HOT TOPICS

NEW ON DVD / BLURAY

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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT DU JOUR
Is Tootsie the Greatest Movie?

"I freaking love this list, and it promises to derail my professional life for the next few days as I dive deep into the data." - Corey

"BD Wong loves Baby Boom! I love BD Wong!" - John

"My big issue with this list is the total lack of animation- but I suppose that makes sense if it's generated by actor picks." - Austin

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 Best Picture (127)

Wednesday
Jul152015

"Joy" is a Tease

The movies for adults are coming. The movies for adults are coming.

One of the greatest things about summer movie season is that about halfway through it, when you're totally sick of all the explosions and super powers and CGI and lack of great "characters" for actors to really sink their teeth into, invariably the actressy and Oscar-type trailers and posters begin to emerge as "this too shall pass" appetizers. This morning we get our first look at David O. Russell's Joy which reunites him for a third round with his Silver Linings Playbook stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro. Yet again 24 year old Jennifer Lawrence is playing a role that might well be better suited for an actress ten years her senior  (she's playing the character from 20-40 I believe) but what can you do? Since Russell likes to work with the same actors repeatedly (one of our favorite traits in any director unless it starts hampering their creativity *cough* Tim Burton) he's also invited back Elisabeth Röhm (so good in her small part as Jeremy Renner's wife in American Hustle) and some recurring background players, too.

We're not doing a Yes No Maybe So since this is but a teaser (it's mostly music montage) but it looks promising and perhaps I've underestimated it Oscar-wise? The entire reason I resisted it is that I hate to go with the totally obvious a year in advance as most pundits do, because history does not actually support Oscar favorites staying Oscar favorites each and every year. There is far too much volatility within each Oscar season for that to happen (thank God AMPAS isn't the Emmys!). No filmmaker or star or craftsman dominates continually in their category unless their names are Meryl Streep and John Williams. 

Here it is. What'cha think?

Monday
Jul132015

"Ghost" and Other Blockbuster Best Pics

Today is the 25th anniversary of Ghost (1990), that wildly successful supernatural-comedy-romance-adventure-whatsit from 1990 which briefly iconized Demi Moore's single teardrop face, revived the popularity of a 1955 song hit, made pottery-wheel lovemaking into a meme (before memes were called that) proved that Patrick Swayze was more than just Dirty Dancing, made the world hate the grandson of legendary movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, and won Whoopi Goldberg her Oscar, the first acting win for an African American woman since Hattie McDaniel in 1939 (it's since become far more common... at least in Supporting Actress).

Ghost is among the most atypical Best Picture nominees of all time, and one that would never have been nominated without its phenomenal grosses. It ended 1990 as the top global grosser with over half a billion in the bank, though Home AlonePretty Woman and Best Picture winner Dances With Wolves were not far behind). 

So here's a quick Oscar talking point about the last, oh, 40 years of Oscar history. Which of these Best Picture nominees, arguably none of which would have been nominated without their blockbuster phenom cred given their genres and non-prestige foundations, is your favorite?

Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Fugitive (1993)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
District 9 (2009)
The Blind Side (2009)

How do you think Ghost (1990) stacks up to that list? None of them actually won Hollywood's top prize in their year. 

Sunday
Jul052015

Halfway: Oscar Chart Updates - Picture, Director, Visual, Sound

½way mark - part 5 of ?
All this week we're taking stock of what's happened thus far in the film year but also at what's to come... at least as it involves Oscar Charts. They're updated in every category now (save Foreign Film... for which I now start the hard 70+ country research work on backstage).

Best Picture | Best Director 
In these charts you'll see gains for Inside Out and Youth and Sicario after hot responses in Cannes or in theaters and for Suffragette and Steve Jobs which both arguably aced their trailer game, which helped to build perceptions of "forthcoming jewel - see it!". And though the vast bulk of the contenders in Best Director are still white American men, there is at least one woman (Sarah Gavron's Suffragette) and one African American (Ryan Coogler's Creed) and a few foreigners who you can imagine traction for if their film's explode critically or with the media or at the box office.

I've also added George Miller to the director chart -- I don't really see a precedent for an actual nomination, mind you, but it's fun to imagine the director's branch getting ballsy each year and rallying behind someone whose work really impressed in non-Oscar bait projects. And given that this 70 year old schooled just about any action director whose name isn't James Cameron, there's a lot to be impressed by. It's worth noting that his Oscar record is damn weird. He's been honored in four categories in the past, winning the Animated Feature Oscar (Happy Feet) and receiving one nomination each for Best Picture (Babe), Adapted Screenplay (Babe) and Original Screenplay (Lorenzo's Oil) ...but he's never been nominated for Best Director, and essentially he's a director who dabbles in other things. It's kind of like the hilarious statistic that Lars von Trier is only Oscar nominated as a songwriter. Tee hee. 

Visuals | Sound
Though I lost a little faith in In the Heart of the Sea and Bridge of Spies, with buzz on other films growing and in the case of Spies a middling trailer, I didn't drop them for the tech charts per se. As we know the Academy's visual branches are not as prone to think outside the Best Picture box as they once were which is sad for visual artists working on movies (sometimes the individual parts are much greater than the sums). You'll notice thatMad Max Fury Road was also added to a few charts. Given the hallelujah critical chorus that greeted its arrival and the likelihood that a DVD release and top ten lists could result in a reprise of that very same chorus -- we're pretending (at least for the time being) that Oscar voters might consider it despite it being the fourth film in a franchise that they've had no time for.

Immortan George directing Charlize Furiosa

Previously at the Halfway Mark
pt. 1 Oscar Chart Updates - Acting
pt. 2 10 Best Leading Performances
pt. 3 Best & Worst in Animation 
pt. 4 Most Ubiquitous - Alicia Vikander 

Friday
Jun192015

182 Days Until "Carol" Opens

This screenshot from Carol lies. The first Todd Haynes movie in 8 years is opening on December 18th, not the 21st. Anyway the screenshot is pulled from new footage which is mixed in with other footage and interviews from Cannes from Film4 which you can see below

And because we're thinking about HOW VERY LONG IT IS UNTIL WE SEE CAROL here's the holiday calendar just to lament, as is our tradition, that early December is empty but late December is crowded (sigh). 

THANKSGIVING

The Good Dinosaur
Victor Frankenstein
Midnight Special 

DECEMBER DATES

04th Krampus (Horror Comedy)

Why is this weekend so empty?

11th In the Heart of the Sea (Ron Howard)
        The Lady in the Van (that lady be Dame Maggie Smith)

Why is this weekend so empty?

18th Carol (Todd Haynes)
        Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
        Sisters (Amy Poehler & Tina Fey) 

I mean obviously Carol breaks all opening weekend box office records this weekend

23rd Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

CHRISTMAS

Two of the Hateful Eight: Demian Bichir & Kurt Russell

25th Point Break (Remake)
        Concussion (Will Smith in a drama about football brain injuries)
        The Hateful Eight (Tarantino's latest bloody western going the Django route)
        The Revenant (Inaritu's directs Leo DiCaprio & Tom Hardy)
        Snowden (Oliver Stone & Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
        Joy (David O. Russell & Jennifer Lawrence)

31st Nothing scheduled yet but this is traditionally the weekend wherein sometimes great movies are sacrificed to the whims of "Oscar qualifying" contracts and get no real support from their distributor

There are still several films with major stars and/or possible critical darling appeal without US release dates: the new version of MacBeth, Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition, Luca Guadagino's A Bigger Splash, James Vanderbilt's Truth, the Lance Armstrong bio The Program and the Hank Williams bio I Saw the Light. Some of them will surely end up in December but we hope against hope that this year is light on the stupid "Oscar Qualifying" releases. 

Wednesday
Jun102015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Amadeus" (A Visual Index)

For this week's Best Shot topic, Milos Forman's scrumptious musical duet between jealous Salieri and genius Wolfgang. It was called Amadeus and it was very very good and very very popular -- raking in big box office, too. Though it never landed in the box office top five it had major legs and ended its reign as the 12th highest grosser of 1984.

The music drama won 8 Oscars (from 11 nominations) but curiously one of the prizes it lost was cinematography! The DP was Miroslav Ondrícek who had also been nominated for the previous Milos Forman picture Ragtime (1981).

Amadeus is so visually luxurious that I figured it would be a hard assignment and these eight images surprised me and I can't wait to dig into the articles. Unfortunately I had a computer mishap -- something is not working about my screengrab program (argh-the timing) -- so my own pick for Amadeus will have to wait. But please do read these articles and consider the visual choices. I'm not even going to attempt to put these in chronological order. It's a massive three hour film with lots of performances and difficult to place shots from the luxury overload. Today's Best Shot choices, from brave cinephiles round the web who dare to play this game, are presented in the order in which they were sent to me.

11 BEST SHOTS - AMADEUS (1984)
click on the photos to be taken to the corresponding article 
Next Wednesday: MAGIC MIKE (2012)... grab your singles and pick a shot to shove them into 

Forman wisely draws a visual (and comedic) parallel between the two appearances of the mask.
-The Entertainment Junkie 

When all you can do is seethe in your utter failure...
-Drink Your Juice Shelby 

In a film with such a lavish production, a quiet, almost bare scene caught my eye...
-Sorta That Guy

Hard to pick a shot because its best visual moments come from clever cutting and juxtapositions...
-Coco Hits NY

'It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God...'
-54 Disney Reviews

Thematically, I can't think of a more blunt message statement... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy

VIDEO ENTRY
-Movie Motorbreath 

If every Oscar winner was as loose and irreverent as Amadeus...
-Serious Film 

This resplendent film earned every one of its 8 statues.
-Film Actually

The perfect metaphor for the movie's dynamic...
- The Expert Newbie *first entry* 

"I'm frightened!!!" Yet she was fearless. Cynthia Nixon at 18
-Paul Outlaw

Finis

Wednesday
Jun032015

YNMS: Suffragette 

Every day since Cannes wrapped it's become clear that the Oscar charts must be updated. We were already banking on Focus Feature's Suffragette for a Best Picture nomination but when we update we might get even more bullish after this new trailer and that prime October real estate (October has been very kind to Best Pictures of late - December is so passe). Anyway, let's not get distracted with Best Picture talk.

Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan as Maud, a working wife and mother who is recruited to join the growing movement and becomes a fierce activist. Mulligan, having a great year with Far From The Madding Crowd's success and a Tony nomination, will likely reap Oscar traction if people like the film but she's backed up by quite the ensemble of talented ladies. Meryl Streep is apt to get all the glory, as she does, for her small role as Emmeline Pankhurst, a catalyst for the story and an icon of Suffragette history, but I'll be interested to see which other members of the supporting cast can win any attention or praise (if any) for strong characterizations or memorable scenes once people start seeing the whole film. Suffragette will premiere at the London Film Festival. 

The trailer and our Yes No Maybe So breakdown -- which we'll do a little differently this time -- after the jump...

Click to read more ...