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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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Entries in The Tree of Life (31)

Monday
Dec262011

OFCS Nominations: The Drive of Life

The Online Film Critics Society is the latest group to chime in with their nominations for the best of 2011. They'll announce the winners on January 2nd but because they're a big group we deigned to feature their nominees this year. As in most years there are a couple of eyebrow raising choices (I really can't handle Editing and Screenplay nominations for We Need To Talk About Kevin! Shoot me now... with bow and arrow if you must.) but their Best Cinematography list is just... well, we should only pray we get an Oscar field that beautiful, that acclaimed, that challenging, that perfect, that War Horse evading.

The Tree of Life led their field of contenders with seven nominations including two for acting (Brad Pitt was honored there,  not for Moneyball) with Drive in hot pursuit with six. And for what seems like the first time in ages, Martha Marcy May Marlene was not left out in the cold, picking up three nominations including Original Screenplay for Sean Durkin (recently interviewed).

Full list of nominations with a few thoughts after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec102011

Oscar's FX Semi-Finalists: Superheroes, Aliens, Dinosaurs, Mermaids

Wouldn't it be weird if Oscar had finalist rounds for all categories and not just a few of them? Can you imagine a runway elimination for Costume Design or a Supporting Actress pre-nom bake-off? But, bringing us back to reality, few categories do this. The effects branch does and after having a looksie at this year's showiest films, they've narrowed the Oscar posssibilities for "Best Achievement in Visual Effects"  to 15. We're not sure why there are so many steps in the process but they'll narrow it down again in early January to 10 before 5 are named at the end of January on Oscar Nomination Morning (Or what Nathaniel calls Christmas Eve... Christmas being Oscar Night, his favorite holiday!)

The semi-finalist list bring us a few dinosaurs, a handful of mythical creatures, several aliens, a dozen colorful superheroes, a scary school (herd? pack? fleet?) of mermaids, and many robots from small to super sized.

Captain America: The First Avenger 
Cowboys & Aliens 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 
Hugo 
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sucker Punch

Super 8
Thor
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Tree of Life
X-Men: First Class

DINOSAURS! There's no award for Best Supporting Visual Effects but I always root for that film even though it's rarely nominated. I mean how are you going to ignore the visual effects of Eternal Sunshine back in its day. But they did.  So this year's I'm really pulling for the audacious creation of the earth segment from The Tree of Life since we obviously can't have the destruction of the earth in Melancholia. Together they're a Double Scoop of Circle of Life Awesome.

OMISSIONS! Effects work that didn't make it to the finals include Tarsem's warring god boytoys in The Immortals, the elaborate visual wows of The Adventures of Tintin, the apocalyptic beauty of Melancholia's opening/closing segments, and the yellow clouds enlarged craniums alient whatnots and gooey green CGI messes of Green Lantern -- someone mop that up!

FOUR NOMINEES... BUT THEY ARE LEGION

On Oscar nomination morning five films will be left standing and four lucky craftsmen will reap the benefits for each film, their names to be determined by the producers. It's interesting to note how many people work on a movie's effects sequences versus how many are nominated for what the teams deliver unto us. Let's take Captain America for an example. The Special Effects department which does models, pyrotechnics, explosives, snow, molds and other sundries and whatnots numbers 40. The Visual Effects department, which does ... uh... everything else [marvel at my intricate knowledge of the process! *snort*] numbers nearly 800 (!!!). Generally speaking one assumes the producers merely pick department heads because most of the job descriptions of those nominated are simply  "visual effects supervisor" though sometimes you'll get a "special effects supervisor" from the sister department. And occassionally something a lot more specific like last year's nomination for Michael Owens on Hereafter whose job title reads "designer: tsunami sequence, visual effects supervisor".

Beyond possibly previously Oscared Craig Barron (2 noms / 1 win) I'm not sure who would get Captain America's nomination (should it receive one) since there are several visual effects supervisors most of whom would be first time nominees. But I think the producers ought to think outside the box hyperbaric chamber and consider Simon Waterson, Chris Evans' trainer because this here was the movie's single greatest visual effect...

 

I rest my case.

If they need further convincing -- perhaps even towards an honorary Oscar --  please to note that Simon Waterson was also responsible for Daniel Craig's Casino Royale body. You owe Simon Waterson, moviegoer, even if you don't know it!

Which 33% of the semi-finalists do you think will call themselves Oscar Nominees come January's end?

Oscar Predictions -Visual Categories

Wednesday
Dec072011

The Tree of Link

Nicks Flick Picks looks at the cinematography of Todd Haynes masterwork Safe (1995).
Scene Stealers chooses the ten best cinematography jobs of the past decade, with The Tree of Life the only current film to place.
In Contention on Fox News freakout over The Muppets liberal agenda. 
Paper Mag has an enjoyable profile of Kristen Wiig and her superstar-making year 
Karine Vanasse ...will we see her again after Pan Am flies away? I find TV news difficult to follow so I'll admit total confusion when shows randomly show up on my DVR or move networks or whatnot but apparently this charming French Canadian actress says Pan Am has been cancelled and the network says it's just on hiatus? My point is that I watch the show and am totally in l'amour with her.

The Hollywood Reporter worries that the AMPAS demographic (which skews very male) may hurt The Help. Of course this argument supposes that only women would like The Help.
The Wrap though it's a rather unusual decision, given its history, this year's Vanguard Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival is not going to a well known acting legend but to the two stars of The Artist Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin. That's a major get for the Weinstein Co moving into the Oscars.
Forbes did one of those "return on investment" things to rank actors. Kristen Stewart is named the best deal with $55.83 earned for every $1 spent on her. Anne Hathaway comes in at #2 with $45.67 for every $1. Most of the list is composed of people in franchises so the numbers are quite skewed; Harry Potter is the star of Harry Potter and Twilight is the star of Twilight if you get me. Meryl Streep, who isn't exactly known for franchise appears, does make the list though with $13.54 earned for every $1 she's paid.

on embargos, social media and film critics in general
Carpet Bagger David Fincher on embargo breaking. He doesn't want any advance screenings and thinks the best film critics are moviegoers who text their friends (oy! the self-serving pomposity of some people. And I love Fincher)
AV Club Sign of the Apocalypse. Twitter-friendly seats in theaters as trend? Thousands of little glowing screens to distract you from the big one. Ugh.
Telegraph Kevin Spacey isn't having any of it. This is our favorite Kevin Spacey anything in like 12 years.

Top Ten o' the Day -David Denby
Speaking of embargos and film critics... Fast on the heels of the Dragon Tattoo ruckus, we have Denby's top ten list on which it does not appear. It's a mixture of lazy fandom (J Edgar? Ugh... seriously. I'm going to have to assume that critics who label this a top ten'er only saw 30 or 40 movies this year and even then, you'll have to make concessions.) and the highbrow like Certified Copy and the Tree of Life about which he begins, affectionately, this way...

Yes, I know, Terrence Malick’s movie is unbearably high-minded and humorless. But still! 

All in all an interesting list and suggests that for Denby, two types of entertainments are generally favored: intellectual puzzlers and popcorn entertainment for the masses (Source Code, Contagion and Rise of the Planet of the Apes all appear). 

 

Thursday
Oct202011

Gotham Awards: The Tree of Marcy May's Sheltered Descendants

The Gotham Award nominees were announced today. Though they're not affiliated I like to think of them as the East Coast Spirit Awards on account of the similar types of films they tend to honor (independent and lower budgeted films) and the slightly confusing windows of eligibility. The ceremony will be held on November 28th, 2011 here in NYC which is the same day that the New York Film Critics Circle have just announced as the date on which they'll name their winners. So mark those calendars. Awards Season begins in earnest on Monday November 28th, 2011. So the season will be almost exactly three months long this year what with the Oscars arriving on Sunday February 26th, 2012.

Best Feature:

  • Beginners (Mike Mills)
  • The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
  • Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt
)
  • Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols
)
  • The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

'One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same.' The black sheep of this shortlist family is The Descendants which is decidedly more mainstream than the other contenders: big movie star, crowd-pleasing rather than crowd-risky, obviously on its way to Oscar nods.

Several categories and few opinions after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug252011

Who is Jessica Chastain?

Here's pretty much all that we know about her: She was raised in North Carolina, she just turned 30, she's in every seventh movie opening in 2011, and though we've only seen three of them thus far (The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter) it takes a minute in each to realize that yes, that's her. Even in photoshoots she seems to be more than one person.

Is she a moldable young starlet?
Is she a Swintonesque Off-Hollywood provocateur?
Is she a Lead Star just waiting for her own vehicles?

Further IMDb and Wikipedia grazing reveals that she graduated from Juillard and that her best friend is the actress Jess Weixler (of Teeth fame. How about that?) but the point is this: we like people we can't pin down immediately.

I don't want to play the same character twice. There's something about the feeling of 'I don't think I can do this.' If you have that moment of doubt, you have to rise up and meet it. I learn from my failures more than my successes."
-Chastain to Michael Musto at the premiere of The Debt 

Hitting a Take Shelter screening last night I tweeted "Okay, Jessica Chastain. Show me what else ya got" Of her three summer performances (her fourth The Debt opens soon) it's the least impressive but it's almost the most telling. 'What I got' was the surest indication yet that she's a future Oscar winner as she embraced their favorite role, the long suffering wind-beneath-her-husband's-wings type, with such unfussy naturalistic ease.

Regarding Oscar...
While she's ethereal and lovely in The Tree of Life it seems less an acting feat than a well judged minimalist act to allow Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki's camera and the rich scoring to fill her Way of Grace with meaning. Auteur vessel performance are rarely nominated. While she's hugely entertaining in The Help she probably has too much internal competition for traction. And her most Oscar-friendly role in Take Shelter is within a film that one suspects will be too under the radar for Oscar. She may have to wait for the Kodak theater but it'll be exciting to watch her work her way there.

Wednesday
Aug242011

Go L*nk Yourself

Gabby Sidibe snapped by Terry Richardson on 08/23/11 at the Our Idiot Brother premiereSome Came Running "The Trouble With Movie Stars" the distraction of stardom in The Tree of Life and other films.
Funny or Die Dave Franco in "Go F*ck Yourself". (I know he's James Franco's brother but he looks to me like the offspring of James Franco f*cking James Marsden.#amiright?)
Awards Daily has some words about Oscar's history with black actresses. This topic is about 200 times as complicated as anyone will ever claim it is but I am horrified to realize that there are still people trying to say that Gabby Sidibe just played herself in Precious. Anyone who has spent more than two seconds watching her on a talk show versus seeing her in Precious would have to be braindead to not notice the difference. Night and day.

Boston Wesley Morris on The Help. I sometimes feel like a fanboy when reading Morris's reviews . He's just great: anecdotal when it benefits the piece, funny without congratulating himself for it, and critical without being mean-spirited; his scalpel is sharp, his hand steady and he never accidentally lops off the joy of movies, while carving a fine point.
New York Times tennis rivalries and Andy Samberg portraying them. Fun!
Form is Void "5 from Dorothy Parker"  
Cineuropa Joachim Trier's Oslo August 31st up for another prize. It seems more and more certain that this will have to be Norway's Oscar submission. 
Film Drunk choice quotes from Ryan Gosling's Esquire profile. 

Look, Helen Mirren arrives at the premiere of The Debt

I'm guessing she makes grown women half her age weep. Look at that bod! She is 66 years old.

Finally... I don't know how I keep missing the big stories but I didn't even know about the eastern Earthquake yesterday until after the fact when people kept asking me if I felt it? Felt what? This is what I tweeted about it.

Speaking of... so then I find it that everyone is talking about Ryan Gosling breaking up a fight here in NYC and I didn't know about that either. I'm in a fog!