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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Beauty vs. Beast


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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Nicole & Lee, Reunite for Interview Magazine

You've heard the news by now that Nicole Kidman will make an appearance on TV's mega-smash "Empire" at some point to be determined. Apparently her guest gig was meant to have happened already but her London run in Photograph 51 prevented it (hmmm. which role was it originally we wonder - have you been watching Season 2?)

Interview magazine, smart devils that they are, hooked her back up with Lee Daniels for their latest issue (with photos by Fabien Baron) and it's clear that the two were tight as bandits on the set of The Paperboy (2012) and feel each other as kindred spirits. 

LEE DANIELS: Nic! Hi, honey. I just spoke to Chris yesterday. He told me that you were having the time of your life in London. 

NICOLE KIDMAN: I am. I'm having a really good time here. 

DANIELS: I was disappointed to hear that because, of course, I want you on my set. [both laugh]

The interview is full of "naughty" memories like why Nicole was dancing in the rain with Zac Efron in his undies in that infamous film, and her fearless dive-in commitment and 'use everything' approach to acting.

DANIELS: Does your personal life ever bleed into the work? In other words, if something is fucked up in your personal life—family, husband, kids, parents, friends, what you're going through—does any of that ever bleed into your work?

KIDMAN: Yeah, but we're taught to bring everything—the state of being, the environment—and use it. If it's raining, or the other actor doesn't know his lines, everything has to be used. So your own emotional state comes into play, and I certainly remember that happening a lot on, say, The Hours, when I was going through an enormous amount of turmoil. And even though it was appropriate at times for the character [Virginia Woolf], at other times it wasn't. But I would just bleed it in; it would manifest in different ways. For me, the idea of having a plan, that you've got to hit this particular place, shuts down other possibilities. And that's probably why I work well with you because you're also like that. You see something, you jump on it. Jane Campion is the same. You are very similar in the sense that everything is so detailed, and everything you see, or sense intuitively, you focus on and pull out. 

There's also asides to talking theater with The Lovely Laura Linney (!), and how her voracious reading habits as a child (Tolstoy at 12, hee) led her to acting.

It's a must read so go there...


NYFF: The Treasure

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival which is in full swing.

“Do you like Romanian cinema?”
“I haven’t watched much, actually.”
“Well, this is very Romanian.”

I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this overheard conversation ahead of the screening of Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Treasure, had it not echoed in my head by the time the film's final intentionally strident soundtrack played right before the credits rolled. If this is so Romanian, perhaps I'm missing something in translation.

This occurs to me from time to time when I watch foreign films. It happened as I watched Journey to the Shore and as I watched Arabian Nights (though less so when I watched In the Shadow of Women, given my familiarity with French cinema). I wondered whether, as a non-national, I was missing crucial contexts, subtexts and frames of reference that would not only enrich my viewing experience but make it suddenly come alive. As much as we like to think cinema is a universal language, we sometimes forget that the best storytelling need not transcend its own borders. Sometimes, as is the case here, it's about precisely looking inward to Romania's own history and crafting what seems like a universal parable, though borrowing from a decidedly Catholic British icon: Robin Hood.

That is to say The Treasure is a good film, though one whose allure escapes me. The plot is as simple as they come: a man asks his neighbor for money to hire a metal detector professional who’ll help them unearth a possibly buried treasure in his grandfather’s old estate in the country. Porumboiu’s filmmaking is impressive, from his unshowy long takes to his penchant for medium and wide shots that let his characters interact freely, giving the film a kinetic stillness on pace with its laconic deadpan script. But, given the film’s attentiveness to Romania’s past, from the 1848 revolution, to its recent communist history and its slow integration into free market capitalism (all of which are briefly glossed by the film), I still felt like an outsider looking in, gripped by the plot and enthralled by the trio of performers, but always feeling like I was missing something in its simple absurdity.

The Treasure plays at NYFF Thursday October 8th, Friday October 9th and Sunday October 11th.

Curio: We're at (Crimson) Peak Excitement

Alexa here with your weekly art appreciation.  The internet excitement over the release of Crimson Peak is at a fever pitch: Gothic romance! Tom Hiddleston sex scenes! Giant creepy Victorian house! Tom Hiddleston being sexy!  It's like fanfiction come to life.  Of course, the return of Guillermo Del Toro's visual sumptuousness brings its own excitement, especially for some visual artists out there. Little White Lies filled its latest issue with art inspired by the film; they're also curating an exhibition celebrating all of Del Toro's films, with an artist interpreting each film as a Victorian-era gothic book cover.

Here are some other creations I've spotted recently that were perhaps made during repeat viewings of the trailer. See them after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: Marriage Among the Ruins

Jason here, taking a little break between New York Film Festival screenings to give you this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- this past weekend Danny Boyle's film Steve Jobs screened at NYFF to sold-out crowds and from what I gathered very good notices (stay tuned for TFE's take soon; I took that picture to the left myself at the press conference), and I heard that on Saturday night Danny Boyle led the crowd in a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to birthday girl, beloved actress, Oscar winner, and icon Kate Winslet.

Kate turns 40 today! We have been worshipping Kate ever since she helped bash in her girlfriend's mother's head with a brick in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures, and we've never wavered... well okay we had no idea what anybody was thinking with Labor Day either, but other than that, not ever. Here on her 40th birthday let's give love to one of her best recent performances, one that just happened to coincide with a reunion with the Bogie to her Bacall, Leonardo DiCaprio, who was doing very fine work right across from her.

PREVIOUSLY Last week in anticipation of Ridley Scott's The Martian's looming box office boom we faced off our favorite pair of Red Planet invaders -- well it was Tim Burton's little green men that zapped their way into our hearts, to the tune of nearly 80% of your vote. Sorry Tripods, better luck next invasion. Said Denny:

"ACKACKACKACKLOLOLOLOL The martians from Mars Attacks win for their Frankenstein-ian experiments ALONE. "


Podcast: Carol Aird of Manhattan, Mark Watney of Mars.

Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick, get stranded on Mars with Astronaut Matt Damon. After rescuing each other they fall for shopgirl Rooney Mara with Cate Blanchett. Yes, we're discussing Ridley Scott's The Martian (now playing at a theater near you) and Todd Haynes's Carol (opening November 20th but surely already playing in your head).

Nathaniel is sick -- apologies for the vocal germs! --  so Katey hosts this one. 

43 minutes 
00:01-14:30  The Martian. How often must mankind save Matt Damon? 
14:31-40:00  The miraculous healing powers of Carol. Struggling with/loving on Rooney's remoteness and Blanchett's range and roll. 
40:01-43:00 Oscar fanfare / Sign-offs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments won't you? Especially those two prompt questions: What did you think of The Martian and when were you most turned on by Cate Blanchett?

Carol and The Martian


Xmas Pics Coming Our Way

It's October, so Manuel is here trying to get into the Halloween Christmas spirit. Wait, isn’t it a little early? Perhaps, but these three films are hoping to get you excited about the jolly holidays.

Hope away, holiday movies, but it's hard to be remotely excited about any of these. Still, we're glad Lizzy Caplan & Mindy Kaling (The Night Before), and Toni Collette & Alilson Tolman (Krampus) are getting work. Though, as actressexuals go, Love the Coopers is where it’s at: Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, June Squibb, Olivia Wilde, and Marisa Tomei.

You can check the trailer below... 

Bring your own Yes No Maybe So (BYOYNMS) in the comments. And yes, those comments can mostly be about how three time Oscar player Marisa Tomei deserves better films.


NYFF: Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival, where Michael Moore’s latest documentary had its first American screening after a bow at TIFF last month.

Moore’s Where to Invade Next is born out of the same sense of anger and despair that characterizes his earlier docs, but as he noted himself in yesterday’s press conference, he found a way to funnel that anger in a more productive way. Indeed, while the opening images (which juxtapose anti-terrorism presidential sound-bites with horrific national images from Ferguson and Sandy Hook) feel driven by an unwavering anger at the current state of US affairs, what follows is a rather optimistic portrait of the potential for change, presented, of course, with the irreverent wit that Moore epitomizes.

Tasked with “invading” countries by himself, Moore visits various European countries in hopes of, as he says, being able to “pick the flowers, not the weeds”: finding, that is, the best ideas about public policy that are thriving in other countries in hopes to steal them, bring them back to America, and watch them be implemented. The entire premise was a way, Moore explained, to make a documentary about the United States without shooting a single frame in the United States. Every hot button issue you can think of, from police brutality to women’s reproductive health, from the industrial prison complex to school lunches, from labor regulations to women’s equality, is tackled head on from the outside in. He travels to Italy to learn about their paid vacation policy (8 weeks!). He travels to Norway to visit their maximum security prison (where inmates carry the keys to their cells which come equipped with TVs, and who can use the state of the art recording studio or the expansive library at their leisure). He travels to Tunisia (an Islamic state, let’s remember) to visit their women’s health centers where abortions have been legal since the 1970s and learn how riots by women toppled a conservative government that hoped to repeal those female rights and protections. And so on, and so forth, talking to school cafeteria chefs, factory workers, multinational CEOs, and policemen, from Portugal, Iceland, France, Germany and Norway.

“I am American. I live in a great country, built on genocide and grown on the backs of slaves.” - Moore, candidly summing up what he sees so few jingoistic Americans acknowledging.

Each “idea” he hopes to take back after his invasion is at its core, both impossibly simple and also similarly absurd: five months paid maternity leave? sex-ed that isn’t based on abstinence? school lunches that value health over pizza and fries? teachers who value their students’ happiness over standardized tests? a prison where guards carry no guns and inmates have access to kitchen knives? a policy that decriminalizes drug possession? But the ultimate message is utopian in its simplicity: every one of these “flowers” he picked began with small gestures that, like the hammers and chisels that led to the physical dismantling of the Berlin Wall (which Moore witnessed first-hand in 1989 and which alongside the Mandela election helped cement his idea that things can change seemingly overnight), can make all the difference. They also continually hint at words and values that seldom find themselves in American political rhetoric: happiness, curiosity, community, human dignity. That the film ends in a powerful call for women’s equality, suggesting in no uncertain terms that having women in power is a necessary part of political and cultural progress, is perhaps the film’s most surprising element. (Do stay through the end of the credits to find Moore riffing beautifully off of Marvel’s most emulated trademark: the post-credits sequence).

How you feel about the film and its message will no doubt depend on your own political affiliations. Even as the audience at my screening clapped rapturously as the credits rolled, suggesting perhaps Moore was merely preaching to a converted choir that could wave away the tricky logistics that would make these ideas hard to implement wholesale in these shores, I could pick out snippets of dialogue that suggested this choir was a tad more cynical than Moore anticipated: “I mean, it’s so reductive, really.” “Well, but none of that will work here.” “I wish it were that easy!” Where to Invade Next is, in that, classic Moore: a conversation starter that will be greeted with equal number of wolf-whistles as exasperated sighs.

Check out the teaser for it below:


Where to Invade Next played Saturday October 3rd at the NYFF, and while concrete release date plans or distribution are up in the air, Moore’ doc is bound to open wide sometime soon.