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Entries in Christoph Waltz (18)

Sunday
Oct192014

Thoughts I Had... The "Big Eyes" Poster

We finally have a poster for Tim Burton's Big Eyes. Herewith some thoughts as they came to me.

• "Visionary Director" would be so much more impressive as a description if it weren't so overused.
• "Big Eyes" could well describe lots of celebrities: Emma Stone, Amanda Seyfried, Marty Feldman*, Heather Graham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Sailor Moon.
• Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams have Normal-Sized Eyes but that will never be a film title. The only person in this cast with gargantuan eyeballs is Krysten Ritter
The tag line is basic but it does cleverly have a double meaning with the last bit "... and everyone bought it" 
• A lot of people seem to be sure that this one won't be a major Oscar player but apart from test screenings (a notoriously unreliable source of info) no one has seen it so it's one of our mystery movies when it comes to the competition this year.
• The Big Eyes team, cast and crew, has been nominated for 37 Oscars and won 7 (most of those for Waltz & Colleen Atwood). 
• Why do they always make ginger movie stars blondes when the movies take place in the 1950s? There were actually more gingers back then statistically. (And I don't want any "Amy Adams isn't a natural ginger!" backtalk in the comments -don't be literal!)
• It's fun that the screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski get such prominent yellow billing at the bottom. We'll pretend it's a retroactive thank you for Ed Wood (1994) rather than a contractual negotiation! 

*Just wanted to see if you were paying attention

Friday
Sep192014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Big Eyes

abstew here. Well, it must be Oscar-movie season because no sooner did we receive a teaser trailer and release date for A Most Violent Year, but mere hours later, the first trailer for the Tim Burton-directed Oscar hopeful Big Eyes popped up as well. Big Eyes is the biopic of kitschy painter Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and her husband Walter (two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz), who falsely claimed to be the paintings' creator. The screenplay from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski reunites them with Burton (who actually collects Keane paintings) for the first time since the Oscar-winning Ed Wood 20 years ago. But, I know y'all really just wanna know, does the film have what it takes for the quintuple Oscar-less Amy Adams to finally be crowned the winner? Let's examine with the trademarked Yes, No, Maybe So...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug292014

Review: The Zero Theorem

Michael Cusumano here with the latest dispatch from the bizarre world of Terry Gilliam.

Terry Gilliam is an artist one can’t help but root for. The image of Gilliam that comes most readily to mind is one from the great behind-the-scenes disaster documentary Lost in La Mancha. It’s early, before his production has imploded, and the director reviews one of the few shots he managed to get on film for his doomed Don Quixote project. The image of the three men cast as giants lumbering toward the camera delights Gilliam to no end. His childlike glee at the sight of their rolls of fat jiggling in grotesque slow-mo is an image of an artist in touch with the pure, silly thrill of filmmaking. A man who lives for the experience of seeing his cracked visions transferred to the big screen. 

On the other hand, the subtler, less flattering image of Gilliam I took from that documentary is that of a filmmaker capable of being swept up in the joy of the process to the point of being blithely indifferent to the needs of the audience. I remember leaving La Mancha with the guilty suspicion that maybe it was for the best that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote crashed and burned on take off. Better to live with the unrealized ideal than to see one’s dream project fail to live up to expectations. What little footage we see in the film suggests it would have been of a piece with his 21st Century output, which is to say fanciful bordering on incoherent, fascinating to look at but too messy to inspire emotionally investment.

More...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug042014

New Photos from "Theory of Everything" & "Big Eyes"

Three new stills for movies about complicated marriages among brilliant people. Expect trailers very shortly. First up is Theory of Everything coming November 7th and based on Jane Hawking's autobiography "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen"

A few thoughts I had... uncensored as they come to me. 

• Felicity Jones always makes me think of Like Crazy & The Tempest. I did not fall. Unless you mean like crazy annoyed with her. Can she suddenly be fascinating in this?
• This might easily fall into the stock "supportive wife" role syndrome (not that Oscar will mind. But we might) even if it is from her perspective?
• Is Eddie Redmayne the best-looking gawky nerdstar ever? There's something about him that shouldn't really work as a leading man onscreen and yet he sure does... work it. You know?
Marius 
• I'm glad this isn't named after the book... people might be expecting a sci-fi time travel flick
• Golden light is shorthand for romantic aura / nostalgia

The other new stills are from Tim Burton's Big Eyes, coming Christmas Day starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as the Keanes. The wife did the big eye paintings and the husband got credit for them. 

 • Whenever they show actors painting or drawing onscreen I am INSTANTLY looking to see if they're actually doing anything... kind of the way when an actor plays piano I stare intensely at the hands and dread the cut to closeup of their hands when the actor is replaced by a person who can do that thing. It annoys me that I do this, trust, but I can't help it.
• Closeups of actors hands...it's never them! Remember when Robin Bartlett told me she didn't scribble that note to Leo in Shutter Island.
• There's almost nothing I dislike more aesthetically (from disappointment rather than unattractiveness) than when redheads go blonde for movies. I want them ALWAYS ginger.

• Love the red light in this picture. The cinematography is by 4 time Oscar nominee Bruno Delbonnel in case you were wondering.
• I want this to be good so badly. But the odds... I'm just going to whisper Ed Wood over and over to myself and hope for the best
• Big Eyes would also be a good name for a documentary exploring the physiogonomy of actors since so many of them have unnaturally ginormous orbs. All the better to expose the inner humanity of their characters.
• I got a new computer! *

 

 

What does this have to do with Big Eyes, you ask? Well, I'm slightly traumatized because even though it's gorgeously super-sized most of my old programs don't work anymore because it's so new, so I'm trying to come up with solutions so i can manipulate images and the Oscar charts again. IF photoshop was working I would be manipulating this image right now so that it showed them fighting over Christoph Waltz's two Oscars instead of a painting. He only deserved one of them, so surely he should give ONE to Amy who has way more range.

It's only right! 

 

* I know I already said this this morning but the excitement overfloweth. It's been like seven years since I got a new desktop!

Wednesday
Jun182014

"Big Eyes" Sneak

Tim Burton with Lisa Marie and her comissioned portraitEarly test screenings of Big Eyes have started, Tim Burton's Christmas movie and the word is very positive.

The film stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as an infamous pair of artists... of sorts. Margaret Keane was the artist but it was Walter Keane who got the credit for the well known paintings of sad children with ginormous eyes. In fact, as "Sage" points out in the test screening review at Head Over Feels in a great piece of trivia I was hardly aware of, Burton is a long time fan and commissioned a portrait of Lisa Marie, his former muse, who once cut such an indelible figure in his movies. (I think she's best in Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!)

Anyway, you should read the post if you're interested since there's a lot of Oscar talk (Amy= sure thing / Christoph = probable category fraud) but I like this part:

The story of the Keanes is so bananas that there’s nothing to do but keep it and the ’50s themselves center stage. Burton’s stylistic touches are there and all the more effective for their restraint. We first meet Margaret as she and her daughter are frantically packing up to escape, we assume, her first husband. She piles her things into a big boat of a pastel car and drives it down her calm, colorful, and symmetrical suburban street – very Edward Scissorhands. Vancouver streets are transformed into a swinging, San Francisco drag. Margaret pushes her shopping cart through cartoonishly perfect grocery store aisles. She locks herself away in her studio to paint in secret, like a princess in a tower. The costumes and styling are truly breathtaking...Burton adds touch of the fantastical that I won’t give away; it works and does nothing to downplay the drama of Margaret’s real story.

Hearing words like "a touch of" and "restraint" is really weird in this era of Burton films. Perhaps I should pick back up that BurtonJuice retrospective I started but only just barely before abandoning?

When I was in Boston in May worrying about my then half completed Oscar charts,  I ended up eating brunch with friends in a tiny charming restaurant that had a Keane print ("The Waif") on the wall. I immediately thought "I should tweet this for Big Eyes omen/countdown sake" but forgot.

(The girl in the foreground is one of my best friend's sisters. But I apologize to the oblivious strangers behind her but they were in the shot!)

Do you think Big Eyes is Burton's Oscar ticket or another Big Fish with large holiday hype and some ardent fans but no Oscar love? 

Thursday
Feb062014

Meet the Berlinale Jury

The 64th Berlinale begins today in Germany - a press conference for Grand Budapest Hotel is streaming right now. It's the second of the six most powerful and premiere-heavy festivals each year, which schedule like so: Sundance -January; Berlin -February; Cannes - May; and the September glut of Venice, Telluride & Toronto. Like most of the biggies Berlinale has multiple juries for multiple types of awards, major and niche. But here's the main competition jury presided over by former Focus Features chief James Schamus. 

The Jury, The Competition Films, and Oscar History after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb012014

Maximillian Schell (1930-2014)

The most famous Austrian born actor prior to Schwarzenegger, and Oscar's favorite Austrian/Swiss actor ever, died overnight at 83. Maximilian Schell film debut came with the German anti-war film  Kinder, Mütter und ein General (Children, Mother, and the General) but it wasn't long before Hollywood came calling. 

He won a role supposedly through a misunderstanding/accident in the Brando/Clift vehicle Young Lions (1958). Global fame was just a few years away when he co-headlined the mega-star cast of the seminal Oscar Bait giant Judgement at Nuremberg (about Nazi war crime trials) with Hollywood legend Spencer Tracy and they were both were nominated for Best Actor - it's a oft-repeated fallacy of modern Oscar campaigning that people say that splits your vote and prevents you from winning; see also Amadeus. Schell also won the Golden Globe for that film. (As Rhett from Dial M for Movies pointed out on Twitter this morning, his death makes William Shatner (!!!) the sole surviving credited cast member from the courtroom classic)

Schell was quite gracious in his Oscar win and his acceptance speech is well worth watching. I'd argue he was fully aware of why he won ("honoring the movie"*) and I love that he doesn't do just the usual cheek kiss but actually a little bow/handkissing...as diva Joan Crawford warrants. 

Schell had a fine and long run as an actor with two more nominations following his win for The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) and Julia (1977 -- and yet another example of a double nomination in the same category. His co-star Jason Robards won that time). He won his second Golden Globe as recently as 1994 for a TV miniseries and a Lifetime Achievement Bambi in Germany just 5 years ago, which coincidentally was the same ceremony wherein Christoph Waltz, a clear modern equivalent of Austrian/Oscar love, won for Inglourious Basterds.

Schell's talents were many, though, and also behind the camera. He turned to filmmaking within a decade of winning Best Actor. His first two feature films First Love (1970) and The Pedestrian (1973) were both nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category for Switzerland and West Germany respectively. And then his first documentary Marlene (1984) which was about his legendary Nuremberg co-star, was also nominated in its category. That's a lot of awards love and a long and full career worth remembering. 

*Judgement at Nuremberg couldn't really win much elsewhere. 1961 was the year of one of Oscar's true phenomenons. West Side Story made nearly a clean sweep of its nominations winning 10 of its 11 Oscar nominations! Nuremberg only bested it in the Adapted Screenplay category where musicals have historically had a very hard time winning. Only two have ever managed: Going My Way (1944) and Gigi (1958).