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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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Mike Leigh 4 Film Retro for his 75th

Secrets and Lies
Vera Drake
Happy Go Lucky
Topsy-Turvy 

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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice

"This is the best Streep performance ever captured on film. "That's all."" - Dorian

"I support this movie, partially because I loved the Styron novel and, along with Schindler's List, it's one of the best American movies to teach people about the holocaust. Streep is sublime in it, and it's such a great role - she gets to play Sophie before the war, during the war, after the war, etc. " - Tom

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Saturday
Dec152012

Alan Cumming on Mutant Sequels, Drag Queens, Gay Rights

I recently had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with one of my favorite performers, Alan Cumming. I say "performer" rather than actor only because his career has been so diverse what with the albums, movies, tv, film, theatrical engagements, political activism, and all around celebrity eclecticism and experimentation. It's difficult to pin him down which is, I'm sure, something that would please him.

In my interview with Alan for Towleroad we talk about his new gay 70s drama Any Day Now (with the ever versatile Garret Dillahunt as his screen partner), The Good Wife, and his feelings about seeing himself in drag.

I look like a horse with a wig on. I'm not a pretty girl

I also spoke with him briefly about his time as Nightcrawler which I didn't include in the interview for space and context reasons. Though Cumming made a cloudy splash as the teleporting pointy-tailed mutant in X-2: X-Men United -- still the best of the X-Films -- they didn't exercize his option to bring him back for X-Men 3: The Last Stand. I told him he'd dodged a bullet missing the worst of the franchise though I wondered if he'd be up for reprising the role for the proposed Days of Future Past installment? Cumming reminded me that Nightcrawler isn't in that particular famous story arc but quickly acknowledged that utter fidelity wasn't exactly an expectation of blockbuster franchise adaptations. Though he described the X2 shoot as "arduous" he thinks he'd have an easier go of it now though he hadn't seen either of the later entries, referring to the recent X-Men First Class as only 'the Michael Fassbender'. Hey, that's how we think of it, too!

Do you watch Alan on The Good Wife? Would you love to see the return of Nightcrawler in the X-Franchise?

 

Friday
Dec142012

I Want To Squeeze You, Please You

JA from MNPP here - I don't want to speak for Nathaniel, but I can't imagine him having to do one of his patented "Yes No Maybe So" takes on this here first teaser for Pedro Almodovar's next flick, a comedy called I'm So Excited - as in The Pointer Sisters' big hit song, which we see some male flight attendants perform therein. I can't imagine Nat having to to a "Yes No Maybe So" since this is Almodovar, and it is always HELL YES with Almodovar. 

So I will just present it unto you, in hopes it can maybe put a smile on your face on this dreary horrible day. And I will add this informational nugget - I stole pizza from a pizza party that The Pointer Sisters were having during a drag show I attended when I was in college in the late 90s, and that's all this song ever makes me think of. So thanks for the pizza, ladies!

[UPDATE: The comedy about a flight where passengers begin to reveal their secrets to one another when the plane runs into trouble will feature familar Pedro regulars Javier Cámara (Talk to Her), Lola Dueñas (Volver) Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother), Carmen Machi (Broken Embraces) and a lot of new blood. Actors doing just their second tour of duty for the great auteur including Paz Vega ("Amparo" in Talk to Her), José Luis Torrijo (a doctor in All About My Mother), Antonio de la Torre ("Paco" in Volver) and Blanca Suarez ("Norma" in The Skin I Live In). We will also see quite a few Pedro virgins, most of them male: Hugo Silva, Miguel Angel SilvestreRaúl Arévalo, Willy Toledo, José María Yazpik, Carlos Areces, and the lone new actress Laya Martí. What's more, according to Fotogramas, the comedy will also feature Pedro's movie star darlings Penelope Cruz & Antonio Banderas though they don't appear in this 47 second look.]

Friday
Dec142012

Is a Spike Lee Comeback in Store?

Amir here looking back into the non-fiction pool. With so many films still left to watch from this year’s crop, I haven’t yet had the chance, or in fact the desire, to sit down and sift through the list of 2013 releases. But there are a few titles that I’m sure will pop up on my eventual list of most anticipated films and chief among them is the remake of Oldboy; not just because the Korean original is one of the most divisive films of the past decade, but also because I’ve been waiting for a long time to see a real comeback by Spike Lee.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Lee became one of America’s most influential cinematic voices and directed two masterpieces that remain among his very best work to this day: Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X. But I think it’s fair to say that none of his recent films, at least since the 2006 double punch of When the Levees Broke and The Inside Man, have been able to enter public conversation or the awards race. Fiction projects like Miracle at St. Anna were coolly received and documentaries like If God is Willing... didn’t make a dent either. [more after the jump]

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Friday
Dec142012

Hats Off to Mr. Jackson

Michael C here to sound some trumpets for a fine actor's return from the wilderness. There are many pleasures to be found in Django Unchained, but for me the most satisfying was being able to unambiguously love a Samuel L. Jackson performance for the first time in what feels like forever. 

Let's be frank, Jackson has always been a guy who would cheerfully say yes to just about any script that was correctly formatted. But at least back in the 90’s he would throw in an Eve’s Bayou or a Jackie Brown every once in a while. Over the last decade, however, his time has been divided between coasting on his star presence in blockbusters or squandering his considerable talent in straight up dreck like The Man or The Spirit. What attempts he has made at meaningful work have largely been dumped directly in the straight-to-video bin. (Home of the Brave anyone?) The last performance of his that left any impression on me was 2000’s Unbreakable, although your mileage may vary. Black Snake Moan had its fans, as did The Caveman’s Valentine. Whatever the case, there’s no denying the internal compass he possesses for choosing projects is severely miscalibrated.

But now there is his work in Django and damn does it feels good to seem him nail it in a big way. Jackson gave what is basically one of my favorite performances ever in Pulp Fiction and Tarantino has handed him another winner. He plays Stephen, the most trusted slave of Leo’s malevolent plantation owner and the two of them share a terrific, twisted chemistry. In terms of thematic weight Stephen's importance to the story is second only to Foxx's Django, and Jackson makes a meal out of every second of screen time. It’s a devious, deceptively simple performance. A late in the film monologue in particular should have Oscar voters second guessing whether DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, who were both Golden Globe nominated, are really the Django performances to unite behind in the awards game.

Jackson may very well turn around and follow this up with another decade of crapola (the XXX sequel listed on his IMDb page doesn’t bode well) but for now I’m pleased to see he has another performance that can stand proudly alongside Jules Winfield, Gator Purify and Sean Nelson’s alcoholic, chess playing father from Fresh (Rent it!)

Thursday
Dec132012

The Annual GG + SAG ≠ Oscar Conundrum

We've learned time and time again that precursor awards are not infallible barometers of what is to come with Oscar. Each year some actor or two manages the magic combo of a Globe and SAG Nomination but doesn't quite make it to Oscar's shortlisting. Previous examples include Leonardo DiCaprio in J Edgar, Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin, Maria Bello in The Cooler, Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, Mila Kunis in Black Swan and so on...

Who do you think will meet the same finish-line stumble fate this year? 

 

Thursday
Dec132012

With Regards to Lena Dunham

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, discussing a unique talent whose first foray into television just released on DVD and Blu-Ray for all the sorry souls deprived of the best network on television.

Lena Dunham might be the most divisive director of her generation. Self-deprecating, incisive, witty, aware to a fault, she’s what would happen if Diane Keaton and Miranda July met and had tea using Amy Heckerling as a footstool. But at the same time, her characters and their individual dilemmas are direct reflections of their generation, behaviors indicative of a group of twenty-somethings who devoured Palahniuk and shit out Klosterman. They Know What They’re Doing And They Are Smarter Than You. Hipsters cum Proselytizers. Join us or be deemed irrelevant.

I’ve talked with several co-workers, friends, relatives who’ve watched either Tiny Furniture or Girls (or both) and find her writing and her characterizations insufferable. Others still find it remarkable and on-the-nose, a young woman (or girl, if you will) entirely aware of her faults and vices and dealing with them through humor and observation.

The question then is: is that something we want to watch?

 

Click to read more ...