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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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Friday
Oct202017

Middleburg Day 1: Delightful Fest / Darkest Hour

by Nathaniel R

Thursday. Though a cab accident* and a missed flight threatened to derail day one, somehow The Film Experience's second annual trip to Middleburg, VA commenced just in time for the opening night festivities. The Middleburg Film Festival is now in its 5th year and growing each time.  It's still small enough, however, that it feels like a discovery.

This year's fest kicked off with Joe Wright's Darkest Hour which holds up incredibly well to a second viewing. It's both muscular and fabulous, so it feels like a blend of impulses that, say, Scorsese and Baz alike might thrill to. And in place of their shared muse Leo DiCaprio a fat-suited bejowled Gary Oldman...

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Friday
Oct202017

The Timeliness and Timelessness of "Landline"

By Spencer Coile 

During a pivotal scene in Gillian Robespierre's Landline, just out on DVD, a familiar song begins to play. Curious to figure out what it was, I quickly Shazamed it on my phone to discover that it was Angel Olsen's 2016 song "Sister." It is an epic song -- almost eight minutes long, discussing the longing nature of wanting to change. I was initially delighted to hear a song that resonated with me back when years ago. But why was a tune from the late 2010's playing in a film that takes place in 1995? 

Landline is a film that is all about time. It is rooted firmly in the mid-90's with plenty of political, social, and pop culture references (Jenny Slate's Dana remarks that her and her fiancé rented Curly Sue from Blockbuster and that "it's a good film"). The use of "Sister," however, speaks to the film's transcendence from a period piece to one that is equally as relevant in 2017...

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Thursday
Oct192017

"I, Tonya" I, Teaser

Chris here. 2017 is a banner year for divisive movies, and prepare yourself for I, Tonya to be added to the heap. It was greeted with mostly warm response when it debuted at TIFF, eventually being runner-up for the People's Choice prize. While Nathaniel is one of the film's growing number of detractors, I find myself somewhere on the middle on its wild tonal shifts and competing, disparate narrative points of view.

The film opens in just over a month and there's finally this (very brief) teaser to go along with a few scant production photos. Aside from one of its wittier shots at the onset, this first enticement for audiences relies mostly on its truly ghastly figure skating sequences - trust me, there's even worse CGI to be seen. In many ways the film is a rumination on tackiness but even if there's something honest in the film's garishness, this is maybe not the best way to announce a coming film fast-tracked for awards season release.

And its awards prospects will be a question mark on the season, but it did rack up some Gotham noms. Can Margot Robbie compete with a very wide Best Actress field? She crushes the third act, but the film oddly ignores her for long stretches. How far can newbie distributor Neon take this? It's a crowdpleaser, but its flippancy with domestic abuse will be a major talking point. One thing you can count on: a genius and cruel Allison Janney in Best Supporting Actress for a performance that nails all sides of the films many tones.

Thursday
Oct192017

Adieu Chérie: Danielle Darrieux

by Salim Garami

The longevity of Danielle Darrieux's life - reaching up until the golden age of 100 as she passed Tuesday on 17 October - parallels the longevity of Darrieux's storied career. To know her path is to essentially map out the development of French cinema in a cursory sense: Beginning as a child in the very dawn of the French sound era within the musical comedy Le Bal in 1931 until a star-making turn in Anatole Litvak's Mayerling, taking a detour at the cusp of her fame to Hollywood like many beautiful French stars would, returning to her homeland right through the Left Bank faction of the French New Wave working with the likes of Claude Chabrol and Jacques Demy, finding her way to the Broadway stage with Coco as Coco Chanel, and taking a moment to work with directors of the Cahiers du Cinema second generation and the Cinema du Corps until her final screen appearance in 2010. 

As far as she went, her sophisticated presence gave a sense of class and dignity to most roles she embodied - whether from the wisdom of the grandmother in her voiceover role in Persepolis or the conflicted Louise in The Earrings of Madame de..., possibly her most popular role and among her favorite collaborators director Max Ophuls - without shedding the youthful spontaniety that made her an early entry into the canon of French actresses. Her range in projects and roles was never diluted by her distinct recognizable stature as an actress and singer.

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Thursday
Oct192017

"Get Out" and "Lady Bird" Lead Gotham Nominations

Awards season has begun! The first of the Oscar precursors, the Gotham Awards, has announced their nominations this morning. The Gothams are dedicated to honor the best of independent film during the last year. Their well-curated committees of film critics and movie insiders that pick the nominees result in refreshing choices that many times miss the bigger awards. Despite that, for the past three years, Gotham winners for Best Feature have gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. 

The Gotham Awards will be hosted by John Cameron Mitchell on November 27th. This year's ceremony will also award special tributes to Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled), Nicole Kidman (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Beguiled), Dustin Hoffman (The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)), Jason Blum (Get Out), Ed Lachman (Wonderstruck), and Al Gore (An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power).

Check out the nominees and update your prediction charts accordingly!

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Thursday
Oct192017

Blueprints: "Mean Girls"

Hi everyone, Jorge here. Welcome to the first installment of Blueprints, a new weekly series where we'll discuss the relationship between the pages of a script and the finalized cinematic products. To start things off, an audience-favorite and one of the most quotable films of all time.

 

Tina Fey’s cult-classic satire on teenage girlhood, cliques, and cheese fries has quickly become an indispensable presence inside the ranks of Most Quotable Films lists. Behind-the-scenes recognition has fallen more on the writer than on director Mark Waters (brother of Heathers’ helmer Daniel Waters; for those keeping tabs on your clique movies). Almost every single line has become a chant for people to drop on each other, so much that Quote-Along screenings of the film have become widely popular.

But what is it about Mean Girls that made it not only memorable, but practically irresistible to mouth along to?

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