Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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What did YOU see this weekend?


Elle. Basically the same movie as The Piano Teacher but sillier. Huppert is great, but when is she not? -Jonathan

The Edge of Seventeen because I needed something light and fun. So delightful, and anchored by a wonderful Hailee Steinfeld performance. - Marina


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Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
NWR (Neon Demon)

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Entries in moviegoing (87)


Tree of Life Revisited

This weekend a friend of mine invited me to join him for a screening at BAM of Terence Malick's The Tree of Life with a live orchestra. 'But that's only for silent films,' I thought. I said yes right away more to spend time with my friend than to see the film again which I had very much admired but not quite loved in 2011.

Seeing it again five years later proved unexpectedly rewarding. Perhaps it was the huge screen - the first time I'd seen it was on a tiny arthouse screen in Manhattan. Perhaps it was the live accompaniment of a huge orchestra and choir but it felt newly electric...

Click to read more ...


What are you seeing this weekend?

Just a reminder that three major titles open today

France's Oscar entry, directed by notorious provocateur Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Turkish Delight, Black Book, etcetera) features screen icon Isabelle Huppert in arguably the crowning role of her inimitable career as a video game designer chillingly obsessed with uncovering the identity of her rapist. Reviewed. Expect an Oscar nomination or (crossing fingers) two. Reviewed.
[Opens today in New York. Wednesday in Los Angeles]

Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario, Enemy) awesome thinking person's sci-fi epic about a curiously immobile alien invasion. The aliens have arrived but what do they want hovering in 12 locations over our world? An expert linguist (Amy Adams, wonderful) is recruited to communicate with them in this superbly executed drama. Reviewed. It's also perfect for this moment for this movie.


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Ang Lee's technically experimental adaptation of the political novel is about a soldier on leave from war paraded for the nation as a war hero. Joe Alwyn (as Billy Lynn) is a compelling debut actor and the film has curio value from this normally great director but the high frame rate technique MUST die a quick death: it doesn't look like cinema at all but like a cheap poorly filmed stage production. More thoughts.
[Opens today in New York and Los Angeles] 

Also Opening:
Wide: Almost Christmas a comedy starring Danny Glover, the Naomi Watts led thriller Shut-In; Limited: a 20th anniversary restoration of the lesbian classic The Watermelon Woman (NY only), three documentaries (Seasons, National Bird, The Anthropologist), and the Oscilloscope curiosity The Love Witch. Here's that trailer:

LOVE WITCH TRAILER from Anna Biller on Vimeo.



Podcast: The Handmaiden and Other Heavenly Creatures

We're back to weekly podcasts! This week Nick and Nathaniel revisit a summer favorite that's now on DVD and have divergent feelings about The Handmaiden despite their mutual Park Chan-wook history.

Index (41 minutes)
00:01 A Heavenly Creatures revisit
05:10 The Handmaiden and that time Nathaniel and Nick watched a Park Chan-wook together
25:00 Almodóvar's Julieta and Farhadi's The Salesman
34:00 Doctor Strangé & Captain Fantastic briefly to wrap-up

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you?  

Referenced in this conversation:
Nick's Isabelle Huppert e-mail hack | Nathaniel's photo op with Viggo Mortensen | A recent rewatch of WitnessAlama Drafthouse Night Out | 1994 Oscar Races 

The Handmaiden Fantastic


Go See a Movie!

Go see something this weekend and report back!

New York and LA
Two incredible new films have arrived: Moonlight and The Handmaiden. I'd argue the latter is Park Chan Wook's best film yet. You absolutely must not miss either of them though I wish distributors would stop releasing films that can appeal to the same audience at the same time (I mean the last few weeks haven't had ravishingly artistic auteur films with queer storylines, so why two at once?). I wrote up a little snippet on The Handmaiden at Towleroad and we've previously reviewed Moonlight tag team style right here. I believe that both plan to expand into more cities next weekend. Both coasts also get an Icelandic mystery called Autumn Lights and NYC gets the indie porn drama King Cobra (with Christian Slater, James Franco and more)

Multiple Cities
Expanding into several more cities this weekend: the Holocaust related courtroom drama Denial (reviewed), Mexico's violent Oscar submission Desierto (reviewed - you've been warned), and cinephile favorite Kelly Reichardt's latest Certain Women with Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams (reviewed). Ewan McGregor's debut directorial effort American Pastoral hits Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas.


What's your most vivid memory of "The Departed" and the 2006 Oscar Race? 

by Nathaniel R

Ten years ago today Martin Scorsese's smash hit The Departed opened in theaters. I remember that day well especially that beat just past this still above when the entire sold out movie theater exploded simultaneously with shock, excitement, screaming, whooping, collective chills. A master playing the audience perfectly so it's no wonder that Martin Scorsese finally won the Oscar for it. Strangely I have few other vivid memories of the movie other than the feeling that that deep line in Leonardo DiCaprio's perma-angst expression had never and would never be put to better use again. Also something about Vera Farmiga flirting in an elevator, and the movie's perfect final shot.

The Film Experience was definitely having an "off consensus" year -- we were all about Marie Antoinette, The Fountain, & Volver so the Oscars were kind of a let-down -- but at least it was one of those interesting years where the Best Picture contenders didn't hog all the nominations. In fact only 1 of the 10 leading acting contenders came from a Best Picture nominee. Strange, right?

What do you remember most about The Departed? And how comfortable were you with the 2006 Oscar's lineup. As a reminder the Best Pictures were:

  • Babel (7 noms / 1 controversial win - for the barely there Original Score) 
  • The Departed (5 noms / 4 wins including Picture)
  • Letters From Iwo Jima (4 noms / 1 win)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (4 noms / 2 wins)
  • The Queen (6 noms / 1 win)