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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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100 Best of the 21st Century?

"Carol >>>>>>>>>> most of these movies" - Clarence

"The more I see these snooty lists, the more I get turned off of by film critics. What about Lord of the Rings, The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada..." -Jono

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - The movie you're hoping to see every time you go in the cinema" - Jeremy

 

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Thursday
Aug252016

Frank Ocean Prefers Wong Kar-wai's Early Stuff

For anyone still wondering what took Frank Ocean so long to release his follow-up to Channel Orange, a new theory lies within the pages of the R&B angel’s recently released "Boys Don't Cry" zine to accompany his new album Blonde: perhaps he was blowing through his conscientious Blu-ray collection. Demonstrating an eye for the visionary and the visually dazzling – and inadvertently challenging the hot buzz on that BBC critics’ poll and last week’s #7favfilms on Twitter – Ocean scribbled down a list of his 100 favorite films of all time, and his choices make it clear that he’s as much a student of the cinema as he is a singer of stirring emotionality.

A few standout selections. He’s clearly got love for the go-for-broke auteurism of Herzog and Jodorowsky, reflected in his own sonic adventurism, but he flexes his sensitive side and interest in rehashing the past with a Bergman classic like Wild Strawberries. As a David Lynch devotee, his inclusion of the polarizing and patriotically perverse (and, for my money, perfect) Wild at Heart makes me want to paint the town as red as Diane Ladd’s face. A small smattering of silent films make the list but the absences are just as compelling. PTA makes three appearances on the list but Ocean opts for Hard Eight over the far more beloved Boogie Nights. And despite its undeniable genius, it’s a relief to see a Best Of list with a Hitchcock mention that isn’t Vertigo. Mostly, though, I'll take the obvious crossover omission of Boys Don't Cry in favor of including American Beauty as a sly hint that he, too, is a fervent member of Team Bening.

Wednesday
Aug242016

Open Thread

What's on your cinematic mind? Do tell in the comments. 

Wednesday
Aug242016

1984: Year of the Heroic Farm Wife

As we look back at 1984, please welcome new contributor John Guerin to talk about a famous Oscar triple...

In 1984, 60% of the Best Actress category was farm wives

In May 1985, after scoring Oscar nominations for playing distressed farmwives in Country and The River, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and urged senators to help aid farmers during a devastating agricultural crisis. After a toxic combination of faulty economic policies, mounting debts, high interest rates, and a declining Midwest population, American farmers were experiencing financial hardship unseen since the Great Depression. Both Country and The River offer visions of farm families under such pressures, pitting family and community against unyielding forces of nature and government.

Can you remember the last time an actress testified before Congress after starring in a politically-minded film?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug242016

Critics Choice Confusion: Earlier still even after that "We voted too early!" scandal last season

My apologies that I've neglected to mention one significant but oddly motivated date change for this forthcoming awards season. But it is definitely worth discussing.

You may recall that The Broadcast Film Critics Association (of which I am a member) more commonly known as "Critics Choice" lost several members last season due a very unethical move. The executives opted to ignore the balloting and just polled critics informally about whether they would have included Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) had they seen it in time. I've yet to understand what their thinking was since, without changing all the voting, that one unethical change was clearly doing to do nothing for the ceremony or their reputation beyond harming it. The Star Wars cast was never going to show up since they were all busy and they weren't nominated in the Action performance categories designed to honor such things. 

Now after that "we voted too early!" disaster, this season they've moved the voting and the ceremony earlier still....

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug242016

Review: Hell or High Water

by Eric Blume

With their new film, director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Starred Up) and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) make one thing abundantly clear: they really, really hate banks.  Hell or High Water is a sort of southwest answer to The Big Short, a tale of rural Texas poor on a Robin Hood mission. 

Sheridan’s script was the winner of the 2012 Black List prize for best unproduced screenplay, a fact which feels surprising during the cliché friendly first half hour.  Brothers Toby and Tanner Howard are characters we’ve seen many times before, with a sibling dynamic that’s not new either.  Tanner (Ben Foster) is the wild bro released from prison, complete with a violent streak and true-blue redneck energy.  Toby (Chris Pine) is the tender brother, a taciturn and emotionally bruised man trying to make things right.  Together, they start robbing small Texas banks to secure money to save the family farm.  As Counterpoint we have two Texas rangers on their case:  Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), for whom this is the last big one before retirement(!), and partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham), the sage Native American sidekick. 

For about the first thirty minutes, you sit in fear that this is all the film will be, a simple chase to the inevitable populated with stock characters. The only hope it has is to somehow deepen.  Fortunately, it does...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug242016

Judy by the Numbers: "Take My Hand, Paree"

This week's number is hands down the weirdest entry in Judy's filmography. It doesn't fit neatly into Judy's biography or star image; it really appears to be one of those things that happened because the timing was right. In 1962, Warner Bros released a UPA animated feature called Gay Purr-ee. It's a movie about Parisian cats that feels like An American in Paris meets The Aristocats as played by the Looney Tunes. In a bit of early celebrity stunt casting UPA cast two big voices for its dimunitive feline leads: Judy Garland and Robert Goulet. 

The Movie: Gay Purr-ee (WB, 1962)
The Songwriters: Harold Arlen (music) & E.Y. Yarburg (lyrics)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Red Buttons, Hermione Gingold, Paul Frees, Mel Blanc, directed by Abe Levitow.

The Story: Gay Purr-ee really needs to be seen to be believed. Done in the limited-animation style of UPA, the movie sets jittering characters against beautifully drawn backgrounds. As the casting of Mel Blanc may have tipped some readers off, the movie was actually produced and co-written by famous Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones. (Jones was fired from Warner Bros after making this film as he had violated his contract with them.) However, though the movie is occasionally stunning, it lacks the focused insanity of Jones's animated shorts.

Judy is credited with having brought her "Over the Rainbow" songwriters onto the film. Despite this, neither the film nor the soundtrack did well. When the film fizzled, Judy continued her successful touring schedule. However, another new opportunity was about to present itself to her.

Tuesday
Aug232016

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Get Down"

We cannot catch a break here at TFE Headquarters this week (honesty this summer. Uff) so this one will be brief. If you haven't yet seen Baz Luhrmann's latest, the first half of a first season of a show about the birth of hiphop called "The Get Down" have at it. Due to time constraints we've only watched the first episode but it delivered on the Baz-ness that we have so desperately missed.

Here's my choice for best shot with commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...