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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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We're also crushed. But thanks to Manuel for recapping this beautiful second season.

 

 

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Entries in Tues Top Ten (85)

Tuesday
Mar032015

Top Ten: Horny For Horned Creatures 

This top ten list is devoted to Madonna & her minotaurs since "Rebel Heart," the Queen of Pop's 13th studio album arrives in full this Friday.

The minotaurs in particular serve as horny inspiration for this week's top ten. What are the best horned villains, horned beauties or horny creatures from the movies? I was surprised to realize that we don't get that many. It was hard to find enough good characters. The movies haven't been big on the succubus, for example, as mythological fetishes go. TV has far more horned characters but that's thanks in most part to the demon happy and expansive Buffyverse. But we're talking movies. Sorry Hellmouth!

We'll make do with what we have. But please do shout out a favorite if you don't see it here. 

TOP TEN HORNED MOVIE CHARACTERS
after the jump...

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Tuesday
Jan202015

Top Ten Best Julianne Moore Performances

abstew here for a Tuesday Top Ten. Julianne Moore is known simply as 'God' at The Film Experience. That was Nathaniel's nickname for her even before the site was launched. It's winking hyperbole, sure, but if there's any other actress working today deserving of that moniker, it's this talented redhead who has given us countless transcendent performances for more than 20 years. This past Thursday, Moore earned her 5th career Oscar nomination for her beautiful performance in Still Alice and all signs indicate that this is the year that she will finally take home the gold. Since many are seeing this eventual win as honoring her impressive body of work, I could think of no better time than to look back over Julianne Moore's 10 Previous Best Performances. With such iconic creations as Amber Waves and Cathy Whitaker over the years, Moore's divinity has already been proven, but a golden statue still seems like a worthy offering. All hail, Julianne Moore!   

10. Maps to the Stars (2014)

Director: David Cronenberg
The Role: Havana Segrand, a self-centered, ageing Hollywood actress obsessed with playing her dead movie star mother in a film.
Awards: Cannes Film Festival Best Actress, Golden Globe Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy nomination

Why this Performance: I can't say that I'm a fan of the film as a whole (too many storylines and tonal shifts that seem unfocused and chaotic), but amid the chaos is Moore's livewire, crazy-committed performance. For an actress that has been working as long as Moore has, it can sometimes be difficult to surprise your audience with something they haven't seen before. But with Havana, Moore is able to suppress her natural intelligence and compassion as an actress by playing an actress so unlike her: needy, vapid, dim-witted, and something Moore could never relate to, untalented. In scene after scene we see Moore in unflattering positions (including one on the toilet that I'm sure most Oscar-nominated actors would balk at), but perhaps the most shocking thing about Moore in the film is that even after all these years, there's an excitement in knowing that she can still astonish us.   

9. Short Cuts (1993)

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Monday
Jan052015

Best of the Year: Nathaniel's Top Ten

Previously we looked at ten runners-up -- practically an alternate top ten if you will the year was so good. Now on to the list you've been waiting for as our own awardage begins. 

The years best films marched in the streets in London and Alabama, cruised Scotland with nefarious intent, uncovered skeletons in Poland, and jogged around DC. They performed on the stages of Manhattan while also house hunting there; neither activity is for the faint of heart. Only two of them sprang from books though another cast its biggest spell while holding one. Two taught us about history in ways that felt absolutely relevant and useful to how we live now and one let us watch 12 years of it unfold. The thing that unites all ten is the imagination, fine judgement (when to employ a light touch and when to hit hard) and technical prowess of the filmmakers and actors, lifting their scenes, themes and stories however mundane, silly, deep or fanciful to greater heights that we could have reasonably expected.

With deep appreciation...

NATHANIEL'S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2014

CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
(Anthony Russo & Joe Russo)
Disney. April 4th
138 minutes 

The public has been more than generous with Marvel Studios over the years as they stumbled into surprising glory given that they were playing with a half deck having sold so many key characters. Ten films in: perfection! Captain America: Winter Soldier artfully dodges nearly every typical superhero movie problem (as well as general sequel problems) with a stunning grasp of mood, total commitment to a "square" character, a smart choice of villain, and thrilling action scenes that feel authentically dangerous (a complete rarity in blockbusters) rather than like stop-and-gawk "setpieces" with no actual stakes. Add in Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson both embracing their supersized charisma and physical perfection (while deepening their rapport and characterizations) and you have the year's best popcorn entertainment.

 

THE BABADOOK
(Jennifer Kent)
IFC Films. November 28th 
93 minutes 

You can't intellectualize away its terror, though reviews and many a future masters theses will try. This alarming horror film, a brilliant debut for Australian director Jennifer Kent, is as hard to shake as its title character whether you take it as a straightforward monster film, a mental illness or grief allegory, or get hung up on its minefield of taboos (mothers who don't much like their children / over-medication of children / weapons in schools). It's as rich and imaginative a study of depression in its own creepy-crawly way as Lars Von Trier's Melancholia so it's wonderfully apt that Jennifer Kent once apprenticed with the Danish provocateur

Eight with more than enough Great after the jump...

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Tuesday
Nov112014

Top Ten: Worthy Performances That Will Win No Awards

Jose here. Every year as the awards race picks up, it seems as if we’re all collectively Lacuna-ed into forgetting all the great performances that came before Oscar narrows them down to twenty that by then, have won or been nominated for dozens of other awards. But what about the performances so “small”, “weird” or “foreign” that stand no chance in hell of competing with the FYC ads in the trades and/or Harvey Weinstein’s Sauron-like powers? We celebrate those performances, right now:

10. Keira Knightley - Begin Again

Sure, The Weinstein Company is behind this one, but even Harvey knows there is no point in trying to get a nod for this low-key, charming musical, especially not when he can get Keira an Oscar for a WWII flick, which makes more sense, right? Her performance here reminded me of Last Night in which she does so much with her eyes, which is something Begin Again director John Carney achieves with everyone in this cast. I’m still shocked that not a single awards body back in 2007 recognized the subdued and lovely performances by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová in Once. Why do you think this kind of acting seems so unworthy of awards?

More after the jump...

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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!

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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...

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