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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Review: Beauty & The Beast (2017)

"I found much of this version charming, diverting and moving. But it's not a patch on the 1991 masterpiece" -Ian O

"I begrudge the decision of executives when it comes to casting a movie like this. They didn't need a 'star' to fill the seats. They needed someone who could elevate the material..." -Jones

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Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)
Céline Sciamma (My Life as a Zucchini)
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)

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Entries in Bradford Young (17)

Thursday
Feb022017

24 Days Until Oscar - Your Vote For Best Cinematography?

What if the sexiest category this year is actually Best Cinematography? The lineup is so very strong. This year's DPs hail from all over the Globe including the US, Mexico, Australia, and Sweden. And their movies are all astonishingly beautiful albeit in completely different ways

Which of these talented gents are you rooting for to win the Oscar?

P.S. If you haven't yet seen this great montage of every Best Cinematography Winner ever, you should take 7 minutes and do so...

Friday
Jan272017

"Where is Kyra" wins raves for La Pfeiff

True story: I started our new "Pfandom" series specifically for two reasons. The second was to cheer myself up in these awful democracy-losing times. The first though was to welcome our pfavorite, Michelle Pfeiffer, back. The twitter debate rages on what we shall call this year ("The Pfeiffersance? Michellaisance?" any other suggestions?). The first of her pfour roles this year is the title character in Where is Kyra?, which just premiered at Sundance. I will not be reading any reviews as I'd like to experience it pfresh but my understanding is that it's Oscar nominated cinematographer Bradford Young (Arrival) and Michelle herself winning the raves while people are less jazzed about the movie itself? Regardless, TFE's official stance is that it's very unfortunate that Pfeiffer did not show to support her movie. Director Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) had to go it alone. If she doesn't leave home to promote her movies this year,  the comeback may be rather less than glamorous and successful. But what can you do? She's an elusive creature. 

If you don't have my aversion to reading reviews before you see a film, reviews are now available at Village VoiceVariety, The Hollywood Reporter, Screen Daily, Ion Cinema, Playlist, and Yahoo! Movies.

Wednesday
Jan112017

Cinematography Prizes: ASC and Oscar

The American Society of Cinematographers recently added an very welcome category called "Spotlight" in which they note the work of DPs working in films with either very limited releases or festival only entries. It's a smart way to draw attention to work that might otherwise go unnoticed. In this new category they've nominated Lol Crawley for Childhood of a Leader (which we recently discussed), Gorka Gomez Andreu's work on the Georgian Oscar submission House of Others, Ernesto Pardo for the Mexican film Tempestad, and Juliette van Dormael's lensing of the Belgian film Mon Ange (My Angel). Why there are only 4 honorees and not the traditional 5 we do not know.

But the marquee category is of course Theatrical Motion Pictures. And here's the beauties they most loved looking at this year...

Bradford Young for Arrival
1st ASC nomination. Also his first BAFTA nomination. One previous Spirit nomination for Selma. Other key credits: A Most Violent Year, Pariah, Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov272016

In Praise of Bradford Young

Chris here to spread some love for one of my below the line favorites in this year's Oscar Race. Like many of my cohorts here at The Film Experience, I am completely taken with Arrival. Director Denis Villeneuve's last two films (Sicario and Prisoners) resulted in Best Cinematography nominations for the genius Roger Deakins, but this time he partnered up with future legend Bradford Young to stunning results. If the Oscars want to reward some diversity below the line, Young is a mightily deserving talent.

Arrival seems like a fitting film to break him into the Oscar fold considering how it perfectly distills his greatest strengths: layering intimacy and the grandiose in equal measure, complimenting theme, and creating awe in the everyday. Like the film itself, his camera is only deceptively stoic with a great well of feeling underneath. Add in Arrival's many unforgettable images and fluid movement, and we have a real contender.

The cinematography branch is one of the stingiest to let in new voices, but with a major contender like Arrival he can hopefully break through. While much of his past work might have been too small for Oscar, he's been building a steady resume of immaculate work. Let's take a look back at five favorites from his work thus far...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug092016

A First Glimpse of Villeneuve's 'Arrival'

Chris here with a first look at one of the fall's big Oscar question marks. Last year, Denis Villeneuve's Sicario did quite well by Oscar standards if you consider its punishing bleakness and divisiveness even if it missed the major races. This year he's returning with the sci-fi Arrival, and we've been patiently waiting to see if this will raise his Oscar cache.

To go with the building buzz, here are our first looks...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec042015

Women's Pictures - Dee Rees's Pariah

Anne Marie returns after a brief break...

Over the course of this year, the purpose of our weekly "Women's Pictures" has been to explore the vast variety of female filmmakers. We've seen that women are not only present and working, but also highly diverse in their genre, style, and subject matter. Gender has often been a factor, but it has rarely been a focus. For the last month of the year, we're going to be watching films by two directors for whom gender, sexuality, and race are their focus: Dee Rees, and Celine Sciamma. Though both filmmakers have comparatively small filmographies, they have already established themselves as new, strong voices in contemporary cinema.

Dee Rees's 2011 film Pariah, based on the short of the same name, is an empathetic examination of a person usually invisible in cinema: the young black lesbian.

more...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb192015

Women's Pictures - Ava DuVernay's Selma

Nothing about Ava DuVernay’s career up to 2014 suggested the epic sweep of Selma. I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere are both quiet dramas, focusing on one central character and a handful of supporting players as they navigate a major, life-altering event. Race is the background against which these stories are set - coloring a heated music discussion, or shading the convict’s biased parole hearing - but racism isn’t explicitly addressed. This changes dramatically with Selma. In a year that has seen protests in Ferguson and serious discussions about diversity in the Academy, Selma has been called everything from controversial to current to incorrect. For its director, it’s proof that 6 years and 3 movies can rapidly mature a talent.

When telling the story of Martin Luther King’s 1965 protest march in Alabama, DuVernay focuses not on a man, but on a movement. She studies the Civil Rights movement as if it were a character, following not only Dr. King’s glossy speeches, but also the many behind-the-scenes maneuvering. King’s arguments with President Johnson, Johnson’s arguments with Governor Wallace, the student organizers’ arguments with King’s men, even quieter discussions between Coretta Scott King and Malcolm X expose the precarious balance between ideology and strategy that's needed to succeed. DuVernay manages to write her characters with humanity as well, populating the film with people, not symbols. Early on, Dr. King (dignified David Oyelowo) comments lightly that the reason he's in Selma is because he needs a bully to catch national sympathy, and the racist sheriff is that man. As men start dying, those words hang over King's head like a cross.

If I have one complaint with Selma, it’s that the violence is too beautiful. DuVernay deftly stages the action of hundreds of protestors for the camera, and re-teams with cinematographer Bradford Young. The result is similar to Raging Bull: every protest is shot differently, so that each violent outbreak feels fresh. If the night march feels familiar to 2014 audiences, if the first march feels claustrophobic, if the violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge looks like a hallucinatory war film, that’s not unintentional. In Selma, Ava DuVernay has matched epic sweep with humanity and brutal vision. It’s a hell of an achievement for a third film.

This close to the Oscars ceremony, reviving the question of whether Selma was snubbed is pointless. But regardless of Sunday’s outcome, Ava DuVernay has joined a different illustrious company: unnominated female directors whose films were nominated for Best Picture. In an attempt to divine DuVernay’s future, I did some research, and discovered a pattern: Of these nine female directors, seven are still directing. Of those seven directors, four (including DuVernay) are now working in TV.

As anyone with a remote or a streaming subscription knows, we are currently in a second Golden Age of television. This is due in no small part to the diversity of creative talent. Every year, more shows are created by, directed by, and starring women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. In this increasingly colorful TV landscape, Ava DuVernay will be a welcome addition when she launches her show on OWN. But at what cost to film?

2014 has been widely criticized as the whitest, most male-dominated year of the Oscars in a long time. As much as I would like to blame our old scapegoat, the White Male Voter, this is also because of the homogeny of the films being offered to the Academy. When we can count the number of Oscar nominated female directors on one hand--likewise for directors of color--we should be shouting for more of these voices in film, instead of celebrating when the ones who’ve already proven themselves move to television (where they can get snubbed by the Emmys instead). I love Ava DuVernay’s work. I can’t wait to see what she creates with Oprah’s blessing. But surely I’m not alone when I say: Ava DuVernay, please come back to film soon.

 

Thus concludes our first month of Women's Pictures. Next week will be a vote to choose our next female filmmakers. Who do you want us to cover? If you have suggestions for future Women’s Pictures directors, post them in the comments or find Anne Marie on Twitter!