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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


Keep TFE Strong



Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?

Women's Pictures: Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark

Welcome, guys and ghouls, to our special October edition of Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures!"

 This month, rather than focusing on 5 films by 1 female director, we will be watching 5 films by 5 female directors with 1 thing in common: horror. Because what's the one thing scarier than working in a boy's club industry? I reached out on social media to ask the internet what it wanted to see, and got an overwhelming response for these five films. Going chronologically, the first film on our list is a vampire flick by beloved Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.

In true 80s Bigelow fashion, Near Dark is a grim action thriller; part Western, part gang movie, part family drama, with enough explosions and gruesome special effects that you might miss the moralistic AIDS allegory underneath. Whenever the mainstream heaps praise on Kathryn Bigelow, their focus is usually on the fact that Bigelow does not work in "women's genres," which is to say films with "feminine" themes or plot lines. However, beneath the edgy synth soundtrack, the sex, violence, and hair gel, Near Dark is a surprisingly conservative film about the redemptive power of family. More...

Click to read more ...


Welcome Back Andrew Garfield

Murtada is happy that Andrew Garfield is no longer a superhero. You?

Vince Vaughn and Garfield in the first picture from Hacksaw Ridge

Andrew Garfield recently started production on Mel Gibson's World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge in Australia. The movie is based on the life of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor after saving dozens of soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.

Hacksaw Ridge will mark Andrew Garfield’s third post Spider-Man film. Coming in 2016 is Martin Scorsese’s Silence and he’s currently in cinemas with 99 Homes. From 28 to 31 years of age, Garfield was only the web-slinger. Some think he squandered the promise he showed in Boy A and The Social Network. Garfield himself was torn about what he had accomplished, saying in a recent interview:

I never felt like I was able to do enough. And I couldn’t rescue those films…even though I didn’t sleep. [laughs]. And I wanted to…not to say that I needed to rescue those films, but I couldn’t make them as deep and soulful and…life-giving as I could ever dream. And I’m never gonna be able to do that, with any film. It was especially difficult in that situation because…well, just because. And it was especially important because that character has always meant so much to me.

Garfield in 99 Homes

If 99 Homes is any indication there’s no reason to worry. Playing a construction worker who loses his home in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis, Garfield is effortlessly affecting as he deals with the shame and grief of losing everything and hitting rock bottom. While he is overshadowed by Michael Shannon’s blistering embodiment of “Americana”, the movie works because Garfield grounds it with a natural soulfulness that reminded this viewer of Mark Ruffalo at his best.

Garfield is obviously someone who feels a lot. Read that quote above again. Doesn’t the story of a heroic conscientious objector seem like a perfect fit? To prove the point about all the feels he feels, we’ll leave you with what he said about working with Emma Stone.

"Working with Emma was like diving into a thrilling, twisting river and never holding on to the sides. From the start. To the end. Spontaneous. In the moment. Present. Terrifying. Vital. The only way acting with someone should be."


Oscar Contender "The Assassin" Leads the Golden Horse Nominations

Nominations for the 52nd annual Golden Horse Awards have been announced with Taiwan's Oscar submission The Assassin leading the pack as well as netting arthouse favorite Hou Hsiao-Hsien a non-competitive statue for "Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker" to go along with his Best Director prize from Cannes earlier this year. The Assassin opens in limited US theatrical release on October 16th via Well Go entertainment. China's Oscar submission Wolf Totem, which is actually from animal-movie loving French director Jean-Jacques Annaud (!), only received 1 nomination for visual effects. The latter film is about a student living with Mongolian herders who adopts a wolf cub. 

Though The Assassin is likely to sweep the Golden Horses outside of acting (where only the ridiculously beautiful Shu Qi, Hou's regular muse, is nominated. No Chen Chang? Grrrr.) it's not the only big deal in Chinese languages cinema this year. Taiwan's Thanatos, Drunk, Hong Kong's popular crime thriller Port of Call, and China's acclaimed festival favorite Mountains May Depart also reaped several nominations. The event will be held on November 21st in Taipei. 


A complete list of nominations after the jump...

Click to read more ...


NYFF: Julianne Moore in "Maggie's Plan"

Manuel here with your weekly reminder that Julianne Moore is an Academy Award Winner.


Rebecca Miller's Maggie's Plan plays like a New York City screwball comedy with a Jane Austen protagonist at its center. If all of those elements feel like they would pull the film in opposite directions, you would be correct. Greta Gerwig is Maggie, a Gerwig-type gal too busy trying to match-make and keep everything within neat little plans to notice what’s right in front of her. Maggie, you see, wants to have a baby by herself, a plan that like many of the ones she cooks up throughout the film, goes awry when she falls for a married man (Ethan Hawke) whose brilliant, ice-cold wife Georgette (a bonkers accented Julianne Moore) is making him horribly miserable. That’s the basic premise. Or, perhaps, “everyone is self-absorbed, impossibly verbose, and in some sort of marital disarray” is just as good a summary for Miller’s film.

Miller, who you may know as “the writer-director of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (or even as “Lady Day-Lewis”), has a knack for skewering the pompous urbanity of New Yorkers and much of the comedy in Maggie’s Plan is derived from putting these characters in awkward situations their loquaciousness cannot solve. This is a world where people are “pickle entrepreneurs,” specialize in Ficto-Critical Anthropology, suggest the word like “is a language condom,” and rejoice when they hear Slavoj Žižek will be attending a conference in Canada. Gerwig, Hawke and especially Moore do a great job of walking the thin line between satirizing and humanizing these characters, though Miller’s script sometimes strains for credulity, her characters at once too childish and too self-aware to make many of the choices they make, like write an autobiographical academic book about the affair that destroyed their marriage to a promising anthropologist who’s intent on writing a continuously ballooning mess of a novel.

Thus, while the overall plotting is a bit off (Maggie is compared to Titania, Shakespeare’s meddling fairy Queen, though she’s closer to Austen’s clueless protagonists in the way she approaches relatively simple endeavors with needless complexity), it gives these performers some howlers to milk. Moore in particular finds ways of making lines like “No one upends commodity fetishism like you do!” have you double over in laughter. Part of it is her Danish accent. Part of it is her pineapple-like hairstyle. And part of it is the withering looks she gives as she spouts her dialogue in contempt: “There’s something so pure in you. And stupid” she says to Maggie at one point.

 And so, while there’s plenty to enjoy in Maggie’s Plan, including wonderful bit parts by Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader as Maggie’s bickering married friends, it’s all ultimately a bit too precious. But know this: you haven’t really lived until you’ve seen Julianne Moore faceplant while walking in the snow only to later whimper: “Are we going to die here?!”

 Maggie’s Plan plays NYFF on Sunday October 4th (with Miller, Gerwig, Moore, Hawke, Rudolph, and Travis Fimmel in person) and Monday October 5th (with Miller in person). Sony Pictures Classics will release Maggie's Plan though a date has yet to be determined. 

September. It's a Wrap

We've reached the final quarter of the year? Unreal right? September was very rough off blog (personal crises for friends and family) and the movies kept us just as busy. Frankly your editor-in-chief has had a hard time remembering what day of the week it even is at this point. The head is spinning. So let October be a fresh new rebirth as we begin the march toward Oscar night. Just 151 days away! 

September often felt like a brick to the head

10 September Highlights
Best School Films - Team Experience went back to school by choosing the 10 all time best from 1955's Rebel Without a Cause through 2008's Palme d'or winner The Class
Fury Road's "Best Shots" - multiple tributes to John Seale's cinematography on Mad Max Fury Road
Fast Times - Anne Marie looked at the career of Amy Heckerling in Women's Pictures
Matt Damon's Foot in Mouth Disease - Oh Matt. Well meaning oblivious Matt
AHS Promos - Manuel argued that American Horror Story is better at the foreplay than the actual f***ing
Top Ten Summer - the Podcast team chose their favorite things about 2015's summer movies 
What's next for Jennifer Lawrence? - Murtada is keeping an eye on her 
Goodfellas turns 25 - David revisited the Scorsese classic
Jeremy Irvine talked Stonewall "no one ever sets out to make a bad movie" 
Liz Taylor's best Cleopatra looks - Abstew did the impossible choosing 10 from 65 costume changes! 

Oscar Mania
Tis the (beginning) of the season. We paid special attention to Best Picture movement, Original Song, Foreign Film, Actress, and Actor... but all of the charts are freshly updated.  

Other Happenings...
At TIFF Amir & Nathaniel reviewed 37 films (whew). But film festivals weren't the only happenings. In September we also learned that we'd get two Oscar hosts (but not who they'd be), were forced to say goodbye to master of horror Wes Craven, and celebrated Emmy night with several articles as well as actressy celebrations devoted to Regina King, and new triplecrowner Frances McDormand.

Lots of exciting new movies to talk about including Room, The Martian, Freeheld, Steve Jobs, Crimson Peak and Suffragette. We'll also have a mini 1963 celebration to include the final Supporting Actress Smackdown of the season featuring Tom Jones, The VIPs and Lilies of the Field (panelists tba very soon), a few spooky films, and more interviews, reviews, lists, and silliness. ANY REQUESTS?


Interview: "Labyrinth of Lies" Director on Obsession, Oscars and How Directing is Like Playing Music

Jose here. When we first meet Johann Radmann (Alexander Fehling) in Labyrinth of Lies, he’s a tenacious, idealistic prosecutor, who refuses to let a young woman get away unscathed from a minor traffic ticket with the notion that the law should be abided no matter what. His world is turned upside down upon discovering that the system he respects so much is overcrowded with former Nazis who were never prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. When his boss Fritz Bauer (Gert Voss) sees his potential, he assigns him to investigate the crimes committed by former workers at Auschwitz. Directed by Giulio Ricciarelli, Labyrinth of Lies is a powerful thriller that touches on the subject of obsession in unexpected  ways. The film’s plot spans for almost a decade, which allows us to see the frustration and powerlessness felt by the characters. Even knowing the real life outcome, we sometimes doubt Johann will be able to overcome the corruption and indifference of those in power.

The film will represent German at the Academy Awards, and begins its US theatrical release today. I spoke to director Ricciarelli about his unique directorial style, the theme of obsession and creating supporting characters worthy of their own movies.

JOSE: Labyrinth of Lies is essentially a film about obsession. Can you talk about how you used obsession to shape the structure of the film and the character played by Alexander Fehling?

more after the jump

Click to read more ...


Ellar Coltrane and the Burden of the Iconic Role

Kieran, here. Ellar Coltrane, the boy at the center of Richard Linklater's much heralded Boyhood has landed his next role, a supporting part in The Circle, an adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel about privacy paranoia in the age of social media. Tom Hanks is already attached to star in the thriller, which will be directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now). Coltrane will reportedly play Emma Watson's boyfriend who wants to go off the grid, out of the grasp of the eponymous Circle (which is not, repeat NOT Google). That's kind of funny, considering Mason's somewhat self-conscious, adolescent arrogance screed against social media and smart phones in Boyhood

The Spectacular Now suggested that Ponsoldt has a gift for pulling great performances from young actors, stretching our imaginations as to what they're capable of. Can he do that again for Ellar Coltrane?

Let me just say that I was an enthusiastic fan of Boyhood and I quite liked Coltrane in it. Er...maybe that's an entirely honest appraisal of my feelings about Coltrane's performance. I thought the movie acquitted itself well while working around a performance with very clear peaks and valleys. Coltrane's doe-eyed befuddlement works really well in certain key moments of the film, as when he witnesses the domestic abuse inflicted on his mother. That same blankness (and the role of Mason does require him to be somewhat blank) tends to fail him in moments when he's expected to communicate a clear persepctive, like the aforementioned scene where he's railing against Facebook. I didn't leave Boyhood with a clear idea of his acting chops in either direction. Boyhood was such a specialized project in conception and execution that it's hard to extrapolate how someone might perform beyond that. (Especially with very little frame of reference. Other than a very brief appearance in Fast Food Nation, Coltrane hasn't appeared in anything else.)

Are you curious to see what we get from Coltrane going forward?

From Quinn Cummings (The Goodbye Girl) and Justin Henry (Kramer vs. Kramer) to more recent examples of Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) it's rare that young actors who have their debuts or breakthroughs in heralded projects go on to have careers that match that initial acclaim. One can certainly debate the merits of each (and my opinion ranges from very warm to very cold), but these famous examples all demonstrate that it can be very hard to crawl out from under the weight of a culturally resonant breakthrough performance. 

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 1017 Next 7 Entries »