DON'T MISS THIS!

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF
50th Anniversary Rewatch 


DEVOUR IT! 

Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
"This stuff" in WEEKEND

"This scene is a thing of beauty in a film full of them. Thanks for the great write-up" - Raul

 "Andrew Haigh's skill to work with actors in moments so intimate like this one is astonishing" -Eduardo

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

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

THANKS IN ADVANCE

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.

Subscribe
Wednesday
Jun222016

Best Shot(s): The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Season 7 Episode 16


The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant
Written and Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus 

When you watch a lot of movies you inadvertently end up drawing comparisons between films that you wouldn't have thought to put in conversation previously. It's as if you've accidentally become a guest programmer of a repertory theater or a local festival. Such was the case this week when I (not intentionally) watched Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) and The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972) nearly back to back and shook my fists to the heavens and cursed the name of anyone who ever regurgitated the lie that you have to "open up" stage plays to make them work on screen. 

Tears. not totally bitter yet but she's getting there.

Sometimes half the power of a text is in its site-specific constriction. So I went from George & Martha's messy drab campus housing with a bar (or at least its contents) in every room, to the stylish studio apartment of fashion designer Petra Von Kant which was paradoxically both over-decorated and minimalist, and both frozen in place and ever-shifting without explanation (Wasn't the bed over there in the last scene? Can these mannequins move around the room at will like the toys in Pixar movies?). I loved every second of both films and especially, perhaps paradoxically for someone who prefers short movies, the foreboding sense that there was no way to exit either film, ever, unless you accepted your fate and drowned in their contagious neuroses.

All it takes to make a play cinematic when it becomes a movie is great filmmakers. That's it. That's the whole formula...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun212016

Linkspray 

The Film Stage Kate Winslet will lead Woody Allen's next film which supposedly involves Coney Island
W Magazine gets Tom Hiddleston stripped down (not an unusual triumph of late: see High-Rise)
i09 even though Sterling Archer may or may not be dead (cliffhangers. argh) Archer has been renewed for 3 more seasons. Yay! 
Playbill Kristin Chenoweth is joining TV's next live musical, Hairspray in the Velma Von Tussle role (yup, the Debbie Harry / Michelle Pfeiffer part)  

Gothamist the Bryant Park outdoor movie series begins. If you watch this footage this is why I never go! I've been once and omg the claustrophia and noise and inability to enjoy the movie (full disclaimer: I also hate summer which might have contributed to my distaste for outdoor summer events)
Kickstarter Here's an oddity. Apparently Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon who have brought us so much eventful art cinema in the past 25 years made short films before the films we know and they're trying to find them and restore them
Guardian Sarah Polley will adapt Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace for a Netflix series
AV Club John Boyega joins Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit riots movie
Boy Culture does his annual review of Broadway Bares - so cool that Daniel Dae Kim did his bit for the cause!
Pajiba The Lego Movie predicted Donald Trump's current villany
Antagony & Ecstasy looooves Piper, the new Pixar short. It's true -- it's better than the feature that follows it. 

Superheroics and Hijinx
Tracking Board  glorious ginger viking Kristover Hivju, who devoted Film Experience readers know as a former nominee here for his perfect supporting work in Sweden's Force Majeure but who most of the world knows from Game of Thrones has joined the cast of Justice League
/Film a very long set visit report from Justice League. I know WB is trying to send the message that this will be fun but this sounds like a mess to me. Especially the part about Mother Boxes. I mean after Horcruxes and Infinity Stones who isn't sick of "collect these objects before the villain and win!" plots. SO DULL 
MNPP why did Zach Snyder make this cut from the Batman & Lois bath scene? 
Comics Alliance I wasn't aware that Tank Girl, a comic that once became a Lori Petty movie in the 90s, has been revived but it has. Tank Girl was always so cool looking. Still is
Coming Soon Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, is joining the Supergirl TV show. Alas not as Wonder Woman but as POTUS. After all the fictional female presidents we've had over the years we better get a real one soon

Look.
It's the Looking movie trailer. Now I have to sob gay tears all over again that these beautiful characters will soon ascend to showbiz heaven never to be seen again. *sniffle*

 

Tuesday
Jun212016

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Pt 1: "What a Dump!" 

You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games*

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Mike Nichols
Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the play by Edward Albee
Released by Warner Bros on June 22nd, 1966
Nominated for 13 Oscars, winning 5.

To celebrate the anniversary of this stone cold classic from 1966, Team Experience is revisiting the picture, tag team relay style, all week long as we did with RebeccaSilence of the Lambs, and Thelma & Louise.

Pt 1 by Nathaniel R
50th Anniversary Four Part Mini Series 

When I was a young teenager, a multiplex opened about a half hour from my house that, like every multiplex, showed whatever movies were in wide release. But here was something novel and unfortunately not copied by every multiplex in the land thereafter: they devoted one of their screens exclusively to charity -- the charity of young cinephilia that is. One of the screens, every showing of the day, only ran an older classic as if it were a new release. For an entire week! Then they'd switch movies. I've never again seen a multiplex do that and if it had been closer to home I would have been the most devoted patron. It was there that I first saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I thought it was an outstanding elegaic drama and though I freely admit I was too young to grasp its very adult comic brilliance, I'd rarely seen acting that electrifying. In 1966 when it first arrived the posters said "no one under 18 will be admitted unless accompanied by his parent " Perhaps that was wise as it's wholly meant for adults.

00:01. It's fitting that our first shot is of the moon in the dead of night. George and Martha are not werewolves but beware all who enter George & Martha's lair; this is definitely a horror movie...

Before the score kicks in and the camera descends in longshot to look at a university house, which spills George (Oscar nominated Richard Burton) & Martha (Oscar winning Elizabeth Taylor) from its door and onto the campus sidewalk to stumble home, the orchestra sounds like its warming up. It's a perfect sonic nod to the property's live theater origins. A demented harpist is doing runs before Alex North's Oscar nominated score settles into something gently sorrowful. 

01:45 Already a favorite moment and the movie hasn't truly begin. As soon as the title card appears Elizabeth Taylor starts just cackling as Martha walks across the Virginia to the Woolf. George tells her to shut up because it's 2 AM. 

02:16 How lonely but not alone that shot is! How many times have George and Martha made this exact walk at night from that exact building and how many other couples have they tortured entertained in their home after just such a faculty party. I didn't think about these things the first time I saw it but now they're unavoidable mental associations.

Every time I've seen the movie since that first time, it's been just as electric only now the charge is coming from all corners of cast and crew (how about Haskell Wexler's Oscar winning cinematography!?) and not just the Movie Star Couple at the center. In fact, I felt nearly as aroused as George & Martha whenever they realize they've twisted the knife just right in the other's belly, when I queued up the movie again for this particular revisit. Since Liz begins the movie quoting Bette Davis, we'll do it, too, albeit from a different movie entirely.

Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

04:00 Surely one of the great introductory shots in all of cinema, Martha flips on the light. We get our first good look at the central couple, blinking and boozed-up. They've seen better days. Martha takes a look around and starts doing Bette Davis gestural circles with her hand...  

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun212016

Happy Birthday, Juliette Lewis!

We don't get many screen talents that defy simple categorization as much as Juliette Lewis. One minute she's raw and dangerous then vulnerable and timid the next, her humor at once bawdy and passive. Even when playing a supportive girlfriend trope, she always draws you in with a flash of the unexpected. She's so consistently arresting and specific that you forget how disimilar some of her characters are.

Filmmakers of late aren't giving her the type of heavy lifting she can handle, even though her heyday 90s work (including her Oscar nominated Cape Fear performance) still deliver on repeat viewings. Of course her most unpredictable turn was in the early 2000s with the launch of her rock band The Licks, developing a rock persona as vivid as her screen performances and then some. Of her screen peers that have stuck around, none of them kick this much ass.

Michael Rapaport's documentary short on Lewis, Hard Lovin' Woman, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a fun look at her career but also a reminder of her ferociously versatile talent - and you can watch it online for free!

What is your favorite Juliette Lewis performance?

Monday
Jun202016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.6: Two Horny Simpletons Walk Into the Jungle...

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the ape man...

While there's plentiful competition for "Worst" Tarzan movie in the first 90 years of ape-man cinema, there's no competition whatsoever in the annals of Official Tarzan movies for "Least Tarzany" of all Tarzan Movies. That dubious honor belongs to the infamous 1981 Bo Derek film. Despite sharing a name with the original Weismuller film, Tarzan is, for the first time in history, a 100% bonafide Supporting Character. That's reflected in the credits where Miles O'Keeffe is third-billed and has not a single line of dialogue and in the poster, in which he doesn't appear at all! 

For younger readers explanation is definitely necessary this time. Some stars maintain name recognition after their heyday even if younger generations aren't exactly sure why they're so famous. Other names provoke blank stares. Bo Derek, still very much alive at 59, was once very famous but is surely the latter kind of star. Who?

[More, but mostly NSFW, after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun202016

Olivia @ 100: The Dark Mirror

We're counting down to Olivia de Havilland's historic 100th birthday (July 1st!). Team Experience will be looking at highlights and curiosities from her career. Here's Jason...

I'm proud of my fellow Film Experience members Dan and Josh for keeping their focus on the films so far in this series, but it seems kind of impossible to talk about Olivia de Havilland's 1946 thriller The Dark Mirror, which has her playing good and evil twins, without diving into the gossipy froth of her legendary lifetime rivalry with sister Joan Fontaine. The Dark Mirror sits somewhere between an exorcism and a single-gloved slap-fight - Fight Club via Film Noir. It offered Olivia the chance to play versions of both her and her sister's popular images, exaggerated and unloosed upon one another.

In a 2015 Time magazine piece on the sisters' feud it's said that Olivia was known for playing "pretty and charming, naïve" (like Melanie in Gone With the Wind) while Joan's roles were more "moody, intuitive and emotional." (Think the second Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca.) Those broad descriptions fit the broad characters of Terry and Ruth Collins to a tee -- one's a suspected murderess, coarse and vulgar but forthright, while the other is noble and suffering do-gooder who seems to be allowing her sister to walk all over her and orchestrate a cover-up. But which is which (and who'll win that damn Oscar???)

To her profound credit de Havilland clearly relishes tearing into both roles and complicates the "good" and "bad" aspects of both women every chance that she gets - the real tragedy by the film's end is seeing what made the two women so unique begin to dissolve away, swap out. Early on, showing exquisite control over her body language and voice, de Havilland manages to make it clear which sister is which even beyond the aid of the oft black/white costuming.

But even more impressively as the film progresses and the sisters start playing each other she makes Ruth-by-Terry and Terry-by-Ruth their own creations, allowing each sisters' perspective on the other poke out from underneath. We can always tell who's in control... 

...until we can't. Not to spoil anything but there is a moment where the mirror cracks and the film upends our understanding of who's who and who's doing what, the violence of the moment hinging entirely on de Havilland's performance, and it's a corker. And sure, I can only conjecture, but it seems that this sort of performance-playing with public versus private personae might've been informed by being one-half of an Oscar-winning sister duo bobbing along on the top of the world. And come with the scars to prove it.

Monday
Jun202016

Beauty vs Beast: The Dog Days of Romance

Jason from MNPP here at "Beauty vs Beast" o'clock, wishing everybody the happiest First Day of Summer possible... and if you're like me and you hate this season as much as I do then that includes a locked door, some drawn shades, and an air conditioner on full blast. Heat! Sweat! Sunshine! Blah! I want none of it. I have the opposite of what Mama Cass had in "California Dreamin'" - I dream of such a winter's day. (And that's why I live in NYC.) But you know what? There are only 93 days of Summer... it could be worse!

PREVIOUSLY Knowing full well that Finding Dory was about to flood the marketplace we went Pixar-themed last week too, asking y'all to pick sides in the Great Toy Battle of 1995 - Are you a Buzz or are you a Woody? Turns out that 75% of you are Woodies, who knew? Said BVR:

"I love that Pixar resisted the urge to endear Woody to us, instead playing up the mad, jealous, even scheming nature that springs from within as he sees his #1 status being gradually taken away. You would think this would make me vote for Buzz, who seems totally innocent, delusional and oblivious to Woody's schemes; but as funny as that quality is, I just love Woody for being so flawed and human."

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 1209 Next 7 Entries »