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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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JASON CLARKE INTERVIEW

"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

"He has become someone I look for in films because he always comes across with such honesty." -Henry

 

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Entries in Best Actress (217)

Wednesday
Sep112013

"Labor Day" in a Nutshell

If I'd have known that the poster to Jason Reitman's Labor Day, an adaptation of the Joyce Manard novel, hadn't made it online yet at this writing, I'd have snapped a picture of it. It's a beauty for its rarity. How many actual film stills are used for movie posters these days? It's usually either iconic floating heads or powerful star bodies. If not that then boring vertical / horizontal grids of star faces, or a mishmash collage.

Here's the freeze frame in question, that's only been slightly modified for the poster image...

Kate Winslet & Josh Brolin star in Labor Day

And that film still, the first image released, is truth in advertising. What's more -- and only faithful TFE readers will truly appreciate this -- it's the image that stopped me in my tracks during the movie and made me think  "That's my choice for 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' though I promise I don't play that game with every movie I watch. 

The image is the story in a nutshell...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep102013

TIFF: "Eleanor Rigby" Was Written For Jessica Chastain

Jessica outside the Elgin in TorontoOne of my fondest memories of TIFF 13 will be the simple fact that I sat in the same theater with Jessica Chastain for what appeared to be one of the most personal moments of her career. The theater, the Visa Elgin in Toronto, is a giant spacious ornate beast that holds well over a 1000 people but still... I was there! And so was Jessica! Proximity glory even from the balcony, people. 

The event was the premiere of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her and the movie, a two part romantic grief drama that runs 3 hours when combined (and which probably shouldn't be separated), will undoubtedly have a difficult path to audiences. So its first screening was in the biggest theater it will ever see to the most appreciative crowd it might ever get. That audience included a few members of the film's principal cast most of whom hadn't yet seen it.

Jessica Chastain was in tears afterwards detailing her friendship with the writer/director Ned Benson. They first met ten years ago when she approached him at a film festival where his short was playing asking to show him her reel because she loved his movie! (Take that Nicki & Naomi). This film, his feature debut, appears to be a giant loving personal gift to her or maybe its her gift to him since she stars and also produced it. Consider that Jessica's self proclaimed "favorite actress in the world" Isabelle Huppert plays her mom, that her beloved co-star from The Help Viola Davis plays her confidante and professor and that her very best friend "practically my sister" Jess Weixler (The Good WifeTeeth a few years ago) plays her best friend & actual sister in the film and you know how personal this all runs.

Jessica, her friend Ned Benson (the writer/director) and her co-star James McAvoy

The bow on this Jessica gift? The film, or films if you will, is/are wonderful. But more on them later.

Despite a premiere/movie that is all about loving and struggling with losing her (she's Elle Rigby), she deflected the light, getting most tearful when she expressed her feelings about her friend and debuting director's long journey to this premiere. 

I'm just so happy for him."

Jessica's First (of Many to Come) Oscar Ceremony in Feb 2012

When we (i.e. all of us) first met Jessica Chastain as an actress a couple of years ago now, her performances were so varied and and wave-like in their multitudes that who she was as a star offscreen was a tantalizing mystery. By the end of her first year in the limelight her offscreen persona was visible to all at the Oscars. Turns out she's just a big softie, a gushy sentimental girlie girl, a walking warm fuzzy. She probably loved unicorns as a child and probably still dots her "i"s with hearts! Which is all completely endearing... especially since her screen performances have told such a different story and cinema's iciest and least sentimental actress, Isabelle Huppert, happens to be her personal favorite.

Don't you love the rich disparity? 

 

 

Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
The Past from Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi & Cannes Best Actress Berenice Bejo
Queer Double FeatureTom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness 
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars

Tuesday
Sep102013

Today in Stupid: 20 Best Picture Nominees & Standing Os for August: Osage County

Relax. The headline is misleading, thank the baby Jesus. Variety is merely wondering if there should be 20 nominees and the only argument they can see against it is that it would make the ceremony even longer?!? Why would anyone propose such a thing? Oh, yes, shameless traffic-baiting is always the why. A website gotta have hits. But since we're feeling generous we've indulged them with a link.

The Film Experience would rather go back to 5 when a Best Picture nomination meant something and was difficult to procure. Even with 10 slots available it's so diluted. One unfortunate side effect is the Best Director category which, despite some fascinating surprises last year, has lost some of its appeal since gone are the days when you could wonder about the "lone wolf" nominee. With any more Best Picture nominees all the tension and drama that comes with annual competition would instantly be sucked out of it, like a zigzagging balloon with knot untied, falling to the ground in a rubbery lump of no fun who cares.

In other stupid news there seems to be a weird notion floating around twitter that the Standing Ovation for August: Osage County is a big deal somehow or that it's "rare".  Standing ovations are the furthest thing from rare at festival screenings if the cast or director actually shows up... unless they went and changed the definition of rare while I was up flying the friendly skies. They're kind of expected... that thing you do to say 'thank you for coming, movie stars!' 

Julianne, Dermot, Julia, Juliette, Ewan & Abigail at the premiere

Nevertheless August: Osage County is clearly where your head is out (I read the comments sections) and where Twitter's been sl let's discuss the reactions after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep082013

TIFF: Asghar Farhadi Returns With "The Past"

Weirdest Cannes best actress win"

Nick whispered to me as the end credits unspooled on Asghar Farhadi's The Past. Co-sign. It's not that Berenice Bejo, who was charming in her international breakthrough in The Artist, is not a good actress and she's certainly a beauty. But at least in the context of The Past she's a blank one. Despite the plethora of information writer/director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) keeps sending us -- e-mails are an enormous plot point -- I'm still waiting to hear anything substantial about the character of Marie, Bejo's woman at its center.

Yes yes, we learn that she still loves her ex-husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), has troubles with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet, wonderfully cast) and is cagey about her new relationship to Samir (Tahar Rahim). But we learn all of this very quickly in the movies promising opening scenes in which Marie picks up her ex-husband from the airport and brings him home rather than to a hotel room he asked for. 

But after that... what else?

Farhadi has quite a lot else in store for us... though strangely what seems to take precedence is the intricate minutae of its plot, rather than the characterizations. It's not that we learn nothing about the characters exactly, but that they seem to be serving the intricacies of its many twists rather than the other way around. Like Farhadi's recent masterpiece A Separation, we return again and again to the same seemingly tiny event, although this one is offscreen, and its enormous ripples. To be fair to Berenice we do learn two more thing about Marie. First, she's a bit of a dramatic queen and pushes situations and conversations past their natural end point until they reignite or explode. Second, and long delayed... that she is guilt-ridden about her relationship with Samir without realizing it. But it's too little too late for a film that overextends its welcome and pushes its luck with its intended cartographic drama.

Marie between her men. She does this to herself.

When your favorite touch in a hotly anticipated movie by a brilliant director is the subtle dynamism of its title card ("The Past" is erased by windshield wipers as the ex-lovers are reunited in the opening scene) and the thing you relate to most visually is the endearing confused scowl on a young actor's face (Elyes Aguis is just superbly natural as Fouad, Samir's son) something has gone quite wrong. Thanks to a fine turn from Mossafa, Ahmad the exhusband, is the film's most interesting and well defined character. The movie suffers considerably whenever he (wisely) steps out of his place in this quiet heavy love triangle. Three may be a crowd but Marie and Samir are too blandly conceived to carry the film's heavy heart and complicated plot on their own. C

Podcast a group discussion of TIFF 13: Oscar buzz, our favorite films, and more
Ambition & Self Sabotage on Gravity and Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her
Mano-a-Mano Hallucinations Norway's Pioneer & Jake Gyllenhaal² in Enemy
Quickies Honeymoon, Young & Beautiful, Belle
Labor Day in a freeze-frame nutshell
Jessica Chastain at the Eleanor Rigby Premiere
August Osage County reactions Plus Best Picture Nonsense
Rush Ron Howard's crowd pleaser
Queer Double FeatureTom at the Farm and Stranger by the Lake
Boogie Nights Live Read with Jason Reitman and Friends
First 3 Screenings: Child's Pose, Unbeatable and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness 
TIFF Arrival: Touchdown in Toronto. Two unsightly Oscars

Wednesday
Sep042013

Interview: Brie Larson Does Not Want Her Own Reality Show

Short Term 12 opens in 9 more cities this Friday and 30+ more the following week. Time to talk to its star Brie Larson.

This is not going to be one of those interviews where I describe what the actress is wearing. This is not going to be one of those interviews where I talk about what the actress was eating. This is not the kind of interview that The Film Experience does which is just fine with Brie Larson. As it turns out we're completely sympatico on the subject of actresses and fame. She loves the work and prefers retaining her mystery to indulging in her celebrity. Or as she puts it.

I enjoy being confusing."

But here's the catch. When you do consistently great work as an actor as Brie Larson has done in roles large (United States of Tara) medium (21 Jump Street, The Spectacular Now) and small (Scott Pilgrim, Rampart), and then you hit a new peak with a revelatory personal best (Short Term 12) celebrity will often follow.

Brie frames this rising stardom predicament more memorably than I could while munching on a very green salad in a very blue dress (oops) in a day full of interviews. Morning Joe and Sirius XM were also on the docket that day:

I think with my age and gender --  it gets very easy for the conversation to go in the direction of 'What is your summer salad?’ It doesn’t matter. It’s not important. If we’re going to talk about stuff, let’s talk about stuff."

Which is exactly what we did from her Short Term 12 triumph to the chameleon wonders of United States of Tara to her feelings about Best Actress Oscar buzz. We'll skip ahead past my incoherent gushing about how Short Term 12 is the besty-best to the rest of the interview after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Aug252013

Podcast: The Spectacular Now & Lovelace

On this week's podcast -- four in a row bitches! (bet you thought we'd falter by now) -- Katey, Joe, Nick and Nathaniel discuss Amanda Seyfried's VOD title Lovelace and "research" on Deep Throat. We also hit the touching romantic teen drama The Spectacular Now with Miles 'Hit & Miss' Teller and Adorable Shailene Woodley. Before wrapping up we offer up 10th birthday gifts to Beasts of the Southern Wild's adorable star Quvenzhané Wallis.

To find out how Diane Warren's oeuvre, Eric Robert's junk, Lindsay Lohan & Amanda Bynes twin trajectories, and Maggie Gyllenhaal's marriage figure in to all of this you'll have to tune in.

 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download it on iTunes. Did you see Lovelace or The Spectacular Now? What would you give Hushpuppy for her birthday?

Lovelace & The Spectacular Now

Thursday
Aug222013

"Brooklyn, can you imagine?"

Remember how embarrassed Jasmine (née Jeanette) sounded when she detailed her banishment from "New York, Park Avenue"? Imagine how she's feeling now that she'll be moving into much less coveted zip codes*...

After one month in limited release in the major US film markets, where it's earned a strong $10 million, Blue Jasmine  is going wide. In fact, tomorrow the Best Actress / Best Screenplay buzz-title hits the malls of America with the widest release a Woody Allen film has ever enjoyed.

 

 

If Sony Pictures Classics has been keeping the film from you now's your chance! After you've seen it (for the first time or again) dive into our discussions at the review, the podcast and our breakdown of the "yours to lose" Oscar frontrunners. It's not a perfect film but it's quite sticky and continues to inspire good conversation... which is really one of the best things you can say about a movie in our disposable opening-weekend-only film culture, isn't it?

* FYI Blue Jasmine has been playing in Brooklyn, land of many coveted zip codes, for a long time. The title of this post is a snooty Jasmine quote.