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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 Pedro Almodóvar (26)

Wednesday
Sep242014

We Hereby Officially Name Today "Best Original Screenplay Birthday Day"

Pedro holding up a copy of his "Bad Education" screenplayToday's Useless Trivia! Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Oscar nominated writers of contemporary cinema share this birthday: Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Pedro Almodóvar (Talk To Her), Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles), and John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator). Only Pedro has won for writing (though Bird is also a multiple Oscar-winner) but it's a neat and weird coincidence, yes?

TWO QUESTIONS
What's your favorite Almodóvar screenplay (besides Talk To Her that is which rightfully scooped up the Oscar)?

Do you think Brad Bird deserved to win Original Screenplay in his years at bat (2004 and 2007) 

P.S. You guessed it: This year's Oscar Chart Updates for Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted are now available.

Sunday
Sep072014

TIFF: Vignettes with Mike Leigh

Nathaniel's adventures at TIFF. Day 2

Day 2 was just magical from start to finish with 3 great movies and 1 solid one. Two of the films you've already read about here in Sweden's stellar Oscar submission Force Majeure and Norway's Out of Nature about one man hiking around in the wilderness on a long weekend. I like to think of the latter as Norway's counterpart to Reese Witherspoon in Wild - which I'll be seeing soon - though I doubt Reese takes her clothes off for a wank and runs around starkers. Day 2 was something of a vignette day since I will remember it primarily as the day I saw Mike Leigh twice and hid from the rain with him (long story - save it for the podcast!), the day I scarfed down melted cheese sandwiches with Nick & Joe in an highly unglamorous take-out setting, and a day of not one but 2 great movies composed of vignettes.

WILD TALES. an amazing Argentinian delightVignette films, like their cousin the omnibus, are tough beasts to pull off because you're essentially asking the audience to reinvest in the movie every 20 minutes or so, as if they've stumbled into a short film festival. They're also bound to feel uneven with some segments much richer than others. But here's two films that pull it off with real aplomb...

Argentina's Wild Tales is directed by Damián Szifrón but produced by TFE's favorite Pedro Almodóvar who I imagine is just thrilled with the results. It seems like a movie he would love what with its colorful characters, amusingly melodramatic and twisty stories, and at least three vivid female characters though it's not as actressy as his movies. Let's just say everyone in this six story movie is ...on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, and not just the women. Wild Tales was a big hit at Cannes earlier this year and it might possibly be Argentina's Oscar submission. It's easy to see why since the title is accurate. You feel like anything could happen primarily because not so very many minutes into the terrific opening vignette, it does. It starts just like any movie might with a beautiful woman being chatted up by a handsome older stranger as their flight takes off. But then they realize they have an acquaintance in common. Another passenger overhears them, interrupts and...

No, I shan't tell you more because this movie is best seen cold as the surprises are half the fun. Let's just say this free-fall into insanity sets the tone for the whole film which plays like a highwire act of dark comedy, violent thrills, and romances gone awry. Of the six segments, of which only one is just "good" (that'd be the one starring Argentinian cinema's Mr Ubiquitous Ricardo Darin), I had two favorites. The third vignette takes place on a long stretch of dusty highway where two men piss each other off while driving. Neither of them can let any affront go. It's a stretch of cinema that should make the majority of the world's action directors ashamed of themselves for not bothering to pack in as many thrills and cleverly choreographed beats into 2 hours that Szifron manages in 20 minutes. The final sequence centering on a wedding reception that goes sour and descends into utter chaos is also pretty damn great, and funny too. Don't read anything more about it and if gets released, jump in. A-

VENICE GOLDEN LION WINNER!
Sweden's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting On Existence comes from one of Mike Leigh's favorite directors Roy Andersson. Hence the first Mike Leigh sighting of the day since he came to the show with Mr Turner's primary non-Timothy Spall Oscar contender Marion Bailey. The room was jam-packed with press many of whom were laughing out loud and very frequently which is not all that common in critics screenings, I have to tell you.

A Pigeon... which does indeed include pigeons sitting on branches (albeit mostly offscreen),  bills itself as the final part of a trilogy of what it means to be human. And it starts with three short scenes called "Three Encounters With Death" which are beyond hilarious. I will never forget the ancient little lady hanging tightly on to her purse because she wants to take it with her when she goes. Every scene in the film is its own little continuous shot vignette in which the camera does not move but the things within the frame do, albeit sometimes very slowly. The two most frequently recurring characters are gag salesmen who keep announcing that they're there to help people have fun but are the glummest downers you ever did see, perpetually frowning, failing, frumpy and shuffling as if they're zombies across Andersson's often brilliant mise-en-scène . Not that anyone in the frame looks "alive" per se, since Andersson's figures are nearly all chalky white with a touch of ginger in their hair. The salesmen turned out to be my least favorite running gag in the movie and definitely wore out their welcome a bit though they're super funny at first. My favorite recurring bit was the generic repetitive dialogue heard whenever anyone onscreen answers a telephone. As if all the disconnected oddness weren't perplexing enough, there are three amazing period piece scenes involving warring soldiers, a musical number in a diner, and a slave ship (a very disturbing sequence).

Andersson strikes me a singular director, but there is one comparison point I feel comfortable sharing. I kept thinking of Jacques Tati, because the longer you stare at the sometimes crowded sometimes spare shots, the funnier they become and the bigger their comic payoffs whenever anything changes within the frame you've been visually searching for more things to discover or giggle about. I'm still scratching my head over this film but I'm already kicking myself for having missed Andersson's previous films. Several people have told me that I would love them. They were right and I am a fool for taking so long to get to them. A-

one of many screamingly funny but morbid scenes in "A Pigeon..."

Can you tell that I'm having a great great festival this year?

Wednesday
Aug202014

I thought, "hey, I can link, I can link." but now I know that I was wrong, 'cause I missed you ♪ ♫

Criterion Collection Pedro Almodóvar write about his experience making Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down (1990). I so love that one. So weirdly romantic in spite of its whole Stockholm Syndrome business
Natasha VC Brad Pitt before and after makeup. Hee
In Contention Tapley wonders if Eastwood's American Sniper will have an impact on Oscar with its Christmas release
The Dissolve John Lithgow has revealed that Pixar's The Good Dinosaur (which he does voice work on) has been completely reimagined
Buzzfeed investigation into 80s arcana: who deserved credit for Flashdance and didn't get it?

 

 

The Hairpin the best friends of romcom heroines, in order
The Guardian on "my favorite city in film: Blade Runner's LA
i09 Have you ever wondered how Replicants are made in Blade Runner?
Salon interesting piece on Lauren Bacall (and Bogey's) political activism which the obits have steered clear of mostly
Chiseler Bacall's recent death also prompted this look back at Humphrey Bogarts first actress wife, the now forgotten Mayo Methot
AV Club Keanu Reeves moves to television for a series called Rain about a half Japanese half American assassin but...
/Film ...there's also a TV show being developed based on Keanu's hit The Devil's Advocate in which he is not involved. Strange timing, eh?
RogerEbert.com interviews Ira Sachs on Love is Strange. That finally comes out this month. Do NOT miss it 
Cinema Blend Johnny Depp to star with his teenage daughter in Kevin Smith's Yoga Hosers. I do not understand what's going on with that career. I really don't 
Empire Bradley Cooper to headline a new franchise based on the "Mack Bolan" book series about a man at war with the Mafia

Off Cinema
Towleroad Portia de Rossi surprises Ellen DeGeneres on their anniversary
Entertainment Junkie on the Emmy contest for "Best Writing in a Drama Series"
Taye Diggs dancing. That's all. That's enough.
AV Club looks back at the seminal single "Stay" from Lisa Loeb. God, I loved that one. I can't remember if it was written for Reality Bites (1994) or not but if it was Oscar made the worse choice in not nominating it

The Stuff of Nightmares
Cinema Blend Chinese movie theaters projecting audience texts onto screen. 

ahem... I used to worry about keeping The Film Experience PG-13 because I knew teenagers were reading and when the site was first created you didn't want to be labeled NSFW because it shut you off from tons of traffic and search engines and so on and so on. And now I just feel like the biggest prude every day since even mainstream websites that people read at work print photo galleries of "bulges," naked celebrities, and charity events involving random civilians stripping. Case in point in the past 24...

Gawker imagining what's inside Jared Leto's pants courtesy of a quote from Alexis Arquette
Jezebel imagining what Disney Prince Charming dicks look like. 

So basically I am a prude and singing "Class" from Chicago right now as I type this. But I click on all these links, so, guilty

Saturday
Dec072013

European Film Award Wi -- what? Scorsesaywhat? 

I watched a bit of the European Film Awards live streaming earlier today and the first sight that greeted me was Anke Engelke looking like she'd stepped out of the Capitol to announce the next Hunger Games. The only thing she got wrong was that her hair and makeup were too demure. Tim said she looked a "teensy bit too lindt bunny" which made me giggle.

While attempting to watch the show I was pulled into an endless twitter debate about misogyny and glorification/condemnation thereof in The Wolf of Wall Street - a conversation which I expect will rage throughout awards season unless the veritable army of Scorsese stans succeeds in stamping out open discussion about the movie's merits; they're weirdly adamant that one should only do adrenaline fueled wolf howls at it which is, I don't mind saying, one of the worst things that can happen to a movie that merits any kind of considered conversation.

SOOOOOO, while I didn't make it all the way through the EFAs and am ashamed to note that I missed Catherine Deneuve's tribute altogether (argh) here are 5 thoughts from the ceremony...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul022013

Posterized: The Almodóvar 19

It was with great shame Friday that I realized I'm So Excited had landed and I hadn't done that  Entire Retrospective of Pedro Almodóvar's Filmography that I suggested I'd be doing all spring. And here we are in July. My plans are always much larger than the hours filling each day as you know.

I know a lot of people aren't crazy about the new picture I'm So Excited (reviewed) which is a very silly raunchy gay comedy but I laughed a lot. (LAST DAY TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY CONTEST TODAY!) I'm going again with friends this weekend because what better way to celebrate America's Independence than... uh... catching a Pedro movie! Support your world class auteurs so that all movies without superheroes don't end up going straight to VOD by 2017.

Herewith the Almodóvar Filmography with a few notes...

How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun302013

Reviews: I'm So Excited & The Heat

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad

and i know i know i know i know i know i want you i want you ♫

Here's a film you'll never see on an airplane. Pedro Almodóvar's latest, I'm So Excited!, takes place (almost) entirely aboard an airplane like some lost "bottle episode" of an aborted Almodóvarian sitcom. But the stewards and pilots are less concerned with fastening your seat belt than unzipping your pants and more interested in spiking drinks than pouring them. It's arrived just in time for Gay Pride Weekend and what great timing; this is by far the gayest thing Pedro has done since Bad Education (2004) in which Gael García Bernal famously both tucked his junk for drag duties and showed it off in wet underwear poolside.

I think it was the internet critic David Poland (of Movie City News fame) who dubbed that earlier film "fag noir" and took some heat for that but I personally don't think Almodóvar would have minded. In fact, for a long time I miscredited the tag to Pedro himself. Pedro's characters are often outrageously hedonistic from nympho nuns to homicidal hotties to transgendered hookers and even the sanest among them act on melodramatic or comic impulse without shame or apology. In short, to appropriate a quote from Rich Juzwiak they're 'as faggy as they want to be'. And that's just the ladies! [more...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun292013

Win the "I'm So Excited" Prize Pack

I would personally like to thank Sony Pictures Classics for latching on to Pedro Almodóvar all those years ago and nurturing his ongoing fandom in arthouse circles. As you may have heard his latest, I'm So Excited, is in the theaters this weekend. SPC is offering five prize packs to readers right here at TFE! 

 

Enter to win an I'm So Excited! Prize Pack!

The I'm So Excited Prize Pack includes one  I'm So Excited flight attendant t-shirt, one I'm So Excited flight inflatable neck pillow and one I'm So Excited pilot wing pin.

To enter just send me an email by Monday July 1st at Midnight with...
  • "I'm So Excited" in the subject line
  • Your name and shipping address
  • And the answer to this question: If you found yourself on a full flight with all the characters from Pedro's filmography, who would you sit next to and why?

The official synopsis goes like so...

Click to read more ...