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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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Three Billboards... Trailer

"Great trailer. And please Mr McDonagh, adapt The Pillowman to the big screen." -Grayson

"I didn't even know this existed before today and it's already my favorite thing about 2017. " -Ryan

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Monday
Mar272017

Beauty vs Beast: My Fiancée's Best Friend

Jason from MNPP here for another round of "Beauty vs Beast." I was doing my umpteenth (literally, my umpteenth) post on Muriel's Wedding over at my own site this past week when I realized that I really do not give enough attention and affection to director PJ Hogan's masterful follow-up film, 1997's deliciously cold-blooded Julia Roberts rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding. Which turns 20 in June! That's nuts!

On the page the character that Julia plays is a selfish and manipulative monster, but Roberts pushes the star wattage to full-tilt (has her hair ever been bigger and bouncier?) and charms us even as she's being despicable. (God do I understand and empathize with Jules, much to my horror.) Meanwhile Cameron Diaz, one year before There's Something About Mary, gave her own off-the-charts effervescence to the woman we were supposed to, but it was impossible to, hate. Take your corners...

PREVIOUSLY We tackled Fake News and the folks who make and fight it with our Broadcast News poll last week - y'all came down on the side of truth of the Albert Brooks sweaty sort with 64% of your vote. Asked Marco:

"Is the film on either man's side? Aaron is infinitely smarter and more genuine than Tom, and in a fair world his talent and knowledge would win him the news anchor job ahead of his more traditionally handsome and charismatic colleague. But he's also, to quote Tom, a prick (in a great way), supercillious, arrogant, and very needy. When he informed on Tom's fake tears during the date rape report, it seemed less of a moral stance and more of a desire to torpedo his relationship with Jane after she spurned his own interests."

Monday
Mar272017

When "Life" Goes Wrong...

by Nathaniel R

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a group of scientists are tasked with bringing samples of life back from outer space. Soon they are trapped in a nightmarish monster movie, as the alien life force picks them off one by one.

Life, the latest monster movie set in space, does a lot of things right despite its familiarity. Let's give credit where it's due. It hired capable involving actors in all the underwritten roles including Jake Gyllenhaal who we'll follow anywhere, even into deep space for a Alien ripoff. It's very handsomely lensed by prestigious cinematographer Seamus McGarvey. The direction by Daniel Espinosa (Child 44, Safe House) makes repeated smart use of the zero gravity setting, with well staged setpieces and even some unexpectedly beautiful compositions; the earliest casualty among the crew prompts the movie's eeriest morbidly pretty image. Apart from one confusing action sequence near the climax, the filmmakers seem to have a complete handle on the material.

So why then, is it unsatisfying? 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar272017

The Furniture: A Tarot Reading with "The Love Witch"

 "The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Over the last year, I’ve written about a fair number films in which the costume design and production design are intimate companions. The Taming of the Shrew is the most recent example, a visual cornucopia that underlines Zeffirelli’s tendency to paint people and props with the same brush. Yet that flamboyant director was not actually the credited costume designer or production designer. His style, like that of most filmmakers, was the result of artistic collaboration.

Not so for The Love Witch, a much more literal “singular vision.” Director Anna Biller worked as both production designer and costume designer for her film, as well as art director, set decorator, editor, composer, writer and producer. The film’s strikingly unified aesthetic certainly can be attributed to this herculean labor, but that’s hardly the only impact. The magic of The Love Witch is in its details, the cumulative effect of Biller’s meticulous and varied craft.

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Monday
Mar272017

On this day: Gloria Swanson, Typhoid Mary, and Sacheen Littlefeather

On this day in history as it relates to showbiz...

Gloria Swanson surrounded by herself in SUNSET BLVD

1898 Oscar winning costume designer Norma Koch is born. She designed the costumes on both of the main movies that Feud: Bette and Joan revolves around, winning for Baby Jane though Feud seems to hand the costuming credit on that movie over to Bette Davis
1899 The iconic Gloria Swanson (Sunset Blvd) is born...

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Sunday
Mar262017

What did you see this weekend?

Beauty & the Beast continues to be a cash machine for Disney Corp, already at nearly $700 million worldwide. Power Rangers fared the best of the new releases with a stronger than expected opening. Was that nostalgia driven or just people in the mood for campy schlock? My friends and I headed to the theater after a few drinks because we figured we shouldn't see it sober...

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Sunday
Mar262017

Review: "Wilson"

by Spencer Coile

Daniel Clowes struck gold in 2001 when he wrote the screenpay for Ghost World, an adaptation of his graphic novel of the same name. Telling the story of self-identified outcast Enid (Thora Birch), his first screenplay toyed with themes pertaining to isolation, the dissolution of friendships, and lots and lots of teen angst. It was relatable and altogether melancholic, but importantly-- it all worked. Drawing from his own work (no pun intended), Clowes pulled together some all-too-familiar film tropes, and managed to subvert them in thoughtful and oftentimes amusing ways. After a return to the screen with another adaptation of his own work, Art School Confidential in 2006, Clowes layed low, working primarily on writing/drawing and short films. He's back with Wilson, now in theaters, pairing with The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson, for another foray into the hilariously damaged human spirit...

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Sunday
Mar262017

New Directors / New Films: "Happiness Academy"

Have you ever seen a film which mixes documentary with fiction? Hybrid films, films with documentary and fiction parts or at least performed / acted elements have been around for some time. I'm not enough of a documentary expert to know if this is an increasing trend but in the past few years I've seen a few. From my (extremely limited) experience the combo can spark frissons of excitement and thoughtful layers as in Sarah Polley's autobiographical mystery Stories We Tell. The hybrid approach can also be both fascinating and exhausting simultaneously as with Clio Barnard's The Arbor (2010) in which actors lipsynched to recorded interviews from the actual documentary subjects.

At this year's New Directors / New Films festival, which wraps today in NYC, the hybrid technique (genre?) gets another discussable entry via Happiness Academy...

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