in theaters

review index

new on DVD/BluRay

review index



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

Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan


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


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.

What'cha Looking For?

Entries in Film Bitch Awards (54)


April Showers Bring May Flowers. (Plus: More Film Bitch Nominees)

As illustrated by that pocketful of sunshine, Emma Stone.

April Showers: American History X (1998), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), A Walk on the Moon (1999), South Pacific (1958), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Long Good Friday (1980), Groundhog Day (1993), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Hurt Locker (2009), I Robot (2004), Single White Female (1992), The Fifth Element (1997) and Shutter Island (2010).

May Flowers: Weekdays at noon. Any suggestions?

oh, okay, okay. I know we can't end without actually watching Emma doing "Pocketful of Sunshine" again. If the entirety of Easy A had been as great as this post-credits opening scene, the movie would have been an A+

P.S. This one-minute delight is nominated in the 2010 FiLM BiTCH Awards for Best Musical Number from a Non-Musical Film. Here's that last page of honorees in progress. Almost finished. Sorry for that weirdly protracted hiatus.


Film Bitch Awards Continue

Our annual awards jamboree went into an unexpected coma due to Oscar exhaustion but the film bitch awards are back as we try and really not just sorta wrap up the 2010 film year. So here are BEST POSTER, SEXPOT and DIVA OF THE YEAR featuring achievements from Cher, Joan Rivers, I Am Love, Fish Tank, Burlesque, Love and Other Drugs and yes even Alice in Wonderland (among other films).


So that's six pages down. One more to go. Woohoooooo almost finis! (Just in time for the NEW Oscar predictions for 2011 which always kick off in some form on April 1st ). We'll fill in the BEST SCENES next (final page) but I'm still debating various efforts, like this number below for Best Musical Number in a Non Musical Film.

Since not many of you saw Hrithik Roshan in Kites here's the film's best scene. Someone told me it was edited out for the US version of the movie (they released three versions I believe) which is in-san-it-y since there's plenty of unnecessary filler elsewhere in the movie (seriously you could lose like 10 minutes simply by shaving of 10 seconds from every scene involving long soulful gazes between Hrithik and Barbara Mori there are so many of them) and this is Hrithik's only musical number. And don't people buy tickets for his movies because of the dance numbers?

I could watch him dance for hours. So it's kind of annoying that the editing is so hyperactive. I mean his body is all the hyperactivity one needs, always locking, shaking, popping, flipping, swaying, slinking, swerving, slurving (I made that last word up) and busting out all over.  Hrithik just missed the sexpot list. The sexiest people are, generally speaking, the ones who just exude carnality (Mila Kunis in Black Swan and Tom Hardy in Inception, hell-O) without every noticeably forcing the point. But since Hrithik is basically a superhero made flesh, one forgives most of the oversized everything so... almost! Here's hoping he gets another chance headlining an international effort like Kites, just a better one next time.

So, what'cha think of them divas? And I'll gladly take recommendations for the final categories: Action Sequence, Musical Moments, Kiss & Sex Scenes, Opening & Closing Scenes, Credits and just Best Moments in general.


Best of 2010: Cameos, Breakthroughs, Ensembles

The Film Bitch Awards Continue
Movie obsessives who get lost in star faces on the screen, would do well to keep their eyes peeled to the bit players or the actors toiling away in thankless roles. Sometimes, they're adding great textures or reinforcing the structural girding of their movie in the way they absorb or reflect or counteract what the name players are doing. Other times they're nailing one specific mood in such an amusing or ably defined way that you figure they might be be able to at least earn a living off commercials while they wait for someone to give them a shot at playing several moods. For instance, though I don't know her name I love the way the woman playing the real estate agent in Rabbit Hole is so silently 'this won't go well' nervous than 'this is worse than I expected' mortified by Aaron Eckhart's inappropriate intrusions into the home selling process.

My point is simply this: year after year ACTING remains a fascinating art form or craft or independently sentient color on a director's palette or whatever the hell you want to call it. Actors are magic. They have super powers.

I chose a scene from Never Let Me Go to illustrate this post because I think it's frankly a marvel. It's my favorite in the movie for the way it uses two tiny characters to make larger points about the whole film and to open up emotional pathways in the leads. When I went to write up Andrea Riseborough's caption, I found myself wishing for space for 250 words at least. In the middle of the scene, when all she and her boyfriend (Domnhall Gleeson) are pleading for information from their new companions there's this terrific beat.

I suppose you lot would know about that sort of thing. Being from Hailsham you'd know how that sort of thing works.

Greeted by the blank stares of our leads, and noticeably losing hope that her fantasy is a reality, those two sentences have this wonderful spike of condescencion and judgement, though she's pleasant and almost maternal in the rest of her scant few minutes onscreen. It sucks to have your dreams crushed by people greener than you.


Awards are also posted in Body of Work , Ensembles and Breakthrough categories. So read on for notes on Macy Gray, Mia Wasikowska, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Brandon Routh, and actors you may be less familiar with like Robin Bartlett, Anthony Deptula, Slamin Dazi and more.

all the writeups and nominations here.


Heroes & Villains: From Hiccup to Hailsham

More Film Bitch Awards coming at'cha. The Snow White casting news last week got me to thinking of heroics at the movies. Snow White isn't really an active heroine is she? She's more like a pretty pretty princess waiting to be rescued.

None of my choices for hero of the year waited for rescue -- not even Rapunzel in Tangled --  though a few of them did need to be cajoled into action.  I can relate. Hero, rescue thyself! But in the end, it doesn't matter how you get to your heroics, so long as you eventually get there. The top ten in no particular order. [Edited to add: TOP ELEVEN. I forgot to list one of my intended medalists. An excel error!]

  • Sally Hawkins as "Rita O' Grady" in Made in Dagenham
  • Dany Boon as "Bazil" in Mic-Macs
  • Colin Firth as "King George VI" in The King's Speech
  • Angelina Jolie as "Salt" in Salt
  • "Hiccup" in How To Train Your Dragon
  • Hilary Swank as "Betty Anne Waters" in Conviction
  • Jennifer Lawrence as "Ree Dolly" in Winter's Bone
  • "Rapunzel & Flynn" in Tangled
  • Mark Wahlberg as "Mickey Ward" in The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld as "Mattie Ross" in True Grit
  • Michael Cera as "Scott Pilgrim" in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

There was less to choose from as villains go even if you get creative. Do you cite the financial institutions in Inside Job. I mean, come on, they were SCARY... like scarier than Jason or Freddie.  But I decided that was too diffuse to be a single entity... Sometimes though, if you narrow the lens, system do work as symbolic primary villain:. Hailsham haunts in Never Let Me Go

Elsewhere in 2010 villains were just no match for the heroes. I normally love Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper but True Grit was totally unbalanced; the villains had no performative spark in comparison to the heroes. I didn't like Kick-Ass but even there the villains didn't measure up the heroes. It takes two to make beautiful battle. Is it too much to ask for great heroes and great villains simultaneously?  I think only Tangled managed that this year. Finally, I was about to cite Jacki Weaver's wicked "Smurf" in Animal Kingdom but in the end the villain of the piece is really the family. Smurf is but a henchwoman, to use superhero vernacular, who fills in when the bosses are on vacation (i.e. jail, six feet under, etcetera). The top ten:

  • "Gru" in Despicable Me
  • "The Cody Boys" in Animal Kingdom
  • "7 Evil Exes" in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Helena Bonham Carter as "The Red Queen" in Alice in Wonderland
  • "Mother Gothel" in Tangled 
  • Hailsham in Never Let Me Go
  • "Lotso Huggin' Bear" in Toy Story 3
  • Niels Arestrup as "César Luciani" in A Prophet
  • Mickey Rourke as "Whiplash" in Iron Man 2
  • Justin Timberlake as "Sean Parker" in The Social Network


Which heroics thrilled you and which evil deeds made you grip your armrests last year?


Best Actress. My Ballot and Time Capsule.

Time is a funny thing. It shifts our feelings, sorts them out. Awards are a product of time, a time capsule. They're equally funny. If you'd told me back in January 2010 when I first saw Blue Valentine that it would end the year as my 4th favorite picture and that Michelle Williams would be in my best actress list, I wouldn't have believed you. I liked her and the movie quite a lot back then but now come February 2011, I love them. The Williams/Gosling duet yields richer rewards each viewing, little intricacies thrown into sharper relief while other ideas you held about the characters get foggier with mystery.

It says a lot about the quality of this year's Best Actress field that Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham didn't even make the finalist list. She does expert work revealing how ordinary courage and moral outrage properly channeled, can transform even the meekest of people. It says a lot about the quality of this year's Actress field that Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone didn't even make the semi-finalist list. She does fine work embodying the cold small range of feeling that this life might allow for and she gives the hard film just the right amount of heart as a resilient eldest sibling acting as parent. In the end though, despite Lawrence's absence, my own ballot is the closest its come to Oscar's Actress list 1987. [Trivia: that's the only year from the past three decades that my own choices for Best Actress line up 5/5 with Oscar.]

Needless to say I was quite pleased with Oscar's nominations. It's my favorite Best Actress Oscar list in recent memory with the exception of 2006... maybe.

Needless to say part two: It was such a toss up for spots 4-8 that I'm sure I'll regret my choices tomorrow. If anyone in tier 2 had come out in 2009 or 2008 or 2007 or even 2006, they would've knocked someone out of the 5th spot. And if they'd ALL been released in 2005, my awards would have been radically different. Such is the arbitrary nature of awards, chained to calendars as they are.

Favorite Dozen Lead Actresses 2010 (in alpha order). If only I could nominate 12 people!

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
  • Sally Hawkins, Made in Dagenham
  • Kim Hye-Ja, Mother
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Lesley Manville, Another Year
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Ruth Sheen, Another Year
  • Paprika Steen, Applause
  • Emma Stone, Easy A
  • Tilda Swinton, I Am Love
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

My nominees with write-ups

This will undoubtedly feel anti-climactic as my own nominees are usually more off Oscar's path -- who knew they'd have such good taste this year ;) -- and I usually finish before Oscar nominations and here I am wrapping up the first half of the Film Bitch Awards (medals and all) a week late.

I think the year produced two true masterpieces I Am Love and The Social Network so I split on Picture/Director, Picture going to the one I've remained most possessed by but I think both will stand the test of time. And yes, Nicole Kidman finally gets her Gold Medal after many years of near-misses. She's just transcendent in Rabbit Hole nailing the insatiable hunger of grief for more and more of itself and doing so with the barest minimum of histrionics and more humor than you'd think was possible. She also brilliantly foreshadows Becca's escape route through her thicket of pain, a path cleared by her curiousity, compassion, and capacity for stillness on a park bench, feeling whatever it is she needs to feel.



Best Supporting Actress. My Ballot

I'm so tardy with my own awards. I generally get all the major stuff up before Oscar nominations but no such luck this year. I'll try to throw up at least one category per day now so we can finish this month. The actress categories were TORTURE this year because there were definitely more than 5 award-worthy performances per. In fact, the performances were so good this year that it's really too bad they couldn't have been spread out over the past few years when the pickings were slimmer. I'm not finished with lead actress but Supporting Actress was easier. As is the tradition, I only list 12 women as nominees, finalists, and semi-finalists. I could've gone to 20. These are the dozen best in my estimation for the Film Bitch Awards...

Amy & Melissa, Acting Heavyweights for "The Fighter"

  • Amy Adams, The Fighter
  • Dale Dickey, Winter's Bone
  • Anne Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy
  • Kirsten Dunst, All Good Things
  • Kimberly Elise, For Colored Girls
  • Ann Guilbert, Please Give
  • Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
  • Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  • Rosamund Pike, Made in Dagenham
  • Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right
  • Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
  • Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

And even then I had no room for fine work from two of my favorite actresses: Dianne Wiest (Rabbit Hole) and Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy). Apologies! Awardage is a hair-tearing teeth-gnashing business when you love too many too much and too often.


Who made your list? Do you share the love of these performances?


Sad News and My Ballot For Best Costumes

First, the very sad news. If you've been reading the past couple of days you probably saw the "visual category film bitch nominations". While adjusting coding today, to finalize the page, I accidentally somehow  erased the entire page. I've lost four categories worth of published nominees and writeups (animated film, visual effects, makeup, and editing) as well as preliminary stuff that wasn't published. I can't seem to find a cached url that will display it -- i'm not sure it would display now in anyone else's "history" or cached pages?  I am d-e-p-r-e-s-s-e-d. That was probably eight hours of work and there are no extra minutes this time of year. Let this be a lesson to everyone: never keep your files only in one place. I'm not even sure i'll remember what I nominated or wrote. It may take me much longer and post-oscar noms to do this now. I always complete the Film Bitch Awards in the traditional categories before the Oscar nominations but this looks like the year where tradition might finally die. Sniffle. Blotchy tears will short circuit my keyboard now.

But there's no sense in not posting what I'd already written about costumes. But IF you think your computer will display a cached version of the visual nominations page don't click on this new version ;) and try it and email me a pdf or something.

Just for the hell of it, for example's sake, I want to talk about two costumes pictured below (I chose them at random) in the absurd hope that a few of you out there will reveal a previously hidden obsessive love of costume design. I want to create a series devoted to it but I need to know you're out there first.

Amy Westcott and Mary Zophres done good.

What can costumes tell us about characters? Quite a lot. Amy Westcott (Black Swan) and Mary Zophres (True Grit) will probably be Oscar nominated tomorrow, each for the first time, and I've also nominated them. Westcott is undoubtedly benefiting from Rodarte's "Swan Lake" ballet costumes (Rodarte can't be nominated with her due to contractual issues) but her own work is very fine, too. Maybe Westcott wouldn't be nominated without the Rodarte bells and whistles but that says more about the Academy's resistance to contemporary character costuming than about the quality of her work.

The color coding of all of these similarly dark and vaguely possessed women is delicious, just subtle muted variations (blacks, greys, white, pinks, etcetera) since they're distorted reflections of each other. Isn't it perfect with a capital P that Winona Ryder's evening wear on the night she's thrown in the trash heap --  excuse me, retiring --  is basically a big silver "X" . She's a goner.

Over in True Grit Mattie's clothes don't quite fit her (amusing smart choice) and Rooster's look like they desperately need to be laundered but isn't it perfect that LaBoeuf's outfits look so new and fastidious and that they're fringed. His pride takes a beating in the film but he's wearing it, you know? He cares about how he looks.

alas none of the other visual categories that have vanished like tears in the rain

Would you like to see a recurring series on costume design in 2011?