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Entries in Holidays (76)

Friday
Nov012013

All Links Day

Grantland Mark Harris on 12 Years a Slave and the Best Actor race
/Film Jonas Cuaron made a short film that will be a DVD extra for Gravity. It takes place on earth during one scene in the movie. 
Coming Soon The Addams Family getting a reboot. But I'm okay with this news since it's animated. If you're going to remake something, it's fine if you can do it in a new way. 

Deadline Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates for the musical education drama Boychoir
Shortlist Sandra Bullock extends the Feuding with Streep joke from their 2009 Oscar war
Popnography Sir Ian McKellens super short gay sitcom Vicious coming to American tv, also getting second season

Controversies
The Switch has an interesting update on what's going on with copyright extension laws. I do so hope the internet finds a way to collectively fight back because the laws are ridiculous. So many things that should be in the public domain are not
The Wrap the ongoing drama over Ender's Game and the Orson Scott Card boycott. All reports, including this one, which seems thorough end up being kind of misleading. Apparently true: he has no profit participation or creative input; Not true: he will not make a dime on this. Fact: He already made those dimes, years ago when the deal was signed. I wish people would point this out instead of pretending/saying he makes no money from this movie. He makes no "new" money, sure other than the rise in book sales, but Hollywood already paid him and probably handsomely. So yes he does profit from the movie.  

Halloween Hangover
I know I know. Halloween is over and as with all things people celebrate with excess you're probably a little relieved. But just in case it's your favorite holiday and you need a little hair of the dog, check out these horror-themed treats 'round the web...

Jessica Alba and friends as The Witches of Eastwick! Her best performance ever? (from her Instagram account)

Slant ranks the best "final girls" 
Empire famous horror film child stars all grown up from Haley Joel Osment to Daveigh Chase
MNPP's hilarious "ways not to die" series gets a pervy Halloween Sssssss (1973) edition
Pajiba Miley Cyrus is smarter than Julianne Hough (the proof is in the costuming)
Cinema Blend chooses 9 movies that deserve to ascend into "halloween classics" 
i09 the best halloween costumes from 'round the internet (I love the Peter Pan couples costume so much!)

Thursday
Oct312013

Movies that go bump in the night

Happy Halloween, everybody! It’s Tim, here to celebrate the high holy night of horror movies, when even the most squeamish can steel themselves up to watch a scary movie, and scary movie lovers stock up all our best and blackest to watch in marathons of unendurable dread.

But let’s not go prattling about every random horror film that comes to mind (which is, I’m a little sorry to admit, the way that I assembled my movie playlist for the night). Instead, I’d like to ask everybody to pitch in their suggestions for a question always on my mind this time of year:

What movies best capture the spirit of Halloween?

That question already has a lot of wiggle room baked into it – do we mean Halloween as a night of ghosts and witches, Halloween as a night of trick-or-treating and costumes, Halloween as a night of crisp autumn air and fallen leaves? I don’t know, and that’s why I want to throw it out to all of you. But before I do that, I want to offer three suggestions of the movies that best capture what enters my head when I hear the word “Halloween”. (And I’m not including John Carpenter’s Film Experience-endorsed slasher film Halloween. There’s such a thing as too damn easy).

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Absolutely not a joke. The third of the seasonally-arranged film’s four chapters takes place in its entirety on Halloween night, and there’s not a film out there that better evokes a the feeling of dressing up and hunting for candy on a cool fall night. Not many directors in Hollywood history ever had a better grasp of what to do with color than Vincente Minnelli, and in this sequence, he and cinematographer George Folsey gorgeously capture the variations of browns and yellows that dominate the landscape during a Midwestern October (in fact, Carpenter and his DP, Dean Cundey, looked to this film as the inspiration when making Halloween). The warm nighttime lighting is just spooky enough to evoke the feeling of being a child who secretly wants to be scared, and it all couldn’t be more pleasantly nostalgic. Bonus: one of only two films that’s both a terrific Halloween movie and a terrific Christmas movies (the other, of course, is The Nightmare Before Christmas).

Kill, Baby… Kill! (1966)
Because, first, I’d be falling behind in my mission if I didn’t use an article about horror films as an excuse to talk about Mario Bava and the wide world of visually florid, narratively bonkers Italian horror cinema. And second, because my Halloween always needs a stop-over in foggy cemeteries and decaying, haunted Mitteleuropean villages, and some of the absolute best ever put to celluloid can be found in this story of a ghostly little girl making life awful for an isolated Carpathian town has some of the best. The normal rules of Italian horror apply: if you’re hunting for mood and blissed-out color cinematography, this will do you up right, and if you need a tight piece of storytelling… but hey, look at that cinematography! Still, there’s probably no place that approach is more objectively defensible than in a ghost story, where the uncanny and inexplicable is part of the fun. Nor do many movies about ghosts understand so well the primal, bedtime story impact that a good Gothic set can have when it’s been lit to be this creepy.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
I can remember as vividly now as the day after it happened, the first time I saw Tim Burton’s last completely successful movie and thinking to myself, “That’s it! That’s autumn!” Not bad for a film shot entirely on a soundstage, without a whisper of natural lighting, for which we can credit both Rick Heinrichs’ just-exaggerated fairy tale woods, and Emmanuel Lubezki’s absolutely gorgeous lighting palette, beautifully evoking the yellow haze of light filtered through dying leaves (Heinrich won an Oscar, Lubezki was nominated. Frankly, the visuals would be enough to secure the movie a spot on my annual Halloween-time viewing schedule even if it wasn’t a pretty great ghost story, or didn’t have its own Halloween scene with quintessentially Burtonesque jack-o’-lanterns flickering in the background. There’s an atmospheric creepiness to the film that has everything to do with setting and place, not with plot (which, given the things the plot does, is for the best), and few things have ever colonized my feelings about walking in the woods quite so effectively.

What about the rest of you?

What's your favorite Halloween movie? Let us know in comments!

Thursday
Jul182013

Young Natalie: Thoughts on one of the great child performances of all time

Hi all, it’s Tim. With Natalie Wood Week upon us, there will be much talk of the actress’s run of films as a beautifully virginal ingénue, or her transition into roles as troubled adults and young women. But I want to pause on the threshold of all those Splendor in the Grasses and West Side Stories to pay tribute to the an earlier era in the Life of Natalie, when she became one of the best-loved child actors of the 1940s (and a good time it was for child actors, too).

The film that put her on the map was Miracle on 34th Street, of course, released when the actress was a mere eight years old in 1947. It wasn’t her first credited role (that would be the Claudette Colbert/Orson Welles vehicle Tomorrow Is Forever, from 1946), nor even the first movie to showcase her to good effect; earlier that same year, she’d been a solid presence in the supernatural melodrama The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, though that film ultimately didn’t ask very much of her besides being cherubic and innocent (this would remain true of a frustrating number of her vehicles throughout her later career). Simple, even if the simple ability to be a dazzlingly cute kid without it spilling over into tackiness was already enough to mark Wood out as more than just one more saccharine little girl ready to fill the void left by Shirley Temple’s ascendance into her late teens.

Miracle on 34th Street was something entirely different.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul042013

Four for the Fourth: America in the Movies

It’s Tim, here to wish all of the U.S. readers of the Film Experience a Happy Independence Day, and to everyone else, "Happy Thursday!"

This particular holiday isn’t one commemorated in movies as much as many others – the odd scene here or there, but rarely an entire film dedicated to the themes and meanings behind the day. In order to save everyone from watching the classic but overfamiliar Yankee Doodle Dandy or 1776 – or the Roland Emmerich / Dean Devlin explode-o-rama Independence Day, if that’s the way you roll – or the miserable direct-to-video slasher movie Uncle Sam, if that’s how you roll, and for that you have my sympathy – I thought I’d put together a little list of a few films about America, in its many different forms, that might make for somewhat more novel viewing than seeing James Cagney speak-singing George M. Cohan songs for the 20th time. 

 

(Though if you haven’t seen the film, for God’s sake do it, he’s a dancing genius!) Four great movies about America below the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May122013

Happy Mothers Day! (What's the Last Movie You Took Your Mother To?)

Did you call your mother yet? I was just talking to mine. Before we hung up, apropos of nothing, she says...

I was watching Turner Classic Movies this week. Sometimes I think of you when I watch."

Which... well, from my mother that's like a huge bouquet of flowers and hugs since she isn't super verbally affectionate. When pressed about which movie(s) she couldn't remember. "You know... that actress"

Was it... Barbara Stanwyck? I asked, trying to help with the first name that popped into my mind. "No. But I've seen lots of her movies. I didn't used to like her but now I do." 

Her current obsession is The Pirates of Penzance (1983) with 'that great new actor Kevin Kline' (new, mom?). She has apparently been buying up his filmography on VHS at garage sales and also likes French Kiss (1995) "except for the awful language!" Last time I visited she wanted to see Snow White and the Huntsman and then closed her eyes for half the movie.

What peculiar movie tastes does your mom have? What's the last movie you took her to?

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