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Entries in 2001: A Space Odyssey (8)

Monday
Apr092018

Beauty vs Beast: To Boston With Love

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" - the director David Gordon Green is turning 43 today, so while we wait to see what he does with his Halloween sequel-o-sorts later this year let's cast an eye  a millimeter backwards towards his last movie, the very fine but somewhat overlooked Stronger. I personally was pretty sad the movie never gained any footing during the awards season for its stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany or for Miranda Richardson in Supporting - they were all worthy in my book (and Jake made the Bronze in Nathaniel's Film Bitch Awards). But time will be kind to all of them, I think. The film isn't easy on any of its characters - it refuses to sanctify the terror victim or the "supporting girlfriend" at its heart at every turn. These are complicated people in an extremely complicated situation.

 

PREVIOUSLY Toss a bone up and see where it lands - last week we wished Stanely Kubrick's 2001 a happy 50 and y'all surprised me with your love for humanity of all things (this is Kubrick, people!), giving Keir Dullea's space-babe a 4% victory over the dead red eye of HAL-9000. Said MARIAH, perhaps summing many of our votes up (Keir was a piece, it's true):

"I am voting for Dave because I am a homosexual male."

Wednesday
Apr042018

Soundtracking: "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Stanley Kubrick's space saga is 50 this week! Here's Chris on its iconic music...

bwaamm bwaaammm bwaamMMM...
BAH BAHHHH
!!...

It’s as memorable a music cue as any in film history. Out of darkness, Stanley Kubrick opens his abract space opus 2001: A Space Odyssey to the stirrings of Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (the “Sunrise” movement specifically) with the sonic weight of impending creation. Or is it destruction?

Strauss’s composition carries throughout the final, creating an a link that ties its ambitious, fractured narrative together. By repeating the track, Kubrick shows how innovation, exploration, and even violence come from the same lifeforce, like a spiritual Big Bang. The music is a key to understand how the film explores human instincts against the nature of the universe: can they be both at odds while also being the same? The sheer force of the sound, the kind of music you feel deeper than your bones, is its own impenetrable force. For a movie that creates iconography out of a literal monolith, its biggest monolith might be its omnipresent orchestral sound.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr022018

Beauty vs Beast: Monkeys to Monoliths

Jason Adams from MNPP here on the surface of the Moon (aka lower Manhattan covered with farcical April snowflakes) and primed to toss a bone your way with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" which is wishing Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey a happy 50, which it turns today. The film premiered in Washington D.C. on April 2nd 1968 and in New York the following day, and it has probably been running on some stoner's projector every day since. The film was nominated for four Oscars and rightly won for Best Visual Effects - basically every movie that's gone to outer space ever since has been mercilessly ripping it off, just like every movie set in the future post-Blade Runner throws up a neon billboard or twenty. But for all its trippiness it's still at its heart just a "boy and his dog" movie. So what of the boy and his dog then?

PREVIOUSLY We faced down two of the greatest performances ever put on a movie screen last week with with A Streetcar Named Desire but y'all didn't have much trouble making your choice - Viven Leigh's Blanche DuBois roundhoused Marlon Brando's Stanley with 59% of strangers' kindnesses. Said adri:

"I always think of Tennessee Williams as expressing his soul through Blanche. So yes, my dearest Tennessee, I am with you on Blanche, no matter how messy, and a failure and a figure of ridicule she may be."

Wednesday
Apr222015

Team Top Ten: Best Sci-Fi Films (Pre-1977)

Amir, welcoming you back to Team Top Ten! We are returning after a long hiatus with not one, but two top ten lists for April. In connection to our theme of the week, Artificial Intelligence on the big screen, we are here to celebrate science fiction cinema. As with the horror genre and to help ourselves a bit by narrowing down our options, we're cutting the list in two halves. Our dividing point is 1977, when two of the cinema's most enduring science fiction films were released: Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars ushering in an era of huge advances in popularity and visual effects technology. And yes, those are both science fiction films and your contrarian arguments will not be heard.

We were spoilt for choice for the second part of this poll, for the simple reason that far more science fiction films have been produced since 1977 than before it. Still, this first list is comprised of eleven films that have all become part of the canon and among the best in film history in any genre. Without further ado...

Team Experience Top Ten
Best Science Fictions Film Produced Before 1977...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov262014

Podcast: An Interstellar Imitation Game

Travel with us into the black hole that is odd hit-and-miss reactions to the ambitious emotional Interstellar. We also discuss The Imitation Game and the controversy over its presentation of its gay protagonist. Starring: Nick Davis, Joe Reid, Katey Rich, and your host Nathaniel R.

33 minutes
00:01 Chris Nolan's Interstellar with asides to Inception and 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact and the ways in which it does or doesn't stretch Nolan's 
20:30 How does The Imitation Game machine work? Does its trifurcated structure work? And what of its collective performances?

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes. The Imitation Game opens this weekend. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Interstellar / Imitation Game

Thursday
Sep112014

Team Top Ten: All Time Greatest Voice Performances

Amir here, with this month’s edition of team top ten. As the art of acting and our interpretation of it evolve, definitions of what we consider a good performance change. It’s become an annual tradition to discuss whether a motion capture performance or some “alternative” form of acting deserves to be in the awards race. Last year’s topic of conversation was Scarlatt Johansson’s voice work in Her and that's the topic we’ve turned our attention to. (Thanks to Michael Cusumano for his suggestion!)

Voice acting has existed since cinema found sound and it has contributed to the medium in more memorable ways than a list of ten entries can represent. We were not limited in our option to animated films or any genre. So long as the voice performance was not accompanied by visual aids from the same performer (e.g. Andy Serkis’s work in LOTR was not eligible), it was fair game. Naturally, our list is animation-heavy, but there were others firmly in the race like Alec Baldwin's exquisite narration of The Royal Tenenbaums or especialy Marni Nixon – of whom The Film Experience is a big fan – who received several votes but just not enough.

Without further ado, here the collective top ten created from the rankings of each contributor's individual ballot

Top Ten Voice Performances of All Time

10. Peter O’Toole (Ratatouille)
Peter O’Toole’s Anton Ego doesn’t have much screen time in Ratatouille but his contribution to Pixar’s best film outside of the Toy Story trilogy is immeasurable. The final monologue by Ego – what an apt name for the food critic, or any critic, really – has become a reference point for film writers. The text is definitive, reminding us that “in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” Yet, the bitter truth in the text wouldn’t strike the right chords had it not been for O’Toole’s sombre, elegiac tone. Remarkably balancing his authority with a palpable sense of resignation, O’Toole’s final words elevate the scene beyond criticism.
-Amir Soltani

9. Eleanor Audley (Sleeping Beauty)
Angelina Jo-who? While the voluptuous star brought sexiness and unnecessary warmth to the part of Maleficent in this summer's blockbuster adaptation, she still doesn't hold a candle to the incomparable work of Eleanor Audley in the 1959 animated version. The actress bookended the 1950s for Disney through two of their most iconic creations, having also voiced Cinderella's stepmother in the 1950 version. For Beauty however, she was firing on all Machiavellian cylinders as she brought a sense of immeasurable dread to what was considered to be a children's film. Her Maleficent is barely in the film, but she makes every line count. We don't need to hear her entire (or any) backstory to know that she was truly evil in ways we could only begin to imagine. In a time before villains were cool, she's the most interesting character and when she says "listen well, all of you", you couldn't pay us to ignore her command.
- Jose Solis
(more on this performance

8 more great vocal performances after the jump...

Click to read more ...