12 items from 2016
"You will unite, or you will fall." The first film in the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy first hit theaters December of 2001, nearly 15 years ago. To celebrate the anniversary, Miguel Branco edited together a brand new trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and it's rather wonderful. This is one of my all-time favorite films (only topped by The Return of the King) and I still remember seeing it in theaters on a cold, snowy night in December. Elijah Wood stars as Frodo, with Sean Astin as Samwise, and Ian McKellen as Gandalf; including Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, and many others. This trailer should make you smile, and put a tear in your eye. Hard to believe it has been 15 years. Here's the fan-made 15th anniversary trailer for The Lord of the Rings »
- Alex Billington
We're about one month away from the announcement of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients. They're usuallly announced at the end of August for a November Governor's Awards ceremony. This year's ceremony will be on November 12th. Last year rumors circled that it was Doris Day's turn but that didn't turn out to be accurate. For the past two years, The Film Experience has tried to make up for the dearth of movie site reporting about the Oscar Honorary careers (beyond the sharing of press releases / YouTube videos of their speeches) with mini-retrospectives so we're always hoping they'll choose well to give us wonderful careers to discuss right here.
Let's reprint a list of worthies we shared a year or so ago, with a few adjustments, in case any of the elites in the Academy are undecided about who to put forth or get behind for these coveted honors.
- NATHANIEL R
Ryan Lambie Jul 14, 2016
We take a look at some of the most memorable and freaky floating brains and flying heads in the history of cinema...
For some reason we've yet to discover, cinema has, for decades, been home to all manner of sentient, disembodied heads and floating brains. Note that we’re not talking about decapitations here - though goodness knows that cinema is home to plenty of those, from Japanese samurai epics to modern slasher horrors.
No, we’re talking about movies where heads and brains remain sentient even when they’re stuffed into jars or colossal things made of stone. Sometimes used for comedic effect, at other times for shock value, they’re a surprisingly common phenomenon in the movies. Here, we celebrate a few of our absolute favourites - though you’re sure »
When cinema-goers queued up to see Aliens in 1986, seven years had already passed since its predecessor, Alien. While a follow-up to the 79 hit had been discussed at Fox for years, it took James Cameron to finally bring it to fruition - and it’s fair to say that he created something far more than a typical sequel of the era.
Where franchises like Halloween, Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street largely followed the template established by the first film, Cameron attempted something vastly more ambitious: a continuation and expansion of Ridley Scott’s classic, a second chapter in its resourceful heroine Ripley’s story - one where she’s transformed from traumatised survivor to avenging warrior.
Much has been written about the brilliance of Aliens, »
To keep up with the irrepressible wit of Thomas Middleditch, we turned to none other than Sir Patrick Stewart. The banter between the star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and the legendary actor — now creating his own memorable version of a talk show host in Starz’ “Blunt Talk” — ranged from jokes about their middle names (or lack thereof) to a far deeper exploration about what drove them to pursue their chosen careers. (And then there’s that moment when Middleditch asked Stewart to play “F—k, Marry, Kill,” but we’ll direct you to our website for that unforgettable clip.)
Thomas Middleditch: Do you have a middle name?
Patrick Stewart: I did have a middle name for about 18 months, because when I came to Hollywood in 1987, and tried to join the Screen Actors Guild there was already another Patrick Stewart, a member of the Guild. So there was a lot of negotiation over 18 months or so before I could use my full name. So I took an initial. And I chose an initial that would not have a disruptive effect on the whole word, so my name is Stewart, and chose the name Hewes, H-e-w-e-s. So you can say Patrick Hewes Stewart and you don’t really hear it. It’s not there at all.
Thomas Middleditch’s fashion available at East Dane
French Trotters shirt
Bryce Duffy for Variety
Middleditch: An unexpectedly detailed answer.
Stewart: I did warn you about the long answers to the simplest question.
Middleditch: Well around here, around Hollywood you’re called P-Stew. Everyone calls you that.
Stewart: I like it very much.
Middleditch: It’s street. It’s quite urban.
Stewart: Like many good things in my life it was my wife’s idea. Um, in fact Sir Pat Stew is …
Middleditch: There you go bringing in the knighthood.
Stewart: Well you know I have to …
Middleditch: First five minutes.
Stewart: What about you? Did you ever have a middle name?
Middleditch: Of course, I still do.
Stewart: I hope your story’s half as interesting as mine was.
Middleditch: No, it’s zero percent interesting. Thomas Steven, with a “v,” Middleditch.
Stewart: Ok, but would you like to tell us where Middeditch comes from?
Middleditch: A Charles Dickens novel. No, it doesn’t, but it sounds like it does.
Stewart: Darn! That would have been great!
Middleditch: But doesn’t it sound like it should? Thomas Steven Middleditch, back to the coal mines!
“It felt exciting that when I would do this thing, I would get …that laughter and applause and approval — these are all sad things to want.” Thomas Middleditch
Stewart: What is the history of that name?
Middleditch: The Middleditches for many years, decades even, have been trying to figure that out. Everyone in my family has a different hypothesis. Some say agriculture. Some say, I think, my brother wants it to be like a soldier. He wants it to be like some kind of trench-digging thing.
Stewart: It’s a great name.
Middleditch: Now P-Stew, what brought you back to television? You were gone for so long everyone said, “where is he?”
Stewart: Yeah, when I disappear like that people always think that I’m with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, because nobody knows who’s there. It’s like going to some remote place in Alaska, though more fun.
Middleditch: Alaskan theater, by the way, is taking off.
Stewart: I’ll investigate that another time. Yeah, it’s true. I had not done, certainly not series TV, since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” wrapped in April 1994.
Middleditch: I’ve never heard of that show.
Stewart: It’s a kind of genre show, with a rather small, specialized and highly intellectual audience. In fact, exclusively intellectuals. Which doesn’t surprise me that you’ve never heard of it.
Middleditch: Yeah I wouldn’t have heard, no. I’m kind of a sports guy.
Stewart: How did it all start for you?
Middleditch: Well, I believe much like you I got my, my first licks in the theater. The boards. I must give a big tip of the old hat to my eighth-grade drama teacher, Mr. Ken Wilson. I was always kind of a shy kid, but had a real ham inside. Like my impressions of my dad are always like, “Put on a proper smile Tom!” Because he’d be trying to take a photo I’d be like, ooooh, you know? But I also got teased a lot. And he just said, “I’m going to put you in a play” and then from that point on, I got into it. And took it a lot more seriously each year.
Stewart: So do you recall the first time you stepped onto a stage pretending to be someone other than Middleditch?
Middleditch: I do.
Stewart: How did you feel?
Middleditch: It felt great. I got obsessed with “Kids in the Hall,” all that kind of stuff, but it was still pretty nebulous at that point. But I remember there was this bit, a routine, at the beginning of the play where I pop my head out and see the audience, get scared, and go back in. And this is like, you know, at that age, eighth grade, where you can do anything.
Stewart: I saw you do that on “Silicon Valley” the other night.
Middleditch: I’m known for that.
Stewart: What was the emotional feeling of being on a stage eventually when you rehearse with lights flooding you and a darkened auditorium with people who you didn’t know sitting out there. How did that feel?
Middleditch: I can’t put it into like the feeling, the word, but I know it felt like this. It felt exciting that when I would do this thing, I would get that reaction, and that laughter and applause and approval — these are all sad things to want. But having that kind of stuff just sort of beamed back at me, because I did a thing.
Stewart: Was it largely comedy that you were doing then? Has it always been primarily comedy?
Middleditch: Yeah, it’s always been primarily comedy. Probably at one point in theater school, of which I dropped out…
Stewart: Well I’m interested because I was 12 when I was put in a play with adults for the first time. I’d done local pageants. In fact there is documentary evidence that when I was about 6 I played a character called Tom Towngate. Which was where I actually lived, in Towngate. I asked you this about how it felt because for me the experience, the very first time I walked on stage to rehearse in our school hall, with adults, I felt for the first time in my life actually safe.
Middleditch: Oh really?
Stewart: And it was decades later and lots of very expensive but very fine Los Angeles therapy that I worked out what had happened. First of all, I was in a place, being in a play, where I knew what was going to happen. My family life was a little bit chaotic and sometimes a little scary and you never quite knew what was going to happen next, especially weekends. So, being in a play, everything was pre-determined. So I knew nothing bad could happen to me. I wasn’t being Patrick Stewart, who I didn’t care very much for anyway. I was playing another character.
Stewart: And in this case a wealthy public school boy, which was as far removed from me as it could possibly be. So, the attraction was instantaneous and the impact was instantaneous. That I was in another life, in another world, being another person. And I, without becoming too introspective about that, I think that has remained as one of the primary urges in my life to do this job, this crazy job that we do. So you’ve just finished shooting the third season of “Silicon Valley,” which is an ensemble. Is there a particular attraction for you in that ensemble world rather than, you know, here’s the star of the show?
Middleditch: I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference, because I haven’t really had that much experience being the sole pillar of any type of production. But I love it coming from, I guess, some theater and then mainly improv, because in comedy you need the other people to be on stage with you. Because there’s interaction, there’s scene work as opposed to standing and delivering jokes, say, in standup. I know for myself, I probably work a lot better in that, in the group environment. Only because if I am coming up short someone else helps.
Stewart: So you’ve done standup, a lot of standup.
Stewart: I’ve done solo shows. And I found it lonely. I long to have another actor come on and say a few lines and then go off. I didn’t want them to stick around. Leave, and then I can get on with my own solo performance. But is there an overlap from the standup world?
Middleditch: Both the benefit and the terrifying aspect of standup is when it’s going poorly, you’ve only yourself to blame. There’s no one to bail you out. But when it’s going great, all that approval is for you. There’s overlap, of course, because there are some comedians where their stuff is very tightly scripted and that’s a certain way of delivering jokes.
Stewart: That’s not you. No.
Middleditch: No, no. I find it’s nice to have things that I can go back to, so I know how I’m gonna end everything, but I do like to go off on tangents. I like stream-of-consciousness, trying to interact as much as I can, even though I’m terrible at what they call in the biz “crowd work.” It’s a funny term.
Stewart: Crowd work? Really?
Middleditch: Yeah. Now, Patrick, Sir Patrick, P-Stew, your character in “Blunt Talk” is a bit of a ragamuffin, he’s into drinking, and having all kinds of fun. Have you played something like this, that we just don’t know about before? Or is this new? And what’s exciting as an actor to get into something like that?
Stewart: Well, in a couple of words, it is new. There is one constant kind of standing joke that I have with the crew and my colleagues on “Blunt Talk,” that I’m continually saying, ‘I’ve never done this before! This is the first time!’ Like I did an interrogation scene in a police interrogation room. Bare room, bare metal table, two detectives sitting — I had never played a scene like that before. And it was so exciting. I remember years ago a friend telling me he worked with Ian Holm, the British actor, and they were shooting a movie. And he came back into the trailer and he said to my friend, “I’m happy now. I can die contented as an actor.” And Tim said, “Well why?” He said, “Because I’ve just shot a scene when I ran along the roof of a moving train with a gun in my hand, there’s nothing more I want to do. “
Middleditch: Yeah, yeah.
Stewart: So, I think we all have those. So yeah, I have snorted cocaine on camera, which I have never done. I played my first post-coital scene, with Elisabeth Shue, which had all kinds of delights and pleasures attached to it. I’ve never actually started to undress a woman that, which I have done with a lovely actress. I, I have never drunk so much alcohol. Not even when I played George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Middleditch: Yes. Naturally.
Stewart: I’ve been in prison recently, in the show. You know wearing an orange suit, never ever done that before. I’ve never sung rap songs before, which I did in the first season of the series. So it is a constant delight to be having these new experiences. But even for me, our careers in a way couldn’t be more different. Comedy has come very, very late.
Stewart: And for that I think two people have to be held responsible. And everyone should know this, because if they don’t like what I do as a funny actor, then these are the two people that they should go and speak to. First of all, Ricky Gervais, who cast me in “Extras,” and Seth MacFarlane cast me in “American Dad” 12 years ago.
Middleditch: Yeah, yeah.
Stewart: So these two guys first said, “You’re funny.” And this has led to this new life, at the age of 75.
Middleditch: What’s your favorite, best fan encounter? I’m sure it’s been at “Star Trek” conventions.
Stewart: There are all kinds of encounters at those events, at those conventions. I have not been part of that world for a little while now. But the most bizarre was some years ago now, 10 years ago or more. I was in Mexico and I had been exploring the great Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. And there was one place in particular that had a complete sacred ball court.
Middleditch: Like tennis ball court?
Stewart: Yeah, they played a ball game. They’re not quite sure what the rules of this game were, but there is a something that comes out from the side of the court, which is like a sunken pit that has a circle in it. Instead of it being a basket, it’s a vertical circle in the wall. I’d gone back there very late in the afternoon, knowing that the place would be closing down, because I wanted to have it as much to myself as possible, and then just let myself go with fantasies about the Mayan people. It all worked perfectly, sun had set, it was getting dusk, the call came out, “We’re closing the park, everybody has to leave now.” Then finally the moment came I had to leave, and I was climbing down off the back wall of the sacred ball court, just as a woman came around a corner. And then she said, “Oh my God it’s Jean-Luc Picard!” And all my Mayan fantasies just collapsed and crumbled in the moment.
Middleditch: That’s a great moment.
Stewart: What about you? You must have them?
Middleditch: I’m not at that point really where I’ll impress someone so delightfully with my presence. Hopefully in some years. But I find now it’s really interesting just even being in just the game more, more legitimately here in Hollywood, the idea of just meeting people. Let alone them being fans of yours, but that you thought you’d never meet or were influential in your life. Like us developing a friendship has been great. I remember first season just came out and I was at some HBO party, and Marisa Tomei comes up and says, “I love your show!” And it’s like, oh that’s weird, I never thought that was going to happen.
Middleditch: I managed to meet a few of the “Kids in the Hall” and those guys were very influential for me, and just now that you get into this world you meet these people. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross from “Mr. Show.” These people that kind of formed your sense of humor. Ricky Gervais, met him a couple times. He wouldn’t remember it.
Stewart: But it was for me, the time at the Golden Globes when I met all your colleagues Tj, and Martin and the whole cast. I was in geek heaven to have all four, five of you around me at that time. And of course to meet the show’s creator, Mike Judge. It was a big, big thrill. I want to mention one other thing if I can really quickly. I read something in the newspaper the other day that gave me so much reassurance. We’re all insecure.
Middleditch: God yes.
Stewart: Ok that’s a given. We’re all insecure. Well, I read a wonderful interview with Dustin Hoffman. He was in London for the opening of a movie. And he was being interviewed, and he was asked, was there one disappointment in his life? Was there one thing that he never quite achieved or wanted to achieve and didn’t? And he said, “Oh yes, absolutely. That I’m not Jack Nicholson.” And I want to say, “But you’re Dustin Hoffman!”
Stewart: It doesn’t matter if you’re not Jack Nicholson, but that Dustin should have thought that really that’s what he would have liked to have been, he was an actor like Jack Nicholson. I find so charming and so reassuring that someone so distinguished and so remarkable can still have that feeling of but you know there was something else I could have done better.
Middleditch: Of course. Of course.
- Debra Birnbaum
Even shorn of its sound, Alien remains a masterpiece of tension thanks to the power of its physical performances, Ryan writes...
This article contains spoilers for Alien.
When a film works - really, really works - its combination of acting, cinematography, music, sound design, lighting and editing come together so seamlessly that it can become difficult to pin down exactly why it’s so effective. Take Alien for example: beautifully shot by Ridley Scott and cinematographer Derek Vanlint, cut with razor-sharp perfection to Jerry Goldsmith’s piping eerie score, it’s a masterpiece of genre filmmaking.
In the years since Alien’s release in 1979, various aspects of it have been singled out for praise: Hr Giger was rightly handed an Oscar for his part in the seductively hideous xenomorph in its various stages. The film’s story and nightmare imagery is still picked over for its Freudian and feminist subtexts. »
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Trailer Crossover of the Day Part 1: It's Alien Day, so here's a recut of the trailer for Aliens done in the style of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (via Reddit): Trailer Crossover of the Day Part II: And here's a trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens done in the style of the original Alien trailer: Vintage Image of the Day: Ridley Scott applies condensed milk to Ian Holm as he waits for his big decapitated android moment on the set of Alien in 1978: VFX Breakdown of the Day: See how the Merc with a Mouth's mask effects were practically achieved in this new Deadpool featurette: Movie Promotion of the...
- Christopher Campbell
This week marks the 90th birthday of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in 1926. The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on the 21st of April and her official birthday on the second Saturday in June. (Trooping of the Colours)
She is the world’s oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain’s longest-lived. In 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regent in world history.
Looking to celebrate her Majesty’s birthday? First, everyone rise for the national anthem of the United Kingdom.
God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen!
For more on the Queen’s schedule, visit the official site: www. »
- Movie Geeks
'The Aviator' movie with Leonardo DiCaprio as bizarre billionaire Howard Hughes: Bloated biopic. 'The Aviator' movie review: What's not good for the Spruce Goose… Imagine Citizen Kane directed by the Steven Spielberg of The Color Purple, Schindler's List, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan. The final result would look something like a Barry Levinson film – for instance, the superficial and phony Bugsy. Or, an even more appropriate example, the superficial, phony, and bloated The Aviator. Except, of course, that Levinson is not the man responsible for the 2004 mega-production starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the eccentric, billionaire ladies' man Howard Hughes. Strangely enough, that man is Martin Scorsese, the director of hard-hitting films such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Gangs of New York. Scorsese, a fan of Old Hollywood, apparently wanted to have some fun with the reported $110 million budget (approx. $138 million in 2016) made available to him. The director no doubt had a ball while making The Aviator, »
- Andre Soares
A pure-gold Savant favorite, Sir Richard Attenborough's first feature as director is a stylized pacifist epic of the insane tragedy of WW1, told through contemporary songs, with the irreverent lyrics given them by the soldiers themselves. And one will not want to miss a young Maggie Smith's music hall performance -- luring young conscripts to doom in the trenches. It's the strangest pacifist film ever, done in high style. Oh! What a Lovely War DVD The Warner Archive Collection 1969 / Color / 2:35 enhanced widescreen / 144 min. / Street Date September 22, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 16.99 Starring: Too many to name, see below. Cinematography Gerry Turpin Production Design Donald M. Ashton Art Direction Harry White Choreography Eleanor Fazan Film Editor Kevin Connor Original Music Alfred Ralston Written by Len Deighton from the musical play by Joan Littlewood from the radio play by Charles Chilton Produced by Richard Attenborough, Brian Duffy, Len Deighton Directed »
- Glenn Erickson
According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor Demian Bichir ("The Hateful Eight") has joined director Ridley Scott's Prometheus sequel, Alien: Covenant. Bichir joins the recently announced Katherine Waterston ("Steve Jobs") and Danny McBride ("Eastbound & Down"), along with actor Michael Fassbender ("MacBeth") who reprises his role as the synthetic android David from Prometheus.
Director Ridley Scott is currently setting up pre-production for the film in Australia where he will begin principal photography in the upcoming months. Scott had stated that Alien: Covenant is the first of a planned trilogy which will link these new prequel films to his original 1979 Alien, which starred Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Harry Dean Stanton, and Ian Holm.
20th Century Fox has set an October 6th, 2017 release date for Alien: Covenant.
Source: THR »
- J.B. Casas
Robert Lantos, the producer of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated films; David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl); Richard J. Lewis's Barney’s Version (Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike); István Szabó's Being Julia (Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon) and Sunshine (Ralph Fiennes, Rosemary Harris, Rachel Weisz) joined Atom Egoyan for a post screening conversation on Remember. He is also the executive producer of Atom's double Oscar nominated The Sweet Hereafter (Ian Holm, Sarah Polley). Remember, written by Benjamin August, stars Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau with Bruno Ganz, Heinz Lieven, Dean Norris and Jürgen Prochnow.
Christopher Plummer as Zev Gutman: "I've worked with Chris on Ararat"
Wheelchair user Max Rosenbaum (Landau), who has a horrible cough, has prepared a letter for his friend Zev Gutman (Plummer), which is much more than a memory aide, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
12 items from 2016
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