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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 | letterboxd

 

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Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

A YEAR WITH KATE... 2 episodes left

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Entries in The Help (38)

Thursday
Jan122012

"Critics Choice" Winners From Viola to The Artist

Kirsten Dunst presented Best Supporting Actress to Octavia SpencerWe tried a live blog experiment which was very chaotic though conversational if you'd like to relive it vicariously through us if you weren't here. But otherwise, let's review the big speeches and the winner's roster.

Do you think all five of the major acting wins will translate to Globe and SAG hoopla... and then on to Oscar? It's been a surprising season to date so will it suddenly become a normal season where the same films and performances win each time?

SUPPORTING ACTRESS -Octavia Spencer for The Help

Okay um. Well I'm not prepared. I wasn't a Girl Scout. I guess the operative word here is Best Supporting  becasue I was truly supported by the most amazing cast and crew. Oh my god this is really kind of crazy. Okay. Uh. I'd like to thank everyone at Dreamworks -- Stacey Snyder thank you for giving me this chance. Holly Barrio. Chip Sullivan. Everyone at Disney. Rich [series of names that all blurred together for us] ...and then of course my two champions Tate Taylor and Brunson Green who have always believed in me. And thank God you believed in me enough to give me a job that actually paid this time!

But thank you so much to the BFCA. I am truly truly humbled by this. Thank you.

SUPPORTING ACTOR - Christopher Plummer for Beginners

Christopher Plummer, young againWinners and a Tearful Viola after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan062012

BAFTA Long List Losses

I've said it before and I'm forced to say it again. I'm *so* glad that the American Academy does not publish a long list. i.e. the semi-finals. You see, It's so much more bearable / engaging when you can imagine that straight up great achievements or achievements you really responded to personally but you knew might have trouble rallying huge swaths of support were in 6th or 7th place or 10th place in voting. The way BAFTA does it, however, you are forced to understand that Oscar buzz is everything and Super Size Mediocrities will always triumph over critical darlings or more challenging Art.

Take the Best Picture categories for a prime example. Notice that Weekend for example, a very British and very acclaimed film is not one of their "outstanding" homegrown products (they might want to check the reviews again) and notice that auteurist films frequently called masterpieces by their fans (The Tree of Life and Melancholia) are also absent. Other films ignored because you have to have space for The Lukewarmly Reviewed Biopics About Lady Actresses and Lady Politicians are... no, no. It's too horrible to start listing them!

Best Film The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

Outstanding British Film Arthur Christmas, Attack the Block, Coriolanus, The Guard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Iron Lady, Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Shame, Submarine, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tyrannosaur, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

BAFTA voters went crazy 4 My Week With Marilyn, longlisted many many times

Film Not in the English Language  Abel, As If I Am Not There, The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan, Calvet,  Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Incendies, Little White Lies, Pina, Post Mortem, Potiche, Le Quattro Volte, A Separation, The Skin I Live In, Tomboy and The Troll Hunter

More long list looniness with commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec302011

A Raggedy Oscar Podcast Reunion

Surprise! The old team is back together momentarily. Clearly we need more time than 40 minutes to get into everything that's going on in the Oscar race so this one is a totally raggedy conversation... a la Margaret and Rampart, two films that are discussed.

So welcome back to Katey, Joe, Nick from Nathaniel, your host here at The Film Experience.

UPDATE: The entire podcast is embedded below but it is having some trouble playing all the way through with Google Chrome. Works perfectly in Firefox or download from iTunes

Topics include but are not limited to:
• Cooking tips from The Help
The Iron Lady and Streep's hard sell for the third Oscar
• Team Margaret and Team Rampart, two wildly underseen movies that share some intuitive storytelling and vivid ensemble work.
• Critical advocacy in the age of consensus
• The silly battle lines drawn between Hugo & The Artist
• Shailene Woodley and Nick's Descendants agnosticism.

A Raggedy Oscar Reunion

Tuesday
Dec272011

Interview: Jessica Chastain's Big Year / Big Future

Jessica Chastain was in Morocco when we spoke, jurying on a film festival. Or was she in Toronto filming a movie? No, maybe she was right here in New York City or in Los Angeles for a premiere or event? Who can say. It's been a dizzying year. Her definition of "staying put", I quickly discover, is staying in one place for a whole week. "I don't think this is a normal year for an actor," she says understating the case.

Chastain reigns over 2011's movies

She sounds bright and cheerful and ready for more movies, believe it or not, though she admits that the year has been tough on her personal life. This past summer she starred in two of the most talked about films of the year (The Tree of Life and The Help) and in the fall she was doing press for four more (The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Texas Killling Fields). 

Though her characters are already multiple, she is but one woman. The movies we're seeing all at once she made over the span of a few years and she helpfully provided the order when asked:

  • Wilde Salome ("My first film. It hasn't come out yet")
  • Jolene 
  • Stolen ("very small role")
  • The Tree of Life
  • The Debt
  • Coriolanus
  • Texas Killing Fields
  • Take Shelter
  • The Help ("I went straight from the set of Take Shelter")

I figure her sudden ubiquity is a good place to start the conversation...

"I'm fine right here" 

Nathaniel R: It's almost like you've sprung full grown from the head of Zeus for moviegoers.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Which is so funny because I've been working so long!  But it does feel like this year with people starting to see my films they're asking "Where did you come from?" Well, I trained. I have been working for a long time.  You guys are just getting caught up . I didn't come out of nowhere.

NR: It just feels that way for us! I want to ask you about Take Shelter first. Long suffering wives of male leads -- how shall I put this? This type of part always runs the risk of feeling like a thankless stock role. How did you make it feel as specific as it does? That marriage is so vivid.

JC: It's funny. I think I teased Jeff [writer/director Jeff Nichols] quite a bit when we first started working together. I'm sure they were like "oh no…" because I do a lot of work before i show up on set. My script, it's not necessarily filled with answers but there are a lot of questions that I write down. In a scene in Take Shelter I might write down 'When's the last time he told me he loved me?'  Something like that which gets me thinking 'hmmmm, okay...'

For that movie I did that throughout the whole script. I had to make it so specific because my entire subtext in that film is "what's wrong with you?" but I can't say that the same way in every scene so I had to look for what's happened before each scene to make it as specific as possible. I really wanted to grasp it so much that on our first day I really embarrassed Jeff and Mike [Michael Shannon]. We're at lunch. The three of us sat down and I've got some questions. I looked at Jeff and said 'When do they have sex? I just wanna know.' Mike's mouth opened up, Jeff turns beet red.

'what's wrong with you?' Now, ask it in multiple unspoken ways.

[The Help, The Tree of Life and Chastain's future plans after the jump.]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212011

Utah Picks "Drive", Black Film Critics Love "Pariah", And More...

Well, look at that!

Critics group finally veered off the three well paved roads of Best Picture honors (The Artist, The Descendants and The Tree of Life were the only previous films named "Best Picture" by a US critics group. No, the NBR is not a critics group). Utah named Drive the Best Picture of 2011 and the Black Film Critics Circle went for The Help

Their love for the film which earned two additional prizes also broke up the clean sweep by The Tree of Life in cinematography. Emmanuel Lubezki's god like talents are truly majestic (and have been jaw dropping for a long time prior to The Tree of Life) but it's nice to see another artistic photographic achievement honored, in this case Newton Thomas Sigel's evocative night time cityscapes and theatrically dreamy interiors. Sigel has done rich work before, particularly on X2: X-Men United and Three Kings, but nothing as fine as his work on Drive. He's never been honored by his own guild or Oscar so hopefully that'll happen for him this year since he's done his best work ever.

Consider this prize a wee detour as there are more honors to come for Lubezki, though, surely. Lubezki might actually win the Oscar this year... though I'm trying not to hope for it too emphatically as Oscar has a way of ignoring his genius.

 

Full list of Utah's prizes and two more critics groups after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec122011

Box Office: "New Year's Eve" Drops Its Ball & a Milestone for "The Help"

Despite overloading with stars, some more bankable than others, New Year's Eve didn't exactly get moviegoers partying. Might this be an end to Garry Marshall's holiday franchise. Since he's working backwards chronologically given that he started with Valentine's Day, one supposed Christmas was going to be next.

Trivia Note: This is Michelle Pfeiffer's second "Ingrid". One assumes the first one (White Oleander) wouldn't like this mousy character too much!Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen
01 NEW YEAR'S EVE new $13 
02 THE SITTER new $9.8 
03 THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1 $7.8 (cum $259.4)
04 THE MUPPETS new $6.9 (cum $65.7)
05 ARTHUR CHRISTMAS new $6.5 (cum $33.4)

06 HUGO new $6 [Scorsese & Team] (cum $33.4)
07 THE DESCENDANTS $4.3 [Michael's review] (cum. $23.6)
08 HAPPY FEET TWO $3.6 (cum. $56.7)
09 JACK AND JILL $3 (cum. $68.5) 
10 THE IMMORTALS $2.4 (cum. $79.8) 

11 TOWER HEIST $2.3 (cum. $74.1)
12 PUSS IN BOOTS $1.6 (cum. $141.8)
13 J EDGAR  $1.1 [Nathaniel's review] (cum $34.7)

Talking Points
Young Adult and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy started off in teensy-tiny release (sigh. why must so many movies do this?) garnering solid per screen averages... especially Tinker Tailor. That fake out release for We Need To Talk About Kevin (Oscar qualifying) also had fairly full houses though it'll be removed from theaters next weekend just as its gaining steam. Sigh.

• The Weinstein Co is obviously keeping The Artist very close to their vest grooming it for an Oscar explosion. Despite promising first two week numbers it added only 10 new screens and is inching towards $1 million. Will the caution pay off or smother its ignitability with crowds?

• Despite a good week of awardage, Margin Call seems to be on its last legs creeping towards a $5 million gross in its 8th weekend.

• And believe it or not, The Help -- currently in the thick of Oscar campaigning and DVD releasing -- finally crawled past Bridesmaids this weekend to become the single biggest unexpected blockbuster of the year, 11th for the year overall and the 2nd biggest female led film (after Bella's wedding of course).

Sadly, The Helps #11 finish means the top ten this year is ONLY franchises. All original films were shut out which is basically the movie version of coal in the stocking of future moviegoers. Alas, we do it to ourselves! Such is the stagnating power of habit and pre-sold entertainments. No originals? DANGER. DANGER. Stop sending this message to Hollywood. If a franchise is getting weak, skip its next installment! Wait for the DVD.

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