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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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What'cha Looking For?

New on DVD: Rabbit Hole, Bergman and oh yes, The King's Speech.

Jose here, with a roundup of this week's new DVD releases.

First up we have the Oscar winning The King's Speech which surprisingly hasn't been out on DVD for decades. Doesn't it feel like one of those movies you're used to passing by on video store aisles, next to things like Around the World in 80 Days, Oliver! and all those other Best Picture winners nobody remembers anymore? Maybe I'm alone on this one, since the film was so popular it ended up making $138 million in the North American box office. Will perennial home video popularity follow?

Much less popular, but inarguably more interesting, was Sofia Coppola's Somewhere which also debuts on DVD tomorrow. The Venice Film Festival winner was supposed to reignite Stephen Dorff's career but went by almost undetected by audiences. Give it a try at home, bask in its visual richness and join Nat next week as he features it in "Hit Me With Your Best Shot".

There is also a rerelease of From Dusk Till Dawn, which includes the documentary Full Tilt Boogie: a chronicle of the behind the scenes of the George Clooney vampire fest.

Speaking of things that suck, how crappy was it that Nicole Kidman failed to win any major awards for her moving turn in Rabbit Hole? This tale of grief and sorrow also contained a powerhouse performance by the always underrated Aaron Eckhart and great turns from the reliably good Dianne Wiest and Sandra Oh. The Blu-ray includes deleted scenes and audio commentary with director John Cameron Mitchell. I'd love to hear how he found the calm to direct this after his two outrageously "visual" previous movies.

Also out on DVD is Ingrid Bergman in Sweden a boxset that includes some of the legendary actress' most famous Swedish movies. The set includes Intermezzo (which she then remade for her Hollywood debut), A Woman's Face and making its DVD debut is June Night which was Ingrid's last Swedish movie before moving to America. 

Other new releases include Jane Campion's Sweetie making its Blu-ray debut courtesy of The Criterion Collection and Peter Weir's The Way Back.

 Excited about any of these releases? 


First and Last, Desert

Dave here filling in on another First and Last.

The first and last images from a motion picture.

Can you guess the movie?

Check the answer after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Make Way For The Many Angel-Headed Hipsters

JA from MNPP here, with the first couple of pictures from Walter Salles' adaptation of Jack Kerouac's semi-autobiographical classic On the Road. (via) On the right that's Sam Riley as Kerouac stand-in Sal Paradise, with Garrett Hedlund as Neal Cassidy stand-in Dean Moriarty. No look at Kristen Stewart or Kirsten Dunst or Viggo Mortensen, amongst others, yet. Apparently the few people who've seen the film so far are saying the film, and Stewart in particular, as very good. No specific release date's set yet but it should be out before the end of the year.

We just saw Kerouac and Cassidy on-screen last year in Howl, played by Todd Rotundi and Jon Prescott, seen here:

It's a popular time to be a Beat, eh? I wonder why On the Road's finally able to get made after all these years. Does anybody think Mad Men's successful fetishization of the Sixties has anything to do with it?



Nashville Pt. 2: Mardi Gras, "Normal" Movies, Dan Butler

Crap. I spilled glitter on the logo again!After the arriving excitement covered in Part One, it was down to watching movies. I started with a few documentaries: One Lucky Elephant and Project NIM (both of which I'll talk about tomorrow) and Sons of Tennessee Williams which is an intriguing and entertaining documentary on a very early pre-Stonewall civil rights victory for gays. And in the South no less! The film is primarily focused on the tradition of Mardi Gras costume balls. Maybe it could have used more thematic organization or stricter editing but the footage and wealth of old photographs are goldmine finds and really fill out the fascinating stories and interviews with living witnesses. The takeaway is pretty spot on -- we all ready need to be aware of history and stop getting complacent about hard-won civil rights. It can all be taken away from you.  I have a feeling this film will stick in the head, lingering like glitter. Have you ever used the stuff? You find that shit ev-er-y-where for months afterwards, nay, years! You find it in the weirdest places. It won't go away so thankfully it's shiny and pretty.

While I was waiting in the queue for the first documentary, a gaggle of noisy teenage and tweenage girls walked by en masse and two older female festival patrons behind me stared at them.

Woman #1: [confused] I don't understand what film they were here to see.
Woman #2: [matter of fact] It must have been a normal movie.

Normal. Hee. Festival movies are abnormal you see! Or maybe it's just that they're "films" as opposed to movies...  it struck me as funny until I realized that I also see unnormal movies at festivals. Which is to say that my normal movie-diet does not include much in the way of non-fiction but at festivals I seem to always be sticking my toes into documentary waters (they're generally warm and inviting, these metaphorical pools). I choose mostly on subject/story as I suspect regular moviegoers do at the box office which is probably why I should be less judgmental of "civilians" who rarely think about the man artists behind the curtain. "They" don't even seem to choose based on stars they love else films like Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams would be major hits because who doesn't love those two actors? Speaking of Ryan Gosling...

Industry Chat
One of my fellow jurors is Dan Butler, the actor. I've met him before at a previous festival when he was promoting his mockumentary Karl Rove, I Love You (2007). You might remember him as "Bulldog" from Frasier or as one of the geeky entomologists in The Silence of the Lambs [weird trivia note: He's also in Manhunter albeit as a different character so I think he's the only actor to appear in both of the first two Hannibal Lecter pictures?]. We had several opportunities to chat since we're jurying but I had to congratulate him on getting the Crazy Stupid Love gig.

Amy heard you crying in the bathroom. We all thought it was cancer.

He even gets a big joke in the trailer. I asked him if he knew he was going to be in the trailer but he had no idea until it came out. But he knew the scene "played," as they say, and it's one of the first big laughs in the movie. We talked about Ryan Gosling. "Sweet" and "talented" were the adjectives of choice. Of course we all knew about the talented part but it's good to hear that he's a nice guy, too. Dan plays "Cal's Boss", Cal being Steve Carrel. I told him I had looked up his "name" on IMDb.  He joked that character actors get very excited when they get roles with both first and last names because usually you get a first name or a last name or job title in this case. He obviously loved the part and said he had a great albeit very short time on the set of the star-studded comedy. Get this. He had to fly in to LA right after a performance Off Broadway, film this scene in the movie and fly right back to NYC to return to the play. I thought it sounded exhausting but he only had to miss one matinee performance for the filming. Dedication!

Showbiz people log many frequently flier miles. Perhaps that's one reason Up in the Air played so well with the Academy?



Box Office Takes Flight

Dave here rounding up the box office while Nat's away thinking about nicer things.

Parrots took over from rabbits at the top of the box office this weekend, although the fact that it still isn't Easter might give that foppish British bunny a boost this week. Or did they bounce him out too early? Rio signals the coming of summer by scooping the biggest opening weekend of the year so far, besting Rango's $38.1 million. Meanwhile, Scream 4 came in a pale second place, not even making half of Rio's total; and Nat will be delighted to learn that Academy Award Winner Helen Hunt's Soul Surfer held steady as others tumbled around it. Maybe Ghostface might be able to take a stab at her as he falls past her next week?
Jesse Eisenberg doesn't usually look so emotional at the movies...
The Box Office (Actuals)

01 RIO new $39.2
02 SCREAM 4 new $19.3
03 HOP $11.2 (cumulative $82.6)
04 SOUL SURFER $7.4 (cumulative $20.0)
05 HANNA $7.3 (cumulative $23.3)
06 ARTHUR $6.9 (cumulative $22.3)
07 INSIDIOUS $6.7 (cumulative $35.9)
08 SOURCE CODE $6.3 (cumulative $37.0)
10 YOUR HIGHNESS $3.9 (cumulative $16.0)

Disastrous numbers for the $45 million-budgeted Your Highness, crashing almost 60% in only its second week; but beautiful ones for the $1.5 million budget of Insidious, a bonefide hit that even looks likely to outgross horror rival Scream 4. Sometimes the little guys win!

And how the mighty Ghostface has fallen. Here's a usefulless comparison of the opening weekends for the whole series.

Of course, the original Scream started out small and ended up breaking $100 million, whereas the unfavorably received Scream 3 couped the biggest debut but faltered before $90 million. Those numbers are now just a forgotten dream for Scream 4, of course; how much do you think it'll end up grossing?

Lower down the chart, audiences shrugged at Atlas Shrugged (thanks Glenn), Win Win won a little extra on further expansion, and the biggest winner of the week was Italian thriller Double Hour, snatching the biggest per-screen average with $15,400... on its two screens. But what did you enjoy this weekend, in theatres or at home? I had a scream myself.

First and Last, Stopped Car

Andreas here with more First and Last while Nathaniel's away.

The first and last images from a motion picture:

Plus the first line of dialogue:

Oh my God...

Can you guess the movie?

Answer after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Take Three: Shelley Duvall

Craig here with Take Three. Today: Shelley Duvall

Take One: 3 Women (1977)

There aren’t very many characters like Millie Lammoreaux in the movies. Watching Robert Altman’s 1977 masterpiece 3 Women you can see why. Essentially there are two reasons: she’s a hard sell, commercially speaking, and Duvall has played her perfectly well here already; there’s no need for an imitation version from anyone else. Duvall made Millie so singularly and categorically her own. It’s her signature performance; the centrepiece on her C.V. As per the title, she shares the film with two other women: Sissy Spacek, as her new roommate and care-home co-worker Pinky Rose, and Janice Rule as Willie Hart, a local (to Millie’s apartment complex, the Purple Sage, where much of the film takes place) artist – the one who paints the mysterious swimming pool mural which seems so significant to these 3 Women, and (metaphorically?) permeates it with an uncommon atmosphere.

Millie’s unconventional in her desire to be the picture of conventionality, and therefore slightly barking by “normal” folks’ standards. She is awkward to be around, obsessed with women’s magazines and being the girl with the utmost social purpose, to an almost unhealthy degree; she’s too-brightly presented for her own good (literally and psychologically – her yellow and purple outfits cover a multitude of personality shortfalls), self-regarding, scared of tomatoes and is passive-aggressive 23 hours a day. But she’s never less than individual. A one-off. She’s also one of the most riveting, uncontainable and unique creations in all ‘70s American cinema. There’s humour in the awkwardness and then a wrenching sadness. We see Millie change, vividly and complexly, toward the film’s last scenes – just before the film waltzes gloriously off into its own unfathomable illogicality. Duvall quite rightly won Best Actress at Cannes and the LAFCAA for 3 Women. But she should have won much more.

Click to read more ...


Nathaniel in Nashville Pt. 1

I thought I'd share a few of my adventures at the Nashville Film Festival whilst practicing on my wacom tablet -- so hard to get the hang of this, the wacom not the Nashville. (I've been to the Nashville Festival a couple of times so I think I have the hang of it now.) I arrived in my Herzog tee -- I always live in mortal fear that some Herzog freak will grill me about good ol' Werner since I probably don't know as much about him as I should given the human advertisement aspects of t-shirt wearing. My favorites are Grizzly Man and Aguirre the Wrath of God and Nosferatu but Werner is prolific so I can't say I've seen everything.

The jurors and guests of the festival stay in downtown Nashville where you can get to the touristy parts quick but the festival is actually at a multiplex called Regal Green Hill...(update:  but I'm hearing from Mark in the comments that this is not the same thing as Green Hills. What do I know? I live in NYC and never drive and am losing my spatial relations skills)  Nice theater with lots of screens. They shuttle you back and forth so as I'm waiting for the morning shuttle I am scribbling away at you.

Last night riding from hotel to festival I ended up in a van of fellow jurors, though none from my category. I was  happily chatting away with the guy in front of me when I suddenly realized Who He Was. It was Jamie Travis, a filmmaker I am so enthralled by -- the Patterns trilogy is genius --that I'm just grateful his back was turned and he didn't see my insta-tranformation into scary obsessive superfan.

It reminded me of my very first Life Drawing class in college where I was just randomly talking to the new kid in class. We're chatting for like 5 minutes and then the teacher walks in and new kid just stands up and starts taking his clothes off. (Was it something I said?) Turns out new kid was the nude model and suddenly I went from gregarious to totally awkward / speechless. It was kinda like that except for that nobody got naked.

In reality I'm sure I kept babbling but my sentences probably made less sense.

Celebrity Sightings
Some country music stars were doing the carpet but I never know who they are. I did gaze at Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris chatting up TV crews on the red carpet for awhile though. The carpet had been mostly shoved into the VIP tent instead of outside where it usually is (very stormy and wet night).

Kristofferson had just received a career prize at the screening of his new movie Bloodworth. I arrived too late to see it but I heard from my driver Elaine -- a lovely retired woman volunteering at the fest -- that it was good and she was just raving about W. Earl Brown, who plays one of his sons in the movie.

I give it a 4.3 out of 5. "Brady" is Academy Award material!

Val Kilmer and Dwight Yoakam are also in the movie but it turns out that this W Earl Brown also wrote the movie and was smart enough to give himself a great part.

I couldn't quite make out why Emmylou was with Kristofferson (she's not in the cast list of the movie) but she looked eerily ageless. She just turned 64 and her silver locks -- clearly not a wig -- are so thick and lustrous you'd think she was 30 or 40 but for the silver.

Okay, back to the festival with me. Ciao.