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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Monday
Oct202014

The Year I Fell In Love with Kristen Stewart

Jose here. A couple of weeks ago, I went to the NYFF press screening of Clouds of Sils Maria. It was my second time seeing the film, and on that occasion I mostly showed up because I wanted to bask in the glory of its MVP ... Kristen Stewart.


As I sat there, observing the lithe actress, taking pictures of her and giggling and blushing at her responses - as if she was answering them just for me - I realized I had a crush. I swooned when Juliette Binoche called her "a genius". If you had told me I’d be feeling this way last month, I would have laughed in your face and explained I wasn’t a TwiFan. Or blind. After all, Stewart has made herself a reputation for being one of the worst young actresses, who does nothing but exploit her expression-less or annoyed looks that are meant to be interpreted as undying devotion to a glow-in-the-day vampire.


Then, in a little two-punch move, my entire perception of her changed forever. 

I went into Clouds of Sils Maria expecting Binoche to swallow K.Stew and Chloë Grace Moretz alive, Margo Channing-style. Instead, perhaps unsurprisingly, the great French actress turns in one of her most generous performances allowing the younger women to steal it.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct202014

Beauty vs Beast: Writers Retreat

JA from MNPP here with our third week's worth of Halloween-flavored "Beauty vs Beast" treats - today we're swerving away from Wes Craven's cadre of high school students in distress to hit up a whole different kind of Final Girl fight club: jump in the Snowcat, we're heading up to The Overlook Hotel to face off the ill-fated Torrances, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and Jack (Jack Nicholson), with their snowed-in battle for little Danny's soul.

 

You've just got one week til the cold takes over, the elevator doors swing open, and the blood gets off on the second floor, so cast your votes and let us know which Torrance you feel for in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY You screamed, I screamed, we all screamed for Wes Craven and his 1996 slasher classic Scream - would Sidney whoop those bad boys Billy and Stu's butts once again? Naturally she did - four full movies couldn't keep our Super Bitch down, this was no contest. Said Tom:

"This is my 90's! Sidney all the way. She isn't the perfect innocent virginal girl most horror movies have as the heroine. She is probably just as disturbed as the villains she defeats. She fights the darkness inside and out. No wonder there was speculation that she would be the killer in Scream 4."

Monday
Oct202014

Nic Cage and the Curios Case of the Non-Disparagement Agreement

Manuel here bringing you what’s surely the weirdest buzz surrounding an upcoming project you didn’t know existed.

Paul Schrader’s (or rather, not-Schrader’s) new film Dying of the Light, set to open this December, is currently embroiled in one of the oddest bits of director/producer spats we’ve seen in a while. While the pic got a new trailer this week, Schrader, along with co-stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin (as well as exec producer Nicolas Winding Refn) has begun a tacit non-disparaging disparaging campaign against the film itself. In Schrader’s own words:

We lost the battle. Dying of the Light, a film I wrote and directed, was taken away from me, redited, scored and mixed without my imput. Yesterday Grindstone (a division of Lionsgate) released the poster and the trailer. They are available on line. Here we are, Nick Cage, Anton Yelchin, Nic Refn and myself, wearing our “non-disparagement” T shirts. The non-disparagement clause in an artist’s contract gives the owners of the film the right to sue the artist should the owner deem anything the artist has said about the film to be “derogatory.” I have no comment on the film or others connected with the picture.

It’s not often these behind the scenes battles go so public, though in this day and age, where social media allows a greater sense of transparency (Schrader himself took to Facebook to share the pic below), you’d think we’d get these types of approaches more often. I, for one, would love to see Nicole Kidman wearing a Team Dahan tee, wouldn’t you?

 

I love the picture Schrader cobbled together because it’s so patently over-the-top between Yelchin’s power fist and Refn’s too-cool glasses/come-at-me pose combo. But rather than snarking on Cage, Schrader and co., I wanted us to imagine alternate plots for the above poster.

What movie is being sold to us in this revamped Dying of the Light poster? Is it a Hangover-style comedy where we follow the hijinks that lead this foursome to all wear the same tee? Is it an indie where estranged fathers and brothers come together for one last dinner?

Monday
Oct202014

ICYMI October Pt. 1

For those of you who are haven't been keeping up, here is a list of ten October highlights (in no particular order) from the first half of the month that you really don't want to have missed! Consider it an announcement that tomorrow we're doing another "all top ten day" like last week, since we had fun last Tuesday and we're so excited for the new season.

Please to enjoy these ten posts retroactively if you missed them...

October Highlights
Interview Meet Matthew Warchus director of Pride & forthcoming musical Matilda
138 Minutes That's your average Best Picture length. What's your ideal running time? 
Tetris the Movie Margaret 'tries to make it fit' this particular website with some memorable actressy pitches
Most Deserving Oscar Wins (2010-2014) some years sure are better than others 
How To Get Away With... on TV's terrible trashy taboo-busting Viola Davis drama 
Inherent Vice a conversation emerges from smoke cloud
Foxcatcher a second opinion. Michael liked it much more than Nathaniel did
Rosamund Pike - Best Actress? Abstew offers a dissenting opinion on Amazing Amy

and finally...the festival season wrap ups
Podcast a long delayed farewell to Canada adventures: favs, flops, funnies 
Top Ten Things We Learned at NYFF Michael, Jason, Glenn and Nathaniel list their revelations from the festival from Channing Tatum's boots through Julianne Moore's flatulence

Sunday
Oct192014

Review: Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

An abridged version of this review was originally posted in Nathaniel's weekly column at Towleroad. It is reposted here, with their permission.

 

A card in the bottom right hand of the star's mirror reads:

"A thing is a thing. Not what is said of that thing." 
-Susan Sontag

Which immediately complicates or maybe simplifies celebrity and art, two major themes (among a handful) of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's one of a kind new film experience. It's destined for major Oscar nominations and you should see it immediately. The movie has the simple and then complicated title of Birdman, Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as befits its duality perfectly. This quote is never addressed in the film but it's always stubbornly lodged there in that mirror, defying or playfully encouraging conversation about what this movie actually is. And what is film criticism or its more popular cousin, after-movie conversation over dinner drinks or online other than conversation that attempts to interpret and define?

Critics are often treated with petulant hostility in movies about show business, as if the filmmakers have an axe to grind and need to do that with grindstone in hand while their critical avatar/puppet hangs there limply, waiting to be struck with the sharpened blade. Birdman is no exception, immediately insulting its formidable theater critic Tabitha (Lindsay Duncan) as having a face that 'looks like she just licked a homeless man's ass,' before she's even spoken a line. But Tabitha is a slippery mark, portrayed as a voice of integrity in one scene and then a vicious unprofessional monster in another. This calls into question the reality of her scenes altogether

... which is not unusual in Birdman.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct192014

Box Office: Fury Attacks with a Tank Full of Gas

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. America finally flocked to the theatres to quench its months-long thirst for knowledge: just what the hell is Brad Pitt’s hair cut about? Most of you have surely found out by now, but I have to wait until Tuesday to see Fury, because my favourite actor present or not, I’m just not willing to spend more than the $7 for ticket plus popcorn deal on a war movie in a tank.

What did you see this weekend? Let us know in the comments how you liked it.

TOP TEN WIDE
01 FURY $23.5 NEW
02 GONE GIRL $17.8  (cum. $107)  Jason's Review
03 THE BOOK OF LIFE $17 NEW Interview
04 ALEXANDER AND THE... $12 (cum. $36.8)
05 THE BEST OF ME $10.2  NEW
06 DRACULA UNTOLD $9.8 (cum. $40.7) 
07 THE JUDGE $7.9 (cum. $26.8)
08 ANNABELLE $7.9 (cum. $74.1)
09 THE EQUALIZER $5.4 (cum. $89.1)
10 THE MAZE RUNNER $4.5 (cum. $90.8) Nathaniel's Review

TOP TEN LIMITED
Excluding Wide Releases Losing Theaters

01 ST. VINCENT $.6 68 theaters (cum. $.8) Michael's Review
02 KILL THE MESSENGER $.4  427 theaters (cum. $1.8)
03 BIRDMAN $.4 4 theaters NEW composer interview | opening night party 
04 DEAR WHITE PEOPLE $.3 11 theaters NEW Michael's Review
05 MEN WOMEN & CHILDREN $.3  608 theaters (cum. $.4)

The weekend’s other wide openings, a Día de Muertos-themed film called The Book of Life and a Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of oh, who even cares?, both snuck in the top ten, though critical and public enthusiasm seems rather low. I’m happy for Reel FX bouncing back from the train wreck that was Free Birds, though. Meanwhile, the biggest news of the weekend was the per screen average gross of Birdman, where it ranks among the top 20 of all time.

This year’s best average gross still belongs to Wes Anderson’s Budapest Hotel, but Birdman is the bigger surprise. Anderson is one of a series of active filmmakers whose films always pull the same trick, opening on a few screens to massive numbers before expansion – his namesake P. T. Anderson and Woody Allen always do the same to great degrees of success. Yet, for Birdman to pull of similar numbers is genuinely surprising. My guess is that the film’s appeal remains limited outside of the major markets, but I reserve the right to retroactively edit this prediction out if the film does well.

Other films of note opening this weekend: Listen Up Philip, Dear White People, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, a film I have surprisingly thought about so often since TIFF that it has forced itself into my top 10 of the year. Go see it! It’s magical.  

Sunday
Oct192014

Podcast Leftover Pt. 2

Here's part two of our long delayed festival wrap in which we discuss favorites, celebrity run-ins and hilarious Q&A anecdotes. Enjoy the conversation with Nick Davis, Nathaniel R, and special guests Angelo Muredda and Amir Soltani and continue it in the comments

Discussion includes but is not limited to:

  • It Follows
  • Felicity Jones, Mike Leigh, and Viggo Mortensen
  • Documentary greats from Silvered Water to The Look of Silence
  • Iran's Oscar Submission
  • Directors: Mike Leigh, Peter Strickland, Lav Diaz, Jessica Hausner, and Damian Chazelle

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes tomorrow

Festival Leftovers. Pt 2