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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 | letterboxd

 

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Mad Men Returns - The Premiere

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Entries in dogs (37)

Friday
Mar272015

Interview: 'White God' Director Kornél Mundruczó on Twisting Genre, Working with Canine Actors and Opera

Jose here. Kornél Mundruczó’s White God opens with one of the most memorable scenes in recent films, as we see a the desolate streets of Budapest in the aftermath of a canine uprising which has forced all the citizens to stay inside their homes. All except one, a little girl (Zsófia Psotta) trying to find her beloved dog, who unbeknownst to her, is actually the leader of this revolution. While the film has been compared to Rise of the Planet of the ApesWhite God in fact has more in common with two 1960s classics: Spartacus and The Birds, which makes sense considering that Mundruczó has made a career out of paying homage to classic Hollywood films, while injecting them with darker political undertones.

The film was a sensation at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and was Hungary’s official submission for the Academy Awards; it could also very well become Mundruczó’s international breakthrough. On the eve of the film’s Stateside premiere I talked to the filmmaker about his career so far, the struggles of working under extreme circumstances and his love for opera.

JOSE: I thought the film was entertaining in a conventional thriller sense, but it was also such a powerful allegory for the rise of right-wing racism in Europe. How were you able to achieve a balance between the two?

KORNÉL MUNDRUCZÓIt was really personal, when I started to work on this movie I was really touched by the situation of the dogs inside Budapest. I went to a dog pound, for different reasons, not as a filmmaker, and I was so touched. Sometimes something just steps on your soul, and that’s what this felt like, I felt such a shame, I was in shock, I was part of a system that was supporting this. I wanted to talk about it and I believe that democracy is talking about things, so I decided I wanted to make a movie about one dog in Budapest. When we were developing the script, it was obvious that this was also a great allegory for what is the illness of our society. But this wasn’t something premeditated, I never thought “I want to shoot a metaphor”, I just wanted to tell this story.

Has there been a difference in how the film is received in countries like Spain and Greece which have seen powerful social uprisings in recent years?

Totally huge difference, I have no clue how it will be received in the US, but I feel that there are Eastern souls and Western souls, in France for example, they identified with the major society, but when people saw the movie in Mexico they felt “we are the dogs”. In Eastern Europe, we also felt we were the dogs. We have also had a lot of success in Turkey, which is very curious, since I had no connections with this country at all, but we’ve had lots of comments from there.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb102015

50½ Thoughts on 101 Dalmatians

Woof! To celebrate the first time release of Disney's beloved One Hundred and One Dalmatians on Digital HD, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack today (it's also available on Disney Movies Anywhere and On-Demand starting now) here's a classic from the Film Experience Vaults. It was first published for the beloved classic's 50th anniversary in 2011. But it'll be new to many of you! We suspect that 101 thoughts would have tried your patience too much but perhaps you could share the article with 3½ friends if you enjoy it, or leave 1½ comments behind before you go. The more the merrier, you know. And doesn't this wonderful movie wag its plentiful tail at that very motto?!

01 The first charming thing is its sketchy, spotty, doggy opening credit sequence. It's a prime candidate for "Art of the Title Sequence" ... I wonder if they've ever done it?

02 The movie was released in the early 60s and takes place in London. I can't think of another animated Disney feature off the top of my head that's this British but then,  "The British Invasion" was just around the corner so maybe America's Anglophilimaniac phase was already in the air in the late 50s when Disney started storyboarding this feature?

03 If you've been keeping up with your animation the past several years you probably see an immediate resemblance to the palette and cityscapes for Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist.

(Read the full post - that Devil woman is coming right up)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

Missi's Oscar Night Memoir

We return you to our celebrity guest-host Missi Pyle... at The Film Exp The Missi Experience. Just one more post after this gorgeously fun memoir. Enjoy - Editor


ME N OSCAR

The 84th Academy Awards. An Oscar Night Memoir
- by Missi Pyle

I just want to take a minute to talk about The Artist. Holy shit. What an incredible experience that was.

Tiny back story. I left LA in 2008. I had married this guy from Montana with a grizzly bear sanctuary. I bought a geodome in the woods in Montana and moved in with said Grizzly man. I truly don't know what I was thinking. I had made some decent money in the previous year and I thought I could act from Montana? (Spoiler! Only Michael Keaton and Jeff Bridges can act from Montana - I wrote a show about it) Anyway, the marriage didn't work out and I ran out of money and came crawling back to LA.

I randomly had auditioned for, gotten the part and shot the film The Artist. It was really an incredible experience. But in my wildest dreams I never imagined the ride it would take me on.

[OSCAR NIGHT AFTER THE JUMP...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov282014

Jose Gives Thanks.

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's Jose in the cinematic spirit.

Jose here. This year I’m thankful...

For Hardy with puppies. And Godard with Roxy.
For Keira, Kristen and Kirsten.
For snakes made out of clouds.  
For cruising in French lakes (even with killers on the loose)
For movies about toys that didn’t treat me like a kid.
For Marion x 2. For Joaquin Phoenix x 2. For Chastain x 4 (she doesn't make it seem like bragging either!) 

For Dan Stevens’ abs and killer acting chops (pun intended).
For Shia in the buff.
For Carrie Coon and Jenny Slate (can they play sisters some day?).
For Swedish films about skiing that reminded me how much I love Mike Nichols.
For Broadway actors in movies (I'm looking at you Jefferson Mays in Inherent Vice).
For Edward Norton's tan

For Anne in outer space.
For Nolan growing the balls to acknowledge he makes movies from the heart, not the mind.
For Daft Punk in Eden.
For Snowden in a robe. And Tilda in the snow.
For Emma Watson's U.N. speech and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns.

For TV that makes me forget bad movies and IMAX reminding me how I could never quit the movies (even the bad ones).
For Meryl's daughter, Grace.
For singing Emma Stone
For Colin Farrell's eyebrows, Elizabeth Moss' face, Rosamund Pike’s voice. And Ben Affleck's butt in Gone. xo 

-Jose

 

 

Related: Nathaniel gives thanks

Friday
Oct312014

Review: John Wick

Michael C here 

The screenplay for David Leitch and Chad Stahelski’s John Wick is so simplistic it rises above laziness until it reaches a kind of glorious absurdist joke. What “plot” there is (and I’m typing those quote marks as hard as I can) could be adapted into a book for beginning readers without much stretching:

See John Wick’s wife die. John sad.
John’s wife leaves John dog. John slightly less sad.
See Russian mobster kill John’s dog. John mad.
See John kill. Kill, John, kill!

To gripe about the thinness of the script is to miss the point. A movie like John Wick is all about getting to the good stuff. When the story is pared down to such a degree it’s a giftwrapped opportunity for filmmakers to show off their chops by filling all that empty space with creatively staged mayhem and wild, indulgent detours, two things for which I am always on board. On such occasions, I am more than willing to disengage higher brain function for 100 minutes, lean back in my seat and say “Show me what you got!” silly grin on my face, drool collecting on my popcorn...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct182014

Foreign Oscar Watch: White God

With London and Chicago Fests ongoing, a few reports from each to cover more Oscar Submissions for Best Foreign Language Film. Here's our London friend David on Hungary's Oscar submission.

Let me start off, if you'll forgive me, by citing that oldest and meanest of acting adages: the one about never working with children or animals. That seems to be in the heads of every adult we see on-screen in White God, for every single one of them, without exception, treats an animal or a child badly in one way or another. Fortunately for the audience, the film is on their side. Violently so; be mean to a dog in White God and you'll be lucky if you don't get your bloody throat ripped out.

After a prelude in which Lili (Zsófia Psotta) is pursued through a deserted city by a hoard of dogs in what can only be described as a scene from the dogocalypse, we flashback to see what brought the poor girl to this point. Her mother's off abroad for three months, so Lili is being unloaded on her father, Daniel (Sandor Zsoter), a much older man whom neither woman seems to have a particularly sparkling relationship with. He certainly doesn't have much time for Lili, and even less for her beloved dog, Hagen; after a visit from the authorities demanding he pay the requisite fees for a mixed-breed dog, Dad abandons Hagen on the side of a road.

Cue the swelling orchestral score as the devoted mutt bounds hopelessly after Lili's weeping face, and we're left wondering if this is a Hungarian remake of Homeward Bound. Before long, an adorably bedraggled canine sidekick latches onto Hagen, and their escapades eluding the dog catchers could have come straight from the annals of Disney animation. The Hungarian streets of White Godare a shade harsher, and just as Daniel's financial restraints have depleted his compassion, so Hagen finds himself in even more degraded climbs, sold to a man looking for a return to the dog fighting ring; 'this one's still got a heart' the man says, before proceeding to grind that puppyish love out of Hagen - now, obviously, named Max - in a brutal training montage that recalls the brilliant confrontational realism of Amores perros.

As Hagen progresses towards realising the eventual canine collective, Lili is making her own journey, a more generic coming of age story where her own engagement with society's dangerous trappings is tested. Tellingly, the film heavily features her role in a school orchestra, and the resulting orchestral score provides the film with some fittingly grandiose accompaniment for the astonishing dog choreography in the film's bravura final act. It's in these last stretches that White God really makes its mark, a genuinely tense, delectably absurd climax that leaves the Hungarian streets cowering. Narrative notes collide with daring exuberance, but writer-director Kornél Mundruczó is careful to include sobering notes of the reality lingering behind the theatrics.

White God screened as part of the 58th BFI London Film Festival.


21 of 83 Oscar Foreign Submissions Reviewed: AfghanistanArgentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Germany, HungaryIceland, Israel, ItalyLatvia, Mauritania, Norway, PolandPortugalSweden, Switzerland and Venezuela and The Foreign Oscar Charts

Friday
Oct172014

What I have linked, I have linked.

Popwatch Julianne Moore tribute coming in January at the Museum of the Moving Image - let the coronation mark begin
In Contention Pedro Pascal for Ben-Hur and portrayals of Pontius Pilate on the screen
Salon what Gone Girl and Amazon's Transparent have in common
Interview talks to David Cronenberg
iTunes You can buy Norte: The End of History, The four hour acclaimed Philippines Oscar submission on iTunes now if you'd like.
Vulture talks to Kim Dickens from Gone Girl on claims that the movie is misogynist 

 

Awards Daily new trailer for Unbroken. I feel like there've been a lot of these
i09 compares Battlestar Galactica to Outlander given that they're from the same series creator Ron Moore
Criterion is releasing the classic The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant on blu-ray. Rainer Werner Fassbinder's movies are not available enough so this is great news
The Hollywood Reporter Clowns of America International (that's a real thing) is pissed about AHS: Freakshow's Twisty the Clown. In related news how come y'all didn't comment on the last AHS post. You led me to believe you were watching it!
Screen Daily Jane Campion developing a second season of Top of the Lake
Latino Review Actress Elizabeth Peña (Jacobs Ladder, La Bamba, Modern Family) has passed away at 55 
Towleroad Ezra Miller feels like surprise casting to me as The Flash in DC/WB''s superhero universe (unrelated: I'm enjoying the CW TV show of the same name thus far. It isn't great but it's light & fun, unlike Arrow which bored me silly)
Towleroad gays on television from ABC's hypersexual connivers & neutered comics to the wider queerness of premium and cable channels
Playbill that stage musical version of American Psycho is still happening and is now looking at fall 2015 on Broadway 

Awwww...
Times one thousand.

It's a teaser for the new Disney short Feast. This short apparently tells the life story of a Boston Terrier solely through his meals. It'll play before Big Hero 6 and we may be looking at a serious Best Animated Short Oscar contender. 

The Divas...
It's way too early to be thinking about Christmas but if you're an early shopper please know that Glen Hanson, an illustrator I just love, has designed a Liza Minnelli holiday ornament. Thanks to Boy Culture for the heads up. The proceeds go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS.  If you want one you purchase here.

In other Broadway news, a special tribute to Elaine Stritch is coming on November 17th with performances by (are you sitting down) Patti Lupone, Betty Buckley, Christine Ebersole, Michael Feinstein, and my personal favorite of the theatrical divas of a certain age, Bernadette Peters

So who is singing what? They're keeping that a secret naturally.