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 


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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

"Don't help the man with the broken arm! Don't get in his van! Too late... She does it every time. Which is why this is such a good movie: it really makes us care, and even when we know what's going to happen, we hope it won't."- Edward

"Such a great BP winner. I remember seeing it when I was a teenager and even then I noticed the eyelines being so close to the camera, and the way Clarice was framed in a male-dominated world as though she was being watched and judged." - MSD

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Entries in Anna Paquin (12)


Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's The Piano

The Piano contains many stories. It is a love story between two outsiders: a mute woman, and an uneducated man. It is an allegory about oppression: a white landowner in New Zealand treats his wife and the Maori people like children or property. It is a study of conflicted characters: a repressed, oppressive landowner; his passionate, mute wife; the lower class man who falls in love with her; and her wild, intelligent daughter. It is a warning about the hazards of refusing to listen: a failed marriage, a soured initial seduction, and the climax of the film are all spurred by lacking communication.  The Piano also has its roots in the fairy tale “Bluebeard;” a sinister story about a newlywed who discovers that her husband murders his wives. But as we’ve seen, Jane Campion doesn’t do easy fairy tale morality.

Campion’s story opens with the only words we will hear its main character speak:

The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - not even me...

Ada (Holly Hunter) is a mute Scottish woman shipped to Victorian New Zealand to marry a stranger, Alisdair (Sam Neill). Ada carries with her the two possessions that make up her voice: her headstrong daughter (Anna Paquin), and her piano. Alisdair leaves the piano, to Ada’s dismay, but a former whaler named George (Harvey Keitel) senses the piano’s importance, and shelters it in his house. He uses it to start an affair with Ada. Considering that this is a story set in the Victorian era, it is a welcome surprise that Campion refuses to make Ada a victim of anything (except maybe circumstance). But that initial image, the piano on the beach, lingers. The incongruous image of a piano on a beach sets the theme for the film - melancholy, and tinged with magical realism.

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April Showers: The Piano

The evening waterworks continue. Here's Andrew on a particularly gloomy shower.

The Piano is a moody movie. Moody as in unpredictable and volatile, and moody as in suggesting melancholy and mystery. Even before the story really gets underway the film's atmosphere is one of unease. And it's because it's not just the story that's moody but visually, too. As Stuart Dryburgh's camera observes the rough, muddy ranches of New Zealand the harsh exteremities of the terrain seem to be not just incidental but direct representations of the similarly implacable characters.

This is but one of the numerous ways in which the Gothic influence on The Piano shines through, where landscape informs elements of plot and characters. The Piano checks off a number of the prerequisites for Gothic drama: impulsive, sometimes tyrannical men, women in distress, heightened emotion, a mysterious atmosphere, a somewhat isolated locale, stormy weather and muddy terrains. 

Of the influence of the Gothic in the film, Jane confesses...

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20 Days Til Oscar (1993 Flashback)

Today's magic number is... 20! I couldn't find a statistic from this year's race involving the number 20 so what were Oscar fanatics like me (and you if you're weren't an infant) obsessing about 20 years ago in the Oscar race? 1993 was a fairly astonishing film year but there wasn't much drama in the Oscar race. Everyone knew that Tom Hanks and Holly Hunter would win the lead Oscars and the night would be all about Steven Spielberg with multiple wins for both Jurassic Park (recently revisted right here) and Schindler's List. Even Supporting Actor, in what one could argue was its best shortlist ever, didn't contain much drama. Though Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List)  and Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) were giving major star-is-born performances, it was pretty clear that the industry wanted to honor Tommy Lee Jones for his whole career and for co-starring in a huge hit (The Fugitive).

So was there any drama at all? Why, yes, I'm so glad you asked.

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Best Moments: "True Blood" Season 5

Jose here. Are you all getting excited about the True Blood season finale? This season got off to a very slow start but episode after episode it escalated towards the campy, outrageousness we have come to know and love in Alan Ball's show. After seeming like it would deal more with vampire politics and religious fanatics (something that became eerily prescient of what was to come in American politics) the show didn't forget to throw in a couple of truly batshit crazy elements (an ifrit! Salome! Bloody Lilith!) fortunately during the past couple of episodes all the insane peripherical stories have been solved and we come down once again to Sookie being the only one who can fix everyone. To prepare for tonight's episode, let's take a look at some of the best moments of this past season.

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True Blood Finale (Plus: Season 4 Awards!)

The final episode of True Blood's witchy season four had a cleft heart, one half beating only for past glories (i.e. Season 4 ... or even earlier seasons if their name is "Bill") and the other half beating for an imagined future (Season 5 if you'd like to get cynical about it). You could just about divide the sprawling cast down the center as to which half they belonged to, some characters hanging on to the past either tearfully, fearfully or violently (Marnie, Eric, Bill, Debbie, Hoyt, Arlene, Pam), others ready to forge ahead and move on with varying degrees of optimism, fear, and willpower (Sookie, Jessica, Jason, Tara, Sam, Holly & Andy). It's the very drama that infuses the episode's opening conversation with Jesus & Lafayette. Isn't that always the drama of the heart? 

Jesus and Lafayette (who is actually Marnie!) over breakfast eggs.

4.12 "And When I Die"
Not that True Blood thrives on "the universal". Most of us don't have to worry about malevolent spirits possessing our lovers, stabbing our hands over breakfast, duct-taping us to our chairs, and stealing our demon-headed magic while thrusting a butcher knife into our heart. But maybe Jesus, familiar with both violence-prone spirits and demon-headed Crazy, should've worried himself towards protection spells or some such! Goodbye Jesus (2010-2011) we hardly knew you. Goodbye Kevin Alejandro, go-to guy for "regular cast" killings (see also: Southland).

True Blood's season finale had a cleft heart but its body was divvied up into smaller pieces, drawn and quartered one might say.

If that sounds torturous, it definitely was... at least for the characters. And maybe some audiences members who wanted a more cohesive finale. More after the jump, plus best & worst of the season.

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Two Ladies: Margaret and Catwoman


Margaret. Last night I was having a conversation with a reader and he asked me if I thought that Margaret, that long-delayed Kenneth Lonergan film about a traumatized young Manhattanite (Anna Paquin) was going to have any impact on the Oscar Race. I told him I'd been answering that question annually for the past five years. Each year the question feels weirder and weirder. If you're new to movie fanaticism, here's a good rundown of the timeline and the things that went wrong in getting the movie into theaters. 

Here's Matt Damon and Anna Paquin on set... in... wait for it... 2005. Matt was still a thirtysomething and Anna wasn't yet SOOKIIIIIIEEE

on the set of Margaret

As to the Oscar question, truthfully I care not a smidgeon. I just want to see it. It's been drifting, transparent, like a ghost in our peripheral vision for years. I don't even what to see a critic's screening. I want to buy a ticket, sit in the theater holding it, come home and frame it with the inscription:


The press release I received yesterday morning said September 30th but until the day I'm holding that ticket stub it will remain an ectoplasmic dream.

Catwoman. The Dark Knight Rises has released its second official character image (the first was of Tom Hardy's hunched back) and it's Our Miss Hathaway as Cyclops Catwoman riding a very Nolan-esque wild hog. He sure likes those dunebuggy big wheels. 

I love Hathaway. I love Catwoman. But my inner child is not okay with either of them stealing Batgirl's motorycle mojo, you know?

I had...uh... this friend... yeah, a friend... who used to pretend to be Batgirl while riding on the back of his dad's motorcycle. This...uh... friend was smart enough to not share this fantasy out loud with my dad his dad but it was a pretty regular occurence. Like, every time he hopped on the motorcycle!

Don't judge.


und i'm the only man. ja ♬