HOT TOPICS

NOW PLAYING

NEW IN THEATERS & OUT ON DVD


all reviews



 

 

Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it

 

 

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe
What'cha Looking For?

Entries in Directors (139)

Friday
Feb202015

John Boorman on His Oscar Experience

Jose here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, The Tailor of Panama) in order to talk about his new film Queen and Country a sequel to his Oscar nominated Hope and Glory. Besides being a notoriously versatile director Mr. Boorman is also quite the cinephile, with a profound knowledge of silent cinema and obscure noirs, this led our conversation to stray into the topic of the Academy Awards...

John Boorman directs 'Deliverance' (L) 'Hope and Glory' (R)

You’ve been nominated for Best Director twice for Deliverance and Hope and Glory, can you share some of your memories about going to the Oscars?

First of all, it’s incredibly boring, because you leave the hotel at 2 in the afternoon and the show goes on until 11 at night, and you sit in the audience more often than not watching the commercials, or at least the gaps the commercials create. It’s very wearing! (laughs) I didn’t go when I was nominated for Deliverance, I went when I was nominated for Hope & Glory, I’d been nominated as producer, director and screenwriter. I was delighted that the film was nominated, but I didn’t win in any of the categories, and it makes you feel like such a failure (laughs).

You keep yourself active as an Academy member?

Yes, I see them all and vote, but the ones I vote for never win (laughs).

What were some of your favorites in the Oscar race this year?

In the Oscars this year, in the Foreign Language category, there are three films Leviathan, Ida and Timbuktu, and there are no three films in any other category that match up to these at all. I saw them recently and felt so proud to be a filmmaker! But what does their quality say about the other films? Quite good films even, like The Theory of Everything and Birdman and so on? There’s something calculating about these films, it’s a calculation that somehow the system brings up because of the way films are made. Scripts are supervised by studios and you feel these films have been overcooked, there’s something slightly contrived about them. They’re looking over their shoulder a little bit.

Queen and Country, Boorman's final film, is now playing in select theaters.

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!

 

Wednesday
Feb112015

Most Eligible Links List

Gurus of Gold rank the Best Pictures and possible surprises with a handful of days of voting left
Playbill At Roundabout Theater's Spring Gala "There is Nothing Like a Dame" a who's who of awesome Broadway stars will honor Helen Mirren
Playlist filmmakers who disowned their movies. I didn't know the hilarious Screenplay Oscar trivia situation with Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) , a movie I really loved as a kid
New York Times America's Sweetheart Tom Hanks writes an ode to the value of community colleges.

 

Henry Cavill's Site interviews the actor's stunt man Alainn Moussi who is getting his own lead role in the Kickboxer remake
AV Club HBO's brilliant comedy about nurses in an elderly care ward Getting On is getting one more very short season and then its bye-bye. 
Towleroad Laverne Cox cast in a CBS legal drama pilot Doubt as a trans lawyer. Too bad its not the lead role. That'd really be something.
Cinesnark has a good review of the most recent episode of Agent Carter which has proven itself as a fast, kicky, well acted and really fine TV show. I kinda love it. Agents of SHIELD has improved over its run but Carter's short run has only emphasized how weak it still is; I'm sad it's coming back because that mean Carter is over!

This Week's Must Read
Tilda Swinton gave a glorious wise speech about art and cinema and inspiration at the Rothko Chapel. Here's the full transcript  and I really urge you to read it.

It occurs to me on a regular basis that the cinema carries the potential to be perhaps the most human of all gestures in art: the invitation to place ourselves, under the intimate cover of darkness, into another person's shoes, behind another set of eyes, into another's consciousness. The ultimate compassion machine, the empathy enging.

Here is the darkness.

Here comes the light.

Beautiful. Just beautiful, don't you think?

 

Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Pride) one of our best out actors. Today's 'What Does This Word Mean?' Curiousity
Out revealed their 100 Most Eligible Bachelors list and it's wonderful to swipe through it realizing how many out actors we have now (I knew that once we had a few brave ones people would calm down about it and the floodgates would open) though the list is hardly actors-only. Thankfully the list has plentiful ethnic, age, and national diversity.

But the list is not without controversy because not all of the men are "Out" as it were like Ronan Farrow for example or the actor Jussie Smollett (who plays the gay son on Empire and is the brother of Jurnee Smollett from Friday Night Lights & True Blood). There might be other examples. I hadn't heard that the model Jon Kortajarena was gay either but maybe I just missed that somewhere. Most hilarious is their inclusion of famously NOT out Hobbit actors Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) who has a long history of being back in the closet which My New Plaid Pants lampoons constantly and Lee Pace who has a long history of not being out and recently denying the everyone-assumes Elf-Dwarf love affair with co-star Richard Armitage.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Wes Anderson on 'Budapest', Fellini and Revisiting Max Fisher.

Jose here. Last week I attended a screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel followed by a Q&A with director Wes Anderson. Self-aware and adorably humorous he shared anecdotes about the making of the film, and also discussed his influences. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb062015

Women's Pictures - Ava DuVernay's "I Will Follow"

Anne Marie of "A Year With Kate" fame returning to TFE with a new series!

Welcome to Women’s Pictures, a new series dedicated to celebrating female directors. From the matriarchal melodramas of the 50s (from which this series draws its name), to the 90s chick flicks, to the surprisingly durable stereotype that female filmmakers aren’t mainstream enough for “big” pictures, films for women or by women continue to be ignored or maligned. To this I say: Screw that! Women directors are as varied and interesting as the many movies they make.

Each month, we will examine four(ish) movies by a female director in chronological order. All genres, time periods, creeds, colors, and languages are open for examination. We’ll meet auteurs we might have missed, shine a light on corners of cinema previously obscured, and maybe even redefine what “Women’s Pictures” means.

This month, in honor of Black History Month, Selma’s two Academy Award nominations, and the recent happy announcement of a new TV series, our first female filmmaker is Ava DuVernay! (You may recall that Nathaniel met her at AFI Fest this year. She'd been up for 48 hours editing Selma, but still managed to be gracious and charming.) Her story (self-starter-publicist-turned-self-starter-director) is by this point well known, even if the two feature-length narratives she made before Selma were only recently made available VOD. Before Oprah, Oscars, or a seven figure budget, DuVernay made her first film, I Will Follow, in 2010 for $50,000.

So, what kind of a first film is a former publicist going to make? A very personal one...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan252015

The Linking Point

Write Out of LA on underappreciated directors of 2014's awards season
Playbill Into the Woods cast members sang to Rob Marshall at the Artios Awards
xkcd The Star Wars tipping point
Script Notes talks about the "default male" problem in screenwriting
Empire Warner Bros still wants to make a feature adaptation of The Jetsons
Jason Robert Brown, the great composer of The Last Five Years shares a new live concert online with Tony winner and movie Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose. It's $5

Vulture cable programmings explosion over the past 15 years. This is why no one can keep up. 
Awards Daily the Oscar bump is helping the indies. Even the long since faded Whiplash was up 114% this past weekend 
Dissolve Martin Scorsese finally approaching production of the long-gestatingSilence about Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan


Comics Alliance casting young versions of the X-Men for X-Men: Apocalypse. Tye Sheridan is a fine young actor so no qualms there but I didn't enjoy Sophie Turner's work on Game of Thrones (I only watched the first season - did she improve?) so I worry about her Jean Grey 
Carpetbagger The Witch still hasn't technically premiered at Sundance (just press screenings) but reviews are so good it's not helping the attempt at a mysterious low profile

Thursday
Jan152015

Interesting Stats About The 87th Oscars

DuPont has something in common with those other sociopaths Lisbeth Salander and James BondDid you know...

• The tiny grossing Foxcatcher is now tied with two blockbusters Skyfall and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for "most nominations without a Best Picture nomination" in the modern Best Picture expanded era. The all time record holder if you include years with only 5 Best Picture nominees is They Shoot Horses Don't They from 1969 which received 9 nominations but not Best Picture. And that one is better than all of the actual Best Picture nominees from its year.

• Grand Budapest Hotel, a very atypical nominee in so many ways (comic, uber-stylized, filled with slapstick) is also the highest grosser currently. The Oscars went very small this year after a few years of big hits peppering their Best Picture lineup

Click to read more ...