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Big Little Lies

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Entries in Catherine Keener (15)

Friday
Feb242017

Review: "Get Out"

by Chris Feil

From its long-take opening to its satisfying conclusion, comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out is one hell of a delight. Photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is heading to the country family home of his girlfriend Rose (Girls’ Allison Williams), an extra uneasy experience given that he is her first black boyfriend. Her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) are woodsy liberals, quasi-intellectuals who love Obama and are just on the performative side of accommodating.

But it’s best to let the rest of Get Out reveal itself: you’ll want to know as little as possible before strapping into this ride...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May112016

On the First Day of Cannes......

It's Murtada reporting about Cannes, but sadly not from Cannes.

The main competition jury at Wednesday's photo call

The first day of Cannes always brings news of intriguing collaborations as projects are announced for the sidebar film market. Like Joaquin Phoenix working with Lynne Ramsay. Or Colin Farrell reteaming with The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos. Errr… Johnny Depp making another movie called The Libertine? With Brett Ratner? About Dominique Strauss-Kahn?? Run away, Marion!

However the two news items that got this reporter most excited are :

Isabelle Huppert in Elle
Sony Classics has acquired main competition entry Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Isabelle Huppert. You know the same company that got Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore their best actress Oscars and Michael Haneke and Asghar Farhadi multiple nominations and foreign language wins recently. So our excitement knows no bounds. We are 9 days away from reviews and reactions to Elle - it screens on the last day of the festival - but we can rest easy knowing it will be coming our way this fall.

Captain Dad
If you’ve seen Sebastian Silva’s last outing Nasty Baby (2015), you know that he can provoke his audience and upend expectations. Well now he’s teaming with Will Ferrell and this is the logline (from Deadline):

Rich Peelman (Ferrell) gives his wife Linda (Catherine Keener) the gift of a lifetime for her birthday: a trip through the Caribbean on a sailboat with all six of their kids and their partners. Stubborn, competitive and overly confident in his sailing abilities that are clearly out of sync with reality, Rich is determined that the vacation be run on his terms. But things do not go according to plan. His “father knows best” attitude clashes with the rest of the Peelman clan. And by the end, even the most patient of the bunch are ready to throw Captain Dad overboard, bringing new meaning to the idea of the dysfunctional family.

Michael Cera plays one of Ferrell's antagonists, so color us doubly intrigued. 
                                                       
If you are not at Cannes, which part of it do you follow online? The reviews? The fashion? The film deals? All of it?
Friday
Feb192016

Rest in Peace Harper Lee (1926-2016)

The world has lost one of its most important literary and cultural figures with the death of author Nelle Harper Lee. There’s very little to say about the importance of “To Kill a Mockingbird” that hasn’t already been said, both today specifically and in the nearly fifty six years since the novel’s publication. Having attended both high school and college in Georgia, I saw firsthand how much the novel rattled the consciousness of the deep South to its core. It’s still banned and its literary merits are still contested in many places in the South, demonstrating how much weight and resonance the novel still carries—we often turn away from truths that are too ugly to face.

Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in Robert Mulligan's 1962 Film Adaptation of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Though her impact in the realm of literature is clear, she also helped to shape the world of cinema. The 1962 screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird (which netted three Oscars, including a Best Actor trophy for Gregory Peck and a Best Adapted Screenplay prize for Horton Foote) left an indelible mark on the medium. She was also an uncredited researcher on her friend Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood, which has been adapted many times over—most notably in Richard Brooks 1967 film.

For cinephiles, it’s hard to consider Harper Lee without thinking of Catherine Keener’s staid, impressive and underrated portrayal of the prize-winning author in Bennett Miller’s Capote. She played Lee as smartly observant, terse but incredibly perceptive. The scene on the train where Lee quietly picks up on the fact that Capote has paid the ticket agent to compliment his work is one of the film’s choice moments and is a wonderful (albeit fictionalized) window into the friendship of these two authors.

For what she gave to the world of literature, American culture and (inadvertently) the world of cinema we all love, we say to Nelle Harper Lee—thank you and farewell. Today will certainly not be the last time her name is spoken.

Tuesday
Nov242015

Jason Gives Thanks

Howdy folks it's Jason here - with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" we gave some thanks for two classic Christina Ricci performances (have you voted yet?) but it's a rich world with lots of good to great stuff in it so here are a few more things that have brought a big dumb smile to my big dumb face this year.

- For Getting On and the spectacular showcase it's given three crazy talented actresses (not to mention all the smaller roles they fill in with even more under-used gems), letting each of them be both hysterically funny and heartbreaking within the matter of milliseconds (and for introducing the phrase "anal horn" into my vocabulary - that one's a keeper!)

- For the venom that dripped off of Rose Byrne's every ace line reading in Spy (this scene in particular)

- For whoever is tailoring Chad Radwell's khakis on Scream Queens so they're more obscene than if Glen Powell was wearing nothing at all (don't get me wrong, he looks good that way too)

- For the way that Donald Sutherland says the word "PLUCKED" at Julianne Moore in Mockingjay Part 2, which will become my ringtone the minute the clip is available

- For the way that the camera made sweet love to every golden angle of Matthias Schoenaerts in Far From the Madding Crowd (runner-up: Alexander Skarsgard in Diary of a Teenage Girl)

- For the Film Society of Lincoln Center here in NYC, which has spent the last several months spinning from the New York Film Festival (Carol and The Lobster holla) to their annually wonderful "Scary Movies" program to the currently running Todd Haynes retrospective to the upcoming David Lynch & Douglas Sirk series that will swallow whole my holidays -- it's like they're programming one of my favorite screens in the city (at Walter Reade) just for me and me alone, and I like that

- Related to the previous, I am beyond thankful for having gotten to see Bernard Rose's 1988 gem Paperhouse on a big screen, something I've been waiting to do for 25 years

- For Greta Gerwig in Mistress America, who gave yet another stellar comic performance that we'll be grooving on decades from now, long after whatever wins the Best Actress trophy is remembered as much more than a statistic #justiceforcomicbrilliance

- For Catherine Keener's wig on Show Me a Hero

- For Golden Girls repeats (a perennial blessing but Keener's wig made me think of it)

- For Guillermo Del Toro's infatuation with oozing wounds and puffy sleeves and incest, maybe not in that specific order

- For Furiosa!

- For Nathaniel who generously opened up the doors to The Film Experience and let this lunatic in. And of course for all you wonderful people out there in the dark, indulging my whims week after week and offering up some of the funniest randomest and smartest retorts on the web - as a wise old woman in little girl ringlets once said you are all the wind beneath my wings. Fly away, you let me fly so high, oh you, you, you.


While Jason Adams wishes his parents had named him after the killer in the Friday the 13th movies, he takes comfort in the fact that on their first date they went to see The Exorcist. He writes lots of daily nonsense at My New Plaid Pants, mostly about movies and dudes in movies, not necessarily in that order.  [Follow Jason on Twitter]. All of Jason postings here.

More "About" Team Experience.

Monday
May112015

Question of the Week: Assign Those "Inside Out" Emotions

Tomorrow night the Q&A series in which Nathaniel answers reader questions returns. But here's an appetizer you didn't order, courtesy of the chef, our Question of the Week. What does Carlos, who dreamt it up, win? He wins the choice of the next banner theme (to replace the food one up top). It has to be a theme that can be conveyed in small pics, otherwise it's hard to read in banner form. So let me know, Carlos.

CARLOS: Inside Out opening at Cannes makes me wonder: which performer or specific performance do you think excels at enacting each of the emotions (joy, fear, disgust, anger and sadness) featured in the movie?

NATHANIEL: What a fun question! But before I answer it with gendered actors show of hands -- were you irritated that they gendered these emotions on their computers over at Pixar? They did that with monsters too and why? There's no reason why pure emotions or monsters for that matter should have to read feminine or masculine.

Since the question hangs on pure expression of emotion, these are literally my purest answers in that I didn't censor myself and named the very first actor that came to mind.

My choice for "Joy" is Ewan McGregor because of how pure and transcendent and contagious his giddy romantic open-hearted smile is (in Moulin Rouge! especially). "Fear" I have to give to Drew Barrymore who made one of the most memorable opening scenes and characters out of only that in Scream. "Disgust" is Catherine Keener who always looks put out by everything (but truth be told I'd prefer her to take a year or two off now for some creative rejuvenation so this isn't the only thing she's giving).  

"Anger" is an emotion that's all too well represented in our macho cinema so let me come at this answer sideways with a surprise. Hear me out. I will take Heather Graham as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights from that scene in the back of a limo where they're trying to do an improv porn shoot and years of degradation finally busts some sort of dam in her and *stomp stomp stomp" byebye-prettyboy-face, sorry not sorry. It's still one of those chilling and exhilarating 'pure' emotions I've ever seen smeared across a movie screen. (It's actually my current banner on our Facebook page)

"Sadness"... that one is reserved for Michelle Pfeiffer since I always need her back on the screen and since the movie that made me fall for her was Ladyhawke (1985) where she literally has the line

I am sorrow."

...and I believed everything her face told me from that day forward.

 

Monday
Mar302015

Beauty vs Beast: Mommie Knows Best

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast," which could be considered a preview of coming attractions (random aside: I can only hear that phrase in Grace Kelly's voice) -- this week's episode of TFE's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series on Wednesday is devoted to the camp masterpiece Mommie Dearest, and so are we. I can't help myself. It's perfect for this series too, and somehow we've never asked the question. In one corner you've got Christina Crawford (played by Mara Hobel as a little girl and Diana Scarwid as a not-so-little girl), adopted daughter and axe-bringer. In the other corner you've got legendary movie star and crazy person Joan Crawford, played by legendary movie star (and perhaps also a crazy person - I have heard stories!) Faye Dunaway, giving a great, dedicated performance - I won't hear a word about her being "bad" in this movie. Not a word of it! On the one hand I'll grant you that it's awfully hard not to side with an abused child... but on the other hand, come on! Who are you watching this movie for???

Whose team are you on?
Team Christina0%
Team Joan0%

PREVIOUSLY Last week we climbed inside the brains of Charlie Kaufman & Spike Jonze and oh yeah Catherine Keener for her birthday with a Being John Malkovich round, pitting Keener's caustic Maxine against Cameron Diaz's desperate Lotte - ultimately it was Cathy's brilliantly sleek sarcasm that won the day with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mr. Goodbar:

"Team Maxine. She is cut of the same cloth as Linda Fiorentino's from The Last Seduction: a misanthrope with irresistible charm and wit, except she finds love and changes whereas Fiorentino just stays on course to become a psychopath."

Monday
Mar232015

Beauty vs Beast: Beauty & (Malkovich) Brains

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- I wish that we could use this column every week to celebrate actresses on their birthdays, but it doesn't always work out that way time-wise unfortunately... this makes two weeks in a row though. Last week was La Huppert, and this week no less than the great Catherine Keener is celebrating her birthday! Keener's turning 56 today and so we celebrate with her, looking back at maybe our favorite performance of hers (although that's a tough choice) - Maxine in Spike Jonze's and Charlie Kaufman's brilliant existential-comedy Being John Malkovich (1999).

Maxine is in many ways the nasty yin to John Cusack's sad-sack yang... but nobody's rooting for Craig. That would make this question too easy. Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) though... the battle for Malkovich Malkovich is in your hands!

Whose team are you on?
Team Lotte0%
Team Maxine0%

PREVIOUSLY As mentioned up top we were all about Huppert last week - specifically her performance in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (in a stroke of random continuity today is Michael Haneke's birthday! Happy birthday Mikey boy!) against that of the pretty boy played by Benoit Magimel - Pretty Boy put up a good fight all things considered but when your competition's willing to fill people's pockets with glass to win, it's not really a fair fight. Said Nathaniel:

"...the only way Walter is going to win this is if you post nude photos of Benoit Magimel with it and confuse people as to what they're voting on. That said I voted for Walter because Erika is so fucking depraved. and not in the good way. That ending!"