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Entries in short films (133)

Tuesday
Jun072016

Best Shot: Trevor (1994)

For Pride Month... A great moment in Oscar gayness

This week's Best Shot spotlight shines on an adorable miniature. Since June is Pride Month we're looking at Great Moments in Cinematic Gayness throughout the month. Great Moments in Oscar Gayness are rarer things and usually come with significant caveats. When they award actors for playing LGBT characters it's literally only when they are straight and labelled "brave" for playing the character and the character is either dying or victimized in some way. Their ultimate Best Picture rejection of a universally acclaimed frontrunner in Brokeback Mountain (2005) left another stain on the Academy's rainbow colors.

But in Oscar's gay history, there is a beautiful moment that comes without so many uncomfortable footnotes.

Trevor, a sweet funny short about a boy who realizes his schoolmates have figured out his gayness took home an Oscar in a surprise tie, one of only six in their history, at the 67th ceremony. To make the moment even gayer in retrospect, the late producer and casting director Randy Stone thanked Jodie Foster ("Jodie, I love you") from the stage. (Stone and Foster were frequently each other's dates at film events in the 1990s and he was even rumored to be the biological father of her sons.)

More...

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Saturday
Jun042016

When Tony Met Janet. And Other Stories...

Today in movie related history...

1907 Cracking Rosalind Russell is born. Stars in many classics including: His Girl Friday, Gypsy, and Auntie Mame and is nominated for 4 Best Actress Oscars. The only actresses that share her fate of 4 Best Actress nominations w/out a win: Greta Garbo, Marsha Mason, and Barbara Stanwyck. Of the four only Marsha Mason didn't receive an Honorary later on.
1913 Suffragette Emily Davison runs onto the track at the Epson Derby and is trampled by King George V's horse. It's a huge turning point in the court of public opinion and the suffragette movement. It was reenacted in last year's Suffragette.
1936 Bruce Dern is born and never stops acting thereafter. Also donates Laura Dern to the world for which he has our undying gratitude
1940 The last allied soldiers leave Dunkirk. Britain's PM vows that his forces will "never surrender". Christopher Nolan is currently filming a movie about Dunkirk called, you guessed it, Dunkirk
1942 The Battle of Midway begins in World War II. John Ford directed an Oscar winning documentary about it that you can watch for free online. If you're interested in the topic you should definitely read Mark Harris's book "Five Came Back" about famous Hollywood directors during the war. 

1951 Rising actors Janet Leigh (23) and Tony Curtis (26) are married. Much bigger stardom is thrown at them like so much rice via iconic films like Psycho, A Touch of Evil, and The Manchurian Candidate (Hers) and Some Like It Hot, Spartacus and The Defiant Ones (His) shortly thereafter. They break up in '62 but not before gifting us with Jamie Lee Curtis.
1952 70s TV star Parker Stevenson is born. Later becomes half of The Hardy Boys and marries Kirstie Alley who famously refers to his junk "giving me the big one" in her 1991 Emmy speech. This was long before the days when the internet made bulge-watching a national pasttime. (Music cue: "Class" from Chicago here, please. Whatever happened to it? It's all Kirstie Alley's fault!)
1964 Kōji Yamamura is born. Later nominated for an Oscar for the Animated Short Mount Head. It's worth your ten minutes, it's so trippy.
1975 Angelina Jolie emerges. The world is never the same.
1978 Deniz Gamze Ergüven is born in Turkey. She was Oscar nominated last season for her debut film Mustang, which made our top ten list.

They're here.

1982 Poltergeist and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan both open in theaters
1984 Bruce Springsteen releases his classic "Born in the USA" album the title track of which is used in many movies since. The first video "Dancin' in the Dark" introduces the world to soon to be household name actress Courtney Cox. 
1989 The Tiananmen Square protests come to a violent end in Beijing with hundreds of young protesters killed. Hollywood has ignored it despite their love of historical event movies and Chinese films usually ignore it too due to the topic being taboo with the government. But two sexually controversial movies released in the Aughts used it as part of the narrative: the gay drama Lan Yu (2001) which won four Golden Horse awards and, more prominently, the college student drama Summer Palace (2006) which was banned at home, and withdrawn from competition at Cannes. Both films are worth seeing.

Saturday
May212016

Cannes Closing Ceremony Tomorrow - Any Guesses? 

The 69th annual Festival du Cannes wraps up this weekend with reprise screenings of competition titles and the closing ceremony tomorrow evening at 7:15 PM (Cannes time so a handful of hours earlier here in NYC). Sean Penn's The Last Face starring Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron (pictured in all her androgynous chic, left, at the premiere), Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman (which takes its title from an in movie amateur production of Death of a Salesman), and Paul Verhoeven's Elle starring Isabelle Huppert were among the last titles to premiere. Don't expect The Last Face, which was met with hostility to show up in the prizes.

Here are the 21 competition titles loosely grouped by your hosts vague perceptions of how well received they were (you might group them differently as its my policy not to read full reviews from Cannes - which tend to be spoiler filled for films that are months away from release). George Miller's jury will name one of these the Palme D'Or winner, one the Jury Prize winner, and then we'll see who takes Director,  Actress (we have a few ideas as to who might win), and Actor. Depending on how the jury plays it we might get a couple of other prizes, too...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May142016

"Best Shot" Schedule for May

'Here's what's coming up the rest of this month on Best Shot if you'd like to join us. It's easy. You...

1) watch the movie
2) pick a shot, post it and say why you love it
3) let us know you did via twitter, email or comments and we link up 

May 24th Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
We pushed this back a month since it wasn't yet available to rent but it's time to revisit future jedi Rey as she takes on the patriarchy the resurgent Empire and evil Emo brat Kylo Ren with her newfound gifts (and swooning sidekicks Poe & Finn.)

May 31st Dietrich Double!
Morocco (1930) and/or Blonde Venus (1932) 

The Film Experience obviously loves Old Hollywood sirens so why have we given Dietrich so little attention? Let's rectify that weird gap and close our "Girls Gone Wild" month (yup, that's the theme for May) with either or both (your choice if playing) of these Von Sternberg classics as Marlene Dietrich breaks through from singing foreign curiousity to Hollywood superstar by way of androgynous seduction and chain smoking.

Tuesday
May102016

Trippy Best Shots: "True Skin" and "World of Tomorrow"

Tonight's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot is our annual short film episode. The genre is sci-fi but we're looking at two trippy but altogether unalike films.

The first is True Skin (2012) which has rather extraordinary visual effects considering it comes from the DIY world of short filmmaking. It was once earmarked for the feature film treatment but when that didn't work out earlier this year Amazon snatched it up to develop into a TV series. The second film is recent Oscar nominee World of Tomorrow (2015) from animation legend Don Hertzfeld. (His career being Oscarless is just not right.) Lets look at the "Best Shots" as chosen by your host and the volunteer panelists elsewhere after the jump. 

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Sunday
May082016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.1: Buster Crabbe's Loincloth

New Miniseries! As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we'll be ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes each weekend like we're going to an old timey matinee.


We begin with Buster Crabbe as Tarzan the Fearless (1933) who looks much better in this movie than implied on the poster which imagines him from maxi-challenge workroom outtakes from RuPaul's Drag Race. Blend, man, blend!

This next image is more flattering I promise...

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