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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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Tuesday
Feb052013

Beasts of the Southern Secret Garden

JA from MNPP here, taking a look at the news of the day - newly Oscar nominated writer Lucy Alibar, who adapted her play into the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, has just been announced as the writer of a new movie adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's much loved (not to mention much adapted) 1911 serial-turned-novel The Secret Garden. For a hot minute it seemed as if Guillermo Del Toro was going to direct it, but he's too busy making giant robots fight giant monsters so he's just gonna produce.

The Secret Garden is about, well, a largely orphaned girl who gets left to her own devices amid overgrown nature, where she allows her imagination to run wild. Sound familiar? I just can't imagine how Alibar got the gig. Apparently the action is being shifted from England to "the American South at the turn of the 20th Century," as well.

The Secret Garden's already been adapted several times - I remember liking the 1993 version with Maggie Smith, although it's been a very long time since I've seen it.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Burning Questions: What Kind of Sequels Should Be Made?

I've hijacked Michael C's column this week because I have a burning question of my own to ask. 

With that hot buzz for Before Midnight from Sundance warming the expectant hearts of even the coldest cinephiles this winter (it'll win more fans in warmer temperatures next month at SXSW), I've been thinking about movie sequels. Why do we get them, how we receive them, and whether or not we need them.

The first and usually sole reason of "why" is money. Humans are creatures of habit so it's an organic reality that nearly every artform indulges in sequels (whether they're named as such or not) and has since long before "branding" was a term people without business acumen understood. Branding is so common and catch-phrasey now that even non-sequels feel like sequels. What is, for instance, each new Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaboration but an endless series of sequels Johnny & Tim: Now...Vampiric. Johnny & Tim: Now... Caloric... Now... Johnny & Tim: in Garish 3D. Usually sequels make enough money to suggest that Hollywood should make them forever and preferrably split each sequel up into two parts to double investment. And, if they can control costs, make them for everything that was successful. 

But what kind of sequels should be made?

Maybe it's the edge-of-my-seat expectant bliss/wracked nerves regarding Before Midnight (dare I trust the critics who've already seen it? Critics are least trustworthy, I find, during the heat of festival mania and during the heat of awards season when constant conversation/groupthink and jetlag/movie-binging are most likely to affect them.) Maybe it's my now comical tries at seeing Yossi (things keep going wrong and I still haven't seen it!) which is the ten-years later sequel to the charming Israeli gay drama Yossi & Jagger (2003). The point being that I've decided that my absolute favorite kind of sequel is the "let's drop in on these characters again for no particular reason" When these films are done right it feels like they're done for the art of it, to illustrate what changes and insights the passage of time brings. And because we love spending the time with the characters. Now of course this doesn't always work out. The Evening Star was a big letdown for anyone expecting Terms of Endearment 2. But in concept, why not revisit one of the most indelible characters of 1980s cinema?

Terminator 2: The Return of Sarah Connor

Come to think of it this stance also helps explains my super-intense abiding love for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) which is a sequel of the traditional kind (i.e. this will make TONS of money!) but which I would rank -- easily -- near the tippity top of a list of the greatest sequels ever made. And that's largely because of the authentically shocking evolution of character. The Sarah Connor therein is nothing like the one we met in 1984 but once you're past the 'what the hell!?'reveal the new one feels like a natural progression nonetheless to traumatic events from the first film. And it immediately shows how lazily written most characters are in sequels where nothing between films has ever affected them. Big blockbusters so rarely feel that deeply rooted in actual human drama. 

What kind of sequels do you long for?
Which film characters would you love to drop in on again?

 

Monday
Feb042013

20 Days 'til Oscar: The Live Action Shorts

Amir here. Yesterday we had a look at the animated short films nominated for an Oscar this year. Today we’re moving on to the live action shorts. In a nice bit of symmetry with the animation category, this one also features two great films and three not-so-great ones. Collectively, however, these nominees are a much stronger bunch than last year’s.

First up is Death of a Shadow, a Belgian-French co-production starring Franco-cinema’s it-boy Matthias Schoenaarts. It’s a fantasy film about a soldier whose job it is to capture the moment of death on a camera that registers shadows. The images are stored in a collection by the (very creepy) patron of his photography. Eventually, his love for a woman called Sarah pushes him to make her lover the final victim of his photography. It sounds concept-y, and quite frankly, it is. The visual effects leave a bit to be desired, but the much bigger problem is the complete lack of emotional resonance. The biggest achievement of Death of a Shadow is the impossible feat of making Schoenaarts look unattractive.

Four more shorts after the jump including the probable Oscar winner

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb042013

"Bunheads" And Its Movie-Referencing Siblings

[Editor's Note: I keep forgetting to write about Bunheads so my friend Susan offered to step in. We both watch the show religiously so here's Susan with a take I mostly agree with -- if enough of you are watching we'll discuss again. I love the show.]

Sutton Foster in "Bunheads"

Up until this past summer, I had never watched a show on ABC Family. Not that I have anything against ABC . Or families. But thanks to Sutton Foster, I decided to give Bunheads a try. While the show’s rapid-fire, pop culture infused dialogue can sometimes be more exhausting than exhilarating; I’ve come to appreciate its rhythms and strongly beating heart. Those beats are familiar to fans of Amy Sherman-Palladino, who previously created the much-loved Gilmore Girls

I come to Bunheads as a virtual Sherman-Palladino virgin, bringing my appreciation for Foster and not much else. In some ways, I think that’s a good thing. I don’t watch Bunheads through a “this is like Gilmore Girls, this is different; this is better, this is worse” prism. Foster’s character, former showgirl Michelle Simms, is not Lorelai Gilmore-light to me, even if she does share some (fast-talking) characteristics with that previous Sherman-Palladino creation. 

As a newbie to the Sherman-Palladino-verse, I welcome insight from those who are more familiar with it or from those of you who are fans of Foster, Sherman-Palladino or the show [More after the jump including the show's love of movie references]

Hunter Foster guest stars on "Bunheads" starring his real life two-time Tony winning sister.

 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb042013

Link Bowl

AP the inventor of Etch-a-Sketch has died. If I still had one still, i would draw you the saddest frown right now. Unhappy about this!
YouTube "Upside Downton Abbey" via Sesame Street
Playbill interviews Sebastian Stan who has now made a name for himself on all three actors mediums: film, tv, and stage (with Picnic, previously discussed)
BuzzFeed why The Amazing Spider-Man sequel will prove to be a bizarro version of Spider-Man 3 


Comics Alliance this made me lol'an extensive discussion of Batman punching animals'
Salon Richard Kramer remembers his mentor Pauline Kael
/Film Matthew Modine has had his diaries from Full Metal Jacket made into an iPad App. Great idea.
Carpetbagger Wreck-It Ralph scores at the Annie Awards
Empire Johnny Depp might finally play a non cartoon again. He could attend Black Mass, a true story crime drama, with Barry Levinson directing. He's done this genre before to varying but mostly positive results (Public Enemies, Donnie Brasco

Awards Daily on the conjoined fall & rise of Zero Dark Thirty and Argo
The New Yorker nominated The Paperboy for future camp classic now that it's on DVD "where it belongs"
Jeremy Helligar on why Joaquin Phoenix should win the Oscar instead of Day Lewis. Love this bit... 

Quell was a mix of standout characteristics of at least three of the characters played by Phoenix's Best Actor Oscar competition, a drunk like Washington's Whip Whitaker, cuckoo like Cooper's Pat Solitano (though hardly recovering) and criminal like Jackman's Jean Valjean (again, hardly reformed). If The Master had been set 100 years earlier, circa 1850, I have no doubt that Freddie would have wanted to free the slaves, too.

Do you have any impossible dream of Daniel's third going to someone else?

Sunday
Feb032013

21 Days 'til Oscar: The Animated Shorts

Amir here. Every year I promise myself to try harder to keep in the loop with short films. Then, on this weekend I realize just how badly I've failed and console myself by watching the few that are Oscar-nominated. In an incomprehensible feat of planning, TIFF cancelled its screening of the documentary shorts for the second year running (presumably for copyright reasons?) so I’ll stick to the other two categories. Let’s start with the animated ones. 

The shortest film in the crop is Fresh Guacamoleyou can watch it here - a stop-motion recipe for making guacamole with light bulbs, baseballs and dice. Though it had the theatre laughing throughout its short runtime, I think its similarities with Western Spaghetti will keep voters from going for it. It’s an innovative film that takes the audience by surprise if they’re unfamiliar with its predecessor. It’s also the only film to ever make an entire room of people salivate over poker chips, but down the line, I think it will have to be happy to be nominated.

four more after the jump

Click to read more ...