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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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Monday
Jun102013

Box offices binges on "The Purge"

It's Tim, taking over Monday box office duties for Nathaniel while he's away, so if I've made some little formatting mistake, apologies in advance.

It says all there is to say about the cool state of the box office right now (nobody wants to put something out just in time to have Man of Steel cut its legs off next week) that the big story is a horror movie with toxic word of mouth hugely outperforming expectations. Truthfully, though, $34 million for the Ethan Hawke home invasion thriller The Purge is pretty impressive: it more than doubled the open weekend of Hawke's last horror picture, Sinister, while blasting past pretty much every comparable film in recent memory. That's what a drought in the marketplace will do for you: horror fans will turn out to see new wide releases if it's been a long time, even if the new release in question looks completely awful. I know whereof I speak.

Meanwhile, Wedding Crashers reunion/feature length Google ad The Internship has made exactly the non-splash that could be predicted based on how much nobody in the entire world was talking about the movie, though it's worth pointing out that it's not particularly out of line with the recent films Vince Vaugn and Owen Wilson have made seperately in the past few years. Also, Fast & Furious 6 broke the $200 million mark before Star Trek Into Darkness, which is a statistic that I don't think anybody would have willing to predict at the start of the summer.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN
01 THE PURGE $34.1 *NEW*
02 FAST & FURIOUS 6  $19.2 (cum. $202.8)
03 NOW YOU SEE ME  $19.0 (cum. $60.9)
04 THE INTERNSHIP $17.3 *NEW*
05 EPIC $11.9 (cum. $83.9)
04 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS  $11.4 (cum. $199.9) The Dumbing Down of Star Trek
07 AFTER EARTH  $10.7 (cum. $46.1) M Night Shyamalan's Fall
08 THE HANGOVER PART III $7.3 (cum. $102.3)
09 IRON MAN THREE $5.8 (cum. $394.3) Reviewed & Podcasted
10 THE GREAT GATSBY $4.2 (cum. $136.1) Reviewed & Dreamt About

In limited release, Frances Ha and Before Midnight are both purring along nicely (both were up from last weekend, in fact!), though neither they nor anything else came close to breaking into the top 10. The only prominent new film, Joss Whedon's modern-dress version of Much Ado About Nothing, put up a strong but not mind-blowing $34,388 per-screen average at five theaters, and didn't even crack the top 20, though its nationwide expansion on June 21 ought to improve its fortunes considerably, while giving all of us who don't live on the coasts a chance to see what Whedon's post-Avengers palette cleanser plays like.

Did you see anything this weekend? I didn't, taking advantage of the weather to do yardwork, though a friend and I are catching The Purge tonight. Like I said, horror fans are used to seeing things that we know are going to be utterly worthless.

Monday
Jun102013

Cyndi and the EGOT

Glenn here talking Tony. The Tonys, of course. More specifically Cyndi Lauper at them.

There were many things from last night's show worth discussing - that opening number, the Smash cast all seated plum in the front row, Megan Hilty's performance in the ode to axed TV series with Andrew Rannells (The New Normal) and Laura Benanti (Go On), Cicely Tyson's ruffle dress, the terrible Bring It On performance, the incredible Pippin performance - but one of the most interesting is, I think, Cyndi Lauper now being just an Oscar away from finishing off the prestigious EGOT.

Ever since winning the Best New Artist Grammy in 1985 the careers of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna have been intrinsically linked. Madonna wasn't nominated for the Grammy (can you believe?), but these two fiercely iconic 1980s superstars have always felt like competing examples of the fortunes of '80s superstars. While it's generally accepted that Lauper's career as a top 40 artist ended far too soon just as Madonna's was soaring, Cyndi hasn't been laying low all these years. In between her Grammy in 1985 (and 1988), she has continued to record and tour and in 1995 won an Emmy Award for her guest stint on Mad About You, performed in The Threepenny Opera to critical acclaim (but no Tony attention), and been a fierce feminist and advocate of the LGBT community. Add in last night's sparkly Tony for scoring the stage adaptation of Kinky Boots (we've all forgotten how bland the movie is, right? I think that's for the best - check out Nathaniel's review of the stage show to see why) and she has no reason to be disappointed with now it all turned out. Now she has but one statue to go before completing the EGOT. Can she do it and solidify a place as an all time great? Because the mountains of cash she continue to reaps from "Time After Time" and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" just aren't satisfying enough, clearly. Madonna who?

Dear Madonna: I love you forever. Please be my friend. 

Unlike Madonna, Cyndi has never appeared all that interested in Hollywood. Oh sure, she attempted a crossover career with Vibes, but the toxic reaction to that Jeff Goldblum flick set inside a Chinatown laundry and South American jungle (?!?) from 1988 probably turned her off future endeavours. That film did, however, bring us one of Cyndi's most under-appreciated hits (it went top ten in Australia and New Zealand so we can call it a hit even if it was a flop everywhere else), "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)". Just one of many songs from the mini-phenomena of the 1980s that went in a vaguely racist direction of reappropriated Asian culture into wacky pop melodies that utilised a lot of gongs and pipes and one presumes there was a Chinese fisherman's hat somewhere in there that was a horrifically misjudged fashion statement. Like the urban sombrero. Cyndi's song is fantastic, "Oriental Boy" by The Flirts is not.

Cyndi's only other foray into feature film songwriting (unless I'm missing something - am I?) was "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" from The Goonies in 1985. A dinky pop ditty that sounds exactly like one would expect from an up-and-coming singer on the soundtrack to the teenage adventure film. I'm not as big a fan of the song as many others, and apparently Cyndi herself hates it, too. The more you know. I'd still prefer it as an Oscar nominee over anything from White Nights though.

Grammy, Emmy, and now Tony. Is Oscar next for Cyndi?

Other than that Cyndi has steered clear of recording tunes for soundtracks. Why, I'm not so sure? Still, if Cyndi is keen on completing the EGOT now would be the time to strike. In doing so she would become the first since Scott Rudin in 2007 (his Oscar for producing No Country for Old Men sealed that deal). She's clearly popular with awards bodies and nobody has a bad word to say about her. Plus the Academy's music branch would surely appreciate the fact that she hasn't appeared desperate for it like her chief '80s rival. And even though they might like to appear otherwise, they're not totally against giving the award to big celebrity songwriter these days (Adele says hi). If she ever does win, Dolly Parton's famously friendly persona may finally crack. What does she have to do to win one of those golden bad boys?

Chin up ladies, Jane can split her second Oscar between you.

Sunday
Jun092013

2013 Tony Awards Live Blog (UPDATED with video!)

Dancin' Dan here, very excited to start my very first attempt at live-blogging! So, it might not work, but I hope it does. Won't you join me in this adventure?

7:37 - It's almost here! I, for one, cannot wait to see whether Hit List or Bombshell Kinky Boots or Matilda will walk away the big winner on the Musical side of things. I love them both equally, but we will have to see what the Tony voters think! Also very looking forward to Neil Patrick Harris's by-now-traditional closing song recapping the evening. It's pretty much been the highlight of every Tony ceremony he's hosted.

7:58 - Commercial for Motown: The Musical, which is pointedly NOT nominated for Best Musical. Wonder how many other commercials for Broadway shows we'll see tonight... Rest of the evening after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun082013

It's Almost Tony Time!

Hey, everybody! It's Dancin' Dan, here to fulfill the award show-shaped void in your life with coverage of the 2013 Tony Awards! I will be back here tomorrow at 8 PM sharp (Eastern time) to watch the festivities with you and cheer on my favorites: Pippin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and...

GAH! Even after seeing both Kinky Boots and Matilda quite recently, I still don't know which I'm rooting for! This is a very rare event for me in terms of award shows in general, and Best Musical at the Tonys specifically. Last year, for example, I was adamant that Once needed to win over its chief rival, Newsies (interesting that the frontrunners for Best Musical both this year and last year have movie predecessors - although technically Matilda is based on Roald Dahl's novel, not Danny DeVito's film version). But this year, both Kinky Boots and Matilda are such good musicals, that I don't think I can choose. Matilda sometimes trips over its ambitions a bit, but is still amazingly effective and ridiculously entertaining. Kinky Boots, meanwhile, is far better than it had any right to be all the way down the line. Even after hearing the good reviews (you can read Nathaniel's right here), I was still surprised by just how good it was, which only speaks well of it.

If I absolutely had to cast a ballot, I would probably give Best Musical and Best Book to Matilda, and give Cyndi Lauper Best Score for Kinky Boots. But even as I wrote that, I did so with a heavy heart, because Tim Minchin's lyrics for Matilda are so delicious, and Harvey Fierstein's book for Kinky Boots is impeccable, bettering just about everything from the film. All I know is, whatever they do announce as the big winner, I will be pretty happy (just so long as it isn't Bring It On), which means it was a pretty good year for Broadway musicals!

Things are much easier on the Play side of things. Tracy Letts gave one of the greatest performances I've ever seen on stage in the revelatory revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which should win Best Revival hands down, and good as Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties is, Christopher Durang just about topped himself with V&S&M&S, a comic tour de force of rare depth.

What are you rooting for at the Tonys this year? Tell us in the comments! And be sure to join me here tomorrow evening for Broadway's Big Event. Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting again, so you at least know the show will be lots of fun!

Thursday
Jun062013

Birthday parties at the movies

Hi everyone, it’s Tim. Our host and founder might be gone for a little while, but the women and men of Team Film Experience will still be around to keep the lights on, even without Nathaniel’s guiding hand to keep things on track. For example, you can expect to see my four-part series, "Michelle Pfeiffer: Decent, But She’s Sure No Renée Zellweger", beginning next week.

Kidding! Happy Birthday, Nathaniel, here's Michelle being all smoldering.

Anyway, as Nathaniel mentioned, it’s also his birthday, and in his honor, I’d like to go on a little tour of some of the all-time best cinematic birthdays.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun062013

blowing out the candles, flying overseas

I woke up with a totally horrid summer cold ~ happy birthday to me! But I can't let that stop me. Due to a manic expediting of an expired passport, and an otherwise stressful week, I haven't prepared anything fancy to say goodbye with and haven't curated a selection of guest bloggers (whoops) as is my normal way since I'm always afraid you'll leave me if the blog is empty for a week... but flights wait for no blog! I'm off for a week overseas.

The blog isn't quite 'going dark' -- that's too dramatic and technically complicated -- but will return to full glory starting on Monday the 17th.

We'll call this a Summer Hiatus though there might be a surprise post or two  - no promises. Much Ado About Nothing, Violet & Daisy, Man of Steel, and The Bling Ring are all opening while I'm away damnit

But sometimes you just gotta unplug. We'll catch up when I get back and am creatively recharged for another great film year and Oscar race!

Wednesday
Jun052013

Yes, No, Maybe So? "Malavita"... Which is Now "The Family"

It's not every month, hell, it's not every year when we get the trailer to a new Michelle Pfeiffer movie so naturally we have to talk about Malavita again. Or, I guess, The Family as it's been rechristened before release. It's always a pity when a movie ditches a really specific title for one that could work for thousands of movies and thus stakes no claim on personality whatsoever.

Perhaps the trailer itself has personality. Let's watch and discuss.

[watches]

Okay. Only watch that if you're the kind of person who doesn't care about spoilers. IF you are this kind of person i envy you because the movie studios don't care about them either - they love shovin' them into trailers. I get the sense you're basically seeing the whole movie here.  But we gotta break it down anyway as we do because...

LA PFEIFFER IS BACK

YES

  • Michelle Pfeiffer saying "merci"
  • This might be funny. It's kinda tough to tell in the trailer because so much of comedy depends on good editing and trailers never have a sense of that since they're cutting entirely different scenes and dialogue together for their specific 2 minute effect
  • The return of Michelle Pfeiffer's Married to the Mob accent "we're not in Brooklyn anymore"
  • Michelle Pfeiffer driving that car with those sunglasses
  • Tommy Lee Jones has been on a real roll lately. Does this end the party or continue it?
  • and Michelle Pfeiffer as fire starter. Bring it bitch. 

NO

  • After Silver Linings Playbook, I'd like to believe that Robert DeNiro is back to acting rather than cashing in but a mob comedy is probably not the place to believe that.
  • Whenever trailers show this much of the wink-wink laughs and action, I worry about "those are all the best parts" and there's a lot of ways in which this might be super offensive (xenophobia, "hurting people is hilarious!" immaturity and so on) rather than funny. 

MAYBE SO

 

  • Luc Besson, in the director's seat, isn't totally reliable.
  • The casting of the kids looks great visually but Dianna Agron coasts a lot on her looks and when you're playing Pfeiffer's daughter... well, she better take it up a notch. Pfeiffer never did that and good lord she could have coasted for decades with the ones she got.
  • Also: Can you believe my restraint that I only used one photo of Pfeiffer to illustrate this?

Here's the trailer if you don't mind spoilers.

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So?