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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

 

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Entries in Original Song (78)

Wednesday
Nov272013

Review: Frozen (2013)

Tim here, to talk about the last big animated release of 2013, and easily the best to come from a big studio all year: Frozen, the 53rd film in the Walt Disney animated feature canon. Adapted very loosely from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, it’s a fairy tale about two sisters, princess of the small kingdom of Arendelle: Elsa, first in line to the throne, voiced by Broadway icon Idina Menzel, and clumsy Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell. Elsa was born with a touch of magic to her, and can create snow and ice from her hands, and when this terrible secret reveals itself on the day she’s to be crowned queen, she flees the kingdom in terror, leaving behind a thick blanket of endless snow.

Let’s clear out the low-hanging fruit first: “best Disney movie in 20 years” is just plain silly. It’s the best Disney movie since Tangled, maybe. Except for the instantly-forgotten but wonderful Winnie the Pooh. Anyway, let’s not get all daffy and pretend this is a movie at the level of achievement reached by The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin. It has some very wonderful elements, and a gorgeous song in Elsa’s “to hell with y’all” anthem “Let It Go”, which is absolutely every bit the “Defying Gravity” knock-off that Glenn identified, though I’m inclined to say that it’s better than its evident model. In fact, there’s probably nothing about Frozen I don’t like, up to and including the comic relief snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), who is incorporated into the movie far more elegantly and with far less gruesome “buy this toy!” stridency than the trailers suggested would be remotely in the realm of possibility.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov262013

Sondheim to Streep "Don't F*** It Up!"

I am normally loathe to share soundbyte interviews from TV  -- especially when I have full delicious ones to offer with a whole slew of actors (soon, darlings, soon) -- but this little bit with Meryl Streep explaining what it's like to play Violet Weston is choice. The 'shiv in her hair' reference is perfect. But mostly I dug her enthusiasm about Into the Woods. Hey I'd squeal too if Sondheim wrote a new song for me!

He only asks that Meryl not fuck it up. (That's all we ask too) Which delights her. Because Meryl is delightful. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov192013

A Call From Samantha

Coming out of Her, Spike Jonze futuristic (but very "now") drama about human connection and intuitive Operating Systems I felt a little of the mood hangover that accompanied Lost in Translation. You know the way certain movies, particularly atmospheric singular ones, can do that... leave you feeling melancholy but considering or even seeing the world in a new way?

It's too fresh to say much more -- I'm still mulling it over -- but Scarlett Johansson's "Samantha", a disembodied voice that wants to be bodied, is crucial to its success. If you don't fall for Samantha how can you buy that Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore Twombly would? 

We've loved ScarJo's voice since she first hit the movies.  What other movie star voices could you fall in love with? Let's make a list in the comments!

P.S. Karen O's "Moon Song", attached to this post, is performed by Scarlett and Joaquin in the movie and by Karen O in the end credits and it better be Oscar nominated for Best Original Song

P.P.S. When the movie screens in your city make sure to watch the end credits. No, there's not an extra scene or anything. It's just a scroll but there are a couple good laughs and I loved the names of the characters played by this guy and his scene partner (no, it's not how IMDb lists it). 

Moon Song

Sunday
Nov102013

True Oscar Stories: Ann Reinking

Today is Ann Reinking's 64th birthday so do some impossibly precise Fosse moves tonight whereever you are in her honor #andallthatjazz

When I tweeted that this morning the internet saw fit to remind me of her big Oscar moment performing Phil Collins' Against All Odds (1984) and though it was legendarily awful I personally have nothing but fond memories of Reinking from Annie (1982) and Micki & Maude (1984) and her foxy Roxie Hart (pre-movie version). Plus, of course, All That Jazz (1979) which would have been a better Oscar moment had they saw fit to nominate her for Best Supporting Actress that year.

I have only very vague memories of the 1984 Oscars (only my second ? time watching as a kid) and YouTube doesn't help since her Oscar night performance has never been online to my knowledge though I did discover some time-capsule LA Times items about that moment and this oddity from the Golden Globe nominated Movie Movie (1978) while searching for it.

Harry Hamlin's half aroused/half terrified Golden Globe nominated pretty mouth-face is so adorbs, don'cha think? I mean that's the only sane face to pull while watching Ann Reinking doing spread eagles and scissor kicks in a black tearaway gown and blonde afro.

-She sure can sing."
-With every bone in her body." 

I wish I could see her number from the Oscars and am suddenly filled with longing for the days of big awful Original Song production numbers on Hollywood's High Holy Night. Which are your "favorites" - scare quotes intentional? 

Saturday
Nov092013

Oscar's Songwriters Have a Difficult Task in 2013

Glenn here and it's the weekend, which means there is no better time to discuss Oscar's original song category (er, right?). Much like that other much-maligned category, animated feature, The Academy's songwriting branch somehow need to come up with five nominees even if there aren't enough worthy contenders. Last year's introduction of a guaranteed five nominees produced "Academy Award Nominee Ted!", although it did allow for the beautiful song from Chasing Ice (performed by ScarJo!) to come to our attention so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all? I strongly believe that this is their penance for not nominating "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque a few years back. Diane Warren's music branch voodoo doll works in mysterious ways, folks.

At least one song we can all be pretty confident about is "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. Apparently the studio will only be submitting this one song from the film despite a wide roster of contenders. They're going for the win it would seem and, at least at this stage, unless reception to the film isn't particularly positive it's probably the best bet for the win based purely on history. The video below isn't the best, but it's all we've got at the moment that isn't a Demi Lovato pop version. 

The Butler, The Great Gatsby, Belgian bluegrass and Tom Cruise after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct022013

7 Notes on Revised Oscar Charts

Hey y'all... I've been hard at work this week updating all the charts. Yep, every. single. one. So herewith ten notes for suggested comment fodder. 

Mystery Meat
American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks are the Oscar Bait Unknowns... unless you assume that Wolf of Wall Street will be finished in time. All have, to my knowledge, not been screened for even long lead critics. Most pundits, armchair or otherwise, believe in Hustle wholeheartedly (one assumes due to David O. Russell's recent track record) and are suspicious of Banks (one assumes because of the dangers of Disney-on-Disney hagiography but maybe also because movies-about-movies aren't always Hugos; sometimes they're Hitchcocks). So far I'm not expecting a lot of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but maybe that's a stealth masterpiece about to blow us all away. Which of the unseens are you hoping deserves space in the Best Picture race?

 All Over The World
The foreign film charts are so much work and every site now covers this category that I once had a stranglehold on. I wonder if they're worth the time anymore (?) but I do love my subtitled pictures. We currently have 69 official submissions and only two have what you might call a truly high profile (Hong Kong's The Grandmaster, and Iran's The Past) though I'm not at all sure that they're the strongest candidates this year. Take a look at the charts from Afghanistan to Italy and Japan to Venezuela! Which films are you most curious about and do you like the influx of variety here? The world is giving us animated films, documentaries, horror films, romances, you name it, in addition to the usual heaping helpings of war dramas, biopics, and childhood journeys. If you follow this race closely you should know that Team Experience is on it: Tim saw Egypt's entry, Jose took in the Czech Republic submission, and I reviewed the Romanian and Iranian entries and Glenn and I both loved the Cambodian entry though we haven't written about it yet. More to come.

The Coronation March
I understand that with Best Actress there's a lot of "It's Sandy vs. Cate" hoopla in online forums at the moments. Bullock is in very good shape for a nomination, true (I'm just being slightly contrarian to leave her out at the moment though I don't think she's anywhere close to 'lock' status yet) but I'd be very shocked if she ever gained enough momentum for a second win. A) it's not that kind of role since there's no "bait" beyond sad tears B) she's not that kind of actor to win a second unless competition is weak or the role is super bait C) Oscar has never in 85 years indicated a deep well of goodwill for actors working auteur pieces or actors in science fiction films. So unless Amy Adams is our stealth champion, I think Cate will be sweeping for months ala The Queen... and lord knows she is one.

Sell Yourself
Oscar campaigns can make a huge difference for movies and performers that aren't slam dunks. Armies of publicists and awards strategists are already working on their maneuvers though we won't see it till it happens. The films I personally think need smart campaigns the most are those in wide open categories (like animation) or those that will get zilch if they don't have one, either because they're perceived as "small" or because they're in the middle ground of praised but not rapturously so or they're well liked but there's no automatic "in". I'm thinking of films like Prisoners, Short Term 12, Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha, Labor Day, Blue is the Warmest Color, maybe even The Great Gatsby and Rush (the latter two I'm currently predicting to win the double edged sword prize aka the "most nominations without a corresponding Best Picture nod"). I realize it's a diverse lot but my point is they could all score anywhere from nuthin' to three or four nods, depending how well they play the game and whether they can condition AMPAS to think of them quite naturally when it comes time to ballot.  

• Sound and Fury
We've seen in the past that there's only so much room for blockbusters in the visual and sound categories if big showy prestige dramas have the wow elements and necessary "size" (think Gravity and Captain Phillips and maybe even Gatsby to a limited degree). When Tony Stark suits up the visual effects voters ALWAYS respond but the sound guys have only thrilled to his particular blast offs once. With Superman and various Kryptonians wreaking such loud havoc this year could the Man of Steel steal tech nods from the Man of Iron... or maybe they're both shut out and World War Z rises? Oscar doesn't really go for zombie films but there's a first time for everything right and maybe a couple of tech elements could be honored?

• Dress You Up
I can't believe we've come this far into the film year and I haven't waxed rhapsodic about Best Costume Design. I will rectify that soon including an interview with one of the true legends of the category. One of the things I've always liked about the costume designers is that they don't always stay in lock-step with Best Picture so it's anyone's guess. There are a lot of candidates worth considering including Lee Daniels' The Butler (crocheted disco suits!), Dallas Buyer's Club (80s trans glamour and redneck Texas), period finery versus humble wool in 12 Years a Slave, the sexpot disco glam of American Hustle... I could go on. One thing I'm curious about is Trish Summerville for Hunger Games: Catching Fire. People loved her work on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and though the original Capitol costumes (by a different designer) didn't win a nomination they did get a lot of media attention. How will these fare in comparison? 

• Sing-Along?
Will no one speak out or care about the Original Song category? It still seems entirely bereft of nominatable tunes... hey, if that's what it takes to get Short Term 12 nominated for something than that's what it takes. If we were nominating Best Song Performance we'd be singing a different tune entirely because, hello, Black Nativity divas and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac and Oscar Isaac because good god his voice in Inside Llewyn Davis! I didn't love the movie beyond the cat but his voice is just golden. 

CHECK OUT THE CHARTS AND COME BACK AND DISCUSS!
PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SOUND | ANIMATION | FOREIGN FILMS
Suggestions on how to improve the charts are welcome

 

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