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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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Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

"Margaret Atwood's novel is superb. If this is half as good, it will be great!" - Marcelo

"My one concern is how much of the novel is covered so quickly. Even in the first episode, they pulled a lot of events from the middle of the novel right in there to establish the universe. The pacing works onscreen, but what are they going to have left to cover by episode 9 and 10?." - Robert

Interviews

Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Wednesday
Mar092016

HBO’s LGBT History - Back on Board: Greg Louganis (2015)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Remembering the Artist: Robert de Niro Sr. which looked at the father of the Oscar winning actor who, in case you didn’t know, was a well-regarded visual artist and a gay man. The doc was (sadly) more interested in the former assertion than the latter, despite sexuality having been central to his art—his most curious muse? Greta Garbo in Anna Christie. This week, we’re taking about another doc portrait though one clearly more centered on its subject’s sexuality.

“Who is Greg Louganis? What kind of question is that?!”

Louganis, still considered the greatest Olympic diver in the history of the sport balks at even having to answer such a question for Cheryl Furjanic in the opening minutes of Back on Board: Greg Louganis. But as he mulls over the question he has to admit he’s not quite sure who Greg is. After all, he retired from diving in 1989, spent much of the 90s coming to terms with himself—he publicly came out ahead of the release of his best-selling memoir, Breaking the Surface (which was later made into a TV movie starring Mario Lopez), disclosing at the same time his HIV-positive status—and finds himself at the start of shooting this HBO Sports documentary fighting with his bank over his mortgage. Yes, Louganis, once a household name synonymous with Olympic glory currently faces the prospect of losing his house and he hopes auctioning off his medals and memorabilia will be enough to keep him afloat. more...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar092016

Judy by the Numbers: "Good Morning!"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Freed, Garland, & Edens c. 1930s

After the whirlwind that was The Wizard of Oz, it may seem like a letdown for Judy to return to the Mickey & Judy musicals of before. However, she returned with two things she hadn’t had before: A-level star status, and the Freed Unit. The former made her a major box office draw, which meant that her movies had bigger budgets and better material. The latter meant that Arthur Freed - a writer turned producer who’d flitted in and out of Judy’s career since she started at MGM - could use those budgets and material to put on shows unlike any MGM had produced.

The Movie: Babes in Arms (MGM, 1939)

The Songwriters: Nacio Herb Brown (Music), Arthur Freed (Lyrics)

The Players: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Charles Winninger, Guy Kibbee, directed by Busby Berkley

The Story: At its inception, The Freed Unit consisted of 8 men: Arthur Freed, director Busby Berkley, Roger Edens, dance director Chuck Walters, music director Georgie Stoll, art director Cedric Gibbons, writer Fred Finklehoffe, and cameraman Ray June. These eight (minus Finklehoffe) created the four biggest Rooney/Garland musicals by ingeniously recycling popular material (like the Rogers & Hart musical Babes in Arms) with new material (written or borrowed from elsewhere), lavish musical numbers, and a fairly conventional backstage musical plot. Berkley and June added a visual element that hadn’t been seen in teen musicals before. But despite this increased complexity, at their heart the movies still relied on the unbeatable chemistry of Mickey & Judy.

previously: "The Land of Let's Pretend" (1930), "The Texas Tornado" (1936), "Americana" (1936), "Dear Mr Gable" (1937), "Got a New Pair of Shoes" (1937), "Why? Because!" (1938), "Inbetween" (1938), “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart” (1938), "Over the Rainbow" (1939)

 

Tuesday
Mar082016

Visual Index: Best Shots from Ghostbusters (1984)

With the new riff on the ol' Ghostbusters property nearly upon us, what better time to look back at the original comedy smash? While the film's comic tone and dialogue are well remembered its visuals are less often discussed. The film was shot by the Hungarian cinematographer László Kovács. He logged a lot of quality time in the romantic comedy genre (What's Up Doc?, My Best Friend's Wedding, Say Anything...) but made his name in the 70s on scrappy, famous and/or ambitious pictures like Five Easy Pieces, Shampoo, New York New York, and Paper Moon.

Without further ado, let's see what the Hit Me With Your Best Shot club thought of the look of this picture and what slimy memories this revisit stirred up...

GHOSTBUSTERS
Directed by Ivan Reitman. Cinematography by László Kovács. 
Starring: (in order of billing) Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Sigourney Weaver,
Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Atherton & Ernie Hudson.
Click on the 12 images to read the 15 corresponding articles

Bill Murray. What does make him tick?
-54 Disney Reviews 

The look on their faces tho... 
-Daniel Laferriere *first time participant*

Grown white men have their fun while the rest of the world cleans up their mess...
- Bennett Prosser *first time participant*

A good old fashioned 80s Improvement Montage, complete with a song that is either brilliantly awful or secretly genius...
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema *first time participant*

It arguably has endured as a beloved classic precisely because the people in it are so full-heartedly human.
-Nebel Without a Cause

 I'm well aware that this is nobody's idea of a scary movie...
- Antagony & Ecstasy

it’s fun to see things pop in and out of frames, especially when the frames are static. It’s almost like seeing a painting being disturbed...
-Coco Hits NY


 It’s useless to try to deny my love for her and it’s inescapable that my best shot features her...
-Magnificent Obsession 

Bill Murray's chemistry with everyone... and I mean everyone in the movie.
-Movie Motorbreath

The images of Sigourney keep getting richer and sexier as the insanity mounts
-The Film Experience

We Need to Talk About Dana Barrett’s Apartment.
-FilmMixTape

Recreating the Exorcist as a screwball comedy date...
-Bohemian Cinema Salon *first time participant*

The movie doesn't really get interesting, narratively and visually, until midway when Weaver's character gets possessed by the spirit of Zuul.
-Sorta That Guy


Most of my favorite shots are when the movie embraces its crazy and over the top nature.
-Wick's Picks *first time Best Shot participant!*

Ghostbusters is a perfect '80s blockbuster version of the classic 50s monster B-movies...
-Dancin Dan on Film

 

NEXT WEEK: Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement (2007) with James McAvoy, Keira Knightley & little Oscar nominated Saoirse Ronan. [Keira Knightley Voice] "Come back to me it."

Tuesday
Mar082016

MTV Movie Awards Really Love Daisy Ridley

The Oscars are apparently not the end of awards season, as the MTV Movie Awards nominations were announced today. Star Wars: The Force Awakens led the field with 11 nods and despite being in theaters for less than a month Deadpool scored 8 nominations. Joining the two in the best film category are Avengers: Age of Ultron (6 nominations), Creed (only one other nomination for its star Michael B. Jordan), Jurassic World (3 nominations) and Straight Outta Compton (3 nominations).

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar082016

Curio: RUFFAL-O'S

A old friend alerted me to this tasty illustration by Josh Haro. (Love the tagline) 

I'm salivating so answer me these questions three:

 

  1. Doesn't this box cover essentially promote cannibalism? 
  2. What does Yearning taste like? 
  3. Isn't it frighteningly easy to imagine marketing tie-ins for different movies?

 

Anyway I giggled and it gave me a smile prompting a flashback to Renée's Extreme Sour Lemon Candy. Remember that? Such a classic.

 

Tuesday
Mar082016

Stay-Puft, Sigourney, and the "Ghostbusters"

This is Nathaniel's entry into this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic, Ghostbusters (1984). Tonight, we'll see what others chose!

This may shock readers of a certain (young) age but would be blockbusters used to open directly against each other rather than giving each other wide berths to accumulate loot. No really, they did! Ghostbusters and Gremlins, courting the same demographic, opened simultaneously on my birthday weekend in 1984. I chose Gremlins (which little me loved) and caught Ghostbusters a few days later with school friends. Ghostbusters emerged as the clear champ with the public but little me thought Gremlins ran circles around the supernatural comedy: scarier, funnier, cuter monsters, better-paced... only faililng in its lack of SigWeavieness. They were both big hits, of course, but Ghostbusters was HUGE -- Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man walking amongst skyscrapers huge. And it stayed ahead in pop culture, too, netting Oscar nominations (Original Song & Visual FX) and endless sequel or revival talk thereafter.

Cut to 2016: With the gender reversed reboot on the way, it was a topical choice for Hit Me With Your Best Shot. Plus I figured I'd finally see what charms eluded me way back then...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar082016

Doc Corner: 'Trapped' a Timely Reminder in the Supreme Court's Shadow

Glenn here and welcome to Doc Corner where we're going to bring you reviews of documentaries, hopefully on a weekly basis, from theatres, festivals, and on demand, as well as special features that shine a light on the medium's history and future.

Every few years a documentary about abortion comes along to soberly remind us just how backwards attitudes continue to be towards women’s reproduction rights and just how unbalanced the debate is regarding women’s bodily autonomy in America. Trapped is a new film by Dawn Porter – probably best known for her debut feature Gideon’s Army – and is just the latest on this volatile topic, but while it may lack the epic scope and cinematic power of Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire, it does work similarly to Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s After Tiller in the way it examines the more intimate details of the doctors, nurses, and patients and how they each navigate the hostile terrain that so frequently and strongly comes under fire (sometimes literally) from extreme religious zealots and government officials who seek to bring a round-about end to abortion through the only avenues they can.

Trapped– so named after the “TRAP” (aka Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that figure most prominently throughout and which seek to place virtually insurmountable locational and financial burdens on doctor clinics that would see the number of clinics in Texas reduced from 42 to 10 – finds itself in an interesting position, being released this month. Abortion, sadly, remains a hot button topic and as of right now the case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is currently being heard by the Supreme Court. In fact, in the final title cards of the movie, this date with destiny is referenced. More...

Click to read more ...