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Entries in Oslo August 31st (6)

Thursday
Jan032013

Beau's 2012 Bests

Nathaniel's top ten hits this weekend but he's invited TFE correspondents to share their own, so here are my personal loves of the year. [Disclaimer: I have yet to see Holy Motors, Amour, Rust and Bone, and On the Road.]

honorable mentions...  

13) Arbitrage -Nicholas Jarecki's feature debut is a whopper, a palate cleanser for the John Grisham crowd and a showcase for Richard Gere's most effortless work in this thirty-five year career. Coupled with Zemeckis' Flight, you'd be hard pressed to find two more similar and dissimilar anti heroes who crowded the multiplexes this year. Charisma carries the Devil on its cape. You've never wanted the bad guy to win more.

12) Flight -The messiest of messes, a meditation on faith, humanity and temptation that true to form, sways and stumbles and remains standing, a loud, brash bombardment of the amoral and their blinding pain. Washington is Everyman to Goodman's Satan. And who the fuck is James Badge Dale? He pulls a Beatrice Straight and basically walks away with the film.

11) Ted -There is something deeply unlikeable about Seth McFarlane, an addictive toxicity that repulses you and engages you simultaneously. With 'Ted', his watermark (read: pissmark) on network television transfers over to the big screen with a spring in its step and a grenade in its pocket. Defaming the stunted lifestyle of men all the while celebrating its appeal, Ted made me laugh harder and feel worse about myself than anything else I saw this year. It establishes Macfarlane as the newest, crudest uncle of American comedy - you hate him when he's sober, but goddamn, there's nobody else you'd rather get hammered with.

 
top ten from 'Cloud' to 'Cabin' is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan022013

Harlem January 2nd

A Filmic Notion on The Red Shoes "...a film that 'could be' my all time favourite"
Awards Circuit on the breakthrough performers of 2012
Pajiba 15 pop culture moments that made us cry in 2012
Boy Culture continues their countdown of hottest actors of all time (#50-21) ranging from Buster Crabbe, to Tyrone Power through Christian Bale in this edition. But I've just been informed that Takeshi Kaneshiro is not on the list at all so someone will have to explain this word "hotness" to me!

Antagony & Ecstasy Tim shares his ten best of the year: Magic Mike, Oslo August 31st, Tabu and more... I wish I liked Oslo a bit more than I do but I'm thrilled that so many critics I like are suddenly enthused about Joachim Trier because I don't remember having much company when I was all "ohmygodeveryone Reprise !!!" a few years back.
Media Decoder on footing your own Oscar campaign. And no, this article is not about Ann Dowd. People do it every year.
Gawker Rich Juzwiack on the year in film. I've always loved Rich's writing but it's so weird to read a full "year in" piece in which I agree with quite literally nothing. haha 
Coming Soon promotional art for the next few years of Pixar films
Reverse Shot's top ten with The Deep Blue Sea an out of time chart topper

Thursday
Aug302012

Love Letters Pt. 1: Zachary Quinto, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Messina

© Nick Stepowyj[Editor's Note: Melanie Lynskey (Hello I Must Be Going) is guest blogging. We love her. And now there's a lotta love to go around. - Nathaniel R]

After my love letter to Noah Taylor I thought it might be kind of fun to write to some people for The Film Experience and ask THEM who they'd want to write a love letter to. Hopefully this is making some kind of sense. So I made a little dream list of people I respect and admire beyond all reason and I sent them a little e-mail saying:

I've seen you do work that has made me want to write you a love letter because it's moved me so deeply. Who or what would you like to write a love letter to? What piece of art or artist or feeling has moved you in this way?"

Here are a few amazing responses I got from these talented and passionate individuals!

To the magnificent & unique Zachary Quinto "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Angels In America!"

Zach's love letter:

I remember so vividly the first time i saw IL POSTINO. i was a freshman in college - completely ravenous for creative inspiration - and i found myself alone at one of the only art house movie theaters in pittsburgh at the time. i was so enraptured by the experience. the tenderness and intimacy of the story. the beauty of the landscape. the powerful exploration of love. and in particular the performance of massimo troisi. it stays with me to this day: his subtlety. his vulnerability. his openness. his humor. and as i learned more about the film and the tragedy of its star - my genuine love for the movie blossomed into something that still inspires me any time i think about it. troisi's commitment to this story ultimately cost him his life. he died just twelve hours after the film wrapped - and only days before he was meant to go to london for the heart transplant that likely would have saved him. but his connection to the project (which he also co-wrote) was so absolute and unwavering that - even in the face of his obviously weakened state - he would not back down until it was complete. and you can see it on screen. his passion and investment in the story is one of the most bittersweet manifestations i have encountered. i love that film and i love that performance. and i love the memory of the first time it all washed over me.
-ZACHARY QUINTO

To the incredibly brave & brilliant actor and director Joe Swanberg "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Nights and Weekends..."

Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig in "Nights and Weekends"

Joe's love letter:

My love letter is to Elaine May. She's one of the coolest filmmakers alive and a constant source of inspiration. I watched THE HEARTBREAK KID and the first 20 minutes of ISHTAR about 5 times each this Summer when I was prepping my new film. She's a brave, adventurous filmmaker and it's a shame she didn't make more work, but what exists fills me with love and gets me excited about making my own stuff."
-JOE SWANBERG 

To the best actress I know, the incredible Tina Holmes "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Six Feet Under..."

Tina's love letter:

There's a scene in the beautiful movie Oslo, August 31st that i can't get out of my head. the movie takes place on the last day of summer. 24 hours in which the main character is struggling to decide whether or not he can bear to go on living. it's sounds so grim, but the movie is filled with life and beauty. anyway the scene that blew me away is where he is watching some friends go for a swim at dawn after a long night's bender. he sits alone and watches them, especially this young beautiful innocent girl he has met that night. the camera stays on his face and he watches in silence and i swear to god you watch him engage with life and hope and then despair and engage and despair and engage and despair and back and forth. all that and i don't think his expression even really changes much. it's haunting. that's when i love acting. when you can see inside someone. it's not even anything they do. i don't even know how it happens really. some people just let you see their soul."
-TINA HOLMES

To the versatile, handsome, showing his heart and constantly working Chris Messina "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Celeste & Jesse Forever..."

Chris's love letter:

I instantly thought of John Cazale and his performances in all 5 of his films. Each one of them so different and nuanced. Dog Day Afternoon was mind-blowing for me as a kid. To see New York in the 70's, the heat, the anti-establishment "Attica" chant, of course watching Pacino felt at the time like finding god. And John Cazale's silence and intensity is something that I will never forget. I was afraid at any moment that he would start shooting the Employees, and then Sonny, Pacino's character asks him what country he wants to go to when the robbery is over and Sal (Cazale) says "Wyoming" not played for laughs, you instantly see into Sal's heart all his vulnerability and desperation. A complex subtle performance that continues to amaze me each time I revisit it.

What Sidney Lumet did with that story and each and everyone of those actors brought to it... this was a defining moment for me in wanting to be a storyteller."
-CHRIS MESSINA

To the insanely funny, thoughtful director, writer, actor (and also a ridiculously gifted magician), David Wain "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Wet Hot American Summer (obv); Wanderlust... "

Dear NASHVILLE,  thank you for enveloping me in your glow when I discovered you fifteen years after your release! I left our first (nearly 3 hour) date feeling exhilarated, inspired and spent. You opened my eyes to new possibilities in filmmaking, storytelling, comedy, acting, sound. You resonated with me over the last twenty years, always reminding me to be bold and to trust my voice!"
-DAVID WAIN

To the hilarious and authentic and awesome Natasha Lyonne "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: Slums Of Beverly Hills, you in Night At The Golden Eagle..."

[Natasha didn't get back to me with her finished thing but I thought I'd include the things she was thinking she'd write about because they're amazing choices: ' Think I'd choose susan tyrell in fat city or bob fosse & all that jazz ... or Terrence Stamp or Toby Dammit...]

To the super funny, super sweet, unlike any other person living, the genius Michael Showalter "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: "The Baxter"...

Michael Showalter's letter:

Call me sappy but if I'm gonna write a love letter it's gotta be for romantic comedies, so my love letter is for my favorite rom-com filmmaker Richard Curtis (writer/director of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Love Actually.) His bittersweet world of laughter, loss and love is one that I really enjoy visiting - like your favorite bookstore or coffee shop. Everyone is smart, nice and funny. They are optimistic but not necessarily "happy." They like eating good food, talking at length about their neuroses and wear warm clothing. There's never anyone in a Richard Curtis story that feels "too cool." Nope, they are just people. Friends. Acquaintances. Trying to get by, trying to be good, to be better, fallible, trying to grab at some little piece of joy and sweetness.

To the brilliant and intense and funny and great actor Michael Weston I love everything you've ever done but my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: that amazing episode of Six Feet Under where you kidnap David..."

Michael Weston's letter:

You know, there are so many actors and movies and filmmakers who have inspired me... who continue to inspire me. I think I have been really blessed to have a group of friends who are so deeply creative and fun and funny and silly, and I find that they are always my greatest inspiration and what I dwell on in loving revery-time.

But, when I go back to the beginning... where I really felt the power of film and what still makes me laugh because I was so completely moved by it... was the movie "Flash Gordon". I know that's sort of like sitting in some crazy heavenly wine cellar and asking for a bottle of two buck Chuck. But, the truth is, the year was 1980, I was like 7, and that was the moment I wanted to be a part of film. In that finale scene where he's like driving the spaceship and he's about to skewer Ming The Merciless and that awesome music is playing "Flash! Ah-haaahhh! Duhn duhn duhn!". Man... I stood on my seat and f-ing cheered. Literally. I didn't give a hoot who was looking at me because I was so in it. I whooped. And was finally brought back to earth, pulled back into my seat by some kid I was friends with at the time. See, I don't remember who I was with, but, I still find myself, returning to that moment. And I still sing that theme song to myself... and others if they'll listen."
-MICHAEL WESTON 

To the extraordinary, radiant, gorgeous and real Ahna O'Reilly "my love letter to you is mostly me obsessing about: The Help..."

Ahna's letter:

I want to write Sissy Spacek a Love Letter for everything, especially "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Carrie". I want to be her.

-Tommy Lee Jones/Robert Duvall in "Lonesome Dove", I saw this when I was little and it has meant a lot to me ever since. I think it was the first time I understood chemistry between actors.

-On the topic of things from when I was little: Hitchcock (Almost all of them except "Frenzy" and "Marnie," those were the two sexy ones we weren't allowed to watch); Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers ("Barkley's of Broadway" and many others); "The Sound of Music"; Audrey Hepburn ("Roman Holiday", "Sabrina"), Judy Garland ("Meet Me in St Louis", "Easter Parade"). These people and their movies were pretty much all my parents let us watch...ahhh to be sheltered. 

-Timothy Scott, my heart breaks for him even if I only see his face for a fleeting second in a movie (just re-watched "Days of Heaven" and there he was for 3 seconds, and I loved him).

 -The author Tracy Kidder.

-Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose. I know this is an obvious one. But I could watch this on a loop, the thought of it makes me cry."
-AHNA O'REILLY 

I'm so grateful to all these amazing people!

-Melanie

P.S. UPDATE: More love letters from Rosemarie DeWitt, Kathy Najimy, etcetera

 

Tuesday
Oct252011

London: W.E., Oslo and Japan

David here, reporting from the final week of the London Film Festival. If there's one name guaranteed to grab my attention, it's...

The sight of Madonna's name heading up movie credits is a slightly surreal one, and it's difficult to imagine the icon standing behind a camera, and so W.E.'s worst foible is an understandable one from such a deified person. Re-edited after a poor reception at previous festivals, there is a fair deal to admire here, but all those flashbulbs must have gone to her head, because the photography is stuffed with dramatically posed shots, as if its being filmed with a still camera. Yet it's in the camera work that the film digs up shards of emotional truth amongst the narrative cliches, suggesting that Madonna might prove a worthwhile director. When the camera moves, it does so with a defiant tactility, a visual sense alive with feeling and clarity. This story of a late-'90s neglected wife (Abbie Cornish) in New York turning to the story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, superbly poised) for comfort and reflection is the stuff of clunky parallels with little sense of historical ambiguity. The soundtrack is alarmingly overloaded. But the immediate, reactive sense of the photography delves through the physical to the emotional roots, scoring unpredictable truths. (C) more articles on W.E.

Oslo, August 31st is like two pages ripped from a diary; one covered with words, the second blank and sodden with tears. After his first feature, the textured novelistic Reprise, director Joachim Trier follows in Louis Malle's footsteps by adapting Pierre Drieu La Rochelle's Le feu follet, a melancholy tale of a man debating suicide. Anders Danielsen Lie, one of the two leads of Reprise, is given the luxury of a film to himself ...only his character, Anders, isn't one to luxuriate. The film's first half is full of words. Anders attempts to spread his wings, testing the waters of the outside world as he breaks from a spell in rehab. A discussion with his friend Thomas (Hans Olav Brenner) stretches imperceptibly to twenty minutes, dense with completely natural musings, arguments, and agonising admissions that absorb both characters and viewers. As Anders spirals into the night, and into August 31st, the film shifts into sensory expression, the lens focus shifting lucidly, the soundtrack slowly emptying to mournful desolation. Far from easy to watch, and tearfully inconclusive, this is nonetheless another quiet triumph from Trier. (A-) more articles on Oslo August 31st

two brothers in "I Wish"

Two brothers on a quest to repair their family. It's a story out of 1980s Hollywood cinema, and I Wish does ring with the cliches of quest narratives like Stand By Me or The Goonies. Hirokazu Kore-eda, a festival favourite thanks to films like Nobody Knows and After Life, directs this bright tale which centres around the supposed miracle that occurs when two bullet trains pass each other. Koichi and Ryu, each stuck with a parent on opposite sides of Kyushu, plot a voyage to witness the miracle and wish their family back together. Where Kore-eda betters his Stateside influences, though, is in his generous characterizations of the adult characters, who lack the intimacy we're granted with the vibrant kids but feel alive with both warmth and foibles. Inevitably, the film cycles through familiar ideas, but the wheels are so smooth it scarcely matters. The achievement of the quest isn't the thing, but the journey, and you're unlikely to find a more heartwarming, vibrant trip all year. (B+)

Monday
Sep192011

TIFF Finale Pt. 2: Oscar Boosts, Oslo August, Wuthering Heights, and Personal Prizes

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post now includes personal prizes from both of our TIFF correspondents, Amir & Paolo. I thank them profusely for all the coverage this year! -Nathaniel R

Amir here, back with the wrap up to this year's Toronto International Film Festival coverage for TFE. The festival ended yesterday with Nadine Labaki's Where Do We Go Now? beating Iran's A Separation and Canada's Starbuck to take the top prize, the People's Choice Award.

For me personally, the festival went out with a bang as on the closing weekend I watched a very entertaining film called. ... wait for it... Where Do We Go Now? before it became the surprise winner. I have Nathaniel to thank because before he pointed this one out among his top 16 curiousities, it was not on my radar at all. On one hand, I'm a little upset that Nadine Labaki took the prize because this means A Separation came second. I haven't seen the latter yet but if you haven't guessed by the number of Iran-related films I covered, I'm from, you guessed it right, Iran. So if TIFF were to give legs to one Best Foreign Language Film Oscar contender, you know which team I’m rooting for. On the other hand, I did contribute to the People's Choice outcome by giving Labaki’s film a 5 star vote after my screening. My five star vote doesn't mean the film is perfect. Far from it, in fact. But I can overlook it's serious dramatic problems in favour of its many merits.

The film is about a group of women in a village in Lebanon who try to ease tensions between the Christian and Muslim men using methods ranging from hash cookies to bringing in Ukrainian strippers. Part comedy, part musical and part exercise in interreligious coexistence in the Middle East, the film should be applauded just for approaching something as controversial as the Muslim-Christian relationship with comedy. But the script also has serious problems, ignoring any development in its male characters and unable to make the profound emotional impact it's aiming for when it ventures, too far, towards the dramatic and serious. But it is consistently funny if contrived, and the musical sequences are marvellous. Best of all, its female ensemble is Volver-level fantastic, equally funny and poignant.

I'm certain we'll see this as a Best Foreign Language Film nominee though I doubt that the critics will fall head over heels. Based on the recent track record of the category, I’d say this film has a good shot at winning the actual Oscar over whichever critical darlings are nominated alongside it.

On the last weekend of the festival I also so quite a double feature: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Chicken with Plums and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights.

AMIR & PAOLO's favorites from the festival after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May202011

Links: Danish Girls & Norsk Men, Melancholia & Muppets

News
The Playlist
Looks like more development hell for Nicole Kidman transgendered drama The Danish Girl
New York Magazine Can AMC survive its own success. Growing pains for the network (They've just rejected all six of the pilots they were considering.)

Randomness
Stale Popcorn Glenn continues to the best of the posterologists online
Just Jared interviews Kristin Chenoweth. She's tremendously busy but I sure hope this Tammy Faye musical works out. Wouldn't she be perfect?
Ultra Culture thinks Lars Von Trier's Melancholia is major.
Cineuropa loves the new Norwegian film at Cannes from Reprise's director and star (pictured left) and writer (not pictured) called Oslo August 31st. You may recall that I was absolutely nuts for Reprise -- and met and interviewed Joachim Trier (who was a doll) -- so I'm looking forward to this one.

And in other Cannes news, Hitler has already reacted to the Cannes Festival / Lars Von Trier kerfuffle...

It's a little long for a concept joke but there are some great lines.

List Fever
Pajiba The Five Coolest Muppets
La Daily Musto
the two biggest lies actors always tell. I wholeheartedly co-sign. I've never seen an actor talented enough to sell either of these but they always try, bless.
Telegraph's 10 Best HairDressing moments in film
Movie|Line 13 Facts about Woody Allen and the Box Office