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Cameraperson is the best film of the year. Nothing else is even close. -Mark

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Entries in Maggie Smith (30)

Monday
Apr252016

The Furniture: The Lady with the Van Paints a Crime Scene Into a Home

"The Furniture" is our new design series. Here's Daniel Walber...

The Lady in the Van begins with a bloody hit-and-run accident. The title van-driving lady, played by Maggie Smith, collides with a young man and leaves him for dead. On the lam, bound by necessity to a vehicle that may also be a murder weapon, she finds her way to a quiet neighborhood full of artists and bourgeois intellectuals.

Then it turns into a delightful comedy about the social anxieties of Alan Bennett.

It’s a bit abrupt, to be honest. And it may take a fair while to warm up to the neurotic, Adaptation.-style doppelgangers that represent the split personalities of the playwright protagonist. The vans themselves, though, quite effectively capture a much more gradual transition, one that charts Mary/Margaret’s arc with care. What begins as an all-in-one murder weapon and crime scene becomes a home. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar092016

Say What? Maggie & Vanessa

(How did I miss this photo last month?) Amuse us by adding a caption or dialogue to this photo of Dame Maggie Smith and Vanessa Redgrave taken a short time ago.

Saturday
Feb132016

Valentine's - A Room With a View

Team Experience is celebrating Valentines Day with favorite love scenes. Here's Lynn Lee on an 80s classic

Everyone who loves this film remembers The Kiss.  It’s the moment proper Edwardian girl Lucy Honeychurch (a very young Helena Bonham-Carter), vacationing in Italy, discovers romantic passion for the first time.  She doesn’t know it yet, but the odd free-thinking young man she’s only recently met (Julian Sands) is her soulmate.  He knows it, though.

Besides being (literally) storybook-romantic—a sun-drenched poppy field in Italy! lush soprano aria in the background!—the kiss is also wreathed in comedy, as the film cuts back and forth between Lucy, wending her way uncertainly towards George, and her fussy chaperone Charlotte (Maggie Smith) bonding with another fellow tourist, a hacky romance novelist (Judi Dench), over scandalous love stories before she starts to worry about Lucy.  Meanwhile, the Italian driver who led Lucy to George looks on in amusement at what he has wrought.  He knows what’s up, his own public display of affection having been previously smacked down by these uptight Brits.  But the Kiss will not be denied.

 

It’s also the kiss that keeps on giving for the rest of the movie.  Its memory haunts Lucy during her utter failure of a first kiss with her fiancé, Cecil (Daniel Day-Lewis, vying for comic MVP with Maggie Smith), in England.  It reappears again at a critical and exquisitely awkward moment as a passage in a terrible romance novel, penned by none other than Charlotte’s novelist friend, that the clueless Cecil just happens to read out loud to none other than Lucy and George.  The tension that was simmering since George’s reentry into Lucy’s life then comes to full boil, precipitating a chain of events that eventually forces out in the open what Lucy’s been denying for too long: she and George belong together. 

All thanks to one glorious kiss.

Our Valentine's Series
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Before Sunset (2004)
The Painted Veil (2006)
Love Songs (2007)
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Beyond the Lights (2014)

 

Friday
Jan012016

Who's Your Favorite Dame?

Imelda Staunton. Photographed by David Rose. [Source]Here's Murtada on his favorite subject; British ladies of a certain age who delight on screen and stage.

Happy New Year! Some Brits usher in the new year celebrating their newly bestowed knighthoods. This year Queen Elizabeth II honors, among others, Idris Elba and David Oyelowo. There are different designations to the honor. For example Imelda Staunton became a CBE i.e. not yet a Dame but well on her way. It’s obvious The Queen hasn’t ventured out to the theater in 2015 or Staunton would be Dame Squared for her triumphant Mama Rose alone.

This year’s newly minted Dames are British TV stalwart Barbara Windsor (EastEnders, the Carry On movies) and Welsh stage veteran Sian Phillips (Daniel Day Lewis’ mother in The Age of Innocence), who was once Mrs. Peter O’Toole.

But when we talk dames we mostly talk about the holy trinity who still have vibrant movie careers: Judi, Maggie and Helen. No last names necessary if you say Dame first. Oscars and other awards, big successes on the boards on both sides of the Atlantic and long thriving careers for all three.

But who is your favorite? To help you decide let’s dig a bit deeper. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov282015

What a Link. What a Lovely Link

BFI Check out the Sight & Sound poll for 2015. Not pleased that The Assassin topped the immeasurably finer twofer of Carol & Mad Max Fury Road but it is what it is. Perennial critical darling peculiarities abound like Blackhat placing about Ex Machina. Oh please. I didn't hate the former like some but one must assume that's solely on Michael Mann's reputation, the way some filmmakers get a competition spot at Cannes simply because they directed something.
HuffPo Reid Ewing from Modern Family talks about body dysmorphia and getting frequent plastic surgery
The Guardian on a Carol gift-wrapping promotion - it breaks my heart that people keep thinking this is a watch it on DVD film. It's SO breathtakingly cinematic. GO TO THE THEATER.
/Film Gremlins may take a page from Jurassic World/Creed and continue the story decades later

 

Coming Soon latest Star Wars The Force Awakens news & rumors if you're into that sort of thing. We made a very conscious choice not to watch anything beyond the teaser or to cover it until ti opens. We want to preserve the mystery and thus the possible joy.
Antagony & Ecstasy reviews the original Star Wars trilogy
MNPP Matt Bomer may play The Last Tycoon for Amazon
Vanity Fair Ryan Gosling may play Neil Armstrong for Damien Chazelle
In Contention how the critic awards can boost players in the Oscar race
/Film there are competing Evel Knievel movies on the way one from (possibly Martin Scorsese) and one from Channing Tatum. Do kids today know who Knievel is?
AV Club Michael B Jordan is up for another Creed movie. The movie is set to make back its budget this Thanksgiving weekend
Serving Cinema in defense of Angelina Jolie's By the Sea
Lip Sync Battle Anthony Mackie "2 Legit 2 Quit" versus Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Rhythm Nation"
New York Times ABC actually cancelled a show! But this is a rare with TV's new ratings math
Towleroad two Brazilian actors share a kiss on live tv to combat homophobia. Our Brazilian readers should tell us if these two are as famous as this article implies.
The Hollywood Reporter has an articles about LGBT cinema losing its edge. That's a topic that can be argued about certainly but Carol is an absolutely terrible example since Todd Haynes hasn't lost one iota of his power or daring and the "frostiness" that people complain about with that movie is hardly pandering, you know.
Kevin O'Keefe skewers the article with one well placed barb.

 

 

"Category Fraud" Has Gone Mainstream
I can't remember if I coined the term -- let's just say I did -- but I've been preaching against its evil like an obnoxiously pious mad prophet the entire time I've been Oscar blogging... which is quite a long time now. I've been seeing articles about it everywhere this year including this new one from The Hollywood Reporter. You know how when you love an obscure band and then everyone "discovers" them after the fact and you feel kind of betrayed? That. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad people are paying attention now -- perhaps we reached some sort of peak fraudulence where it became impossible to deny the problem anymore? But I also do not like that articles about this never address the media's own hand in creating this monster. (For this next sentence you'll remember that Nathaniel is playing the role of a mad pious prophet in this story and forgive his superiority complex). Other than The Film Experience practically every awards pundit /  site has actively encouraged this 'all fraud all the time / end justifies the means world we're living in by regularly rationalizing leading roles as supporting in articles and actively encouraging studios and publicists to pursue fraudulent campaigns for "better Oscar chances"

Weekend Watch
Jake Gyllenhaal discussses his progressive upbringing and Brokeback Mountain. I love this. Yes, we'll be celebrating the movie soon for its 10th anniversary in December.

Sir Ian McKellen talks Dame Maggie Smith and Oscar good luck charms from his stage show in Los Angeles last weekend "Women I've Filmed With"