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Lessons from the success of "It"

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Entries in Birth (9)

Tuesday
Apr042017

Tuesday Top Twenty: Ranking Nicole Kidman's Work

By Nathaniel R

Nicole at the ACM Awards this weekAs mentioned in our piece on the finale of Big Little Lies the internet is finally accepting that Nicole Kidman is a genius. Why they haven't noticed that she's been a regularly gripping actor since Dead Calm (1989) with her ascent into intermittent genius happening as early as 1995 (twenty-two years ago!) with her sly breakthrough as fame-obsessed Suzanne Stone in Gus Van Sant's To Die For (Golden Globe win, Best Actress in a Comedy) we will never understand.

But it is what it is. Actresses not named Meryl Streep have to go through this from time to time with people doubting their talent. One imagines if Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant in any of her comeback roles this year we will get a raft of "who knew this 80s sex symbol, Catwoman herself, was also a great actor?!" articles and we will have to roll our eyes with a "anyone who was paying any attention at all!" answer and a weary shrug.

But it's fun to do quick rankings, so herewith...

Nicole Kidman's 20 Best Performances

The order would vary if the list were composed on a different day though the top eight would remain the top eight, give or take the exact numbers...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb242017

Five (Other) Times Nicole Kidman Should Have Been Oscar Nominated

With Nicole Kidman returning to the Oscars this weekend as a nominee, here's Abstew on a handful of roles for which Oscar did not recognize her...

When I was a child there was an Oscar almanac that I would consult for my Oscar obsession (this was long before the days of the internet). The list of actors with multiple nominations didn't begin unless the actor had 5 nominations or more. Ever since then I've had it in my head that 5 is the magical number when it comes to Oscar; a sign of a better actor, showing that their body of work over the years is worth recognition, rather than the "one and done" that so many actors face. Since Nicole Kidman has always been one of my favorites, I've thought it odd that she's been nominated a relatively low number of times compared to the quality she produces. Certainly she ranks with Kate and Cate, for example, who both have 7 nominations...

Click to read more ...

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"