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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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Entries in Art Direction (64)

Sunday
Feb092014

More Prizes for Best Pic Nominees: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, & Her

From the USC Scripter nominees we discussed Friday the group chose 12 Years a Slave as the best adapted screenplay of the year. Since their prize goes to both the screenwriter and the original author that means John Ridley gave the acceptance speech but Solomon Northup was also a winner. He's been dead for 151 years so one wonders where his prize goes? I hope to the Faces of Solomon group.

But it wasn't all good news for the masterful slavery drama. It lost its Art Direction, Period  prize to the much showier Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby. Catherine Martin, Baz's wife and creative collaborator is drowning in such prizes. She's won the ADG and the Oscar both before in this category for Moulin Rouge!

ADG AWARDS FILM

So pleased this won it's prize! K.K. Barrett is a marvel

Contemporary Film K.K. Barrett, Her
Fantasy Film Andy Nicholson, Gravity
Period Film Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

It's worth noting that all three of those production designers are Oscar nominated as well. They're competing against Adam Stockhausen for 12 Years a Slave and Judy Becker  for American Hustle.

Television & Special Extra Film Prizes are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan282014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Maleficent

My favorite moment of the Grammys Sunday night was the premiere of the Maleficent trailer set to Lana Del Rey's hypnotically sinister version of Disney's "Once Upon a Dream"! Runner up was Imagine Dragons. Second Runner Up was Madonna resurrecting "Open Your Heart" briefly while people of all persuasions married (awwww) thereby rescuing me from that obnoxious if well-intentioned "Same Love" rap (Keith Urban with his new handsome-lady haircut was also happy to be rescued as he was totally crying. But where was Mrs. Keith Urban Whom We Worship?). Fourth runner up was a tie between Pink and Lorde... but I digress and am running way off track with the tracks.

MALEFICENT!

Well well."

Let's talk about that "Dream" trailer only we're doing things a smidge differently because we're in a mood. We're going to judge every shot of it with our Yes No Maybe So™ system.

Ready? Go!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan222014

Sundance Stills: The Voices, War Story, Song One

One can never be fully caught up at festivals but one does what one can. So today, three quick takes on movies I saw yesterday during a five-film day. Let's use their festival guide images as a framing device just because I always find it interesting which images movies use to promote themselves, don't you?

THE VOICES
This still from Marjane Satrapi's (Persepolis) horror comedy looks nondescript enough until you pair the title with a man looking at his cat. Yes, they're "talking". The cat is the Scottish brogued "Mr Whiskers" and like 99% of cats in films he is unrepentantly evil. (Can we form a Anti-Cat Defamation Cinematic League or something?) And then you notice the woman's head (Gemma Arterton's to be precise) to the left. Gross! One thing you don't get at all from this still is the film's hard working production design, which is relentlessly candy colored (bright pink is favored) and stylized. The whole film mirrors the strainuous commitment of the design elements but it's hard to know what possessed anyone to be involved let alone give it their all (I've never seen Ryan Reynold work this hard to put a performance over. Why use all that energy now on this?). It's cutesy and gruesome simultaneously which is an unwise and at time repulsive thing to attempt to pull off... but I should admit that the production design really works in the moments when it slides mercilessly off the cliff between from one moment to the other (Jerry's warped fantasies and the actual situation) as in a scene after his first kill when he starts taking his medication and we're back in reality. But still, this "comedy" about a man-boy who works at a hot pink toilet factory, eats at a Chinese restaurant with live Elvis shows, and lives above an abandoned bowling alley where he chops up women is largely unfunny. That last sentence should give you a clue as to what the movie feels like. It's like being stabbed to death by tweeness. The Voices is not even comfortable with being scary. This marks the first time I ever walked out of movie during a happy end credits musical dance sequence... starring Anna Kendrick (and other cast members) no less! In my defense this brightly lit comic number also featured an actor playing Jesus. Grade: D? F?... or maybe it's an "A" cult movie and I just didn't get it?  Distribution: Not that I'm aware of but I'm sure it'll get something. Maybe a VOD future?

SONG ONE
This image features Franny (Anne Hathaway) falling for her brother's favorite musician James Forester (Johnny Flynn) while her brother lies in a coma. Very specific plot set up that.  I had to brighten it in photoshop so you could actually see the image which just gives a sense at how dangerously low key this film is for a festival bow. I saw it in the middle of a five film day and fought off sleep (others succumbed to the sandman without shame) but I actually think it's good if extremely modest. But relatively calm romantic dramas about women and dreamy alt-folk musicians are probably asking for it with exhausted legions of film critics who -- I'm stereotyping but I see it all the time --  prefer harrowing and heavily masculine films to anything gentle and feminine. The big selling point is the return of Anne Hathaway (what a perfect movie face she has - all anime sized eyes and expressive memorable mouth) and the films song score by Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice (mostly performed by Johnny Flynn). If the movie gets a release I hope it campaigns hard for Best Original Song nominations next year. Weirdly, Anne Hathaway only sings twice and only in off-hand character beat ways, though the movie has a lot of performance scenes. In fact the film it most reminded me of was Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs only instead of pornography inbetween each musical number there was low key family grief and a tentative 'help me through this' love story.
Grade: B/B- Distribution: Not at the moment. It's appeal is surely very limited but with no brainer marketing hooks like Hathaway and all the great music, why not a small distributor? 

 

 

WAR STORY 
Finally let's wrap up with Catherine Keener in a Mark Jackson movie about a war photographer named Lee who is shown abrasively walking and talking and wandering about in Italy. (Does Keener ever do anything non-abrasively any more?) Lee has clearly lost her mojo, is hugely depressed (a companion was recently killed, execution style, in front of her) and is searching for new purpose while avoiding loved ones on the telephone. The image above features her listening to a conversation in the street. Or maybe thinking one of her many dark thoughts. That lack of information is representative of the movie but the image isn't since Keener's massive helmet of hair is not covering her facial expressions. I found the movie maddeningly withholding in nearly all ways: narratively, visually and emotionally. Sometimes the focus on Keener in profile (essentially just a side shot of brown hair with occasional glimpse of her nose) was so tight that I couldn't even tell what she was doing in the frame. In one disposable lengthy shot, for example, I thought she might be staring at a vending machine indecisively and then she did something with her hands (offscreen) but the image was too hard to understand and the next cut didn't clear up what had just transpired. I couldn't find any way into the movie so it was inert for me as a drama, despite possibly intriguing dramatic elements like Keener's fascinating with a Libyan refugee seeking an abortion or a late film visit to a former friend (Ben Kingsley). One minor caveat, i was a bit late to the movie (I am very rarely late to a movie) so perhaps the opening scene explained everything but given the filmmaking elsewhere I highly doubt it. Grade: D; Distribution: Unlikely unless Keener and Kingsley is enough

Which of these are you most interested in and what was your last triple feature?

Thursday
Jan092014

Art Directors Make Their Picks 

Jose here, with yet another batch of guild nominees. This time members of the Art Directors Guild have determined nominees in three categories (which are just as nonsensical as those of the Costume Designers Guild...how is Her contemporary and Gravity a fantasy?). It's mostly more of the same, except for one or two rather interesting choices here and there, and truly it seems as if Oscar mostly cares about the "old look" which is why the Period nominees might pretty much translate into our final five nominees. Right?

The nominees were the following:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec222013

Podcast: American Hustle & Her

NickKatey and Joe join Nathaniel to wish you all a very happy holiday week. We begin by talking about David O. Russell's American Hustle. Katey wishes the movie had applied itself more, Joe doesn't believe a second of it, but Nathaniel and Nick enjoy the fun groovy chaos quite a lot more. We're split on Jennifer Lawrence's showboating, three of us think Bradley Cooper is amazing but the podcast quickly turns into an Amy Adams ♥fest. (Shout-outs to Saïd Taghmaoui and Michael Peña, too)

We also discuss Spike Jonze Her and its lovely script and performances. The Scarlett Johansson/Samantha Morton business on the voicework is also on the menu. Do we think Her hits its themes too hard or just right? And would we wear its futuristic fashions? 

PLEASE NOTE: If you're spoiler averse you might want to skip one minute from 18:00- 19:00

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

Her Hustlin' Holiday

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