Oscar History

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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Doc Corner: McQueen

"It's an excellent film, very well balanced, full of fascinating talking heads, and beautifully put together." -Edward L

"This should be the fashion documentary that makes it through to the final 5." - Peggy Sue

"I saw this in the UK last week. I was fascinated --especially the relationship with Blow and reflections on his gender politics. Would recommend." - catbaskets

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Yes No Maybe So: "Aquaman"

by Ilich Mejía

After being announced four years ago, DC's Aquaman is finally showing some promising signs of life. Director James Wan was joined by the film's cast at Comic-Con this weekend where they presented members of the press and fans with the film's first official trailer. The film's stars Jason Momoa (Aquaman) and Amber Heard (Mera) promised big action and a sci-fi fantasy, but more importantly Nicole Kidman was also there. 

Wonder Woman started turning some of us DC agnostics into intrigued believers. Will Aquaman uphold its predecessor's efforts? Before (or after) we get ahead of ourselves, let's pick its trailer apart after the cut...

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Fantasia 2018: Chained For Life

by Jason Adams

Somewhere between Francois Truffaut's Day For Night and Tod Browning's Freaks falls Chained For Life - a rag-tag group of actors (including the ever and always welcome Jess Weixler of Teeth fame) and crew assemble at a hotel turned plastic-surgery spa to shoot a strange little movie, and on the second day a gathering of differently abled persons of the sort that might have long ago populated a circus tent (a little person, a so-called "bearded lady," a giant, some conjoined twins, and most importantly Adam Pearson, the disfigured actor you oughta recognize from Under the Skin) show up to add surreality to the proceedings. 

Writer-director Aaron Schimberg is aware that in 2018 you can't get away with othering these people the way you once might have been able to though, so he goes meta about it. The film-within-the-film reveals itself as a Nazi-tinged rip-off of Browning's Freaks early on, while the day-to-day movie-shooting is all paper plates at the catering tent and make-up chair confessionals. Only slowly do the two halves begin to bleed together, and in the most unexpected ways at that...

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Review)

by Jorge Molina

Almost ten years ago to the date, Mamma Mia! opened in theaters. The jukebox musical based on the theater phenomenon that at the same time was based on the biggest hits of Europop sensation ABBA went on to gross almost 600 million dollars globally, and became the highest grossing live action musical ever. That movie seems to be divisive among fans of the genre because of the fluffy, silly and often nonsensical joy that poured out of the screens (you can read about the emotional connection I personally have with the movie here). 

Ten years and a Cher later, Donna and her Dynamos make a return to the island of Kalokairi with a sequel that doubles down on everything that made adamant fans of the first one fell in love with it, and made the skeptics roll their eyes...

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Vintage '43

Let's soak in some 1943 since the Smackdown is but one week ago. Here's a look into what was hot hot hot that year in many fields and categories for context...

This is the Army (1943)

Great Big Box Office Hits 

  1. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  2. This is the Army
  3. The Song of Bernadette
  4. Thousands Cheer
  5. Star Spangled Rhythm
  6. Casablanca
  7. Air Force
  8. Destination Tokyo
  9. A Guy Named Joe
  10. Coney Island

Oscar's Best Picture List  

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Knowing ABBA, Knowing Cher

By Glenn Dunks

This week is the opening weekend of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, almost exactly ten years to the date of the original 2008 adaptation of the ever-popular West End/Broadway musical that was the highest grossing live-action musical of all time until Beauty and the Beast came along. Coming on the heels of equally feel-good The Greatest Showman and ahead of Mary Poppins Returns, 2018 is proving to be a very cheesy good time at the movies if you’re a fan of these old fashioned singfests.

I adored the movie, writing in my review:

While it is very easy to dismiss, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again shifts from strange and award to daggy and deliriously dumb so easily that I didn’t even notice I had found myself smiling along to every goofy moment.

It will come as no surprise that the one and only Cher is a blast in her glorified cameo singing ABBA classic “Fernando” to Andy Garcia, which I think means he was a soldier in some war in Mexico? Who cares? It’s amazing! She shares an ability with ABBA themselves for wringing every ounce of drama and pathos out of lyrics that many would (incorrectly) label as frothy or silly or melodramatic. ABBA’s music can be all of these things, of course, but never without a wink to let us know they’re aware of it. Cher sounds natural singing these songs, her voice slotting in perfectly having gained plenty of experience with disco and pop at the same time that ABBA reigned over the music charts (fun fact: more Australians watched the group sing “Fernando” live on national television than they did the moon landing, how about that!).

And to top it all off, we just learnt that Cher will be releasing an entire album of ABBA covers! There’s been no word yet on when it will come out but, she has teased that her renditions have been done “in a different way”. Beginning now with Mamma Mia! – her first on-screen role since Burlesque and just her second film musical – Cher will be everywhere over the next twelve months with this new album, a new tour and her own jukebox musical, The Cher Show, on the way. Her "Fernando" has even charted with Billboard.

Which ABBA hits do you want Queen Cher to perform on her new album?

While it is very easy to dismiss, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again shifts from strange and awkward to daggy and deliriously dumb so easily that I didn’t even notice I had found myself smiling along to every goofy moment. There’s Lily James cartwheeling through an orchard for some reason, and wow suddenly there is a flotilla of Greeks sailing across the Mediterranean to the beat of Dancing Queen. Donna very inappropriately sings I Kissed the Teacher with a useless microphone at her Oxford College graduation. Seyfreid wears an ugly poncho for half the movie and Colin Firth wears satin pants so tight you can see what got him into this whole mystery pregnancy fiasco in the first place. Christine Baranski is still a lush and Julie Walters still can’t dance. It’s a hoot.

Showbiz History: Sandra Oh, Operation Valkyrie, and yet more Batman?

Since the right now is so depressing let us look back into showbiz history for (mostly) easier things to think about then the here and now.

wee Natalie Wood with cat

11 random things that happened on this day (July 20th) in relation to showbiz history...

1930 Sally Ann Howes born in London. She starred as "Truly Scrumptious" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She's one of the 200 oldest living screen stars. Happy 88th, Scrumptious!

1938 Natasha Gurdin born in San Francisco to immigrant parents. Five years later she makes her screen debut as "Natalie Wood" and becomes one of the rare child stars whose fame only grows as she ages...

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