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Entries in The Film Experience (146)

Monday
Apr252016

Next up on "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"

 How to play? It's easy. You:

1) watch the movie
2) pick your shot
3) post it with the "why" 
4) and we link up. 

Tomorrow Evening April 26th
THRONE OF BLOOD (1957) 
Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Cinematographer Asakazu Nakai

Have we really not done a Kurosawa film in this series? My apologies. It's a Japanese classic with Kurosawa's muse Toshiro Mifune as a would be violent king with a scheming ambitious wife. Is it the best Macbeth movie ever made? Find out. (This is one of the gaps in my Kurosawa knowledge so I'll be discovering it with you.) [iTunes | Amazon

Tuesday Evening May 3rd
DEATH BECOMES HER (1992)
Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Cinematographer Dean Cundey

I need to talk about... Madeline... Ashton"

To celebrate the release of the new collectors edition BluRay (due April 26th), let's drink the potion with the vainglorious "Mad" (Meryl Streep) and vengeful "Hel" (Goldie Hawn) in this 'immortal' comedy classic, pun intended.  [Amazon | iTunesNetflix]

 

Tuesday
Apr052016

(tfw you dont comment)

Wednesday
Mar302016

March Highlights. April Sneak Peek.

The month began with final thoughts on last year's Oscars (yes, those were the 2015 Oscars no matter what search engines, IMDb, and the web say!) and the final podcast of the season. And then we bravely tried to forge ahead unmoored to any one topic, though we immediately lost our more fairweather readers. Damn you random people who aren't reading this!  Ah, well. They'll be back next season. 

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS
get caught up if you missed anything! 


Random March Highlights!
HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS and KRISHA acting showcases for older women 
GODS OF EGYPT and BATMAN v SUPERMAN bad movies: enjoyable & not
2016 CALENDAR a tentative list
MCCAMBRIDGE CENTENNIAL we had fun writing these!

Returning Series
POSTERIZED checked in w/ Sally Field & Saoirse Ronan. How familiar are you?
BEST SHOT hit Atonement (2007), and Daredevil (2016)
STAGE DOOR attended Broadway revivals The Color Purple & The King and I
TUES TOP TEN celebrated Zootopia and the Best Acting of this Decade 
Q & A returned with thoughts on superhero acting and the best of Australian cinema 

New Series!
THE FURNITURE a production design series launched w/ The Exorcist and Brooklyn
DOC CORNER new work celebrating Nora Ephron, and investigating abortion politics
READER'S CHOICE as you commanded: Gattaca and Cruel Intentions

COMING IN APRIL


APRIL FOOLISH OSCAR PREDICTIONS as we do
ACTOR MONTH A special detour to celebrate men (who get short shrift here, we know)
BEST SHOT SCHEDULE the more the merrier - join us!
APRIL SHOWERS shower scenes
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL coverage from Nathaniel, Manuel and Jason
NEW FILMS The Boss, Jungle Book, Demolition, Huntsman: Winter's War, Sing Street
REVISITS Crimes and Misdemeanors, Roman Holiday, Witness, Throne of Blood
AND MORE... to be announced

Tuesday
Mar222016

Tues Top Ten: Best Performance of the Decade (Thus Far)?

Today's top ten was inspired by Robert MacFarlane who asked what the greatest performance of the decade was on twitter to a quick flurry of responses involving some usual suspects: Phoenix, Hoffman, Cotillard, Blanchett and some unusual suspects: O'Connell, Culkin, Pitt. But the question naturally lingered because who doesn't love ranking such unrankables?

Let's do this!

BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE DECADE (THUS FAR)
Ranking likely to change tomorrow. Oscar nominated roles marked with asterisk. Oscar winning roles with double asterisk 

Honorable Mentions (No Particular Order): Binoche in Certified Copy, * Keaton & Norton in Birdman, * Riva in Amour, ** Day-Lewis in Lincoln, ** Bale in The Fighter, * Rampling in 45 Years, and many others...

10 James Franco, Spring Breakers (2013) --look at his shittttttttt
09 * Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night (2014) --transcendent
08 * Cate Blanchett, Carol (2015) --daringly stylized, mesmerizing
07 * Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (2010) --she did a great thing, sweetie
06 Charlize Theron, Young Adult (2011) --the layers. the layers
05 * Viola Davis, The Help (2011) --smart. kind. important. (and other wonderful adjectives)
04 Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike (2012) --lawbreaker in the house
03 Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy (2012) --Bless Charlotte Bless
02 ** Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (2013) --from airplane to park bench, perfection
01 Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


What are yours? 

Monday
Mar072016

Ask Nathaniel. And "Best Shot" Scheduling Notes

Time for another Q&A Column. So ask away. I'll pick 10 questions to answer for Wednesday evening. We'll try to do this weekly. Now that the Oscars have wrapped it's time to get back to something like a regular schedule (though we're still working out the kinks backstage. There's always something happening here at TFE is the point so visit us daily.)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot Schedule

TOMORROW
GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) If you're playing along post your best shot by 9 PM EST so we can include you in the round up. (Amazon Prime)

• Tues March 15th ATONEMENT (2007) revisit Saoirse Ronan's breakthrough before Brooklyn in this Best Picture nominated romantic drama (Netflix Instant Watch)
• Tues March 22nd TBA
• Tues March 29th ZARDOZ (1974) a Sci-Fi oddity starring Sean Connery & Charlotte Rampling & Unfortunate Costumes
• Tues April 5th GREGORY PECK CENTENNIAL Pick either Roman Holiday (1950) or To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), whichever you'd like. They were both nominated for the Cinematography Oscar in their years. (Netflix Instant Watch)

Friday
Feb262016

Final Oscar Predictions. Here We Go...

Thanks for reading all year, dear Oscar freaks.  I originally published these predictions in my column at Towleroad but the write-ups are expanded here with more details since y'all are movie freaks and I love you for it. Here we go...

From silly rumors of a bear “raping” Leonardo DiCaprio, to the critical fervor for a fourth film in a Mad and previously non-prestigious action franchise, to obviously gathering but non-impactful support of our years long anti category fraud crusade, to the internet rage and ongoing controversy over #OscarsSoWhite this has been an eventful and often surprising awards season. Will Oscar night continue that trend or feel like an anticlimax? Whichever way it goes, it all comes to an end this Sunday night on ABC when the 88th Academy Awards unspool.

The following predictions can be used to inform your Oscar party or office Oscar pool but fair warning: even seasoned Oscar pundits like myself and other Gurus and Experts are confused this year about some categories. As early as last week, for example, I had planned to start this article with an obnoxiously cute bit about the surest prediction being that the producers would try desperately to pretend that Hollywood was very diverse on Oscar night. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. They went and made another anti-diversity blunder, axing performances of two of the Original Song nominees, the two that happen to be sung by a famous Asian soprano and a trans woman. Can we have a round of applause please for Anohni (better known as Antony Hegarty) who has published a must-read personal essay about the insulting behavior of the Academy in regards to her nomination for Best Original Song.

Sigh. It’s like The Academy can’t help themselves!?! They just dig themselves deeper every time. Yet we can’t help ourselves either and continue obsessing over that 13½ inch naked gold man. Let’s look at all 24 categories after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan252016

Best of 2015: Nathaniel's Top Fifteen

When you devote your life to the movies, you come to cherish the movies that give back as if they're devoted, in return, to you. Yes, you, specifically. Our consumption of movies may be communal but in some ineffable way, especially when it comes to list-making, they're deeply personal; movies in conversation with your soul. At least if you're doing it right. It's painful enough to "rank" a top 15 for 2015. So I included a second tier of favorites. The 30 best of the year, according to your host, took place all over the world as we know it (Germany keeps popping up as does seemingly every place with an arid climate in an odd but starkly beautiful coincidence) to weirdly recognizable places beyond it (Why, Jakku, you look so much like Tattoine!). The unifying thread might be that however alien their perspectives and locales (inside a young girl's brain, locked in a 10 x 10 shed, or chained to the back of rusted death machines in hallucinatory sandstorms), they resonated as if deeply familiar.

Nathaniel's top 30 films of

If you're looking for __ you won't find it:
I liked Magic Mike XXL -- you may recall that Magic Mike (2012) won the Film Bitch Bronze medal here in 2012 as third best of its entire year -- but can't join the unexpected bandwagon of critics who decided they loved the sequel well after it left theaters. I did enjoy it a lot, though. Also just missing the list, not from an absence of affection exactly but "best?" attributes, is Ridley Scott's disco-lite outer-space romp The Martian. I'm far less keen on recent Oscar nominees like The Big Short, Straight Outta Compton, The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa, Trumbo, Son of Saul, and The Revenant but they need not cry from my qualms, indifference, or distaste (depending on the picture) since they have stadiums full of cheering sections elsewhere

And this list is about positive, nay giddy, love. So on to the best of the best. 

15 (Very) Honorable Mentions in Alpha Order
Please seek out: The Troubles via Yann Demange's electric debut '71; Desiree Arkhavan's hilarious bisexual Iranian-American hipster romcom (a genre we didn't even know we needed but love) Appropriate Behavior; Spielberg & Hanks's absorbing Bridge of Spies; Disney's girlie lush live-action Cinderella spin; Olivier Assayas's actressy-angst at those Clouds of Sils Maria; Celine Sciamma's infectiously observed but profoundly sad GirlhoodLily Tomlin & Paul Weitz's Grandma focused road trip; the waking nightmare game of sexual tag in It FollowsIceland's formally compelling beast and man oddity Of Horses and Men; Brazil's smart socioeconomic collisions in The Second Mother; Paul Feig & Melissa McCarthy's Spy romp; Disney's easy money $4 billion bet The Force Awakens; Tom McCarthy's soulful journalism procedural SpotlightAaron Sorkin's presentational Steve Jobs triptych; Xavier Dolan's queasy, queer, razor blade dangerous Tom at the Farm; and the director, crew, and cast who pulled off that continuous shot jaw-dropper stunt that was Victoria... and pulled it off with feeling. 

Without further ado and with deep appreciation...

NATHANIEL'S TOP 15 OF '15
🎶 they're speaking my language baby 🎶 

 

I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
(Brett Haley)
Bleecker Street Media. May 15th
92 minutes 

A movie as unassuming as Blythe Danner's still waters star turn, and as gently surprised by its twilight romanticism as the wonderful theme song. It's easy to imagine this film becoming a staple, a comfortable blanket to wrap yourself up in on lonely nights; an old dear friend that understands the value of finding new ones.

You're a good drinking buddy!"

 

CHI-RAQ
(Spike Lee)
Roadside Attractions. December 4th
119 minutes 

By no small margin the most uneven and sometimes downright sloppy movie on this 15 wide "Best" list --  stop reading the teleprompter Samuel L Jackson, learn your damn verse! But, a permanent truth: perfection isn't everything. Vitality of voice, with something actually worth saying, counts for quite a lot with so many polished but empty-headed and safe pictures clogging up each year's awards pipeline. Spike Lee won an Honorary Oscar shortly before anyone saw his reworking of Lysistrata, transported to contemporary Chicago (nicknamed Chi-Raq for its crime rate troubles). Nobody knew that his best movie in 15 years was about to hit to make that statue feel retroactively less of a tribute to past highs (Do The Right Thing, 25th Hour, etcetera) and more of an "it's about damn time!" honor for a still relevant artist. Chi-Raq is... Crazy. Funny. Sexy. Anguished. Silly. Mad. Experimental. Sickening. Sober. Even Optimistic. In short, "It's 'EVERYTHING!' as the queens say. Now if only everyone would go see this bold bawdy and beautiful everything. And, did someone say "Queen," I can hear Miss Helen (Angela Bassett, who also Got Her Groove Back of late) shaking her head at the meager box office receipts.

Y'all make my tired ass tired!" 

 

SICARIO
(Denis Villeneuve)
Lionsgate. October 2nd
121 minutes 

If Denis Villenueve's movies get any more tense they're going to explode by the second reel.

Click to read more ...