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Monday
Apr272015

Hot Docs "Best of Enemies"

Amir continues his coverage of Toronto's Hot Docs festival. Will he spot any future Oscar nominees?

It is hard to imagine today that there was once an America where political debates in the media were sensational, not just sensationalized. Harder yet is to envision a time when conservative political commentators weren’t complete buffoons, but rather eloquent, smart thinkers. That is exactly the time that Best of Enemies transports us to, Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s film about the televised debates leading up to the 1968 Republican and Democratic national conventions. ABC, then trailing as America’s third network and in search of a ratings boost, decided to pit two of the country’s most famous commentators against one another: the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. The two were known to dislike each other and their pairing on live TV was sure to cause a stir.

Their prediction proved to be correct when on the 8th night of a series of incendiary discussions, Buckley reacted to Vidal’s name-calling and being labeled a “crypto-Nazi” with a momentary burst of anger...

Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the face and you’ll stay plastered.”

 

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Monday
Apr272015

Beauty vs Beast: Tip Top Trophy Wife

Happy Monday, folks - Jason from MNPP here with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" - guess who is celebrating a birthday this week? If you guessed "Nathaniel's Queen Bee" Michelle Pfeiffer then give yourself a cookie... or a toot of the finest Colombian maybe? (The Film Experience does not endorse drug use.) The cocaine reference leads us to this week's competition -- we're slipping into our tightest disco pants and taking on Brian De Palma's Scarface, of course.

Nine years ago this week Nathaniel actually held a Michelle Pfeiffer blog-a-thon and I wrote up my adoration of her performance as Elvira Hancock then - you can read that here. I thought about that post as I gathered my wits about this one today - I might be blinded by my own love but I think this is probably an unfair fight that's gonna leave Al Pacino as bloodied as a body in a bathtub. Oh well. You think he cares? He'll take our fuckin' bullets!

Whose team are you on?
Team Elvira0%
Team Tony0%

PREVIOUSLY "Artificial Intelligence Week" is still going strong here at The Film Experience but a week ago we kicked it off with Fritz Lang's Metropolis and a tale of Two Marias - would Good Maria triumph over Evil Robot-Maria just like in the movie? Heck no! We wanna dance dance dance! Said RobMiles:

"I voted for Robot-Maria, but have to salute Brigitte Helm for playing both roles perfectly. PS. I've done a similar dance in my time!"

Monday
Apr272015

Disney's Descendants: Summer TV Camp?

Manuel here bringing a bit of levity to your Monday morning. Sometimes you come across something (a casting announcement, a trailer, a plot description) that leaves you agog. 

Such is the case with this trailer for Descendants, a summer original Disney Channel movie which begins with the premise "what if Disney Villains hadn't died at the end of their respective films but instead were sent to an island prison where they had beautiful children who will now attend the prep school with the beautiful children of your favorite Disney princesses?" I mean. Disney has clearly gone full camp, right? With Kenny High School Musical Ortega, one hopes. Even in describing it it sounds like the sort of thing that'd have made a cool animated series in the early 2000s (you know, alongside Jungle Cubs, Hercules, and The Emperor's New School).

That description doesn't do it justice, so take a look:

 

 

I'm sharing the trailer because I NEED to talk about this. There's so much to discuss! Will Disney ever stop seeing its classic animated characters as anything other than endlessly replicable cosplay opportunities? Will Kristin Chenoweth (as a bite-sized Maleficent) and Kathy Najimy (as the Evil Queen) get the spinoff we probably all would guiltily watch? Tell me everything that came to mind as you realized this was indeed a real thing and not a Tumblr post gone viral. 

Monday
Apr272015

Tribeca: King Jack

Tribeca might be over but the Team has still got a few reviews for you. Here's Jason on one of the Audience Award winners.

What happens when you see too much of a person you know in a movie? I don't mean literally. Sadly I am not acquaintances on a first-name-basis or even a-polite-nod-in-the-hallway with Chris Evans, so when I finally see the new Avengers movie I'm not gonna be all, "God I just can't buy him as Captain America. That's Lil' Chrissy up there!" No what I mean by "seeing too much of a person you know in a movie" is when a character reminds you so much of a person from your life that it ultimately becomes distracting. You find yourself paying more attention to the ways that character interacts with their real-world counterpart, your friend or mother or whatever, than ever getting lost in the movie itself. As an outside example, Sandra Bullock was just straight-up playing my boyfriend's sister in The Blind Side - it was like at least three or four steps beyond uncanniness. It was impossible to take any of that movie seriously after that.

I had a bit of that going on with King Jack... 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr272015

Yes No Maybe So: Johnny Depp and Yet Another Hairpiece in 'Black Mass'

Margaret here... Johnny Depp is struggling -- as much as anyone who commands a ten-figure salary and goes home to a private island can be said to be struggling. His last real hit was the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie in 2011, and it's been even longer since critics have had much nice to say about one of his performances. He's looking for a comeback, and it looks like he may have one in Scott Cooper's Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, due later this year.

Warner Brothers recently debuted footage of Black Mass at CinemaCon, and the buzz was very positive. The first official trailer was released not long after, which means we can now weigh in on whether the people who are starting to throw the O-word around are on to something, or just experiencing the power of low expectations.

trailer and YNMS breakdown after the jump 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr272015

Tribeca: "The Overnight"

Abstew continues our coverage of the just wrapped Tribeca Film Festival...

Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are young parents that have recently moved from Seattle to the very different world of Los Angeles. Emily has thrown herself into her career, but Alex bemoans the fact that as an adult that spends his time at home with his young son, there's no easy way to make new friends. It's a very real question that most adults face, if you're no longer involved in institutions like school and business, where exactly do you make new friends? And while that might be the film's initial question, the resulting film has decidedly more adult intentions on its mind...

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Sunday
Apr262015

A.I. "2046"

Who’s ever fallen in love with an android?”

So wonders the train captain, jovially dismissive of his staff of beautiful female robots aboard a train leaving the futuristic district of 2046. The answer, as we know from the annals of cinematic and literary history, is many a man, and Tak (Takuya Kimura) is merely the latest.

Dave continues our artificial intelligence celebration after the jump...

Click to read more ...