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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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Wednesday
Mar022011

TCM's 31 Days of Oscar *CONTEST*

March is Reader Appreciation Month!

Have any of you been catching up on past Oscar nominees during Turner Classic Movie's annual marathon of Oscar nominated films? They've been doing it for years. The thing we love most about it now that Oscar has left March for February is that it just bleeds over into March to make up for February's abbreviated obstinance. The festival ends Friday in the early AM but TCM is always showing movies and they pack so many in that we still have 15 Oscar nominated movies to look forward to in this particular program. It's kind of a godsend if you have the flu like me. I might just lay on the couch and watch all of them. I'm watching East of Eden (which JA just wrote about) as I type this.

31 days, oscar, tcm31 days, oscar, tcm31 days, oscar, tcm

CHECK OUT THE SCHEDULE AT TCM.COM/31DAYS

For you actressexuals out there, the schedule tomorrow features three major screen divas: Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were (1973) one of the greatest romantic dramas Hollywood ever made; Bette Davis in the Hollywood drama The Star (1952); and Maggie Smith in the Neil Simon comedy California Suite (1978). Three films that Nick, Mike and I have discussed in the Best Picture From the Outside In series are also featured tomorrow: Grand Hotel, The Broadway Melody and Mutiny on the Bounty.

So that's it. Once again please visit TCM, it's a great station for movie lovers like us.

THE CONTEST
Last year when we held this contest Sam in Texas won a 5 DVD pack from TCM of my choosing which were: Double Indemnity (1944), A Star is Born (1954), The Umbrellas of Cherbourgh (1964), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and They Shoot Horses Don't They (1969). I got a note from Sam when he received them so I know he enjoyed.  This year, we'll have TWO winners of 5 DVD packs. TCM handles this contest so it's only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada (sorry international readers. You know I usually include you.)

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES

  1. Send an email to Nathaniel with "TCM CONTEST" in the subject line by [CLOSED]
  2. Include your name and shipping address.
  3. List the 5 DVDs from the following 31 you'd like if you win: Citizen Kane, Easy Rider, A Streetcar Named Desire, Funny Girl, Gandhi, Birdman of Alcatraz, South Pacific, Glory, The Battle of Algiers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Graduate, Gone With The Wind, Miracle on 34th Street, Casablanca, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Lawrence of Arabia, American Beauty, Network, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Teh Best Years of Our Lives, Amadeus, Sahara, Doctor Zhivago, On the Waterfront, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Annie Hall, Arthur, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Around the World in 80 Days and North By Northwest.
  4. Finally click around on TCM's schedule for March 5th-7th and tell me... which of those movie(s) you'd most like to see written about here on The Film Experience and why -- you don't even have to have seen it. Maybe it's a type of film or a time frame or an actor. It doesn't matter. I'll DVR either the most convincing argument made or the movie that shows up on the most entries and I'll write it up next week.

You must have all 4 of those bullet points to win. The two winners will be chosen at random and announced on Sunday March 6th.

Wednesday
Mar022011

Link Man

Oscar Stuff
NY Post
bad press for the lucky Weinsteins. It waited till just after the Oscars to surface. Just like that King's Speech porn set situation happened after voting. Hmmmm.
Your Movie Buddy shows his Oscar night party food. Consider it a sequel to Alexa's Curio on Oscar snacks.
Gold Derby wonders if Hugh Jackman will be back to host Oscar soon. Quotes from Jackman.

Enough about that shiny gold man. Next!
Cinema Blend Is it Jennifer Lawrence vs Hailee Steinfeld for Hunger Games? They're very different choices.
Quiet Earth ranks every Philip K Dick screen adaptation in honor (?) of the opening of The Adjustment Bureau.
Pajiba assesses the career of Michael Biehn (The Terminator) post James Cameron. If you ask me it was super lame of Cameron not to squeeze him into Avatar somehow.
The Ampersand here's one for you TV buffs. "The Ghosts of Sitcoms Past" Can you name these characters?

Finally... Nicks Flick Picks wants your help on a class assignment. He teaches a film criticism course and he wants to know which of these "teasers" would entice you to read a full review and why? So click over and leave your (positive) comments. These are student reviews. They need encouragement. It's a good exercize if you've ever written a review yourself or just to suss out why you respond to the ones you do respond to.

Wednesday
Mar022011

"I think, Evelyn, that we've lost touch..."

Evelyn: Why, what's wrong?

Patrick: I need to engage in homicidal behavior on a massive scale, cannot be corrected, but I have no other way to fulfill my needs. We need to talk.

Evelyn: Talk about what, Patrick?

I'm pretty sure that a fresh Oscar gets you an 8:30 res' at Dorsia any night you want.


Three whole days have gone by and I haven't mentioned how pleased I was to see Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) receive his Oscar from former fiancé Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon). And they still don't seem very important to each other!

Patrick: It's over Evelyn. It's all over.

Evelyn: Touchy Touchy. i'm sorry I brought up the wedding. Let's just avoid the issue, all right? Now.. are we having coffee?

Patrick: I'm fucking serious. It's fucking over, us. This is not joke. I don't think we should see each other anymore.

Evelyn: But your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends. I really don't think it would work.

If you don't know what the hell we're talking about your assignment is to watch American Psycho (2000) immediately. For maximum time capsule pleasure, try to find a store that still rents VHS tapes so that you can return some videotapes later.

Bale's performance as the psychopath is justifiably classic already but less often discussed is how much Reese nails her vacant pseudo human fiancee. Reese has always been so great at comic stylization. When are the great directors and screenwriters going to give her something worthy of her gifts again? It's been way too long.

Christian Bale's Oscar was 10 years late but at least it arrived. Speaking of which, under the decade too late rule, who is due for a statue in 2012? Whose coronation should we obsess over next?

Wednesday
Mar022011

James & Anne & Mickey & Judy

Editor's note: This is my final Oscar column for Tribeca Film to wrap up awards season. Thanks for your patience. I'd intended to do a lot more right here but I'm in day 3 of flu and about to pass out again. If you're not done talking Oscar night, let me know by commenting. But here it is.

Early on Oscar night, the legendary actor Kirk Douglas took to the stage to present Best Supporting Actress. (Oscar producers wisely throw one of the big awards near the beginning each year lest the least committed viewers click away.) "Spartacus" himself, still an entertainer at 94, didn't make you wait for the envelope reveal for a show—he was hamming it up from his cane-walking entrance to his purposefully distracted, drawn-out announcement of the winner. Before he even got to the nominees, he stopped to joke with the youngest hosts Oscar has ever had, 32-year-old James Franco and 28-year-old Anne Hathaway. To the giggling, girlish Hathaway, he said, "Where were you when I was making movies?"

The irony, if you stop to think about, is that she was around back then. Not “Anne Hathaway,” exactly, mind you, but earlier incarnations of her...

Read the rest at Tribeca Film

Now that the 83rd Oscar dust has settled, how are you feeling about them?

Wednesday
Mar022011

Before They Were Mutants

As much as we may lament the all superheroes all the time movie culture (variety is the key to life) this June offering, X-Men First Class, as you know, we're looking forward to. Blame X-fandom and (hopefully) strong casting. So here's McAvoy & Fassy as Professor X and Magn sorry as Charles and Erik.

The New Teaaer Posters

 

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both have movies coming out prior to this one though: McAvoy stars in The Conspirator (April 15th) about the Lincoln Assassination and Fassy stars in Jane Eyre (March 11th) with Mia Wasikowska so perhaps they'll own the spring/early summer.

Before they are mutants. they'll be...

 

Which incarnation of each of them are you most looking forward to? And which are you previous favorite incarnations?

Wednesday
Mar022011

"Hit Me With Your Best Shot" Returns

This series was a big hit last year so we're bringing it back for round two in exactly two weeks time. Participating is easy. You just rent the movie, take a screencap of your favorite shot in the film and post it on your blog, journal, flickr, wherever. You can write an explanatory essay, a brief note or nothing at all. Let us know you posted it and we'll link up at 10 PM EST when The Film Experience post goes up.

Wed March 16th
  -  MEMENTO (2001, Tenth Anniversary Celebration)
Wed March 23rd - A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951, Tennessee Williams Centennial Week)
Wed March 30th  -  PSYCHO  (1960, in celebration of the excellent debut novel "What You See in the Dark" by Manuel Muñoz that comes out that week. I read it in galley. More on that book/author soon.)
April Titles - TBA

So put those films on your queue. If you have other visually motivated friends that you think would enjoy this 'group gaze,' challenge them to participate. Last year we covered the following films: Requiem for a Dream (2000), Se7en (1995), Black Narcissus (1947), Pandora's Box (1929), Bring it On (2000), A Face in the Crowd (1957), Showgirls (1995),  Mean Girls (2004),  Night of the Hunter (1955), X-Men (2000) and Angels in America (2003).

Tuesday
Mar012011

Jane Russell (RIP) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 

The cinema just lost two major actresses who I'd spend time writing about if I weren't so sick (I had hoped to shake this flu off in 24 hours damnit.)

The French actress Annie Girardot (1931-2011) has passed away. We last saw her in terrific form in two Michael Haneke pictures as the disturbing mother of Isabelle Huppert in The Piano Teacher and the sharp minded matriarch in Caché (Hidden)... god what a movie that was. Well, both of them actually. You can read some notes on her career at MUBI. Here, Stateside, we lost a giant of the golden age, the sex symbol Jane Russell (1921-2011).  I thought I'd share a previous article I really enjoyed writing on her as one of Hollywood's most beautiful mid-century stars and an underrated comedienne at that. This was originally published last October but if you're new to the site, it's new to you. And if you're not, consider it a classic rerun. It's not like you turn off an episode of Golden Girls if you've seen it before. And Jane Russell sure was a golden girl, though WOMAN might be a better description.

Few movies are as delightful as Howard Hawks' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). It has everything: clever production numbers, great quips, beautiful stars, and a zippy plot. But mostly the film sparkles just by ogling the twin pleasures of Jane Russell & Marilyn Monroe. Russell and Monroe play best friends and musical partners, wisecracking Dorothy Shaw and golddigging Lorelei Lei, respectfully. One of the best sequences plays like an extended joke on the movie itself, riffing on both the musical numbers and the two star personae that director Howard Hawks has so expertly shined up for the audience.


Jane as Jane | Jane as Marilyn

Toward the end of the film, there's a misunderstanding over jewelry that gets Lorelei (Monroe) in hot water. A tiara has reportedly been stolen and everyone thinks Lorelei is the culprit. Well, her eyes do flash at the mention of diamonds. Dorothy (Russell) attempts to buy her friend some time by impersonating her at a court hearing about the absent jewelry.

At first Dorothy isn't sure she's sold the Lorelei illusion. Jane fusses comically at her blonde wig, over selling the Monroeisms for the back row. The next time she's worried that the illusion is breaking she razzles and dazzles the courtroom to utter distraction with a coarser version of the number we just saw the real Lorelei perform "Diamonds Are a Girl Best Friend."

Just when it seems clear that Dorothy's (and therefore Jane's) approximation of Lorelei's (and therefore Marilyn's) 's breathless 'who me?' dumb blonde act has worked its trick, Dorothy's new boyfriend Ernie Malone (Elliot Reid) charges into the courtroom threatening to give the game away. Dorothy as "Lorelei" acts quickly to protect Lorelei and regain control of "Dorothy"'s man.

Your honor before he talks could I explain something?

Well, I have a friend named Dorothy and she's a really good friend. And Dorothy knows that I would never do anything that was really wrong.

It's a real kick to hear Russell comically mimic Monroe's line readings while playing her own romantic story arc.

There's a certain young man that Dorothy likes. In fact, she's very fond of him.

And Dorothy would never speak to this man again if he ever did anything to hurt me, Lorelei. So I think this young man had just better know that...

well... well...

Dorothy thinks she's in love with him!

On this last line reading, Russell amusingly dumps Monroe's naive girliness for her own jaded womanliness. Dorothy's suitor is naturally delighted at this admission of love, even though she's underlined it as comic exasperation. Needless to say Mr. Malone supports Dorothy's courtroom ruse and saves the day.

Jane's faux-Marilyn scene comes shortly after Marilyn's legendary "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" showcase. It's tempting to view this from a modern perspective -- "Diamonds" is the film's great legacy having been referenced countless times in pop culture since -- and assume that any performer would be hard pressed to follow that showstopper and mock it in the very next setpiece. But Jane Russell, a formidable star on her own, doesn't sweat it. In fact, she appears to be having a complete ball. She sure had a pair.


Two Great Stars. One Greater Movie.

The courtroom imposter scene isn't as famous as the musical numbers but it's as priceless as any missing tiara. All things considered it's Russell, top billed, who may be best in show. In the case of this 1953 classic, this gentleman prefers brunettes.