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TWO OPINIONS ON MAPS TO THE STARS
Nathaniel's Julianne Spazzing & Glenn's Cronenberg Finger Wagging 

"There is a great movie in Maps of the Stars and that is the one Moore stars in, not the one the screenplay insists in bringing to the front." - Mr Goodbar

"If I had to guess why Cronenberg went with a largely "invisible" or even non-style style, I'd say it has to do with his approach to the narrative, which is kind of a bait and switch, setting us up for a hollywood satire and then giving us a final act that plays more like a myth or a fairy tale." -Roark

Beauty vs. Beast

Who is your GODDESS? Cristal or Nomi?

If you don't vote for Nomi, she'll cut you!


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Entries in Young Adult (7)

Tuesday
Aug122014

Beauty vs Beast: All About the Blonde

JA from MNPP here. At this point it feels more than a little cliche to call Alfred Hitchcock your favorite film-maker. Tomorrow is his 115th birthday and it feels like we've spent at least double that amount of time writing about and reacting to how great, twisted, funny, pervy and technically masterful he was. Hitch is often the gateway drug, the little puff of movie marijuana that leads true cineastes on to the hard stuff.

I'll always come back to my first taste. It was the sweetest, the purest, and it still sends that shiver down my spine. I remember the first time I realized that movies, Movies, these are the thing I love, laying on my cousin's floor watching a camera sweep across across a boxy Manhattan backyard filled with windows into another world, stories in shorthand of life on top of life, all at once. It was everything. It still is everything.

So let's pay our respects by devoting this week's "Beauty vs Beast" to the man who made me interested in the ambiguities of the "good" guys and the "bad" guys in the first place, and let's do it with the movie that finally tossed Citizen Kane down the staircase.

 

You only have six days to vote this week since we're running a day behind (sorry about the delay) so get to it - bleach yourself, slide into a gray dress, wander through a redwood forest or some neon green light, do whatever it takes - just pick and make your case in the comments!

PREVIOUSLY Last week we were talking about the blonde presuasion as well - Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson faced off again in a Young Adult redux. Wilson's Buddy might be the nice guy, willing to clean up baby burps and all that, but he never stood a chance against mean girl-woman Mavis. CMG put is succinctly:

"Mavis. Buddy is blind and seems dumb. The end."

Monday
Aug042014

Beauty vs Beast: The Monster From Mini Apple

JA from MNPP here, and I think we've got some Charlize Theron fans up in here, correct? While we ache away on our insides for Mad Max: Fury Road to get here (May seems so far away) let's give her one of her very own "Beauty vs. Beast" tributes to pass the time.

I contemplated going the Snow White route but that seemed kinda obvious so the best Charlize movie instead. Jason Retiman's 2011 too-cool-for-Oscar flick Young Adult is endlessly rewatchable... as long as you get off on cringing through your laughter and watching a wonderful actress wield her beauty like a weapon.

One that cuts both ways - watching Mavis be stripped of her beautification accoutrement (those sad silicone inserts) becomes a perverse sort of deglamming that would have made Aileen Wuornos blush. And Patrick Wilson's no slouch - he always gets taken for granted as the premiere amiable suburban object, but Buddy's a sharp portrait of a dude who's never had to give too much thought to things having a whole lot of thought smashed his way in way too short a time.

 

You have one week to cast your vote for the prom king or the prom queen and let us know why in the comments - and give Charlize your birthday wishes while you're at it!

PREVIOUSLY Even though we tried to bribe you a little bit by showing off Tom Hanks' surprisingly fabulous gams, you were having none of it on the occasion of Turner & Hooch's 25th anniversary - slobbery though he may have been it's just a general rule that you're never gonna beat an adorable doggy. Hooch bounded away with just short of 70% of the vote; said Henry:

"As a cat person, I would ordinarily choose the human......but my fourth (or was it fifth) husband was a neatnik. I'll take slobbery over Felix Ungernesseryness any day."

Wednesday
Apr302014

Link Wars: Episode VII

For those looking for the new Oscar charts, I promise it's the top priority now once all this surprisingly busy April madness wraps tonight.

More Intelligent Life on badass Angelina Jolie and Maleficent
Press Play how modern actors struggle with Marlon Brando's legacy
The Perceptive Eye on military suicides, PTSD and The Hurt Locker 
Pajiba how many romcom tropes can David Wain shove into one movie? The trailer of They Came Together with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd

Guardian on Bob Hoskins (RIP). "five foot six cubic and bursting with brilliance"
Variety uh oh. Harvey Weinstein and Olivier Dahan STILL fighting over Grace of Monaco two weeks before its Cannes debut
The Dissolve looks back at the 80s comedy classic A Fish Called Wanda
The Sheila Variations returns to Young Adult and Charlize Theron's brilliance therein
Boy Culture Tom Hardy's recent magazine pictorial (which we discussed) regif'ed
MZS. "Advice to Young Film Critics" good advice, too.
Coming Soon Fox has cancelled Almost Human, the cyborg cop show that I kinda liked. I never really wrote about it so I didn't have a chance to talk about Karl Urban's John Wayne voice. Ah well...
Queerty in literal cock-tease news, Zac Efron claims he's willing to show it all on film after all the wet underwear, and horizontal peeing and so on... I guess he's figured out what people like about him. (Save your money, Zac!)
Pajiba 'did someone call for a Tom Hiddleston puff piece?'
Rambling Film 7 things that should happen on True Blood's final season (the 7th). I stopped watching but I concurred with most of these even two years ago. Since Buffy also ended as season 7 is this now the standard for vampiric shows? Does this mean we can be rid of The Vampire Diaries in 2015?

Mean Girls Mania
'we're not just a regular blog, we're a cool blog'...

But we're not the only ones celebrating Mean Girls for it's 10th anniversary today. It's EVERYWHERE. On Amanda Seyfried's twitter feed (do you think Lindsay will mention it today on hers?), in a brief EW group oral history, Vanity Fair's best fashion moments, Boy Culture's reminiscence of interviewing cast members, and probably on any pop culture website you click on today. Important note... This wasn't planned since Netflix's Instant Watch service is all contractual based in terms of timing but the Tina Fey high school classic actually expires today. So it's 10th anniversary is the last day you can watch it on Netflix if you don't own it while listening to our Movie-Long Podcast Commentary while you're streaming it!

You go Glen Coco! 

Casting News
HitFix and every other site on earth has the news: the Star Wars Episode VII sausage party cast has been announced. John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and since all visual fx spectacles are required to have him (well, he is awesome) Andy Serkis. Those newbies will join the old cast who are reprising their roles in capacities large or small. There is one new girl Daisy Ridley who we are unfamiliar with. Did she get the part Lupita Nyong'o was rumored for? The Guardian did some mild digging into this actress unknown and here's everything they found.

Today's Spotlight Illustration
Glen Hanson, one of my favorite illustrators, posted this on his Instagram. No idea what film he's doing costume sketches for but me likey...

 

Wednesday
Jan042012

Interview: Charlize Theron on "Young Adult" and "Snow White"

Reason #103 to Love Charlize Theron: The Hello Kitty t-shirt in "Young Adult" was her idea!If I were brainstorming about the imaginary pop culture diet of fictional Mavis Gary, the self-absorbed alcoholic YA novelist at the cool heart of Young Adult I'd put this forth: She's never watched the Oscars but flips absently through fashion roundups in the magazines the day after every year. (Her beauty is only skin deep and her thought processes even shallower.) Her creators director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody and actress Charlize Theron, on the other hand all have a lot going on upstairs and are also intimately familiar with Hollywood's big event. If Academy voters widen their range a little to notice the brilliance of this smart acerbic comedy, who knows? They could be invited back again.

Not that any of this seems to concern Charlize Theron, who calls me herself on the night of our interview, to discuss her new role. As a producer on the film, she seems less concerned with statues and acclaim and more about finding the right audience for such a tricky unique film. "It's not a quintessential Jason Reitman film and it's not a quintessential Charlize Theron film," she says, matter of factly. Anyone expecting another Juno or Monster will be thrown. They planned carefully with pop up screenings and key theater appearances and a quick but not instantaneous wide release. Smart. Young Adult feels like just the kind of film that will grow its audience slowly (we're definitely already on board) and it's easy to imagine a Mavis cult gathering over time. 

"You have to celebrate the spirit of the movie you're making and release it into the world in that way." she says speaking like a producer. Though of course we know her first and foremost as an actress, a great oneAnd she's an enjoyable conversationalist in that regard, too, though she knows when to keep a secret about her films and her process.

 


Nathaniel R: When did you first feel you understood Mavis while reading the script. Did you have a moment of "I know this character?"

CHARLIZE THERON: It wasn't something specifically but I guess just an overall feeling. Otherwise i don't think i could have said yes to the film. She felt human to me. She felt real. This overwhelming need and want to be loved and this kind of loneliness and the horrible tool set that she has to go about getting those things.  I guess those things all kind of resonated with me? 

Nathaniel: If we were to look at your script: Is it pristine? do you write a lot of notes? How do you prepare?

CHARLIZE: How do I prepare? You know, it's a little bit like asking a magician 'How did you pull a rabbit from the hat?' I don't know if people really want to know that stuff. I think what we're trying to do ultimately is have people forget about that stuff. On top of that I don't have anything that's concrete. Every time is different. I know that I have a very obsessive compulsive mind. So when I know I'm doing something I think everything in my daily life i'm observing and filing and knowing that I might be able to use it.

From the moment I say yes it's breathing and living under my skin. I'm constantly thinking about it. And conversations with my director are sometimes important. But I don't talk about things too much. For me it's a very intimate experience and an "alone" experience. I have to go through it myself.

That's interesting since Mavis is so solitary. And writing is, too.

Diablo and Jason who are both writers know that world really well. I'm not a writer so I didn't realize how great they were at capturing that until writers came up to me and said "oh my god that's exactly my life." Everything kind of stops and disappears. There is no outside world. So, I have to give them credit for really nailing that.

Beauty is such an important issue to Young Adult but in your most famous role, Monster, your own beauty doesn't factor in. Do you think about your own beauty when playing roles like this? 

[Character Beauty, Three Consecutive Villains and that damn 'Hello Kitty' after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan022012

Best of Year Pt 2: Sweet 16 from Primordial Ooze to YA Novels

Part One: I Am Thirty Two Flavors 
Other pictures from 2011 that The Film Experience's year wouldn't have been complete without.

Part Two: Honorable Mentions
The year's best movies stretched all the way from the creation to the apocalypse and everywhen in between; time hardly seemed linear in 2011 but immeasurably flexible instead. The year's best films also twisted and shape-shifted in scale and meaning, wrapping big themes around human-sized packages.

THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Malick)
Fox Searchlight. May 27th. 
I really didn't know that our Burning Questions columnist Michael C felt so similarly about Terrence Malick's latest so two somewhat agnostic appreciations back-to-back were not intended here at The Film Experience. I greatly admire The Tree of Life's grandiose reach (the creation segment being my favorite chunk) and breathtaking physical beauty but often I felt like I was visiting an impenetrably random museum installation. Still... it's hard to shake the imagery and in a few key sequences -- children playing in poison clouds, brothers crying in tall grass, and especially in the different ways that Mrs O Brien (an ethereal Jessica Chastain) and Mr O'Brien (Brad Pitt's second great performance of the year... can we please give him an Oscar now, people?) touched and taught and looked at their children, the movie was fiercely moving.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Woody Allen)
Sony Pictures Classics. June 10th.
Let's not call it a comeback. Woody Allen has never gone away and his filmography runs the gamut between masterful and mediocre -- sometimes within the very same movie! What sets Midnight in Paris apart from the pack is a conceit so clever and insightful that it works both within the famed auteur's current limitations and as charming cover for them. It's okay that the present feels so tired and one note when hack screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) feels exactly this way about the life he's leading. It's definitely okay that the nostalgic past feels shallow and cartoony since nostalgia is fantasy, a very specific escapist (rear) projection. Quibbling is easy -- it's no Purple Rose of Cairo (an Allen masterwork treading somewhat similar ground) -- but why quibble when Corey Stoll is so funny as Hemingway, Adrien Brody is so amusing as Dali "Rhi-no-ce-ros" and Marion Cotillard's muse complicates the movie so beautifully by rejecting its message entirely and exiting the picture with so little fuss.

THE HOUSEMAID (Im Sang-soo)
IFC. January 21st. 
This erotic melodrama, a remake of a Korean classic (which I have yet to see), is either the year's most elegantly trashy soap opera or its most biting political metaphor for the carnivorous and consequence-free behavior of the super wealthy and the impotent dramatics of the working poor. Maybe both. Either way it's uncomfortably steamy, beautifully filmed, and superly acted (South Korea is where it's at for actresses these days. Period.) It's also unusually entertaining once the bad behavior and catfights begin. I watched it twice in one week when I first saw it and if my schedule weren't so tight, I'd do so again right now.

PARIAH (Dee Rees)
Focus Features. December 28th. 
Two important new voices emerged in queer cinema this year, writer/directors Dee Rees and Andrew Haigh (his Weekend up later in the countdown). Both filmmakers previously directed one documentary-style feature so they weren't in the discussions of "best debuts" but what debuts these narrative features were! Coming out stories are a staple of gay cinema but few of them have carved out as much emotional nuance from raw feeling. Pariah has so much feeling for its characters that it occassional gets distracted with tangential subplots but better too much genuine feeling than not enough of it or the poorly manufactured variety. This story of a shy closeted lesbian high school student (Adepere Oduye, just wonderful) in a rough Brooklyn neighborhood just aches with emotion and, best of all, future possibility. You find yourself wondering about Alike's journey after the movie ends. The best characters, gay or otherwise, live beyond the end credits [Best LGBT characters of 2011]

SHAME (Steve McQueen)
Fox Searchlight. December 2nd. 
Brandon only has room for one thing in his life. His apartment and office are as barren as his emotional life. Michael Fassbender enters the picture on a naked loop as he travels from bed to phone to bathroom, one day being any day and every day empty but for bodily functions and the pursuit of the next fix. It's the first of many smart decisions that Steve McQueen, one of the most exciting new cinematic voices to emerge in the past decade (see also: Hunger), makes in this visually spare but daringly operatic take on addiction. Shame isn't perfect -- for every "New York New York" segment -- a telepathic conversation? a sung monologue? --  there's another moment that's too on the nose. The best thing about Shame is McQueen's voyeuristic addiction to the contact high of great actors. His camera stalks them ceaselessly but wisely never gets in their way, freezing in place to watch them work their inimitable magic.

YOUNG ADULT (Jason Reitman)
Paramount. December 9th
The first painful chortle of recognition I experienced watching Young Adult was the ease at which YA writer Mavis Gary (a brilliant Charlize Theron) became distracted from her work. A sentence or two, tops, was all she could manage before she was on to more pressing things like e-mail, Diet Coke, pet care (of sorts), and other absent-minded rituals. Sigh. I know the feeling on all counts. It was the first chortle of many. Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who previously made Juno together, make another compelling case for continued partnership here in this diamond sharp perfectly condensed comedy about prolongued adolescence, untreated mental illness, and terrible cultural values (note how Mavis isn't the only one who worships her skin-deep beauty or encourages her self delusions). 

P.S. It took me half an hour to write that paragraph and it's not even a good one! Thankfully I did not hatch any plan as spectacularly ill conceived as "return to hometown. steal ex-boyfriend away from wife and infant daughter" during the fitful pauses. 

and now... the top ten.

Saturday
Dec102011

American Linko

Slant analyzes the new poster for Madonna's W.E. 
Empire Sacha Baron Cohen taking the Threnadier role we thought was going to Geoffrey Rush in Tom Hooper's adaptation of Les Miserables. 
In Contention Kris & Anne give their top ten films of the year 
Stale Popcorn on the plans to 'update' American Psycho. Hollywood executives can be so thick. It's a satire about the 80s. You don't "update" what something is about.

The Hairpin looks back at Love, Actually a predecessor of the current all star roundelay that is New Year's Eve
New York Magazine an inner monologue of a critic watching Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (I missed this somehow last week but it's great)
Animation Magazine has been hopping lately. Lots of features on the animated contenders including the ones we've heard the least about like the Spanish old age drama Wrinkles
YouTube Pulp Fiction in chronological order. I was totally taken by surprise by how it begins but it all came back to me.
The Wrap this news makes me giggle. Lifetime Television is planning to remake 1980's The Blue Lagoon. This is what's called a missing the point. The only reason anyone watched the original film was for the nudity. 
The AV Club chats with Diablo Cody about Young Adult. Check out this great exchange on the film's origins:

Diablo Cody: “Am I some kind of stunted woman-child that’s living vicariously through her characters?” And then I thought, “Stunted woman-child—that’s a character.”
AVC: Now you’re living vicariously through a character who’s living vicariously.
DC: Yeah, it’s like Escher.

Living through film characters. Sigh. Don't we all to some degree. If we're being honest with ourselves. 

Which film character have you found yourself living through?