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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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Adapting "Guardians" -a screenwriting interview

I especially like that part about how boundaries can be a good thing. Knowing where the plot points have to hit always stops me from wandering aimlessly in my writing. Some may see those thing as cookie cutter but I've always found them inspiring.❞ -Daniel

 

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Entries in biopics (93)

Friday
Jul182014

Oscar Updates: Acting Pairs and Young Bucks

The chart updates continue. I've been thinking a lot about Foxcatcher and Love is Strange and whether or not Sony Pictures Classics will have the guts to campaign all four of those male leads as leads. Essentially they'd be asking for 80% of the category which would be extremely ballsy (no pun intended with four sets of them) but also honest. For these July updates I'm fantasizing that they will.

Eddie Redmayne, David Oyelowo, and Channing Tatum are just three of the fresh crop of leading men who might be competing for Oscar gold for real life roles

But the funny thing is: Best Actor is enormously crowded without any of that acclaimed quartet. Playing a real life character won't even get you very far because most lead actors are doing just that, thereby dulling its time-tested competitive advantage. I count at least 10 possibly major contenders this year in biographical roles: Cumberbatch, Redmayne, Oyelowo, Carell, Tatum, Spall, Boseman, O'Connell, Hill and Maguire. And that's not including Christoph Waltz who I'm now guessing will try his luck doing the co-lead as supporting thing again for Big Eyes which has worked well for him twice before; he's like the Poster Boy for Category Fraud.

The most exciting thing about the Best Actor Chart? Most of them have never been nominated so we're likely to have a real fresh quintet. With all these true stories in 2014 Supporting Actor may well be filled to bursting with real life, too, albeit without as many newbies in the mix. Good luck to the originals I say who have to create three-dimensional characters from whole cloth and the never nominated who are eager to be let in throughthe golden door.

Breaking Jack O'Connell?
On Emmy nomination morning this new trailer emerged for Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, a World War II drama which is likely to be a major breakthrough event for its lead actor Jack O'Connell, especially given that he's already shown true star charisma according to everyone who has seen his raw prison drama Starred Up (also due this year). But there are three potential obstacles to a presumed Best Actor run.

1. The man he's playing, Louis Zamperini, just died and those can be tricky waters to navigate in terms of film releases and campaigning without seeming exploitative about it (see Mandela's tip toe last year)

2. AMPAS is not as predictable these days with what we might well call 'classic Oscar bait'. They've been getting friskier with their choices for some time now (think of that 2006 win and then the entire 2007 lineup and so on through the now: Amour? Beasts of the Southern Wild? etcetera) . Old school 'triumph of the human spirit' epics and glossy WWII pics are no longer sure things. 

3. Jack O'Connell turns 24 next month. That's extremely young for Best Actor. For some context should O'Connell be nominated for this role with lots of hooks (crying, real life character, accent, weight loss, heroism) he will be the 2nd youngest nominee of the modern era, just a shade older than John Travolta was for his zeitgest 1977 blockbuster Saturday Night Fever. (Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper were even younger for their noms but that was back in the 30s and early 40s). Only one actor in his 20s has ever won the top prize and that was Adrien Brody for The Pianist, three weeks shy of his 30th birthday.

updated Oscar charts
BEST ACTOR, BEST ACTRESSSUPPORTING ACTOR, SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Tuesday
Jul152014

Queen of the Desert Pic and Nicole in the Oscar Race?

Queen of the Desert, Werner Herzog's biopic on Gertrud Bell starring Nicole Kidman wrapped filming in March. Though it's still looking for a distributor it looks like post-production is all done since producers are tweeting about the final cut and calling it "EPIC". Herzog has also expressed real enthusiasm about Nicole's performance in his slightly oddball way of speaking.

"Now, Nicole Kidman,” Herzog said of her lead performance in "Queen Of The Desert." “Wait for that one. Wait for it. I make an ominous prediction: How good she is.”

(You can even hear his voice when you read quotes from him, can't you?)

Nicole shared this photo of the wrap of shooting.first official image. will they keep this aspect ratio? it's so Lawrence of Arabia long

Of course all of this is from people who are involved in the picture so they'd never be anything less than enthusiastic. But I myself have high hopes and I'm not involved. Unless you count my heart which belongs to Nicole.

Though I'd love for Werner Herzog to have a major Oscar success -- imagine how fun he would be on the campaign trail all season? -- the truth is Oscar has resisted him over and over again. Despite a prolific acclaimed filmography his only Oscar success is Encounters at the End of the World (Documentary Nomination, 2007). Nope, they didn't even go for the classic going insane in the jungle epic Aguire, The Wrath of God (1972) or the classic going insane building opera houses movie Fitzcarraldo (1982) or the classic already insane and hanging out with bears in the wilderness doc Grizzly Man (2005) all of which attracted awards heat elsewhere... just not with AMPAS. (Does Nicole Kidman go insane in the desert? I'm sensing a theme here.)

This sudden burst of news about the picture and our love of Nicole Kidman has us hoping she can climb the Oscar charts. But given that last year's Best Actress Shorlist had the most communal previous nominations of all time  I'm sensing this is the kind of year where Oscar is going to want some fresh blood.

UPDATED OSCAR CHARTS
BEST ACTRESS and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS 

Saturday
Jun212014

Review: "Jersey Boys"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

 

‘I’m looking for sky blue and you’re giving me brown,' a fey producer sighs when the Four Seasons are in the recording booth. They’re just going through the motions rather than livening up their material. He could just have easily been dissing Jersey Boys itself, Clint Eastwood’s needlessly dull adaptation of the Broadway smash. In truth the band’s performance in this scene isn’t appreciably worse than their performances elsewhere in the movie. If you can’t readily spot differences in inspiration and creative fire from one performance to the next, maybe there’s none to be found?

“Brown” isn’t quite the color of it, though. Clint Eastwood’s aesthetic favors underlit rooms, heavy blacks and washed out color. You’d think that aesthetic would change for a splashy musical but you’d be wrong. I mean, why shouldn’t a musical about a famous band with a gift for hooky pop gems look as depressing / dead-end as a drama about desperate boxers or a war film about an island massacre?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun202014

Dear Link People

Cinema Blend Rian Johnson (of Brick and Looper fame) will direct at least one of the new Star Wars movies. Interesting choice
Very Smart Brothas has smart things to say about Yaya DaCosta's casting as Whitney Houston in that upcoming lifetime biopic. (I just discovered this site which I gather is pretty popular on the black internet. Some really funny posts)
MNPP Michael Haneke's Flash Mob is waiting on its lead actress. But who will it be?

In Contention top 10 performances in Roman Polanski films
AV Club talks Judy Garland and the Oscar fuck-up of 1954. One of my favorite topics!
i09 Pixar's next short is called Lava
Esquire 10 best films set in New Jersey from Atlantic City to Cop Land
Just Jared Matthew McConaughey on the red carpet for more prizes. Curiously talk is spreading that McConaughey won't be back for Magic Mike XXL. I actually think that's a great move on the movie's part but I wasn't expecting it since Hollywood usually tries to give you more of the same in sequels. (I've already discussed this but If Tatum wants to build a cash cow franchise out of this for himself as a producer that could even survive without him onscreen, he needs to understand that the topic calls for fresh meat each time. Sorry to be so crass about it but it's true!) 

Most Awesome Tweet of the Day/Month/Possibly the Year
If only they had done another one in a car with Brad in the back seat! 

 

 

 

I haven't seen this movie in way too long.

Opposing Netflix Views
Vulture wonders how Chelsea Handler and Netflix are going to work around the talk show format which requires topicality which you can't get when you film in advance. But...
Mashable thinks this won't be what we're expecting an disrupt television again 

 

Wednesday
Jun182014

"Big Eyes" Sneak

Tim Burton with Lisa Marie and her comissioned portraitEarly test screenings of Big Eyes have started, Tim Burton's Christmas movie and the word is very positive.

The film stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as an infamous pair of artists... of sorts. Margaret Keane was the artist but it was Walter Keane who got the credit for the well known paintings of sad children with ginormous eyes. In fact, as "Sage" points out in the test screening review at Head Over Feels in a great piece of trivia I was hardly aware of, Burton is a long time fan and commissioned a portrait of Lisa Marie, his former muse, who once cut such an indelible figure in his movies. (I think she's best in Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!)

Anyway, you should read the post if you're interested since there's a lot of Oscar talk (Amy= sure thing / Christoph = probable category fraud) but I like this part:

The story of the Keanes is so bananas that there’s nothing to do but keep it and the ’50s themselves center stage. Burton’s stylistic touches are there and all the more effective for their restraint. We first meet Margaret as she and her daughter are frantically packing up to escape, we assume, her first husband. She piles her things into a big boat of a pastel car and drives it down her calm, colorful, and symmetrical suburban street – very Edward Scissorhands. Vancouver streets are transformed into a swinging, San Francisco drag. Margaret pushes her shopping cart through cartoonishly perfect grocery store aisles. She locks herself away in her studio to paint in secret, like a princess in a tower. The costumes and styling are truly breathtaking...Burton adds touch of the fantastical that I won’t give away; it works and does nothing to downplay the drama of Margaret’s real story.

Hearing words like "a touch of" and "restraint" is really weird in this era of Burton films. Perhaps I should pick back up that BurtonJuice retrospective I started but only just barely before abandoning?

When I was in Boston in May worrying about my then half completed Oscar charts,  I ended up eating brunch with friends in a tiny charming restaurant that had a Keane print ("The Waif") on the wall. I immediately thought "I should tweet this for Big Eyes omen/countdown sake" but forgot.

(The girl in the foreground is one of my best friend's sisters. But I apologize to the oblivious strangers behind her but they were in the shot!)

Do you think Big Eyes is Burton's Oscar ticket or another Big Fish with large holiday hype and some ardent fans but no Oscar love?