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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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Maureen O'Hara & Harry Belafonte

"This complete's Harry Belafonte's EGOT! Sure it's an honorary Oscar, but to quote Whoopi on this topic (on 30 Rock): "It still counts! Girl's gotta eat!- Charles

"It's time for the AMPAS to look hard at the 70's and 80's for indelible contributions. No need to wait til some of these ladies are 94.- Hayden

 "What I wish they would do is an hour long special devoted to the four recipients. They could show clips and have edited interviews with the honorees. Then it could be shown on PBS or TCM or something." - Dave


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'oh, oobee doo. i wanna link like you-oohooh ♫'

Empire Eddie Murphy could play Washington mayor Marion Barry for Spike Lee in a new biopic.
Carpetbagger wonders if Meryl Streep is the oldest person to ever grace the cover of Vogue? We assume she is, unless some male designer once posed there with an 18 yr old supermodel. 
Movie|Line 5 pieces of Elizabeth Taylor's Memorabilia worth paying for...
Time profiles Tilda Swinton

Indie Wire because Martin Scorsese hasn't won enough awards in the past several years, the Santa Barbara Festival is going to honor him with the American Riviera Award 
Yahoo Movies a rundown of awardage thus far. No consensus really.
Rope of Silicon lists the top five movie tattoos. I was happy to see Seth Gecko.
Awards Daily Sasha gets angry at the Shame haters. The movie not the emotion. Feel free to hate on shame the emotion. It's an annoying one. 
Guardian in "Obituaries of 2011" has Shirley Maclaine's memories of La Liz. 
24 Frames The Hollywood Blacklist... hottest screenplays 

Hero Complex on Anthony Lister's Rise of the Planet of the Apes mural at Melrose Avenue.

Love it, don't you? How many pictures do you think are going to be snapped there every day while it's up. 

And finally congratulations to the directors cited by Variety as "10 to Watch". In case the pay wall traps you like it did me they are:


  • Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice)
  • Valérie Donzelli (Declaration of War) -French Oscar submission
  • Gareth Evans (The Raid)
  • Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) -Canadian Oscar submission
  • Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala) -Mexican Oscar submission
  • Matt Piedmont (Casa de mi Padre)
  • Michaël R Roskam (Bullhead) -Belgian Oscar submission
  • Lynn Shelton (Your Sister's Sister)
  • Benh Zeitlin (Beast of the Southern Wild)
  • The Bandito Brothers (Act of Valor)


Off Cinema
in case you need a wee break in which case what the hell are you doing here?
Pitchfork Top 100 Songs of the Year 
Billboard The Year in Music
Stale Popcorn Madonna's greatest soundtrack hits. (Okay that one is not totally off cinema I suppose.) 


Box Office: "New Year's Eve" Drops Its Ball & a Milestone for "The Help"

Despite overloading with stars, some more bankable than others, New Year's Eve didn't exactly get moviegoers partying. Might this be an end to Garry Marshall's holiday franchise. Since he's working backwards chronologically given that he started with Valentine's Day, one supposed Christmas was going to be next.

Trivia Note: This is Michelle Pfeiffer's second "Ingrid". One assumes the first one (White Oleander) wouldn't like this mousy character too much!Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen
01 NEW YEAR'S EVE new $13 
02 THE SITTER new $9.8 
04 THE MUPPETS new $6.9 (cum $65.7)
05 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS new $6.5 (cum $33.4)

06 HUGO new $6 [Scorsese & Team] (cum $33.4)
07 THE DESCENDANTS $4.3 [Michael's review] (cum. $23.6)
08 HAPPY FEET TWO $3.6 (cum. $56.7)
09 JACK AND JILL $3 (cum. $68.5) 
10 THE IMMORTALS $2.4 (cum. $79.8) 

11 TOWER HEIST $2.3 (cum. $74.1)
12 PUSS IN BOOTS $1.6 (cum. $141.8)
13 J EDGAR  $1.1 [Nathaniel's review] (cum $34.7)

Talking Points
Young Adult and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy started off in teensy-tiny release (sigh. why must so many movies do this?) garnering solid per screen averages... especially Tinker Tailor. That fake out release for We Need To Talk About Kevin (Oscar qualifying) also had fairly full houses though it'll be removed from theaters next weekend just as its gaining steam. Sigh.

• The Weinstein Co is obviously keeping The Artist very close to their vest grooming it for an Oscar explosion. Despite promising first two week numbers it added only 10 new screens and is inching towards $1 million. Will the caution pay off or smother its ignitability with crowds?

• Despite a good week of awardage, Margin Call seems to be on its last legs creeping towards a $5 million gross in its 8th weekend.

• And believe it or not, The Help -- currently in the thick of Oscar campaigning and DVD releasing -- finally crawled past Bridesmaids this weekend to become the single biggest unexpected blockbuster of the year, 11th for the year overall and the 2nd biggest female led film (after Bella's wedding of course).

Sadly, The Helps #11 finish means the top ten this year is ONLY franchises. All original films were shut out which is basically the movie version of coal in the stocking of future moviegoers. Alas, we do it to ourselves! Such is the stagnating power of habit and pre-sold entertainments. No originals? DANGER. DANGER. Stop sending this message to Hollywood. If a franchise is getting weak, skip its next installment! Wait for the DVD.


'Attack of the 50 Foot Vanessa!' San Francisco Winners

I've long been saying that if Oscar voters actually see Ralph Fiennes Shakespearean adaptation Coriolanus -- it's an "if" because 80% of the contenders, even the teensy tiny ones, chose December as their best Oscar strategy -- it'll be tough to stop Vanessa Redgrave from crushing her Best Supporting Actress competition. Though Fiennes is the actor/director it's the legendary Oscar winner who walks away with the movie as his proud, fierce, monster mom, so proud of her son's battle scars she comes across as yet more bloodthirsty than he.

So today she picks up her second precursor after the British Independent Film Awards. San Francisco apparently likes their moms all sticky with a violent son's blood. See also their best actress winner: Tilda Swinton

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Winners
PICTURE The Tree of Life
DIRECTOR Terrence Malick, the Tree of Life 
ACTRESS Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
ACTOR... Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
SUPPORTING ACTOR Albert Brooks, Drive

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
SPECIAL CITATION "The Mill and the Cross"
MARLON RIGGS AWARD (Courage and Vision in Bay Area film community)
National Film Preservation Foundation 

All in all a very good showing for The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor and bloody mamas everywhere. Now excuse me while I do a happy dance for Certified Copy. YES.


Sally's Short Suspense

Sally sings a lullaby she wrote in "African Chelsea"A confession: I've never been this caught up in the drama of the short film categories before. But this year I await Oscar's finalist list on pins and needles. At least four former Oscar players are involved in shorts from the long 70ish wide semi-finals list (the actual list has been hard to come by with no AMPAS press release detailing it). One of them is 80s nominee Sally Kirkland who I've always felt a certain kooky fondness for. She campaigned tirelessly for the actressy drama Anna back when campaigning wasn't so loudly expected of people. She was rewarded with a spot in the 1987 Best Actress list which turned out to be one of the greatest in Oscar's entire history. There's not a dud or even a "just good" performance in that shortlist; they're all freaking great. Sometimes you've got to work for the nomination when your film is small.

There's a new somewhat provocative piece up at the LA Times Envelope about her current director Brent Roske's campaigning for "African Chelsea" the short she's currently co-starring in. Campaigning for short films is not, you see, the norm... though people do do it. I've recently been in contact with the short's director Brent Roske and I reached out for a comment today on working with Sally. Turns out he plans to do it again and quick-like no matter what happens with the short film race.

I've just finished writing an inspiring dramatic feature that Sally will be starring in called 'Alice Stands Up'. I'm hoping I can get her in the Best Actress discussion next year."

Ah, directors and their muses. We love it when they stand by their divas. It's probably too much to hope that a miracle like Anna could reoccur again but we wish him luck in trying. Shine that spotlight on Sally! 

Sally Kirkland sure was vivid in "Anna". Have you seen it? It's available on Netflix Instant Watch

Shorts, Animation, Documentary Charts
Melissa Leo talks "The Sea Is All I Know", another shorts prospect
La Luna interview (Pixar Short)


Naked Gold Man: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Competitive Season

I wish there were festive holiday songs for Oscar junkies. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Steamroll", "All I Want for Oscars is You", "Let it Snub, Let it Snub, Let it Snub", "God Rest Ye Merry Shortlisters", "Do You Vote How I Vote" etcetera.... The mood is definitely upon us!

This weekend while LA, NY online, and Boston were handing out their prizes and BFCA voters were mailing in their ballots a certain movie that few had yet seen was screening for Oscar voters and it's likely to be a big deal (though whether it will make the BFCA due to the voting deadline today, remains to be seen). Let's just say that I heard sniffling and whispered "wows" during the credits at the guild screening here in NYC.

The AFI's TOP TEN LIST was also released this weekend. It went like so...

  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • J. Edgar
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

It reads like an odd experiment in Oscar predicting from two months back before people had seen all the films (plus Bridesmaids. The AFI always includes at least one populist hit to represent the film year).

But bringing us back to the now, it's time for a chart update to reflect all of this madness.

These past couple of weeks have definitely proven to us that The Tree of Life has not been forgotten, that The Help is in a good place (The actors branch is large and we suspect they like it) that Thanksgiving is a very smart holiday to start your heavy Oscar campaigning (See: Hugo, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn and The Artist). We're not aloud to talk about the three last films to arrive (War Horse, Dragon Tattoo, Extremely Loud) but let's just say when it comes to Oscar, I'm bearish on the first two and bullish on the last having now seen all three. I'm also pleased to note that Moneyball is well liked. At an Oscar dinner I attended for Rango recently, it was the consensus favorite of my table. 

Strangely the film that hasn't been coming up in conversation that much is Midnight in Paris but I blame this on the emergence of so many new films all at once. Moneyball doesn't always come up organically in conversation but when it does it's, in my experience, usually "oh, I love that." It's the job of the new films arriving to wow voters and erase memories of early favorites. It's the job of the early arrivals to remind voters how much they loved them in the first place; that's the push forward and the pull back.