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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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What did you see this weekend?

"I watched Clouds of Sils Maria. I wanted even more Kristen Stewart, which is a testament to how great she was in it.- JEFF

"9 to 5 was on tv so I watched it to see all the best shots. My favourite part was the opening with all the ladies heading off to work set to the song. Stuff like that always makes me want to pack it up and become an independent lady in New York City."-SVG

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Sunday
Apr262015

Box Office: Muscle Cars, Curvy Androids, and Eternal Youth

Oscar Isaac Dance Off to celebrate EX-MACHINA's wide release. Who'll join us?The concept of characters that don't age insures of at least one thing: they don't usually get to have sequels without looking ridiculous. Adaline may never age but her actressy vessell Blake Lively will. Still Blake had a good opening for what looked like a ridiculous movie so kudos to her! In other box office news, Furious 7 continued to the success story of the film year having already cracked a billion worldwide and bound to be more succesful domestically than anything released last year since it will soon surpass Katniss and that Sniper.

The happiest news for cinephiles is the success of A24's thinky sexy sci-fi oddity Ex Machina as it went into wide release with a per screen average as good as most of its competition. Russell Crowe's directorial debut (he also stars) The Water Diviner kicked off its US run without much fanfare but still managed over a million in limited release.

WIDE RELEASE
01 Furious 7 $18.2 (cum. $320.5) Review
02 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $15.5 (cum. $43.9)
03 Age of Adaline $13.3 NEW Trailer discussion
04 Home $8.3 (cum. $153.7) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
05 Unfriended $6.2 (cum. $25.1) 
06 Ex-Machina $5.4 (cum. $6.9) Review

Russell Crowe seems pretty proud of himself.

LIMITED RELEASE - EXCLUDING MOVIES THAT WERE ONCE WIDE
01 The Water Diviner (AUS) 320 Theaters $1.2 NEW 
02 Brotherly Love (US) 200 Theaters  $.2 NEW
03 Clouds of Sils Maria (France) 71 Theaters $.2 (cum. $.5) Articles
04 Child 44 (UK) 510 Theaters $.1 (cum. $1)
05 Wild Tales (Argentina) 58 Theaters $.1 (cum. $2.5) Review
06 The Salt of the Earth (France/Brazil/Italy) 47 Theaters $.09 (cum. $.5) Conversation
07 What We Do in the Shadows (NZ) 18 theaters $.07 (cum. $3.2) Review
08 Kung Fu Killer (Hong Kong) 28 Theaters $.06 NEW
09 Adult Beginners (US) 10 Theaters $.04 NEW 
10 Seymour: An Introduction (US) 378 Theaters $.03 (cum. $.5) Review

What did you see this weekend?
Any of these 16 movies listed or did you watch movies at home?

Sunday
Apr262015

Happy Birthday, Giorgio Moroder

Tim here. Today's the 75th birthday of Giorgio Moroder, pioneering electronic-dance-pop mastermind, and winner of four Grammys. But this being a film site, what we're interested in is his work in movie scoring, for which he won three Oscars. And what stellar work it is!

Moroder's soundtracks - and even more than that, his songs - are absolutely definitive. Any child of the '70s or '80s can't help but associate Moroder's compositions with a certain kind of glossy, high-concept spectacle. Moroder's sleek, borderline-campy music brought pop-art grandeur to everything from the political drama Midnight Express (his Best Score Oscar) to the smutty musical Flashdance and from the kitschy Superman III to the sparkling black fantasy The NeverEnding Story. His compositions for these films are the opposite of timeless; they are emphatically and proudly mired in a specific period of pop culture history.

But for the same reason, his scores and songs are the best imaginable fit for the giddy, playfully shallow cinema of that decade, bringing the energy and dazzle of the first years of the Blockbuster Era to life with style and flair whose period-specific artificiality is their greatest strength, not any kind of weakness. But let's allow the man's music to speak for itself. Here are my three personal favorite from his 80s soundscapes.

From Cat People (1982): "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)", later used to magnificent effect in Inglourious Basterds

From Flashdance (1983): "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (his second Oscar, the first for Best Song)

From Top Gun (1986): "Danger Zone" (he won his third Oscar for "Take My Breath Away" from the same movie)

What are your favorite Moroder film scores and songs?

Saturday
Apr252015

Daredevil - Final Thoughts on Season 1

Previously on Daredevil. It felt lonely reviewing each of the first seven episodes since there wasn't much discussion here. Presumably those of you who were interested have now finished this series so here are much quicker thoughts on the last half of the season as well as some overall takeaways and dreams for Season 2. 

1.8 "Shadows in the Glass"
We might safely call this episode "Daredevil Origins: Kingpin" but it is admirable how deeply invested the show wants you to be in its characters, even the villains. We begin with a shoutout to "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" and we spend the entire pre-title prologue in the silent company of Wilson Fisk who sees his younger damned self in the mirror. That's before we segueway into his backstory but structurally it's a very smart episode as we see Vanessa disrupting his routines... but in a way that's good for him. Daredevil decides to trust Ben Ulrich but Fisk throws them all for a loop when he comes out publicly as the city's secret philanthropist. B+

final episodes and hopes for season 2 after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr252015

4 Movies That Introduced Artificial Intelligence (As An Afterthought)

Michael C here to celebrate some of cinema's lesser known machine life.

Artificial Intelligence is such a rich idea, if it is introduced into a film more often than not it is going to be the centerpiece of the story, as is the case with titles ranging from 2001 to Blade Runner to Her. Even when it is not the main attraction, like with the droids from Star Wars or the synthetics of the Alien movies, those films still have to take the care to craft a world in which these robots make sense.

That said, there are those rare films that introduce A.I. into the storyline seemingly at random. “Oh yeah, forgot to mention. There are sentient machines in this world.” To introduce such a big concept in such an offhand manner is always jarring, and can often be unintentionally hilarious. 

Jor-El Hologram in Man of Steel (2013)
By the time the Superman finds the last recording of his deceased father late in Man of Steel, the audience is primed for some variation on the scene from the original Superman where hologram Brando boots up to impart some prerecorded wisdom to his son. Instead we essentially get Russell Crowe’s Jor-El brought back from the dead. He can respond to new information and run around the ship opening doors for Lois Lane. Hologram Jor-el even has an emotional confrontation with Zod about things that happened after Zod murdered him. The idea that this is even possible is frankly way more interesting than the giant space jackhammer the audience is supposed to care about at that point during the climax.

Sico in Rocky IV (1985)
So the fourth film in the Rocky franchise is plugging away, hitting all the typical, roided out, 80’s sports movie beats, when out of the blue Rocky gives Uncle Paulie SICO, a fully intelligent robot butler, as a Christmas gift. Paulie and the bot proceed to develop a wacky odd couple relationship, at least until things go next level bonkers and Paulie reprograms the robot to be female (which for some reason dumb old Paulie is capable of doing). The Rocky films weren’t exactly bastions of realism by the fourth entry but it is difficult to put into words just how bizarre it is to have this A.I. subplot dropped into the middle of a boxing movie. It is the equivalent of the next Fast and the Furious sequel having an appearance by The Great Gazoo who floats next Ludacris during chase scenes dispensing wise cracks.

Alsatia Zevo in Toys (1992)
Unlike the total randomness of Rocky IV’s subplot, everything in Barry Levinson’s Toys should prepare the audience for the appearance of a humanoid robot. After all, Toys is little more than two hours of elaborate gizmos. Yet it is still so very weird when it’s revealed that (20 year old spoiler warning) Joan Cusack’s character was a robot the whole time, built by Robin Williams’ toy maker father as companion for his oddball son. Like the rest of Toys, the twist is designed to be sweet and charming but lands squarely on unsettling. It’s a combination of the way the twist doesn’t add up and the movie’s bizarre foreshadowing that Alsatia is not quite human (She enjoys mayonnaise sandwiches…just like a robot would?)

Box in Logan’s Run (1976)
Around the 2/3 mark of the dystopian thriller Logan’s Run, Michael York and Jenny Agutter are trying to escape through an ice tunnel to the mythical “sanctuary” when they encounter Box, a giant tin foil robot who speaks with the warm tones of Babe narrator Roscoe Lee Brown and who looks like he was designed for the original Star Trek show after it had blown the whole budget on tribbles. At first it seems like Box is going to be like all the other soulless computer programs in the movie, but he is different, describing himself as “More than machine or man. More than a fusion of the two.” Not only is Box a conscious being but it quickly becomes clear that he has been down in that ice cave alone waaaay too long and has lost his little robot mind. For five minutes our heroes listen to Box ramble like a street corner prophet, making grandiose nonsense declarations (“The deep grottos whisper my name. Box…BOX…BOOOOOX!”) going on and on about plankton, and finally attempt to murder them while cackling like a loon. Nothing in Logan’s Run is explained with too much depth but the Box interlude is especially nutty - nothing about it makes a lick of sense or even attempts to - but damned if it isn’t one of the most memorable scenes in the film, random or not.

 

Do you have any other "favorite" examples?
 

Saturday
Apr252015

Damaged Twinsies

Don't be alarmed but this is what The Joker will look like in that Batman villain spinoff movie Suicide Squad (2016). It's surely daunting to follow Heath Ledger into this role but perhaps Jared Leto's very own Supporting Actor Oscar took some of the fear out of it for Jared Leto. At the very least it's wise that they're reinterpreting it visually to a considerable degree because any sign of trying to bottle that same lightning again would been deeply unfortunate.  But that's all I have to say because the tweet I've included after the jump is the best possible response imaginable.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr252015

"Something Rotten" and/in Adapting "Doctor Zhivago"

Does the classic film / novel translate well to the stage? Stage Door, our theater review series, is in hyperdrive, it's difficult to keep up what with shows opening left and right. The Tonys, like the Oscars, have a glut problem right before the eligibility deadline. Nominations are announced this coming Tuesday.

The Twin Perils of Snark & Earnestness
If you want to be a massive musical comedy hit, the current fever is to be slightly self-deprecating about the thing that you are. Something Rotten, which is expected to do well at the Tonys and already a hit, is a new musical comedy that doubles as an anachronistic in-on-the-joke Shakespeare comedy and a spoof of Broadway song & dance. The actual plot centers around a poor playwright (Tony-winner Brian d'Arcy James) with the surname of "Bottom" -- and yes, that leads to exactly the crass jokes you might expect it does -- who struggles in obscurity while his contemporary William Shakespeare (Tony-winner Christian Borle from Smash doing a full Tim Curry) is treated like a rock star.

More Something Rotten and a new Doctor Zhivago after the jump...

Click to read more ...