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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
Dec022015

Links

Yahoo longtime TV star Holland Taylor (The Practice, Two and a Half Men, Bosom Buddies) and TFE stage/film/tv obsession Sarah Paulson are dating! Taylor, who is 72, said she never came out to the media before "because I live out"
Hateful Eight
track listing for the soundtrack
Playbill two new Broadway musical productions are from all female teams. One is Waitress, based on the indie film
Variety Disney sees 2500 actors for Young Han Solo
Variety Sundance competition lineup announced
Youtube Scowl at the moon! It's the new Batman v Superman v Joy teaser
Awards Daily Listen up - Star Wars was never just "a boy's thing"
This is Not Porn Chris Pratt on the set of his very first movie. Thin body. Big hair.
Vulture Jane Fonda talks about her dance parties. Wait, what?
Pajiba Channing Tatum doesn't like Alex Pettyfer. Pettyfer says why
Screen Daily Michael Fassbender will play two roles in Alien: Covenant - makes sense that there would be multiple David8 androids.
New Yorker looks back at Patricia Highsmith  and the creation of her novel "The Price of Salt" aka the "Carol" we're obsessing over

Year End List Mania
DuJour
does a 'hollywood issue' style 'performances of the year' gallery piece. Youth gets the best placement leading with the first three slides going to Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz. But Steve Jobs, Carol, Son of Saul and other films also featured.
IW 20 Breakthrough Performances of the year
Rolling Stone top 50 albums of the year: Kendrick Lamar tops the list but the Hamilton Original Cast Recording, Adele's 25, Joanna Newsom's Divers and Madonna's Rebel Heart (yaaas) all make the list too

Bless Her
Annie Liebovitz shot a bunch of powerful women for Pirelli's 2016 calendar. Amy Schumer posted her photo with no retouching. Love the body you're in!

 

 

Wednesday
Dec022015

HBO’s LGBT History: Big Love (2006-2011)

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

Last week (and perhaps you missed it seeing as it was on Thanksgiving Eve), we talked about Diane Lane and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Willam Belli in Cinema Verite which chronicled the behind-the-scenes drama of the first reality TV show, PBS’s An American Family. This week we look a decidedly new American family, the Henrickson clan of Big Love.

Shows like Big Love are precisely what draws me into the HBO brand. Here is a drama about a polygamous Mormon family man, Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) that tackled its subject matter with surprising candor and complexity. It at once aimed to present a deconstruction of the “traditional” American family while all the while rebuffing such an ideological construct in the first place. Bill lives with his three wives: Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloë Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin). Those three names alone should you get you interested since, even as the show billed itself around well, Bill, it was the interactions and inner lives of Bill’s three wives which drove much of the show, with Tripplehorn, Sevigny and Goodwin doing great actressing. At its best, the show was a thrilling exploration of non-normative families, particularly insightful when it came to dealing with issues of sexuality within and outside the confines of marriage.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec022015

Can "Creed" Go 12 Rounds With Oscar?

In the past 48 hours I've screened The Revenant, Joy, and Creed. Since the first two are still under embargo we're not allowed to speak of them yet. I will say these non spoilers that The Revenant continues the tradition of Inaritu's love of miserable arguably suicidal men, and Joy continues in the tradition of David O. Russell sandbox like playgrounds for actors eager to play with their new parts. But...embargo!

As movie buffs well know, the original Rocky was a smash hit when it premiered in December 1976, becoming the biggest box office hit of that year, making a star of Sly Stallone, charting a #1 single ("Gonna Fly Now"), and earning an incredible 10 Oscar nominations. It eventually won Picture, Director, and Editing on the big night. And against unreal competition too: Network, Taxi Driver, Bound for Glory, and All The President's Men. The Rocky series spawned a few popular sequels but eventually exhausted its welcome as film franchises do. Creed, smartly plays like both a straight sequel (VII) and a spinoff or rebirth with Rocky Balboa passing the franchise torch to Apollo Creed's son Adonis (Michael B Jordan).

So let's talk Creed and Oscar and the ways it could well factor into the Oscar race after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec022015

NYFCC Winners

 The New York Film Critics Circle takes their sweet time each year debating their "bests" and shouldn't we all? Nevertheless it's agony for awards addicts like us, the excruciating wait times that commence between 9 AM EST and continue for hours. With lunch break. If you want to have a laugh at my expense I tried to predict the winners as part of the Gurus of Gold chart this week (update: This year they wrapped up by 1:00 PM though so all is well. The only thing i got right in my predictions was Carol for Film/Director)

A bit of Oscar adjacent history: In the past 20 years of their long long history (they're octogenarians now!) they've selected 4 films that went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars, 11 more that were nominated and 5 that were critical darlings and eventual Oscar players but were shut out of the big race (Leaving Las Vegas, Topsy-Turvy, Mulholland Drive, Far From Heaven, United 93). Which is a long way of saying they have refined if not quite populist taste but they're never too far afield of Oscar's wheelhouse. Do they influence the Oscars? It's tough to say. The Film Experience's position is, generally speaking, that no single critics group influence voters beyond pointing them at films... but the NYFCC and LAFCA are the ones the industry cares most about and are most likely to let in... at least to pique their interest in particular films and performances.

So here we go...

Best Film Carol
Best Director Todd Haynes, Carol

It's worth noting, as Sasha Stone did, that very few directors have ever won Best Director twice at the NYFF. The list includes Martin Scorsese and Kathryn Bigelow and now Haynes. Carol was the big winner of today's announcement taking home 4 prizes.

Best Actress Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Actor Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Best Supporting Actress Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Best Supporting Actor Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

But not in acting. That said these are wonderful choices for the prizes, going out of their way to remember Kristen Stewart's amazingly naturalistic engaging work as Binoche's personal assistant in Sils Maria. That performance has already won her a Cesar Award in France but since she's not campaigning things will probably stop here. Saoirse Ronan and Mark Rylance will surely go the distance to a nomination in Best Actress and Supporting Actor and both could well compete for the win... though we'll have to see the whole field before we really get into that.

The strangest thing is to ignore the supporting campaign (a legitimate choice to make everyone supporting in such an ensemble film) for Keaton and give him the Best Actor prize. But he gives the best performance in a film filled with good work so hurrah!


Best Screenplay Carol, adapted by Phyllis Nagy from the Patricia Highsmith novel "The Price of Salt"
Best Cinematography Carol, Edward Lachman

A thousand times yes. The whole team on Carol was doing exquisite work. That's why we asked them all why they were such geniuses. NYFCC are Todd Haynes fans (as all truly outstanding people are) and they gave Far From Heaven 5 awards in 2002.

Best First Film Son of Saul d. László Nemes
Best Animated Film Inside Out (Pixar) d. Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen
Best Documentary In Jackson Heights d. Frederick Wiseman
Best Foreign Language Film Timbuktu (Mauritania) d. Abderrahmane Sissako
Special Award William Becker and Janus Films
Special Award Ennio Morricone, composer

Son of Saul looks fairly unstoppable for the Foreign Film Oscar this season so the race to watch is probably the nominations themselves. And whether Son of Saul can expand into other categories... which it wants to. As previously stated in the Documentary Finalist post it's odd that the Academy's documentary branch continues to pass on Frederick Wiseman's documentaries considering that they are routinely greeted with "masterpiece" level reviews; he's never been Oscar nominated.

That's it. On a scale of 1-10 how happy did today's announcement make you?

WE'LL LET CATE BLANCHETT HAVE THE FINAL WORD SINCE CAROL WAS THE BIG WINNER...

 

Wednesday
Dec022015

What do people think of the actual supporting players? 

As I was updating the supporting actress chart I was reminded again why I hate category fraud. This year Mya Taylor, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara have all been campaigning for supporting awards and in truth I love them. They're terrific in their films (Tangerine, The Danish Girl, Carol respectively) and in two of the three cases the MVP of their films. But all three are also leading ladies in films that are absolutely duets. There's been a lot of (deserved) discussion of these performances but category fraud creates a vacuum elsewhere.  It's not just that it's dishonest, a gaming of the system to give more attention to actors who usually already get plenty of it (Mya Taylor being an exception here obviously... but usually category fraud benefits stars), but it skews the conversation such that once awards season rolls around, you wake up and you realize you have precious little idea what anyone actually thinks of the supporting players of the year. This is one of the reason "coaster" nominations happen where people get in simply because their film is loved. People haven't really thought their choices through. Because they haven't been discussed. Not the way leading performances are.

Like these women... shouldn't there be more conversation about what they bring to their films? But how can that conversation even start when people are only talking about leading ladies.

The next time someone tells you the supporting race is thin -- point them to this graphic. I don't love all of these performances myself but all 24* of them, if they were to be pointed out to a wide group of voters as viable options, well, wouldn't they each have no trouble finding some fans? My point is this: you can definitely find 5 great performances in any category in any film year.

See the updated Supporting Actress Chart and discuss your favorites in the comments. Which of these 24 women do you love and who should we all be discussing? Not for their probability of a nomination but for their actual performances?

* I am torn as to whether Kristen Stewart or Elizabeth Banks can justifiably be called supporting for Clouds of Sils Maria & Love and Mercy. They're borderline cases. Each is the lead of their portion of the film but they're not the leadiest (if you will) since someone else is even more important and they both disappear for a section of their films.

 

Tuesday
Dec012015

15 Oscar Documentary Finalists... A Tight Race

Could Marlon Brando return to the Oscars posthumously? The documentary Listen to Me Marlon made the finals for the Best Documentary Oscar even though documentaries about Hollywood stars and movies aren't typically so favorited. Note that Ingrid Bergman's documentary --also famously "in her own words" -- and the enjoyable Tab Hunter: Confidential and the Sundance sensation The Wolfpack about living through the movies weren't as lucky and did not make the finals. 

The 15 Finalists

Snubbed Again
Frederick Wiseman can't catch a break with the Academy though he's a legend and his latest In Jackson Heights met with the typical rapturous response among critics.

New Prediction Chart
I didn't have to adjust it too much. Why? Well I'm...

Psychic!
Of the 15 I Predicted for the Finalist, 9 of them made it so I did pretty well (of the films I predicted for nominations 4 of them are still standing). Bye Sherpa! Glenn is even better than me at Documentary predictions. Check out this prediction he tweeted back in October and all the films are still in the running:

 

 

Noteable High Profile Omissions
Though these films made a name for themselves at the box office or with honors from various organizations none of them made it to the finals:  The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Dark Horse, Deli Man, Dior and I, Iris, Janis: Little Girl Blue, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Meet the Patels, Only the Dead See the End of War, Stray Dog, Sunshine Superman, The Russian Woodpecker, and The Wolfpack

 

Tuesday
Dec012015

John Waters Top 10 List: Fairy Tales, 3D Sex, Tasteful Trangression

John Waters with Patty Hearst at the "Carol" premiereAh one of our favorite bad taste good --no... singular taste traditions of year-end end look backs has arrived: the annual John Waters Top Ten List at ArtForum. Though the Baltimore film icon hasn't made a feature film in over ten years he still says active as a celebrity for which we thank him. Try and imagine the world without him; we never want to!

His top ten lists generally contain at least one or two titles we haven't even heard of (rare for us don'cha know) and that's true again with #1 and #9 right here. They're also always a mix of smart, beautiful, queer, and head scratching choices -- I'm sorry but Love is NOT a good movie even if it does contain, as John Waters raves, "heterosexual rimming -- in 3D!"

John Waters 2015 Top Ten List
01 HELMUT BERGER, ACTOR (Andreas Horvath)
02 CINDERELLA (Kenneth Branagh)

Yes, you heard me, Cinderella. I fucking love this Disney film.

03 THE FORBIDDEN ROOM (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson)
04 TOM AT THE FARM (Xavier Dolan)
05 MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (George Miller)
06 CAROL (Todd Haynes)

Maybe the only way to be transgressive these days is to be shockingly tasteful. This Lana Turner–meets–Audrey Hepburn lipstick-lesbian melodrama is so old-fashioned I felt like I was one year old after watching it. That’s almost reborn.

07 THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (Marielle Heller)
08 TANGERINE (Sean Baker)
09 FLY COLT FLY: LEGEND OF THE BAREFOOT BANDIT (Adam Gray and Andrew Gray)
10 LOVE (Gaspar Noé)

when will Xavier Dolan movies ever get on a respectable US release schedule? Tom at the Farm an excellent 2013 movie was only just released in the states in 2015

His commentary is always great fun -- his take on Xavier Dolan's tense grief thriller Tom at the Farm is especially John Waters but hugely spoiler-filled -- so go read if it you're so inclined.