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Entries in short films (79)

Wednesday
Jun042014

How To Link Your Flagon

I'm going to need a stiff drink tonight. (Should I blame the unpleasant Zorba the Greek?). Why is this week so hard? It's my birthday week

In Contention loves How To Train Your Dragon 2 and ranks all of Dreamworks Animation. God there's some dross in there but Prince of Egypt is way way too low
Variety on Jonah Hill's blooming career and recent homophobic slur 
AV Club looks back at Montgomery Clift in Red River (1948). My favorite Western
Gawker The Chicago Sun Times apologizes for a recent bit of transphobic nonsense regarding Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) that they MUST have known was unwise. People will publish anything to get clicks these days.

Playbill Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man on stage this fall
Scene Magazine interviews Jonathan Groff on his Looking / Frozen gay ascendance (great photos)
Metro a woman wants a divorce from her husband because he didn't like Frozen
MNPP ooh, a Tilda Swinton image (very conservative look for her) from Trainwreck

The Bizness
Variety interviews the Academy Chairman of The Emmys on changes and controversies including 10 episodes vs. 22 and half hour versus hour shows
Empire Inception reunion: Tom Hardy in talks to join Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (previously discussed)
Coming Soon Roland Emmerich's Stonewall finalizes its cast adding Jonathan Rhys Meyers and more
CHUD catches you up on who is directing what for Marvel including horror director Scott Derrickson taking on Dr. Strange
Awards Daily Jupiter Ascending pushed to February 2015

Today's Watch
"Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness"

This animated short, part of PBS's "Blank on Blank" series uses an interview conducted with the late actor from 2012. 

Monday
May122014

Stage Door: An Iliad and (gulp) Troy's 10th Anniversary 

If you'll allow me a personal and quite biased recommendation, I'd love to send any Floridians reading to the Orlando Fringe Festival (May 14th-25th) to check out Allen Sermonia or Jenn Remke in An Iliad. Jenn and Allen are friends of mine and I had the privilege of attending a full rehearsal last week in which Jenn performed the entire show (they're doing it in repertory so Allen gets alternating nights) and apparently she's the first female actor to ever perform it!

I've seen Jenn in a few previous plays so I knew she was talented but holding an entire stage by yourself is a true challenge and I'm happy to report she was riveting. By the time the play sunk its hooks in, I forgot I was watching my friend and was just watching "the poet" working her way through numerous character sketches and a retelling of the specifics of the Trojan War and, by troubling extension, the not-so-specific universality of war.

Even those who don't get a decent education in the classics (in this case Homer's "The Iliad") know the story thanks to the way all hugely influential classics seep into the collective subconscious. I've read the Iliad but I'm embarrassed to report that instead of the poem my brain was doing a major Troy (2004) sidebar afterwards comparing the play's potent intimacy with the movie's B grade epicness.

It's not that I wanted to think about Troy...

BrothersCousins, eh?

It's just that I am me and Eric Bana and Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger (all looking beautiful enough to launch thousands of ships to possess) are a kind of draw, no matter how bad the surrounding movie is and however embarrassing that is to admit.

In a stupid coincidence Troy is celebrating its 10th anniversary just as this performance kicks off. And I am helpless in the face of such calendar markers. I haven't had a desire to revisit the movie but aside from the beauty of its players I remember being  convinced that Orlando Bloom, despite the terrible reviews he won, was actually perfect as Paris. It's just that the character is detestable and not in the type of way that often provokes rabid anti-hero worship. Bana also did fine and hugely charismatic work (I expected him to become a much bigger star but it was sadly not to be) but Garrett Hedlund and Brad Pitt were weirdly weak links despite being well cast. Maybe they didn't have enough to play with as actors? Mostly I did not appreciate the weirdly deflating rewrite of the Achilles/Patroclus relationship: 'They're just cousins, broseph; No Homo!'

If you've only ever seen Troy and no other dramatic interpretations of this story, I must suggest this BAFTA Nominated short film Achilles (1995), narrated by Derek Jacobi, from the Oscar nominated filmmaker Barry Purves which restores the gayness in gorgeous NSFW stop-motion:

 

Back to the play
Because my attention to the theater world is intermittent at best I had missed the explosion of interest in "An Iliad" over the last couple of years. Denis O'Hare, the ubiquitous character actor of stage, film and recently television (American Horror Story/True Blood) co-wrote it and performed it in repetory with Stephen Spinella (the Tony winning original star of Angels in America) in 2012 and it has since become a fixture in regional theater partially because it's cheap and easy to produce (no set / one actor), sure, but also because it's just a damn good play: moving, provocative, and angry.

Even if you're not in Florida, see it as soon as some regional theater tackles it near you.

Thursday
Mar202014

50 Years in the Pink

Tim here, extending our unexpected and unplanned tribute to 50-year-old Peter Sellers movies by one day, following Diana’s lovely tribute to The World of Henry Orient. For today marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. release of The Pink Panther, the arch-‘60s caper film that begat Sellers’ iconic Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the pratfall-prone Frenchman who remains the actor’s most famous character this side of a certain wheelchair-bound ex-Nazi (and Dr. Strangelove ALSO opened in 1964, which was just an all-around great year for Sellers).

The film itself is a fascinating relic, a by-turns hilarious and lumpy encapsulation of what European high society looked like as filtered through the comic sensibilities of Blake Edwards of Tulsa, OK. Scenes of breathless physical comedy rub elbows with elegant caper film machinery and deadening longeurs as Claudia Cardinale rolls around on a tiger skin while suffering from a wobbly case of dubbing. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb272014

A sampler platter of Best Animated Short Oscar winners

Tim here. With the Oscars just a couple of days away, I assume we’re all much too keyed up with anticipation to want to think about anything else. I am, certainly. But to live up to my mission as the resident animation guy at the Film Experience, I thought I might offer up a quick break in the action without heading too far afield from the Oscars. To wit, I’d like to offer up a quick sampling of some of my personal favorite winners of the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film from across the 81 years that the prize has been given out. With a twist: seeking to keep clear of the major studio dominance of that category for much of its early life (and, as last year’s Paperman and probably this year’s Get a Horse! demonstrate, its later life as well), I’ve tried to pick only films which are at least at little bit more obscure than others. Enjoy!

Squeaky children, sex-starved triangles, and Polish apartment dwellers below the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb182014

I am link parts, link skin, link heart... ♫

The Wrap Frozen nearing the $1 billion mark globally. Unreal.
Mail Online Matt Damon faxes his buttcheeks to Ben Affleck... for charity. No really. 
The Dissolve on the broken down grace of Bill Murray 
AMPAS you have to see this "moment" from the 68 Oscars with Jane Fonda and costume design!

LAist Spike Jonze in a very uncomfortable interview about Her
Gold Derby will Mickey Mouse finally win an animated short Oscar this year for "Get a Horse"? He's quite a loser in this category
TFE icymi Tim, our animation expert, reviewed that short here. (I loved it, too)
Mental Floss Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure just turned 25 years old. Can you believe I asked my team if anyone wanted to write about it and NO ONE did. sad face. 
Twitter I don't know why I find the 'Jake Gyllenhaal stole Taylor Swift's virginity' gossip so amusing but I do.(Jake used to have such better taste!)
Variety a review of that gay themed Brazilian film The Way He Looks that took a Berlinale prize 
Vanity Fair Katey talks to the Oscar nominated makeup artist on Dallas Buyers Club. the budget she had to work with is shocking.

It's a franchise world. We're just living in it only to consume
Pajiba the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot "shows off her, uh, Amazonian biceps"
The Film Doctor with 13 questions on The LEGO Movie
Den of Geek Star Wars Episode 7 rumors and Indiana Jones 5, too 
Hypeable new stills for Guardians of the Galaxy 
Cinema Blend Steven Price, Oscar-nominated for his Gravity score, will be composing Ant-Man 

Olympic-ness
Slate an interesting share on the extremely rigid rules about figure skating at the Olympics. I knew same sex couples were not allowed but I did not know any of these rules about costuming and I was just wondering aloud the other day why the costumes were so monotonous from year to year apart from color changes and the occassional surprise of where the bejazzlements occur. 

Sunday
Feb162014

BAFTA Winners & Gowns

Since they aren't broadcasting the ceremony live across the pond -- we'll get an edited tape-delayed version -- we aren't watching. We'll only give BAFTA its due once it joins us in the 21st century. If you're waiting to be "surprised" during the tape delay abridged stuff, don't click to continue this post. If you are as unwilling to care about things you can't watch live as we are, and don't even value themselves enough to include the audience (even in the UK it's not live), than click away to read the winners with some commentary

And gowns!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb132014

Surprise. "Freeheld" Back On. Now With Julianne Moore!

You're forgiven if you've long since forgotten that Ellen Page was trying to get a feature version of the Oscar winning documentary short Freeheld (2007) off the ground. She first tried in 2008, shortly after her rise to fame with Juno (2007). The film, based on a true story, is about a lesbian couple, the young Stacie (Page) and her older police detective partner Laurel Hester (Moore) who receive devastating news: Laurel is terminally ill and the government won't let her assign her pension benefits to Stacie. At the time this was first announced it looked like a great Oscar project for Page but nothing ever came of. The good news: It's back on!

But the news gets even better...


Julianne Moore is on board to play Laurel so maybe she's finally got her Oscar role. Not that Oscar is the most important thing here. The important thing is tell good stories about women with great actresses playing them. Curiously several of Julianne's roles have been gay or gay-adjacent (Far From Heaven, The Hours, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, The Kids Are All Right, Chloe, A Single Man, Savage Grace, Psycho). If Freeheld is anywhere near as good as The Kids Are All Right, The Hours, or Far From Heaven, her gayest and most Oscar celebrated films, we're in for such a treat. 

The news gets even better.

Peter Sollett, who directed the little-seen but totally amazing gem Raising Victor Vargas (2002) and later the slightly more seen but still underappreciated Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008) and nothing since (seriously is he waiting tables?) will direct. 

The news gets even better.

Since the project now has three stars (Zach Galifianakis will play an activist) it looks like it is really going to happen and aims to start production this summer. 

UPDATE 02/15: THE NEWS JUST GOT BEST
Ellen Page came out as a gay woman on Valentine's Day