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Entries in Pinocchio (5)

Tuesday
Oct012013

Is there hope for an interesting Best Animated Feature race?

Tim here. Right at the end of last week, the Academy very quietly issued a rules change pertaining to the Best Animated Feature Oscar: instead of requiring that members of the nominating committee had seen at least 80% of the films on the eligibility list (an onerous task indeed, given that these are people who care about animation for a living, and that list can sometimes be, like, 20 films long), now the voters can pick any animated films they darn well want to, which is potentially going to do away with all those fun little nominees like A Cat in Paris and The Secret of Kells, things that badly need the exposure. Perhaps not. But if we’re about to enter a world where Planes can snag a nomination over Ernest & Celestine (please oh please Oscar gods, don’t let that happen), something is even more broken with a dodgy category than we’ve thought.

Now comes the news that the European Film Academy has announced its own list of nominees:  the modeling clay stop-motion of Jasmine by Alain Ughetto and a new version of Pinocchio by Italian director Enzo d’Aló. And The Congress featuring Robin Wright which played at Cannes and is the new film by Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir (which famously attempted three specialty nominations for Documentary, Animated Feature and Foreign Film but was disqualified from the first, failed the second and became the first animated film ever nominated for Best Foreign Film.)

Jasmine is a "claymation story of love and revolution"

We have no way of knowing if any of these will be squeaked into the United States in time for Oscar qualification – the vagaries about what counts as “qualifying run” for this category is especially dubious – but given how everyone in the world agrees that we’re looking at the weakest year for animated features since the category was born, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some canny distributor decided to use this nomination as the spur for a Hail Mary pass.

Is there a possibility of repeating 2011, when two functionally un-released foreign films made the nomination list? It’s hard to say, especially with the rules change in the nominating process, but faced with tiny niche releases that nobody has heard of getting national attention, and the possibility of the phrase “Oscar nominee Turbo” ever being said by anybody, I know which one I’m hoping for.

updated animation & documentary chart

Tuesday
Apr092013

Reader Spotlight: Douglas Reese

Douglas gets into the Spring Breakers spiritReader Spotlights continue as we get to know The Film Experience community. This time we're talking to filmmaker Douglas Reese. 

Hi Douglas! We started talking because of Spring Breakers for which you wrote a really impassioned review. What other movies do you think are misunderstood or underappreciated? 

DOUGLAS: I find myself defending panned movies all the time. Even when I actively dislike a movie, I can't bring myself to not at least value one aspect of it - whether it be technical or on the level of camp. The horror genre is largely looked down upon unless a respected auteur is behind the movie or if it's more connected with drama. I can't for the life of me see how the ambitiousness of Rob Zombie's films goes unnoticed. His stuff just has a strong sense of style and ownership. His Halloween II film may be one of the trippiest slasher flicks ever made. I also like HellBent because of its engaging wit and then there's I Know Who Killed Me which is, like, the best Dario Argento movie that guy didn't direct. I feel Freddy Got Fingered is misunderstood - it's got a very sick sense-of-humor, but I find myself laughing and feeling disgusted with every comedic setpiece in it. It's just so bizarre and there's never been anything like it before. Southland Tales is a movie I also feel should be focused on a bit more. Even if the movie is a bloated, messy, weird piece of work - I can't think of a more biting satire of American tropes since Showgirls up until Spring Breakers came along. Also, speaking of foursome female leads with one of them being Vanessa Hudgens, Sucker Punch was wildly inventive so I'm naturally perplexed by the strong hate it gets. It's not often a Hollywood-funded blockbuster can also be consider arthouse.

Why do you read TFE?

The Film Experience was always easily one of my favorite Oscar sites (along with the now deseased StinkyLulu) not only because of my strong love for Nicole Kidman but, you were never afraid to admit that there are good camp films out there to enjoy. I always appreciate those who don't feel like the most technically impressive films are necessarily the greatest ever made. And I also enjoy how connected you have always been with your readers.

Thanks and yesssss Nicole Kidman. 
No other actress, for me, defines the physical beauty that the camera can contain within a frame and still invoke work that is as stylistically different and well-rounded as hers. My absolute favorite.


Anyone else?
Behind her it's easily Shelley Duvall and her quirky, highly original work in the films of Robert Altman throughout the 70s and her undervalued brilliance that was Wendy Torrence in 
The Shining. Behind them I'd go with Anna Karina - who, without a doubt, brought a sincerity to her character work in Godard's films; even when he obviously intended to just create his typical ciphers. 

What's your first movie memory?

I recall quite vividly watching Disney's Pinnocchio in my diapers early in the morning at my grandma's farmhouse and finding it amusing and frightening. I'm grateful that movie still stands up for me today, because even now it's a totally wonderful experience to endure. Other than that, can I have another rewatch of Hocus Pocus, please? I don't think I've seen that enough.

You make films but your IMDb page is all mixed up with someone else's. What are we going to do about that?

Douglas filming Douglas

I'm not sure why my stuff is on IMDb in the first place. Almost everything on there is experimental no-budget work I've done since 2008. I think they may have assumed I was this Douglas Reese guy who was on "The Dating Game" in the 1980s and just added my work to his credit. Over on MUBI, I offered them to add my work to their catalog and they happily did - and thus born quite a lot of positive (and negative) feedback for some of my stuff, so maybe I really should get the IMDb fiasco fixed? I just don't like to think of myself as a total professional filmmaker, because that's not why I make my films in the first place. My filmmaking aesthetic would definitely be that I'm not really wanting to make technically polished work, but films that capture how I'm feeling about certain things; social or personal. My film Cleaners, for example, was me wanting to capture a kind of American lifestyle currently going on that most people don't want to realize, so it was more social - but something like my movie Snake is otherwise interested in capturing this feeling of dread and depression that I was going through at that time in my life. I just love, more or less than anything, the concept of human suffering and want to showcase how incredible misery can be.

Cheers! Thanks for chatting Douglas.

Previous Spotlights

Tuesday
Mar262013

Reader Spotlight: Andy in Boston

It's Andy !It's "Reader Appreciation Month". So we're talking to a reader a day. Get to know The Film Experience community. Today we're talking to Andy Hoglund a '20something living that rock star life'. He writes for The Inclusive

What's your first movie memory?

ANDY: When I was 4 my dad took me to a screening of Pinocchio. I know I probably had watched movies before then (Mary Poppins on VHS), but this is my first legitimate memory of going to the movies. Sitting in a darkened theater, fully immersed -- there’s really nothing comparable to it, I’d say.

I was infatuated with the Universal Horror monster movies. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man. I still remember – at 4 – watching AMC’s 2pm Monster movie every Saturday. It is rumored that I have seen Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man over 50 times.  I actually once sent Vincent Price a letter when I was in the first grade. He responded back with a signed autograph photo. I still have it hanging in my bedroom along with a picture I drew of him.  Can you imagine a kid who can’t even read knowing who Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill is? Or crying because his parents accidentally taped over The Alligator People (underrated Lon Chaney Jr. performance, by the way).

Talk about precocious….

You worked at a movie theater, read movie sites, studied film in college. What was the tipping point for you with movies? 

ANDY:  When I was in grade school, my friends and I formed our own production companies and made movies for the local cable access station. I made short films in high school that almost got me suspended from school – and made me a bona fide legend in the process. No hyperbole. 

So it’s always been a thread that’s followed me through adolescence until today. My college roommate once told me whatever you like to read about online is probably what you should be doing with your life. For me, it’s been about movies. I remember discovering sites like imdb and worldwideboxoffice, then boxofficereport (I see you Daniel Garris), boxofficeguru, and GoldDerby (I still remember Tom O’Neill’s great purge) back when I was 13. The Film Experience is  part of a great wave of Oscar coverage sites I stumbled upon shortly after finding Oscar Watch (now Awards Daily). They fill a real void, offering criticism and analysis of the sorts of things I – growing up – could only wait for EW’s annual Oscar issue to learn about. They are great gateway sites; accessible, but piquing the interest of novices to seek out more in depth material on what makes film great. 

I just love the richness of movies, how collaborative they are. Maybe, at the root of my interest, it’s the storytelling. Who knows?

Who are your three favorite actresses?

ANDY: Favorite? The GOAT? One answer needs saying here… Lori Loughlin. Dscovering "Full House" when I was 6. Life changing. Otherwise, let’s rattle off the usual suspects we all know about, shall we? Michelle Williams, Carey Mulligan and Jessica Chastain are the three greatest ‘Next Generation’ actresses working right now. Some all time favorite performances: Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, Joanne Woodward in The Fugitive Kind, Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham

Have you ever dressed up as a movie character for Halloween?

ANDY: If this counts, I have spent a good portion of the Halloweens dressing up as some member of the Batman universe, beginning in preschool when I went as the Caped Crusader himself.

Andy at 6 ! Awwww

In the 6th grade I went as Alex from A Clockwork Orange. My classmates and teachers all thought I was a generic gangster. The tipoff is in the white overalls and derby. One year I also went as Butch from Pulp Fiction by wearing an old tan motorcycle jacket of my Dad’s and putting a red ball in my mouth (wattt upp mah fckas).

LOL. So inappropriate. Thanks for chatting, Andy. 

Previous Spotlight

Friday
May112012

Linkopolis

Movie|Line Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams take over for Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier in the insta-remake of Love Crimes (read my Ludivine interview) now dubbed Passion 
Self Styled Siren and friends are hosting another For the Love of Film blog-a-thon (May 13th-18th) to raise money for a recently discovered fragment of White Shadow which was assistant directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I shall try to write a Hitchcock piece to join in.
NPR worries that James Cameron will be stuck on Pandora forevermore with Avatar sequels. I wouldn't worry. It takes him so long to make a movie, we'll be lucky if we get even two more narrative movies -- of any kind -- out of him.  

Animation Magazine Guillermo Del Toro will be co-directing a new Pinocchio movie and presumably be given all the credit for it (sigh). His soon to be unsung partner will be the Fantastic Mr Fox whiz Mark Gustafson so this should look lovely.
Stale Popcorn is working on a 1994 retrospective and has already covered Reality Bites, Blink, and Nell... all movies I loved back in the day. 
Hollywood and Fine has had its fill of Zooey Deschanel. Is she overexposed and overquirked now? 
Pajiba proof that every rabbit in the history of cinema has been evil.  Yes, even the boiled one in Fatal Attraction.
John August first person account of a year on the writing staff of Ringer. Interesting behind the scenes glimpse 

Avengers Mania
The Atlantic terrific piece on Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow in The Avengers and the challenge of being a woman in male entertainments
THR The Avengers sequel confirmed (duh) so it's 3 solo sequels over the next two years (Iron Man, Thor, Cappy) followed by another group effort. Why not a Black Widow / Hawkeye movie just to keep things just a tad fresher? I know there are people clamoring for a third Hulk movie since he stole the show but there's a reason he stole it. It's called "leave them wanting more"... something Hollywood is not good with once something's successful.  
Vulture times the six heroes to see who has the most screen time. They seem surprised by Black Widow's showing but I wasn't at all. It's Joss Whedon and he always makes room for strong women.

Cannes is Coming
In Contention Cannes Check Jeff Nichols' Mud (and the McConaughey Renaissance continues)
Little White Lies has predictions from four of their contributors. Good read. So much to think about. 
The Playlist amazing photoshoot of Robert Pattinson styled after older Cronenberg movies like Dead Ringers and Videodrome

Sunday
May292011

Look! Fincher, Lohan, Whedon, Pinnocchio, Sheen, "Chloe"

We've gone clip happy in this roundup because there are things to gawk at and it's a slow weekend online,  everyone being outdoors where it's awfully hard to look at computer screens.

Geekologie sneak peek of a marionette for the new stop motion Pinnocchio (produced by Guillermo Del Toro). Eery little false boy, that.
Film on Paper is a new website devoted to poster art. Big collection on launch with beautifully prepared photos of original posters.
Tailgate 365 looks at the three most recent Joss Whedon series (Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible) to determine what makes them tick and what makes them so rewatchable.
Ken Levine feels for character actors. It's hard out there for a number of reasons.

The Hobbit
everyone's favorite beautiful blond braided elf is back; Orlando Bloom officially reprising "Legolas" for The Hobbit. Quoth Peter Jackson.

"10 years on, I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again.  I look older – he doesn’t!"

Look! it's a camcordy peak at the teaser for David Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's very rapid fire "greatest hits" of the now well-known story but it looks enticing (as Fincher's films always do)



Look! it's Lindsay Lohan in a "psychological portrait" that's basically riffing on famous screen imagery from the 60s. But if a "psychological portrait" is only homages to great European and Scandinavian cinema, what is that actually saying about the object of the study. I'm not sure I see the point. But some of the images are very pretty even if Lindsay's psychology is not.

Look! It's Drew returning as "Chloe" for a special Memory-ial day video. For the life of me I can't decide what makes these "Chloe" spots so funny but they're just brilliant bliss.

Look! it's a Twilight fanfic reading by Michael Sheen. Feel free to LOL. I know I did.

 

Sheen's big movie roles (Frost/Nixon, The Queen, Underworld) always reveal a very solid actor but I prefer him best when he's using that actor's wit like he is here. He has fun with his self-aggrandizing know-it-all in Midnight in Paris as well. As much fun as Woody allows him to have, I mean. He's barely in it.