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Emmy Nom Hangover: Snubs & Peculiarities

1 hour ago

Apologies for my radio silence yesterday. Off my game I was for the entire day plus which means I'm know 36 hours behind on writing projects. Hooray. Nevertheless, because Emmy nominations are still very much on my mind after the initial response and the main titles detour (oh don't pretend you aren't still thinking about them) I polled a few members of Team Experience about their feelings. And here's what they had to say on four questions. Answer them yourself in the comments, too. The more the merrier

What's the Nomination That Most Perplexes You?

Adam Armstrong: Kristen WiigThe Spoils of Babylon. When I read her name among the nominees, I was like:

...Pure, unadulterated, ecstatic, confused bliss. 

Andrew Kendall: So many options, but it's impossible for me to let Christina Hendricks in Mad Men just pass - for so many reasons. Everyone loves Joan and Hendricks is one »

- NATHANIEL R

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1973 in animation: Disney's Robin Hood

10 July 2014 6:00 PM, PDT

Tim here. We’re celebrating 1973 at the Film Experience all throughout July, and in terms of animation, that can mean one of only two things: the Czech-French allegorical science fiction film Fantastic Planet, a peculiar head trip of a movie made with highly-detailed paper animation, or Disney’s all-animal Robin Hood, a film regarded as one of Disney’s most perfect classics by a small group of people while being largely forgotten by most younger people, making it one of those films that’s simultaneously both over- and under-rated. All my love and respect to politically laden avant-garde Eastern European animation, but our current path seems clear enough: Robin Hood it is.

I will first confess that the film has never been one of my favorites in Disney’s canon; it exemplifies a very particular aesthetic that dominated the studio’s work for just a short while, seven features released »

- Tim Brayton

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Halfway Mark Finale: Oscar Prediction Updates Complete!

10 July 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Mmmmm, where were we since we last spoke in regards to the Oscar race in late May? There have been a few minor rumblings and plate shiftings but nothing truly seismic.

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, it looks like I had it backwards assuming we'd get Carol and Far From the Madding Crowd sooner in 2014 and MacBeth and The Suffragette later in 2015, so I've had to move the charts around accordingly.

The Tiny (Confrontational Indies) and the Large (Mainstream Blockbusters)

In the past month and a half the Polish film Ida has emerged as a true arthouse superstar. Music Box Films doesn't have the high profile that Spc and The Weinstein Co have when it »

- NATHANIEL R

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Halfway Pt. 5 Best Performances

10 July 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Are you getting restless about all these halfway posts? We're almost done. The Power of List compels me. There's one more halfway post to go that's basically 'The Oscar Charts are Updated!' as the coding problem I mentioned is fixed and the updates are happening behind the scenes as you read this. We must get all this halfway business behind us by Saturday morning so that we can ape out all weekend with Andy Serkis & Co and start this second half of the year off right.

Herewith...

The Greatest Performances Of 2014's First Half

Best Leading Actress: Keira Knightley does her most relaxed and fluid work ever in Begin Again as a musician at a crossroads, never letting any one aspect of the character's situation pigeonhole her emotional responses; Agata Kulesza is an abrasive and evasive presence in her first scenes in Ida as a cynical woman who is »

- NATHANIEL R

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"Outstanding Main Title Design," An Undersung Emmy Category

10 July 2014 11:36 AM, PDT

If you're a carbon based life form, chances are you feel a certain amount of affection for the opening notes and images of the main title designs of certain TV series. These things have a way of seeping into our DNA.

I cannot watch True Blood's titles, for example, without singing along "...I wanna do bad things to you ♫" and it would probably take my Emmy award if the Outstanding Main Title Design were handed out only once every 10 years. Unfortunately it has been ripped off ever since and now every remotely creepy TV series aims for a mix of slow-mo vs sped up montage of religious, violent, and sensual grotesquerie from American Horror Storyto Penny Dreadful. But True Blood's titles were the perfect marriage of everything that makes that show that show. It's actually even Better than the show itself.  True Blood lost this category in its »

- NATHANIEL R

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Emmy Nods 2014: Full List, First Impressions

10 July 2014 6:55 AM, PDT

The Emmy nominations have been announced for your viewing pleasure... unless your favorites were snubbed in which case here's the list to enrage you. Cable continues to ruthlessly dominate making things very hard for network shows - even hits like Scandal and The Good Wife. And Emmy proved again, as they often do, that they are very slow to change, largely embracing the same performers / shows they've always embraced as if they're only ever voting on the entirety of a show and not its current season.

I know people are very upset about Tatiana Maslany's ongoing snub for Orphan Black. She basically embarrasses every critic that's ever over-used the word "chameleon" to describe an actor; we should've saved the word for her. But this is not remotely surprising in any sense and I'm confused as to why so many people thought it might happen. The show is...  

a) ...not »

- NATHANIEL R

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Best Shot: Batman (1966)

9 July 2014 5:08 PM, PDT

Happy 75th Anniversary to the world's favorite f***ed-up orphan billionaire!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns on the evening of July 15th with a special free-for-all episode in which you choose whichever Batman feature film you want to look at and post your choice for its Best Shot. We link up. It's our way of celebrating Batman's 75th birthday. I opted to start at the beginning. No, not Tim Burton's high gothic smash but the special feature edition of the 1960's TV series, which was filmed after season 1 wrapped (the props were reused for follow-up seasons)

Batman (1966)

Batman (1966) has a ton of sight gags. I'm not claiming that any of them are particularly well-executed but my favorite bar none is Batman's lunatic run holding a lit bomb that he can't find a place to dispose of. It's what would happen if you crossed Batman with a Mr Bean skit. »

- NATHANIEL R

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A Year With Kate: Pat and Mike (1952)

9 July 2014 11:24 AM, PDT

Episode 28 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn proves hitting like a girl is a good thing.

Guess what! My dad met Katharine Hepburn. Decades before I was born, unfortunately, which seems like poor parenting on his part. Anyway, my dad was a professional tennis player in the early 1970s. Since he looked cute in shorts and was charming company (two traits I inherited from him along with his humility), he’d get invited to parties before tournaments in La and Las Vegas. At one such party, he met Kate the Great. Dad’s words:

“I recall her as being very petite, wonderful husky voice, would look at you directly when speaking… Like so many actors, actresses etc., incredible charisma… Incredible spunk but not an outstanding athlete... By the then Hollywood standards, she may well have been great.”

Please keep in mind that this meeting was twenty years after Pat and Mike, »

- Anne Marie

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you wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if i weren't still in this Blog | But cha'aar, Link, ya'aar!

9 July 2014 8:49 AM, PDT

Boy Culture counts down 100 best Golden Girls guest spots - movie stars of yore!

The Daily Beast has an excellent piece on Tammy and Melissa McCarthy's career and body (also body of work) by Teo Bugbee

New Yorker thorough piece on the arguments for and against VOD for indies and the question of "cultural endurance" (I'm against VOD in general but I recognize that's probably because I live in NYC where I can actually see the movies and I think moviegoing is so much more immersive than watching things at home)

Me Says considers Notes on a Scandal (2006) the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane of our time 

Bad-Ass Digest on Exodus: Gods and Kings' 'white men with bronzer' cast. Will it finally crystallize the white-wash problem for people who still don't get it? 

Nathaniel R and have you seen that tacky black&white-in-color poster?

EW Dick Jones the »

- NATHANIEL R

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My Favorite Moment in the "Exodus" Teaser

8 July 2014 6:39 PM, PDT

New Policy. Though The Film Experience invariably prefers teasers to full trailers on account of our spoiler aversion our Yes No Maybe So is one of our most popular features. So herewith we shall always do Yes No Maybe Sos on only the teaser for films we very much want to see and don't want spoiled and we'll just skip the trailers altogether (I am so grateful I did with Snowpiercer). Other films, we'll wait on the full trailer to do our full duty... especially those movies that were spoiled centuries ago like Exodus: Gods and Kings

 Fyi for those of you who haven't read it, the Bible is full of spoilers. It's practically a reality TV show it's so fond of telling you what's coming up next and then what just happened recapping. [More...]

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Halfway Pt. 4: Top Ten Movies of 2014 (Thus Far)

8 July 2014 11:22 AM, PDT

For today's Tuesday Top Ten it's your last peek at Nathaniel's top ten list for 2014 until the official one at year's end. Only films that have already played theaters in regular release are eligible hence endearing indies like Happy Christmas (currently On Demand) or instant classics like Love is Strange or next weekend's highly raved openers (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood) cannot yet apply. Herewith my ten favorite pictures of 2014 thus far since we've already looked at favorite sights and favorite sounds. 

You should see all of these movies. How many will stick around for the official top ten of 2014? I haven't a clue. That's half the excitement of drawing these invisible lines in the sand and waiting with hot anticipation for the rest of the year's wonders

Top Ten Films Of 2014's First Half

(Alpha Order)

Begin Again (John Carney) 104 minutes

Weinstein Co | June 27th »

- NATHANIEL R

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All That Link

8 July 2014 9:08 AM, PDT

It's been so long since we had a link roundup! You were all partying over the long weekend anyway. But we're back to normal. Please to enjoy these fine, discussable or just fun posts around the web...

Antagony & Ecstasy looks back at Thelma & Louise now that Susan Sarandon is on the road in Tammy's crime spree

Vf Jennifer Lawrence meets Emma Watson

Leigh Alexander on internet sexism - the dos and don'ts 

BuzzFeed Matt McGorry and Samira Wiley from Orange is the New Black recreate Matthew McConaughey movie posters. Love.

WSJ Taylor Swift fancies herself a journalist suddenly and writes about the future of fandom, music careers and record sales 

Av Club on that potato salad kickstarter 

Deadline on new controversial strict rules for documentary eligibility at the Oscars. I understand the arguments against the new ruling but I would also like to caution documentarians to think about what they're asking for. »

- NATHANIEL R

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True to the End? A Final Season in Bon Temps

8 July 2014 5:55 AM, PDT

Here's Adam on a show that probably should have ended a couple of years ago but finally has its eviction notice -Editor

It’s been seven years and we’re finally (almost) to the end. I don’t know how many people of you have stuck with True Blood from the beginning. Nathaniel bolted during the show's nadir (season 5) though he's silently returned since. But if you’re anything like me, you believe that season six was, as much as it could be, a return to form, a reminder or the series glory days. 

As I plowed through the first three episodes of this seventh and final season, I could not help but feel that it has all been a prolonged set up to something better... or perhaps 'trimming down' to something better more aptly explains it. While no episode has been an absolute knock out, you can feel season »

- Adam Armstrong

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Halfway Pt. 3: Sound, Songs, Score. What Did You Enjoy Listening To?

7 July 2014 4:07 PM, PDT

Having covered the most astounding visuals from the first half of 2014 let's move on to Sound. This is when I suddenly become shy, mutable, and tongue-tied as a critic. You may read this post at any decibel level but please know that I'm whispering it. A truth: sound is the aspect of filmmaking for which I feel least qualified to judge. I try to absorb what's happening in underscoring and with the mix and editing. I'm definitely more attuned that I once was. But the fact remains that my ears are neither as well trained nor as aggressive in consumption as my eyes. I love to hear other people talk sound and scoring (I recommend the book The Conversations by Walter Murch which is on film editing but it touches on sound as well) so please do share your favorites in the comments. I'll probably learn something if you do. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Halfway Pt. 2: Visual Cinematic Achievements of 2014

7 July 2014 11:51 AM, PDT

Before the holiday weekend we wondered what AMPAS voters might latch on to had they had to vote right then on the Oscars. It was a hypothetical exercize since we all know the studios backload the year and 85% of the intended contenders for "best" honors are as of yet unavailable. On to something not at all hypothetical.

Consider this my tracking sheet for the film bitch awards at year's end. It also doubles as an Fyc directed at Academy members. Awards are too often regarded as trivial pursuits but they aren't at all. Award winners and nominees go into the history books or web archives as it were and, later, baby cinephiles seek them out for cinematic education. I speak from experience and I've heard so many similar growing up cinephile stories over the years that I know this to be true. So think carefully over even movies you didn't »

- NATHANIEL R

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Beauty Vs Beast: The Two Jakes

7 July 2014 8:49 AM, PDT

Ja from Mnpp here - The year 2014 is halfway over and since Nathaniel seems to be having fun listing his picks for "the best of so-far" I felt like joining in - my favorite movie of the year here at the half-point is Denis Villeneuve's doppleganger creep-fest called Enemy, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal as two men (maybe?) who find each other (maybe?) through chance (uh... maybe?) and the destructive effect that this has on their lives (definitely).

If you didn't catch the film in theaters (I managed to twice but I realize I am extraordinarily priviledged for that; its release was a puzzler) it came out onto DVD and so forth two weeks ago, so hopefully you've set aside the time - as I said when I reviewed it way back when this movie is the dream of a movie I would be able to make if I were a movie-maker. »

- JA

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