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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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Yes No Maybe So - Big Eyes

"The trailer won me over with two phrases:
1) "Lady art doesn't sell".
2) "I've been lying to my daughter".
- Adri

"A Tim Burton movie with the title Big Eyes that features neither Ricci, Ryder, Keaton nor Bonham Carter just doesn't seem right..." -Paul



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Posters, Links, Handguns

Via Awards Daily, the Albert Nobbs teaser poster. Enjoy it while you can as you know it'll soon be replaced with a boring poster of Glenn Close's floating head. Or perhaps Glenn Close and Mia Wasikowska photographed separately and then awkwardly fused together? Something I'll never understand: it's not like actors are never in the same room. Why not shoot movie poster photography ON THE SET? This shouldn't sound like a genius idea but given the state of movie posters, it is.

On the other hand... staying positive for a moment, we probably bitch too much about bad poster design these days. In truth there's a lot of very good work being done these past few years with the caveat that 95% of the good work is happening in the "teaser" realm rather than within the world of official movie poster. Perhaps Hollywood assumes that the movie obsessive crowds are inspired by good design but the unwashed masses only understand giant floating heads or horizontal stripes featuring film stills?

Oh and while we're talking posters... MELANCHOLIA. It's also a beauty. Love the little curlicue flourish.

Upcoming Films
Scott Feinberg
liked the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid "sequel" Blackthorn at the Tribeca Film Festival with high marks for Sam Shepard as Butch.
Hero Complex
JJ Abrams names seven films that influenced the upcoming Super 8.
Tom Shone Smart take on why the superhero movie is suddenly going retro with Captain America and X-Men First Class.
Towleroad I look at the men of May at the movies. Who is headlining? Who should we obsess over? 
Artsbeat Tribeca Film Festival Winners 

Towleroad Alex Pettyfer talks about his dick and reveals that he is one. Note to upcoming movie stars: do not act like stardom is a burden when you're still trying to win it. It's a turnoff -- most people would kill to switch places with you. If you turn people off before they're turned on, you're a trivia answer within a couple of years or completely forgotten.

Observations on Film Art wonderful piece on the visual language of movie endings and beginnings.
Gold Derby the Globes and the BAFTAs reveal their awards calendars. Once Oscar chimes in everyone else follows. 

Txnologist futuristic cars in the movies, they're totally into gullwings and butterfly wings and not today's boring doors that open sideways.
i09 lists the greatest handguns in sci-fi history so if you like Firefly, Farscape, Star Trek and the like, read on.


Open Thread

We haven't done one of these in awhile and I'm having some scheduling difficulties in getting a few different articles finished. So... SPEAK UP. What's on your mind? Anything film related or film adjacent is just fine. (Perhaps it'll inspire us to write something.)



Unsung Heroes: The Production Design of 'Oldboy'

Michael C from Serious Film here. I watched the subject of today's column again recently for maybe the third or fourth time and it simply demanded to be written about.


What is it about Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy (2003) that makes it so difficult to shake? 

My thoughts kept returning to it for months after seeing it for the first time. I certainly admired it for its wickedly clever plotting and for the actors' fearlessly committed performances. Yet there are lots of movies I admire that don’t haunt me like this one did.

I think I find my way back to Oldboy so often because it feels unlike every other movie out there. The world of Oldboy is presented as a version of reality (nothing takes place without an explanation, however over-the-top) but the more I think about it, the more I realize Oldboy is as much a fantasy as Star Wars or Blade Runner. Only instead of being set in the future or on a different planet, it takes the world we know and edges it into the stuff of nightmares. A place where seemingly normal locations such as a schoolyard or a computer lab are warped and foreboding in ways we can’t always put our finger on. 

And that is just what the production designer Seong-hie Ryu does with the mundane locations. The script of Oldboy calls for a few places where there is no precedent to draw from. The task of designing a room where a man has to remain imprisoned for fifteen years for no apparent reason is a daunting one. That horrible little room is the emotional core of the whole story. It needs to make an impression. Ryu responds with a masterpiece of art direction, and he does it with some cheap motel furniture, a sickening color scheme and above all else that hellish “inspirational” painting on the wall.

But as unforgettable as that room is, the real tour de force of production design is the apartment of the story’s villain Woo-jin Lee. Just as challenging as crafting a cell worthy of the film's riveting opening sequence, is the creation of a stage suitable for the operatic tragedy of Oldboy’s climax.

So many of the details are so perfectly chosen, from that pond with its narrow walkways to the ominous littering about of antique cameras. My favorite detail is that amazing giant cube that opens up into a closet. It serves the multiple purposes of 1) being objectively fascinating to look at. I’ve never seen one of those before. 2) Fleshing out the character of Woo-jin Lee. Be wary of any man with a closet like that. 3) Being just the right amount of creepy and portentous, and 4) Being a great subtle symbol for the hidden secrets that are about to reveal themselves. Not bad for one piece of furniture.

That apartment, along with that prison where Oh Dae-su spends those fifteen years, goes on a list alongside Jack Rabbit Slim’s in Pulp Fiction and the lair of the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. Movie locations I will not soon forget



Vilanch & Musto: Crystal or Jackman?

Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch and the Village Voice's Michael Musto are such enduring sidebar figures of popular culture that it was kind of right somehow to read them conversing in the Village Voice. They talk comedy, James Franco, Cher, racist carnival barkers (that's Donald Trump if you haven't been paying attention), and more. But mostly it's about the Oscars.

Here's a tidbit.

Musto: Who will host next year's Oscars?

Vilanch: I think there might be a revival of Billy Crystal. It was such a success. They were so happy to see him that even as we speak, they're sending a gold wagon to his house: "Please come back!" My guess is they'll go back to a comedian—maybe just one person, so you don't have to worry about servicing two. I'd like not even a comic but a Renaissance person like Hugh Jackman. Or someone may surface. It's Charlie Sheen's time!

I'm with Vilanch on this one. Would love to see Jackman back. You?


Melanie's Mini Memoir: Winslet, Jackson and "Heavenly Creatures"

Our Wednesday night series Hit Me With Your Best Shot resumes on May 4th with David Lynch's Eraserhead (see the May & June schedule here), but tonight we bring you A Very Special Episode.

We knew from Twitter that the actress Melanie Lynskey (Win Win) enjoyed this particular series. After our group gaze at Heavenly Creatures (1994), which happened to be her film debut, she sent us the following note with permission to publish it. How great! Melanie is currently in movie theaters as the troubled mom in Win Win but she's got two more films on the way. She's completed work on Eye of the Hurricane co-starring with Campbell Scott (another underrated actor) and Touchback, a sports fantasy starring Kurt Russell. 

Melanie takes it from here...

"So excited you did a Hit Me With Your Best Shot on "Heavenly Creatures". I loved reading what everyone had to say. I don't know if I can do a *best* shot, but the one that came to mind instantly as being the most symbolic of my experience on the movie as a whole is a small scene which is part of the montage in the early scenes of the friendship (you talked a bit about that montage). There's a shot where Diana Kent dabs her lips with a napkin at a dinner table and the camera swoops around the table and settles on me imitating the way she does that.

It's kind of a weird shot for me to choose; there are so many beautiful shots in the movie (the amazing Alun Bollinger, AlBol!) and so many moments I so clearly remember filming because I was so connected to Kate in that moment, or I was going through some crazy emotional turmoil for a scene and there it is, captured forever.

Filming that little dining room scene, to witness Peter's energy and how badly he wanted this tiny little moment to work out was about the most inspiring thing my little 15 year old self could see. He had this idea, and he wanted to make it work, and every take we did felt exciting, because we were all so invested in making that shot happen. I remember looking around the room and really feeling so grateful to be exactly where I was at that moment, with a group of frustrated people in a little room doing the same thing over and over.

I cant remember how many takes we did. We did it many times and I remember Peter just being so committed, even though it was proving very difficult to capture. The timing was very tricky.  The feeling of being part of a group of collaborators working together to create something was so powerful to me. I felt so fortunate to be part of the group.

The scene in the bathtub where it's all kind of blue - i remember that one like it was yesterday, it was so intense, the feeling in the room. And the shot of Kate is insane, about as beautiful as it gets. And any scene with Sarah Peirse feels extraordinary to me because she gave such a beautiful, honest performance. She just amazes me.

When I think about that shoot, the thing that I think about is how completely excited I was to be doing my first professional acting job, and how the most exciting times for me were those where I was sitting there thinking...

This is a movie. This is what it's like when people make a movie. This is amazing.

When Peter would get all excited about something, he would get like a little boy and it was adorable. Every camera move he and AlBol came up with was just mesmerising. The pieces would all click together and the chemistry of the scene would start to be created, and to me, it felt like magic.

They always wanted movement, and we as actors were always timing what we were doing to the camera move. Kate and I needed to have so much energy at all times, and Peter and AlBol and the way they were shooting really contributed to this sort of breathless, intense, excited headspace that we pretty much lived in for 3 months. Kate and I would go home at the end of a long day and hang out for hours just jabbering away to each other."

We sincerely thank Melanie Lynskey for this mini-window back to the making of one of the best films of the 1990s. [Here's the original post which prompted it.]

Next Wednesday on "HMWYBS" we're discussing David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977). Join us with your own choice or just be here for the discussion. Eraserhead is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch.



Julianne Moore, You Betcha!

Look, it's Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin ☛

I fear my immense warm love for Julianne colliding with my enormous cool hatred of Palin will cause inner tornadoes! Isn't that how it works? Or perhaps these two poles of feeling will just cancel each other out until I feel absolutely nothing while watching Game Change.

Sarah Palin has so many catch phrases and behavioral quirks that it's difficult to imagine someone portraying her without resorting to caricature mimicry but good luck, Julianne.

The cast for Game Change, which we had some fun casting ourselves, is coming together. Julianne's partner in endless Oscar losses Ed Harris, will lose the presidency with her as John McCain. But what about her kids? Relatively unknown Kevin Bigley will play Track and Melissa Farman (Temple Grandin) will play Bristol. No word on the Obamas, Clintons or Edwards yet but production starts next week. This is from Recount's writer (Buffy alum Danny Strong) and director (Jay Roach)so if you liked that one...

Are you more or less excited for this project now gazing upon this photo? Do Emmy Awards await?


Sweet Sally

Happy birthday to Sally Hawkins who turns 35 today.

We love her. In fact, if that's a love note she's holding we probably sent it! Submarine is on the screening schedule for tomorrow. Can't wait.

After Happy-Go-Lucky and Made in Dagenham we wonder what kind of miracle it's going to take to get her an Oscar nomination.


Bear Force One: The Movie

I kicked off our reader appreciation series last month with an interview with Alex, aka BBats. Wanted to let you know that he's currently co-starring in the comedy short Bear Force One in which the President of the USA declares wars on Bears*. It won the Best of the Fest at LA Comedy Shorts Festival earlier this month.

You'll have to be in the right mood for this (think South Park's love of grotesque animated yuks and you're in the general comedic vicinity) but bless BBats for being so shameless.** If you watch you'll know what I mean when you hit the interrogration scene wherein he lets his freak fur literally fly.


Love the end credits song. I was wondering when that joke was coming.

*The blog is being overrun by animals lately: elephants, monkeys, bears. I have no idea what's going on.

**This is the first (but not the only) reason I knew I could never be an actor from the word go. I am so easily embarassed.