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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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TWO OPINIONS ON MAPS TO THE STARS
Nathaniel's Julianne Spazzing & Glenn's Cronenberg Finger Wagging 

"There is a great movie in Maps of the Stars and that is the one Moore stars in, not the one the screenplay insists in bringing to the front." - Mr Goodbar

"If I had to guess why Cronenberg went with a largely "invisible" or even non-style style, I'd say it has to do with his approach to the narrative, which is kind of a bait and switch, setting us up for a hollywood satire and then giving us a final act that plays more like a myth or a fairy tale." -Roark

Beauty vs. Beast

Who is your GODDESS? Cristal or Nomi?

If you don't vote for Nomi, she'll cut you!


VOTE! 

 

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Entries in film critics (98)

Wednesday
Sep032014

Podcast Pt 1: Smackdown Companions & Left Feet: A Love Story

As a companion piece to the Supporting Actress Smackdown, we recorded a companion podcast. In the first half we talk misleading movie posters, Oscar campaigns, the outcome of the smackdown, Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot and Paul Mazursky's Enemies A Love Story and directorial,  acting choices, sexism, and point-of-view storytelling.

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments. We'd love to hear your comments on either film, and what your big takeaway from this month's Smackdown was. 

Smackdown Pt 1: My Left Foot Love Story

Monday
Aug182014

Meet This Month's "Smackdown" Panelists

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '89 arrives on Sunday August 31st, two weeks from now. We'll be celebrating 1989 here and there until then as "the year of the month". You need to get your votes in, too, (instructions at the end of the post). If you've wandered in from elsewhere and are like, "What's a Smackdown?," here's how it started and here's last month's entry on 1973 with its companion podcast. The year in question this time is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

no, these ladies are not the panelists

The Smackdown Panel for August

Without further ado let's meet the voices who will be watching and discussing the '89 hits Steel Magnolias and Parenthood. They'll also be sounding off on the Oscar-winning bio My Left Foot and the underseen actressy curio Enemies: A Love Story. Stay tuned.

new panelists

KEVIN B LEE
Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, film critic and producer of nearly 200 video essays exploring film and media. He is Founding Editor and Chief Video Essayist at Fandor Keyframe and founding partner of dGenerate Films (a distribution company for independent Chinese cinema). His video "Transformers: The Premake" was featured in over 20 news outlets including the New York Times, Slate and Entertainment Weekly. [Follow him on Twitter | IMDb]

What does 1989 mean to you?

1989 was such a fascinating year for summer movies: could one imagine the likes of "Do the Right Thing" and "Born on the Fourth of July" slated among the current stack of superhero blockbusters? So many other great movies worth mentioning... but what comes to mind first is "Dead Poets Society" and Robin Williams as the high school English teacher we all wish we had..

 

TASHA ROBINSON
Tasha Robinson is a Senior Editor at The Dissolve, Pitchfork Media’s playground for movie lovers. Her writing and interviews have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles TimesOrlando Weekly,Science Fiction Weekly, and at the NPR Books website, and she's been a recurring guest on Filmspotting, Slashfilm’s Filmcast, and The Sound Of Young America, now known as Bullseye. She is still trying to cope with Hayao Miyazaki’s kinda-for-real-th-s-time retirement. [Follow her on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?:

It was such a crossroads year. The Little Mermaid brought American animation back from the abyss, and the Disney Renaissance enabled the animation boom that followed. We’re still feeling the impact of the revelation that America could produce animation that was not just art, and not just fun for adults as well as bored kids, but insanely profitable in a way that made studios sit up, take notice, and get involved. And James Cameron’s The Abyss was similarly a turning point for CGI effects. That entirely digital not-a-Russian-water-tentacle was like a signpost pointing to how innovative and creative special effects could get, when anything filmmakers could possibly imagine could be rendered inside of a computer. All that, plus Steven Soderbergh’s debut, Spike Lee’s breakthrough, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which gave us Keanu Reeves: Major Movie Star. 

 


TODD VANDERWEFF

Todd VanDerWerff is the Culture Editor for Vox.com, where he writes a lot about TV and movies. Before that, he was the TV Editor at The A.V. Club. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Grantland, Salon, Hitfix, and The House Next Door. [Follow him on Twitter]  

What does 1989 mean to you?

"Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Which isn't even accurate, because I didn't see it until it came out on video the next year. But I remember feverishly waiting all summer, checking the movie listings every week, to see when it would hit one of the two (two!) screens in the nearby "big city" of Mitchell, S.D. Then I would go to the pool, and my friends and I would imagine what the movie might be like, based entirely off of the vague recollections of another friend who had seen it on a trip to Sioux Falls. By the time Honey made it to Mitchell, it was almost time for school. "Batman" had held it off that long. So I didn't see it until the next year, when it finally hit video. I liked it, but of course I would like it. I was 9, and 9-year-olds don't yet know how to be disappointed. (It also received my father's highest praise: "Boy, I'll bet they had fun making this one!") But it might have been my first true movie obsession, and for that, I have to thank it for a lifelong love.

 

returning panelists


NICK DAVIS
Nick Davis tweets, blogs, and writes reviews and is a professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern University. His first book "The Desiring Image" was published last year. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I experienced 1989 as the Berlin Wall falling to the tunes of "Back to Life" and "Buffalo Stance," with Blush and Bashful spotlights strobing all around us.  My family moved to Germany a year later and I was disappointed to see the reunification going down somewhat differently. No one was dancing in a brown slip before a burning cross, which was how I then conceived of freedom in action.  For the first time, I saw four of five Best Picture nominees in theaters (Oliver Stone excepted) and I walked a mile each way to see "Steel Magnolias" three times in the cinema, which is what all the 12-year-old boys on the Marine Corps base were doing. Ken(ny) Plume and I got in trouble in English class the next winter for talking while Mr. Petrashune was trying to teach us. We were simply agreeing that "Driving Miss Daisy" obviously didn't deserve to win if the director wasn't even nominated.

 


TIM ROBEY
Tim Robey has been reviewing films for the Daily Telegraph since 2000, alongside a few interviews and other bits and bobs. His writing is mostly here. His recommendations series is here. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I'd love to pretend I was all across Hou Hsaio-hsiaen's "A City of Sadness" at age 11, but no. 1989 means scattered things to a bookish child swotting up for exams, not yet a movie buff, much more of a fantasy and computer game nerd. I remember three films at the cinema – "Batman," "Indiana Jones," "Back to the Future III," "Ghostbusters II," at a push. A cast and crew premiere for "License to Kill" (my dad was involved on the insurance side). Strange peer obsession with "Look Who's Talking". This was maybe a year before I was Oscar-aware, but it may mark the point where I started watching flicks on VHS I wasn't meant to see yet ("The Fly," "Aliens," "Robocop") and, via these illicit thrills, just beginning to get the bug.

 

And your host

NATHANIEL R
Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner and Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

Three visual memories became so burned into my psyche it's like I'm still watching them on loop 25 years later: Pfeiffer slinking on a piano top, Madonna dancing in a field of burning crosses, and Ursula the seawitch's body language.  All other '89 film memories are relatively wispy intangibles by comparison but there's two I should share. This was the year I learned what 'business' was in acting, watching Andie MacDowell fiddle with a glass during conversation in "sex, lies and videotape" and the year I first tasted the lurid addictive thrill of being an 'Opinion Maker' dragging a guy's guy high school friend of mine to "Steel Magnolias" and feeling way too proud when I talked him into loving it. 

 

YOU'RE INVITED, TOO!
The readers are the final (collective) panelist. You have until Thursday August 28th to get your votes in on any of the performances you've seen grading them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (perfect). We excerpt quotes from reader ballots and your votes count toward the outcome.  

1989 Supporting Actress Nominees
• Brenda Fricker My Left Foot [Netflix Instant | Amazon Instant | iTunes]
• Anjelica Huston & Lena Olin Enemies: A Love Story [Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
• Julia Roberts Steel Magnolias [Netflix Instant | Amazon | iTunes]
• Dianne Wiest  Parenthood [Amazon Instant -whod've thought that the biggest hit among them would be the hardest to find now? It's not available through either Netflix or iTunes!]

 

Say "HELLO" to our panel in the comments and tell them what you think of when you think of "89". And like the film experience on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on Twitter while you're at it.

Friday
Aug012014

Links

Screencrush offers hilarious proof that every superhero movie is called the greatest superhero movie ever. People are easily excitable!
Sight and Sound picks the best documentaries ever by pollling filmmakers: Man With a Movie Camera, Shoah and more...
MBetancourt finishes his Instagram Buffy The Vampire Slayer project. It was awesome. Naturally "Tabula Rasa" was the most popular - but not because it's a great episode

PopBytes I normally dont link to super gossipy things but this Justin Bieber / Orlando Bloom fight is just so bizarre and the coverage keeps getting weirder. I guess...
Gawker
... Leonardo DiCaprio was also there, cheering Orlando on? I mean who wouldn't?
Vox I love Todd Vanderweff but I'm not sure I buy Lucy as a feminist movie, even one that's afraid of feminism as posited
Gawker "I am terrified of Reese Witherspoon and a little bit in love with her"
In Contention Rosewater by Jon Stewart starring Gael Garcia Bernal gets an awards friendly release date

Awards Daily another longer trailer for Birdman. I can't watch this one. I don't want to see one more frame before the actual movie
THR the top 25 film schools?
MNPP talks about that John Waters Isabelle Huppert event

RIP
As you've undoubtedly heard the influential makeup artist Dick Smith who made Linda Blair demonic in The Exorcist (currently discussing) and pushed Marlon Brando into hugely convincing Godfatheriness among other achievements has passed away at 92 years young. Some obits/tributes to read: LA Times, In Contention, EW, and multiple Oscar winner Rick Baker

Thursday
Jul242014

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray ♫

A topic worth thinking carefully over though this stream of consciousness must do for now.

Esquire claims that 1999 was the last Great Year of Movies. Several good points are made but OF COURSE the writer had to throw out that exhausting false equivalent "tv is better than film" argument again that actually has very little to do with the topic at hand. Stop people of the internet. Think before you type. The two art forms are not interchangeable - they have different strengths and weaknesses and the transcendent TV series are but a tiny sliver of the product on TV just as the most magical movies are a tiny sliver of films made. The best TV is not equivalent to cinematic blockbusters, what's equivalent to that if you must have your damn equivalencies are massively watched shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Duck Dynasty and Modern Family and the like and anyone who thinks those shows are better than what's been at movie theaters in 2014 deserves to be slapped. Or at least be strapped to a chair and forced to sit through these pictures plus Boyhood and Love is Strange (which will be here soon).

The problem of abundance and people ignoring and not supporting that abundance is complicated. The truth is people are lazy and windows to home viewing are short which as only rewarded the laziness and people would rather just let stuff come to them. That doesn't in any way mean that "stuff" playing in movie theaters is lesser than it used to be.

Anyway the article is a good read and there are strong points made about just how creatively fertile that period at the movies and how influential versus the depressing sequel fanaticism of the now. And, what's more, we don't know what's going to be influential from the now. Maybe Under the Skin will have descendants. The lack of originality is not fully to be blamed on Hollywood's creativity or filmmakers but on us. We're the ones that pick the hits and the world wants Transf4rmers for some ungodly death-wish reason, you know? "Age of Extinction" is right!

 

But anyway, yes, 1999 was a great year for movies. Still, most of the best ones cited in the article were not enormous hits: Run Lola Run made $7 million; Go made $17 million; Being John Malkovich made $22 million, Fight Club made only $37 and was considered a financial disappointment, etcetera. Time has made these movies enormously celebrated but that time was not 1999.

My very longwinded point is this and it's always this and those citations help underline my point: there are always great movies. You just have to actually look for them because almost never do they fall in your lap on 4000 screens and make $200 million plus in the US. And, finally, to wrap all this up there has been at least one year since 1999 that was phenomenal all over your face - bam! -  and that was 2004 as recently discussed on the podcast. 

Wednesday
Jul162014

Manic Linky Blog Boy

Salon Nathan Rabin apologies for coining the term "Manix Pixie Dream Girl" (Must Read!)
Dazed Director David Gordon Green cites 10 new directors we should all familiarize ourselves with including the directors of Land Ho! and Blue Ruin two acclaimed indies this year
Variety Uma Thurman auctioning off an evening with her complete with cocktails and a Pulp Fiction screening. The journalist writing this must be very young because they refer to Tarantino's smash as "the movie that launched her career". Umm... she'd already been famous for 6 years at that point and had headlined movies. Fact check anyone?
Gold Derby which episode could win Kevin Spacey the Emmy this year? (My guess: none) 

Superhero Hype interviews the producers of the new TV series Agent Carter (starring Hayley Atwell) which takes place after Captain America: The First Avenger but still in the 1940s
Guardian Mowgli, the only onscreen actor, cast in Jon Favreau's otherwise CGI Jungle Book. Do you think he's sweating considering Andy Serkis' rival motion capture Jungle Book?
Business Insider interesting interview with Hasbro on how toys become movies
Hollywood Elsewhere objects to the poster for The Skeleton Twins. Do you?
Empire new teaser poster for the horror movie Horns with Daniel Radcliffe. Wasn't that supposed to come like 3 years ago. Feels like I've been hearing about it since time began
In Contention new actors added to the Jesse Owens biopic Race. Glad to see that the departure of John Boyega for those new Star Wars movies didn't throw that one off course. 
Kenneth in the (212) what do you think of the Whitney & Bobby actors? 
Playbill last chance to see Rocky the Musical on Broadway. The boxing musical (what a weird combo, eh?) will close in August
EW first official stills from Avengers: Age of Ultron 

And here's my vote for Tweet of the Day via The Film Stage

 

 

 

I love Crash (Cronenberg version) so I was 100% delighted by this joke until it reminded that James Spader is still everywhere (ugh) on film and television despite being a majorly irritating screen presence. Well, we'll always have sex, lies and videotape (1989);  he was wonderful that one time.

 

Monday
Jul142014

Meet July's "Smackdown" Panelists

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '73 arrives on July 31st, just over two weeks from now. You need to get your votes in too if you want to participate (instructions at the bottom of this post). If you've wandered in from elsewhere and are like, "What's a Smackdown?," here's how it started.

The Smackdown Panel for July

Without further ado let's meet our panel who will be discussing popular classics Paper Moon, The Exorcist, and American Graffiti as well as the more obscure title Summer Wishes Winter Dreams. All of the Supporting Actress nominees this Oscar vintage were first timers and so are our Smackdown panelists.

Special Guest

DANA DELANY
Dana Delany is an actress working on stage, screen, television and now internet. She was last seen starring in "Body of Proof" on ABC. In August you can rate and review the pilot "Hand of God" in which she co-stars with Ron Perlman on Amazon.com. [Follow her on Twitter | IMDb]

Why did a famous actress like you want to participate?

I wanted to do a Smackdown because there is nothing I like better than watching a movie and discussing it with smart people. Way better than being smacked. 

What does 1973 mean to you?

For me personally it was a hugely transitional year. My parents separated, we moved to Virginia and I escaped by going to the movies before I truly escaped by going to boarding school for my senior year. It was also a transitional year for our country and film. Marriages ended as women asserted their independence and Roe v Wade passed. Economically the US was a mess with gas shortages and NYC was bankrupt. American faith was shaken with the Watergate trial and the beginning of the end of the fruitless Vietnam War. I think that's why you see so much nostalgia in the movies with "The Sting", "American Graffiti", "Paper Moon" and "The Way We Were" in stark contrast to the European "Last Tango in Paris". Even at the Oscars the next spring, David Niven being surprised by a streaker was the embodiment of old Hollywood/new world.

 

And...

BILL CHAMBERS
Bill Chambers is the founder, editor, and webmaster of FilmFreakCentral.net, which recently turned seventeen. A graduate of York University's Film program, he is a member of both the Toronto Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society. He just got a cat. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1973 mean to you?:

I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is Terrence Malick making his directorial debut, and Martin Scorsese formally introducing himself to moviegoers. The seismographic image of 1973 I have in my head is deceptively calm compared to the years that flank it, perhaps because while '73 produced no shortage of future classics, so many of them -- "The Last Detail", "Sisters", "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" -- seem like sleepers to this day, amassing cults without getting the splashy reissues or being front and centre in discussions of their directors' work. And when I factor in genre classics like "Enter the Dragon", "Westworld", even "Don't Look Now", this might be the year in film from that hallowed decade I'd most want with me on a desert island... though I'd probably just try to make a raft out of "Lost Horizon".

 


MARK HARRIS

Mark Harris is an editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, a Grantland columnist (about the Oscars and other things), and a contributor to New York magazine. He is the author of Pictures at a Revolution (2008) and Five Came Back (2014). He lives in New York City. [Follow him on Twitter]  

What does 1973 mean to you?

1973 was the first year I got to have any say in the movies I wanted to see, which, as I recall, were "The Sting", "Sleeper", "Paper Moon", "The Day of the Dolphin", and, because this is a place for truth, Burt Reynolds in "White Lightning". "The Exorcist" was high on my wish list, but only one friend my age had gotten to see it, and only because, as my mother tersely explained to me, 'His parents don't care about him.' That year's movies competed in the first Oscar show I was ever allowed to stay up and watch. Other highlights of that year for me: The televised Watergate hearings, Sonny and Cher, fourth grade.

 


KARINA LONGWORTH 
Karina Longworth is the creator/host of You Must Remember This, a podcast about the secret/forgotten history of Hollywood's first century. She is the author of books about George Lucas, Al Pacino and Meryl Streep, and has contributed to Grantland, Slate, LA Weekly, the Guardian, NPR, Vulture, and other publications. [Follow her on Twitter]

What does 1973 mean to you?

"The Last of Sheila". "Blume in Love". "Scarecrow" winning the Palme D'or. Gloria Steinem with hair colored in emulation of Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Situationism. "Coffy". "The Mother and The Whore".

 


KYLE TURNER
Born in 1994 and enamored of the cinema ever since, Kyle began writing on the internet in 2007 with his blog The Movie Scene. Since then, he has contributed to TheBlackMaria.org, Movie Mezzanine, and IndieWire's /Bent. Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother" is basically his life story and "Bringing Up Baby" is his default favorite film. He likes coffee and is studying film at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He is relieved to know he is not a golem. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1973 mean to you?

From merely an appreciative perspective, it was the year "The Godfather" won Best Picture (for '72), Watergate happened, and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was released.

 

And your host

NATHANIEL R
Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but also blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner and Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1973 mean to you?

I have no memories of that year but if I had any they'd surely involve my sister (she's the eldest and I'm the baby) and her friends who were approaching their teenage years and who I generally remember looking at with awe (bell bottoms, long hair and all) just a few years later. As for what it makes me think of now? Exactly 4 things: "Your girl is lovely, Hubbell"; Liza Minnelli's victory tour for her work in 1972 (the Oscar, the Emmy, the BAFTA, the Globe, and the Hasty Puddings Woman of the Year all came her way); political powderkegs Roe v Wade and Watergate; and that unique admirable window of time in America wherein confrontational subtitled art films like Ingmar Bergman movies could be big hits and up for multiple Oscars... the 70s were so weird (read: awesome). 

 

YOU'RE INVITED, TOO!
The readers are the final (collective) panelist. You have 12 more days to get your votes in on any of the performances you've seen grading them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (perfect). (Paper Moon is on Instant Watch so you have no excuse to miss that one.) We excerpt quotes from reader ballots and your votes count toward the outcome. That matters because sometimes it's a real brawl for the win: see recent editions 1941 and 1964

1973 Supporting Actress Nominees
Linda Blair The Exorcist
Candy Clark American Graffiti
Madeline Kahn Paper Moon
Tatum O'Neal Paper Moon
Sylvia Sidney  Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams

 

Say hi to our exciting panel in the comments and tell them what you think of when you think of "73". And like the film experience on Facebook while you're at it.

PROCEED TO THE SMACKDOWN EVENT