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 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 Reader Spotlight (47)

Wednesday
Oct152014

Baz, Rocky, Sarandon and Me

Editor's Note: Faithful reader and frequent Best Shot participant Derreck (see his tumblr here) attended a special film event that we desperately wanted to make it to last week, a screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with everyone's favorite red curtain Aussie auteur hosting. I invited Derreck to share his memoir of the event, so here he is to do so! - Nathaniel R.

I've never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen images of Tim Curry in a corset, fishnets and makeup, heard about shadowcasts and seen its enduring cultural presence in movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I’d never actually watched the film. I was born way after it was released and even though to this day, it is one of the longest theatrical releases in the history of cinema, it never made it to theatres in my homeland of the Bahamas. Rocky Horror ended up in my “I’ll get to that eventually” pile along with other much-discussed 70s movies like Apocalypse Now and Xanadu. 

Fast-forward to me living in New York. I was doing my daily blog readings and saw that Rocky was playing at the IFC Theater in Manhattan as part of Super Week leading up to Comic-Con. I thought “oh, that’s nice. Maybe I’ll go.” Until I read on and saw that Baz Luhrmann would be there in person to conduct a Q&A about the film and speak about how it influenced his work. 

Baz Luhrmann. The man behind the film that remains forever close to my heart and inspired my ridiculous obsession with love: Moulin Rouge!

I immediately left my apartment to get a ticket. 

Fast-forward to the big night. I was sitting in my chair shivering with "antici--

….

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep042014

'Best Shot' Awards - Season 5 Wraps

I wanted to do a little something extra special as wrap party for our very enjoyable and well attended 20 episode fifth season of Hit Me With Your Best Shot.  So imma give out awards since awards are what we love best. The episode I liked reading everyone's takes on the most were --  can I say all? -- the Jamie Travis short films since I never get to hear opinions on those (or any short films really) and Under the Skin as it needs to be spoken of and contemplated. And by as many people as possible. Spread the good word.

But really I could just as easily call everything else "tied for third" because I always love to hear so many perspectives. But no season is perfect: Zorba the Greek  turned out to be kind of a dud (I had never seen it so I blame the Oscars!). Two more episodes that were less popular than I expected were Cries and Whispers and Blow-Up which is a shame because they're such interesting films. Perhaps they've gone out of cinephile fashion and I hadn't yet noticed? 

MISSING: RJ at (Home) Film Schooled would surely be honored here somewhere if I could find him/her - There were a few great entries early in the season and then both the blog and R.J.'s email ceased to exist. If you're out there, let us know you're okay! Those were some good articles. 

MISSING #2: This list was made very quickly as I prepped for Toronto so I missed some key categories I had planned to do so if you don't see your blog represented, that's my bad, not yours. 

And now some nominees for "Best" of Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Season Five

BEST ATTENDANCE 

Shane Slater of Film ActuallyTimothy Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy - 19 episodes
Conrado Falco, Coco Hits New York -17 episodes
Jason Henson, Entertainment Junkie -18 episodes
Shane Slater, Film Actually -20 films *winner*
Andrew Boyd Stewart, The Film's The Thing -15 episodes

These five blogs were fuel to keep going. Quite a few other people popped in and out and if that's you, know that I anticipate your return whenever you vanish. You'll be there for Season 6, right?

I reached out to Shane for an acceptance speech. He kept it short...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov272013

Reader Spotlight: Michael Bina

In the reader spotlight series we celebrate YOU, the reason The Film Experience keeps chugging along. Today we're talking to Michael Bina who just produced a well received short film! Let's meet him.
 

Nathaniel R: We met a couple years back at a guild screening for Coriolanus's tiny Oscar-qualifying run I believe? 

MICHAEL BINA: Yes, that’s right! I remember you... loved it?

Well, Vanessa Redgrave in it! Otherwise not so much. How long have you been reading the site?

I’ve probably been reading The Film Experience for a little less than a decade. I was a huge fan of the Academy Awards growing up, so I began reading Oscar blogs. I stumbled upon yours and loved your insight on films, and just the way you wrote about them. The site's great at showcasing all aspects of the industry (film, theatre, television).

I understand you recently produced a film that was honored by the Producers Guild ? I'm fuzzy on details. Fill us in!

Every year the Producers Guild of America has a Weekend Short Competition. So over the course of one weekend you have to write, shoot, edit, compose and complete a film no longer than 5-minutes. This year the theme was Romantic Comedy in honor of Laura Ziskin. The film I made was called ‘The Squeeze’, inspired by my little cousin who has a Lemonade stand every summer.

That sounds fun. Let's watch it!

 

MICHAEL BINA: I used my cousin in the film, and made him a mafia-loving kingpin who runs all these lemonade stands in Beverly Hills. One day, this cute little girl opens an opposing stand, basically killing his business. So he tries to take her down, but falls in love with her. We ended up as one of the Top 10 Finalists, winning Honorable Mention. James Franco and Tom Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wager were two of the judges, so it was surreal knowing that they watched a film I wrote and produced.

Nathaniel: Congratulations so much. Okay, name 3 movies you've seen a bajillion times.

MICHAEL Movies are always playing in the background while I write, so this is easy.

X2:X-Men United
Moulin Rouge!
... and lastly (I know it’s cheating) but the four Disney Renaissance films: The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King.

Take an Oscar away. Regift it.

  I want to say The Artist’s Best Picture win to A Separation, which is my favorite movie of all time. But, instead I’m going to make one choice that affects three outcomes. Take Hilary Swank’s 2nd Oscar and give it to Kate Winslet for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This way Kate would lose for her work in The Reader, meaning the Oscar would have gone to Streep. Thus, Streep would have lost for The Iron Lady, meaning Viola Davis wouldn’t be Oscar-less! (And even if Streep didn’t win, it probably would have gone to a very, very, very deserving Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married).

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So to wrap up, do like we did on sunday's podcast. Name your favorite turkey, succulent ham, and something you're sweet on for dessert.

Turkey: Independence Day
Ham: Jim Carrey
Dessert: Emma Watson

Thanks, Michael, Happy Thanksgiving!


Previous Reader Spotlights

P.S. If you'd like to be a reader spotlight, stay engaged! Like us on facebook and follow Nathaniel on Twitter. Don't be shy.

Wednesday
Nov202013

Reader Spotlight: Paul Outlaw

If you spend time in the comments section of The Film Experience you might have noticed Paul Outlaw before. He's today's Reader Spotlight. I recently had the privilege of seeing him on stage at the Bootleg in L.A. (three more shows, readers - go see it!) in an experimental theater piece. I took an actress friend of mine and we had a great time.

So let's talk to Paul as we revive the weekly "Reader Spotlight" series!

NATHANIEL R: Why do you read The Film Experience?

PAUL OUTLAW: For one thing, I like serious film criticism that doesn't take itself too seriously; for another, there's more going on at the blog than just cinema talk. Theater, TV and film-tangential pop culture are all up for grabs. Oh yeah—it's a queer site that's not all about the gay. I guess I like contradiction and interesting juxtapositions.

In 1993 you starred in an Oscar winning short film. Did you attend the Oscars? What's your strongest memory from that?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug122013

Reader Spotlight: Santy Calalay

Today on Reader Spotlight we're talking to the very talented Santy Calalay from The Philippines whose interview was lost in my inbox for months. Sorry Santy! Without further ado... here he is with "the only Oscar winner I know"

Santy with Greg Curda, who won Best Sound for The Hunt for Red October"

TFE: Do you remember your first movie?

Santy: It was either one of three Disney movies: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or Bambi. That or it was a Filipino film from the 70's where my father played the bad guy. Haha. My most vivid childhood memory regarding movies though is with Ghost. My mother loved watching that when it came out but she would never watch it alone. My sister and I were only 6 and 8 at the time so when THAT SCENE as we called it (clay. hands. white shirt. need I type more?) came up, my mother would tell us to go to the other side of the room and bury our faces in pillows while she watched.

I only saw that scene for the first time when I participated in Stinkylulu's 1990 Supporting Actress Smackdown. (Go Diane!)

Why do you read TFE?

Because you write about the movies the way I think about them. Plus TFE must be the most open-minded community when it comes to discussing movies as a business, as an art and as an obsession. I've learned so much from the knowledge of your contributors and commentators.

You're a photographer. How do you think that coincides with your movie love? 

Photography is in-between writing and filmmaking. It's Hit Me With Your Best Shot. It's me stopping the narrative and saying, "wow, this is what it's all about." For me, the most beautiful shot is still when Brigitte Lin takes her wig off in the alley in Chungking Express. My breath was taken away. Even the movie stood still for that moment. A photoshoot is just like making a movie, only you try to show your greatest frames and angles to tell the whole story. The brevity of a picture always appealed to me.

Brigitte Lin & Takeshi Kaneshiro in the mindblowingly beautiful "Chungking Express"

Have you ever broken up with someone over a movie?

Yes. After she said Orgazmo was a better movie than Casablanca. Have. Not. Spoken. Since.

Three favorite actresses 

Deborah Kerr because I have always loved a lady. Glenn Close because I have always admired someone who goes big and broke every time. And lastly, Thelma Ritter for Pick-up on South Street and the sincerity she always gave in her roles. Sorry Maggie Cheung, Nathaniel said just three.

Favorite director?

Robert Altman. Those casts! Enough said.

Take away an Oscar. regift it.

I'll do it but I'll hate myself in the morning: Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby to Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind since I only get ONE regift. [Editor's Note: He hated himself in the morning and sent a new response] Sally Field's Oscar for Norma Rae to Bette Midler for The Rose!

What's the last movie you saw before these questions?

Detective Story. Kirk Douglas growls. Eleanor Parker cries. Lee Grant is KOO-KY.

And in theaters?

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. I actually enjoyed the first movie because of Uma's delicious and highly-affected line readings as Medusa, reminiscent of her Poison Ivy. No such treasure in this one and it only reminded me that Shoreh Aghdashloo has no Oscar.

If you'd like to see Santy's photo work, check it out here. Such a good photographer and recently published in Vogue Italia. Congrats! 

Thursday
Aug082013

Reader Spotlight: Angelica Jade Bastién

The Reader Spotlight series features you, The Film Experience community out there in the dark, watching movies and commenting or silently absorbing the conversation right here. I started this interview series because a) I'm grateful for your patronage and b) you're fascinating! Today we're talking to Angelica Jade Bastién who writes Madwomen and Muses.

TFE: Hi Angelica, do you remember your first movie?

ANGELICA: Honestly, I don’t. In my youth (can I say that when I am only 24?) films weren’t that important to me. I was quite a raconteur (which continues to this day) but I told my stories through poetry and painting. It wasn’t until I went to an art high school that I fell in love with film turning to words to tell my stories through scripts, essays and prose. The three films that changed my life and sent me into a heady love affair with cinema, particularly classic cinema, are To Have and Have Not, The Sting, and The Third Man. I haven’t been the same since. 

Why do you read TFE?

Even when I don’t agree with your conclusions I feel you bring such a fascinating perspective to looking at film. I started to look at why I love (or hate) certain films and actresses differently and was able to articulate my beliefs just a bit better from engaging with your site. 

a few of her favorite things

Three favorite actresses? 

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, this is difficult. I will have to go with my cinematic spirit sisters/madwomen Bette Davis, Gina Torres and Barbara Stanwyck. Ask me tomorrow and the answer will change, although Bette Davis will always be in the lineup.

Take away an Oscar. regift it.

Funny enough, I am not at all obsessed with the Oscars. They’re on my periphery vision.

Babs in "Clash By Night"Since you're so into classic cinema, what's the last one you watched before this interview?

The last classic film I watched was Clash by Night (1952). I am currently writing an essay called Viper Slut: Reclaiming the Sexuality of the Femme Fatale. I am circling around the femme fatale archetype and how she has permeated into other genres and also been used to characterize real women (Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner, for example). So, I have been rewatching a lot of my favorite films that have that character type some are noirs, some aren't. Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis and Gloria Grahame films have been playing a lot in my home because of this essay. Which isn't out of the norm! I also delve into my own history, sexuality and being a woman who has been labeled as transgressive. In essence, I believe that the femme fatale is a woman trying to gain power in a world that wants to make sure she wants none. 

Which movie would you want to live inside of?

I am already a walking, talking Douglas Sirk film. So I would say Written on the Wind crossed with The Lady Eve seen through the lens of Some Like It Hot. Just more diverse, since someone who looks like me didn’t exist in the classic films I love!


Other lovely ladies interviewed for this series:
Grace MaoMysjkinLynn LeeEsterLeeheeJamie and Dominique 

Friday
Aug022013

Reader Spotlight: Riccardo 

Get to know the Film Experience community! Today we're talking to Riccardo who is very succinct in his answers!

TFE: What's your first movie memory?

Riccardo: Bambi in the late 70s in an afternoon show with mum and sister.

Your three favorite actresses?

Nicole Kidman in The Hours. The scene at the station for me is very emotional and I love listening to her original voice and she was absolutely perfect. Michelle Pfeiffer is an absolutely underrated and talented actress even in a thriller like What Lies Beneath. And I can't explain exactly why I like Marilyn Monroe so much -maybe the mix of weakness and sensuality, that will never be found again. I could watch Some Like It Hot a ton of times without ever being bored. 

Take one oscar away from someone. Regift it.

From Meryl Streep of The Iron Lady. To Viola Davis for The Help.

If you were in charge of the movies for a year, what kind of movies would you greenlight? 
Real stories that tell about real people that changed the world with their acts, thoughts and feeling... A bit boring maybe?

What's the most recent movie you saw in theaters?

Now You See Me which I found it an interesting surpris and I loved Man of Steel  -  Mr.Cavill's personality helped a lot.  Plus lovely Amy and welcome back Kevin.

Hey those aren't real stories about real people! ;) Okay, since you're from Italy what are the three Italian pictures that you think everyone should see?


1. Once Upon a time in America by Sergio Leone is a truly complex masterpiece.
2. La Ciociara (Two Women) with Sophia Loren since I think her Oscar-winning role is one of the most memorable ever.
And recently...
3. Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, a powerful film that just happened to have a huge advertising and Oscar marketing system behind it :)  

Ciao, Riccardo!

Previous Reader Spotlights