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Diane Kruger does Hedy Lamarr?

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Wednesday
Oct072015

Familiar Faces: The Ridley Scott Players... do any exist?

Ridley & Giannina on the red carpet last yearThe Film Experience recently had the chance to sit down with director Ridley Scott, currently enjoying one of the warmest receptions (great box office and reviews, of his career, for The Martian. We'll share that interview later in the season but here's one detail up for discussion right now that you won't get elsewhere.

We've always been fascinated at The Film Experience by the familiar faces that pop up in the filmographies of famous auteurs. The average moviegoer knows, for example, that De Niro and DiCaprio are Scorsese pets and that Tim Burton has trouble leaving his bed if it doesn't involve putting a camera and weird makeup and Johnny Depp. But do we really think of any particular faces when we think of Ridley Scott? His tightest collaborations are behind the scenes. The editor Pietro Scalia, and the production designer Arthur Max, both of whom he started working with on G.I. Jane (1997) have worked on most if not all of his films since that Demi Moore military pic. Costume Designer Janty Yates won an Oscar for their first collaboration on Gladiator and she's costumed nearly ever picture since. Ridley's cinematographer of choice at present is Darius Wolski who has shot every feature since Prometheus (2012) but he switches DPs from time to time. He switches casting directors even more regularly which could also contribute to the lack of "familiar faces" that we like to point out in this intermittent series of course. 

I asked him about this in our interview and he quickly cited his most well known collaborations (Russell Crowe and Sigourney Weaver) but shrugged the lack of general repetition off, diplomatically, as a matter of timing. If he made smaller pictures, he explained, he'd jump at the chance to work with actors he enjoyed the first time around again. Before we switched topics he name-checked Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender as happy repeats. Perhaps as a result of the scarcity of examples, any repetition of actors in his filmography feels like something of a happy accident to we moviegoers rather than an intentional choice. 

Let's look at Ridley's repeat actors after the jump... who would you like to see him work with again? 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct072015

Forever "Chasing Rainbows"

While there may have been no news for years on that proposed (new) Anne Hathaway as Judy Garland biopic, that hasn't stopped other creatives from continuing to rob her grave. Will Judy ever rest in peace?

Not that we mind entertainment projects periodically winning The World's Greatest Entertainer new generations of fans whose parents weren't even born until after she died. But it does occassionally strike even this diehard Judy G fan as creepy, this perpetual exhuming of her corpse... If any of these projects came with a guarantee of pristine restorations and theatrically released revivals of her films outside of The Wizard of Oz, we'd grab a shovel ourselves!

Playbill reports that a new biographical Judy Garland musical will be heading (eventually... 2018?) to the Broadway stage. The twist is this: less tragic. The jukebox musical, which already has backing and which will be dubbed "Chasing Rainbows," apparently ends with The Wizard of Oz... the beloved classic that was released when Judy was all of 17 years old. The seeds of her tragedy were already planted by then of course but they had yet to bloom. 

The Judy Garland story with a vaguely happy ending? Curious. 

Tuesday
Oct062015

NYFF: Sing the Electric "Steve Jobs"

Reporting from the ongoing New York Film Festival here is Jason on Oscar hopeful "Steve Jobs".

It should surprise no one that a movie directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin is all about rhythm. The rhythm is established at the start (and Steve Jobs runs zero to sixty so you'd best get a grip quick) and pulses outwards like the blink of a cursor, or a techno beat. You could probably set your watch to it... if you were a maniacal math genius who could work out the exact algorithm they're working off of. 

The new film is structured around three events in Jobs professional life: his first presentation of his Macintosh computer in 1984; the "perfect black cube" of the NeXT machine in 1988 after he was fired from Apple; and his triumphant return to the company a decade later with the crayola-tinted iMac every girl in my college dorm owned. Within each chapter, there are a series of sonnets of sorts, devoted to the folks in his life - his daughter, his work-wife, his boss, so on. The pieces shift once the rhythm is established, but structurally speaking the film is rigorous, in a (and I do not use these words lightly) soul-pleasing kind of way. Once you find your way in to Steve Jobs, there's this satisfaction in expectations, and the massaging thereof. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct062015

Miscellania: Flatlining at Fury Road Hotel

• Ellen Page to lead the remake of 1990s film Flatliners [/Film]
• Leonardo DiCaprio walks the walk he talks. He joined a coalition of groups with combined holdings of 2.6 trillion dollars to defund climate change. (At this rate he'll win the Jean Hersholt before an actual Oscar) [New Yorker]
• Any mention of Twin Peaks is still making us tear up, given the Log Lady's recent death, but the 3rd season casting is well underway: Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard are joining [Empire]
• Do Dump or Marry...American Horror Story: Hotel edition [MNPP]
• Speaking of... Ryan Murphy has already offered Gaga Season 6 as well [Twitter]


• I don't really watch SNL (way too many DOA skits) but loved this bit with Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton opposite Hillary Clinton as bartender "Val". She does a pretty fun Trump impression [YouTube]
• Belgian director Chantal Akerman, whose most famous film was 1975's Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and whose new film No Home Movie we just covered for NYFF, has passed away suddenly at only 65 years of age [The Guardian]
• You can learn a lot about filmmaking from George Miller's speech on Mad Max Fury Road [Mentorless]
• Claire Danes finally broke her silence on that whole infamous early Aughts scandal when she took up with Billy Crudup. [Pajiba]  
• What are the best performances and films from the past 5 years? Sati goes all in for Mad Max Fury Road from this year but it's fun to be reminded of a few others [Cinematic Corner]
• Will Smith confirms that Jared Leto was The Joker at all times on The Suicide Squad set. [Complex]
• Rooney Mara is still being asked about the whitewashing of Tiger Lily for Pan. Still has nothing useful to say about it beyond feeling "bad". Than why take the role, Rooney? It's not like you're hurting for offers! [People]
• 50 Cent, who is no longer popular as far as I'm aware, blames the slightly declined popularity of Empire (still mega popular) on its gay content. Charming. [Towleroad]
• Marvel is trusting its in-house writer's program. Black Panther, due in theaters in 33 months, hasn't been written yet, but will likely go to Joe Robert Cole, who is part of the program that Nicole Perlman (interviewed here) was in before Guardians of the Galaxy [Variety]  
• Ashley Judd now sharing with press that a studio mogul offered her an Oscar nomination for sexual favors. Gross. ("If only Oscar nominations were that easy to come by" - Everyone who has never received one.) [Variety]
• Channing Tatum stepping behind the camera for the first time as director for teen with gun murder drama Forgive Me Leonard Peacock [/Film]
• Not everyone is happy about Warner Bros choice of writer/director on their feature film version of The Flash the novelist Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter). (Also why do an unrelated film when the TV show is so good?) [CHUD]
• 15 best films from Fantastic Fest? FSR has a genre-loving list that includes festival titles we l-o-v-e like The Witch, the soon to open Crimson Peak, and even an Oscar submission, Belgium's Brand New Testament [Film School Rejects]
• George Miller claims that two more Mad Max sequels are coming. Don't hold your breath. Remember that Fury Road was in pre-production as early as the late 90s!  [Tracking Board

Tuesday
Oct062015

NYFF: Spielberg's frosty Bridge of Spies

Manuel reporting from the New York Film Festival on Steven Spielberg's latest Cold War film.

Bridge of Spies opens with a man working on a self-portrait. There’s a weariness to his features that he’s ably translating from his mirrored reflection onto his canvas. There’s a purpose to every brush stroke he takes. He works methodically. Silently.

Spielberg, long admired for large-scale adventures and expertly crafted action sequences, seems to have entered a quieter phase of his career. While War Horse seemed to play to his strengths, while trying John Ford on for size, the talky Lincoln showed that the director could create a kinetic urgency even in what was, for the most part, a chamber piece about laws and votes. Bridge of Spies pushes further still in this direction. Yes, we’re dealing with spies, and fallen aircrafts, government agents and tense phone calls, but at its heart, this is yet another installment of the Cold War-as-bureaucracy genre. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct062015

12 Questions: A Room with Ultron's View of the XXL Freakshow

It's easy to get lost in future film excitement this time of year. So let's step back for a moment into the now. Here are two handfuls of key new releases on DVD. Answer nine questions about them in the comment party (it's not a party if people don't show up so do RSVP, wont'cha?)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Joss Whedon juggles dozens of powereds but struggles to make the whole as good as all the parts
Q1:  Would you kill me if I went deep on this in a future miniseries? Yes, I'm a crazy person who has already seen it thrice. And yes I speak out loudly about the damaging effects of superhero culture on cinema but... but... but I have this terrible soft spot for all things Captain America

Dark Places the Gillian Flynn adaptation that never seemed to open!
Q2: Are you covering your ears right now delusionally "Charlize Theron only made one movie this year and it was awesome!!!" ?

Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison of Belief in which Alex Gibney (and presumably a team of top HBO lawyers) take on the "Church" of Scientology and its famous disciples
Q3: Did you feel more or less for Tom Cruise in His Bubble after seeing this? 
Q4: Do you think this has a shot at the Documentary Oscar?

Magic Mike XXL in which Channing Tatum and Company attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle without as much flesh peddling
Q5: What is your favorite scene in this movie other than "Chez Andie MacDowell" ? (obvs the best scene)
Q6: Which of the strippers do you most want a lap dance from? 

Dame Besties (Smith/Dench) are pure delight in "A Room With a View"

A Room With a View (Criterion Collection) in which Merchant & Ivory found their breakthrough hit, provided the world with ridiculous amounts of joy (seriously this movie) and helped launch the careers of three-named wonders Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day Lewis in this picturesque influential comedy about stuffy Brits at home and abroad.
Q7:  Will you join us for BEST SHOT on this one if we do it on Wednesday October 14th?

Spy in which Melissa McCarthy gets to star in her own comedy James Bond movie. 
Q8: It's weird to think of McCarthy movies on DVD or BluRay right? They all  feel like they are all made specifically to be on loop on cable channels for years to come until everyone can quote them verbatim.
Q9: Do you know what a sad Bulgarian clown looks like? 

When Marnie Was There in which a lonely young girl is sent to live in the country and encounters a mysterious mansion
Q10: Do you think Studio Ghibli will somehow rally and start making features again? 

Zipper in which Patrick Wilson has trouble keeping it in his pants
Q11: Why didn't they just use that for the tagline? 

TV Seasons
The Leftovers (S1), Jane the Virgin (S1), iZombie (S1), Fresh Off the Boat (S1), Penny Dreadful (S2), Vikings (S3), Grimm (S4), AHS: Freakshow (S4), South Park (S18)

Q12: Do you watch any of those shows or did you stop reading this the second you realized that American Horror Story Freakshow is now on Netflix Instant Watch where you can watch Finn Wittrock oil himself up, bathe in blood, and suck alcholo from nippled baby bottles whenever the mood strikes you?