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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Directors (167)


Rebel Assignments: Film Directors + Madonna

David Fincher winning an MTV Movie Award for Se7en (1995) he was already an MTV darling at the Music Video AwardsA reader by the name of David recently asked which direct we wished would do a video from Madonna's "Rebel Heart". Given that David Fincher, now a reknowned auteur, came to fame via some of Madonna's best, it's a great question. More movie directors really ought to moonlight with music videos intead of just graduating from them. It's a unique form, basically both a musical and a short, that gives directors the chance to work faster and looser and play with ideas that they maybe couldn't risk in a feature without a test run.

Successful directors ought to donate their services at least once to either an upcoming band they want every to haer or a legendary artist whose work has meant a lot to them. So we're assigning a director to each Madonna song on her terrific new record "Rebel Heart" in order to pretend we've been gifted a video album specifically for Madonna fans and cinephiles alike.

It's a Venn Diagram niche, sure, but go with it.

Since the first track and first single "Living for Love" already got a fine toreador and minotaur themed music video -- and it's good if minimalist --  we should leave it be.

No no no. Scratch that.

Recreated by Gus Van Sant
We're completists. So we gotta try for the whole album. Gus Van Sant likes a good experiment and he can't just do a traditional "remake" so how about a shot-for-shot reinterpretation with a few inserts as he is prone to do. Madonna likes a good rolling cloud as much as the next Guy Gus (see Frozen/Ray of Light)

Assigned to Lee Daniels
This song sounds conservative but its lyrics are straight up messy mixing drowning metaphors, spiritual yearning, religiosity, the devil and a list of hallucinogenic drugs. So I think the only proper guide is the current king of absolutely fascinating messes, Lee Daniels. Look at the performances he got from Mo'Nique, Kidman, Oprah, and Taraji. Please get your hands on Madonna, you crazy beautiful man, and shake her up!

more assignments follow...

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We Can't Wait! #8: Bridge of Spies 

Billy Magnussen (Into the Woods) on the set with Tom HanksTeam Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's Tim...

Who & What: Steven Spielberg directs Tom Hanks for the first time since 2004, working from a screenplay written by Joel & Ethan Coen (whose solitary collaboration with Hanks, 2004's The Ladykillers, saw one of his best performances stranded in their worst movie). It's a true story about a lawyer negotiating the release of an American pilot from the Soviet Union during one of the tensest stretches of the Cold War.

Why We're Excited About It: To paraphrase one of the writers' most iconic lines, "Spielberg. The Coens. What do you need, a road map?" The collision of two of the most distinct voices in contemporary American cinema, and in a genre (political thriller) that neither of them have ever quite dabbled in before, is absolutely worth being excited for regardless of any other considerations. But of course, those other considerations exist: Hanks working reuniting with filmmakers who have drawn out some excellent work from him in the past, the maddeningly under-used Amy Ryan with a big part, a ripe historical setting that Hollywood has been weirdly uncurious about exploring. In my totally private capacity as the most tedious kind of craft nerd, finding out what costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone has lined up after her tremendous work in A Most Violent Year is a pretty big draw, too.

What If It All Goes Wrong? Not only do Spielberg and the Coens have distinct voices, they're diametrically opposed voices, too. The king of audience-friendly sentiment and the court jesters of detached cynicism are perhaps likelier to clash atonally than find some third way that combines their disparate strengths. And so soon after Unbroken, it's hard to get unreservedly excited about the prospect of a Coen script that the brothers aren't also directing.

October 16th in the United States - the same weekend that has recently given us 12 Years a Slave and Birdman, which speaks to Disney's understandable suspicion that they have a major Oscar player on their hands.

#9 Taxi
#10 Freeheld
#11 A Bigger Splash
#12 The Dressmaker
#13 The Hateful Eight
#14 Knight of Cups
#15 Arabian Nights
Sidebar 3 Animated Films
Sidebar 2 Tomorrowland
Sidebar 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Intro Pick a Blockbuster


Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough, he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way. His adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director. Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V), Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn), Director (Henry V), Screenplay (Hamlet), Live-Action Short (Swan Song). People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn but it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative. Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie, Disney's live action Cinderella (2015) opening today, let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen? 

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Richard Glatzer, Co-Director of Still Alice (1952-2015)

Wash Westmoreland & Richard Glatzer. I believe this photo is from around the time of The Fluffer (2001)

Just two minutes after the last post, coincidentally about Still Alice but meant to be a random amusement, I read that Richard Glatzer the co-writer and co-director had died. He had been struggling with ALS for the past few years. If you'll excuse me getting a little sentimental, I'd like to tell you my personal story about him as a way of working through my sadness today.

I can't recall the exact circumstances of our meeting but just after I had moved to New York City in 1999, we began to talk over e-mail. He was quite literally my first online friend who was actually working in movies and television around the time I was trying to launch The Film Experience. If I remember correctly our online friendship was prompted by an interview I had done with Jackie Beat, my all time favorite drag queen, for my print zine (before the website). She had worked with Richard on his first film, the underseen gay indie dramedy Grief (1993). More...

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Women's Pictures - Ida Lupino's "Never Fear"

Women’s Pictures get a bad rap. I’m not talking about this series - we’ve only been going a month and you all seem as excited as I am about it - but rather the category of film after which this series is named. During the height of their popularity in the 1940s, women's films were denigratingly known as “weepies” or “soap operas.” When women’s pictures began to be recognized as a unique category of film, they were often defined by what they lacked: few to no male leads, stories that rarely took place in the public sphere, a lack of “action” plots, etc.

Rather than define women’s pictures by what they weren’t, instead focus on what they were: films made for, starring, and sometimes created by women, films from many different genres (including traditionally male genres like noir), films with a focus on domestic life and social issues, films that tackled everything from racism to unplanned pregnancies to polio. These were films designed to speak to the interests of American women, and it turned out that American women were interested in seeing their real struggles represented onscreen. When Warner Bros glamor girl Ida Lupino started her production company in 1948, that’s exactly what she intended to do.

Disease, drama, and smokin' doctors after the jump...

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New Oscar Trivia. Courtesy of the 87th Academy Awards

What does a fresh list of winners bring? Why... New TRIVIA of course! 

Do you think Patty Arquette has seen SAVAGE GRACE?

picture birdman director alejandro gonzález iñárritu, birdman actress julianne moore, still alice  actor eddie redmayne, theory of everything supporting actress patricia arquette, boyhood supporting actor j.k. simmons, whiplash original screenplay birdman adapted screenplay imitation game foreign film ida animated feature big hero 6 documentary feature citizenfour cinematography birdman editing whiplash production design grand budapest hotel costume design grand budapest hotel makeup and hair grand budapest hotel  visual effects interstellar score grand budapest hotel song "glory" selma sound mixing whiplash sound editing american sniper  live action short the phone call documentary short crisis hotline animated short feast ...I forgot to ask all of you how you did on your predictions? I did decent but not spectacular 18/24 (but i heard from a few readers who said I helped them win their office pool so there's that) but the short film categories messing me up as usual grrrr

After the jump, there's lots of trivia brought on by the 87th batch. If you have a really good one I forgot, I can always update the post so please to enjoy and comment... 

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Readers Poll Results: Who *Should* Win?

With the Oscars arriving in 12 hours and your host (er, Nathaniel -- your host here at TFE-- not NPH) still sick as a dog, I turn the time over to you. Your votes have been tallied from the polls we ran on the individual Oscar Chart pages over the past month and here's who YOU -- the collective you at least -- are rooting for tonight.


Grand Budapest Hotel won 37% of your hearts. In solid second place was Birdman with 30%. Nightcrawler and Boyhood had their fans with 16% and 12% of the vote respectively. Trailing them all with a poor showing was Foxcatcher with 4%.

acting, director, picture after the jump

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