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Entries in Year in Review (105)

Thursday
Aug012013

The summer blockbuster is dying? Thank goodness

Hi, it's Tim. It’s not typically the Done Thing for us members of Team Experience to respond to each other, but Michael C’s Burning Question yesterday got me thinking especially hard, and coupled with Nathaniel’s mention of my own “why did this summer suck so hard?” jeremiad in his link round-up, it seemed impossible not to address what has suddenly become a hot topic: the death of the great American blockbuster, although with Iron Man 3 striding past $400 million, reports of the death of tentpole filmmaking are perhaps exaggerated.

That said, there’s clearly a problem, and as somebody who still hasn’t grown out of the desire to see robots punching explosions into bigger explosions, or what have you, I count myself among the aggrieved that big-budget Hollywood movies have been steadily turning into such paint-by-numbers, flavorless affairs, too finely-tuned for international consumption to have any real personality. But that’s not what I want to talk about  there’s been enough talk about that. I want to talk about the happy flip side of things, which is that for all that the impressive flops and under-performers, it’s hardly been a dolorous wasteland at the multiplex. In fact, I take the story of this summer to be a hopeful one: the future seems to be taking shape right in front of us, and it’s exactly the opposite of the panicked “Cinema is dying!” rants delivered by such men as the Stevens, Soderbergh & Spielberg, recently.

If I were to pick the single most impressive box-office story of the summer, it wouldn’t be Iron Man 3 hitting a figure that is, however large, not that big a deal for a movie with its kind of budget, especially one serving as de facto sequel to a film that destroyed very nearly every record that exists. I’d go with either The Great Gatsby or The Conjuring. [MORE...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul312013

July. It's a Wrap.

Despite the absolutely sweltering heat in July this summer in New York City I've survived to see another month. It's a miracle. The blog is Made in Air Conditioning. So let's book back on the monthwith highlights in case you melted through them. 

Personalize Your DVD Collection - Meet Nick's guest room
Women Who Deserve an Honorary Oscar - Team Experience gives AMPAS some suggestions since they invariably choose men for the honor
Shot in Chicago - Tim selects the movies that best represent the Windy City 
Cory Monteith (RIP) - Glee loses one of its originals
Goodbye Bunheads - Andrew eulogizes the unique ballet charmer, gone from the TV landscape too soon 

The Halfway Mark - best of the year January to June
Cinematic Swimwear - TFE launches its first clothing line. Which swimsuit did you buy?
Posterized: Almodóvar - His 19 films. How many have you seen?
Natalie on 34th Street - Tim remembers one of the all time great child performances 
A Jolly Holiday with Mary Poppins -best shots from Disney magical nanny masterwork

COMING IN AUGUST
Short Term 12, Blue Jasmine, The Spectacular Now, Alfred Hitchcock listing, more swimwear (any requests?), back to school goodies, the return of the Supporting Actress Smackdown via 1952 and oldies but goodies like: Shadow of a Doubt, The Color Purple, Singin' in the Rain, The Bad and the Beautiful, and more.

 

Friday
Jul052013

The Halfway Mark Pt 2. Actors & Actresses

I assume that the entire time you were reading the Halfway Mark Best Screenplays & Pictures you were thinking "get to the actors already!" because, damn you're predictable and also so am I and I love to pay homage to great performances. So, here they are in six categories for your perusal and debate and "I guess I'd better watch that" list-making pleasure.

Best Actor in a Limited or Cameo Role (THUS FAR): Lior Ashkenazi (of Late Marriage fame) temporarily energizes the unfortunately bland Yossi by temporarily attempting to to rub off on and up against Yossi himself with pushy sleaze; James Badge Dale, who also won a nomination in this category at 2012's Film Bitch Awards for Flight, is in every big movie now (World War Z, The Lone Ranger, Iron Man 3) and pretty much great in all of them though the roles are growing exponentially and he's already too large for this category!; Kyle Chandler memorably flips his 'clear eyes, full hearts' image on its head as an absent father in The Spectacular NowCheyenne Jackson is robbed of his signature voice entirely in Behind the Candelabra as a disgruntled employee/protege/lover but it turns out he doesnt need it absolutely nailing every tiny gesture and facial expression; and finally, I liked Jamie Sheridan's conflicted big business father in The East.

Best Actress in a Limited or Cameo Role: Hillary Baack, is moving in a key brief role as The East's hearing impaired member; Zoe Kazan wins best in show for a group acting exercize masquerading as a movie called Some Girl(s) with an agonizing backstory; Debbie Reynolds, is a real hoot and unrecognizable in the Liberace flick Behind the CandelabraOrly Silbersatz Banai adds wonderful depth and shading to her history of denial in Yossi; And in a fine cast in StokerJacki Weaver, makes the most of her tense few scenes as the deservedly worried unannounced visitor Aunt Ginny; and my apologies to Grace Gummer in Frances Ha who I didn't quite have room for but I liked her prickly Ivy League alumna

4 More Acting Category "Bests" after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul012013

The Halfway Mark Pt 1: Pictures & Screenplays

We're halfway through the calendar, if not the film year exactly given the backloaded release schedule. So, let's take stock as to where we've been. Herewith my choices for Best thus far... which means I'm hoping that AMPAS and all awards groups will give them a try before the mad traffic jam of year-end Oscar vehicles.

Disclaimer: But first of all... did I miss anything? Sure. You can't see everything though I see my share (full list). My biggest 'oops' for 2013 is definitely Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley's docudrama about her family history which most people I trust at least like and some love. But I also wish I'd seen the Israeli Oscar submission Fill the Void which didn't compete for the foreign film Oscar but did win a release and great reviews.

BEST OF THE YEAR... THUS FAR

Original Screenplay

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul012013

June. It's a Wrap

June is always the toughest month for me to wrap my head 'round. It's my busy birthday month, the summer hits, the blog dips. And when it's over I'm all like "What? The year is half over?!?!?" In the last week of June we celebrated Gay Moments in Cinema and though it wasn't planned we gave equal time to movies before gay liberation (Suspicion, All About Eve, The Maltese Falcon) as after (My Beautiful Laundrette, and My Own Private Idaho) which is kinda how we always do here at TFE, spanning all eras of movies. We can't be penned in by the now! I didn't have time to revisit but I myself kept thinking about Weekend, that recent gay romantic drama that instantly seems to have seized hearts, gay and straight, around the internet. I couldn't be prouder of that movie if it was the last movie on earth. Where do you hope gay cinema goes in the future?  

 Anywhay herewith a handful of highlights from the month that was in case you, like many people during the summer, don't get to your favorite blog (oh you know you "like" us) as often as you'd like...

Coming in July:

  • QUEUE 'EM!: We'll be talking about Dead Ringers (1988), Mary Poppins (1964) so get familiar (or familiar again)
  • SEE EM?: We'll be visiting the multiplex for The Lone Ranger and The Wolverine and the arthouse for Oscar hopefuls Fruitvale Station and Blue Jasmine among other new releases. 
  • SUGGEST IT: Want somethin'? Say so. 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun262013

If they had to announce the Oscar nominees right now...

...which 2013 releases (thus far) do you think would be the Best Picture nominees? And which sure thing nominees right now won't have a prayer come January? True, it's only June 26th and we've 204 days left until nominations are announced for realz but play along would'ya? Because speculative fantasy is fun.

Would blockbusters or indies rule the noms if the year ended today?

P.S. We'll review the year's first half next week. Woohoo.

Saturday
Jun012013

May. It's a Wrap.

Maybe we ended with a whimper but May was a pretty great month here at TFE with lots of bangs for your buck... not that you are spending bucks (though we always welcome subscriptions -- see sidebar -- to keep us afloat). I know because I had a way more difficult time selecting entries for this "Best of the Month" post than usual. And that's not even including regular series like Monologues, Tuesday Top Ten, or the seasonal May Flowers postings (thank you especially on two of those three to new TFE contributors Andrew & Andrew (no relation: that's Andrew Kendall and Abstew in the bylines). And then of course we also found time to do the first Oscar predictions for the upcoming race - Always fun to argue about!

So herewith ten highlights from the month...


Those Who Have Gone "Before" five reasons why the Before trilogy is masterful
Q&A discussion of disappointing actresses and mixed-up hunks 
Team Experience: Oscar's Greatest Losers in which we investigated the greatest Best Actress nominated performances that didn't win Oscars 
Summertime & The Talented Mr Ripley -- two straight weeks in Italy -- marked the peak of popularity for 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' this season. Are you trying to tell us something about your next vacation? 
Cannes Closing Ceremony thoughts on the orgasmic finale to the fest
RIP Smash the musical series we rooted for but were crushed by 

Q&A discussion of disappointing actresses and mixed-up hunks 
I Dreamed of Gatsby Baz Luhrmann sucks Moulin Rouge! dry
The Only Post You Will Ever Need on the August: Osage County Teaser Poster - done
The "Punk" Met Gala with fashion-joke girl genius, Courtney Enlow Hall
Burning Questions what's the greatest quality divide is between Movie and Soundtrack?

P.S. And just in case you haven't been voting in the spontaneous silliness of our polls, please humor me. It gives me lolz to see your votes and comments. And - please to note - that on the last serious poll "which book becoming a movie should I read?" Twelve Years a Slave and Labor Day triumphed so we'll be reading those and discussing sometime soon. Care to join us?

P.P.S. Coming in June. I've actually no idea though the blog might be dark for a week (more details to come). Any suggestions?

Wednesday
May012013

April. It's a Wrap

I hope April was a good month for you. On the other hand, if you, like me, weren't having a 'firing on all cylinders' month, you probably missed some goodies. Herewith ten highlights from the month... I mean, besides Reader Spotlight and Best Shot which are always highlights. 

Ryan, Tilda, and T-Rex were the stars of the month here at The Film Experience

Jury Duty my stint at the Nashville International Film Festival and the prizes we gave
Can a Bad Sequel Diminish a Classic? Michael asks Burning Questions with flair 
Surprise Podcast Joe, Nick and I discussed The Place Beyond the Pines and 1990s flicks
Jude in the Snow I think the highlight of this year's noncommittal April Showers (sorry) was Andrew's piece on Anna Karenina, don't you?
The Oscar That Got Away Judy Garland's immortal star turn in A Star is Born was commemorated with a Best Shot episode

Top Ten Non-Nominated Supporting Actresses (1980s) this was a fun list to make. Perhaps I'll do more
Jurassic Park Featuring Tilda Swinton Yes, Jurassic Park makes me think of Tilda Swinton. Don't judge 
Watching You Watching... I asked readers to confess the last three movies they saw, no editing. So fun to read the comments. If only you'd comment this much all the time ;)
Language Barrier? with the release of Kon-Tiki, Tim wonders if we can ever really see a foreign film as it's meant to be seen
Best New Directors of the 21st Century a big discussable Team Experience countdown

Coming in May - Are you ready for summer?
Yes, I'll try to wrap up some loose ends (cough. I know I know) plus we'll look at Iron Man Three, The Great Gatsby (costumes and all), Before Midnight, Benedict Cumberbatch Into Darkness, Cannes films and fashions, Frances Ha and more. We're also trying a little something different this month with two guiding Stars: look out for a handful of Hepburn (Katharine) soon and a tall cool drink of Paul Newman at month's end. If you like those theme weeks maybe we'll try more of them.

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