NOW PLAYING

new in theaters

new on DVD/BluRay

review index

HOT TOPICS



CLASSIC OF THE MOMENT

 

Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Beauty vs. Beast

SADIE or ROSE? 
It's a tight race this week
VOTE ! 

Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
SMACKDOWN 89
Julia vs. Anjelica vs Dianne vs. Brenda vs. Lena

"all i can remember of julia roberts in steel magnolias is her playing her diabetic meltdown like she was linda blair in the exorcist- Par

""Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Don't worry Julia, I mostly have nice things to say...- Tom

"wish Wiest would come back to claim her stature as the Walter Brennan of Supporting Actress Oscar winners -- she's one shy of three." - /3rtful

who gets your vote?

 

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in Best Ensemble (20)

Wednesday
Aug272014

Gone With The Wind's Glorious Ensemble

Entr'acte After last week's screening of the first half of the gargantuan Gone With the Wind. I realized that three fourths of my memories of the movie come from its first half. What would this screening of Act 2 reveal? We return now to wind-swept Georgia and the tale of the most famous of southern belles, Scarlett O'Hara.

Scarlett summed up: Surrounded in Rhett's wealth and love (the future) but still focused on her self and past girlish ideals (Ashley Wilkes in her hand). Perpetually vain and unhappy.

Part 2 The first act of GWTW is, largely, a Civil War film albeit one that's told brilliantly off the battlefield. The second act shifts gears to Reconstruction. While the South is being rebuilt, Scarlett is doing her own life remodelling. It's now a romantic melodrama, but pleasantly also a rich ensemble film as each character comes into sharper focus (Hattie McDaniel's Mammy and Olivia de Havilland's Melanie in particular - both superb)

Ashley Wilkes, simpleton that he is, still doesn't get Scarlett, assessing her strength like so: 

You never have trouble facing reality."

Oh, Ashley! Our semi-delusional Southern Belle is still continually fantasizing about you, a man she can't have and wouldn't want if she had him, while denying her love for the one she has and does actually want... in her own way. All the way she's hoping to recapture or clinging to her obsession of former glories of the Old South: Tara with its lush lands and easy wealth, the cheap labor force (ahem), and even her girlish waistline which alarming grows to a (GASP!) 20" and she cannot figure why. 'Childbirth? Fiddle-dee-dee!'

If Ashley Wilkes, who idolizes Scarlett, were choosing Part 2's Best Shot, I know just what he'd choose.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan292014

We Can't Wait #5: Inherent Vice

[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Amir Soltani on "Inherent Vice."]

Inherent Vice
Doc Sportello, a perennially buzzed detective in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 70s, gets himself tangled up in a mess with former lovers, low life gangsters, prostitutes, billionaire crooks, a ship called Golden Fang and a whole lotta people with really weird names.

Talent
One of America’s greatest filmmakers, Paul Thomas Anderson, is behind the camera and one of America’s greatest actors, Joaquin Phoenix, is in front of it. Cinematographer Robert Elswit is collaborating with the director again after a one-film break, as is composer Jonny Greenwood. Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon and P.T.'s partner Maya Rudolph fill out the rest of the cast list.

Maya Rudolph in "Inherent Vice"

Why We Can’t Wait
With Paul Thomas Anderson’s name attached, little else is needed to drum up excitement. In my opinion, he has directed three spotless masterpieces (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and The Master) and the rest of his filmography is as compelling as it is provocative. His is a singular and vital voice in modern American cinema. But there’s another factor at play here too: Inherent Vice is one of my favorite novels of recent years, and one of Pynchon’s most polished and coherent works. Its relatively modest scale should lend itself better to adaptation than the rest of his bibliography.

It will also be interesting to see Anderson in a more relaxed mood again. Vice has the potential to take him back to the Altman-esque structure he so successfully utilized in Boogie Nights, both because of its sprawling cast of colorful characters and its bitter humor and casual insight into the Angelenos counterculture. Few directors can get an ensemble to click as comfortably as Anderson does and it’d be a shame if he never used that gift again. If adapted faithfully, Doc Sportello is more central to the narrative than Dirk Diggler was, but there’s still plenty of meat for everyone else to chew on here. Plus, look at that cast! It’s mouthwatering. So good, in fact, that I’m willing to forgive the presence of Reese Witherspoon!

But We Do Have To Wait
Warner Brothers has the distribution rights, but we know we have to wait a while. None of Anderson’s films have been released earlier than mid-September on the calendar, and chances are this one won’t be an exception. A festival bow in Venice is likely; one in Toronto is almost inevitable.

Previously on "We Can't Wait"
06 Into the Woods
07 Snowpiercer
08 Nymphomaniac
09 Boyhood,
10 Big Eyes,
11 The Last 5 Years,
12 Gone Girl 
13 Can a Song Save Your Life 
14 Veronica Mars 
runners up  just missed the cut.

Thursday
Dec262013

Year in Review: Best Ensembles & Best Casting

To the tune of Madonna's "Music" ♫

Hey Mr Director, get your ensemble on, all the guys & ladies
And once the movie starts
don't ever let them stop, they're gonna drive me crazy

People make the movie come together - yeah


As annoying as it was in 2003 when Mystic River was attempting to halt the inevitable Lord of the Rings coronation with a sort of 'people are the best special effects!' Oscar campaign, the sentiment was true and remains so. I've been going to all kind of movies my whole life and  I've yet to see anything that's as remarkable as the happily regular occurence of weird electricity and true magic sparking when fine actors collide, collude, combust or cooperate.

So as we're all celebrating the holidays with our own personal ensembles of friends and family, I thought it would be a good time to honor the most special collections of players in 2013.  I can never let the Screen Actors Guild have the last word on this matter because, though acting is their raison d'etre, they never get this category right, opting for popular Oscar bound films with big casts and not really thinking about the WHOLE cast, and how all those players are interacting and bouncing off or working together. This year, they chose August: Osage County, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniels' The Butler, and I think two of those are really poor choices (though I like all five films) when you're thinking about the acting collective as opposed to just one or two performances within it. SAG's past history suggests that they're only comfortable with "star" ensembles so they were never going to go for fine teams like Frances Ha and Short Term 12 but why not Prisoners which is a sharp example of stars NOT connecting with each other on purpose. Everyone in that cast is alone since all the characters are horrified by each other (and sometimes themselves), trapped in their own personal grief and grievances.

When you're talking about great ensemble work I think you're also talking about fine direction and smart casting, though there are exceptions. Two fascinating examples of how complicated this all gets in that you can have one without the other(s) are August: Osage County and 12 Years a Slave. A:OC has a lot of fine actors in it but the director John Wells can't figure out how to see all of them at once, opting too often for shot / reverse shot when he needs to widen the camera or choreograph them differently so we can watch them together. I've never understood why so many contemporary directors have trouble absorbing this concept since their peers who are skillful at shooting group scenes are hardly obscurities. Just watch a couple of movies by David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson (or classic departed directors like Wyler or Altman) and you'll instantly be smarter about ensemble vision; They know exactly when to go to or stay with a two-shot or a three or four or even five shot... Hell, get everybody in there -- the more the merrier! As for 12 Years, I'm on record as complaining about the casting. Too many of its (white) supporting players are too familiar as  faces go which, in a lesser movie, would really derail the existential horror. But there's no denying that when this cast is acting together it's absolutely electric... I still get chills thinking about the way Michael Fassbender leans on his co-stars like they're his furniture and the way the various actors playing the slaves freeze up whenever they're being observed and the multiple nuances of when the actors are willing to look at each other and when they're too scared or smart to. It's all top notch work but if the director wasn't wise enough to let you see this -- and many directs aren't, just stiching 90 minutes of establishing shots and close-ups together and calling it a movie -- the ensemble probably wouldn't be winning as much praise.

Without further ado... My Nominations for Best Casting & Best Ensemble

And, in case you haven't seen THR's Casting Roundtable. I watched it only after making my lists since I didn't want to be unduly influenced but it's completely interesting. 

I only wish they could have found room for Rich Delia and Douglas Aibel, since I'm honoring both this year.

Wednesday
Dec112013

SAG Nominations Are In!

Good morning Oscar watchers. This morning brings one of the biggest precursors of the season: the Screen Actor's Guild. These days the eventual Oscar cross-over is usually somewhere between "very hot" (19/20 for 2009) to "very warm" (17/20 in 2011 and 2010) so you can guarantee a large number of the below nominees will show up on Oscar ballots in January.

What are we thinking will cross over? What will fall out? Will tomorrow's Golden Globe nominations (!!!) erase whatever momentum that some of today's nominees have amassed (we're looking at you August: Osage County and Lee Daniels' The Butler)?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov122013

A Look Ahead at the SAG Award for Best Cast

It’s Amir here. Nathaniel and I have both previously shared our frustration about the way this prize is handled. Theoretically, this should be one of the best awards of the season. Imagine celebrating directors who can bring together an ensemble of actors with exciting chemistry, films that develop several characters in equal measure, and actors who find their footing by playing against other members of the cast. As previously stated, the award should be more about a collective achievement than multiple individual ones. Sadly, that’s not how it works in the real world.

Slumdog Millionaire's win remains baffling to this day.

 

Click to read more ...