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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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"My favorite movie about the theater is ALL ABOUT EVE, but then again that movie is my favorite movie about everything about movies and love and lust and life itself." - Jay

"TOPSY-TURVY perfectly captures the feeling of imminent failure that you get when you're in rehearsals." - Peggy


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It's "Action!" for Bond 23 SKYFALL

What a lovely image to wake up to this morning...

Don't you just love clapboards?

Skyfall (aka BOND 23) shooting has begun and here's photographic proof from the official James Bond twitter account @007. Does this mean that Daniel Craig is a liar liar pants on fire since he said at the press conference we live-blogged that they were going to be shooting that very day. Here we are four days later and we see "Day 1". 

...not that movie timelines ever make sense; scene 45 is first!



P.S. Roger Deakins, eh? Bonus points for Bond on that one, he'll look even better than usual. We interviewed Deakins for True Grit earlier this year... and we're still confused that he's never won an Oscar.


Naked Gold Man: Oscar Wears No Watch, But It's All in the Timing

With more and more of the heretofore unseen contenders (Tintin, J Edgar, Young Adult, War Horse, etcetera) beginning to show their goods to tastemakers and balloting voters of various orgs & circles & associations... where to now? Or when to?

Time is a funny thing with Oscar watching. Though the race progresses chronologically in familiar ways each year through its many stages, it's simultaneously a non-linear experience. We're always hopping around in the timeline from the future (What Will Happen on Oscar Nomination Morning? On Oscar Night?) to the past (Statistics, Past Grudges, Happy Memories, The Perennial Subject of "Overdue" and "Momentum" and Over Analysis of Things That Just Happened). Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The time we're very rarely in is the present. If we're in the present at all (wrist check: it's 2:19 PM on 11|06|11 as I begin writing this) it's to take immediate stock of our surroundings  and then suddenly we're gone again. We've either instantly reduced the present to how we predict it will affect the future... or we've turned it into validation of our past biases or predictions.

A hypothetical example now. J Edgar reactions* range from reverential but not unqualified raves to respectful with a heavy cloud of "meh" to plain old "wow, it's just not any good!" thumbs down. Which means...


J. EDGAR is... [check whichever box applies in your hypothetical future tenses]

Still in key races. It's a biopic by Eastwood.
⌧  Out of the race but for Best Actor because it's that kind of role and he's that kind of star. 
⎕ Going to bomb with Oscar and the public.  

* no, I don't know why some critics have to obey embargoes and some don't.

That's all hypothetical, understood?!?

ACTOR, ACTRESS, and PICTURE past | present | future after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Box Office: Antonio Ascends Again

Puss in Boots is officially a big deal. The seductive cat dropped only 3% in his second weekend which is as miraculous as having nine lives, since 40% drops are far more common. That indicates amazing word of mouth (though Shrek-like totals might be hard to come by since it grossed do much less than those films on opening weekend). Even if Shrek totals are out of reach the orange tabby has successfully managed a spin-off franchise and could be heading for an Oscar nomination.

Antonio Banderas and Friends

Box Office (U.S.) Top Ten -Estimates
01 PUSS IN BOOTS  $33 (cum. $75.5)
02 TOWER HEIST new $25.1
04 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 $8.5  (cum. $95.3)
05 IN TIME $7.4  (cum. $24.2)
06 FOOTLOOSE $4.5  (cum. $44.8)
07 REAL STEEL $3.4  (cum. $78.8)
08 THE RUM DIARY $3 (cum. $10.4)
09 IDES OF MARCH [capsule] $2 (cum. $36.8)
10 MONEYBALL [review] $1.9 (cum $70.3)

Talking Points
• In limited release, according to IndieWire, Like Crazy is tracking slightly ahead of Martha Marcy May Marlene at a similar juncture in its limited release but both films have essentially made good on their Sundance promise with solid starts in movie theaters. Martha, which just crossed the million mark, gets a major expansion next weekend, opening in 45 additional markets. "Do not miss it," commandeth Nathaniel!

The Skin I Live In also just crossed the magic million mark making this a very good weekend for Puss himself Antonio Banderas, whether in Boots with sword or in lab coat with scalpels. Banderas has always had a way with sharp instruments (See also: Zorro).



Link On Link Off

Old Hollywood loves Federico Fellini. Isn't that an amazing sketch (left)? It's Fellini's first rendering of Gelsomina from La Strada
The Sheila Variations a beautiful birthday piece about crushing on Ralph Macchio before The Karate Kid (!) and the transformational power of getting hooked on the storytelling arts and the actors who make us dream.
Thelma Adams corrals some friends to discuss the annual topic: does nudity equal bravery for actresses?
Your Movie Buddy (and ours) interviews Kirsten Dunst on Melancholia.
ioncinema Fox Searchlight signs the Borderline Film trio (Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, and Josh Mond) to a first look deal. That filmmaking collective operates in such a cool way, alternating in the director's chair but sticking together and supporting each other. Their latest venture being the fab Martha Marcy May Marlene (my review if you missed it).
Little White Lies interviews our current favorite Norwegian director Joachim Trier on his new film Olso, August 31st

Coming Soon Gallery of on set images from Terrence Malick's Lawless starring The Driver and That Girl With the Tattoo. Now that Malick is making movies as fast as say, Martin Scorsese (Allen & Eastwood's clip will thankfully remain out of reach... that speed doesn't do many people favors), that 20 year gap between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line is looking ever more perplexing.
Tom Shone thoughts on Leonardo DiCaprio and a top ten. It's odd that I disagreed so much with the content of the article but apart from the weird preferencing of Blood Diamond, I totally get the top ten choices.
MNPP Jake Gyllenhaal on the subway. Stars... they're just like us!
Flickr awesome gallery of "the end" onscreen 
In Contention will be there for a Vanessa Redgrave AMPAS tribute in London next week 
Oh No They Didn't 13 Movie Poster trends from the legs spread stance, to floating heads in clouds threw sexy backs holding weaponry. 


That's the Hunger Games cast doing one of those Vanity Fair shoots that make everyone look All American Rising Star Sun Dappled Models in the Great Outdoors. Doesn't it bother anyone that the movie is all about these people killing each other and yet it's like "yay, the cool kids. you could be their friend, too!"


European Award Noms (Shades of Oscar, 2011 AND 2010)

Our Oscar chart updates are underway (much more coming at you tomorrow) and now The European Film Award nominations are out. The Film Experience always enjoys their attempt at boiling down so many countries into one group of "best of"s. The American and British Film Academies don't have it so hard, you know, each generally only dealing with the best of Hollywood and London with the occasional embassy outreach to a hot foreigner. (That'd be The Artist this year).

Melancholia vs. The Artist at the EFAs

For our Oscar discussion purposes the most amusing thing about this year's lineup is that two Oscar winners from 2010 (the UK's The Kings Speech and Denmark's In a Better World) are competing against one of the presumed frontrunners of 2011 (France's The Artist) with a few arthouse madman (The Melancholia) and French language side dishes (The Kid With a Bike -- not submitted for this year's Oscar race -- and Le Havre, which is an Oscar submission for in Best Foreign Film).


  • The Artist
  • Le Havre
  • In a Better World
  • The Kid With a Bike
  • The King's Speech 
  • Melancholia

Sigh. The King's Speech. At this point it's like an unstaked British vampire, sucking the life from Gallic beauties and crazy Danes. 


  • Susanne Bier, In a Better World
  • The Dardenne Brothers, The Kid With a Bike
  • Aki Kaurismäki, Le Havre
  • Béla Tarr, The Turin Horse
  • Lars von Trier, Melancholia

It seems absolutlely bizarre to snub Michael Hazanavicius for direction (The Artist, more than most movies, would've been a disaster without its careful but exuberant guiding hand). Meanwhile Tom Hooper probably won't lose sleep over his snubbing here. Once you've won the Oscar...


  • Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
  • Cécile de France, The Kid With a Bike
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
  • Nadezdha Markina, Elena
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Melancholia's sisters (Dunst & Gainsbourg) each get half the movie. They also share the EFA nom.

We're literally revisiting Cannes jury deliberations for this lineup since all of the women were there. Remember when everyone was all: will it be Kiki or Tilda in "Best Actress"? I wish the EFA had a higher profile just to give Dunst another boost and get back into the Oscar conversation.

More after the jump including actors, composers, and dreamy unsettling production design.

Click to read more ...


18 Animated Features for Oscar. Will 5 Nominees Bring Diversity?

It will undoubtedly seem strange to chase Michael's Pixar interview with another reminder that I have no patience for Cars 2, but I must. With the reveal of the Best Animated Feature submission list, we know that Pixar has a much better shot than ever at yet another Oscar nomination in this category. Pixar has deserved all of its Best Animated Feature Oscar wins and more still (Shrek over Monsters Inc.??? Yep, still embarrassing!) But Oscar nominations mean a lot more when you don't get them out of habit or loyalty to the brand. Will the nominating voters dare step out of Pixar's anthropomorphic vehicles this year to look at, say, an acclaimed racy animated romance among Cuban immigrants?

If at least 16 of these 18 pass the Academy's eligibility requirements, the nominating committee can choose 5 of them as nominees.

The 18 Submitted Toons Are...

  • The Adventures of Tintin (opens Dec 21st)
  • Alois Nebel (The Czech Republic's Best Foreign Film Submission so it could be nominated in two categories - see our TIFF review)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (opens Dec 16th)
  • Arthur Christmas (opens Nov 23rd)
  • Cars 2 
  • A Cat in Paris (this one is a feline noir homage from Belgium) 
  • Chico & Rita (a music-heavy romance between a pianist and a singer)
  • Gnomeo & Juliet 
  • Happy Feet Two (opens Nov 18th)
  • Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 
  • Mars Needs Moms 
  • Puss in Boots 
  • Rango 
  • Rio 
  • The Smurfs 
  • Winnie the Pooh 
  • Wrinkles (a Spanish drama about two old men, one with alzheimers)


It's strange that nearly 33% of eligible films can be nominated. Can you imagine if Best Picture worked like this. Would the Oscars mean anything at all if 91 films were nominated for Best Picture each year?!? That's how many there would be (approximately) each year if 33% of eligible films were nominated. The ceremony would never end just from reading all the names!

"Wrinkles" is about a friendship between two old men.

Seeing all the titles together you can't help but notice how much more flexible the animated film is in other countries: American cinema is still locked into the notion that the animated film is a genre (boisterous colorful family comedies) rather than an artistic medium capable of housing all genres; Across oceans and borders we get a drama about old men with alzheimers, a musical romance with nudity, a witty noir about a cat leading a double life, and a historically haunted black and white drama about a man in a sanotorium. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about the Best Animated Feature Oscar race.
It's not my strong suit as predictions or knowledge goes... though I'll start seeing more of these very soon.


Interview: Pixar's Enrico Casarosa and "La Luna" 

Michael C here to give you a sneak peak of a Pixar pleasure headed your way soon.

High on the long list of reasons to love Pixar is their devotion to bringing top quality animated shorts to the movie-going masses, a tradition they are keeping alive pretty much single-handedly. And they are on a roll too. With such titles as Presto, Cloudy Day and the great Day and Night, my love of which I’ve already documented here, they are developing a body a body of work to stand beside the great catalogues of classic Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons. 

Now having attended a sneak of La Luna, the new short most of America will see attached to Brave, I am pleased to report they have another winner on their hands. La Luna is a fable about young boy caught in an inter-generational conflict as he joins his Papa and Grandpa for the first time in their nightly work. The slow reveal of the exact nature of that work is one of the film's delights which also include its elegant dialogue-free storytelling, glowing moonlit atmosphere and an especially lovely Michael Giacchino score.

La Luna is the baby of Enrico Casarosa, who is making his directing debut with this love letter to his Italian roots. He began with Pixar as a story artist on Cars and Ratatouille, and he is currently working as Head of Story for an upcoming feature. I sat down with Casarosa to discuss his new film, his influences, and to see how much I could peek behind the Pixar curtain.

Michael Cusumano: I got the impression that La Luna is a very personal film for you. Am I right in saying that? 

Enrico Casarosa, Head of Story for Pixar

Enrico Casarosa: Yeah. I really felt I wanted to find an emotional core to it and I think Pixar is pretty adamant about trying to find connections. The directors need to find that personal story to tell. So I really looked at my childhood. I grew up in Genoa, in Italy, and I grew up with our grandfather in our house, and my dad and my grandfather never got along. So I would have very long dinners where I was definitely in the middle of these two guys, talking to me but never talking to each other. So that feeling of being a little bit stuck in the middle was something I was after. And I would be really fun to try to give a positive message of a kid choosing his own - you know - it’s not Papa’s way, it’s not Grandpa’s way, but it’s his own way. So he finds his own road. I thought that was worth sharing, it could be the core of it. 

Then I mixed that with a completely fantastical kind of setting to juxtapose the very personal with something more fantastic. The inspiration to that is a lot of literature. I’m a big Italo Calvino fan. He’s a wonderful writer that we read in high school in Italy. He has, all through his novels and short stories, making the very fantastic juxtaposed with very simple characters, peasants, so that’s the kind of a feel I wanted to capture. I wanted them to be very poor, you know, working the land, fishermen. Then I thought it would really be a great juxtaposition when you find out their job is actually pretty mythical.

How is it possible to get such a personal story through such a collaborative process? [MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

Click to read more ...