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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Michelle Pfeiffer and Grease 2

"I can't pass a ladder without seriously considering whether I should climb it and start belting Cool Rider" -Joey

"No matter what anyone says (even Nathaniel!), Grease 2 is awesome and Pfeiffer is wonderful in it."-Charlie

 

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Thursday
Dec112014

Team FYC: The Grand Budapest Hotel for Sound Editing and Mixing

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. Here's Teo on the sound work in Golden Globe nominee, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

 By now, Wes Anderson's house style has become so familiar that it can be easy to take it (and him) for granted. But for fans, the surface similarity of his films is just an invitation to look for the differences. And in every way, a closer look at The Grand Budapest Hotel pays off.

I had the opportunity to sound edit a film over the summer. It was a documentary, but in a process like sound editing, the difference between documentary and fiction film is generally negligible. You fix what the on-set mics couldn't capture. You try to find or create sounds that can approximate what you lost. What's unique about Anderson's sound editing is that he doesn't try to make his films sound like reality any more than he tries to make his films look like reality. Instead, Wes Anderson's films are filled with sounds that are almost hyper-real. They're crisply recorded and minimal in their design...

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Thursday
Dec112014

The Animated Feature contenders: Cheatin'

Tim here, with another look at one of the lower-profile submissions to the Academy in the Best Animated Feature category. This time around, we’ve got Cheatin’, the sixth feature-length animated movie from Bill Plympton (seven if we count an anthology made of his earlier shorts), one of most iconic names in independent American animation. I will not say that to see his work is to love his work – there’s too much aggressive grotesquerie in his character designs and morbid humor for that to be true – but I do think that it’s pretty hard to imagine anyone watching his beloved Oscar-nominated 2004 short Guard Dog and not walking out a committed fan.

In the meanwhile, we’re here to talk about Cheatin’, and what an absolutely wonderful film it is, too. It would be hard to defend it as Plympton’s best work: his sense of humor works so perfectly in the context of a short, where he can run in, land a few quick sucker punches, and run back out again. But “best” or not, it’s still a stunning work of unexpected emotional complexity and images scratched out in Plympton’s customary aesthetic, looking like delicately-shaded color pencil sketches of distorted, unyielding human forms.

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Thursday
Dec112014

Interview: Joan Chen and Zhu Zhu of "Marco Polo"

Reader for more binge-watching? The new Netflix event Marco Polo debuts tomorrow! Here's Jose to talk to its glamorous stars...

The most surprising thing about Netflix's new series Marco Polo may be how much attention it gives to its non-titular female characters. Keep in mind, that the show takes place during the 13th century, an era in which women had little say in politics and were ignored by the history books filled as they are with male explorers and conquistadors, including the title character played by the gorgeous Lorenzo Richelmy. In a show which could have treated its women like decorative supporting objects, series creator John Fusco, the writers, and the actresses make them the most fascinating people we meet. As the boys plan wars, train in kung fu and engage in sword fights of all varieties, the women show their power through intellect.

Two of the best characters in the show are Empress Chabi, played by international film and television goddess Joan Chen (Twin Peaks, Lust Caution), and Princess Kokochin, played by Zhu Zhu. Where the former is serene, to the point where her harshest decisions become chilling, the latter is more explosive. 

Other than its lead (Richelmy), who during the first season is mostly a vessel through which we see the clash of cultures, Marco Polo’s ensemble is completely non-white, something Chen highlighted during our conversation. In a time when Hollywood continues to practice whitewashing in casting, it's refreshing to see a show with people of so many different nationalities and races.

Chen and Zhu Zhu were gracious enough to discuss their process, their inspiration and the importance of history. Our talk is after the jump.

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Thursday
Dec112014

GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS

No, Paula Patton did not become a Hollywood Foreign Press Associate. But she was helping with the nominations in the wee hours. The complete list of nominations with some commentary (more to come in additional posts) is after the jump...

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Thursday
Dec112014

ICYMI. Play Catch-Up!

December and January are always the busiest months in these parts so even if you're clicking over regularly your bound to miss something. Tragedy! 

[Quieting the inner drama queen now.] Perhaps it's not tragic, in the standard definition, but it's sad. Why miss a post you might love just because you overslept one day, partied one night, or (gasp) went offline for a full 24 hours (pull yourself together, reader, never do that again -- that's what April and August are for!). Herewith a handful of recent key posts you may have missed but shouldn't have! And the unending swath of awards news in list form.

Five Musts
Jake's Southpaw... would you rather?
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is going gray; he just hit 50
Monty smells Cake. Will Oscar? 
Podcast goes behind the Critics Awards curtain. How do those votes happen?
Amy vs. Nick. Where's your vote gone, girl?  

Awards Updates Golden Globe Nods | OFCS Mommy issues | SAG Nominees |  AFI conservativeness | Grammy detour | Help me with my "Critics Choice" ballot

Interview Jamboree
We've really been hitting the 1:1 circuit hard this year so we hope we're not overwhelming you with information so much as spoiling you with pleasure and making 2015 even more difficult for ourselves by way of 'how to top this?'. Before we move into yet more interviews (18 still to transcribe. whew) and the Year in Review Madness which begins tonight and lasts forever [insert nefarious laugh] you really should play catch up with these highlights: the inimitable actress who loves to play wild women; the legend who turned down Sex & the City; the iconoclast who won't option her own life story to the movies; the perfect specimen who plays with the superheroes; and the visionary who made that crazy convincing ape village; and last, but by no means least, the one and only shockingly versatile Carrie Coon, that newbie who humanized Ben Affleck onscreen just after wowing everyone on stage in Woolf and killing it on TV in The Leftovers.

Will all the statues one day belong to her? 

All of that and you still haven't liked us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter or donated (see sidebar) or told all your friends and relatives about us ?! What more do you want from us - Blood!?

 

Wednesday
Dec102014

Interview: Introducing Carrie Coon, 2014's Most Exciting New Actress

Carrie Coon at the premiere of Gone Girl in NYCActors who can register potently in all three acting mediums are less common than you'd think. Some movie stars are duds on stage (and vice versa) and, though it's becoming less of an issue as mediums shift and even merge, you can sometimes spot noticeable scale shifts in charisma in the actors who jump back and forth between TV and film as if one is the place they were born to live in and the other a nice place to visit. The lines may be blurring as more and more actors make a habit of doing all three but some actors seem right everywhere. It's not the medium but the acting itself that's their true home.

Carrie Coon is not a superstar (yet) -- "I'm not famous," she insists as we settle into our conversation about her breakthrough year -- but whichever medium you first caught her in, chances are you've already fallen. In a shockingly swift and continuous series of firsts over the past year and a half she's logged her first Broadway show (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Tony Nomination 2013) her first series regular TV (The Leftovers, expect nominations any second now) and her first film (Gone Girl, a huge hit, and inarguably one of the most talked about features of the year even if its awards season prospects are still hard to read).

Perhaps it's a case of mutual Midwestern ease but our hastily scheduled phone call feels not unlike meeting a very cool stranger a party who is completely chill and ready to TALK.

Our conversation on Gone Girl & The Leftovers is after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec102014

A Year with Kate: This Can't Be Love (1994)

Episode 50 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn starred in a movie with Jason Bateman, which will make every game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon you play significantly easier.

This is it. We’ve reached the final year of Katharine Hepburn’s career. Did Kate know that the three films she made in 1994 would be her last? Did she feel herself slowing down and decide that sixty two years in the spotlight were enough? Since she made no official announcement, it’s impossible to know Kate’s reasons for sure. Still, considering this was Kate’s last starring role, This Can’t Be Love feels like a retirement announcement.

Kate’s first final film was This Can’t Be Love, another TV movie starring Katharine Hepburn as Katharine Hepburn. Actually, she plays Marion Bennett, a world-renowned, Academy Award-winning actress who eschews public life and spends a lot of time being loveably grouchy to her chauffeur (an adorable puppydog-ish Jason Bateman). In Bennett’s younger days, she’d had a torrid offscreen affair with her co-star Michael Reyman (Anthony Quinn). Umpteen years later, Reyman has re-entered Marion’s life, but his intentions are more than merely amorous.

It’s a formula we know well by now, so let’s just settle in and enjoy it. Sprinkle the script with references to Kate’s career, add bits of Quinn’s womanizing past, mix in an opposites attract romance that sounds almost-but-not-quite-unlike Tracy & Hepburn, shake vigorously, and let the sophomoric senior squabbling begin. I actually considered making a drinking game out of counting Katharine Hepburn meta-references, but realized I’d get alcohol poisoning in the first hour. The African Queen, her brother Tom, Coco, her childhood nickname “Jimmy,” Song of Love, and even Rooster Cogburn get a shoutout. My favorite comes from Kate directly. It's a bit of dialog meant to echo the statue metaphor from The Philadelphia Story: “He put me on a pedestal. Good view, but awfully lonely up there.”

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