HOT TOPICS

NOW PLAYING

in theaters


all reviews

new on dvd


 

 

Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT DU JOUR
PODCAST, GOWNS, TRIVIA
A HANDY GUIDE TO ALL THE OSCAR COVERAGE

"Oh no, what will I do without my daily reminder that Julianne Moore won an Oscar?!" -Steve G

 

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe
What'cha Looking For?

Entries in 10|25|50|75|100 (138)

Saturday
Feb282015

For Hattie...

Hattie receiving her Oscar from the awesome Fay Bainter, the previous Supporting Actress winnerWe hope you enjoyed The Film Experience's Black History Month miniseries. I asked team members to pick one Oscar nomination or win to talk about hence the very random skip through history. It was our intention to dedicate it in retrospect to Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Oscar, on the exact 75th anniversary of her win. And then... discovery: The 1939 Oscars, a big night for Gone With the Wind, were held on February 29th, 1940, a leap year. So technically we can't. There is no February 29th in 2015.

And yet somehow that's fitting that her history-making win should occur on a date that's elusive. So here's to Hattie and to all who came after.

the episodes
Song of The South (1947) -Timothy
Sounder (1972) - Andrew
Endless Love (1981) - Nathaniel
Street Smart (1987) - Nathaniel
Do The Right Thing (1989) - Matthew
Ghost (1990) - Abstew
Schwarferer (1993) - Special Guest Paul Outlaw
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Jason
Four Little Girls (1997) - Margaret
Monsters Ball (2001) - Special Guest Philip Harville
Benjamin Button (2008) -Matthew

Should we do it again next year? We'd cover Women's History Month for March except we basically do that all the time already.

 

Saturday
Feb212015

100th Birthday: Ann Sheridan

Tim here. Today would have been the 100th birthday of Ann Sheridan, a star at Warner Bros. in the '30s and '40s who died at the age of 51. She's not as well-known today as some other actresses from that era: with no Oscar nominations to her name, the collection-obsessed among us have no reason to keep track of her, and none of her lead roles were in canonized classics. But around World War II, she was a major star and sex symbol, one of the most popular pin-up girls with the soldiers overseas.

Sheridan moved easily between genres, taking major roles in prestige projects like the Best Picture nominee Kings Row or high-end comedies including The Man Who Came to Dinner and I Was a Male War Bride, opposite Cary Grant, under the direction of Howard Hawks (this latter film was also her final big hit). But 21st Century viewers are probably most likely to recognize her thanks to her steady presence in crime dramas and films noirs made at Warners, such as 1938's excellent Angels with Dirty Faces and 1940's City for Conquest, both opposite James Cagney, Raoul Walsh's acerbic trucking thriller They Drive By Night, where she stole the film from tough guy icons George Raft and Humphrey Bogart, and the under-seen Nora Prentiss from 1947.

Nobody could ever accuse Sheridan of belonging in the company of a Barbara Stanwyck, to name an approximate contemporary who worked in the same territory of burning sexuality and harshness. But in her best roles, like They Drive by Night and Nora Prentiss, she exudes a bluntness and sharp wit that stand up exceedingly well by modern standards. The mixture of toughness and sensuality she was best at served her well in the narrow time period when she thrived, and if you've never encountered any of her stand-out roles – and they are, admittedly, not always the easiest things to scrounge up – there's no time like this anniversary to fix that.

Monday
Feb092015

Belated Thoughts on This Weekend's Unintentional Selma / Birth of a Nation Confluence

We're Living History Right Now

 I meant to post something this over the weekend but kept freezing from indecision and confusions about what to write. If you were offline this weekend, you might have missed that one of the most important films of all time, Birth of a Nation (1915) hit its Centennial anniversary. As you know we love to celebrate centennials at TFE but how to even deal with that one? Hideously racist though it was and is, D.W. Griffith's blockbuster informed and shaped much of this artform, the movies, that we all love today. I first saw it in an Introduction to Film type class in my freshman year of college and as creepy as it was to see the lovely crucial silent superstar Lillian Gish used as a pawn to trump up its racial hatred as she is saved from a rapist (a white actor in blackface) by the Klu Klux Klan, it was also startling to see what a technical and narrative leap it was in terms of early cinema.

And the exact same weekend that that film, which has long been a (deserved) target of the NAACP was hitting 100*, The NAACP was holding their annual Image Awards. Selma won big at  (but let's pretend that bizarre director snub -- the guy who made The Equalizer beat Ava DuVernay? -- didn't happen. But the NAACP hasn't been the only group cheering Selma on. It's been enjoying a very healthy if unspectacular box office as a Best Picture Oscar nominee, Ava received a historic Folden Globe nomination late last year, and her films Original Song "Glory," also Oscar nominated, was performed at the Grammys yesterday.

At first I was all... this is such a gross coincidence and I'll just send people to fine articles at the New York Post and Vulture.  But then I realized how beautiful the juxtaposition was in terms of progress.

100 years of tumultuous history have passed between those two films and when the smoke clears we see that America has come a long long way. These battles for basic human dignity and equality are never fully won of course (Black History is hardly the only history plagued with civil rights violations and demonization of "the other") and you have to keep fighting them. But for all the nostalgia the past can bring to people, sometimes the now is vastly preferrable.

'Selma' beauties enjoying their big NAACP night

And, wouldn't you know it... Martin Luther King Jr said it best himself.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice

 

* There are different dates online for when Birth of a Nation premiered. Wikipedia says February 8th, the bulk of internet articles about its Centennial appeared on February 7th, but a lot of articles on the film mention a March 3rd premiere.

Saturday
Feb072015

75th Anniversary: Pinocchio

Tim here. Today marks the 75th anniversary of Pinocchio, the second feature film released by Walt Disney Studios, and in this animation buff’s eyes, the high water mark in that company’s history (I’m hedging in the interest of good taste. In fact, it’s my pick for the greatest achievement in all of narrative animation). Along with Fantasia, later in 1940, it’s the bright, shining example of what the Disney animators could achieve when given the most resources, support, and artistic freedom that they would ever enjoy.

Lots more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan142015

10 years later: Elektra, the last female superhero

Tim here, with a palate cleanser. We’re all in hardcore Nominations Eve mode, of course, but the world of movies is broader than the couple dozen films that are about to be granted the right to put the words "Academy Award Nominated" on their DVD cases. Much, much broader. As broad as you can imagine. Nope, broader still.

About as far from Oscar worthiness as it gets – no matter how much or how little sarcasm you layer around the phrase "Oscar worthy" – we find a certain Elektra, which opened ten years ago on this very day. It's not the kind of movie that typically gets fêted on its birthday: it's very, very bad, but not so transfixingly bad that it developed a cult of ironic worship. [More...]

Click to read more ...