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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Vera Farmiga (19)

Thursday
Jan102019

Interview: Ben Foster on "Leave No Trace" and Acting as Therapy

by Nathaniel R

Ben Foster discussing "Leave No Trace" last summer when it openedWhen I first met Ben Foster he was promoting Rampart (2011), a hard and angry movie about corrupt cops in which the acting was (unsurprisingly) terrific, he would barely speak about himself. Time has mellowed him, or at least made him more lighthearted about his own intensity. He ended our last interview begging for a screen comedy but sadly that project has never materialized. In person he's friendly and thoughtful and funny, never as impenetrable or scary or tragically sad as he has been is in his famous roles. In fact he's a happy new father, having had a daughter with his wife, the actress Laura Prepon, just over a year ago.

We met last month to discuss Debra Granik's award-winning drama Leave No Trace. He plays Will, a former soldier who has shut himself off from society with only his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) for companionship.When Will and Tom are found living in the woods at the beginning of the film, social workers attempt to reintegrate them into society. The daughter immediately adapts but the father is tougher to reach. Leave No Trace is moving and insightful and beautifully acted so that's where we begin as we discuss his career, his early days in acting, and what's next.

Our interview, has been edited for clarity and length...

with Director Debra Granik on set

NATHANIEL: Projects like Leave No Trace live or die based on the chemistry between the leads, so how can you prepare for a two-hander like this. Were you involved in casting? 

BEN FOSTER: I was involved in casting so far as Debra said 'I found someone I really like, and she's in New Zealand, here's the tape'. It was recorded on her phone and I watched like 30 seconds before I was like 'Oh yeah, that's it.'  

Instant approval. That's so cool.

She has a quality --you see it in person and you see it onscreen, she's lit from within. [In awe] She's one of them.

And I assume you trusted Debra a little bit on unknown actors, too, because she's famous for that Jennifer Lawrence discovery...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov062018

Review: "The Front Runner"

by Chris Feil

Fresh off of delivering exacting holistic wisdom with frequent collaborator Diablo Cody in this past spring’s Tully, Jason Reitman is already back and pivoting hard into political commentary with The Front Runner. Detailing the combustion of Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign due to the outting in the press of Hart’s not-so-secret affairs, the film stars Hugh Jackman as the prideful candidate fatally underestimating the public’s association between his character and marital fidelity. Reitman and cowriters Matt Bai and Jay Carson cover the unraveling in stringent attention to the timeline, while angling this as a key breakdown in the separation of political media consideration and tabloid press.

The result is something unintentionally passive, a film about a political candidate flailing against public expectations he refuses to assuage. The film itself is equally headstrong about satisfying on its own rather limited terms...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct252017

Thursday
Oct062016

What's your most vivid memory of "The Departed" and the 2006 Oscar Race? 

by Nathaniel R

Ten years ago today Martin Scorsese's smash hit The Departed opened in theaters. I remember that day well especially that beat just past this still above when the entire sold out movie theater exploded simultaneously with shock, excitement, screaming, whooping, collective chills. A master playing the audience perfectly so it's no wonder that Martin Scorsese finally won the Oscar for it. Strangely I have few other vivid memories of the movie other than the feeling that that deep line in Leonardo DiCaprio's perma-angst expression had never and would never be put to better use again. Also something about Vera Farmiga flirting in an elevator, and the movie's perfect final shot.

The Film Experience was definitely having an "off consensus" year -- we were all about Marie Antoinette, The Fountain, & Volver so the Oscars were kind of a let-down -- but at least it was one of those interesting years where the Best Picture contenders didn't hog all the nominations. In fact only 1 of the 10 leading acting contenders came from a Best Picture nominee. Strange, right?

What do you remember most about The Departed? And how comfortable were you with the 2006 Oscar's lineup. As a reminder the Best Pictures were:

  • Babel (7 noms / 1 controversial win - for the barely there Original Score) 
  • The Departed (5 noms / 4 wins including Picture)
  • Letters From Iwo Jima (4 noms / 1 win)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (4 noms / 2 wins)
  • The Queen (6 noms / 1 win)
Monday
Sep192016

The Furniture: The Malevolent Secret Code of The Conjuring 2

"The Furniture" our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber

There are many ways to scare an audience. Music, special effects and editing are combined to surprise the audience with loud, unexpected images of malevolent demons or slashers or whatever. But what about production design? Can you be terrified by a stationary armchair?

The Conjuring 2 holds all the answers. James Wan is an excellent horror craftsman, a director who uses every trick in the book, including the sets and props. Production designer Julie Berghoff and art directors A. Todd Holland and Andrew Rothschild run amok, with the same ferocity as the film's music and editing.

Their first order of business is to exploit some of the genre’s stand-by images. There are a lot of crosses, in this case an entire roomful.

They stand at attention, ready to demonically invert themselves at a moment’s notice. There are smaller crucifixes sprinkled throughout the film, as well as the occasional window lit to resemble a cross... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan132016

YNMS: The Conjuring 2

Jason from MNPP taking a brief breather between your pre nomination Oscar jitters with a look at the recently dropped trailer for James Wan's Conjuring sequel, creatively titled The Conjuring 2.

I was less bullish (my review) on the 2013 original than most horror movie fans were and indeed than several contributors here at TFE - I'm more of an Insidious guy myself when it comes to the ghost worlds o' Wan - but I do think that Wan's gotten better as a filmmaker with the years, and he sure knows how to goose a good scare out of an audience.

Anyway let's break down the good the bads and the maybes here after the jump...

Click to read more ...