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100 Best of the 21st Century?

"Carol >>>>>>>>>> most of these movies" - Clarence

"The more I see these snooty lists, the more I get turned off of by film critics. What about Lord of the Rings, The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada..." -Jono

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - The movie you're hoping to see every time you go in the cinema" - Jeremy

 

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Thursday
Apr172014

TCM: The Sublime Maureen O'Hara

Our new contributor Diana D Drumm reporting on the TCM Festival which recently concluded

Maureen O'Hara introducing "How Green Was My Valley" at TCM 2014

Even at 93, Maureen O’Hara is still sublime, crossing the threshold of everyday stunning into moment-stopping magnificence. Peering at you, you can’t help but feel wonder. Whether she’s speaking on the beauty of a life well-lived or correcting someone’s Spanglish pronunciation of “Rio Grande” (the actress is fluent in Spanish), she transcends her surroundings, even on the red carpet in front of Grauman’s or in front of a brimmingly packed house at El Capitan Theatre. She may not be as full-bodied as her Wayne-pairing prime (that was over 60 years ago, people), but she continues to exemplify a certain Old Hollywood quality unmatched by any contemporary equivalents and envied by her compatriots at the time (including close friend and fellow famous redhead Lucille Ball).   

Considering O’Hara’s filmography (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley, and The Quiet Man, to name just a few), it’s confounding that the Academy has yet to present her with an Honorary Oscar. As one of the last of a staggeringly bygone era, it was a true honor and privilege for TCM Classic Film Festival crowds to appreciate her live, though not nearly as much as she and her body of work deserves (yes, The Film Experience will keep nudging until the Academy announces something of import. She's 93! What are they waiting for?). [More...]

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Wednesday
Apr162014

April Showers: Pulp Fiction

the waterworks continue

Will you give me oral pleasure?

I was casually skimming through Pulp Fiction the other day and watched scenes from the Bruce Willis portion. It's the storyline that's easiest to forget since it feels less energized by Tarantino's then shockingly fresh auteurial voice and rapid pop-culture infused dialogue and more like a general riff on cliché movie tropes (the boxer who won't take a fall, an antihero on the run, etcetera)... well at least until The Gimp shows up. But watching it again, I was reminded that Quentin Tarantino's movies used to be more firmly rooted in accessible humanity. We didn't know it at the time of course because his work was then so "new" and stylized that it didn't feel intimate in the way the movies have taught us to expect. But post-Jackie Brown his work became increasingly cartoonish (this is not always a bad thing: I sometimes think Kill Bill Vol 1 is his best film) and though his characters are still deeply memorable they're more like "characters" than people...

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Wednesday
Apr162014

Strictly 4 My L.I.N.K.A.Z.

The Wire Joe & Mark predict the Tony nominees in the play categories. Could Audra McDonald win a sixth Tony? (The nominations are only two weeks away)
Defamer Paul Walker's incomplete scenes from Fast and Furious 7 will be played by his real life brothers
AV Club a TV series on Sigmund Freud is ALSO going to be a cop show because every other television series is required to be. Gross.

Just Jared Magic Mike XXL gets a release date: July 3rd, 2015. That's only 443 days away, pervs
YouTube final X-Men Days of Future Past trailer, to spell out the plot though the notion of Professor X laughing in disbelief about time travel is unintentionally funny given the company he keeps: shapeshifters, psychics, blue skinned freaks, weather goddesses, people with laser eryes, fancy-skeletons berzerkers...
Pajiba 7 ways tv shows have covered up unexpected pregnancies from Mad Men to Sex & the City
My New Plaid Pants Yay. Picks of Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of his boxing film Southpaw 
MNPP Which is hotter? Charlie Chaplin: Führer, Tramp or Thief?

Cast This?
Variety the Tupac biopic via John Singleton is happening. Expect casting announcements soon. Wouldn't it be hilarious if Chadwick Boseman gets a third consecutive biopic? (no) WHO WOULD YOU WANT IN THE LEADING ROLE? And unknown or...

Finally...
Geek Dad has lots of fun quotes from Anthony Mackie about superheroes and Captain America: The Winter Soldier including this delightful bit on getting in shape for it...

Fitness is a lifestyle, you have to eat a certain way... So you know, me and my homeboy Jack Daniels stopped talking. You know, no more pizza. Me and my girlfriend Häagen-Dazs broke up. She’s French; it was crazy.

And then I show up and you know, Chris looks like a Greek god. And I’m feeling good about myself, I’m like Spandex-ready, you know. And I show up and he’s like, Captain Tiny Ass. And I’m like, “Dude, how’d you get your ass that small?” Like this [GESTURES AS THOUGH SQUEEZING A SMALL BOTTOM], it’s that big – you know. And I’m man size, like I can lift the whole building. And I look at his butt and I’m like, “What did you do? What did you do to it?”

If only there was video!

Wednesday
Apr162014

Drag Race: The Sounds of My Fury

Here, in picture form, is why I've been unable to function whenever I tried to write about RuPaul's Drag Race

somehow the blurry screenshot seemed appropriate so i didn't try again

Laganja Estranja's bottomless need for attention coupled with her lack of deserving any but mostly her limitless capacity for meaningless affectation completely broke me. As did the epic 3 hours of episode last week -- 3 hours in one single night. Turns out that's enough glitter, saturated color, and aural assault to even give Baz Luhrmann pause. But mostly it was Laganja. If I could describe in writing the clucking, mouth popping, meaningless "words" issuing from her frosted lips I would but judge Michelle Visage summed it up brilliantly in a weirdly accurate gibberish approximation of Laganja's unprocessed non-integrated robotic regurgitation of every drag vocal affectation that the show has ever produced. <-- Good lord that last sentence was a mouthful. I'm gagging on it.

Now that Laganja has sashayed away, the aural nightmare is over (the blazing fury I felt from the sounds a fictional "reality" tv character can make surprised me). And I am free to write about the show again. "Halleloo!" (er... speaking of meaningless vocal affectations!) So instead of trying to catch up we'll just proceed from the now for the sake of all of you who are watching. Cher's family members (mother Georgia Holt and son Chaz Bono) guest starred in order to be interviewed by the queens and Courtney Act basically summed of all of their reactions to the camera...

 Not that that excitement helped them focus because for the most part, they were terrible at being talk show hosts. Trinity K Bonet, who sashayed away, was the worst. She kept calling Chaz Bono "Chad" which might have been funny if it were shady but it was just basic incompetence.

Courtney, who didn't suck at TV gabbing at all, won the night with a stunning wing span (the runway theme was animals) and in addition to the feathers (Trinity) and fur (Bianca) and lion-like manes (Adore), Darienne killed it with Elephant tusks, and Ben de la Creme made a fab entrance in a fly costume... even if it tilted more Costume Shop than Cronenberg. "Help meeee"

Group Regret: Everyone at my viewing party wished they could have seen what Milk would have dressed as in this particular runway challenge. Rawr. She left too soon.

Belated Confession: I really like Joslyn Fox as a person in the workroom (if not as a competitor) so I feel bad for how roundly I was dissing her in the first couple of posts. She's not as dumb as she came off... or at least she's people smart.

You can watch the episode right here if you missed it

Are your favorites still your favorites? Or are your allegiances shifting as we rapidly approach the finale?

Wednesday
Apr162014

Eisner Award Nominees

The Eisner Awards, the "Oscars of Comics" have announced their nominations for the current season (they follow more of a Tony Awards timetable) and the results are heavy on Image comics with Marvel scoring in the top "continuing series" category with the current run of Hawkeye. Maybe there's hope for Jeremy Renner's unloved movie hero after all?  Or maybe not. It's up against last year's winner Saga

I want to share two categories that have particular appeal to us here at TFE. They have an adapted category (which sometimes pulls from movies) and a digital comics category and you know I keep trying to start one though admittedly I never fully commit.

Best Adaptation from Another Medium

  • The Castle, by Franz Kafka, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz and Jaromír 99 (SelfMadeHero)
  • The Complete Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, adapted by by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
  • Django Unchained, adapted by Quentin Tarantino, Reginald Hudlin, R. M. Guéra et al. (DC/Vertigo)
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground, by Donald Westlake, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
  • The Strange Tale of Panorama Island, by Edogawa Rampo, adapted by Suehiro Maruo  (Last Gasp)

Django Unchained, huh? I was hoping everyone was over that post 12 Years a Slave. Please tell me they drew Jamie Foxx's upside down penis in that torture sequence and did justice to the only brilliant part of that movie: Samuel L Jackson as Stephen

Best Digital/Webcomic

The only one of those I'm familiar with (and love) is The Oatmeal. It received another nomination for its wondrously funny and sad short story "when your house is burning down you should brush your teeth" which I've read like five times. But I'll be sure to check these others out. i09 has other days pointing out 51 webcomics that weren't mentioned. I wasn't aware of this but apparently webcomic creators don't think highly of the Eisner committees understanding of webcomics. Like most new media of any medium it takes a while to be understood by old media and the Eisner's have a long long history with print comics.


Wednesday
Apr162014

A Year with Kate: The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Episode 16 of 52 as Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which Katharine Hepburn wins it all back and then some.

For Classic Hollywood stars whose images so often transcended or eclipsed the films they appeared in, there often emerges one film that becomes image-defining. This film has the power to stretch forward and back in time, coloring biographical details and even other performances by that actor. It’s the film that will show up in retrospectives and Turner Classic Movies montages, be quoted by fans and impersonators. For Bette Davis, it’s All About Eve. For Gloria Swanson, it’s Sunset Boulevard. For Katharine Hepburn, it’s The Philadelphia Story.

What sets Kate and The Philadelphia Story apart is how deliberately this star-defining was done. Davis was a last-minute replacement for Claudette Colbert, and Swanson was on a list of Pre-Code potentials that included Mae West. But from the beginning, nobody but Kate was Tracy Lord. The part was written for her by Philip Barry, purchased for her by Howard Hughes, and performed by her first on Broadway, then on tour, then finally back on the silver screen again, less than two years after she’d departed. Tracy Lord is Katharine Hepburn, and Katharine Hepburn would spend much of her career playing variations on Tracy Lord.

So who exactly is Tracy Lord?

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Wednesday
Apr162014

Yes No Maybe So: "Maps to the Stars"

Yesterday two new trailers appeared for David Cronenberg's Maps to the StarsI'm not embedding them specifically because I can't find sharp images (the main one floating around seems like a bad stolen print of a trailer - very underlit) and the international one (NSFW) has too many auto-play ads and works less well as a coherent snapshot of the movie.

I'm hoping Maps skirts the usual trends of public reaction to Cronenberg films. It often follows this pattern:

1. Healthy amount of media coverage and excitement before their films premiere (remember all the A Dangerous Method hoopla?)
2. A curiously muted release (sometimes only limited) with a tiny bit of coverage focused on whichever big star is doing whichever genuinely weird thing they're asked to do in the movie. Think Robert Pattinson getting an enema in the limo in Cosmopolis
3. Almost no follow up conversation online or lines at the box office despite the movies always being genuinely strong conversation pieces...

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