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Entries in politics (254)

Saturday
Oct142017

Harvey Weinstein Expelled From the Academy

By Nathaniel R

It's the end of an era. Harvey Weinstein has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences given the avalanche of sexual harassment and rape claims that have hit in the past week. That's quite a downfall for a man once synonomous with Oscar Night. Or as The Los Angeles Times succinctly puts it

The move... in symbolic terms, amounts to a virtual expulsion from Hollywood itself.

The Oscars aren't the house that Harvey built, of course. They have survived many scandals and scandalous members and will survive this. The organization predates his birth by 25 years though how's this for an eery bit of Oscar/Harvey trivia: the very first televised Oscars were held on the night of baby Harvey's first birthday on March 19th, 1953. The producing giant didn't come into prominence until the early 1990s with the rise of Miramax but once he did he changed the way Oscar campaigns ran, was thanked relentlessly in acceptance speeches, and made prestige mini-majors the dominant Oscar players across town. 

Of course one could argue that the Weinstein era had ended years ago. The Weinstein Company has struggled in recent years against the rise of now-powerful awards players like Fox Searchlight, A24, Amazon Studios and more. There isn't even much to say about the way the Weinstein sexual harassment scandals will affect the Oscars this year. TWC only had one release this year that was successful enough to justify a campaign of any kind (Wind River) but that was a long shot at best even before the company was embroiled in this scandal. The period drama The Current War was their Christmas hopeful but its festival response was tepid and with the company falling apart and cries to "dissolve the board" out there it seems unlikely that it will see release any time soon.  

The Academy's Board of Governors (incidentally just one woman shy of being 50% women) was right to get this scandal off their plate immediately given that the Honorary Oscars are just around the corner. Who could be celebratory with anything like this depressing hurtful story on their minds? But on a deeper level they're taking a stand against the way Hollywood has been run for years. They state that they made the move in order to send a message:

The era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.

Well done. 

Tuesday
Oct032017

Doc Corner: Laura Poitras' Risky Business

By Glenn Dunks

There is a knack to watching Laura Poitras’ latest film, Risk, her first as a director since winning the Academy Award for Citizenfour. And it’s not being abreast of the life and controversies of its on-screen subject, Julian Assange. Although that certainly helps to a point, his journey felt to be of little consequence to me in regards to how I ultimately felt about the movie. The film is messy and often perplexing, no better personified by an utterly surreal and bizarre sequence with Lady Gaga that is not kind to either of its participants.

Rather, the key to Risk’s success is to not view the film as about Assange at all, but rather  Poitras herself. Sure, the WikiLeaks co-founder is front and centre in the film, and documenting him was the modus operandi, but as a documentary subject he’s often far less interesting than the people that orbit him. I am not unaware that I am cutting Poitras an awful lot of slack here...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep282017

Middleburg Festival 2017: James Ivory, Dee Rees, Greta Gerwig and More...

by Nathaniel R

Awards season is really heating up now that release dates (or lack thereof) are firming up, and various pre-Oscar honors are being announced. Last year, you may recall, The Film Experience was invited to attend the Middleburg Film Festival and we're invited for a second round next month.

The fest, now in its fifth year and closer to something like Telluride than Toronto or Cannes considering its Oscar focus and brevity, is growing each year and all takes place at one well-heeled resort. Last year they had big events for La La Land and Lion as well as very crowded talks with Cheryl Boone Isaacs on the Academy's diversity efforts as well as a fascinating discussion of US presidents and cinematic depictions with Janet Maslin and David Gergen where the danger of Trump was discussed at length (before the election - sigh). At that event they spent a lot of time on Nixon's disproportionately large place in cinema as presidents go. (Unfortunately since we're in Nixon Round Two only much more vile and, well, stupider... we can safely expect there to be many many films on Trump and Trump's corrosive effect on the nation for decades to come! "Wheeee," he squealed with much sarcasm)

More info about this year's festivities to come but for now we know this...

Special Honorees:
The legendary James Ivory (Call Me By Your Name's screenplay, Howard's End, Maurice, Room With a View etcetera)
Director Dee Rees (Mudbound)
Composer Nicholas Britell (Battle of the Sexes, Moonlight) with an orchestral concert of his work!

 

Opening Night: DARKEST HOUR (Ben Mendelsohn in attendance)
Saturday Centerpiece  LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig in attendance)
Sunday Centerpiece  THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI 
Other Screenings:  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, MUDBOUND, and I, TONYA 

 

 

Tuesday
Aug152017

des liens

Nicks Flick Picks returns with "the fifties" i.e. the best of what he's seen after 50 movies in a given year
Boy Culture new images from the buzzy indie Patti Cake$ 
Variety interviews creatives on why they love working with Netflix
People a stuntwoman has died on the set of Deadpool 2
Vanity Fair Anya Taylor-Joy is joining director Robert Eggers (The Witch) for his remake of silent horror classic Nosferatu. So happy they're reuniting but why remake a movie that's already been remade so spectacularly? (Werner Herzog's Nosferatu is something else!)

lots and lots more after the jump including Girls Trip, James Cameron, Dee Rees, Riz Ahmed, and a fun tidbit on mother!

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug112017

Meet the Panelists - Smackdown '63

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '63 is just 3 days away. So it's time to get your votes in on the nominees that year. Readers, collectively, are the final panelist, so grade the nominees (only the ones you've seen) from 1 to 5 hearts. Your votes count toward the smackdown win! 

Diane Cilento Tom Jones
Edith Evans Tom Jones
Joyce Redman Tom Jones
Margaret Rutherford The VIPs 
Lilia Skala Lilies of the Field 

 

Now that we're finally getting to this long delayed Smackdown. It's time to meet this month's talking heads...

THE PANEL

Seán McGovern and Brian Mullin
An Irishman and an American based in London, Seán McGovern and Brian Mullin are the hosts of Broad Appeal, the podcast that looks back at female-driven films from the not-so-distant past. Seán is a film festival programmer with Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest and has also worked for the BFI and the National Film and Television School. His mustache was once complimented by Wallace Shawn. Brian is a playwright, dramaturg and community activist; he's wedded to the theatre but still fools around with the movies. Their latest podcast series dissected 12 book-to-film adaptations (everything from Yentl to Jackie Brown) and they once saw Isabelle Huppert twice in two days! [Follow them @broadappealpod@bamullinspeaks@seanmcgovernx]

What does 1963 mean to you, guys?

To us, 1963 seems like the year things fell apart. The summer started with hope: JFK retraced his roots in Ireland and Martin Luther King led the March on Washington (with activists and many film stars in tow). By the end of the year, though, fatal shots had been fired in Dealey Plaza, and the the studio system was on life support following the bloated release of Liz & Dick's Cleopatra. The upheaval of the 60s was only just beginning; no wonder The Birds started attacking Tippi Hedren.

Teo Bugbee
Longtime Film Experience reader, Teo Bugbee is a culture writer, bylines found at The Daily Beast, MTV News, and The New York Times. In her time off from watching movies, she union agitates, gay organizes…and watches more movies. [Follow her @tmibugbee]

What does 1963 mean to you, Teo?

1963 was the year my mom was born, a classic Pisces in the year of the Rabbit. 1963 was the year of the Taylor-Burton affair, a formative obsession of my youth. 1963 was the year of my favorite Natalie Wood performance, in Love With A Proper Stranger. It's the year of The Feminine Mystique and the year Ann-Margret declared it lovely to be a woman, two statements of equal weight as far as I can tell. In my mind, 1963 is the year when the '60s stopped being an extension of the decade prior, and started to take on its own character as the decade for all things uncouth, dissatisfied, and misunderstood.

Kieran Scarlett
Kieran is a Canadian expat whose love affair with movies began with Judy Garland and Julie Andrews.  He thanks his older brother for his film fanaticism and apologizes profusely for dragging him to see Cold Mountain on opening weekend because "people in it might get nominated for stuff."  He received his MFA in writing from the American Film institute. He spends a lot of time thinking about the 1974 Best Actress race, admiring Dorothy Malone's mambo skills and longing for the return of Holly Hunter.  Kieran can be found in Los
Angeles, writing, working on movies and searching for the perfect arthouse theater with good parking. [Follow him @danblackroyd]

What does 1963 mean to you, Kieran?

Being that I was not alive in 1963 and don't have any immediate personal cinematic narrative connection to '63 (part of why I'm eager to dig into this year and find out what it means to others), the year for me means "Letters From a Birmingham Jail," the very pivotal, if somewhat under-discussed piece of writing from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Thinking about the fact King wrote that while imprisoned a little over a week after the Oscar ceremony (not that the two are related, just a piece of trivia) makes me consider the hypothesis that the political climate of the country does influence Oscar's choices. One wonders how that tracks (or doesn't) in
terms of Tom Jones' Best PIcture victory.

And as ever your host...

Nathaniel R
Nathaniel is the creator and owner of The Film Experience and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. He recently became an O'Neill Fellow at the National Critics Institute. He is the film columnist for Towleroad, a longtime Oscar pundit (Gurus of Gold), and his writing has appeared in both online publications (Vanity Fair, Slate, Tribeca Film, Show-Score) and print magazines (Esquire and Winq). Nathaniel has served on international festival juries and appeared as an on-air Oscar pundit for CNNi. Follow him @nathanielr 

What does 1963 mean to you?

Liz Taylor as Cleopatra mostly. I am who I am. I sometimes try to imagine how frighteningly colossal the world's obsession with her in that time period of her life would be were it transposed into our era of social media and 24/7 celebrity coverage. I'm guessing it would be something like Beyoncé 2016 times Brangelina 2005 filtered through a media hype lens that was akin to Marvel Studios Phase Whatever breathlessness. One can only imagine the op-eds and memes and cosplay. Other things I occasionally think about from 1963 include my parents being newlyweds (how were they ever that young?) just starting a family, everything about Hud, Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier and other celebrities rallying for Civil Rights, Natalie Wood receiving her last Oscar nomination (sniffle), and The Judy Garland Show's debut -- love watching clips of that on YouTube. How did that show get cancelled so quickly. Didn't people back in 1963 know how good they had it with The World's Greatest Entertainer?

What does 1963 mean to you, dear readers?

Sunday
Aug062017

knowing i'm on the tweet where you live... 🎶

But seriously though...

After the jump more amusing tweets including but not limited to Marisa Tomei, Six Feet Under, and Atomic Blonde...

Click to read more ...