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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

 

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Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

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Entries in Armie Hammer (18)

Friday
Jan202012

Podcast: One Last Golden Globe Gala!

You thought the Golden Globe festivities were over didn't you? Nope. There's one more left. It's time for the Film Experience Golden Globe Podcast. Katey, Nick, Joe and Nathaniel all met up for one last pre-Oscar nomination chat. We still don't agree on the movies but we all love the Globes unironically. It's always such a party for people who love celebrities and movies. We're sad it's over!

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post.

Topics include...

  • Crowd shots and nominee closeups.
  • Introducing... Katharine McPhee!
  • The unintentional eroticism of the DeMille Award
  • Leonardo DiCaprio's tipping point.
  • Johnny Depp, Original Song and other Unnecessaries
  • Seating charts, surprise marriages
  • Calista and Harrison... and Harrison's earrings. 
  • No sloppy Globe seconds for Oscar.
  • Uggie up to his old tricks
  • What will happen with The Help at SAG?
  • Viola Davis vs. Meryl Streep, the problematic narrative
  • Octavia Spencer and David Fincher
  • Brad vs. George and Mr CrankyPants Joe Reid
  • Goodbyes

We'd love to hear your takes on any of the issues discussed in the comments.
We do a lot of theorizing and questioning!

Giddy for the Globes

Wednesday
Dec142011

SAG Nominations: Surprising, Silly, Shame-less 

Regina King and Judy Greer announced the SAG nominees

Before we begin can I get something off my chest. You've possibly noticed that I always list actresses before actors when I do lists or my own awardage. Beyond my own actressexuality there is another reason for this. It galls me that they're listed second everywhere as if they're just slightly less important than actors. Now, you might say that's just a matter of alphabetics since "Actor" comes before "Actress" in correct alphabetization and that's true enough. But it's not only alphabetics, its our lazily sexist society. Please to note that SAG makes a point of calling all acting professionals "actors" without gender division and yet they do this and then STILL list men first even though "female" comes before "male" in correct alphabetization of category titles.

Grrrrr and also "girl!"

So women first when I list it because that's how we like it! 

MOVIES

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE 

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Midnight In Paris

These are strong nominees this year but as usual they left great actors out, even when their films were nominated.  Some comments on that problem in a separate post.

One theory of SAG ensemble voting is that actors vote for the movies that they wish they'd been in and that theory definitely holds up this year. All five of these sets must have been a blast when you think of the actors involved, the costumes, the color, the comedy (all five have comedic spirit even the two that are dramas).

 

 

 

It's also worth noting that this list is 80% identical to the BFCA list for ensemble. The only difference is you need to swap out Midnight in Paris for Ides of March. Still... it's clear that voters don't watch the more under the radar movies. I wish A Separation had opened a few months ago and built up to the acclaim it so deserves.

How fun would a win for Bridesmaids be as a ceremony capper? I demand a Wilson Phillips song be played when they take the stage should it occur.

COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES & MAJOR SURPRISES AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov162011

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Mirror Mirror"

We've never really imagined visually acclaimed director Tarsem Singh as the Evil Queen type but the release of the trailer to his next flick Mirror Mirror (included at the bottom of this post) so quickly on the heels of Rupert Sanders Snow White and the Huntsmen trailer (previously discussed) changes that immediately. Suddenly it's remarkably easy -- nay required! -- to imagine Tarsem all fussy, bejewelled and panicky with sweat in front of his own magic mirror when it declares Snow White and the Hunstman the fairest of all new Snow White projects. That's admittedly a small 50/50 type achievement, but still... 

Breathe deeply and put The Fall on loop in your home theater, Tarsem! Movie magic is temperamental even for the most skilled visual magicians.

But it's time for our Yes, No, Maybe So breakdown. As we do in this series, let's start positive...

YES...

 

  • As in The Social Network, Armie Hammer seems more than perfectly cast as upper crust... in this case upper upper crust as in the royal family, as in Prince Charming.
  • Birch trees are pretty and there seem to be a lot of them in this movie.
  • Lily C... Ju... the se... the cos...vi... oh fuck it, let's move on. 

NO...

"Snap!" to quote Thor on Nurse Jacket. 'We don't say that anymore."

 

  • Julia Roberts used to be so great at comedy. But it might just be true that if you rest, you rust.
  • That "I believe I believe I believe in love" musical number is strangely off putting. Was it the smug way Snow White already thinks she's the fairest of them all with her dance move? Was it the Bollywood influence without really committing to Bollywood?
  • Why does the whole thing look lower budget than even the cheeztacular Once Upon a Time on television?
  • Why does the sound drop out for each Julia Roberts moment like an awkward silent laugh track?
  • Being banished to the woods isn't very scary when the woods look like the soundstage adjacent to the soundstage you were just banished from.
  • Why is Nathan Lane in this?
  • Why did they release a trailer when the images aren't color corrected and they didn't even fix the green screen backdrop in the "you're not as pathetic as I thought" scene?
  • Why is the dialogue so anachronistically modern?
  • Why is Julia shouting all of her lines. Wouldn't the highlighting and underlining of 50% of each sentence be enough for a line delivery?
  • "Snow White? Snow Who? Snow Way" 
  • I think instead of Seven Dwarves they've given us Seven Jar Jar Binkses. *shudder*
  • No, Julia... I don't think there's a happy ending coming your way here.
  • "Say Hello to My Little Friend" ... seriously? SERIOUSLY?!? What is this Shrek only without animation and with hoarier lame pop culture jokes? 

 

MAYBE SO...

 

  • If you're going to risk being laughed at, by all means wear swan dresses! Really go for it. Should your swan be pooping out your leading lady instead of casually draped around her a la Björk? WHY NOT!? Go for it Eiko Ishioka! Your cuckoo bravery is inspiring. We love you
  • The Fall is awesome and maybe it looked like shit at some point during production? 

 

The atrocity in full is embedded below... Are you a No, No or Maybe No? Sound off in the comments.

 

Saturday
Nov122011

Review: "J. Edgar"

Disclaimer #1: This reviews briefly talks about the ending but... duh. It's history.
Disclaimer #2: Everyone has biases and the only people who tend to get in trouble about them are the ones that admit them like me. Generally speaking I think biopics are the dullest of film genres and it takes a strong artistic voice to overcome their persistent nagging limitations.  Generally speaking I do not love the work of Clint Eastwood. Though many critics feel duty bound to praise even his most obvious misfires, I've been accused of the exact opposite approach though I liked all four of his modern Best Picture grabs... (just not in the way Oscar did.)
Disclaimer #3: Clint Eastwood makes me sad because -- though this is not his fault -- he has ruined many famous film critics for me. My favorite living filmmaker is Pedro Almodóvar but I didn't try to pretend that Broken Embraces, Live Flesh, or The Skin I Live In were masterpieces. I don't trust anyone who can't see Eastwood's weaknesses as a filmmaker, his inability to vary up his visual ideas, the uneven "we did it in one take!" acting (it shows), and so on...

If you've already tuned out I understand and forgive you. That's too many disclaimers but one must approach the ceaselessly idolized Clint Eastwood with caution. Extreme caution is also recommended when approaching J. Edgar Hoover, the infamous half century FBI overlord and mean SOB. "J. Edgar" who is played from sixteen (?) to death by L. DiCaprio is also, as it turns out, an unreliable narrator. J Edgar (2011) is fully aware of this though weirdly cagey about when to reveal it. Rather than encouraging us to look at the man and his actions with clinical wide eyes from the start, it encourages much sympathy with groaner on-the-button lines like 'no amount of admiration can fill the place where love should be.' In fact, it embraces the title man's point of view to such an extent that he narrates the entire movie -- that old groaner device of "telling his story for posterity." His point of view is the only point of view so even his life long "friend" Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) is first viewed only as a menacing shadow behind closed doors, something to be ashamed of. After two plus hours of sympathising and listening to apologies about his behavior (but his mommy hated the gays -- naturally he was fucked up!) he is clumsily retrofitted at the tail end as the movie's Keyser Soze of sorts, only less purely evil on account of all the sad little boy business. But yes, he's been lying all along... or fibbing, if you're still feeling sympathetic.

Though the screenplay needed another few drafts as badly as some of the minor performances needed additional takes, there are brief flashes of the movie it could have been. The Charles Lindbergh and John Dillinger storylines, for example, are enough to fill movies by themselves. We know this because they've made for better movies than J. Edgar. Despite decades of evidence warning filmmakers about this exact "EVERYTHING!" approach, J. Edgar falls for the typical bio-traps. Movies are shorter than novels and definitely shorter than entire human lives and must thus choose which elements are worth dramatizing. Instead J. Edgar, like so many bios before it, crams itself full with cliff notes instead of truly absorbing the text and breathing its ideas. J. Edgar clings to many of the famous storylines and its own suppositions about them as desperately as Hoover clings to Tolson. But it's not just their manly love that's unconsummated; this whole movie has blue balls. Just as you become invested in one chapter or detail, you've lept ahead or backwards and on to another. No one involved in the production ever seems to decided what they found interesting about the material other than "ALL OF IT!"

For their part, the actors do what they can with the unfocused material. Leonardo DiCaprio, ever fond of playing anguished men, gives it his all but doesn't reach the charismatic precision or depth of feeling that he can hit when the material is more focused on entertainment than on SERIOUS ACTING. (In short, we're losing DiCaprio the movie star to DiCaprio the 'Master Thespian' and this is a crying shame.) Armie Hammer is more than adept at the dreamy Ivy League gay catch he plays in the early scenes but loses his way once he's playing a character well beyond his own age. He's swathed in lbs and lbs of prosthetics (maybe he couldn't see his marks? Why do makeup artists think "old" means 130? Why does he look older than Judi Dench?) Naomi Watts, who needed anything but yet one more bleak movie on her resume, is barely consequential at all. Though she embodies "Loyalty" -- we know because J Edgar tells us just that in the constant narration -- you could leave her on the cutting room floor and not lose much. Finally, though she's in little of it, Judi Dench walks away with the whole thing with her devastatingly unsympathetic mother-son chitchat about "daffodils". It's obvious and cruel code for "don't be a fairy!" though she knows her boy already is one. 

"Is that legal?"In the end, though, what burdens the movie as heavily as the extreme prosthetics must have weighed on Hammer and DiCaprio is its utter joylessness. Again Clint Eastwood dully plinks away on the piano at key moments rather than hiring a composer who could have elevated this movie with something more robust and filled with different shades of feeling. The murky cinematography by Tom Stern, is just as monotonous in feeling in addition to being practically monochromatic. Another Eastwood picture all drained of color. Black and white movies are among the most beautiful movies ever made so if you want to make a black and white movie, have at it; consummate the love affair! But none of this "color is too flowery!" business.

Even the early most playful scenes wherein J. Edgar and Clyde are becoming intertwined lack the spark that you can only see in Armie Hammer's eyes. You could stretch and say that the film's entirely bleak aesthetic is meant to represent the joylessness of Hoover's life only if you've never seen a recent Clint Eastwood. That's just how they always look. The movie is an über-drag, long before J Edgar is softly whimpering in his mamma's dress.  D+

Saturday
Oct292011

3 Notes on New Photos: J Edgar, Hunger Games, Pines

You may have noticed that I don't post every "exclusive" new photo!video!thingamajig! the second it's released. I figure you can get them in 760,000 other places and if I post too many of them there will be no room for the words which is why we do this thing they call blogging. And this: I'd prefer to get paid advertising on the site than give free advertising. That said, I'm thinking we should include more so maybe roundups like this?

Here we go...

• I want that tie. I want it windsored up in my business immediately. Would it be unprofessional to beg Deborah Hopper for it first chance I get to interview her?
• Despite the Oscar friendly nature of the bulk of Clint Eastwood's modern filmography, none of his movies have ever been nominated for costume design. Could this be the first?
* Armie Hammer is very handsome.

to see more click on this photo

• Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne looks just like Patrick Bateman which... well, may the costume designer never put him in a transparent splatter protection jacket. 
• Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a cop suit does nothing for me. I prefer him in Slim Jim Joe Inception suits. 
•  Those extras in the background are really given it their all! You know they were so excited to get the gig. "I'm going to be in a Batman movie!!!!!"

Hunger Games and The Place Beyond the Pines after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct072011

Snow White and the Seven Links 

Pfangirl looks at all the upcoming fairy tale reinvisionings onscreen. 
EW has first look photos at Tarsem Singh's Snow White movie with Armie Hammer, Julia Roberts and Lily Collins in looks that Project Runway would most certainly declare "too costumey"

Evil Queen Roberts and Prince Charming Hammer 

Glee This is a poor quality video (but the best I could find) of Harry Shum Jr (♥) doing "Cool" from West Side Story. This past Tuesday's episode was the best in some time and Season 3 seems to be returning to less processed sounding music, and more small town big talent dreaminess which made the very first episodes so charming.
Thelma Adams prefers Michael Fassbender buttoned up (A Dangerous Method) to Michael Fassbender well hung (Shame). Fun piece. Um, not Fassy's, her blot post I mean!  

⇚ Look, J Edgar has a real poster. I like it even though I also find it hideous (I blame my Gemini nature). Anyway, I'm heading out the door this moment to buy tickets to NYFF's special surprise screening. I fear that this will be the movie since they love Clint Eastwood like I love, oh, Almodóvar at NYFF... (One of their most embarrassing moments ever was when they famously thought Changeling a worthy festival entry while refusing Rachel Getting Married in 2008. Sorry, to bring it up again.... BYGONES!) Anyway... I'm hoping it's one of the two Spielbergs or Dragon Tattoo -- something Christmasy to justify the cash to see it early. But if I just blew cash on any November release that I can see in less than a month for free, I will boo-hoo. 

Towleroad Jay Brannan does Adele's "Someone Like You". Love the song. Love Brannan. 
Movie|Line did you know that there's a documentary on The Swell Season. Fans of Once (2007) should take note.
The Insider have you seen this funny clip of Evan Rachel Wood expressing her hipster cred (reference to Requiem for a Dream soundtrack is A+ Evan) before going gaga for Justin Beiber. Delightful... even though, ewww.