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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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Only Five Episodes Left - HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT

❝I don't want to be presumptuous, but could this (UNDER THE SKIN) be the best collection of visuals from this series?❞ -Andrew E.

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Entries in Bryan Cranston (5)

Wednesday
Jun112014

An Awards Aftermath Question For All

The annual Women in Film gala, which is held today always celebrates several names but the big prize is the Crystal Award and Amy Adams will present it to Cate Blanchett for "Excellence in Film". A few months later Matthew McConaughey might well be honored with an Emmy for True Detective but even if he doesn't win that he'll be collecting will the American Cinematheque prize in October. And future fall honors aside, he was just handed another trophy by Spike TV last week as their "Guy of the Year"

In short, Oscar's Homecoming King and Queen are not yet done being showered with praise and tributes. We just saw an illustration of this afterglow effect with Bryan Cranston's Tony win for "All The Way". Did he win because he was the best in the category or because it's all the rage to honor him given the super duper success of that protracted final season of "Breaking Bad"? Wouldn't he immediately be the favorite to win the Oscar this next season if he had a substantial role in a movie, solely from all this goodwill. 

McConaughey, Blanchett, and Cranston aren't done collecting trophies this year

Right or wrong, and the debate will forever rage, the Oscar is viewed as the pinnacle of showbiz prizes. So what's with grabbing more trophies as you ski-lift down from that peak? Aren't they redundant? Why do organizations feel the need to rubber stamp Oscar's choices instead of starting the drums for someone else. Aren't they afraid of viewer fatigue or sloppy seconds?

And, a better question, why do the actors go for it? They all seem so exhausted after awards season that you'd think they'd hide away for a few months thereafter instead of doing more monkey dances for more trophies that don't mean a great deal in the long run.

I'm curious to hear theories. 

Monday
Jun092014

Linkbusters

The Daily Beast the sexual politics of Ghostbusters, 30 years later
The Wire the career of Lorraine Toussaint before Orange is the New Black 
BFI let's kill the buzzword "hybrid" when it comes to documentaries 
/Film there might be a sequel to Neighbors... which wouldn't surprise anyone
Variety Kino-Lorber has picked up one of Sundance's buzziest titles A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, an Iranian vampire movie, for US distribution (Glenn's review icymi)


In Contention on an new animated contender from GKids, Boy vs. World 
Pajiba celebrates Emily Blunt's greatness as an action star in Edge of Tomorrow
Guardian The director and his muse will try for more Oscars in 2016 with a biopic called Joy about the creator of the Miracle Mop. She was 12 years out of college with 3 children when all this stuff happened. Eventually Jennifer Lawrence will be old enough for the parts David O. Russell keeps casting her in.  
MTV Channing Tatum still super excited about Gambit prospects. Everyone wants their superhero dollars
AV Club rumors abound that it's either Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy or Jared Leto for Doctor Strange. I worry that Marvel has no clear vision of what they want. What connects any of those actors beyond fame? Very different gifts and styles. (I love Hardy as an actor but he seems like a terrible fit for that character)

Off Cinema
Variety on the explosion of new TV shows in summer now that the game has changed
Cinema Blend Steven Spielberg wants to turn Bryan Cranston's tony winning performance into a tv miniseries
Playbill shares the Tony "In Memoriam" segment that strangely didn't air 
Playbill collects all the Tony performances in one place (seriously, it's like no one even needs to watch live tv anymore) 

And finally I just want to say a big congratulations to Peyton Reed for his new gig.  I've been rooting for him ever since the one-two punch of Bring It On and Down With Love, two stylish, absorbing, joyful, funny movies with a real vision behind them. I was bummed when his proposed retro version of Fantastic Four was cancelled in the Aughts and for what: A low-rent generic lousy f/x heavy version? But it's been so long since he was in the news that I figured his career was over. But now he'll direct Ant-Man. There's been a lot of online sniping calling him a hack, even from sites I otherwise like, but those writers should really think before they type and consider his filmography. There's some "for hire" business yes, but he's a good director. It's an unexpected choice but a good one... even if I'm still deeply suspicious of the project considering Wright's departure and Marvel's current game plans.

Sunday
May182014

Godzilla, A God Amongst Blockbusters

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad


If Hollywood's goal is to infantilize all audiences into impressionable insatiable snot-nosed consumers of movie-product (remember how easy it was for a commercial to make you all "gimme!" as a kid) they’re doing a great job this year. Though movie studios churn out plenty of all-quadrant dross every year that's aimed at pleasing children of all advanced ages and genders, it rarely goes this well. The year began in the shadow of Disney's unexpectedly unstoppable Frozen and the critical and commercial smashes keep coming. The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are the two biggest hits of the year (thus far) and not undeservedly. They're like joyful corporate filmmaking - cash grabs, sure, but no robbery is involved since they give you your money’s worth. And here comes the third home run: Gareth Edwards' Godzilla (2014).

[Insert prehistoric monstrous rawr here]

Can my review just be wild-eyed hyperactive childish pointing? "LOOK!!!"  No? Fine. A few slightly more coherent thoughts featuring hot soldiers, worried women, and monster smash-ups after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan262013

SAG Award Seating. Any Requests?

Thanks to Sasha Stone for tweeting this. It's a SAG Awards seating chart (of sorts).

I can't make out the faces as well as I'd like but Jessica Chastain and Denzel Washington are right up front with Helen Hunt just the next table back. Expect lots of reaction shots from the front. Do you think any of them will win tomorrow night?

BFFs since before they were famous - Nicole & NaomiTV Guide has a partial seating chart which indicates that Les Misérables and Argo have front row tables both to the right of the stage and get this, SAG honors requests so...

BFFs Naomi Watts(The Impossible) and Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) asked to sit together and are placed at Table 21. 

Awwww!

Double nominees get to choose where they sit so Bryan Cranston opted for the Breaking Bad table instead of sitting with King Ben of Argopolis. 

Which table would you most want to carouse with? Will you be hear for liveblogging tomorrow? I promise to stay put to avoid tech difficulties as with the Globes.

Sunday
Sep182011

Review: The Self Possession of "Drive"

There's 100,000 streets. You don't need to know the route."

The Driver is alone in a hotel room. Looking out over the city at night, negotiating on a cel phone he'll abandon immediately. We never learn his name. We don't need to know it.

His face is Ryan Gosling's, but even so it's a less familiar landscape than you'd think. With Drive, the actor erases any doubts (were there any?) that he's the most exciting young movie star on this side of the Atlantic. For the driver, his face has taken on a new mask-like stillness which twice in Nicolas Winding Refn's brilliant new movie, is covered (redundantly) by an actual mask. There is no knowing this driver; if we were given his name we'd forget it anyway or doubt its authenticity. Even the underscore, a brilliantly retro synth score, that memorably features Kavinksy's "Nightcall" just as we're being introduced keeps us at a certain remove, a hypnotized female voice singing "There's something inside you. It's hard to explain." Indeed.

To summarize the plot of Drive would immediately reduce it to a standard nihilistic noir or crime drama. If you must know -- though I hope you've already seen it because it's best seen cold without knowing the following details -- the driver is a stunt driver for the movies and also a mechanic and also quite willing to be your getaway for crimes. He won't ask questions and you shouldn't either. He just drives. His mechanic boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston, excellent) and his quiet neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, excellent) and her child Benico (Kaden Leos, also excellent... you'll be sensing a trend here) are the three people in his life that he seems to care for, despite his dangerously self-possessed aura. In the course of Drive, this walking loner archetype is gradually humanized whether through narrative emotional connections or performance choices. Both the neighbor and the boss have troubled histories including people who are Trouble and the driver's very tight social circle is soon forcibly opened by crowbars, shotguns and handshakes. The cast expands to include a wealthy investor/criminal Bernie (Albert Brooks... seeking Oscar), his mouthy colleague Nino (Ron Perlman, delighted to show off) a lesser criminal Cook (James Biberi) and his associate Blanche (Christina Hendricks, memorably put-out in stilettos), and Irene's ex-con husband with the perfect name of "Standard" (Oscar Isaac, just terrific). Needless to say, shit goes down both in and out of cars. Very violent, exquisitely directed shit goes down. 

To Refn and Gosling's credit, the unknowable driver doesn't stay a mere Embodiment of Something (like, say, Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men) which helps the movie immeasurably. The few times the driver's humanity peaks through, his voice trembling, a flash of fear across his face, or even a moment of tenderness are genuinely unnerving; the untouchable man is touched. Even the stoic loner, who loves only driving and barely speaks, can't escape the violent messy pull of humanity. His choice to dehumanize again, donning the mask a second time, is a genuinely frightening image that I haven't been able to shake since seeing the movie. 

Drive is one of those movies. It makes you think in and of its images. I generally take notes when I watch films though I can't always understand them afterwards, the danger of scribbling in the dark. My notes for Drive... are strange. The standard illegible chicken scratches appear but there are also crude images scribbled in, attempts to capture the movies indelibe compositions, use of color and general mise-en-scene. (I've recreated two of them here for you since my scanner is broken).

I'm not sure why i wrote red all over this one. Stills show that it's more orange.

Drive is just one of those movies, the kind that unfold with such individuality and confidence and sense of possibility that you can almost imagine the celluloid standing up and strutting right past you, knowing full well you're going to turn and look. Yeah, I'm hot shit, it might say, if it weren't so emphatically the strong and silent type. One could argue, as I did with myself on second viewing, that the movie does boast about its own coolness in just this way and too often. If there's something to be said against Drive beyond its nasty nihilism (the extent of the violence is... uneccessary) it's just that. The movie stops in its track a few times and whether or not you're hypnotized (I was absolutely) it's clearly showing off. Let's just say that Nicolas Winding Refn is the most exciting Mad Dane to arrive in the movies since Lars von Trier... and knows it, too.

Though Drive's initial retro impression with the synth score, glistening cityscapes and practically neon hot pink titles immediately is that it's paying homage to the 1980s and Michael Mann, Drive very quickly becomes only its own memorable self. But because it's so emphatically a movie, so possessed by the motion in its pictures  --even its frozen tableaus are alive with suggested movement, promised ugly futures you fear you'll lunge towards without warning -- it can't help but recall the great tradition of cinema's coolest movies.  Leaving the movie the first time (I've already seen it twice) I thought most of Pulp Fiction. Not Pulp Fiction as we know it now -- annoyingly replicated never duplicated -- but Pulp Fiction back when it first took the world by storm; they aren't much alike but for that blast of intoxicating fresh air in the theater. A/A-

Recommended Further Reading
The Film Experience - "People Will Love It Ten Years From Now"
Nick's Flick Picks - a coiled python
Serious Film -"atmosphere. neon glow and moments that hang in the air..."
My New Plaid Pants "Chrissy Hendricks, Stiletto Wobbler
In Contention "the finest layer of B-movie grime that time and money can buy

Have you seen Drive? If so do sound off in the comments.