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Entries in animated films (330)


Netflix Rescues 'The Little Prince'

Back in March, Paramount unceremoniously dumped The Little Prince at the very last minute before its planned release. The animated adaptation of the beloved children's book debuted out of competition at 2015's Cannes Film Festival and unfortunately word evaporated stateside quickly. Even though Paramount did zilch to promote the film, it has been received well globally, even winning the animated film César.

Netflix has swooped in to bring the film to American audiences - exciting news for those of us still anticipating the film, but a downer for those who hoped to see it on the big screen in most markets. This year's animated field is going to be tough to crack, but maybe Netflix can replicate the success they have had with the documentary branch in recent years.

Check out the just released trailer for The Little Prince below. The film begins an Oscar qualifying theatrical release and streaming simultaneously on Netflix on August 5th.


Lukewarm Off the Presses: Beyond Ragnarok & Huppert Fever

Reheating some news we never got around to! But perhaps it's news to you...

Cate Blanchett will be playing Thor's next big bad "Hela". We assume she's the antlered one in this concept art so we cautiously look forward to that costume. But confession: I don't trust Blanchett in villainous mode (*dodges tomatoes*) since she overdid it in both Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Hanna and nearly so in Cinderella and I don't mean overdid it in a fun comic-book kind of way but just too much overall. Plus the Thor movies are easily the worst part of Marvel Studio's work to date. Other new players in Thor: Ragnarok will be Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (a character I loved as a kid so yay, Tessa). And of course Mark Ruffalo as the not jolly green giant and Chris Hemsworth as the guy with the hammer. For some reason they are forcing Sir Anthony Hopkins' Odin back on us (I thought he died in the ssecond movie?) and Tom Hiddleston is back under Loki's horns which is a pity because he deserves to use his time on other things, now, come on. They've wrung that character dry, they've leaned on him so much. 

Apparently the villain in Star Trek Beyond looks like this. It's actually Idris Elba underneath all that makeup. LOUD SIGH. First Oscar Isaac gets buried in ugly latex for Apocalypse and now Idris? Idris Elba is, and I think the internet will back me up on this assertion, one of the most attractive people on the planet. So why won't Hollywood show us his face? It is really pissing me off. This year he's onscreen as a tiger (Jungle Book) a buffalo (Zootopia), a sea lion (Finding Dory), and this alien but not as a human man you can actually look at. As a pasty white boy I am fully aware that there are people who think I shouldn't talk about race... but as a human person stuff like this is really getting to me. I am not one to jump on every perceived racial slight and proclaim racism (As I said much to the internet's displeasure this past season, I think #OscarsSoWhite was oft-misguided because the actor's branch is not the correct target for such things given both Hollywood and Oscar history) but I can't look at Idris Elba's career, and Zoe Saldana's career (note how she's always blue or green in her movies... until she was a black woman doing blackface -yikes!) and Lupita Nyong'o's career post Oscar (a CGI alien and a CGI wolf so far, but not an actress you can gaze at despite her considerable beauty) and not KNOW that Hollywood's race problem is dire and also, I'd wager, subconcious.

This is not complicated, really, if casting directors, directors, agents, executives, managers, and maybe even the actors on occasion would just think decisions through a little more, especially in regards to the optics. FACT: People like to look at beautiful actors. They always have. Stop hiding them from us! 

Isabelle Huppert is having a good year. I missed a lot of articles on Elle and Isabelle Huppert's time in front of the press at Cannes. In a new interview at the Guardian about Elle and her latest stage performance in Phaedra there's a lot of fascinating tidbits including her repetitive unwillingness to talk about other famous actors but her chatterbox response to questions about directors. She also wants to do more comedies...

Viewers do tend to think of her on-screen persona as a full-on neurotic, steeped in psychosexual anguish.

“Yes, but you can be a comic neurotic too.” So does she feel underrated doing comedy? “I certainly do feel…” she hesitates a moment; I take that as a yes. “That’s why I’d love to work with Woody Allen or Noah Baumbach – to do comedy in that New York vein.” But her serious roles, she insists, often contain more humour than is apparent. “Even The Piano Teacher – although I wouldn’t try to persuade anyone that was an out and out comedy…”

Whew. I was worried for a second. That film is not a knee slapper. As for Huppert in comedy. Can you handle that? I liked her in I Heart Huckabees and especially in 8 Women but in both she was working with or riffing on that dramatic neurotic performance so her comedy was stemming from perceptions of her as an actor, just as much if not more than her actual performances.



Trippy Best Shots: "True Skin" and "World of Tomorrow"

Tonight's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot is our annual short film episode. The genre is sci-fi but we're looking at two trippy but altogether unalike films.

The first is True Skin (2012) which has rather extraordinary visual effects considering it comes from the DIY world of short filmmaking. It was once earmarked for the feature film treatment but when that didn't work out earlier this year Amazon snatched it up to develop into a TV series. The second film is recent Oscar nominee World of Tomorrow (2015) from animation legend Don Hertzfeld. (His career being Oscarless is just not right.) Lets look at the "Best Shots" as chosen by your host and the volunteer panelists elsewhere after the jump. 

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Eddie to be Heard, Not Seen

Perhaps sensing that everyone will be sick of looking at him by the tail end of 2017 (what with the multiple Oscar nominated transformations, the actual Oscar, and that new Fantastic Beasts franchise), Eddie Redmayne will give his ginger mug a wee break from gigantification on the big screen. Instead he'll be leading the voice cast of Aardman's Early Man which just went into production for release in 2018. The best part of the news is that Nick Park will be directing and he's been absent from that particular chair for too long. (His last feature was 11 long years ago, the Oscar winning Curse of the Were Rabbit.)

You can pencil it in for a Best Animated Feature nomination right now (albeit two years from now) because Aardman has quite a track record of delights (sorry Flushed Away!). They've got a heavy shelf of awards to prove it including Oscar nominations for A Grand Day Out (1989) and A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008), The Pirates: Band of Misfits (2012), and Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) and four Oscar wins via Creature Comforts (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993), A Close Shave (1995), and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005).   

Are you sick of looking at Eddie Redmayne yet or do you vow to never tire of that weird handsomeness?


Curio: Eyvinde Earle's Centennial

Today marks the 100th birthday of famed illustrator Eyvinde Earle (1916-2000) who has a special connection to the cinema having logged time with Walt Disney Studios, most famously helping to shape the aesthetic of the studio's greatest looking traditional classic, Sleeping Beauty (1959). The artist passed away sixteen years ago but his work lives on. Take a look...

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April Foolish Predix: Best Animated Features

It's past time to begin our annual tradition of predicting the future Oscar nominees way before anyone should (yes, I'm aware that nowadays every clickbait site does it the day after the Oscars but we're not into that. Jesus, ppl, let each film year settle!). Let's start with the easiest category in that it's its own world entirely, The Animated Feature. Last year was a relatively thin year for the medium, in that the number of eligible films just barely triggered a 5 wide field. We shouldn't expect a similar dearth this year.

After all 2016's already delivered a possible frontrunner (the delightful Zootopia), a hit that people have already forgotten about (Kung Fu Panda 3... currently #4 of 2016 but have you ever heard anyone talk about it?), trailers to roughly a billion would be cartoon blockbusters scheduled for 2016, and the very tantalizing prospects of an original Disney musical (Moana) and a new Laika feature (Kubo and the Two Strings).

So who do we think will win the nominations this year? I'm not falling into the trap of assuming Pixar is locked up each year (we saw The Good Dinosaur go nowhere, really, in terms of critics and awards enthusiasm) so my big no guts no glory call is that Finding Dory will miss a nomination. Yes, everyone loves Dory and Finding Nemo (2003) but I'm suspicious of a mere fanservice treading of water outing, pun intended, while we wait for a cool original again a la Inside Out. It's a strange reversal that Disney has suddenly taken up the "original" baton and Pixar is wasting its time with sequelitis.

What's below the US radar? Generally speaking online punditry seems to forget that the Academy's animation branch rightly takes foreign cartoons seriously when they're making their calls so something smallish and non American always shows up in the final shortlist. This early -- again, way too early -- I'm guessing that's The Red Turtle. It's due in September from Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli and given those two companies it will surely be beautiful. Plus it's wordless which should be interesting. The other film I'd ink in if I was sure it would be released in time is Loving Vincent, an entirely oil painted (!!!) animated biopic of Vincent Van Gogh. 

There's a lot to consider out there: martial artist pandas, red turtles, amnesian fish, little princes, secretive pets, pissed off birds, delicious trolls, singing pigs, genius artists, island girls and demigods, police bunnies and more. Check out the chart and do speak up in the comments. 



A "Zootopia" Top Ten

We've never even discussed Zootopia! What's wrong with us? (Don't answer) What follows is an off the cuff top ten. But consider this intro a number eleven plus: the joy of the movie is that it's not frontloaded at all continuing to offer delights all the way up to its concert finale in its fleet 108 minutes. So don't let this list feel complete: share your favorite things about it in the comments.

(This is assuming you loved it because everyone seems to)


10 Size Matters (in Comedy)
Lt. Judy Hopps, our heroine, would argue that it doesn't but it does. The animators and writers and filmmakers spin multiple jokes from the disparity in size of so many of the characters. And they've really worked the scale out. Few images in the movie radiated more comic bliss then watching a parade of conformist lemmings lining up for hundreds of miniature sweets made from one elephant sized dessert scoop.

09 Bunny Jokes
That throwaway line "your 275 brothers and sisters" and Judy's sly math joke later on "we're good at multiplying!"

8 more after the jump...

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