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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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Entries in Disney (103)

Thursday
Mar122015

Empire Mania (and Other Links)

Arts Beat Kerry Washington to star in HBO film Confirmation about Anita Hill. Great casting
Playbill Not that it was ever in doubt but Disney is officially at work on Frozen 2
Comics Alliance Robert Downey Jr presents a one arm kid Avengers fan with an Iron Man arm. Sweet
Broadway World talks to the legendary Ben Vereen about new projects, Bob Fosse movies, and the return of the movie musical


D Listed Steve Carell as Fabio? Fabulous. Especially the low-fi hair blowing... which is particularly funny since we just saw the same "effect" in Paris is Burning 
Pajiba Courtney schools Lindsay Lohan on photoshop manipulation for her Instagram account
Disney promises no more smoking in their films ever. That's fine but if they digitally erase the smoking in their archive like in 101 Dalmatians we will feel murderous
/Film PETA wants new ending for Tim Burton's Dumbo remake and though we'd prefer the movie not be made at all, we'd like to co-sign this proposal
Howard Stern Show I keep hearing this very lengthy Madonna interview is awesome but I haven't listened yet. I'm too busy mainlining "Rebel Heart" now that it's here in full (favs: Living For Love, Ghost Town, Rebel Heart, and I think I might love the totally filthy and juvenile Holy Water but I haven't decided yet)
MNPP I never talk about John Barrowman since he doesn't make movies but I L-O-V-E him and here's Jason paying tribute in a crotch-grabbing way that I think Barrowman himself would enjoy

Today's Moment of Nostalgia
Elle Magazine reminisces about Winona Ryder's "Lydia Deetz" as fashion icon and talks to Beetlejuice costumer Aggie Guerard Rodgers about working with Tim Burton and creating the looks.

Unlike the rogue Babysitter who tired of the Club or Brenda when she finally stopped seeking Kelly's approval, Lydia Deetz was actually an original. And whether she was wearing a schoolgirl outfit stuffed with crinoline, a nondescript painter's smock, or a blood-red wedding dress to match her evil stepmother's, there was something aspirational about how few fucks she actually gave. 


Empire
 Mania - Some Links, Several Thoughts

Towleroad Some fan has made a video of Empire meant to ape the Dynasty opening. I appreciate the connection since I turned to the Boyfriend a few episodes of this show and said "I feel like this writer's room really studied Dynasty - best nighttime soap in forever." but this mashup is not really a great visual match. I grew up on Dynasty (my parents were horrified at how obsessed I was with it) and you have to have those vertical line splits and the sectional images for it to really read as Dynasty Reincarnated.
Good Black News Ratings for the show are up for the record-breaking 9th straight week. It's now starting to rival TV's mega hit The Walking Dead (!!!) I'm so happy for Lee Daniels. But I hope he doesn't quit movies because we need him there with his crazy ass Paperboy/Precious/Butler provocations.
Xfinity Jussie Smollett talks about "the closet" or rather his lack of one on Ellen. He's beyond adorable, really. And the third best reason to watch Empire after 1) Taraji of course 2) how worthy it is as a night time soap giant overall. (The Smolletts are so talented. Remember how great his sister Junee was on Friday Night Lights?) This is my favorite performance of Jussie's on Empire thus far. I may have listened to it four times as I was typing this. 

"But what are the fourth and fifth best reasons to watch the show, Nathaniel?" you ask. SINCE YOU ASKED. 4) the music . 5) the guest stars are fabulous. Courtney Love and Naomi Campbell were superbly well cast and just killing it to cite two examples. Though we probably shouldn't mention new guest star Jennifer Hudson. That girl cannot act, sorry AMPAS. The past 9 years have proven otherwise. Great voice, though. 

Wednesday
Mar112015

5 Suggestions for that Newly Announced DumBurton Film

Manuel here with your daily Disney update. By now you’ve probably already heard that Tim Burton, he of Alice in Wonderland & Big Eyes fame has signed on to direct a live-action adaptation of beloved Disney property Dumbo. With it, of course, came cries of “IS NOTHING SACRED?!” despite large corporations (in particular the Mouse House) constantly letting us know that, no, actually nothing is. Especially when we’re all so eager to shell out money for Phase 1 of their live action remake roster.

So, rather than rehearse those conversations (“What will they turn to next; Fantasia?!”) or snarkily, if gleefully, begin to imagine what other director/Disney film pairings we could come up with (Fincher’s Ursula, Bigelow’s Mulan, Apatow’s Hercules…), I figured we’d offer some suggestions for this Dumburton film:

• Cast Andy Serkis as Dumbo (or maybe Sean Gunn who did such great work on Rocket Raccoon?)
• Steer away from casting Johnny Depp (no one wants to see his take on Timothy Q. Mouse)
• If you’ll be recruiting past collaborators, make us excited about seeing what Colleen Atwood & Dennis Gassner could do with a circus (they did such great work on Big Fish)
• Gender-bend this mostly male story; might the crows be an all-female gang? (think of it: Ricci! Davis! Ryder! Green! Pfeiffer!)
• Keep it weird (but not Mad Hatter dancing weird, more like ‘is this really a drug-induced elephant dancing sequence?’ weird).

I’m sure we all have strong opinions on this one, so let’s hear ‘em! Are you the teensiest bit excited about this or is Disney’s cash-grab go back-to-the-animation-well more unsavory than when they used it to cast Glenn Close as Cruella DeVil back in the 90s?

Monday
Mar092015

New Tomorrowland Poster in Hashtags

Manuel here trying to help the social media-savvy Disney marketing team with their latest poster. Nathaniel discussed five would-be blockbusters while kicking off our We Can’t Wait series and one which was conspicuously absent (perhaps because of its constant date-shifts?) was Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland for which we got a brand new poster this past week. While I’m coolly reserved on this May 22nd film, I couldn’t help but come up with hashtags while staring at this bad boy:

#LookUp #CloudPorn #MalickMeetsDisney #ClaudioMirandaFilter #Wheatstagram #RememberTomorrow #CanBirdGoFiveForFive #DisneySynergy #MysteryPlot #StillDoNotKnowWhatThisIsAbout #InterstellarFlashbacksAnyone #BlueSkies #NotSoEmeraldCity #Normcore #Overalls #GeorgeMcQueen #LiveActionPixar #WhitherTheLeadGirl #InBirdWeTrust (or would you be an #InClooneyWeTrust kinda tagger?)

Are you excited for Tomorrowland? Gotta say, unless that new trailer totally spills the plot, I’m enjoying this “withhold everything” policy Disney & co. have been playing with this property? Might it be all smoke and mirrors, though?

 

Thursday
Mar052015

Cinderella Week: Disney's Animated Cinderella (1950)

With Disney's new live-action Cinderella nearly upon us, Team Experience is taking a look at some of the screen adaptations of Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale. Here's Tim to kick it off (the glass slipper et al.) - Editor

What better place to start Cinderella week, than with Disney's own version of the story? I give you the 2007 direct-to-video masterwork Cinderella III: A Twist in Time !


Wait, no, that's absolutely not right at all.

I give you Cinderella (1950)! The classic that saved Walt Disney Productions from extinction, birthed the studio's Silver Age Renaissance, and created the most princessy of all the characters in the Disney Princess marketing line-up, the one who will lead them into battle if they ever team up, Avengers-style, to save the world.

And it is kind of baffling to me that Disney has never apparently thought to go that route. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar052015

Downton Abbey is The New Gateway to Disney Stardom!

Have you been following the casting announcements for Disney's live-action adaptation of their Best Picture nominated classic Beauty & The Beast (1991)? First came the collective girlfriend of millennials Emma Watson as Belle. But she's not the only Beauty in the cast. Former Downton Abbey star "Cousin Matthew" himself Dan Stevens, who slimmed down and muscled up since that show and immediately shifted perceptions with an about face turn in The Guest, signed on as the cursed romantic Beast. 

Given that Lady Rose (Lily James) and Daisy from the Downton kitchen (Sophie McShera) are playing Cinderella and her stepsister this coming weekend at the movies one has to wonder which Downton Abbey star is next for which big Disney property? Maggie Smith's schedule just opened up Mouse House. Jump on that before someone else grabs her!

But in all seriousness... Downton Abbey has a deep bench of valuable players some of whom made their names in the movies (Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern chief among them), some of whom will probably be content to stay well employed in British television, and a few of which are already trying their hand at transferring to film. But how much longer can that series keep telling its repetitive story? (Don't misunderstand: I love Downton -- even when its at its weakest -- but the writers room is definitely on loop)

If I were a casting director I'd have the whole cast (so many rich character talents) under surveillance for restlessness and would definitely be trying to lure the ice cold beauty Michelle Dockery away. She's hitting movie screens this summer in Tarsem Singh's next movie Self/less. which happens to co-star her new love interest on Downton film/tv regular and handsomest man on earth Matthew Goode.

But back to BEAUTY & THE BEAST for a wrap-up
It looks like Luke Evans will be Gaston to Emma Watson's Beauty in the forthcoming live action adaptation of the musical. No word yet on whether he'll put on more muscle or if 'ev'ry last inch of him's covered in hair' but he can definitely sing!  

 

Do you think he harmonizes with Jon Kartajarena at home

 

Thursday
Feb192015

Tim's Toons: Animated also-rans

Tim here. In his official Oscar predictions today, Nathaniel left out Best Animated Feature, but no matter. By this point, you'd have to hunt a while to find anybody predicting a winner other than How to Train Your Dragon 2, with a few Big Hero 6 holdouts just trying to pretend that things will be interesting. (Me, I'm thinking that we're about to see an unexpected explosion of write-in votes to make sure that Mr. Peabody & Sherman can finally get its due).

That level of predictability almost always ends up settling into this particular race (last year was an exception), which can make it hard, sometimes, to recall that the category has had a purpose beyond annually recognizing that yep, Pixar sure does make some pretty fine movies. So instead of prepping for Oscar weekend by celebrating winners, I want to pay tribute to some losers. The beautiful likes of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea are (probably) about the join the 36 films to have so far been nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar and lost out, and that's some fine company to be in. Here are some of my personal favorites.

The Triplets of Belleville (2003; lost to Finding Nemo)
Even after 11 years, the jazzy "Bellville Rendez-vous" remains one of the most memorable original songs in 21st Century filmmaking (it also lost a competitive Oscar). It's a brilliant component of a movie that I'm generally inclined to regard with fetishistic adoration, and will start recommending to people on even the slightest pretext. Like this one, for example. It's one of the most essential animated features of the last 15 years, easily, combining warped slapstick humor with an elegiac sense of melancholy, expressed in a scratchy graphic style that turns everyone into a grotesque caricature while given all of them full, vibrant personalities. Not bad for a film with less than a dozen spoken words in its entire running time.

Persepolis (2007; lost to Ratatouille)
Marjane Satrapi's adaptation of her own graphic novel memoir is a little redundant, perhaps. But taken on its own terms, this story of life during the Iranian Revolution, told in soft lines and crisp black-and-white, is terrific animated cinema both aesthetically and politically. Overtly feminist stories and animation for an appreciative adult audience are both rare, combining them is rarer, and using it all in the service of putting a human face to life in Iran that doesn't pander or beg for special pleading makes this one as bold as any animated film I can ever name. And yet it's so sardonic and brisk that it never feels capital-I Important in a boring way. A total success that deserves infinitely more attention than it's ever received in the U.S.

Kung Fu Panda (2008; lost to WALL·E)
When the first How to Train Your Dragon came out in 2010, it was greeted with critical hosannas as the movie that finally proved that DreamWorks Animation could make a movie that as every bit as good as its best competition. But then, the studio had already proven that with this brightly-colored, poppy tribute to Asian landscape paintings and schlocky '70s kung-fu movies. It's silly as hell, and the jokes have all the smirking anachronism of DreamWorks at its worst. But it's also funny and disarmingly sweet, and the company's fixation on all-celebrity voice casting never worked out as well as it did here, with Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and Ian McShane among the many familiar faces we don't see.

The Princess and the Frog (2009; lost to Up)
The financial success of the following year's Tangled immediately swallowed up the small splash made by Disney's first-ever animated feature centered on an African-American protagonist. And then the behemoth of 2013's Frozen left it almost totally forgotten as the first attempt in a generation to make a classic Disney Princess musical. Neither of which is at all a fair fate for an earnest attempt at correcting the company's long history of representational yuckiness with a warm suite of Randy Newman songs, top-notch voice acting, and beautifully old-school 2-D animation. It's a sop to the studio's fans, sure, but as a fan, I am greatly pleased to have it in my life even now, far more than either of its bigger successors.

What are your favorite nominees to have missed on on the Best Animated Feature Oscar?