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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Entries in RIP (85)

Tuesday
Sep012015

Goodbye to the Master of Horror, Wes Craven

Glenn Dunks, our resident "Scream" fanatic says goodbye to Wes Craven...

It’s not easy writing about the passing of Wes Craven. The director who was synonymous with the horror genre, and in particular the slasher franchises A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, died on Sunday at age 76 from brain cancer after having battled ill health for several years and the news hit like a stab to the chest. His three-year illness likely explains why he hadn’t directed a film since 2011’s Scream 4, but it hadn’t stopped him from working altogether. He was completing a horror comic with Steve Niles called Coming of Rage, was developing a remake of his 1991 film The People Under the Stairs, and continued to executive produce MTV’s long-form TV adaptation of Scream.

There are few older celebrities whose death could hit as hard as Craven. He wasn’t just a great filmmaker, or a filmmaker with a lot of films that people liked. No, Wes Craven was quite literally a filmmaker that changed lives. A lot of ‘em – and that’s not an exaggeration. It’s genuinely hard to make even one, let alone two, generation-defining movies and it’s been wonderful to hear so many people, friends and strangers alike, share their stories on social media of how A Nightmare on Elm Street was the first horror film they ever saw and how it turned them into scare-seeking horror fiends. Or how Scream made them want to write about film. I’m one of those people, and there are a few extra Film Experience writers who share the same sentiments, but the numbers I've seen cite that seemingly inocuous 1996 slasher as a life inspiration has been surprising and actually comforting.

So when I went to write about his passing, I actually couldn’t. Not immediately, anyway. How do you describe the man who made the movies that defined our life? I hope he knew the effect his films had on people beyond simply scaring them.

...more

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug202015

Goodbye Lovely Batgirl Yvonne Craig (1937-2015)

[sniffle]

I've probably told you this before but when I was a child and they used to show reruns of the old Batman series on tv, I would tense up during opening credits. If the image to your left did not appear I would run outside to play. That sudden Batgirl swing with a kick (who knew that kicks made a "BONG!" sound?) meant that she would appear in the episode and even if I'd seen the episode before I would always watch again.

So yesterday when I heard the news that Yvonne Craig, one of the first celebrities I ever crushed on -- before I even understood what crushes were -- had died of cancer I couldn't even write about it. I needed time to process...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug122015

Uggie (2002-2015)

Sad news. Uggie, the dog star of 2011's Best Picture The Artist is no longer with us. He lived to be 13. I'm not even a dog person as you know but he was a cinematic delight and my chin started trembling when I read the news.

After the jump, some adorable photos of this superstar dog and celebrities he loved and licked. Join us in a sing-along of "God Loves a Terrier" via Best in Show while you peruse the pics.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul112015

Roger Rees (1944-2015)

He spent the last three months of his career treading the boards with Chita Rivera. There are a helluva lot worse swan songs. "The Visit" closed on Broadway in June and Tony winner Roger Rees, who was leading man to Chita River in that strange but beautiful musical, died yesterday less than a month after closing night, though he had had to leave the musical early due to illness. He is survived by his husband.

I first became aware of him when I was a kid when PBS showed The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) miniseries in which he played the lead role and was Emmy nominated. I didn't know at the time that it was his signature role and he'd already won the Olivier and Tony for it. 

I had the privilege of seeing him on stage twice. When I had just moved to NYC in 1999, I went to an Off Broadway play to see Uma Thurman (he was her leading man) and I caught The Visit early in previews. He was having a rough time with the score that night... and I wondered about his health. I kept shooing the thought away -- it was just the grim melodrama of the musical, I told myself, in which Chita keeps essentially presenting him with his own coffin.

Though Rees easily hopped around in all three actors mediums, and appeared in films like Star 80Robin Hood Men in Tights, the Pfeiffer version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Prestige, and Frida, his most popular roles (aside from Nickleby) tended to be guest spots on television: West Wing and Cheers in particular. My favorite? My So Called Life (1994) in which he has a title role episode "The Substitute" wherein he played a rebel teacher who wakes Angela Chase up with his unorthodox instruction. 

Do you have a favorite memory of his work? 

Friday
Jul102015

Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Sharif Photographed by Andrew Walker in 2011Hollywood's first and still only Egyptian movie star passed away at 83 today of a heart attack. It had recently been announced that he was suffering from Alzheimers and after such a full life this may feel like a mercy to some, though his loved one are surely grieving and our hearts go out to them.

Though moviegoers roughly 35 and up surely remember him, here's the gist of it for younger budding cinephiles: Sharif began and ended his career in Arabic language cinema but in the vast middle (1960s-1990s) he achieved global stardom via Hollywood and British cinema. His English language debut Lawrence of Arabia (1962) brought him a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and he became a genuine superstar in short order, headlining one of the all time biggest box office smashes (Doctor Zhivago, 1965). In his third enduring classic from that decade he helped Barbra Streisand ascend into the pantheon in her film debut Funny Girl (1968). 

In fact, his performances in those three hits are rather fine illustrations of what was so special about his onscreen persona: his generosity and a certain intangible 'eye of the beholder' transference. He was one of the greatest romantic leading men precisely because he seemed so believably in thrall to the particular charismas of his co-stars. And he had great ones: Sophia Loren, Barbra Streisand, Julie Christie, Peter O'Toole, Julie Andrews and more. 

And while he drank in their inimitable beauty, he looked like this:

Dr Zhivago (1965)a portrait from the 1950s when he starred regularly in Egyptian cinema
The Tamarind Seed (1974) and More Than a Miracle (1967)

Double the pleasure, then, for moviegoers who were ready to swoon. And swoon they did, all over the world. 

What's your favorite Omar Sharif performance?

 

Thursday
Jun112015

RIP: Ron Moody & Christopher Lee

Though their careers were dissimilar, their images were not. The cinema lost two of its most deeply enjoyable sharp eyed bearded villains this week: Oscar nominee Ron Moody (Oliver!), died yesterday at 91 years of age; screen legend Christopher Lee's passing was also just announced though he died last week at 93. Both of these British actors, born in the 1920s, were best known for indelible villains and sorcerers and  both were singers, too. From there, of course, the careers significantly diverge.

Ron Moody was always best known as "Fagin," the petty thief with a whole gang of young pickpockets at his disposal in the Best Picture winner Oliver! (1968) for which he received a Best Actor nomination and won the Golden Globe. The role stuck to him as forcefully as the Emcee clung to Joel Grey defining him for decades and decades and audiences of multiple generations. His movie career, though it spanned 33 films, didn't contain many other highlights but he did play the sorcerer Merlin in two Disney films Unidentified Flying Oddball and A Kid in King Arthurs Court. He returned to the stage often including revivals of Oliver! (He didn't seem to resent how much Fagin defined him, calling the musical "magic".)

If you ask people to name Sir Christopher Lee's most famous role, on the other hand, they might well hesitate. There is nothing definitive or, rather, there is too much that is definitive. He was a genuine screen legend and worked what seemed like non-stop from 1948 through 2015 appearing in nearly 200 films before his death. Today it's nothing new for actors to be defined by franchise stardom but Christopher Lee was doing forever. He was best known for decades as the face of "Dracula" for Hammer Horror in several films, "Fu Manchu" in multiple films and "Rochefort" in two Three Musketeer films. The actor's fame rose again late in life through prominent popular roles such as "Count Dooku" in the Star Wars franchise and the wicked sorceror "Saruman" multiple times in Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptations. 

Please share your favorite screen memories of these two acclaimed Brits. 

Sunday
May312015

Julie Harris, Costume Designer (RIP)

One of the oldest costume designers passed away this weekend. Julie Harris, not to be confused with the legendary stage and screen actress of the same name, died in London at the age of 94. Though she was well loved at the BAFTAs with five nominations and a win, she only had one brush with Oscar. But if you only get one shot, make it a zeitgeist moment.

And boy did she. She designed the mod classic, John Schlesginger's Darling (1965) which won her, Julie Christie, and the screenwriter golden statues 50 years ago, in a year otherwise Oscar-dominated by a certain other Julie in an Oscar winning musical. Harris had quite a streak in the 1960s. It didn't get much hipper then than designing for the original Bond girl (Ursula Andress in Casino Royale), Julie Christie (Darling!) and The Beatles themselves (A Hard Day's Night, Help!). About the Fab Four, Harris famous quipped

I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked.

Other famous films included The Swiss Family Robinson (1960), The Chalk Garden (1964), Goodbye Mr Chips (1969), Rollerball (1975), The Slipper and the Rose (1976) and Dracula (1979). She retired from the cinema at the age of 60 with an unusual assignment - The Great Muppet Caper (1981). 

costume sketches for Alfred Hitchcock's FRENZYJulie Christie & Dirk Bogarde on location for DARLING

Have you ever seen Darling? We keep meaning to write about it for the blog but have never quite done so.