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Yes No Maybe So - Beauty & The Beast

"Nice teaser but it going to be hard for Disney to top one of their true masterpieces of animation" - Jaragon

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Entries in magazines (81)

Friday
Apr222016

"Time 100" is Oscar-Obsessed

Magazines may be a dying business but the few mega magazines that remain all have annual traditions to entice buys. And so it is with the "Time 100" an annual list of "Most Influential" though as with any such list it's highly subjective.

Here is a list of the movie & television people who made it this year in one of their five sections (the only section that does not include at least one actor is "Leaders")

Pioneers Aziz Ansari and Gina Rodriguez

Titans Dwayne Johnson, Wang Jianlin, and Kathleen Kennedy 

Taraji is the modern-day Bette Davis, touching audiences with her honesty and intensity. When you are on set with Taraji, she listens, but she also questions. She challenges everyone to go the extra step to get it right. She has a deep understanding of the human condition, and she displays it with her eyes—the pain, the happiness, the love, the laughter. She probably would have been a great silent actor, but then the world wouldn’t have had Cookie.

Before Empire, she was underappreciated by white America and Hollywood, while African Americans heralded her as our Meryl Streep. I’m so proud that Cookie has moved her into the zeitgeist. What Taraji has done with the role made the world finally appreciate who she is—quite simply, a tour de force on and off the screen.
-Lee Daniels on Taraji P Henson 

 

I offered Mark Rylance a significant supporting role in 1987 in my film Empire of the Sun—and he turned it down. A play had caught his fancy, and anyway, I sensed he was suspicious about film acting. Who could blame him? For actors who have given their lives to theater, making movies must be like lurching in the backseat of a car while the driver keeps working the brake. When Mark does a play, nobody says, “Cut,” only “Curtain” after a few uninterrupted hours. Legions of young thespians look to Mark as their muse and inspiration. From Boeing-Boeing to Jerusalem to Twelfth Night, the impact he’s had on classical and contemporary theater is the stuff of legend. A winner of three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and now an Oscar, Mark glimpses these honors with gratitude and humility, but his heart belongs to a good story. His soul is pure. He just loves to act.
-Steven Spielberg on Mark Rylance 

Artists Gael García Bernal, Taraji P Henson, Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Coogler, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mark Rylance, Charlize Theron, and Priyanka Chopra 

Icons They went full Revenant here honoring both Leonardo DiCaprio & Alejandro González Iñárritu

What's the takeaway?
It always amuses us when people call the Oscars "irrelevant" since the very fact that people get so up in arms about them every year is quite the indication that they remain the most relevant of movie institutions (even if movies themselves aren't as central to pop culture as they once were). They matter to people. Even the act of rising up against The Academy is underlining their stature as the house of the definitive golden idol of Hollywood. Time's movie lists are extremely unsubtle about sticking it to the Academy yet again over #OscarsSoWhite. Note that they ignored all but three Oscar nominees (the three big male winners) while honoring both Ryan Coogler & Idris Elba. Not that Coogler and Elba aren't worth honoring as they did have great years! But if they weren't trying to shame the Academy yet again they might well have considered Cheryl Boone Isaacs for this list since she's in the media so much of late and has been trying so hard to make a difference on the issue of diversity in Tinseltown. On the other hand, even as Time slaps Oscar's hand, they're embracing its other status quo #OscarsSoMale (in a manly back-patting kind of way) since they included all three of the Academy's most high-profile male winners (Rylance, DiCaprio, and Iñárritu) and neither of the big female winners.

Do you think of all these people as influential? Whose part do you suppose Spielberg wanted Rylance to play in Empire of the Sun? 

Thursday
Feb182016

Interview: Ed Lachman on the Exquisite "Carol" and Dancing with Todd Haynes

It's our last Carol interview, he announced with a catch in his throat, attempting to let the best film of 2015 go for awhile. Our subject today is one of the great cinematographers, Edward Lachman. His filmography is loaded with essential mavericks of independent cinema like Sofia Coppola, Robert Altman, Steve Soderbergh, Todd Solondz and European auteurs, too. But his most fruitful collaboration has been with Todd Haynes. Carol marks their fourth and arguably best collaboration and brough him his long overdue second Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.   

The New Jersey native started in Studio Arts like painting and art history and viewed them as more creative outlet than profession. Eventually he found he could earn a living as a cinematographer and a rich succession of images have flooded out of him ever since -- think of the golden ragged warmth of Erin Brockovich, the supremely stylized Sirkian homage of Far From Heaven, and the hazy mystery of The Virgin Suicides. And that's just three titles.

I was eager to get on the phone with the man behind so many beautiful films and share a personal way his work affected me at the beginning of my cinephilia. But first I had to gush over Carol and how much it rewards repeat viewings. He joked that Carol obsessives have seen the movie more times than he has... and he shot it!

 

NATHANIEL: I began all my Carol interviews this season with "Why are you such a genius?

ED LACHMAN: Someone once wrote that I'm a 'near genius'. I feel like more of a near genius.

NATHANIEL: [Laughs] Stop qualifying. The movie is exquisitely beautiful

LACHMAN: Thank you. A lot of it has to do with our director Todd Haynes. I'm a conduit to his vision. I interpret it through the images but what's so beautiful about Todd is how he references his stories through conceptual ideas. For me, images aren't just about the aesthetics but the gravity of the content and what the images represent.

More after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb062016

New Nicole Photoshoot

Nicole Kidman covers Harpers Bazaar UK. This photo! ♥️

Or as Tom and Lorenzo aptly put it...

Shine on, you fabulous faux princess.

photos & article at Harpers Bazaar

Monday
Feb012016

Vanity Fair's 2016 Hollywood Issue Cover - A Close Look

Someone's been paying attention to every single media firestorm in Hollywood this past year from ageism to equal pay to diversity. Gracing this year's cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue is political showbiz icon Jane Fonda (2 Oscars), the inspirational crusading awesomeness of Viola Davis (1 phantom Oscar -- well, everyone knows she deserved it!), "the world is round people" diva Cate Blanchett (2 Oscars), and equal-pay-demander Jennifer Lawrence (1 Oscar).

VF's "Hollywood Issue" tradition is one of the key attractions in the showbiz circus of Oscar season. Though the covers aren't tied thematically to the Oscars they usually include current nominees. The primary form is a "predict the future superstars" covers in which they lean into the young in-demand crop who are having good years. The less common form is a survey of A listers and legends and a few people that scream "now"  and that's the type we got this year. And girl, it's a beauty.

The only real gripe is that even when the media is actually trying to express diversity (presumably to "help" Hollywood though the media, including this Vanity Fair cover tradition, has its own problems in that arena) they are still thinking in binaries of black and white. Why not include an Asian or Latina actress or let Ellen Page have a place on the cover again since she's still headlining films and working hard to stay in the game after coming out? 

Let's take a closer look after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec192015

Star Wars & Oscar. How Will "The Force Awakens" Fare? 

The second that people started realizing that everyone was actually loving the new Star Wars episode, you could feel the Oscar buzz wave building and building and broke with lots of "Best Picture nomination! demands online. The BFCA even announced a ridiculously embarrassing extra ballot measure to ask the members if they'd like to add the movie into their Best Picture lineup after the fact. In short: no one will ever take this group seriously again. (Sigh) 'The Force Awakens will be swimming in Oscars!' the internet seems to have proclaimed en masse.

But not so fast young padewans.

Oscar nominations can prove elusive, especially for franchises, family films, and genre films three groups to which Star Wars belongs. People will cite "Oscar voters grew up with the franchise -- they'll be nostalgic!" but, consider: I grew up with the franchise. I loved episode 7. And I wouldn't vote for it. 

This is not to say that I would make a typical Oscar voter. I would not. But typical Oscar voters tastes lie somewhere in the space between critics and general audiences. Put more plainly: there's a difference between totally enjoying a spectacle and wanting it honored as the very "Best" of its year.

Let's look back at Star Wars Oscar history to get some clues as to how The Force Awakens will fare after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec042015

Pt 1. Oscar Editorials to Make the Blood Boil: on Category Fraud

'I'm not SUPPORTING you. I don't even like you!'I'm not in the habit, as some online pundits are, of dissing articles written by other people but two articles just published enraged me. ...I exaggerate. They made my skin crawl from their indifference and hypocrisy. Let's get the indifference out of our system first.

Variety's "Long and Honorable History of Category Fraud" - Tim Gray
Gray immediately pisses the reasonable Oscar-lover off with the way he begins this defense of Category Fraud, a topic birthed and coined right here at The Film Experience years ago since nobody else was willing to get riled up about it and make it a cause. He introduces the topic in the the context of real world problems with life & death consequences as a way to insure that any complaints about the topic are, in the grand scheme of things, entirely irrelevant. Yes, it's true, Tim. Category Fraud does not lead to car accidents (unless Nathaniel is enraged and driving) and it doesn't threaten the world's natural resources. But this is a cheap argument. Imagine the rage you'd conjure in the reader if you used this same tactic when speaking about the lack of diversity in casting and directing jobs in Hollywood. The same is, in fact, true. Nobody will die and it won't cause starvation or droughts if people of color don't get acting jobs and women aren't considered for directing big budget Hollywood movies. But that is absolutely no reason to not care about these problems!

Every topic will seem small when placed against death and disaster. By this logic the Oscars aren't worth talking about either! But that does not mean that the topics are unimportant within their own "ecosystems." That's Gray's choice of word so let's use it. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec042015

14 Days Until That Galaxy Far Far Away

I have successfully avoided much information about (Episode VII) Star Wars: The Force Awakens in an effort to preserve a pre-internet style excitement for the new film. No, scratch that. I've done so in an effort to generate excitement since I felt none. Unlike the rest of the internet I remember all too painfully how godawful the last three movies were. *shudder* As for the new film, I've only seen the first trailer and only know character names because no matter how hard you try to say "pure" and go in cold, information will be absorbed from the 24 hour news cycle.

But truth: the nostalgia is finally getting to me and I'm officially excited. It must be all the appearances of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford in my news feeds even if the articles go unclicked to stay pure.

That caption to the left "The 'Star Wars' Kids" -LOL!

If you've been reading The Film Experience for a long time you'll know that The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was a formative experience as a kid. By the time Return of the Jedi (1983) came out, half of my bedroom was covered with magazine collages of ewoks, Jabba the Hut, Yoda, Darth, Luke and Han. Princess Leia in her gold bikini dominated, duh! The actressexuality came fast and early before I even knew what it was. 

On a scale of 1-100 how excited are you to have the Force awakened?