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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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The Gotham Nominations

Get Out (4 nods each), Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, Florida Project (3 nods each)

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I Tonya Teaser

"I don't know why but I immediately think of "DROP DEAD GORGEOUS" when I see this preview.. -David

"That CGI is a dealbreaker for me, it totally took me out of that trailer." - LC

"I'm totally in for this." - Aaron

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Sunday
Oct072012

Oscar Horrors: Best Transformation Scene... Ever

[In the returning daily October series "Oscar Horrors" we look at those rare beasts. Film contributions in the horror genre that went on to Oscar nominations. Here's new contributor Peter Swanson...]

HERE LIES ... An American Werewolf in London, which won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Makeup, the first year that award was given in regular competition.

Peter from Armchair Audience here. A quick story first. As a film-obsessive I've tried hard to not be that guy (you know the one) who insists his/her friends watch all their favorite movies. However, a few years ago and in a mildly intoxicated state, I forced my wife and dinner guest to sit through An American Werewolf in London, accompanied by my own personal commentary track. When werewolf-bitten David Kessler (David Naughton) first turns into a hairy beast I (allegedly) repeated the phrase,"Best transformation scene ever," about twenty times. That phrase has come to haunt me through the years--my wife likes to spring it on me any time I suggest watching a movie to friends.

Here's the thing: It is the best transformation scene ever.

No amount of CGI wizardry will ever match Rick Baker's amazing use of latex and air bladders to convey the bone-popping pain of turning from man to beast. But even if An American Werewolf in London never had that transformation scene, it would still be deserving of the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup. There's so much good stuff, from the werewolf itself that rampages around on four legs, to the decomposing Griffin Dunne, to the Nazi mutants that appear in David's terrifying dream. 

Rick Baker has since gone on to receive eleven nominations in this category and to win seven times. But even his recent state-of-the-art digital work on the sub-par The Wolfman doesn't come close to matching the grisly perfection of what he did for John Landis's cult hit. It's crucial to the film, as well, since horror-comedy, now a staple of genre-filmmaking, was a pretty new concept in 1981. It wasn't just the notion that comedy would be mixed with horror elements (Abbott and Costello at one point cornered this market) but that the horror elements were so genuinely terrifying and gruesome. Griffin Dunne, playing David's ill-fated traveling companion Jack Goodman, kills in the movie because of his droll commentary, but his make-up work, especially the early scenes with his face half torn away are truly disturbing.

Make-up isn't the only reason to re-visit this film. Sure, David Naugton is a little hammy and stiff as the title character, but the movie works on all the different levels it aspires to: gothic tale, slapstick comedy, gore-fest, tragic romance. Griffin Dunne delivers his funniest role, and Jenny Agutter, currently playing a kindly nun on The Midwife Calls, elevates the material as a sad and sexy nurse.

And, of course, 'the best transformation scene... ever.'

Sunday
Oct072012

First & Last: It might be a fantasy

the first and last images from a movie (barring the credits sequences)


bonus clue: the last line

...a world full of love, like yours and mine. Like home.

Can you guess the movie?

Saturday
Oct062012

Best Actor Bait. The Key Word Being Bait.

The Oscar Prediction Chart Updates continue with the leading and supporting men. Best Actor seems especially confusing this year what with so many major stars or past Oscar nominees arriving with generally infallible bait right there in the roles. Let's do a quick chart. Here are, arguably, the five most infallible types of Oscar Bait and who is serving them up. (Obviously many of these men are still awaiting critical consensus on their performances or the fourth column would be larger.)

BEST ACTOR
In that chart right there I've only visually (and alphabetically) included  the top ten ranked men from my prediction chart. Now I'm even less enthused about Matt Damon's Oscar chances for Promised Land since he doesn't figure into these five columns at all. One might call him overdue if he didn't have that early writing Oscar (Good Will Hunting) but as it stands now he has no surefire hook for his Oscar campaign. This is not to say that "crisis of conscience" isn't a form of bait for leading men. That's a fairly common hook in leading roles but it's hardly the iconic carrot to dangled in front of voters like, say, debilatating suffering, addiction or ol' fashioned biographical dress up are.

If Anthony Hopkins is terrific as Hitchcock it's going to come down to the wire as to which of the top six men are given the boot on nomination morning since they're all packing serious bait as they fish for votes.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
The supporting categories are the last to lock down since so much what happens there depends on coattails from leading players and Best Picture nominations. Though you can safely lock up Philip Seymour Hoffman who is already a default Oscar player before you account for his enormous amount of screen time or the kind of reviews he won for The Master. Beyond Hoffman it's still anyone's game though reactions to Lincoln, which premieres Monday at the New York Film Festival, will certainly tell us whether David Strathairn is in the hunt for his second nomination. He's currently my only predicted Supporting Actor nominee who hasn't yet won the Oscar so if he's strong and the field really turns out that way, a win wouldn't be out of the question.

As for the men who have never been nominated, I'm particularly frustrated that Michael Fassbender who was so sublime in Prometheus is fading from the conversation but I expected as much since Oscar don't do sci-fi. I'm also frustrated that Matthew McConaughey who is inarguably having the best year of his career, isn't winning traction. Frustrated by not surprised. Though Oscar himself is famously nude and male and popular with the gays, He isn't generally turned on by the sexualization of male actors. That shiny Global icon is famously resistant to the matinee idol type ignoring them altogether or making them wait until they're gray and less sexually potent for their Oscar glory. Oscar just doesn't like leading men who trade on their own eroticism. Witness the Oscar fate of Michael Fassbender in Shame last year. McConaughey's selfploitation in Magic Mike (and to a lesser but more compromising degree in The Paperboy) is probably working against him no matter how much he's stepped up his game this year. 

Which actors are you banking on at this point? Where would you flipflop contenders on our charts?

Saturday
Oct062012

"Malavita" Before Cameras... All Kinds

Malavita, the new Pfeiffer film we've mentioned a couple of times, is starting its PR trek. The plot concept:

Malavita is the story of the Manzonis, a notorious mafia family who gets relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program. While they do their best to fit in, old habits die hard and they soon find themselves handling things the “family” way.

The cast has now gone before the lens, not just movie cameras, of multiple kinds. Like...

Photo Ops They aren't wasting any time announcing themselves since the cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Robert DeNiro, and Michelle Pfeiffer are already posing for cameras. This image is from the new Paris Match. The stars gathered for the opening of their director Luc Besson's Cite du Cinema which is the largest studio ever built in France and is hoping to attract more big productions.

Pity that La Pfeiffer is hidden in the fold!

More Malavita photos after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct062012

Two Faces of January. Three Faces of Beauty

Two Faces of January, a thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, has released its first official still which includes Two Faces of Obsession (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst... Oscar Isaac, backgrounded, has a good one, too). Viggo and Kiki are also in On The Road together (in which Viggo is particularly fantastic in a showy small part) though they share no scenes.

No word yet on who did the costumes but I like 'em.

I read this novel at some point but I don't remember a thing about it other than the Greece setting, that it was moody and triangular, and that the ending disappointed me - don't remember why just that it did. Still. Highsmith transfers well to film (see her 'Ripliad' series which has been adapted a few times already)

 

(When I was researching that poll I was said to hear that Barry Pepper had also starred in a Mr. Ripley adaptation called  Ripley Under Ground (2005) but the movie was never released. Barry Pepper really needs a more fortunate career.)

Hossein AminiTwo Faces of January is currently filming in Greece which surely can use all this movie-making revenue of late (see also: Before Midnight) but it isn't a stylistic choice. That's where a good portion of the travelogue thriller is set. This marks the feature directorial debut of Oscar nominated Iranian British screenwriter Hossein Amini -- my favorites from his work are Drive (2011), Jude (1996) and The Wings of the Dove (1997) -- so The Film Experience is officially rooting for success as he makes the jump behind cameras.

Saturday
Oct062012

Secret Messages: 'we got three victims...'

secret messages from the movies

 

Can you guess the movie?
Bonus points if you can tell me that third name.