DON'T MISS THIS!
Oscar History
Welcome

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

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
100 Best of the 21st Century?

"Carol >>>>>>>>>> most of these movies" - Clarence

"The more I see these snooty lists, the more I get turned off of by film critics. What about Lord of the Rings, The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada..." -Jono

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - The movie you're hoping to see every time you go in the cinema" - Jeremy

 

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe

Entries in Year in Review (201)

Tuesday
Jan262016

Best Acting, Male Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

In the war of scene-stealing antagonists this year, Oscar Isaac's Nathan (Ex Machina) > Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald (The Revenant). We love both actors here at TFE and loved them before the rest of the web did (brag brag) but when it comes down to awards season you have to make tough choices.

That's just a handy way of saying Oscar and I go our separate ways more often than not in the acting categories but now both lists are available for your (hopeful) entertainment... 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
On the subject of category placement antagonists are often tricky. They definitely move the plot -- neither The Revenant or Ex Machina can function without these devious men, but often you can see either argument for lead or supporting. While Ex Machina arguably has three leads being such a chamber drama I occasionally relax the soapbox for performances that straddle the divide. A recent rewatch of Ex Machina confirmed that Oscar Isaac would make whichever shortlist we put him in (and I'd switched him back and forth during the year in drafts). It's such an inventive approach to a thoroughly imagined character so I tossed the dice and supporting he went. Now watch him tear up this fucking dance floor...

Only one of Oscar's men makes my own personal ballot (just posted) with apologies to Mark Rylance who I thought would place but he fell in the dread sixth spot! It happens. I've completed the Oscar chart as well and included trivia for this golden sausage party. Speaking of sausage parties... I think this is the first male Oscar lineup ever in which ALL the men have gone full frontal in other movies. Weird, right? It's an exhibitionist group this year. This only occurred to me to check because I was a big fan of Intimacy (2001) back in the day which starred Mark Rylance and everyone knows that Sly starred in a porno before Rocky (1976)

The charts also include our "How'd they get nominated" fun. So here's a sample -- the Tom Hardy in The Revenant edition: 

25% Leo's bro power pulls his main men in w/ him
21% Spicy Bait: Villains prioritized in this category 
20% Timing. 'The Revenant' was the shiniest new toy
15% Everyone wishes they could have punched Iñárritu in the face
10% Performance - they like 'em BIG to shake up slow epics (see also: The Zeéeeee in 'Cold Mountain')
9% 'Mad Max Fury Rd'

P.S. I should not that though Hardy didn't make my top 12 in supporting I appreciate his go for broke attempts to save The Revenant from its own grandiose self-importance with a little cured ham.

Matt Damon a nominee at both the Oscars & the Film Bitch AwardsBEST LEADING ACTOR 
Given the weirdly unanimous "meh" factor that Oscar's shortlist has produced in audiences, at least on the web, it's hard to imagine it coming to be at all. But then you remember the media complicity in producing these sorts of safe groupings of all-stars whether or not people were actually hugely impressed with their work. Oscar produced a list of five major players who unfortunately could have been nominated based on the roles themselves before anyone saw the work (always a problem!). You've got your reigning Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), your mega stars (Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Damon), and your highly-revered thespians (Bryan Cranston & Michael Fassbender) with all but one of them (Damon) playing real life people. That's the baitiest of bait to awards types -- not just Oscar! --  though after 15 years of covering movies and awards seasons I still can't fathom why playing someone who really exists/existed is so much more likely to be lauded than creating a character from scratch with only the screenplay, director and your imagination to guide you. 

But anyway that's Oscar's list. Only two of them survive to make my personal ballot and I had to correct some category campaign problems too to put Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) where they belonged. Since DiCaprio's fans can be quite touchy I should note that he's solid, as ever, in The Revenant. He's locked up to win the Oscar finally but sadly the film just isn't asking very much of him, emotionally, beyond grief and anguish which he's been playing with minor variations for at a dozen years now. Sorry Oscar campaign narrative but tough physical working conditions and weird diets ≠ acting triumph. 

Monday
Jan252016

Best of 2015: Nathaniel's Top Fifteen

When you devote your life to the movies, you come to cherish the movies that give back as if they're devoted, in return, to you. Yes, you, specifically. Our consumption of movies may be communal but in some ineffable way, especially when it comes to list-making, they're deeply personal; movies in conversation with your soul. At least if you're doing it right. It's painful enough to "rank" a top 15 for 2015. So I included a second tier of favorites. The 30 best of the year, according to your host, took place all over the world as we know it (Germany keeps popping up as does seemingly every place with an arid climate in an odd but starkly beautiful coincidence) to weirdly recognizable places beyond it (Why, Jakku, you look so much like Tattoine!). The unifying thread might be that however alien their perspectives and locales (inside a young girl's brain, locked in a 10 x 10 shed, or chained to the back of rusted death machines in hallucinatory sandstorms), they resonated as if deeply familiar.

Nathaniel's top 30 films of

If you're looking for __ you won't find it:
I liked Magic Mike XXL -- you may recall that Magic Mike (2012) won the Film Bitch Bronze medal here in 2012 as third best of its entire year -- but can't join the unexpected bandwagon of critics who decided they loved the sequel well after it left theaters. I did enjoy it a lot, though. Also just missing the list, not from an absence of affection exactly but "best?" attributes, is Ridley Scott's disco-lite outer-space romp The Martian. I'm far less keen on recent Oscar nominees like The Big Short, Straight Outta Compton, The Hateful Eight, Anomalisa, Trumbo, Son of Saul, and The Revenant but they need not cry from my qualms, indifference, or distaste (depending on the picture) since they have stadiums full of cheering sections elsewhere

And this list is about positive, nay giddy, love. So on to the best of the best. 

15 (Very) Honorable Mentions in Alpha Order
Please seek out: The Troubles via Yann Demange's electric debut '71; Desiree Arkhavan's hilarious bisexual Iranian-American hipster romcom (a genre we didn't even know we needed but love) Appropriate Behavior; Spielberg & Hanks's absorbing Bridge of Spies; Disney's girlie lush live-action Cinderella spin; Olivier Assayas's actressy-angst at those Clouds of Sils Maria; Celine Sciamma's infectiously observed but profoundly sad GirlhoodLily Tomlin & Paul Weitz's Grandma focused road trip; the waking nightmare game of sexual tag in It FollowsIceland's formally compelling beast and man oddity Of Horses and Men; Brazil's smart socioeconomic collisions in The Second Mother; Paul Feig & Melissa McCarthy's Spy romp; Disney's easy money $4 billion bet The Force Awakens; Tom McCarthy's soulful journalism procedural SpotlightAaron Sorkin's presentational Steve Jobs triptych; Xavier Dolan's queasy, queer, razor blade dangerous Tom at the Farm; and the director, crew, and cast who pulled off that continuous shot jaw-dropper stunt that was Victoria... and pulled it off with feeling. 

Without further ado and with deep appreciation...

NATHANIEL'S TOP 15 OF '15
🎶 they're speaking my language baby 🎶 

 

I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
(Brett Haley)
Bleecker Street Media. May 15th
92 minutes 

A movie as unassuming as Blythe Danner's still waters star turn, and as gently surprised by its twilight romanticism as the wonderful theme song. It's easy to imagine this film becoming a staple, a comfortable blanket to wrap yourself up in on lonely nights; an old dear friend that understands the value of finding new ones.

You're a good drinking buddy!"

 

CHI-RAQ
(Spike Lee)
Roadside Attractions. December 4th
119 minutes 

By no small margin the most uneven and sometimes downright sloppy movie on this 15 wide "Best" list --  stop reading the teleprompter Samuel L Jackson, learn your damn verse! But, a permanent truth: perfection isn't everything. Vitality of voice, with something actually worth saying, counts for quite a lot with so many polished but empty-headed and safe pictures clogging up each year's awards pipeline. Spike Lee won an Honorary Oscar shortly before anyone saw his reworking of Lysistrata, transported to contemporary Chicago (nicknamed Chi-Raq for its crime rate troubles). Nobody knew that his best movie in 15 years was about to hit to make that statue feel retroactively less of a tribute to past highs (Do The Right Thing, 25th Hour, etcetera) and more of an "it's about damn time!" honor for a still relevant artist. Chi-Raq is... Crazy. Funny. Sexy. Anguished. Silly. Mad. Experimental. Sickening. Sober. Even Optimistic. In short, "It's 'EVERYTHING!' as the queens say. Now if only everyone would go see this bold bawdy and beautiful everything. And, did someone say "Queen," I can hear Miss Helen (Angela Bassett, who also Got Her Groove Back of late) shaking her head at the meager box office receipts.

Y'all make my tired ass tired!" 

 

SICARIO
(Denis Villeneuve)
Lionsgate. October 2nd
121 minutes 

If Denis Villenueve's movies get any more tense they're going to explode by the second reel.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan192016

15 Best LGBT Characters of '15

We promised a grand total of 15 "Best of "2015" Lists (apart from the awards -- yeah, we're overplanning crazy) so here's the second to last. Diversity is the hot topic of the week and regardless of any one particularity (like an Oscar nominee list) thing are getting better on television (obviously) and at the movies, too, though you have to look a little bit harder. Still, if you go to a lot of movies and attempt to draw up lists like this you'll find you're spoilt for choice. There are so many more films these days directed by women, for gay audiences, for people of the color and the like. You just have to look beyond Big Hollywood and keep your eyes open for intriguing surprises if you do regularly hit the all wide releases multiplex.

Since 15 is a finite number (damn you math) not every film with an LGBT character can make the list. Some I didn't see only because you can't see everything (Legend, Duke of Burgundy, Cut SnakeEastern Boys) and some just didn't make this particular list (Tom at the FarmSaint Laurent, Gerontophilia, Ricki and the FlashMr Holmes, The New Girlfriend, BoulevardStonewall, Match, and The Danish Girl) though that shouldn't reflect on the film itself because that group has everything from terrible to great movies within it. The most high profile miss is Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmaybe) but that's mostly because The Danish Girl needed to be queerer and because there are several women that were far more fetching on this list.

Without further ado...

15 Best LGBT Characters of The Movies of '15
from Nasty Baby through Star Wars (???) and on up to Carol

15 Freddy (Sebastián Silva) in Nasty Baby
Silva, one of Chile's best known filmmakers, doesn't usually star in his own movies, but this time out he gifts himself the lead role. Freddy, an artist working haphazardly on a new project involving adults pretending to be babies, desperately wants to be a dad and is continually trying to make it happen between his boyfriend (Tunde Adebimpe from Rachel Getting Married) and his best friend (Kristen Wiig). Silva's a fluid filmmaker when it comes to gender, ethnicity, and genre and Nasty Baby is a fluid movie, freely hopping from genre to genre without much warning:  drama, comedy, character study, art world satire, and even thriller. (Bonus points for the cat-loving.)

more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan192016

Team Experience Awards ... with love to Carol, Ex Machina, Girlhood, and more

Amir here, to welcome you to the 4th annual Team Experience Awards, bestowed on the year’s best in film by the Film Experience community (you can read about us here) – sans Nathaniel, our host; you can follow his personal awards here. In the past three installments, we honoured Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (France/Germany), Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (USA/UK) and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (UK/USA/Switzerland) as our Best Pictures.

Perhaps it won’t surprise you that the awards below, particularly in the craft categories, are more or less dominated by a couple of films that we have all been championing throughout the year, but the usual caveats of all our team posts apply to this one as well. Though the final results might be not be shocking, there were bloodbaths in most categories with many strong contenders for each prize. The best actress category’s contenders, for example, were separated by a hair, rather fittingly, given the winner and and the runner-up.

Some of these behind the scenes details are listed in the trivia section, but without further ado, here are the winners of 2015’s Team Experience Awards:

BEST PICTURE
Carol Runner-up: Brooklyn


BEST UNRELEASED FILM
The Lobster Runner-up: Chevalier

foreign film, acting prizes, and craft achievements after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan152016

Post-ApocaLinktip 

Time is a real bitch. Between interviews and standard blogging and technical difficulties and Globes and Film Bitch Awards and a cold, your host has had a difficult couple of weeks that he definitely didn't plan well enough for. But this rought start to 2016 shall not deter him. Please stick with us and cheerlead in the comments and we'll make 2016 the best year yet at The Film Experience even though these past 10 days or so have not gone half as planned. (Note to self for 2016: You can't cover everything... the link list is your friend. Also please win the lottery so you can hire a full time staff of 5? 10?) 

Here's some reading elsewhere while we continue to update Oscar charts, try to collect ourselves (still trying to decide how to approach the #OscarsSoWhite issue which is getting such shoddy or agenda-filled or misleading coverage elsewhere). And maybe eating lunch or sleeping would be nice at some point! 

Good LOL
The Toast "Signs You're About to be in a Sinister Homoerotic Subplot in a Midcentury Drama" 

Extra Extra Read All About It
Boy Culture 50 stars turning 50 this year. Which should we celebrate here at TFE?
Film School Rejects talks Ryan Coogler's strong beginnings and bright future and the matter of his Black Panther gig
Gizmodo Inside Out might get a sequel? Blargh.
Variety Dan Hagerty (best known as "Grizzly Adams" from TV died this morning at 74
New Now Next Nico Tortorella gives you tips on how to maximize your Instagram account (of course if you look like Nico Tortorella you probably won't need any tips to get popular on Instagram
Playbill the David Bowie scored musical Lazarus set to close this next week off broadway might get a second life
The Guardian Mike Lee talks about what he's up to, his past film, his politics and his next project Peterloo (date TBA) about a Manchester massacre in 1819.
Vanity Fair Jacob Tremblay, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Bryan Cranston and more doing their best Scarlett & Rhett Gone With the Wind finale impressions
Just Jared The great Emma Thompson remembers her co-star the late Alan Rickman (RIP)
Slate looks at the treatment of the romantic rival in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and wonders why it isn't as subversive/progressive as other parts of the show. Are any of you watching this? There are true fans among TFE's team (including me)
MNPP whenever you need a Michael Fassbender fix, Jason will provide. 
The Guardian wonders if the Star Wars universe will replace the Marvelverse with the public within the next few years 

Year in Review Stuff
Reverse Shot gets grumpy with "offenses" to take down awards biggies like Son of Saul and Sicario. Though I'll admit reading the take on The Overnight makes me glad I skipped it.
Coco Hits New York who recently joined the team here at TFE has shared his list of the best of 2015. It's a good long read with interesting choices so enjoy. I love what he writes about Alicia Vikander's work in Ex Machina

For playing man as she plays machine, and for not disappointing a movie that builds its mysteries around her.

Friday
Jan082016

2015 Film Year Interview Index

There will be another handful (or two) of interviews coming as we march toward Hollywood's High Holy Night on February 28th. But with Oscar nomination voting closing today and so many interviews these past few weeks this seems as good a time as any to ask you to "consider" our official index of interviews from the film year and to take a less daily approach to the remaining one-on-ones.

Actors
Laia Costa (Victoria)
Chris Eigeman (Metropolitan's 25th anniversary)
Nina Hoss (Phoenix)
Jeremy Irvine (Stonewall)
James Ransone (TangerineSinister 2
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina / The Danish Girl)

...and super brief chats with Sir Ian McKellen (Mr Holmes), Jane Fonda & Paul Dano (Youth), Michael Keaton (Spotlight), Pilou Asbaek (A War), and Carey Mulligan (Suffragette)

Creatives
Judy Becker (Production Design, Carol)
Carter Burwell (Composer, Carol, Anomalisa, Hail, Caesar!)
Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Costumes, Brooklyn)
Jack Fisk (Production Design, The Revenant)
Affonso Gonçalves (Editing, Carol)
Roger Guyett & Pat Tubach (Visual FX, The Force Awakens)
Ed Lachman (Cinematography, Carol)
David Lang (Original Song, Youth)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Cinematography, The Revenant)
Nathan Nugent (Editing, Room)
Daniel Pemberton (Original Score, Steve Jobs)
Sandy Powell (Costume Design, Carol)
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design, Bridge of Spies)
Ethan Tobman (Production Design, Room)
Kasia Walicka-Maimone (Costume Design, Bridge of Spies)
Jacqueline West (Costume Design, The Revenant

Writers & Directors
Gillian Armstrong (Women He's Undressed)
John Boorman (Queen & Country)
Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl
Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang - France's Oscar nominee)
Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent - Colombia's Oscar nominee)
Klaus Härö (The Fencer - Finland's Oscar finalist)
Tobias Linhdolm (A War - Denmark's Oscar Nominee)
Kornél Mundruczó (White God)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Joshua Oppenheimer (The Look of Silence - Doc Nominee)
Lázló Nemes (Son of Saul - Hungary's Oscar nominee)
Giulio Ricciarelli (Labyrinth of Lies - Germany's Oscar finalist) 
Josh Singer (Spotlight -Screenplay)
Frédéric Tcheng (Dior & I
Wim Wenders (Everything Will Be Fine


 ...and lots more Foreign Film Oscar Submission Interviews

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter so you don't miss anything

2014's Index - Anna Kendrick, Oscar Isaac, Hans Zimmer, etc.
2013's Index - Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Paulson, Sally Hawkins, etc.
2012's Index - Nicole Kidman, Eddie Redmayne, Kerry Washington, etc.
2011's Index  -Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Corey Stoll, etc.
2010's Index - Julianne Moore, Kirsten Dunst, Juliette Lewis, etc.

 

Friday
Jan012016

15 Great Moments Inside Movie Theaters in '15

Confession: I am extremely terrible about keeping a calendar, or even a letterboxd list which I update sporadically from time to time before forgetting again. In short the only "diary" of any sort I have is this ode to movies you're visiting now... The Film Experience. Nevertheless in reviewing the film year I realized that I haven't been frequenting NYC's wonderful repertory theaters as much as in past years. Must fix.  And I really have to do a better of keeping track of what I'm seeing in general lest I actually forget I saw something and it's missing from LISTS. *gasp*

But I  ♥ going to the movies. And if you're reading this it's safe to assume that you do too. So it's list time. Please share your favorite moments of moviegoing this year in the comments. 

15 Favorite Moments Inside Movie Theaters in '15
because it's the best place to be!
 

15 The Incredible Hulk (2008) 
April 29th: That moment when my best friend and I suddenly realized that we could leave anytime during the Marvel Movie Marathon (preceding the premiere of The Age of Ultron) and still get the same seat. What a relief. I mean... nobody should have to sit through Iron Man 2 ever again!

14 Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
April 6th: Sitting down for a special invite-only screening of Clouds of Sils Maria and seeing so many actors I loved in the audience (Diane Lane, Parker Posey, Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin). Turner was surprisingly willing to make conversation afterwards, her voice miraculously even lower than onscreen in person; she kindly ignored my fairly obvious terror at finally meeting one of my all time favorite goddesses.

13 Hateful Eight (2015) - INTERMISSION ONLY!
Dec: Though I've admired Teo Bugbee as a writer for over a year (and she's written for the site on rare occasion) we finally met recently and every time we managed to sync up our schedules (lunch, drinks at a bar, a screening of Hateful Eight) it somehow become an extra imaginary screening of Carol we talked about the movie so much. Basically Teo is the only way I made it through Hateful Eight

Carol, Chi-Raq, two older classics and more after the jump...

Click to read more ...