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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, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Tuesday
Jun042013

Further thoughts on M. Night Shyamalan's apocalypse

Picking up where we left off: having tracked the steady descent in quality through the filmography of M. Night Shyamalan, it felt like it would be a good idea to revisit the man now that the weekend is over, and we've all had a chance to see his latest, After Earth. Though, based on its shockingly anemic box-office take, I'm guessing that most of you did not take that chance.

Good for you, because I did see the film, and wow, was it ever the wrong decision. Happily it does, as reported, reverse the plunging downward trend of his career: it's better across the board than The Last Airbender. But it still very clearly isn't a good movie and in one particularly respect it sharpens what might be the most disappointing element of Shyamalan's fall.

Looking all the way back to 1999's The Sixth Sense, one of the things that still impresses the most is the excellent central performance the director pulled out of 10-year-old Haley Joel Osment. Three years later, Signs had solid, if not quite as great work from Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin. But After Earth is now the second film in a row where Shyamalan is working with a child actor in the lead role, and it's the second time in a row where that child's performance is abysmal: Jaden Smith's turn as the sci-fi hero of this new film is stilted and painfully one-note, with a one-size-fits-all expression of dull surprise, sometimes paired with a watery grin to connote "excitement".

Topped off with the unimpressive visuals and the film's slack narrative development - the way that the ending comes feels less like a conclusion and more like the camera got bored and decided to wander away from the story - and it's hard to see what Shyamalan brings to the table that anybody who knew how to yell "action" couldn't have supplied. Is it time to declare Shyamalan's career over?

Tuesday
Jun042013

Team Top Ten: The Greatest Comic Book Adaptations of All Time

Amir here. It’s the first Tuesday of the month and we’re back with another edition of Team Top Ten. In case you haven’t caught up with the series yet, you can see our first episode here (best new directors of the 21st century) and the second here (greatest Best Actress-losing performances). 

With the summer movie season finally upon us in full force, I thought it’d be as good a time as any to discuss what has become one of the premier ways for Hollywood to take every last penny out of collective pockets: comic books! So let’s have a look at what Team Experience considers The Greatest Comic Book Adaptations of All Time.

While spandex-and-cape-clad superheroes and over the top villains usually come to mind when “comic books” are mentioned, the range of films adapted from this source is as wide as films adapted from any other pre-existing material, really. If we had waited a year to do this poll, Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche’s three hour, Francophone epic about a teenage lesbian love affair could have possibly made the top ten and that should tell you all you need to know about the variety of films at our disposal – and mind you, we needn’t wait for Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner to put lesbians on our list.

For various reasons including several ties, additional weight given to films placed first on a ballot and late submissions by procrastinating Team Experience members we’ve ended up with a list of 11, but even so, we’ve had to leave out some pretty terrific titles. Last month, many of you were surprised at the absence of Glenn Close from Dangerous Liaisons on our list. I found this month’s list to be even more surprising so I’ve listed some of the curiosities of our votes in a trivia section after the list. For now, let’s get right to it with...

11. Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)
Adapted by Katsuhiro Otomo from his own epic manga, Akira is a sprawling and hyperviolent tour through a post-apocalyptic Tokyo. It's the original "darker and grittier," set in a dystopia dominated by self-interest, whether among the city's corrupt officials or its teenage motorcycle gangs. An angry youth movie, a work of cosmic sci-fi, and a colossal audiovisual achievement, Akira was really the ideal introduction for American audiences to anime's capabilities as an art form.
-Andreas Stoehr

10 more after the jump with misfits, assassins, and superheroes galore

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun042013

Reader Spotlight: Jeremy in New York

Jeremy EgglestonWe're getting to know The Film Experience readership, one-by-one. This will take a while and we love you for that. Thanks for being part of our ever-growing community. Today we're talking to Jeremy who I once met in a bar.

Do you remember your first movie?

Hmmm. My mom is a Wizard of Oz obsessive, so I'm sure it must have been this (on the small screen). Back before there was even VHS (ahhhhh!), I remember she would let me and my two younger brothers stay up late and stage a slumber party in the living room as we attempted to make it to the end. I fully credit my cinephile status to my mom. She made movies feel alive and transcendent.

What's your movie going diet like in a typical year?

Unfortunately, I am your typical cold-weather binge consumer. I blame the studios for this, and no point in going off on a typical rant with this one. One of the blessings of living in NYC is the smaller film festivals that go on throughout the year. For instance, earlier this year I saw Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell at the New Directors Festival through Lincoln Center (one sentence review: EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE! Longer review:  I found it to be sublime and brilliant and funny and touching and above all, NEW).

I typically will get begrudgingly convinced to see one or two summer blockbusters, but other than that, fall is my season. It's not atypical for me to see two-to-three films a week between the months of September-December.

You are one of the few readers I've met (quite accidentally) and you did a little bow which was the most flattering thing ever though I was drenched in vodka (long story) so perhaps I hallucinated this. Do you remember this?

HA HA HA! Of course I remember this. I was out dancing with my friend Judith, and I spotted you out of the corner of my eye standing with your friends. I remember approaching you and saying what an honor it was to actually meet the face behind the blog. TFE was my first encounter with an internet site where you could feel the passion for film streaming through the computer screen. It was and remains a true honor. And it was fun to see your reaction of pure shock (and tinge of 'who-the-hell-is-this?' fear) 

Three favorite actresses?

  1. Nicole Kidman
  2. Julianne Moore
  3. Tilda Swinton

"I'm gonna do what I want!"

Nicole has recently de-throned Julianne, just based on their work during the past few years. I feel Julianne still needs a can't-take-your-eyes-off-type of role, ala Game Change on the big screen. She was robbed for Far From Heaven. Meryl is of course up there too, but sometimes, there's just gotta be room for another. (And if that's the case, I'd also pick Michelle Williams, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bette Davis, and now, Jessica Chastain)  

What's the last movie you saw before answering these questions?

On the small screen, my boyfriend and I are attempting to make it through AFI's Top 100 of all Time. But I must admit, we both fell asleep halfway through Vertigo the other night. I blame it on the rain.

Have you ever fallen asleep during a classic?
Do you agree with Jeremy's take on the state of Julianne Moore's career?

Previous Reader Spotlights

Tuesday
Jun042013

Best Written TV Shows?

If you haven't read the 101 Best Written Television Series list (voted on by the Writers Guild of America), chances are you've been on a wee internet break for the past 24 hours. But I kinda have been (#sorryboutit) so I've included it here for discussion purposes and with a few notes...

1. The Sopranos
2. Seinfeld
3. The Twilight Zone
4. All in the Family
5. M*A*S*H
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. Mad Men 
8. Cheers
9. The Wire
10. The West Wing

Mad Men (for many years now the best show on television) has won 11 WGA nominations and 6 wins in its six year run... but what I find fascinating is when groups like the WGA vote for something they didn't originally get behind in a big way; The Wire, for example, makes their top ten all time list despite a measily 3 nominations and 1 win in its entire five year run.

91 more series after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun042013

After Link: Blue Jasmine, Red Wedding, Emerald City

Stranger Than Most encourages you to see these 20 underseen masterpieces. Lot of great films mentioned though I shall limit my "seconded!" shouting to Summer Hours, Three Women and [safe] today
Guardian Joss Whedon "I kept telling my mom that reading comic books would pay off"
Gawker volcanic imagery aside, After Earth is not scientology propaganda, just a crap movie
Hollywood & Swine after After Earth's rough opening weekend, Sony cancels "take your kid to work day" LOL
The Atlantic when did men -- other than George Clooney of course -- lose their charm?
Cinema Blend pages from Heath Ledger's Joker diary. CB claims this is from a German tv series but the narration is in French so I'm not sure what's going on

WSJ Speakeasy Interesting... turns out Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is a riff on the Bernie Madoff scandal and Speakeasy claims that Alec Baldwin's performance will be talked about. (Perhaps I should change that supporting actor chart?)
Salon The internet is losing its collective mind over Game of Thrones. As I said on twitter, I am more and more convinced that fans are victims and George R R Martin and the HBO series are their abusive lover. FWIW I quit reading the books after the Red Wedding. It's just not for me. Don't need the gore and the abuse!
Playbill sings the praises of Broadway breakthrough Annaleigh Ashford from Kinky Boots. Is she the next Goldie Hawn? 
Cinema Blend The Wizard of Oz (1939) is converting to 3D and IMAX for its 75th anniversary next week.
/Film ruh roh. The screenwriter of Green Lantern is signing on to the Blade Runner sequel. It was already a bad enough idea, lightning rarely striking twice.

Watch & Listens
YouTube Patrick Stewart speaks out on domestic violence and mental health awareness - lovely
KCRW - The Business interviews (literally) naked Mitchell Hurwitz on the challenges of continuing the Bluth story for a 4th season of Arrested Development

And did you see this fun video tribute above to Cyndi Lauper whose show Kinky Boots (just discussed) has a ton of Tony nominations? Various morning shows and current Broadway casts contributed for the 30th Anniversary of her classic hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Monday
Jun032013

Mad Men @ the Movies: "You Maniacs! God Damn You All to Hell"

You may have noticed that Mad Men at the Movies has been absent for over a month. I'm kind of like that date Ginsberg had with the hot teacher or Betty's brunette dye job - I am dropped plot threads!  Rather than giving up entirely I thought we'd discuss the season thus far with The Planet of the Apes (1968) as our rough focus / entry point.

New York ad man Don Draper reads the promotional in-theater newsletter created for "The Planet of the Apes" movies by an actual NY ad agency

For those of you with short memories, in the fifth episode of the season "The Flood" (episode 6.5) Don Draper plays hooky with his son Bobby who is feigning illness and they go to see The Planet of the Apes (1968)... twice! (This scene made me smile from ear to ear since I remember doing this as a kid in the late 70s / early 80s. Yes, they did use to let you stay and watch the movie again for free.) Roger Sterling, following Don's lead, takes his grandson to see the same movie in "The Better Half" (episode 6.9) though the results are not the same. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun032013

Burning Questions: Can Binge Watching Hurt a Show?

Hello, dear readers. Michael C here to take a detour into TV blogging.

Is season four picking at the carcass of a once great show or just more greatness?

It has now been a full week since Netflix returned the Bluth family to us, which in Internet time means by this point I may as well writing about the final episode of MASH. By midweek the long awaited return of Arrested Development had already been watched, analyzed, celebrated, backlashed, and defended a few times over. [more...]

Click to read more ...