 Best Actress Oscars have been handed out to women over the age of 60. Three of those eight times the name being read out was "Katharine Hepburn".

10 more films and mucho Oscar history after the jump

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Saturday
May112013

A Cluster of Links

articles elsewhere
The House Next Door Aaron Tveit on the rise
Salon Jennifer Wright relays the joy and weirdness of tweeting The Great Gatsby line by line
In Contention Warner Bros will distribute Ryan Gosling's directorial debut How to Catch a Monster starring Christina Hendricks. I'm so excited for this one. I guess it takes a great actor to finally give Christina her due as a potential film star
Guardian looks back at Carey Mulligan's career thus far
Empire Is Joe Wright directing 50 Shades of Grey. If so my interest in the project went from minimal to lots.
The New Yorker on Upstream Color. I feel terrible that I haven't yet seen this movie and loved Primer


three things that made me lol this week that i keep clicking back to
My New Plaid Pants Myrtle mowed down in The Great Gatsby (1949)
Des Hommes et des Chatons hot guys and cute cats in mirror poses
Gosloving "Ryan Gosling won't eat his cereal" -- my favorite one is the Lars and the Real Girl. Yours? (Do you think he recoiled at the "date" scene in Silver Linings Playbook)

Something That Bugs Me That Actors Keep Doing...
Typecasting is one thing. It happens to the best of them. But why do some stars willingly dive into roles that are so much like their other roles that you'd be entirely forgiven for thinking they're making a sequel. Why is Timothy Olyphant, for example, who played a Sheriff/ US Marshall on Deadwood and then a US Marshall on  Justified taking up another violent sherrif for The Man on Carrion Road? That's the kind of tiny niche that can just wreck your career for anything else (or did I miss some trend where violent sheriffs are ubiqui-hot like zombies?). Isn't it time he played like, I dont know, a chef or a used car salesman or something?  And why is Tom Cruise starring in yet another espionage franchise based on a TV series. How will they differentiate The Man From U.N.C.L.E. from Mission: Impossible now as film franchises? Why not just make Mission: Impossible 5. Oh, wait, he's doing that too!?! STOP IT!!!

TV Cancellations
Southland is done says TNT. I'd mourn its loss after a stellar fifth season but five seasons is a good run for any show and often shows nose dive in quality after five so quitting while you're ahead is kind of beautiful. Meanwhile Smash is officially axed as is The New Normal. Is this a dark day for gays who love television or a relief given the obnoxious self-loathing of the former and the preachy self-love of the latter?

You decide!

Saturday
May112013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Resurrection and the Protocol of Promos

Last night the first promotional photo of the cast from the new Joss Whedon series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." premiered. And here it is in all its *anonymous* 'glory'...

Whedonverse Series #5... Expect That it's More Marvel Universe... So Marvel Universe #1 (Reboot)?

more from the Whedonverse and promo photos after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May112013

May Flowers: Stage Door

The Calla Lilies Are in Bloom Again... 

Such a strange flower. Suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.

That line, uttered by Katharine Hepburn in 1937's Stage Door, quickly became synonymous with the actress. One need only adapt that clipped, upper crust voice and mention the bloomin' of those calla lilies for people to know exactly who you're impersonating. No other line is as popular in conveying what a unique star she was. (Well, a strong case could be made for some from On Golden Pond, you old poop. But by then even she seemed to be doing a Katharine Hepburn impression. And none of those have the history of this one.)

The line was used in the film for the play that Hepburn's character makes her theatrical debut in. It came from an actual Broadway flop that Hepburn starred in called The Lake. Just how bad was the show? In Dorothy Parker's review of it, she said, "Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." The play was so wildly atrocious that Kate herself paid the director to halt production. But, it was a learning experience for Hepburn.

When they decided to use it in the film, Hepburn proved that despite the seeming haughtiness and snobbishness people perceived in her, she was still able to laugh at herself and poke fun at her previous failings --–especially in the rehearsal scenes where she mechanically goes though the motions. Later in the film, when she says the line on opening night, she surprises everyone with how great an actress she actually is. The public, like her fellow actresses in the film, had underestimated her. (By the way, if you haven't seen Stage Door–you must! You owe it to yourself as an Actressexual. It's all about a theatrical boarding house and co-stars Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, and Ann Miller!)

So, the next time you're doing your Katharine Hepburn impersonations for your movie-loving friends (and, really, who doesn't love a good Kate impression. Hell, Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for it...), remember those calla lilies and make Kate proud.