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Entries in Oscars (00s) (114)

Thursday
May052016

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

For no reason whatsoever that's what we're blogging at this moment! (Just humor me, okay? My back is in spasming pain.)

1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the U.S. but 151 years later the topic is still on everyone's minds: see TV's Underground (any of you watching this?), the exciting news about Harriet Tubman on the $20 and two new biopics about her in the works, plus recent and current Best Picture types (Lincoln, 12 Years a Slave and possibly Birth of a Nation

1891 - Carnegie Hall (then named Music Hall) opened in NYC so that one day "JUDY! JUDY! JUDY!" could be recorded for posterity

1914 - Movie star Tyrone Power was born and we still don't have a biopic 102 years later even though Zac Efron would be perfect in the role

1927 - Pat Carroll is born so that 62 years later we might enjoy the genius of her voice in The Little Mermaid 

1955Damn Yankees opens on Broadway and quickly becomes the movie Damn Yankees (1958).

1981 - Bobby Sands dies of a hunger strike in prison. His last days inspire a movie which is just extraordinary and introduces the world to the genius filmmaker/muse partnership of  Steve McQueen & Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave). 

2000 - Freshly minted Oscar winner, mesmerizing new screen presence, brother-kissing and blood-vial wearing Angelina Jolie marries Billy Bob Thornton further confusing / fascinating the world. That same day in movie theaters Gladiator opens which delights the world, Oscar voters, and drunk Elizabeth Taylor

Gladiator!  

Sunday
Apr242016

Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic

Our celebration of Actors this month continues with Lynn Lee on Viggo

Is Viggo Mortensen the most interesting man in the world?  Based on his peripatetic history and eclectic interests, he’s certainly a contender.  In addition to acting, he’s a prolific painter, photographer, composer, and poet who founded his own publishing house.  A dual American and Danish citizen who spent his early childhood in South America and Denmark before returning to his native New York, he speaks multiple languages, with greatest fluency in English, Spanish, and Danish.  Oh, and his ex-wife is punk singer Exene Cervenko, with whom he has a son. 

As my husband put it, “Viggo Mortensen is who James Franco wishes he was.”

I can’t speak to the artistic merits of Viggo’s off-screen pursuits, but I do see him as a kind of anti-Franco in keeping them largely off the public radar.  And while he’s clearly driven by a need to express himself via many outlets, he still exudes a sense of some private, fundamentally unknowable core self.  It permeates his screen presence, too, and is part of what makes him so intriguing as an actor.  (Well, that plus the rugged Scandinavian good looks and dimpled chin don't hurt, either.)  More...

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Thursday
Mar102016

Where Does Will Smith Go From Here?

Kieran here. It may be heresy to admit this among other cinephiles, but I like Will Smith. I think he’s a talented actor. On a more personal level, I’m not nearly as irrationally annoyed by him or his children as many seem to be. Earlier this week it was announced that Smith and his Suicide Squad director David Ayer have inked Netflix’s biggest film deal to date with their supernatural police thriller Bright. He was once thought of as the industry’s last true movie star. With both this new project and Suicide Squad (out later this year), one wonders what’s on the horizon for Will Smith...

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Thursday
Feb252016

Bad Movies on Oscar Weekend

This weekend's release of Gods of Egypt got me thinking about the fact that we never get great movies opening on Oscar weekend. Studios must be betting that those of us watching the show are too busy prepping movie-themed party snacks to sneak in something special at the movies. Instead, they usually cater to an audience who'll likely be avoiding the big show. Hardly a new standard for release schedules, this weekend has been a dumping ground for forgettable cinema for some time.

Like the notorious poor quality of early months of the year, this weekend rarely gifts us with cult classics or enduring pleasures either. You have to go back 1997's Oscar weekend to find releases that still have vocal fans: TNT staple Selena (remember good Jennifer Lopez?) and Liar Liar (remember good Jim Carrey?). The previous year had David O. Russell's underappreciated sophmore film Flirting with Disaster, which did get some precursor love.

However, for something timeless and Oscar recognized, this weekend's biggest standout in modern memory is Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts performance as What Do You Want It To Be Vivian wasn't the most recent Oscar nominee debuting the weekend of the ceremony.

Let's see how far back we have to go to get an Oscar nominated film released on Oscar weekend!*

*full disclosure: I cheated, but you will totally agree why after the jump...

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Wednesday
Feb242016

HBO’s LGBT History Oscar Break: 2003 Acting Races

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

 Last week we played a fun game of Oscar What If… imagining how Roger Spottiswoode’s And the Band Played On might have shifted the supporting actor and actress categories at the 1993 Academy Awards had it been released theatrically. This week we’re jumping ten years ahead and looking at the 2003 Oscar acting races and trying to suss out whether Jane Anderson’s Normal (which we discussed in depth a while back) could have made waves in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories.

Given that it was released the same year as the towering Angels in America it’s not surprising that Anderson’s Normal (based on her own play) went home empty-handed from all the end of year awards handed out despite featuring two dazzling performances that are usually awards-bait gold: Tom Wilkinson plays Roy Applewood who embarks on a transition to become the person he’s always known herself to be: Ruth; while Lange played his supportive wife, Irma. Indulge me if you will in imagining this Sundance Film Festival-screening title making it to theaters across the country and mounting campaigns that could have jockeyed for nominations the year Lord of the Rings: Return of the King swept the Oscars.

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Saturday
Feb132016

Valentine's - The Painted Veil

Team Experience is sharing favorite love scenes for Valentine's. Here's Josh...

It's a familiar and tested recipe to throw a beautiful period frock on an actress worth their weight in Oscars, and set her literary romantic troubles against a luscious location. Actressexuals and their mums will be clutching their pearls in the cinema on the first night it opens, and rewatching on DVD instead of reading the book for years to come. But let this not detract from The Painted Veil, the underrated and oscarless (not even nominations!) gem from 2006. 

That divine poster image of Edward Norton and Naomi Watts drifting along the river is plucked from the films most beautiful scene. The scenes beauty is due in no small part to Alexander Desplat's score that rides the romance of the film perfectly. His 'River Waltz' which accompanies the scene echoes the films romantic arc, its gentle chords and progressive structure mirrors the very real struggle of Kitty and Walter as they have 'waltzed' around one another in a tricky marriage, peppered with early acts of deliberate cruelty. As they ease into the relationship, and let the rhythms of their new life together guide them, they become entwined and supportive partners. The score also playfully references Gnossienne No 1 by Erik Satie, a piece used in the film first diegetically playing in the party that Walter first swoons over Kitty passing him in the hallway, and then again as Kitty plays the tune on a rickety piano in the orphanage as he watches on. A moment of projected love, and a moment of genuine discovery of love.

And the scene is lusciously visual. Much credit to the location scouts for finding this location in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. Wide blue eyed Naomi and her gorgeous lace parasol, and swoon worthy Ed Norton in a crisp linen shirt, set against those towering rock faces and sprawling bamboo. It's a smorgasbord of romanticism and a perfect antithesis from their first gruelling journey, one that Walter made them make on foot, to punish Kitty. This is a rare romance that let's us fall in love the same time the characters do.

Our Valentine's Series
A Room With a View (1986)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Before Sunset (2004)
Love Songs (2007)
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Beyond the Lights (2014)

Tuesday
Feb092016

Bye Instant Watch: United 93, Star Trek, and a Dutch LGBT Gem

Here's another batch of movies leaving Instant Watch services on Netflix of Amazon Prime if you'd like to catch up with them. It also provides us with an excuse to talk about a handful of random movies so why not. We've freeze framed randomly. Let's begin...

UNITED 93 (2006) ends February 11th on Netflix

United 93, Cleveland. Verify your altitude." 

This freeze frame is about 45 minutes in. The terrorists have just taken the cockpit when air traffic control tries to reach them. God this movie is upsetting. 

WERE THE WORLD MINE (2008) ends February 11th on Netflix

-Jonathan. You look luminous.
-I'm in love.  

I dont remember this well beyond its silly everyone straight becomes gay through magic plot. But I think there was a good musical number?  [More films after the jump...]

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