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Entries in Tues Top Ten (81)

Tuesday
Oct212014

Top Ten: Oscar at the Oscars

"Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself."
- Oscar de la Renta

Jose
here. Legendary designer Oscar de la Renta passed away yesterday at the age of 82. In a career that spanned decades, he became a champion for the curvy female shape, similar to those he had seen growing up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In what can only be described as an Almodóvar-ian experience, he spoke many times of how he grew up in a matriarchy, "I was surrounded by sisters. My childhood was all women", all of whom helped inspire him as he seeked a career in design under the wing of Spanish icon Cristóbal Balenciaga. By the mid-60's, de la Renta had become a favorite of Jackie O. and as his fashion empire grew, it became known for its devotion to old-style glamour. As gowns became narrower and more modest, de la Renta's remained opulent. It's no wonder he was always a fixture during awards season. Many actresses wore his curve-hugging, Spanish-influenced designs throughout the years, and recently he gave us some truly memorable moments at the Academy Awards, which is why to celebrate his work, we are doing the Ten Best Oscar de la Renta looks at the Oscars.

See the glamorous looks after the jump!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct212014

Top Ten Oscar Theater Movies Or (The Unexpected Hook of Birdman)

For the concerns in some quarters that Birdman might be too cerebral or idiosyncratic for Oscar, I offer thisfoolproof rebuttal: It's about the theater!

Oscar has a long history of mad love for theater movies from early musicals which were often about vaudeville through biopics about theater giants and on to today's more playful genre hybrids. Even when the Academy doesn't fully commit to its latest greasepaint and footlights suitor, it will often give him a quick kiss in the form of a nomination or three.  Some examples: To Be Or Not To Be (1942 & 1983), Being Julia (2004), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), The Producers (1967), 42nd Street (1934), and The Bandwagon (1953). While it's true there are exceptions that they completely ignore (Stage Beauty, Waiting for Guffman, Opening Night) it's a subject matter that appeals to showbiz people and showbiz people like congratulating their own.

OSCAR'S 10 FAVORITE THEATER MOVIES


Why didn't you include Cabaret, Black Swan or Chicago in this list?:
I opted not to include films about cabaret, ballet, opera, etcetera but events more traditionally associated with "the theater" like plays, musicals, revues. I opted not to include Chicago since the vaudevillian references are atmosphere but not really related to the story as told but the story before the story and briefly after it if you will though there's definitely a case for including it. If you do include it it's #3 in this list with 13 nominations and 6 wins.

Honorable Mention: Best Foreign Language Film Winners with a theatrical bent include Hungary's MEPHISTO (1981) and Spain's ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (1999)

Runners Up: The all star actressfest known as STAGE DOOR (1937), discussed earlier this year, received 4 nominations including Best Picture & Mike Leigh's exquisite TOPSY-TURVY (1999) took 4 nominations and a win. And just barely missing the list is THE DRESSER (1983) with 5 nominations including Best Picture. While The Dresser seems to have been all but forgotten (was it not readily available enough for home viewing?) Oscar really went for it this intimate relationship drama at time including a double lead actor nomination (the second to last of its kind - Amadeus closed out the practice for men the following year and category fraud began to run rampant) for Tom Courtenay as the dresser and Albert Finney as the theater star he works for during a production of King Lear.

10 STAR! (1968) 7 nominations 
Though this notorious flop, recently discussed in our celebration of Robert Wise's centennial, ended Julie Andrews time as the #1 box office star in the world, The Academy responded with much greater initial enthusiasm than the public to this super long critically massacred biopic about stage star Gertrud Lawrence.

nine more encores after the jump...

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Top Ten: Best of The Boxtrolls

Because it was so much fun last week, another all top ten tuesday to celebrate our new season as the awards will soon come rushing at us...

People aren't talking about The Boxtrolls enough. It's a true mark against the world's parents that numerous animated mediocrities, The Peabodys, Nutjobs and Rios regularly and considerably outgross inventive Laika's awesome stop-motion films. While it's true that Laika's features have elements of the grotesque or macabre that are tougher sells to nonadventurous families, one only has to look at the perennial universal love for Nightmare Before Christmas to know that people are okay with that once they acclimate.

Which is very much my personal experience with The Boxtrolls. It's less immediately sympathetic than ParaNorman, less hook-laden than The Corpse Bride, less immediately fantastical than Coraline but once you get past the initial shock of the character designs (which has undoubtedly been an obstacle): blotched, deformed, dirty, jagged teeth and so on, the movie grows on you. It's another technical triumph in the service of a story that works on both juvenile and adult levels. Sure, it's not their best film but it's still a singular one in the current animated marketplace.

Since I never reviewed The Boxtrolls, consider this one of those in top ten form and a plea for those of you who haven't seen to correct that. To any awards voters reading who are just beginning to consider the Animated Feature Film category just know that it could be very rich with variety if you choose well this year.

THE BOXTROLL'S GREATEST HITS
after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten Unseen Hits

Is this "top ten day" annoying you yet? Every once in a while I like to look at the "yearly" charts to see which films are the most popular with the general public... i.e. that strange undulating shape-shifting mass of terror that inflicts so many terrible sequels, reboots, derivative horror flicks, and Adam Sandler movies on us. That blob of horror doesn't even get adventurous within genres it freaking loves. Why don't they flock to like The Boxtrolls instead of The Nutjob, you know? Why The Purge movies and not, like, The Babadook?

Here are the 10 biggest hits of 2014 once you subtract all the film's Nathaniel has seen and the ones that aren't yet on DVD. You may force him to watch something and write about it by voting. You can choose two films.

 

 

 

ALSO I'M CURIOUS...
Which big hits this year have you avoided or just didn't think to check out?

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten: Most Deserving Oscar Wins of the Decade (thus far)

It's a special "top ten day" to kick off fall film season. Lists all day long. Enjoy!

As we move into awards seasons it's a good time to think positively and hope for the best. Though AMPAS is too high profile to ever get an entirely fair shake (people will always take them to task because one man's treasure is another's junk and because it's easier to remember the gross dereliction of their duties more than their classy moments) they don't screw up all the time. Some Oscar wins are highly deserved no matter how you look at it. Though it seems weird to call this young decade "the Teens" already given that we've just left the pre-teens, that's what it'll surely be called when it wraps in December 2019

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

Honorable Mention
 Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (2012 Supporting Actress)
"I Dreamed a Dream" and its fearful preamble "At the End of the Day" had seismic emotional impact. Performances this raw are always risky (and usually divisive!) but I'll never forget her confrontational mix of anger, sorrow, memory and beauty; a woman staring into the abyss, still stunned she's at the brink of it.

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

10ish  Christian Bale, The Fighter (2010 Supporting Actor)
Christopher PlummerBeginners (2011 Supporting Actor)
I couldn't decide which of these fine actors I wanted on the list and on an earlier draft I accidentally left both off as a result. Oops. Both are arguably leads, so it felt a bit strange to include them but they are two very fine instances of overdue actors finally winning the top gong. While they probably won at least in part as "whole career" honors, that much derided Oscar tactic that often gives actors Oscars for one of their lesser performances, doesn't always backfire; both were, happily, incredibly deserving.


09 Lupita N'Yongo, 12 Years a Slave (2013 Supporting Actress)
A close call, perhaps, with "It Girl" JLaw nipping at her barefeet. Or maybe not close at all given how much of its operatic sorrow the sometimes cerebral Best Picture owes to her proud wails and immeasurable pain.  "I'd rather it be you" 

8 more greats after the jump from Gravity to A Separation

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep172014

Top Ten: Movie Stars Coming to TV

Margaret here, with a Tuesday Wednesday Top Ten. Ready to rank the incoming class of movie stars trying their hand at the small screen. Every TV season, a new group of movie actors crops up on the fall schedule, either because scarcity of good film roles or the lure of a hefty paycheck.

Here are the top ten series soon to debut, in order of how much we're looking forward a weekly date with their stars. Set your DVRs accordingly!

#10 True Detective - HBO - 2015

This spot is a placeholder for True Detective Season 2, the impossibly buzzy crime drama anthology series at HBO. While the show has yet to cast its leads, if any of the numerous rumours prove true it will certainly feature at least one famous and undervalued actor looking for a McConnaissance of his or her very own. Although it's not due until early 2015, it's safe to assume we'll be hearing at least as much about it all fall as we will any other show.

#9 Madam Secretary - CBS - 8 pm Sunday, 9/21

Téa Leoni stars in this drama series as a female Secretary of State. (Sure, she's got a globally-essential job, but what I want to know is can she have it all????) It's CBS, so unless it turns out to be a Good Wife-type anomaly, chances that it will be a formula-busting creative showcase are low. The supporting cast includes Tony winners Patina Miller (Pippin) and Bebe Neuwirth (Chicago, Sweet Charity), so we can always hold out hope for a musical number.

8 more starry series after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep112014

Team Top Ten: All Time Greatest Voice Performances

Amir here, with this month’s edition of team top ten. As the art of acting and our interpretation of it evolve, definitions of what we consider a good performance change. It’s become an annual tradition to discuss whether a motion capture performance or some “alternative” form of acting deserves to be in the awards race. Last year’s topic of conversation was Scarlatt Johansson’s voice work in Her and that's the topic we’ve turned our attention to. (Thanks to Michael Cusumano for his suggestion!)

Voice acting has existed since cinema found sound and it has contributed to the medium in more memorable ways than a list of ten entries can represent. We were not limited in our option to animated films or any genre. So long as the voice performance was not accompanied by visual aids from the same performer (e.g. Andy Serkis’s work in LOTR was not eligible), it was fair game. Naturally, our list is animation-heavy, but there were others firmly in the race like Alec Baldwin's exquisite narration of The Royal Tenenbaums or especialy Marni Nixon – of whom The Film Experience is a big fan – who received several votes but just not enough.

Without further ado, here the collective top ten created from the rankings of each contributor's individual ballot

Top Ten Voice Performances of All Time

10. Peter O’Toole (Ratatouille)
Peter O’Toole’s Anton Ego doesn’t have much screen time in Ratatouille but his contribution to Pixar’s best film outside of the Toy Story trilogy is immeasurable. The final monologue by Ego – what an apt name for the food critic, or any critic, really – has become a reference point for film writers. The text is definitive, reminding us that “in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” Yet, the bitter truth in the text wouldn’t strike the right chords had it not been for O’Toole’s sombre, elegiac tone. Remarkably balancing his authority with a palpable sense of resignation, O’Toole’s final words elevate the scene beyond criticism.
-Amir Soltani

9. Eleanor Audley (Sleeping Beauty)
Angelina Jo-who? While the voluptuous star brought sexiness and unnecessary warmth to the part of Maleficent in this summer's blockbuster adaptation, she still doesn't hold a candle to the incomparable work of Eleanor Audley in the 1959 animated version. The actress bookended the 1950s for Disney through two of their most iconic creations, having also voiced Cinderella's stepmother in the 1950 version. For Beauty however, she was firing on all Machiavellian cylinders as she brought a sense of immeasurable dread to what was considered to be a children's film. Her Maleficent is barely in the film, but she makes every line count. We don't need to hear her entire (or any) backstory to know that she was truly evil in ways we could only begin to imagine. In a time before villains were cool, she's the most interesting character and when she says "listen well, all of you", you couldn't pay us to ignore her command.
- Jose Solis
(more on this performance

8 more great vocal performances after the jump...

Click to read more ...