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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it

 

 

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Entries in Year in Review (139)

Sunday
Nov302014

ICYMI November Is A Wrap

We hope you had a lovely holiday and that at some point this weekend you found time to give thanks for all the goodies this movie year has brought you this year. The most important film event in the last half of November was the death of entertainment giant Mike Nichols, who we celebrated with both a tribute to his collaboration with Meryl Streep and a group effort highlighting individual idiosyncratic favorite performances from his high-quality actor-friendly filmography.

Here are a few more highlights from November, you may have missed if you're just joining or rejoining us..

Laura Dern. photographed by Carolyn Cole

• Nathaniel sat down with the essential Laura Dern, one of the world's best screen actors, to talk Wild, psychotic women, and what the hell happened to her role in The Master
• Aca-yes, please. Margaret took a look at the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer
• We talked Spirit Award Nominees
• 'Quick Impressions', a new series celebrating the working actor, like "voice matching" Sean Patrick Doyle, debuted and we're glad you seem to like it
• Nathaniel suggested ensembles SAG ought to look at and interviewed the fine Australian actor Jason Clarke from one of them.
• Amir shared the top Box Office Hits of 2014 that were not franchises
• And the Podcast returned with The Theory of Everything and an AFI wrap-up

More highlights from early November here...

Coming in December:
It's campaign season so expect lots of coverage of the hunt for Oscar nominations, our team's FYCs, precursor madness with the Globes "Critics Choice" and SAG, and celebrity interviews. We'll also kick off the Year in Review festivities and the Film Bitch Awards -- your favorite party, yes? (say yes) -- and talk Christmas releases from Annie to Selma. December also means that we'll reach the end of "A Year with Kate" as Anne-Marie hits Love Affair.  

Sunday
Nov302014

Abstew's Cinematic Thanks

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's abstew in the cinematic spirit.

abstew here. Thanksgiving may be only once a year, but it's always a great time to appreciate the greatness of film. Here are a few of the things I'm thankful for this year...

For Oscar Issac's camel coat in A Most Violent Year - practical and stylish winter wear while waging a war
For Tilda as a love-struck octogenarian socialite. Tilda as a yak-haired vampire. Tilda as a dentured dictator. Proving the existence of extraterrestrial life because, quite simply, Tilda Swinton is a shape-shifting, otherworldly being. 

For two favorite breakout stars: Jack O'Connell (dynamic in Starred Up and 71; I'm eagerly awaiting Unbroken) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (compelling in two very different films, Belle and Beyond the Lights). I'm excited to see what new opportunities come their way for years to come.
For Miles Teller's epic finale drum solo in Whiplash
For Rose Bryne's hilariously spastic take on the line, "Keep it down!" in Neighbors
For Eddie Redmayne's freckles
For the achingly sweet, yet realistically grounded love of John Lithgow's Ben and Alfred Molina's George in Love is Strange

For Uma Thurman bursting in and stealing an entire two-part film in a single scene. "Would it be alright if I show the children the whoring bed?" 
For Emmanuel Lubezki's faux single-take cinematography in Birdman, perfectly translating the immediate, kinetic energy of the theatre into a cinematic equivalent.
For Eva Green's fully committed, go-for-broke performances, elevating everything she's in from the big screen (300: The Rise of an Empire) to the small screen (Penny Dreadful).
For Star Lord's "Awesome Mix Volume 1" cassette tape
For the return of Rene Russo
For the look of Angelina Jolie's Maleficent (if only the perfect character design wasn't wasted on the film...)

For the mouth-watering food porn in A Hundred-Foot Journey and Chef 
For Wes Anderson's candy-colored, intricately detailed world of The Grand Budapest Hotel

For TFE's series Hit Me With Your Best Shot. The single best opportunity to view and explore a film in ways you hadn't thought...and then to gain even more insight after reading what others have posted. If you haven't participated, you should when it returns!

And that I live in NYC, home of the Tribeca Film Festival, NYFF, NewFest and countless other film festivals. That there are still single screen theatres like the Zeigfeld and Paris where it feels like an event to go to the movies. And, most importantly, that I'm actually given the opportunity to see every movie (not just Hollywood blockbusters) in the theatre the weekend they are released.

And finally, for Nathaniel, Team Experience, and everyone who reads and comments. I'm beyond thankful that we have such a wonderful place to share our cinematic obsessions and affections.

 -Andy (abstew)


More Thank Yous: Nathaniel, Amir, Manuel & Jose

Friday
Nov282014

Jose Gives Thanks.

Editor's Note: I asked Team Experience to tell us what they're thankful for this year during the holiday weekend. Here's Jose in the cinematic spirit.

Jose here. This year I’m thankful...

For Hardy with puppies. And Godard with Roxy.
For Keira, Kristen and Kirsten.
For snakes made out of clouds.  
For cruising in French lakes (even with killers on the loose)
For movies about toys that didn’t treat me like a kid.
For Marion x 2. For Joaquin Phoenix x 2. For Chastain x 4 (she doesn't make it seem like bragging either!) 

For Dan Stevens’ abs and killer acting chops (pun intended).
For Shia in the buff.
For Carrie Coon and Jenny Slate (can they play sisters some day?).
For Swedish films about skiing that reminded me how much I love Mike Nichols.
For Broadway actors in movies (I'm looking at you Jefferson Mays in Inherent Vice).
For Edward Norton's tan

For Anne in outer space.
For Nolan growing the balls to acknowledge he makes movies from the heart, not the mind.
For Daft Punk in Eden.
For Snowden in a robe. And Tilda in the snow.
For Emma Watson's U.N. speech and Daniel Radcliffe in Horns.

For TV that makes me forget bad movies and IMAX reminding me how I could never quit the movies (even the bad ones).
For Meryl's daughter, Grace.
For singing Emma Stone
For Colin Farrell's eyebrows, Elizabeth Moss' face, Rosamund Pike’s voice. And Ben Affleck's butt in Gone. xo 

-Jose

 

 

Related: Nathaniel gives thanks

Wednesday
Nov262014

Nathaniel's Thanks, Given.

The world is a tough place and the movies are our collective great escape. For your host here at TFE there's an awful lot to be thankful for. So as I prepare to stuff my face tomorrow with my best friends I will be especially thankful...

For the orange tabby in Gone Girl
For Julianne Moore getting her groove back on yoga mats and at beach houses
For Ava DuVernay and Jennifer Kent's vivid reminders that women can and do direct movies and we need those fresh voices.
For David Fincher's consistency at turning mainstream audiences on while never pandering

For Shia Labeouf because every film decade needs its defining crazy
For the blooming of Keira Knightley, from an always memorable but uneven actress, to a completely confident movie star, relaxed, nuanced and magnetic in two fine performances
For that shot of the paratroopers in Godzilla
For Finn Wittrock's arrival, sympathetic (Masters of Sex) then terrorizing (Freakshow) outcast beauty
For every single march scene in Selma
For "the world is round, people!

This scene, people. This scene. It's everything.

For Melanie Lynskey onscreen (Instant-watch Happy Christmas now - it's delightful!) and off
For memorable physicality: Chastain's scolding fingers, Krysten Ritter's Big (Side)Eyes, Luke Pasqualino's battering-ram run, Ralph Fiennes cartoon dashes, and Billy Magnussen's horseback riding (or, rather, his mounting and dismounting)
For the single best crop of LGBT films in one calendar year that we've had in ages and ages (Love is Strange, Pride, The Way He Looks, Stranger by the LakeThe Circle, and so on)
For everything that happens in the elevator in Captain America: Winter Soldier
For "Bob's Burgers"... particularly Tina Belcher. I'm late to the party but that show makes me laugh harder than any show since 30 Rock. 

For Jonathan Glazer's return to the movie camera after 10 long years away - his gaze still deliciously alien
For that pop-up Babadook book I just ordered (my advanced thanks)
For the singing voices of almost the full cast of Into the Woods - but especially Streep & Kendrick
For a film year so good I'm already struggling (before screenings are even complete) with too many options for the Film Bitch Awards rosters. I could go on and on... but...

Finally, I'm hugely thankful to my Film Experience team (who delight me so frequently) and to all of you, the readers. Especially if you donate monthly, visit frequently, share articles, and otherwise really engage with what we do here. You help keep the fires burning as we try year in and year out -- against bigger odds than you'd think -- to approach each film year and awards season from  lightly different angles than you'll see elsewhere and with more genuine all-eras all-genres movie love.

Abundance to you all! xoxo,

Nathaniel

P.S. What are you thankful for this holiday weekend? Onscreen and off. 

 

Tuesday
Nov182014

ICYMI November's First Half

Paul, Nathaniel & Anne MarieAs you know I just spent a week in Los Angeles for the 2014 AFI festival which kicked off with A Most Violent Year soiree and included a tribute to legendary Sophia Loren. I can't tell you how fun Anne Marie and our newest team member Margaret are in person - Margaret introduced Anne Marie to The Film Experience in college for which we must thank her or we wouldn't have "A Year With Kate" (nearing the home stretch now). Because they are young and live in Hollywood I assigned them the "Young Hollywood Panel" as well. We wrapped things up with Gala Premieres and a Podcast.

It was great to meet a handful of TFE readers at screenings! Hi Jordan. Hi Keir. Hi other people who didn't tell me your names! Paul Outlaw, pictured left who you know well from the comments, is the only person I've ever met that starred in an Oscar winning short film and he joined Anne Marie and I for the Selma premiere and festivities

5 More Highlights
Podcast Return - Gone Girl and Nightcrawler
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Maureen O'Hara's breakthrough film
Top 2014 Pop Artifacts - from priceless "Boy With Apple" to "Amazing Amy" books
Red Carpet Warm Up - Oscar hopefuls hit the Governors Awards to kick off the glamorous trek we know as awards season
A History of Animated Marvels - Tim's funny look back at Marvel's first TV efforts

Wednesday
Oct012014

September's Gone, Girl

What a busy busy month that was. We were overachievers here, really. I'm so exhausted I'm hoping to prick my finger on a cursed spindle for a little R&R. Traffic always picks up in the fall when the adult movies arrive so if you're just rejoining us we welcome you back with slighly chilled affection (this place is hopping all year round!) by pointing out what you may have missed.

Neo, Cheryl and Rocky hike the PCT

Index of Goodies 
Toronto was a blast!
- a handydandy guide (and prizes) for everything I saw there
NYFF - in progress but we've already talked about a bunch of foreign films as well as Maps to the Stars, Gone Girl & Whiplash
Best Shot S5 -highlights from Under the Skin, Eternal Sunshine, The Matrix, etc...
Robert Wise Centennial - the team had fun looking back at this versatile Oscar winner's filmography with 5 randomly selected offerings: Audrey Rose, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Curse of the Cat People, and Star! 

Four Random Goodies
Pride - my favorite September release this year 
Gone Girl - Jason read the book, so he did our first review. (But, yes, I'll chime in at some point)
The Lion in Winter - Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate" finally hit this milestone film 
Showgirls - There can be only one "Goddess": Is it Cristal or Nomi? VOTE 

Most Discussed
American Beauty 15 years on... Do you root for Lester or Carolyn?
Julianne Moore in Still Alice ... a fine movie. An even better performance
10 Best Voice-Only Performances in Films... a team top ten feat. Ursula, the Genie, Darth Vader, and...?
The Last Five Years... you're all eager to see this one apparently. It has lots of problems but a musical where the stars can actually sing is a relief
Oscar Charts... those are always popular, and they're totally up to date right now. They get discussed in the various Oscar-centric articles 

Coming in October
We haven't yet decided how to celebrate the spooky month this year - any suggestions? But some things coming up include Inherent Vice, St. Vincent, Fury, more Gone Girl and the first wave of Oscar contender interviews including talent and creatives from Boyhood, Noah, Get On Up, Birdman and more. Plus a look back at the careers of the four giants receiving Honorary Oscars in early November. (We'll probably give Maureen O'Hara a whole week because you know that's how we roll).

Thursday
Aug072014

199 Days 'til Oscar...

Not that I'm counting. I don't have one of those alternating colored construction paper link chains on my wall that I rip off every day or anything like I did when I was five while waiting for Santa. No siree. Do not have one of those. But if I did the colors would be gold leaf and red carpet. 

Mmmmm, where were we since we last spoke?

Release Date Shuffle
No press release or dropped hint or trailer dates should ever be taken at face value when it comes to release dates. These things change back and forth all the time but, at least for the moment, things are murky on a ton of titles and many of them are actressy: CarolFar From the Madding Crowd, MacBethThe Suffragette and more. And some pictures that were clearly designated as 2015 are obviously finished like Ron Howard's Heart of the Sea starring Chris Hemsworth all slimmed down so who knows what might transpire if a specific studio sees an opening. So let's talk about the stuff that's out already...

The Tiny Idiosyncratic Indies vs.  Large Mainstream Blockbusters
This summer I think you could safely argue that the big winners at the arthouse were the Polish film Ida which grossed more than last year's high profile foreign Oscar winner and Richard Linklater's critically adored 12 years in the making Boyhood. Music Box Films and IFC Films, which released the films, don't have high profile histories at pushing for Oscar nominations the way  Sony Pictures Classics and The Weinstein Co do but they should probably spend the money. If either maneuvers correctly, there will be at least one or two high profile nominations in store. This is why I wonder why more small films with Oscar potential don't try summer releases. If you have the goods and you're "small" it's better to be safely esconced at the top of the mountain when the "big" mainstream prestige films aren't even around and then defend your turf in the fall/winter rather than trying to climb up that insane awards mountain when all the 800 lb gorillas are also scaling it; more often than not they'll knock you right off by simply crushing your chances of enough media coverage for starters.

Whether or not Ida's box office bonanza results in Oscar traction I hope it keeps the lights on at Music Box offices for a long time. To understand just how huge the film has been for them some context: Ida is now second only to the French thriller Tell No One as their top grosser that doesn't star Noomi Rapace and start with the words "The Girl..." Further context: in terms of their recent memory hits Ida has now surpassed the combined grosses of the all star French comedy Potiche and the Rachel Weisz period drama The Deep Blue Sea (which got a little bit of awards traction).

Visual Effects is already a bloody battle. Can Guardians of the Galaxy win the nomination?

Response to this year's blockbusters is a bit harder to read at this early juncture since a) there are so many of them that have been solid doubles or triples but not home runs and b) mainstream blockbusters often need home runs to have voters thinking of them on par with the "serious" pictures. I can't say, for example, that Maleficent (big hit but not entirely respected) or Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy (big hits but Oscar doesn't take superheroes seriously outside of that orphaned billionaire in the batsuit) or Godzilla (divisive hit from ancient B movie franchise) are necessarily going to land tech nods but they'll probably try. The exception to all this 'solid player but not much more' business is surely Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which opened to much coin and such feverish raves you'd think it was a Martin Scorsese picture with Leonardo DiCaprio in an ape mask. But even that one is the 8th film in a 46 year old franchise that has only ever won 3 competitive Oscar nominations and one special Oscar... and 75% of those were from the 1968 original!

That's just one of the man reasons I think it's crazy that people are hoping for an Andy Serkis nomination though I'd be down for him to win a non-competitive special Oscar for pioneering a new subdivision of acting. If you missed the recent Podcast on 1973 the discussion of Linda Blair's performance led to the very relevant 2014 topic on how to judge "collaborative" work. 

I know, I know. You're all like... stop talking. Get to the updated Oscar charts. They're ALL updated, look at me finally updating!

PICTUREDIRECTOR & SCREENPLAYS
VISUAL & SOUND 
ACTRESS & ACTOR
SUPPORTING ACTRESS & SUPPORTING ACTOR
ANIMATED and FOREIGN 

Thoughts? Of course all this will be moot soon when the festivals shake things up with actual buzz rather than hype and some films without release dates securing distribution. We'll start on the foreign submission charts in the next couple of days since Hungary is the first to announce with the Cannes sensation "WHITE GOD" about those rampaging wild dogs.  

 

 

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