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Oscar History
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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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Cannes Jury

"The Jury Lineup is very diverse and unconventional " - Amy

"I love Agnes Jaoui! If you haven't seen her movies yet, you are in for a treat." - Adri

"Huppert's chances of winning seem increased to me with her biggest fan Chastain on the list." - Tyson

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Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
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Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Monday
Apr242017

The Furniture: Tom Sawyer's Stovepipe and Steamboat Nostalgia

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

[PART ONE OF OUR CELESTE HOLM CENTENNIAL SERIES]

On paper, 1973’s Tom Sawyer might be the oddest project of Celeste Holm’s entire career. It was her first big screen appearance in six years. She’d been splitting her time between TV and theater, making guest appearances on shows like The Fugitive and leading the national tour of Mame. And while it’s not unexpected that her return would come via an independent production, the company in question may surprise you.

Tom Sawyer was made by Reader’s Digest, during the company’s six year foray into the industry. This was their first feature, the accompanying risk of which might explain the bizarre product placement. Child star Johnny Whitaker is actually credited as appearing “through the courtesy of Elder Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of Tom Sawyer wearing apparel for boys.” Still selling uniforms today, their signature line of boys’ outfits appears not to have changed in a century.

For our purposes, however, the notable thing is the location. Tom Sawyer and its sequel are the only films based on Mark Twain’s beloved characters to be shot in Missouri after the silent era...

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Monday
Apr242017

OTD: Babs, Shirley, and "Cool" from West Side Story

On this very gay day (4/24) in history as it relates to showbiz...

1873 Silent film director Robert Wiene, best known for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) born in Breslau (Note: other online sources disagree with the IMDb on this birthdate but it's always fun to think about Caligari)

1927 Oscar winning cinematographer Pasqualino de Santis born in Italy. Classics include Romeo and Juliet, The Damned, Death in Venice, and L'Argent

1930 Richard Donner, superstar director/producer of the 1980s, behind films like The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, and the first two Supermans. Apparently retired after 16 Blocks (2006) with Bruce Willis

1931 The Public Enemy starring James Cagney and Jean Harlow was enjoying its opening weekend at movie theaters. It was a big hit, ending in the top ten of its year. Variety claimed it was "low brow material" attempting to be high brow by its craftsmanship. If only critics knew in the moment -- they almost never do even now -- that "low brow" genres regularly produce classics.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr232017

Review: "Unforgettable"

by Jorge Molina

There was a time in the late 80s and early 90s when sex thrillers got Oscar nominations. Now they have somehow devolved to a common staple in the Lifetime programming, and a ill-fated big screen attempts starring beloved pop stars.

Yet while the status of this bigger-than-life, catfight-fueled genre has certainly dwindled over the years, its ingredients have remained the same:low budgets, delicious monologues, utensils as weapons, stalkers, steamy sex, plenty of camp, and less-than-original stories about deception, secrets, and temptation. More than anything, these movies are a fertile ground for female performers to be over-the-top, pull out their (sometimes literal) claws, and just have fun.

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Sunday
Apr232017

What did you see this weekend? I caught a masterpiece!

This weekend saw several new films hitting theaters including the trashy Unforgettable (reviewed), the epic The Promise, and Ben Wheatley's Free Fire (reviewed). Apart from the Disney Nature documentary Born in China and the almost-wide expansion of last week's newbie The Lost City of Z, none made much of an impact with moviegoers, as the holdovers just won't quit filling theaters. Boss Baby and Going in Style, for example, only dropped 20% in their 4th and 3rd weekends respectively.

I spent the weekend hitting the Tribeca Film Festival (our reviews have already begun) but the highlight by far was the rare opportunity to see Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties (1975) which is best known to Oscar buffs as the first instance of a woman being nominated for Best Director. The film was more amazing than I was prepared for. We're talking a tonally daring, politically charged, sexually crazed, harrowing and hilarious World War II movie. Most movies don't even have 10% of its verve and personality. I was riveted from the first frame to the last and if you ever have a chance to see it (or live in NYC) you'd be insane to pass it up. I'm going to try to hit at least one or two more Wertmüller movies while the series is running at NYC's newly renovated Quad cinema. 

What did you see this weekend? 

TOP WIDE (800+ theaters)
01 Fate of the Furious $38.6 (cum. $163.5) Ranking the Franchise
02 Boss Baby $12.7 (cum. $136.9) Review
03 Beauty & the Beast $9.9 (cum. $471) Review
04 Born in China $5.1 NEW
05 Going in Style $5 (cum. $31.7) 

TOP LIMITED 
01 The Lost City of Z $2.1 (cum. $2.2) 614 screens Review 
02 Colossal $584k (cum. $1.3) 224 screens Review
03 Their Finest $555k (cum. $1.1) 176 screens
04 Norman $136k (cum. $272k) 18 screens
05 T2 Trainspotting $80k (cum. $2.2) 160 screens

Sunday
Apr232017

Review: "The Lost City of Z"

by Chris Feil

A sprawling, formally immaculate epic like James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is a rare enough to seem like a novelty these days, and Gray’s rendering makes the film feel no less precious. It plays almost like a delicate jewel box on the screen, as if any minute it will crumble to our modern touch. Z looks and breathes of a bygone era.

Charlie Hunnam stars as Colonel Percival Fawcett, an unheralded military man who rises to prominence for exploring the uncharted Amazon in the early 20th century. His first expedition leads to an obsession when he discovers signs of an ancient ruins, suggesting a developed civilization previous undiscovered by western eyes. Fawcett’s three increasingly less successful journeys could be seen as indicative of the virtue or punishment of an obsessive goal, depending on your vantage.

While the film’s trajectory is familiar to epics over the most recent decades, what sets the film apart is its complex emotional terrain...

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Saturday
Apr222017

Tribeca 2017: Dog Years

by Jason Adams

You can’t look back at the film career of Burt Reynolds and not get a lot of stink in your eye. For every Boogie Nights there’s at least two Stripteases; for every Cannonball Run there’s… another Cannonball Run.

Dog Years, which stars Burt as a Reynolds-ian movie star so past his prime he’s composite, attempts to bridge the gap between quality and its opposite with some erratic shifts in tone – one second it’s an unblinking portrait of the 80-plus year realities of Burt Reynolds face, and the next it’s a broad goof with pratfalls. I prefer the former tone, but I get the latter – the latter makes sense with who Burt Reynolds has been for forty years on our screens...

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Saturday
Apr222017

RuPaul's Drag Race S9E5 - Kardashi-lame

by Chris Feil

This season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has a celebrity problem.

I had complained about the show taking attention away from the queens and making the show all about famous faces at the beginning of the season. However, this episode was the most egregious offender for being starstruck by celebrities who weren’t even there! The main challenge was a mini-musical on the Kardashian family, an overlong performance that spread our time with the girls much too thin. But let’s not jump ahead for the sake of complaining!

We actually did get what has been missing from the season so far: a mini-challenge and the Pit Crew! The gals got into quick drag for a swimsuit selfie with the boys (including new Crew members Jared and Yadir), with the girls being shockingly tame. Alexis took a much needed win, but I’d have given the Instagram like to gorgeous goofball Valentina for insisting Ru announce her as Miss Venezuela. Yes, my frost for her is thawing.

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