NOW PLAYING

in theaters



new on DVD/BluRay


review index

HOT TOPICS



Welcome

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

COMMENT DU JOUR

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

THANKS IN ADVANCE

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?
Subscribe

Entries in Los Angeles (25)

Wednesday
Oct292014

'Nightcrawler' and L.A. in the Digital Age

Glenn here to offer a rebuttal to my own work.

 

When I reviewed David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars at the New York Film Festival, I was highly critical of the film’s look. It’s the ugliest film of 2014 so far and will likely remain a recurring staple of my anti-digital rants for some time to come. Fair is fair, however, and lest I get the reputation of somebody who is strictly against digital, I wanted to sing the praises of Robert Elswit’s work on Nightcrawler. Neither a horror film as befitting its Halloween release date, nor a superhero film like many people have thought due to its title. Yet, in spite it this, the film works as both an unsettling work of urban and moral decay and a portrait of a man who, in his own eyes, is a bit of a hero.

Nightcrawler is a film that has a visual point of view, finding interesting compositions to tell a story that in the grand scheme of things is fairly conventional in its narrative beats and structure. It takes the familiar image of Los Angeles and twists it into a city where at night it becomes a muddy-skied haze. This is a film that is both gorgeous to look at and repugnant to the eye at the same time. The Los Angeles of Nightcrawler seethes and creeps and Elswit’s camera shows just what can be achieved with the medium.

Directed by Dan Gilroy - not to be confused with brothers Tony Gilroy (the film's producer and director of Michael Clayton) or John Gilroy (the editor) - it's certainly very much inspired by the form-pushing work of Dion Beebe (Team Film Experience’s Top Ten Greatest Working Cinematographers) and Paul Cameron on Michael Mann’s Collateral. I don't consider this much of an issue given that film had perhaps my favourite cinematography of the '00s, and what’s the point of groundbreaking work in the industry if it can’t be adapted and played with by future filmmakers? In a way it's the same as how another Jake Gyllenhaal film, End of Watch, appropriated the look made famous by found footage horror and supplanted it onto the streets of gangland L.A.

Despite what some people may think, I am very much capable of falling head over heels for digital camerawork. I just appreciate it when filmmakers do something with the format that you otherwise can’t with film. What’s the point of the conversion if not to do something unique that sets it apart? I have no doubt celluloid would have worked amazingly for Gilroy's film, and in fact he did film the daytime sequences on 35mm highlighting how different the two mediums can be. I enjoyed watching that disparity taken advantage of, an aesthetic choice that entirely works for Nightcrawler as it captures Gyllenhaal’s sunken face as he films the aftermath of the city’s violence, pawning his footage to bottom-of-the-barrel TV networks. Leaving my screening and I couldn’t help but think of what Maps to the Stars could’ve been if they’d had anything close to resembling Nightcrawler’s keen sense of craft. That the film is partially about the alarming ease that we can capture the world within which we exist, it makes it incredibly relevant piece of work, too.

Friday
Oct102014

135 Days 'til Oscar: Remember the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion?

Occasionally while typing about the Oscars I accidentally type in the Shrine or the Kodak and especially "The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion" when I mean The Dolby Theater. It's an honest mistake since the Oscars are a bonafide institution and one tends to associate locations with events. The Dolby Theater, the "permanent" home now for Oscar (whatever permanent means considering things such as contracts, name changes, and rights battles for broadcast and whatnot) was once the Kodak Theater and for the last dozen years that's where the Oscars have been held. But until the new millenium, I associated the event with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. That music hall hosted the Oscars the longest from Oliver! (1968) through Shakespeare in Love (1998) though it should be noted that the Shrine auditorium stepped in as substitute for six years during that three decade stretch. 

I've never actually been to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion but for a young movie mad boy in the suburbs of Detroit in the Eighties, 135 North Grand Avenue was the most important address in the world, way cooler than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I still think of it as way more glamorous than the Dolby... but maybe that's because I've been to the Dolby and though it looks great on TV it's inside a shopping mall. Perhaps that's appropriate for a golden idol that's really only gold-plated

Previously on our countdown that's really just begun...
138 Days - Average Best Picture Length
170 Days - Best Actor Trivia 
182 Days - What did Pickford & Fairbanks start?! 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Birdman Starts Campaigning Early

Anne Marie reporting from Los Angeles...

Will Keaton need the tux regularly this season? We think soThe starter's gun for awards season campaigning has unofficially gone off, signalling the beginning of the most exciting/frustrating few months in an Oscar-lover's heart. Sandwiched between the mad dash of TIFF and NYFF on the East Coast was a screening and reception on Tuesday for Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu's Birdman. As a courtyard full of film critics tried to absorb everything the ambitious black comedy presented them, producer John Lesher and star Michael Keaton were there to answer questions and talk over Iñarritu's dizzying vision.

In the coming weeks, we'll undoubtedly hear many comparisons between Michael Keaton and Riggan, the washed up superhero has-been Keaton portrays. Michael Keaton is not nearly as attention-grabbing (or off ghis rocker) as his onscreen doppelganger. Instead, he walked through the crowd quietly, speaking to members of the press one on one or in small groups (graciously fielding questions on baseball and Batman), rather than holding court.

Unfortunately, this meant we didn't all get to speak to him, but he did deliver one appropriately weird closing moment. On his way to the parking lot, Keaton gave a loud Birdman squawk. Then he vanished into the night.

The Birdman cast having fun in Venice earlier this month

Wednesday
Aug202014

I thought, "hey, I can link, I can link." but now I know that I was wrong, 'cause I missed you ♪ ♫

Criterion Collection Pedro Almodóvar write about his experience making Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down (1990). I so love that one. So weirdly romantic in spite of its whole Stockholm Syndrome business
Natasha VC Brad Pitt before and after makeup. Hee
In Contention Tapley wonders if Eastwood's American Sniper will have an impact on Oscar with its Christmas release
The Dissolve John Lithgow has revealed that Pixar's The Good Dinosaur (which he does voice work on) has been completely reimagined
Buzzfeed investigation into 80s arcana: who deserved credit for Flashdance and didn't get it?

 

 

The Hairpin the best friends of romcom heroines, in order
The Guardian on "my favorite city in film: Blade Runner's LA
i09 Have you ever wondered how Replicants are made in Blade Runner?
Salon interesting piece on Lauren Bacall (and Bogey's) political activism which the obits have steered clear of mostly
Chiseler Bacall's recent death also prompted this look back at Humphrey Bogarts first actress wife, the now forgotten Mayo Methot
AV Club Keanu Reeves moves to television for a series called Rain about a half Japanese half American assassin but...
/Film ...there's also a TV show being developed based on Keanu's hit The Devil's Advocate in which he is not involved. Strange timing, eh?
RogerEbert.com interviews Ira Sachs on Love is Strange. That finally comes out this month. Do NOT miss it 
Cinema Blend Johnny Depp to star with his teenage daughter in Kevin Smith's Yoga Hosers. I do not understand what's going on with that career. I really don't 
Empire Bradley Cooper to headline a new franchise based on the "Mack Bolan" book series about a man at war with the Mafia

Off Cinema
Towleroad Portia de Rossi surprises Ellen DeGeneres on their anniversary
Entertainment Junkie on the Emmy contest for "Best Writing in a Drama Series"
Taye Diggs dancing. That's all. That's enough.
AV Club looks back at the seminal single "Stay" from Lisa Loeb. God, I loved that one. I can't remember if it was written for Reality Bites (1994) or not but if it was Oscar made the worse choice in not nominating it

The Stuff of Nightmares
Cinema Blend Chinese movie theaters projecting audience texts onto screen. 

ahem... I used to worry about keeping The Film Experience PG-13 because I knew teenagers were reading and when the site was first created you didn't want to be labeled NSFW because it shut you off from tons of traffic and search engines and so on and so on. And now I just feel like the biggest prude every day since even mainstream websites that people read at work print photo galleries of "bulges," naked celebrities, and charity events involving random civilians stripping. Case in point in the past 24...

Gawker imagining what's inside Jared Leto's pants courtesy of a quote from Alexis Arquette
Jezebel imagining what Disney Prince Charming dicks look like. 

So basically I am a prude and singing "Class" from Chicago right now as I type this. But I click on all these links, so, guilty

Wednesday
Apr162014

Yes No Maybe So: "Maps to the Stars"

Yesterday two new trailers appeared for David Cronenberg's Maps to the StarsI'm not embedding them specifically because I can't find sharp images (the main one floating around seems like a bad stolen print of a trailer - very underlit) and the international one (NSFW) has too many auto-play ads and works less well as a coherent snapshot of the movie.

I'm hoping Maps skirts the usual trends of public reaction to Cronenberg films. It often follows this pattern:

1. Healthy amount of media coverage and excitement before their films premiere (remember all the A Dangerous Method hoopla?)
2. A curiously muted release (sometimes only limited) with a tiny bit of coverage focused on whichever big star is doing whichever genuinely weird thing they're asked to do in the movie. Think Robert Pattinson getting an enema in the limo in Cosmopolis
3. Almost no follow up conversation online or lines at the box office despite the movies always being genuinely strong conversation pieces...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr112014

TCM Film Festival: OKLAHOMA! is better than OK

“So it’s a film festival, but for old films? Why?”

When I told folks how excited I was to finally go to the 5th annual TCM Film Festival this year in Hollywood, I got this question a few times. This isn’t just about the old adage “see a film on the big screen, like it was meant to be seen.” This is about celebrating the old and new: old films for new audiences, new restorations for old classics, old audiences sharing the new experience, and at the center of it all, Turner Classic Movies, which turns 20 this year, thereby becoming something of an old classic itself.

Last night, TCM rolled out the red carpet and opened TCMFF with a brand new restoration of OKLAHOMA!(1955) starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Diana and I were able to nab (literally) front row seats to the screening at the TCL Chinese Theater, and this may count as the first I’ve been glad to sit front and center. The reason for the hooplah surrounding OKLAHOMA! has to do with its history: When Twentieth Century Fox brought the Rogers & Hammerstein musical to the screen in 1955, they shot it twice: once in Todd AO 65mm widescreen, and once in a lesser 35mm widescreen. This is a fact that has mostly been relegated to behind-the-scenes trivia, and the difference between the two versions has been negligible in home theater viewings. I’ve seen one or the other a few times on TV (including TCM) over the years, so I thought I knew what to expect. And then the film started, the camera pushed through the corn as high as an elephant’s eye, and I realized how very important it is that we save moments like this.

Photo Credit: Mark Hill

Twentieth Century Fox provided a beautiful 4K restoration of the 65mm version, complete with a restored 6 track stereo score, to play on the Chinese Theater’s huge IMAX screen.  Speaking as someone who usually isn’t usually an OKLAHOMA!-lover, I fell in love. When Shirley Jones said Gordon MacRae was her favorite singer, surely she didn't imagine him on such a grand scale. The sheer power of it won me over. Personally, I'm usually a South Pacific kind of gal, but I've been whistling since I left the theater and I would feel like a bad cliche if not for the fact that my fellow Metro passengers nearly broke out into "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin" with me. If you can get cranky Angelenos on a rundown train to sing at 1AM, then you've clearly made an impression.

Film restoration is a tricky balance between preserving the original filmgoing experience while also using to best advantage modern digital tools. Turner Classic Movies has arguably been one of the most important commercial advocates for restoration, providing studios with large audiences via the small screen for 20 years. How grateful we can be to TCM that for a weekend in Hollywood they’re bringing back the oldschool via new methods.

Anne Marie is our resident classic movie freak. Follow her on Twitter and read her weekly series "A Year With Kate"

Sunday
Mar302014

Link Flood

Entertainment Weekly Mark Harris sounded off on horror television like Hannibal and The Walking Dead "with gore less is more"
LA Times treasure trove of silent films found in Amsterdam including Mickey Rooney's first film role at age six
The Playlist interviews Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners) on working with Jake Gyllenhaal, and his future projects
The Wire watching Noah during the Los Angeles earthquake


Playbill talks to F Murray Abraham about his career resurgence at 74
Variety Spain's Malaga festival reveals its winners. Maybe we should look at some of these as Oscar submission possibilities
Salon a new book makes the case for Wonder Woman as one of the greatest superheroes
The Wrap Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty win the very first "Location Manager" awards - both shot partially in Iceland which is where it's at lately but more on Iceland in a special series in April
Comics Alliance the creator of the beloved Batman TV series died at 91 
Salon Catherine Keener does not think she should be called 'Spike Jonze's muse' 
Slate loves Darren Aronofksy's Noah but thinks the environmental message is problematic 

Must Read
We like her. We've always really liked her. Sally Field pens an open letter about being the mother of a gay son to encourage people to join the fight for civil rights and marriage equality and the like...

Sally Field and her son

One of the great privileges of my life to have been allowed to be a part of Sam’s journey.

There are people out there – organizations and politicians, strangers who have never even met Sam – who would rather devote themselves to denying his happiness...

Not only a wonderful actress but a wonderful person.

In the History of Shamelessly Greedy Ideas We Have a Winner
The movie industry's fever for making movies just like television with endlessly padded storylines to win more billlions from our pockets continues. Variety reports that J.K. Rowling's 54 page Harry Potter tie-in book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" will now become a film trilogy.

P.S.
I CANNOT WAIT to see what people choose for their "best shot" from CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC (1980) on Tuesday night. It's absolutely insane. tacky. ridiculous.  And I'm not just talking about the opening glitter splooge credits and rollerskating sequence with Steve Guttenberg and his padded crotch.

If you'd like to join the Best Shot party, the movie is available for instant watching on NetflixAmazon Instant and iTunes. Just pick your best shot and post it and we all party with the same movie on Tuesday night. Here's the upcoming schedule for other movie selections