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Entries in Robert De Niro (12)

Wednesday
Dec042013

Team Top Ten: Oscar's Greatest Losers (Actor Edition)

Al Pacino won his Oscar on his eighth nomination. He deserved it more the other seven times!Amir here, back with another monthly team poll. Back in May, we had a look at the Best Actress Oscars and picked what we thought were the greatest losers in history. Since we all love symmetry, it’s only fair to give the losing gentlemen their chance to shine. And it's also quite topical in December 2013. This year's Best Actor race has so many worthy choices that the losers are inevitably worth celebrating in advance. 

This was an incredibly arduous task. Though we may all have our regular disagreements with AMPAS, there’s no denying the wealth of talent on display in their record of movie history. These are some of the most iconic performances in film history and to narrow them down to just ten is a fool’s errand. List-making always is! How does one judge Mickey Rourke’s brooding anti-hero Wrestler against Chaplin’s satirical Great Dictator?  Is tortured Joaquin Phoenix in The Master too fresh in the memory to compare to tortured James Mason? Jack Lemmon in The Apartment or Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot? It’s heartbreaking to leave anyone out, but now it’s done. Have a look for yourself and let us know who would have made your list. 

THE 10 GREATEST BEST-ACTOR-LOSING PERFORMANCES
after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug082013

Where My Girls At? Blonde Edition

Let's check in with some of our favorite ladies to see what they're up to, shall we? When I daydream I sometimes imagine Actresses sitting near piles of scripts in eeny-meeny-miney-mo fashion though some of them have larger stacks then others.

AMANDA & CHARLIZE
Amanda is on my brain because she had the good taste and self awareness to agree with the world very recently that Mean Girls is still her best performance. She'll next be seen in the porn drama Lovelace, which might have some legal trouble brewing. After that she has a lot of movies lined up but the one I'm curious about at the moment is the western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Seth MacFarlane managed to nab two of the most beautiful and busiest actresses in Hollywood for the film. While he was super annoying as an Oscar host it's important to remember that his last effort Ted was more hilarious than we were expecting and in more varied ways than its high-concept synopsis suggested. "Western Comedy" doesn't generally scream "great roles for the ladies" and the plot synopsis doesn't help in determining whether Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried will have anything of note to do:

A cowardly farmer seeks the help of a gunslinger's wife to help him win back the woman who left him.

That could mean that they're both "the girl" aka...just there to be pretty and maybe sassy/badass but basically just facilitate the man's journey and his heterosexuality. But let's hope the roles are fun even if they're non-dimensional since both Charlize & Amanda have wicked comic timing.

AMANDA'S MAMMA MIA MOMMY
First Truth: I not-so secretly wish Meryl Streep, The Undisputed Queen of American Cinema, would step down from her throne for a two-year hiatus aso I could be REALLY excited about seeing her again the way I was in 2002-2003 when she surged back to artistic dominance with not one not two but three of the best performances of her career back to back to back. Second Truth: Even though I feel this way I rarely miss a Streep movie, so I'll be there for Into the Osage County Woods but I must admit that I am considerably less excited to hear about the two films she'll follow those up with.

She'll be reteaming with Robert DeNiro for the fourth time for the adaptation of the novel The Good House. The stars were romantically paired in The Deer Hunter (1978, beloved and best-picture winning) and Falling in Love (1984, modest but worth it for, well, the modesty of Streep just playing a normal woman) but I honestly can't remember their roles in Marvin's Room (1996) which is the last time they shared the screen. The last time I remember thinking about Marvin's Room was in 1997 when I was puzzled on nomination morning that Diane Keaton snagged a nod for it.

Meryl is also in talks to join Jeff Bridges in the adaptation of the dystopian novel The Giver as "the society’s Chief Elder, an authoritative and antagonistic woman who assigns the young their tasks".  [Temper Tantrum] Sounds like a perfect role for Michelle Pfeiffer. I realize it's useless to hold on to the now 24 year old dream that that Fabulous Baker Boy and his Susie Diamond would one day reunite onscreen. If they never do they're dumb and I hate them. [/Temper Tantrum]

SPEAKING OF...
Meanwhile La Pfeiffer has nothing in the immediate future after this year's The Family but here's her new character poster.

"___ is One Bad Mother" sounds like a tagline for a Julianne Moore flick.  

Michelle might co-star with Tim Robbins in Man Under about a couple thrust into the art world. I would be VERY excited about this one since Robbins is a good director and all three of his previous films have the smartness going for them which is, frankly, something Michelle's filmography could use. But Robbins hasn't actually directed a feature in over 12 years so who knows if financing will come together before the famously skittish Pfeiffer bolts. 

how did i miss Kate being honored at Buckingham Palace last year?We end with...

KATE THE GREAT
Things went silent for Kate Winslet on the big screen post-Oscar win (The Reader, 2008) but she's back at Christmas with Labor Day and after that, something infinitely more exciting on paper: The Dressmaker with the one and only Judy Davis (who really ought to get a few of the roles that Streep/Mirren/Dench get if you ask me). The pairing of two world class actresses piques interest but this description from director Jocelyn Moorhouse is everything:

the tale of love, revenge and 1950s haute couture... “Unforgiven with a sewing machine.”

I'll just be over here mopping up gray matter because my mind is blown.

Saturday
Jun292013

Release Date Shuffle: Oscar Players, Musical Wars, Franchise Heroes

I know most film blogs make a post for every teaser, release date, and every last press release. I frankly don't have the time but even if I did... why encourage Hollywood's itchy trigger fingers when they're constantly fussily rescrambling their pieces on the puzz--I'm mixing too many metaphors--  Moving on to the Release Date Switches/Announcements. We're less than 200 days away from Oscar nominations! So yes, we gotta update those charts again soon, I know.

Oscarable Switcheroos
August: Osage County has, as you now, moved to Christmas day, despite its summer friendly title. And Saving Mr Banks, the Mary Poppins related Disney flick is opting to get out in front of the Christmas crowd a bit with a December 13th bow. Meanwhile Twelve Years a Slave, from director Steve McQueen and Grace of Monaco, the new Kidman flick, both move from the Dread Oscar Eligibility Dump Week (that awful New Years week) into airier mid October. And October is getting busier and busier, really because Ridley Scott's The Counselor (just discussed) has also moved from its intended mid November start to late October.

Contrary to popular belief this does not automatically mean that the studios are less gung ho about their Oscar chances. Oscar watchers (and, yes, distributors sometimse) often forget that you don't have to open in late December to be a player. It helps to open in the last third of the year though, sure! But MANY MANY films have had good luck in September (your Argos and your American Beautys), October (your Departeds) and November (your Slumdogs and your No Countrys) among other months. 

Your Oscar calendar is currently looking like this... [Oscar Types, Superheroes and Meryl vs. Annie after the jump]

woo woo ♪ here comes the life of the Oscar partay

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun052013

Yes, No, Maybe So? "Malavita"... Which is Now "The Family"

It's not every month, hell, it's not every year when we get the trailer to a new Michelle Pfeiffer movie so naturally we have to talk about Malavita again. Or, I guess, The Family as it's been rechristened before release. It's always a pity when a movie ditches a really specific title for one that could work for thousands of movies and thus stakes no claim on personality whatsoever.

Perhaps the trailer itself has personality. Let's watch and discuss.

[watches]

Okay. Only watch that if you're the kind of person who doesn't care about spoilers. IF you are this kind of person i envy you because the movie studios don't care about them either - they love shovin' them into trailers. I get the sense you're basically seeing the whole movie here.  But we gotta break it down anyway as we do because...

LA PFEIFFER IS BACK

YES

  • Michelle Pfeiffer saying "merci"
  • This might be funny. It's kinda tough to tell in the trailer because so much of comedy depends on good editing and trailers never have a sense of that since they're cutting entirely different scenes and dialogue together for their specific 2 minute effect
  • The return of Michelle Pfeiffer's Married to the Mob accent "we're not in Brooklyn anymore"
  • Michelle Pfeiffer driving that car with those sunglasses
  • Tommy Lee Jones has been on a real roll lately. Does this end the party or continue it?
  • and Michelle Pfeiffer as fire starter. Bring it bitch. 

NO

  • After Silver Linings Playbook, I'd like to believe that Robert DeNiro is back to acting rather than cashing in but a mob comedy is probably not the place to believe that.
  • Whenever trailers show this much of the wink-wink laughs and action, I worry about "those are all the best parts" and there's a lot of ways in which this might be super offensive (xenophobia, "hurting people is hilarious!" immaturity and so on) rather than funny. 

MAYBE SO

 

  • Luc Besson, in the director's seat, isn't totally reliable.
  • The casting of the kids looks great visually but Dianna Agron coasts a lot on her looks and when you're playing Pfeiffer's daughter... well, she better take it up a notch. Pfeiffer never did that and good lord she could have coasted for decades with the ones she got.
  • Also: Can you believe my restraint that I only used one photo of Pfeiffer to illustrate this?

Here's the trailer if you don't mind spoilers.

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So?

Monday
Feb252013

And the Best Oscar Tweets Go To...

Previously: Fun Arrivals MomentsFull Winner's List , Seth's Hosting Job , Red Carpet Convo - Best Actress,

I tried to stay off the internet as much as possible last night since I feel like I have missed so many Oscar ceremonies in the past few years from multi-tasking while watching. But I'm playing catch up today and I favorited a dozen plus tweets last night so I wouldn't lose them.

I know not all of you have twitter -- nor am I recommending it wholeheartedly. The weeks of my life lost! The damage to my attention span and ability to spell "you're" and "your" since "ur" works best...

But I didn't want you to miss out on these gems which made me lol during the past 24 hours. Please to enjoy after the jump and comment if you'd like to tweet right back at any of them.

 

lots more after the jump... including my favorite from Jennifer Lawrence's stumble

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb242013

Oscar Day: The Key Nail-Biter Categories

I filed my final Oscar predictions on Friday and I'm just horrified looking at them now, certain I'll be wrong. Surveying the landscape of my predictions in chart format (I changed the photo above each category to those final predictions) I realized I was predicting a night that has very little in the way of dominance with 4 Oscars to Life of Pi and 3 each for Lincoln, Les Miz, and Argo. The problem with this prediction is that it doesn't account for the year long Bond Mania (which did end up breaking through AMPAS's historic disinterest in the franchise; they gave Skyfall 5 nominations more than doubling the franchise's previous 49 year tally of nominations) and it doesn't account for the Weinstein factor. Only one Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook feels improbable and foolish as predictions go, given how hard they pushed this last month. And yet the one Oscar I did predict for it (Best Actress) is the one that a lot of other pundits have abandoned in favor of Emmanuelle Riva's late surge for Amour

Here's the categories I change my mind about every five minutes and the ones I think will reveal themselves as "keys" to how the general membership really felt this year once the dust settles. 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Three Way Race. Though I felt fairly confident predicting this one for Argo, it's not inconceivable that Lincoln could still take it considering the "deserved" factor and Kushner's Pulitzer prestige. But then the current Silver Linings Playbook mania suggests that it's also a likely winner... unless Oscar voters decide that Director is as good a place as any to reward David O. Russell who they finally came around to with The Fighter (2010). The perverse trivia-mad side of me is actually hoping that Argo ONLY wins Best Picture because it would be such a fun statistic to obsess over and reference in future years, don't you think?
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Three Way Race. I predicted Anna Karenina with Life of Pi as a probably spoiler. Now I absolutely wish I had reversed that. My prediction was wishful thinking in that I've become quite uncomfortable with the cinematography & production design categories being so fused so consistently with visual effects. Visual Effects is its own form and ought not to be confused with others. Anyway, they've retitled the category to "Production Design" instead of "Art Direction" and though it's the exact same category it's not unthinkable that the title shift also affects perception for those who aren't well versed in the specifics putting Anna at a disadvantage since it reads more "art" than "design" if that makes sense. And yet... if voters like Lincoln as much as the nomination tally suggests rather than as little as the internet keeps insisting, here's where it picks up its sole statue outside the big eight. A final note on Lincoln: The constant groupthink noise of the internet -- a different pool of thought and a different demographic than the Academy -- makes predicting much harder than it once was rather than easier. If you trusted the internet NO ONE in the Academy would ever dream of voting for "tries hard" Hathaway or "boring" Lincoln. And yet obviously this is not the case. It can be hard to keep your head clear of the noise or at least keep your ears discerning. For, embedded in all the internet noise, is both buzzy truths and bored conjecture falsehoods ... but how to tell the difference?
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

DIRECTOR
Three Way Race. Whoever wins this, it'll show (I think) that that was the runner-up film for Best Picture... unless it's a shock win for Michael Haneke or Benh Zeitlin in which case the voters felt that Spielberg (Lincoln) & Lee (Pi) had been awarded enough in previous years and they weren't quite ready to hand the once "difficult" Russell (Playbook) the top prize. I thought about changing my prediction to a shock win for Michael Haneke until I remembered that no director of a foreign language film has ever won this prize -- no not even Federico Fellini or Ingmar Bergman, Oscar's indisputable favorites as foreign auteurs go. Neither of them ever won for direction or writing despite multiple nominations in each category. They never took home a competitive Oscar outside of Foreign Film which, semantically speaking, belongs to the country rather than the director.  (Though surely the director keeps the trophy?)
Oscars Nominees | My Choices 

You votin' for me? You votin' for me? Then who else you votin' for?

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Five Way Race. The internet seems to believe that this is now Robert DeNiro's to lose given the Playbook mania, the lack of "narrative" in giving any of them the prize (weak year), and the hard hard push to get the acting legend a third Oscar. I stuck with Tommy Lee Jones on account of I do still think anyone could win and the numbers separating them all will be razor thin. Is it too much to hope for an historic tie? Nevertheless I have trouble imagining that that "hasn't won an Oscar in 30 years" narrative for De Niro will really pay off. Sure, it worked for Streep last year but that was only after several attempts (aka lots of momentum) and a year-long build up with tributes and genuflection. De Niro had no such festive built up and literally zero momentum (outside of this last month) given that he has done nothing Oscar worthy in those 30 years. I think if Jones loses, it'll be Christoph Waltz at the podium. But if Jones loses, I think it's clear that the Lincoln fans in the room weren't very committed to the film despite the hefty nomination tally. 
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

Which categories are giving you the strongest last-minute anxiety?

Saturday
Jan262013

Seven Link Paths

Pop Matters excellent piece about the Oscar snubs - were they just "body blind" this year? 
Pajiba 30 brain bleaching moments from Movie 43 that you can't unsee -- i'm so glad I read a third of this post so that I know that i'll have to avoid this like the plague despite it having so many great stars in it that I've otherwise been a completist about
Daily Mail oh so Jessica Chastain speaks sign language too with adoring fans? Will her wonders never cease? 

In Contention Kathryn Bigelow continues to defend Zero Dark Thirty, this time on the cover of "Time"
Playbill Phantom of the Opera celebrates its 25th birthday TODAY on Broadway. Will it ever close? That is too long for a show to hog one theater!
Awards Daily the costume designers in the Academy finally get their own branch
Carpetbagger The Weinstein Co would like to pull a Streep for Robert De Niro's third Oscar.  I doubt this "living legend who hasn't won in 30+ years" thing is going to work for him though. If you compare what he'd been doing for those non winning years to what Streep had been doing in hers. Yeesh. You sure you wanna go there?