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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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Worst Best Picture Snubs Ever?

"One of the main reasons why I’m proud to be British is that BAFTA nominated Enternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Carol for best picture" - Mikey

"My pick for biggest snub of all time might be Do the Right Thing" - Edwin

"Alfred Hitchcock was robbed three times;- Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window all were NOT nominated for Best Pic." - Bette

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Wednesday
Sep072016

DVD Review: The Meddler

By Chris Feil

Earlier this year, Lorene Scafaria's The Meddler sadly came and went quietly before summer kicked (and punched and brooded) into high gear. Unlike Susan Surandon's needling mother at its center, the film is laidback and unimposing, the kind of lovely simple comedy we beg for more of and too often ignore once it arrives. Now on DVD, the film is a gem that you'll need to catch up with...

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Wednesday
Sep072016

Shock Corridor (1963)

1963 is our "year of the month". Here's Sean Donovan on Shock Corridor

In Robert Polito’s Criterion Collection essay on Samuel Fuller’s 1963 film Shock Corridor, the firebrand filmmaker Fuller is quoted saying “it is not the headline that counts, but how hard you shout it.” This spirit of loud, unabashed aggression perfectly epitomizes Shock Corridor, a singular, strange entry in the cinema of 1963. The film follows an ambitious journalist Johnny Barrett (Peter Breck) who gets himself committed to a mental hospital (after faking incestuous urges in a meeting with psychiatrists) to crack a mysterious murder case from the inside-out, hoping to get the secrets from the inmates on their own level. If it sounds like the makings of a sleazy pulp fiction novel, that’s exactly what is.

Shock Corridor is pure b-movie Hollywood gutter trash, but with Samuel Fuller at the helm, it becomes something fascinatingly independent and bizarre... 

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Wednesday
Sep072016

Judy by the Numbers: "Snowflakes"

What on odd year is 1963 in the history of Judy Garland. 1964 marks the last year of Judy Garland's film career, and the boom of Judy's television career. The first of Judy's final two movies reunited Judy Garland with producer Stanley Kramer and actor Burt Lancaster, with whom she'd worked only two years before in Judgment at Nuremburg. By the early 1960s, Kramer was establishing himself as the prestige producer of hard-hitting social issue cinema. A Child Is Waiting, about an institution for developmentally challenged children, was no different.

The Movie: A Child is Waiting (Universal, 1963)
The Songwriter: Marjorie D. Kurtz
The Players: Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Gena Rowlands, directed by John Cassavetes

The Story: While the majority of Judy Garland's career was dominated by Technicolor musical extravaganzas, the last few films of her career do signal an attempt at darker, "more serious" work. Surrounded by Method artists like Rowlands, Cassavetes, and (to some degree) Lancaster, Judy clearly embraced a more fluid, less "Studio" form of acting. Her improvisation with the students shows this transition. This scene, not a "musical number" in the conventional sense, sees Judy attempting to teach a song to her students through many tactics - banging on the piano, half-quiet mumbling, sing-shouting, etc - while playing a range of tensions in the scene, from timidity to irritation to joy when they start to get it right. It is a subtle musical performance.

Most of the drama in A Child Is Waiting happened behind the scenes between Kramer and Cassavetes, but ultimately no battles or cute children could save the film. It lost $2 million among mixed reviews, a frustrating end to an artistic leap on Judy's part.

Tuesday
Sep062016

YNMS: The Young Pope

by Laurence Barber

In the wake of House of Cards' success, it seems networks have all been clamouring to make shows about other worlds that are full of their own political intrigue. Netflix itself has the Gerard Depardieu-starring Marseille, which French critics savaged and everyone else mostly ignored, and the upcoming The Crown. In other ways, shows like Mr. Robot and UnReal seem partially derivative of this trend despite updating and resituating it. Now, in a joint production, Sky, Canal+ and HBO have teamed up to produce the latest project from Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino: The Young Pope...

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Tuesday
Sep062016

Back to School with Realistic Movie Professors

by Kyle Stevens

Professor Indiana JonesAfter teaching for years as a graduate student, then as a postdoc, and then as a Visiting Assistant Professor, I’ve finally started a proper position as Assistant Professor of Film Studies. As semesters begin all over the country, I turned to thinking about my favorite on-screen professors. High school movies tend to serve as microcosms of society; they’re all emotional peaks and valleys, in-groups and out-groups, and the goal is to get out. In college movies, from Animal House and Old School to Legally Blonde and The House Bunny, the goal is to stay on the rip-roaring ride of university life. 

Not surprisingly, college teachers don’t feature heavily in these movies. And in other genres where professors pop up, they’re not exactly realistic. Think Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, Natalie Portman in Thor, Hugh Grant in The Rewrite, and so on. (Propriety dictates that I not comment on the realism of Bruce Humberstone’s 1952 Virginia Mayo vehicle She’s Working Her Way Through College.) Television doesn’t fare much better, as the patently absurd characters in How to Get Away with Murder or Transparent attest. 

But here are my personal favorites. The Top Five Professors in Film..

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Tuesday
Sep062016

Doc Corner: 'Cameraperson' is Simply Extraordinary

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

Cameraperson is the most extraordinary of documentaries. A compelling first-person visual memoir that intricately weaves some 15 years of filmmaking into a remarkably watchable cinematic patchwork quilt. A truly wondrous mix-tape that finds documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson taking directorial duties upon herself in the creation of a film about the creation of films. She utilizes b-roll footage, outtakes, and home movies to build, as if like free-form lego, a powerful portrait of not just herself, but the world we live in. Cameraperson is without a doubt the best documentary of 2016, and just maybe the best film of the year, period.

You have surely seen some of the films that Johnson has used footage from. Popular titles like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Citizenfour from Johnson's frequent collaborator Laura Poitras, the latter of which makes a wonderfully obscure and unexplained appearance yet which only proves how impressively that doc was filmed. We’ve even reviewed some of them right here at The Film Experience like Dawn Porter’s Trapped, which was the very first title we reviewed in the Doc Corner.

No matter how many of the 24 titles Johnson draws from that you have seen, you haven’t seen them like this. And any that you haven't will no doubt rocket to the top of your must watch pile...

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