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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 Birth (7)

Thursday
Jan302014

We Can't Wait #4: Under the Skin

Hey y'all. Now that I'm back from Sundance I can join in the "We Can't Wait" fun as we near the top of the Team Experience list. The team has been highlighting our top 14 (collectively) most anticipated films of the new cinematic year. We've already covered 13+ great movies and it falls on me to write up our fourth highest ranker.

Under the Skin
In which Scarlett Johansson plays an alien searching for man meat or skin or something. The men she seduces are never heard from again.

Talent
The entire reason this is on the list is surely The Film Experience's collective devotion to 2004's Birth, the misunderstood masterpiece by Jonathan Glazer. I don't have a pass/fail checklist of requirements for my team members here at TFE but if I did "Do you like Birth?" would be on the questionnaire. For reasons that are too too horrible to contemplate Glazer hasn't made a film since which makes Under the Skin something of a unicorn. Does it really exist? It must since we've seen stills of its delectable leading lady Scarlett Johansson all over the place and some lucky souls saw it at TIFF in the fall. I purposely avoided reviews hence this very vague write-up. I want to be surprised and transported. 

Why We Can’t Wait
Here's where I just repeat the intro points again: Glazer of Birth. Rare like a unicorn. Scarlett Johansson as extraterrestrial succubus.

But We Do Have To Wait
But only about 63 more days since A24, that godsend of a specialty distributor, is bringing it to us on April 4th.

 

Previously on "We Can't Wait"
05 Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson adapts Pynchon)
06 Into the Woods (Rob Marshall adapts Sondheim)
07 Snowpiercer (Boon JongHo does sci-fi)
08 Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier Gone Wild)
09 Boyhood (Linklater's long-gestating family drama)
10 Big Eyes (Tim Burton back to the bio) 
11 The Last 5 Years (the Off Broadway classic goes cinematic)
12 Gone Girl (David Fincher thrills)
13 Can a Song Save Your Life (Keira Croons)
14 Veronica Mars (TV Sequel... hey, what's this doing her?)
runners up  just missed the cut

Thursday
Jul252013

Personalize Your Guest Room DVD Collection

Hi kids. It's Nathaniel typing at you from a surprisingly cool Chicago, a welcome break from the stifling NYC heat. I'm visiting Nick for a few days and arrived to find the guest room (which doubles as the DVD Containment Room) super-personalized for my stay. Nick has arranged his movies in chronological order which instantaneously revealed to me why I've always been disappointment by my own DVD shelves which are alphabetical. The alphabet is about as exciting as the Dewey Decimal system. Chronology is king. 

Nick already tweeted one photo of his shelves for giggles but I thought I'd share my two favorite library notes with you. Our favorite shared movie genre, as previously noted here on the blog, is Women Who Lie To Themselves™. That note was strategically placed right under a certain Oscar-nominated 1996 picture which is a very literal interpretation of the genre. Guess which movie!

This genre is immortal and always revisited by the best filmmakers and actresses so I especially love the apotheotic "Women Who Lie to Themselves SILENTLY at the OPERA™", don't you?

Two more shelves after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun202013

To Nicole on Her 46th Birthday

Tim here. The career and talents of Nicole Kidman have been well-examined at the Film Experience through the years, but never by me. So I hope you’ll forgive the indulgence if I take advantage of her birthday to launch into a little celebration of my favorite working actress, one of the only people in the world with a legitimate claim to being both movie star and serious artist. For every big bit of Hollywood nonsense she deepens and improves with her steady presence, there’s an adventurous, even dangerous film that she makes with some of the most interesting directors out there, and she’s equally great in both modes, the odd Stepford Wives remake notwithstanding.

To celebrate, I'd like to share my 5 favorite Kidman performances, in chronological order:

 

Grace Stewart, The Others (2001)
I yield to no one in my love of Moulin Rouge! and Kidman’s performance therein, but this has always been my pick for her best performance of 2001, and not least because Alejandro Amenábar is less interested in ceding huge chunks of the film’s landscape to her than Baz Luhrmann. Providing the human core to an abnormally handsome, ultimately generic haunted house movie couldn’t have been anyone’s idea of a rewarding assignment, but Kidman dives with intelligence and restraint into the role of a stern matriarch, terrified by the empty old house she lives in. She turns out a leading performance that is deeply sensitive and wounding (that meeting with her husband!) while also paying scrupulous attention to the mechanical needs of the horror script. She’s especially good at converting the twist ending from something ludicrous into a genuinely moving moment.

four more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct122012

RIP Harris Savides

Truly sad to hear about the passing of one of the great cinematographers, Harris Savides. Given his visual craft and my lack of a free moment at this very moment, a video tribute seems more appropriate than any words I could hastily write so I'm sharing this beautiful visual essay from Press Play.

Press Play VIDEO ESSAY: In Memory of Harris Savides (1957-2012) from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.

 

 

I knew they'd use the Birth score. How could they not? We've lost a great.

RIP Harris Savides and thank you most especially for your work on Birth, Milk, and Zodiac and your gorgeous record-breaking* work on haunting music videos like these...

*little known factoid: Harris Savides has won more "best cinematography" awards at the MTV Music Video Awards than any other DP. He won three for those two videos and R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts"

Monday
Jul022012

"I said, 'What kind of link are YOU?' "

Lists and Miscellania
Comics Alliance 50 comic book characters that resonate with LGBT audiences. Very few of them have made the trek to the movies. Just sayin'. Hopefully some day some of them will.
The Wrap wonders if Beasts of the Southern Wild can become a commercial hit. 
Hollywood Elsewhere on the Philistines who aren't into Magic Mike
Tom Shone on Brave Pro: the hair; Con: bear slapstick. Awww, I loved the bear slapstick.  
Thelma Adams interviews Michelle Williams on Take This Waltz 
Pajiba "Love is Dead Forever!" because the only appropriate response to the impending Tom Cruise / Katie Holmes divorce is total hysteria.
Scene Stealers  the ten most deliciously awkward moments in Wes Anderson's filmography? Written pre Moonrise Kingdom obviously because that's loaded with them.

Into the Future
/Film Screenwriter Hossein Amini (Drive) will direct his first feature, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Two Faces of January with Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac. I have actually read this novel which is a rare thing when we're talking up "future movies". Sadly I don't remember it at all so I can't comment on the casting other than that I find that either of those faces is good for any month.
First Showing Luc Besson may follow up the De Niro / Pfeiffer Malavita with the adaptation of sci-fi French comic book Valerian

My Favorite Reviews / Essays o' The Moment
Wesley Morris on Moonrise Kingdom -Wes Anderson finally comes through
Norman Buckley on Birth like Vertigo, it will only gain in stature

Monday
Apr232012

Take Three: Anne Heche

Craig here with this week's edition of the character actor column "Take Three". Today: Anne Heche

 

Take One: Birth (2004)
Whilst watching Birth I’m sure you, like me, were thinking: just what the heck is Anne Heche doing in Central Park? Near the start of Jonathan Glazer’s reincarnation baffler Heche acts in mysterious ways. She suspiciously sneaks out of a hotel lobby and onto the snowy streets of Manhattan. She’s rustling around in the bushes, digging a hole. Is she burying the gift intended for Anna (Nicole Kidman)? Is it even a gift? It looks like some sort of proof, evidence. Her character, Clara, holds the film’s secrets from the get-go. In accordance with the way Glazer structures the script in these early scenes, fragmented by Sam Sneade and Claus Wehlisch’s editing, Clara becomes an enigma we know we'll worryingly come back to later.

Heche’s scenes with Sean (Cameron Bright) after the friction of the plot has been replaced by psychic damage throw a puzzling curveball (the buried package!) to the remainder of the film. These moments provide us with Heche’s best, and most tense, work to date. Insidious, slightly witchy and perverse, Heche reveals a reverse deus ex machina that shows Clara to be the queasily spiteful and questionable presence of the story. Her face, shot in extreme close-up, displays a deliciously evil sheen as she devastates the young boy. On evidence here, I’m baffled as to why filmmakers aren’t snapping Heche up to play the kinds of complicated icy queens usually reserved for Tilda Swinton. Birth features an all-round stellar ensemble but if you haven't seen it recently watch it again to see Heche wrench entire scenes away from the lot of them.

Two more Heche triumphs after the jump including Psycho (1998). Yes, that Psycho...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug232011

Happy 50th Birthday, Alexandre Desplat

Robert G here from Sketchy Details wishing a Happy Birthday to the most in demand film composer of our time.

Can you believe that Alexandre Desplat has scored 128 separate film and television projects since 1985? How about how a year hasn't gone by since 1991 where he didn't score at least three different TV or film productions? He has had quite the successful career in France and has started to work consistently in America in the past eight or so years.

Desplat has been nominated for Best Original Score four times at the Academy Awards: The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The King's Speech. He's clearly doing something right to get the Music Branch's attention. His work is especially noticeable for not being the super flashy film scoring that demands attention. He does what needs to be done to set the right tone and lets the film be the focus.

Indeed, every year he lost the Oscar, he lost to a film with a far flashier or more pronounced score...

Click to read more ...