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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Carol is genius - we asked the team 'why'


"Peaking at the right time" - Mark

"Todd Haynes. his power his influence his acclaim and yes genius!" - Jows


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May Flowers on their way

Gatsby's waiting on them. 


Have you – got everything you need?”


Perhaps some more flowers…”


Do you think it’s too much?”

Well, we hope not. I asked Nathaniel to renew May Flowers for another year since it's one of the first things I knew the blog from (Sentiment and flowers go well together, yes?). May flowers are coming at you most afternoons. Any requests?

While on the topic of The Great Gatsby, though, are you anxious for the premiere? The film opens Friday. Don't we all feel as nervous as Gatsby at the beginning of the trailer? I want to lean over and ask, "Have you got everything you need, Baz?" Hopefully he does


Early Bird Oscar Predix: The Toons

Last year's Animated Oscar race is going to be a tough act to follow. In what was arguably the most competitive race of all 12 years of Oscar's newest category, there was precious little agreement about who might win and even less about who deserved to; Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph all had their loyal camps (Pirates! A Band of Misfits was the only "just happy to be nominated" contestant.) At the very last minute, buzz-wise, it appeared to boil down to Disney vs. Disney/Pixar. Big-fisted Ralph fought big-haired Merida and the Scottish lass won.

But what does 2013 have in store for us? It's looking like a much leaner year, and a least at first glance, a far less animated (heh) one. Monsters University might just be emblematic of what's going on. The prequel to the inaugural loser of this very category (Monsters Inc) is, like all the rest, part of a franchise or would-be-franchise and also a noisy colorful 3D CGI fest for very young children. That's about all there seems to be from The Croods on through Free Birds in which two turkeys (voiced by Owen Wilson & Woody Harrelson) travel back in time to stop the first Thanksgiving. There's less variety both in types of audiences sought and in types of animated styles.

For different styles and tones of animation we'll have to look to foreign films. Pray and pray hard that Hayao Miyazaki's latest The Wind Rises crosses the Ocean in time. I don't know if it's finished since news has been sparse but Ana Y Bruno is a Mexican film about a little girl who meets a goblin (or some such) in the psych ward of her mother's hospitable (?). But even with foreign films they're often just trying to be Hollywood blockbusters. I haven't seen more than a still from South Africa's Khumba! about a half-striped zebra but it looks very much like a Madagascar-spinoff. And one of it's characters is "Bradley, a self-obsessed, flamboyant ostrich." Uhoh. Should we alert GLAAD?

Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" is bowing this summer in Japan

The film that I'm most excited about Song of the Sea, a follow up from the team who made the jaw-droppingly gorgeous The Secret of Kells, will not be ready for this year's race. Big sigh. Which is not to say that this year's race will be lacking in previous Oscar players. One interesting possible development, depending on which films achieve eligiblity is the presence of former Best Foreign Film nominees as directors of new animated features. The Argentinian director of Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes, Juan José Campanellahas made a toon called Metegol (aka Foosball) about a foosball team come to life and the Mexican director Carlos Carrera whose drama The Crime of Father Amaro was Oscar nominated is behind the aforementioned Ana

We hope that GKids, the new off-the-beaten path animated distributor, brings us something interesting again but for now my crystal ball says it's Disney vs. Disney/Pixar again this year (Round Two). I'm predicting that the final battle will come down to Frozen (based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Snow Queen') vs. Monsters University. Only this time maybe Disney will beat Pixar... forcing Mike and Sulley to remain Oscarless. Oscar voters will continue to live with their greatest shame: preferring Shrek to Monsters, Inc.

In the absence of a Pixar original (I'll stop weeping that they've joined the rest of Hollywood in franchise laziness and just live with it though I reserve the right to spit at Toy Story 4 whenever that rolls around given that its existence would forever tarnish the finality . What other choice do I have?) the film I'm most eager to see is definitely Frozen. I loved Tangled (which went unnominated in a narrower field of three) and I'm hoping that their latest musical fairytale -- this one has Kristen Bell and Broadway musical alumni Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff doing the voicework -- is a worthy follow up.

RELATED: New Animated Feature Oscar Chart


New Oscar Predix! (And What Of Consecutive Nomination Heat?)

As I was constructing the new Best Picture charts -- yes, they're finally up. Have a looksie -- it occurred to me that I was foolishly betting against a lot of regular Oscar players. Why couldn't I find room for, say, George Clooney (Monuments Men), Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis), and Martin Scorsese (Wolf of Wall Street), for example? The answer came in three parts.

Silver Linings Playbook + The Fighter ÷ 1970s = American Hustle


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A Handful of Link

Tribeca Film Winona Ryder '15 Films ranked in order of how much we wanted to be her'
Gold Derby thinks Bette Midler should host the Tonys. Co-sign 
Cine Memories since we were just talking Double Indemnity, how about a little Body Heat 30+ years later

two pieces by friend Drew on smart studio planning
Indiewire on Marvel Studios game plan and how it kinda sorta follows Steven Soderbergh's recent speech/advice (though that's, generally speaking, a stretch since Marvel movies are not about the auteurs point of view and Soderbergh was actually ranting against massive setpieces above human drama, wasn't he? -- I lost track,  solid points are definitely raised)
The Playlist on Disney's unbeatable multibillion dollar slate for 2015 from Pixar to Marvel Studios. Total world domination forthcoming!

And it's May 4th so... HAPPY STAR WARS DAY!  (how are you feeling about the upcoming Star Wars blitz?)


The Only Post You Will Ever Need On The "August: Osage County" Teaser Poster

A clever teaser poster that manages to put the Weston family home first and thus draws a great connective line between the stage production's branding (which always used the house) and the film version. (That house better be its own character in the movie. If this movie is 100% closeups they'll ruin the house as character!)

Or, another way of looking at this...







Related. P.S. Yes, I'm working on the Oscar charts right now. Soon, fair reader, soon.


Interview: Steve Hoover, Director of Oscar-Buzzing "Blood Brother"

Amir here. When Steve Hoover's debut Blood Brother, won both the audience and jury prizes at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it automatically became one of my most anticipated documentaries of the year. Lucky for me, I didn't have to wait long to see it. Hot Docs brought it to Toronto. Having now seen the film twice, crying through and laughing with it both times, I am confident this is one of the year's best films and deserves all the plaudits that will come its way.

a scene from Blood Brother

Blood Brother is a personal close-up of the director's best friend, Rocky - affectionately referred to by Indian children as "Rockyanna" - who has spent the past few years living in India in an orphanage where HIV-positive children and women are cared for. It is a character study of a man whose strength, humility and grace are unparalleled. Needless to say, the environment of the film is absolutely heartbreaking, particularly at the climax where we follow the story of a young boy named Surya and his experience with AIDS. What I didn't expect, however, was to leave the film filled not with sadness, but with joy and a new found appreciation for every little moment of my life. Hoover's film is anything but a tear-jerker. It maintains a fine balance between "extreme joy and extreme pain", as he put it, and in that balance finds a way straight to our hearts. 

On the occasion of Blood Brother's Hot Docs premiere, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Steve Hoover for a chat. Understandably, most of you haven't had the chance to see it yet and the intimate details of the films discussed here probably won't mean as much to you as they do to me, but this film is an absolute must-watch. I hope you'll seek it out and check back on this interview again then. 

AMIR: I’ll admit upfront that I’m a bit jealous of you, both because you’ve made such a wonderful film at such a young age and because you get to be friends with Rocky.

STEVE HOOVER: Thanks! You know, I’m 30. You still have a few years to get here.

AMIR: I’m not optimistic about my chances! But let’s get to your story. I want to ask you a bit about your relationship with Rocky prior to the film...

Steve Hoover (director) and his best friend Rocky (subject) in "Blood Brother"

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Reader Spotlight: Troy Hopper

We're getting to know the Film Experience community with reader spotlights once or twice a week. This may take awhile! Today we're talking to Troy from Maryland.

What's your first movie memory?

My first movie memory is seeing Annie in the theater with my mother, aunt, and cousin. I recall being thoroughly drawn in as everyone's favorite redhead clings to Punjab for dear life toward the climax of the film. I also have a vivid recollection of viewing Pinocchio when it was re-released in the early 1980s. I guess that makes me one of your elder readers.

Aw, we have readers of all ages. It's just the younger readers seem way less shy. When did you start reading TFE?

Oscar race 2001 after a link from Sasha Stone's site. As someone who was not a fan of A Beautiful Mind, I was impressed by your incisive dissection of the movie's glaring flaws. My continued reading of your blog showed me someone whose love, passion, and knowledge of all facets of cinema quickly became contagious.

You have a goddaughter, right? How do you plan to educate her cinematically.

My oldest is nearly seventeen, so unfortunately, my time has passed with him. As for my two goddaughters, if they learn nothing else from me, they will at least be taught that the medium is too broad in scope for them to be myopic in their taste. They will also realize that Tyler Perry is an enemy whose total annihilation is essential for the progression of blacks in film.

LOL. Okay, three favorite directors?

Aw, man! I was hoping to get the actresses. Ha. With the one-two-three punch of The Fountain, The Wrestler, and Black Swan Darren Aronofsky unquestionably earns a place on that list. Too much of Spike Lee's filmography is indellibly imprinted in my mind for him not to be included as well. I also wish that Jonathan Demme worked a great deal more, especially considering how adept he is across genres.

If Troy ran Hollywood, they'd all get more work!

If you ran Hollywood what would you greenlight?

Because of my background in musical theatre, the intial order of business would be the production of more musicals with the stipulation that Rob Marshall, Adam Shankman, and Bill Condon have absolutely nothing to do with them. In addition, I would grant Angela Bassett approval for any project of her choosing, provided it would give her a chance at another meaty starring role. Any talented auteur hoping to get his or her film made would have to find quality parts for Sharika Epps, Nicole Beharie, and/or Christina Hendricks. Finally, there would be a mandate for intelligent, adult thrillers and horrors that harken back to the time when studios didn't merely perceive them as an easy, relatively cheap way to make a quick buck.

Does "background in musical theatre" mean "actor" and if so, any dream roles?

I am indeed an actor-singer trying to finally break free from his day job. I've already taken on so many good roles -- Jimmy Early in "Dreamgirls," Mitch Mahoney in "Spelling Bee," Benny in "RENT," Belize in "Angels in America: Perestroika" -- that it's difficult to say what I would like to do next. I'd love to tackle something else non-musical, maybe an August Wilson piece, and I wish there were a role in "August: Osage County" for me.

Troy and Ron Giddings performing "I Don't Do That Anymore" this past November

!!! Your voice is so good. Okay, final question. You live in Maryland which begs the question: what's your favorite John Waters movie?

I have honestly never seen a single John Waters movie in its entirety. Though the man himself is quite the character, his aesthetic as a filmmaker has never truly appealed to me. And with that revelation I will probably be banished from Charm City forever!

previous reader spotlights