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Entries in Beauty vs Beast (32)

Monday
Sep222014

Beauty vs Beast: There Will Be Beasts

JA from MNPP here welcoming you to another week's "Beauty vs Beast" showdown - this time around we're going good and bad and ugly and everything in between, heading out West to the oil fields of California at the turn of the previous century.

Over the weekend Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 film There Will Be Blood screened at the immense and ornate United Palace Theater here in New York with Jonny Greenwood's masterful (and criminally Oscar-ignored) score performed live by an orchestra, including Mr. Greenwood himself. I was there and it was, to put it mildly, as if somebody liquified all of Heaven itself into drug-form and shot it full-blast into my veins. That is to say -- I enjoyed it. So to keep my happy buzz thrumming just a little longer, let's head back to The Church of the Third Revelation and see where our loyalties lie - with Daniel Day-Lewis' boy-abandoning oil-man or with Paul Dano's oily-man of god who keeps crawling under his skin.

 

We should try to keep ourselves character-minded as we cast our votes (keeping in mind that Eli might be a squirmy little fraud but Daniel Plainview does some, um, very bad stuff), but on the actor side of the equation I do want to say that while Oscar was very clearly definitive about where its hosannas fell (and I'm not about to knock DDL's for-the-ages work) I do think Dano's performance has been under-valued. The film wouldn't work nearly as well as it does if he wasn't purposefully driving us into Daniel Plainview's long, cold, scary arms. But really they're all a bunch of bastards (in baskets).

PREVIOUSLY Last week we revisited the raining rose petals of the insular suburban world in Sam Mendes' American Beauty on the ocassion of its 15th anniversary, and faced the angry patriarch and angrier matriarch of the Burnham clan off - coming out ahead by one fashionable gardening clog, Carolyn (Annette Bening) marched off with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mike In Canada:

"I feel like a major turning point in the road to true grownup-hood is realizing that Carolyn is the true hero of American Beauty and that Lester is a thoughtless prick and the movie's attitudes toward them are a major flaw."

Monday
Sep152014

Beauty vs Beast: American Beauty vs American Beast

JA from MNPP here - it's that "Beauty vs Beast" time again! Over the past few months a lot's been written about the wonderful movie year that was 1999 now that we're a solid fifteen years away from it (Nathaniel touched upon this back in July) but seeing as how today, September 15th, marks the exact anniversary of the release of the film that would roll on to win that's years Best Picture, I figure it's time to pit some angry suburbanites against each other.

Yup, American Beauty turns 15 today. The dust on everybody's Oscars - Kevin's, Sam's, Annet... oh wait, nevermind (sorry Hilary Swank made me do it) - is fifteen years thick. (Of course if Annette had won that Oscar she'd have never let the dust get that thick - she'd strip down to her slip and scrub scrub scrub that sucker.) And all that built-up time, well it hasn't been too kind to the movie, if you ask me. But why ask me? Go read this piece at Decider on the film from just a week ago, it kind of says it for me. But now that I'm a little older the film (and Lester's) relentless villainization of Carolyn's character does indeed stick in my craw. But what about you?

 

Per usual you've got one week, seven days, to let the world know where you stand. Try not to get lost staring at plastic bags while stoned out of your mind, if at all possible.

PREVIOUSLY Speaking of being high, I'm still coming down from my John Waters high thanks to last week's retrospective at The Film Society of Lincoln Center here in New York (I saw him introduce Final Destination over the weekend! Shoot me now, it's all down-hill from that), but we can close the door on our Female Trouble themed poll at least... and nobody beats Divine. As Henry put it:

"Divine........there is only one Divine.......Christmas Trees beware the spurned Santa wish for Cha Cha Heels."

Monday
Sep082014

Beauty vs Beast: Crime Is Beauty

JA from MNPP here with another round of "Beauty vs Beast" for us to sink our teeth into - every Monday we ask y'all to choose sides between an appointed movie's "good" guy and "bad" guy, wherein we acknowledge that such distinctions are liquid (eyeliner). But as a wise and beautiful woman once said, "I'm scared rats are gonna come out and bite my new nylons." Oh and she also said, "There has to be a line drawn somewhere." And that line runs right down the middle of Baltimore's premiere hair enhancement clinic, the Lipstick Beauty Salon!

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is running a fabulous John Waters Retrospective here in New York right now, showing every single film the Pope of Trash, the Prince of Puke, ever made, and so it only seemed right and proper to celebrate this divine (ahem) ocassion this week with my fave of his films, 1974's Female Trouble. Meet our Teams!

 

Beauty, beauty, look at you, I wish to God I had it, too. Who will it be - the avant-garde artists or their deranged muse? You have a week to vote, and to let your opinions on the matter spill forth in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY Last week it was the eternal Lily Tomlin's 75th birthday and we jumped in the pick-up truck and gunned it to the big city with 1988's twin-comedy Big Business - did you go for Lily's pair of Roses or Bette Midler's twosome of Sadies? Well Rose started off strong... but at the last minute Sadie stuffed her in the janitor's closet and became the Joan Collins she always wanted to be. Said Nathaniel:

"As much as I love Lily, this film belongs to Bette's Sadie... especially via her awesome Dynasty fixation and possibly the best film use of her trademark eye flashing. TEAM SADIE!"

Monday
Sep012014

Beauty vs Beast: Sister City, Sister Bumpkin

JA from MNPP here with today's very special Labor Day edition of our "Beauty vs Beast" series. Whether you're employed crunching numbers and dodging bitchy CEOs in the big city offices of Moramax or you've opted for the more laidback homey halls of the Hollowmade factory down in Jupiter Hollow, West Virginia, I hope we can all take a breather from doing the work we love today to unite over one indisputable fact - Lily Tomlin, who is turning 75 today, is a national treasure.

Clearly we've chosen 1988's twin comedy Big Business as this week's theme - as I was eleven and deep in a Bette Midler phase when this film came out I hope you'll forgive me for admitting this movie means a lot to me. (I have previously done an extensive appreciation over at my own site.) Rewatching it for the possibly one millionth time this weekend it's impossible for me to tell if it's actually any good or if it's just so deep-seated inside of me I can't see the forest for the Plaza Hotel.

But man does it make me laugh, and I go back and forth each time between who's funnier: Lily Tomlin as City Rose (slapstick with muffins and dogs in elevators) and Country Rose (Rattlesnake bracelets and water-tight frog asses) or Bette Midler as Country Sadie (Lee Press On Nails and UFOs) and City Sadie (Blood Clots and Tiaras). So I'm making y'all pick!

 

Before anybody says anything yes I was torn between doing the poll this way and asking you to choose Country Sisters vs City Sisters instead, but a showdown between the two actresses ultimately won that dispute in my mind. If you'd like to offer up your cases whichever way in the comments though, feel free! You have seven days.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we were wishing Sean Connery a happy birthday by dipping our Goldfinger into the James Bond pool, and sure enough it's that wascally secret agent who floated to the top with a whopping 77% of the vote. Said Henry:

"Seriously? Put Bond against Bond or Villain against Villain and you might have a fight, but there is no way a Bond can lose against anyone but an equal and Bond has no equals."

Monday
Aug252014

Beauty Vs Beast: Double Oh Golden Boys

JA from MNPP here, using this week's round of our "Beauty vs Beast" series to commemorate the occasion of the 84th anniversary of the birth of that paragon of brute debonair charm, Sean Connery. Who even knew "brute" and "debonair" could be a simultaneous thing til he showed us? Rock 'em sock 'em and shake them martinis, it's a Bond off. I waffled between a couple of villains to face him off against - I do love Dr. No and his awesome plastic head bubble - but when it comes to a bigger-than-bad personality I think the odds are in Gold's favor.

 

I just flicked the laser's ON switch - you have one week to make your choice before your bits-and-pieces get all crispy-like, so maybe make it timely this week? I mean, I'm only thinking of your privates.

PREVIOUSLY We dove down under da sea to duke it out between Disney's ginger mermaid princess and the big bad brassy sea-hag whos after her pipes... well poor sweet Ariel kinda never stood a chance against so much divine deliciousness; Ursula swam off with a pirate booty's full two-thirds of the vote. Said Alan P:

"Ariel may be the leading lady we all love, but a diva is a diva, and a diva is forever!"

Tuesday
Aug192014

Beauty vs Beast: Fish Witch

JA from MNPP here with this week's mite-late edition of this week's "Beauty Vs Beast" - sorry for the unexpected day-long delay, what can we say, a sea-witch stole our voice from us. Coincidentally The Film Experience is celebrating the year 1989 in the lead up to this month's Supporting Actress Showdown and whaddya know 1989 was the year that another gorgeous princess, not myself, had the exact same thing happen to her! I handled it with a much finer degree of decorum, natch, but she got Prince Eric so she wins. (Mmmm Prince Eric.) Yes I speak of Disney's The Little Mermaid, which is bringing us this week's animated face-off.

 

Life's full of tough choices... innit??? I feel like this one could go either way really, so making you cases in the comments could prove important. Sway the little fishies this way or that, people.

PREVIOUSLY If you felt a little falling sensation - kinda simultaneously plummeting forward and back - as you picked between Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in last week's Vertigo round you ultimately made like Hitch and came out blonde - well blonde eventually (inevitably) anyway - in the end. Judy, poor poor Judy, won your sympathies along with 71% of the vote. Said Leslie19:

"Judy is the perfect Hitchcockian heroine: A blonde puzzle, with a past. A great wardrobe and the perfect palette for techicolor, in this case his use of green. Is there anything more to say?"

Tuesday
Aug122014

Beauty vs Beast: All About the Blonde

JA from MNPP here. At this point it feels more than a little cliche to call Alfred Hitchcock your favorite film-maker. Tomorrow is his 115th birthday and it feels like we've spent at least double that amount of time writing about and reacting to how great, twisted, funny, pervy and technically masterful he was. Hitch is often the gateway drug, the little puff of movie marijuana that leads true cineastes on to the hard stuff.

I'll always come back to my first taste. It was the sweetest, the purest, and it still sends that shiver down my spine. I remember the first time I realized that movies, Movies, these are the thing I love, laying on my cousin's floor watching a camera sweep across across a boxy Manhattan backyard filled with windows into another world, stories in shorthand of life on top of life, all at once. It was everything. It still is everything.

So let's pay our respects by devoting this week's "Beauty vs Beast" to the man who made me interested in the ambiguities of the "good" guys and the "bad" guys in the first place, and let's do it with the movie that finally tossed Citizen Kane down the staircase.

 

You only have six days to vote this week since we're running a day behind (sorry about the delay) so get to it - bleach yourself, slide into a gray dress, wander through a redwood forest or some neon green light, do whatever it takes - just pick and make your case in the comments!

PREVIOUSLY Last week we were talking about the blonde presuasion as well - Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson faced off again in a Young Adult redux. Wilson's Buddy might be the nice guy, willing to clean up baby burps and all that, but he never stood a chance against mean girl-woman Mavis. CMG put is succinctly:

"Mavis. Buddy is blind and seems dumb. The end."