reviewed - out in theaters

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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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Adapting "Guardians" -a screenwriting interview

I especially like that part about how boundaries can be a good thing. Knowing where the plot points have to hit always stops me from wandering aimlessly in my writing. Some may see those thing as cookie cutter but I've always found them inspiring.❞ -Daniel


Beauty vs. Beast

Turner & Hooch - 25th anniversary!


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45 Animated Shorts: Oscar Will Choose 10... Then 5.

This is the list of 45 animated shorts that the Academy is considering in the Best Animated Shorts category (with links to official sites when I could find them). The Animated, Docs, and Shorts Oscar page is going to be updated piecemeal this week as I work on beating all this information into some form of pundited submission.

Until then, the list. Do you ever try to see the nominees in this category?

A SHADOW OF BLUE (Carlos Lascano)

I WAS A CHILD OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS (Ann Marie Fleming adapts Bernice Eisenstein's memoirs)



  • The Smurf’s A Christmas Carol by Troy Quane (Sony Pictures Animation)
  • The Tannery by Iain Gardner (Axis Animation)
  • The Vermeers by Tal S. Shamir
  • Vicenta by Samuel Orti Marti
  • Wild Life by Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby (NFB)


10th Anniversary Top Ten: "Once More With Feeling"

One of the all time best episodes of anything ever turned ten just a week(ish) ago... but I wanted to celebrate on a Tuesday.

Dawn's in trouble? Must be Tuesday."

That means for the past week and for many weeks after circa 2001 I had the songs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "Once More With Feeling" in heavy rotation in my head and or ipod. 

One of my favorite moments of any awards season, obscure though it be, is the moment during the AFI's one and only televised award ceremony in January 2002 (anyone remember that? They combined TV and film like the Globes do) when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was nominated for best drama series. When they announced the category a clip from this very episode played proudly alongside clips from its three fellow nominees, all traditional awards heavyweights: The West Wing, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. This is the sort of company Buffy should have been keeping during its run though Emmy voters just couldn't see it*.

For today's top ten, because I can never find a good excuse to talk about my #1 favorite TV series of all time, here's a top ten of that historic episode, in chronological order because the episode is so beautifully constructed.


Intro Once More With Feeling proclaims itself 'a very special episode' immediately, dispatching the usual credits for an overture style opening credits with each cast member smiling inside the (spot)light of the moon. It then surprises by 'going through the motions' of a typical day without dialogue before getting to its first number "Going Through the Motions", instantly recalling the gold standardepisode Hush. It's a ballsy confident move and, as it turns out, telling: Aren't those two episodes essentially fraternal twin classics, each riffing imaginatively on the difficulty of truly communicating with the people we love most?

• "Going Through The Motions" manages to answer all the complaints about Season 6's Sad Sloggy Buffy Summers and respond with a knowing and compelling cry for help. And it performs this dramatic spell with hilarious little sung asides (Demon Just Realizing He's Been Killed: "She's not even half the girl she --owwww!" | Hot Guy Rescued: "How can I repay... " Buffy: "Whatever...")

♫ I don't want to be... going through the motions
Losing all my drive
I can't even see, if this is really me
And I just want to be
Aliiiiiiiiivvve ♪" 

The best part is the ending which reworks a now excessively familiar sight, a vampire being dusted, into something newly magical; Buffy emerges from the cloud singing beautifully, like it's fairy dust not ashes. 

8 other 'best' moments & grudge-holding Emmy bitching

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Curio: Cinemadoodles

Alexa here. I'm a big fan of the doodle as an art form. In school I was often drawing in the margins of my notebooks, dreaming of a movie that helped me mentally escape class (Tony Manero was a favorite fantasy).  I also love Nathaniel's sketches, doodled in the dark while watching a movie (his Drive sketches were especially evocative). So I've had fun flipping through The Striking Viking's etsy shop. Shop owner Nick sketches movie scenes and celebrities with his left hand, and they are alternately hilarious and striking.  Makes you wish more film critics would publish their notebooks, no?

Wall-EKristen Stewart

Click for more, including Ed Wood and Young Frankenstein...

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Yes, No, Maybe So: "The Iron Lady"

Okay The Film Experience simply must take a long break from Meryl Streep. I blog about her way too much I realize...  So we'll take a long break (by which we mean until she wins her first award or nomination of the season) the long break might be a short one. Such is awards season! 

TOTALLY UNRETOUCHED! © The Film Experience

I have done battle every single day of my life."

Until then, a break. I need it for sanity. As The Iron Lady might say "It's absolutely non-negotiable." But I couldn't leave Streep be without sharing this  100% Authentic Screencap From the Film In Which Margaret Thatcher seems to be planning battle against all the Best Actress players this year. WTF?!

We also can't begin our official Meryl break until after posting this UK trailer of The Iron Lady in case you haven't seen it (no US trailer beyond that old teaser yet).


  • Well, we never miss a Streep movie.




  • Ehhhhh, I hope this doesn't glorify that woman (Thatcher not Streep). The neo cons have done enough damage to the world without a liberal goddess (Streep) endorsing one of their icons.
  • This doesn't look that promising for Jim Broadbent and he deserves another year as great as 2001. 
  • Phyllida Lloyd in the director's chair again. Really? If Meryl wants to support female directors we HIGHLY approve but we could name 23 off the top of our heads that would be more deserving of double dipping with some world class actress who could make financing their next film much easier. 



  • Of course it's rude to assume that Ms. Lloyd couldn't make a huge leap forward in skill after that learning on the job business with Mamma Mia! 'So, this is what a camera is!' We would hate to be judged by our very first blog entry forever ;) 



Yes, No, Maybe So: "The Hunger Games"

We watch trailers. To avoid entirely selling our souls to marketing experts or entirely caving to our preconceived biases, we try to stay balanced as we do so. Sometimes we fail with unqualified "holy hell yes" or "dear god, no!" reactions but it's good to try and keep an open mind. 

On the subject of The Hunger Games, I haven't always had one. Though I live for the movies, the past decade has been rough going for me in franchise-land as Twilight and Harry Potter fandom have reigned for so long that I've begun to feel like an outcast from my own church, the church of the cinema. And now yet another YA appeal genre franchise which promises endless movies that will not be judged on their cinematic merit but on how well they fill fan cravings for beloved characters? I CAN'T DEAL.

I felt abused by the marketing, which has released so many morsels that we know they're building not just a bread crumb trail to the box office but a superhighway.  But that wasn't the problem. It was the way each crumb, no matter how inconsequential, was treated as if it was a seven course meal. Entire movies don't get the kind of attention each little blip from this movie gets.

But then this trailer arrived and it's either so brilliantly cut together that they've finally brainwashed me, or I've just now opened my heart to The Hunger Games or, possibly both. 


While I've never really thought of Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) as an inspired visual stylist that might be mere forgetfulness since he doesn't direct features too often. There are quite a few shots I love in the trailer. I mean look at the palette, focal precision, and direct but subdued emotion of those tense crowd scene. Jennifer Lawrence, so strong in Winter's Bone and so sympathetic in Like Crazy looks to continue making good on her promise.  

If the story beats are as economically and fluidly expressed in the movie as in the trailer we're in for a treat. What great buildup and release. Too few trailers understand that the set-up is what's crucial, not the whole package. If you give us the whole movie, what's left to see in the theater? This feels as exciting as any "ready. set. go..." ever did  and I bet we're not even seeing anything beyond the 45 minute mark. 


I haven't read the source material (I know I know) so I can't be sure what is being metaphored up for us -- if it's reality television, shouldn't they all be volunteers out for fame and fortune and thus willing to exploit themselves? Personal potential pet peeve: I hate when theatricality obviously equates with evil -- and all the excessively theatrical people in this trailer appear to be the villains -- since theatricality is so fun and never hurts anybody. If this is one of those movies were physical aptitude is glorious and noble (even if used in the service of killing people) while entertaining showmanship is a sign of evil, I'm gonna be annoyed!

This is just on my mind because people worship sports and winner-takes-all competition to a scary extent and that seems to be a-ok with everyone, no metaphoric condemnation required. Just the other day I was watching the news and a crowd was literally rioting, turning over cars because Coach Paterno was fired. Never mind the sexual molestation scandal at Penn State that wasn't properly handled under his watch that prompted it... SPORTS ROUTINE INTERRUPTED? CUE: MASS CHAOS. Sports being naturally more important than the well being of children.


The subject matter -- 24 people enter the games, only 1 can survive by killing the others, I take it ? -- has the potential to be totally icky in lots of hypocritical "are you not entertained?!?" Gladiator ways and also, if we meet 24 people are they going to divvy them up and make them easily good or evil so that it will be easy to "enjoy" as mainstream movies tend to be. Or is it actually a nuanced portrait of desperate people in which case... isn't it going to leave one feeling sick afterwards that the hero has to murder other potential heroes? The topic just seems so... ewww.

But the trailer works in that ready set... don't you wanna see what happens... go!.

So I'm now a yes. Are you a yes, no or maybe so? But more importantly... were you one of these things before the trailer arrived?