Film Bitch History
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.


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience




Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
« Emmy Winners 2019. "Fleabag" and "Game of Thrones" Triumphant | Main | Best Actress / Supporting Actress - Chart Updates! »

Downton Abbey is a hit! 

[NOW UPDATED WITH ACTUALS] Box office pundits thought it would be a tight battle for the crown this weekend but it wasn't. Downton Abbey trampled all over its competition with its army of butlers, ladies & ladymaids, footmen, and visiting royals. The chart is after the jump...

Weekend Box Office
Sept 20th-22nd (ACTUALS)
🔺 = new or expanding / ★ = recommended
WIDE RELEASE (800+ screens)
1 🔺 DOWNTON ABBEY $31 *new* ★
1  ðŸ”º LINDA RONSTADT: SOUND... [DOC] $427k on 218 screens (cum. $1.6) REVIEW
2 🔺  AD ASTRA $19 *new* REVIEW â˜…
2 🔺 OFFICIAL SECRETS $249k on 482 screens (cum. $1.3) REVIEW
3 🔺 RAMBO: LAST BLOOD  $18.8 *new*
3 CHHICHHORE $204k on 98 screens (cum. $1.7)  
4 IT CHAPTER TWO  $17 (cum. $178.9)
4  THE FAREWELL $118k on 126 screens (cum. $17.3) PERSONAL TAKEINTERVIEW  â˜…
5 🔺  HUSTLERS $16.8 (cum $62.3) REVIEW â˜… 
5 🔺 PROMARE  $87k on 31 screens *new*
6 THE LION KING $2.6 (cum. $537.6) REVIEW   6 🔺 THE ZOYA FACTOR $79k on 100 screens *new*
7  GOOD BOYS  $2.5 (cum. $77.3) REVIEW  â˜… 
7 TOD@S CAEN $73k on 68 screens (cum. $2.5) 
8 ANGEL HAS FALLEN  $2.4 (cum. $64.6) 
8 🔺 MONOS  $52k on 5 screens (cum. $121k)  OSCAR SUBMISSION COLOMBIA 
9  OVERCOMER  $1.5 (cum. $31.5) 
9 🔺  WHERE'S MY ROY COHN?  $41k on 4 screens *new* 
10 HOBBS & SHAW $1.4 (cum. $170.6)  REVIEW  â˜… 
10 LUCE  $36k on 60 screens (cum. $1.9)  REVIEW  â˜… 

numbers on this chart are pulled from boxofficemojo.

Some notables: Linda Ronstadt The Sound of My Voice has become the fourth music doc to pass $1 million at the box office this year.  Downton Abbey is the biggest opening weekend ever for Focus Features. It Chapter Two just inched passed Jordan Peele's Us to become the highest grossing horror film of the year. The weekend's best per screen average almost went to Downton Abbey but instead the victor is the documentary Where's My Roy Cohn with $10,591 per screen. 

What did you see this weekend? I took in Downton Abbey and Hustlers... an extremely enjoyable double feature.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (33)

Oh, I may see Hustlers again just to recreate your double feature. That sounds like movie going heaven.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

No movies but I finished Unbelievable with Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, and Merritt Wever, It’s really excellent. I think with Big Little Lies 2, essential and iconic for this moment.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

I saw Ad Astra in a massive auditorium with less than a handful of others. There's not a single joke in the movie and I went to sleep during it and missed Ruth Negga's entire portion of the movie.

The success of Maggie's movie definitely ensures she's competitive for supporting actress.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I saw Ad Astra. I found it enjoyable but predictable. Very good cinematography and production design, and Brad Pitt gave a master class of acting with just his eyes. Think of an inverse 2001: A Space Odyssey.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

I caught Downton Abbey and Hustlers as well. Two really enjoyable films. Downton Abbey was a movie I didn't know that I needed. It was better than expected. Light, of course, but Maggie was the MVP. So, I was pleased.

I went into Hustlers with low expectations (those reviews can't be right, right?) and was pleasantly surprised. The movie is not the greatest thing ever put on screen, but it is good. And J.Lo. really is the MVP.

I cannot see Ad Astra. James Gray evokes nap time for me. Although, Lost City of Z resulted in a super awesome nap ...?

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

I saw THE GOLDFINCH.... did anyone else here see it?? I don’t why it got such savage reviews, I absolutely loved it! Very beautiful filmmaking... the cast was awesome and the story was so brisk for a 150 min feature. Why all the hate???

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

I saw Ad Astra. Excellent for the first two-thirds, and Brad Pitt is superb. But once he gets to Neptune, the script goes flat and keeps getting flatter. And the end, Oy vey, could it get any twerpier? Biggest gripe - how can Brad commit several violent crimes to get on that rocket to Neptune with no consequences whatsoever? I'm not surprised by the low audience score, some of which is deserved, but mostly not. After the disgraceful treatment of the outstanding First Man, I see little reason not to expect a quick exit for this one.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Ad Astra was soooooo boring. If First Man wasn’t an Oscar contender, then this definitely won’t be outside of say Production Design.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterME

I saw Hustlers twice over the last week. Bliss.
I also saw Ad Astra - I'm very disappointed, especially considering it was one of my most anticipated films of the year. Every character was so underwritten. I don't have a problem with slow pacing or character studies, but very little about it outside of the visuals grabbed me. The Lost City of Z is one of my favorite films of the decade and I really like The Immigrant, so I'm certainly willing to give it another shot.

Then again, I don't have daddy issues, so is that a prerequisite for liking this movie?

(Oh and I saw Downton Abbey two weeks ago. It's not very good, but I was thoroughly serviced.)

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

I watched Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies (too long but great acting all around) and 1944 version of The Uninvited which was an effective ghost story.

My work colleagues who have seen Hustlers are like "it's ok". They are not movie fanatics like me but casual movie going public. Hustlers may not have a long life at box office.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G

Downton Abbey was definitely for the fans and they did it much better than say, Sex and the City did. Everything was the same except the quality was much better and heightened. I like that the actors didn't exaggerate their portrayals for the big screen.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBia

What I liked most about Downton Abbey is the way every working class characters entire motivation could be summed up by wanting to be of more service to the upper classes. Literally the last line of the film, delivered by a character dragged out of retirement to stand stiffly in the background and not talk to his betters, expressed how the class system in England will last forever and should never be tampered with. It's almost as if it's written by an entitled Brexit-supporting Tory. Oh wait it is...

I'm sorry but the way this sort of know-your-place propaganda has fed into the fetishization of public schooled idiots like Boris Johnson & Jacob Rees Mogg being the saviours of the UK really pisses me off. And I'm a centre right neolib.

The gowns we're lovely mind, and no-one quite delivers a withering put down like Dame Maggie.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBJT

I would love to hear your thoughts on downton - seeing it tomorrow!

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

I saw Late Night whose comedy and politics was not subtle,I liked Kaling but she can't really act but is likeable,Thompson was good but i've seen her in better roles,the whole stand up goddess rang untrue.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

James Gray doesn't interest me at all and I've no clue why. Even when hes with Brad Pitt. And I wish I knew sooner that there was a Gosford Park connection to Downton Abbey otherwise I would've given it more attention.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

I saw Downton Abbey. I knew it was going to be a very well crafted two-hour episode and I wanted to contribute to this nº1. I'm pleased, almost proud.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Thank you for those comments, BJT: I slowly became turned off by the pro-class structure politics of Downton Abby and stopped watching it after a couple of seasons. I've no interest in seeing the movie at all. Did watch finally see Jackie Brown on NF and wow, totally Tarantino's best movie, as far as I'm concerned. I didn't know Tarantino was capable of imparting such warmth and empathy for his characters. The relationship between Pam Grier and Robert Forster was lovely.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I don't see how Smith can be nominated,there is zero difficulty in the role for her.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I saw HUSTLERS on Friday (the movie is slightly less awesome than I was expecting but Lopez and Wu were great) and DOWNTON ABBEY on Saturday (just exactly what I wanted and expected; very enjoyable).

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

True, but my crowd literally screamed with one of her lines and she has a beautiful "goodbye shot" that is already a gif

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I saw "Hustlers" and really liked it--I thought it was well-made and super entertaining. Jennifer Lopez lives up to the hype--she is totally deserving of an Oscar nod for this. I'm not totally sold on Wu, but I liked her better in this than I did in Crazy Rich Asians.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

I saw Ad Astra.
I thought it was really beautiful. Elegant and satisfying.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

rewatch: The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What a score.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I saw "Ready or Not" - good silly fun, something horror-adjacent that I could watch without bolting upright in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after.

Secondly, I watched "Jurassic Park: Fallen World" which is contrasted to "Ready or Not" by being dumb and silly but not actually fun.

Then I saw a "National Theatre Live" broadcast of Phoebe Waller-Bridge doing 'Fleabag' - it was wonderful, she's a genius, it makes me feel better about the world that she exists.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

@Arkaan - it's one of the greatest, whether you're talking about the song score, the instrumental, or both.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Ad Astra - very nice to look at, and with a great lead performance by Brad Pitt, but the film itself leaves a lot to be desired. Its themes of loss and masculinity (including society's expectations of men) felt underdeveloped. What I find interesting about James Gray is that he feels like 80% of a great filmmaker; his films look and feel the part of a great film, but I can't shake the feeling of something being missing. And I say this having enjoyed The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant, and Two Lovers.

2001: A Space Odyssey - this was a re-watch, but was the first time on the big screen. I was surprised about how slow the first half seemed in comparison to the second half, as Kubrick's other films don't really have pacing issues. It was interesting watching this right after Ad Astra, as although the former is 50 years older, the production design seems fresher and more "modern." Also, I was unprepared for how emotionally charged the scene where Dave "unplugs" the HAL 9000 feels; to see a machine go from trying to reassure, to begging, to finally showing fear of losing its life, and all in the same dispassionate, monotonous voice was outright eerie.

Between Two Ferns: The Movie - the interview bits were the best part of the movie (as expected) but they were few and far between. The "narrative" portion does not really hold up as a comedic feature; they were smart to keep the run-time under 90 minutes.

September 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I saw Dear Ex on Netflix as I want to see as many international films nominated by their countries as possible. Beautifully told, vividly emplaced in a perpetual summer setting with an autumnal feel, also a bit thick on melodrama in some parts, but the ending was effectively done, totally en sync which what happened before that, and truly and slowly heartbreaking. I don't tear up in movies especially when copious tears are already in full supply but I got super misty-eyed with the cathartic curtain call scene. The actress who played the mother -- Hsieh Ying-hsuan -- was very good, emotionally and physically expressive, no ounce of falseness in her delineation of a widow who had to contend with the male lover of her dead husband. She beat the exceptional Zhao Tao in Ash is Purest White in the recently concluded Golden Horse Awards. After watching Dear Ex, I have to agree with the decision to award Hsieh. And yet we say that this year's lineup for lead actress is thin. There are several exceptional performances out there in films that are subtitled. I wish the Academy goes further than what's thrown in its shores.

Speaking of going further, McBride père in Ad Astra went deeper into space and explored planetary entities beyond Jupiter. I must have slept well or had a good meal because I was totally absorbed by the 2-hour movie. I was there for the modal approach James Gray executed to tell the story of abandonment, grieving and loss. Brad Pitt was totally expressive in a minimalistic way. There was no grandstanding in his performance; all the beautiful and painful colors of stoic emotionalism were all brilliantly conveyed. I admired him greatly as an actor after watching this film. Maybe because Gray captured moments so vividly and truthfully, I was totally sold by the deliberate slowness of the film's pace, the silent ways footfalls are depicted, the slow, quiet and almost-balletic movements that can only happen in space, and those long shots of people against the universe -- miniatures of beauty. In my recent travel to a European city known for biking, I had an accident where I flew from my bike from the impact of collision. I remembered the still beauty of everything when I was mid-air (probably 2-3 seconds tops). Of course all this beauty came to an abrupt end when I hit the ground and agonized at the painful outcome of the accident. In Ad Astra it showed all of those moments: mostly the indescribable beauty of flying minus the actual pain. So yes, I love Ad Astra for a thousand beautiful things.

And may I just say that Ruth Negga was discreetly and stealthily effective in her few scenes. Can she, but maybe not, be in contention as a supporting actress? She was a thing of beauty with her expressive eyes. But maybe supporting performances are supposed to be lengthier and impactful in a sturm und drang kind of way, or sometimes, almost like lead?

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

BJT - The working classes which you are defending in your Downton comments are the very same ones who voted for Brexit. It's the 'privileged elite' and middle classes who love the EU and look down on everyone who voted to Leave. The Crawleys would have voted Remain. Also you can be a Labour voter and support Brexit.

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

RobMiles - thank you for your comment. I wasn't really aiming at Brexit (I'm afraid maybe my personal opinions did shine through), but at the defence of rigid class structures that concerns me.

There are good arguments made by people from all political colours for and against Britains membership of the European Union.

However Downton repeatedly argues that the class hierachies are positive and not to be challenged. Every character that might argue against that is eventually assimilated into the group think. Even the sub plot which hints at an estate passing out of the lineage into the hands of someone from a lower class is eventually resolves because they are - shock horror - family and therefore entitled.

We hope ultimately to live in a meritocracy where the bravest and best have the opportunities to improve their outcomes and those of their families. Downton Abbey promotes a society where no matter how talented you are in the working classes you'll be scrubbing silverware for the rich until you collapse of emphysema. I hope all of us can find that objectionable.

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBJT

BJT - Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate that you took the time to reply in such an eloquent and articulate manner which helped me completely understand your concerns. If only other people on both sides of the argument were as measured. Best Wishes.

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Please, no Oscar nomination for Maggie Smith. She has been amply rewarded for playing that character (not to mention variations on that character).

Ad Astra - It didn't make me fall asleep, and it was very impressive on a visual level, but I also felt like something was missing. I don't think I "get" James Gray.

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Ad Astra was good - but predictable as many said. Not so much predictable in its story but in its James Gray-ness. He is a good director but since I've been somewhat bored by his movies since Two Lovers.

Since cerebral space drama seems to be an annual fall event, I'd rank Ad Astra 5th best of the decade:

1. Arrival (nothing here in its league, a top 10 film of the 21st century so far)
2. The Martian
3. Gravity
4. First Man
5. Ad Astra

September 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Maggie better not be nominated. I agree with the poster above that said she's been amptly rewarded for playing this character (and characters like it) a billion times. she'd be a massive waste of space.

September 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>