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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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What did you see this weekend?

"I saw Professor Marston... I thought it was fantastic. Also, Rebecca Hall needs to stop being so damn underrated!!!" -Matt

"Victoria & Abdul a tad overlong and the denouement did not quite do it for me. Though Judi Dench was compulsively watchable " -Owl

"I saw The Florida Project at a matinee. It was packed - and mainly with seniors. Who seemed to love it. I know I did. It's at least as good as the great "Tangerine". " -Ken

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(4 Days in France)
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(Handsome Devil)
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(Maurice Restoraton)

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Wednesday
Jun012016

Hump Day Link Night

Vanity Fair Brie Larson reportedly frontrunner to play Captain Marvel. I'll believe that movie when I see it.
Boy Culture 90 things Marilyn Monroe would have done if she'd lived to be 90 today
The Playlist Susanne Bier, the Oscar winning Danish director of Brothers and After the Wedding fame, is rumored to be in the running to direct the next Bond film
Screencraft Do professional readers only read the first ten pages of each screenplay in their stacks? If you're an aspiring screenwriter you should read this.
Variety Jake Gyllenhaal to star in The Division, an adaptation of a video game

 

People Archives Mark Harris pointed us to this amazing profile of Sandy Dennis, Oscar-winner and crazy cat lady from 1989 
Vox has a detailed analysis and cool sortable list of all major TV characters who died this season, As per usual they're still killing off minorities in disproportionate numbers. Out of the 234 characters that died 29 of them were LGBT and 59 were people of color. 
Interview Mag Did you know that Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are the stars of a new documentary? It'll play on HBO later this year
Towleroad President Obama issues 2016 Pride Month Proclamation. We'll be celebrating here to throughout the month 
Twitter so i played one of those "like this and I will" games and had to reveal 25 crushes from my life. It was fun!  

That Carney/Keira Situation
An update...
Directors and actors came forward to defend Keira Knightley after John Carney's recent remarks about herskill and their time together on Begin Again which we discussed on the most recent  Film Experience Podcast. John Carney has since issued this very self-deprecating public apology.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun012016

June 1st should be declared "International Day of Singing Moulin Rouge!'s Praises"

Come what may. We will love it. Until our dying day.

Moulin Rouge! turned 15 today. Imagine if June 1st were an international holiday? How is it not? How would we celebrate other than drinking absinthe, coughing up blood, and deep cleaning our shrines to Nicole Kidman (we'll assume everyone's already built one, okay?).  

Fifteen whole years ago my entire body and soul were quaking at that first screening at NYC's Ziegfeld theater. I saw it five times in the theater which is my record this millenium. (Carol came close last year with 4 in theater screenings. Weirdly The Witch is in third place because somehow I've already seen it three times on screens.) Mostly I'm not big on rewatching because that means I'm not seeing something I've never seen and there's always something new or old to discover because you can't see everything. Generally if I'm rewatching it's at home. 

How many times have you seen the greatest movie of the aughts? 

Wednesday
Jun012016

Review: Chevalier

It’s Eric, with thoughts on the new art house release, Chevalier.  

First seen at the Locarno Film Festival last August, and now in limited release in the US, Greek filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari’s comedy focuses on six men onboard a ship in the Aegean Sea.  They challenge each other to an extended contest to see which one of them is “The Best Ever”.  They construct a series of games to compete against one another, but take the challenge even further to rate each other on every aspect of their behavior in an attempt to see who is the best man in the group.

It’s a fantastic premise, and Tsangari mines some rich comedy and pathos from it...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun012016

The 50 Greatest Films by Black Directors

Slate magazine has drawn up an interesting list of great black films, the twist being that they have to have been directed by a black person rather than about the black experience so out go Old Hollywood musicals like Carmen Jones or Cabin in the Sky or Oscar favorites like Sounder.  In the wake of recent conversations about Hollywood's power structures and overwhelming whiteness, Slate assembled a field of critics and filmmakers and scholars to produce the list.

Eve's Bayou

I need to get cracking on my gaps in knowledge from this list, especially because of the titles I've seen from this list several were great and the ones I didn't personally connect to were still interesting (Night Catches Us) or memorable (Eve's Bayou - I've been meaning to give that another shot now that I'm older). Unsurprisingly Spike Lee has the most titles with six. Curiously, though I've seen many Spike Lee joints (and tend to like them - I'd have included Chi-Raq on this list), I've only seen half of his titles that actually made it (gotta get to Mo' Better Blues, Crooklyn, and When the Levees Broke soon). The list is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun012016

"Mary Poppins Returns" and "In the Heights"

Broadway's Hamilton fever has caught up with mainstream Hollywood. The Tony winning writer/director/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose Hamilton is the easy frontrunner going into the Tony Awards a week from Sunday (I'm finally seeing it, too, wheeee, albeit a few days after the Tony Awards - thanks Rory!) has two big movies brewing now.... and that's before anyone gets around to trying to get Hamilton on the big screen. He exits Hamilton on July 9th so he'll have plenty of time to chase these Hollywood opportunities.  

Mary Poppins Returns
We've heard rumors of a Mary Poppins remake for ages but it looks like we're getting a sequel instead with the delightfully versatile Emily Blunt as the magical nanny (the iconic Julie Andrews part) and Lin-Manuel Miranda as a new character but I'd still expect a jolly-holiday sort of partner in magical highjinks for Mary. He's described as a "lamplighter" which isn't that far off of chimney sweep in civic duties, don'cha know. The score will be written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman who wrote most of the best songs for Smash as well as Broadway's terrific Hairspray. So all of that is very good news. Plus an ORIGINAL movie musical. That is a rarest of things since forever outside of Disney's Little Mermaid era!

But... the film is to be directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods, Nine).

The choice of Marshall is wholly expected since Hollywood doesn't seem to believe it can make musicals without him. That's a pity. Nothing against Marshall but he's not consistent enough to be anywhere close to a "must get". We wish they'd realize that the genre needs and deserves new Vincente Minnellis, Stanley Donens, and Bob Fosses, not someone who can just get the job done and hope for the best about the final result. I am confident that those people exist but remain untapped. The film is due on Christmas Day in 2018. The original Disney classic was nominated for 13 Oscars, winning 5. (It's still Disney's only live action Best Picture nominee... though there Touchstone wing has been nominated before) Good luck measuring up! 

In the Heights
The Weinstein Company is also getting into the Miranda business with a film version of In the Heights, his musical from 2008 about three days in the lives of characters in the Washington Heights neighborhood of NYC (which is largely Hispanic). A previously announced production by Universal failed to materialize. The film won 5 Tonys including Best Musical. No casting or director announced for this one but they want it to be bare bones and "scrappy." No release date yet announced but sometimes stage to screen versions take decades. ("Wicked"? What's that?)

Any suggestions for the director's chair? 

Wednesday
Jun012016

Judy by the Numbers: "On The Atchison Topeka And The Santa Fe"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Though we last left Judy Garland in 1944 crooning from a trolley and cementing a (troubled) place in Hollywood history, this week we must catapult two years into the future to rejoin our musical heroine. The reason has to do with the odd nature of the Studio System in general and this series in specific. Judy Garland actually shot two movies between 1944 and 1945, but because one was delayed due to reshoots (therefore getting bumped to next week) and the other was a straight drama (therefore not fitting a series focused on musical numbers), we must travel through the end of WW2 and the beginning of Judy Garland's marriage to Vincente Minnelli. Thus, in 1946 we arrive in... the Old West? 
 
The Movie:
 The Harvey Girls (1946)
The Songwriters: Johnny Mercer (lyrics), Harry Warren (music)
The Players: Judy Garland, Angela Lansbury, Ray Bolger, Cyd Charisse, & John Hodiak, directed by George Sidney 

The Story: In 1946, Judy Garland hopped off the trolley and onto a train for a Western-style musical entitled The Harvey Girls. I have to admit, while this is by no means Judy Garland's best musical, it remains a personal favorite for three reasons:

1) Judy Garland sings on a train. 
2) It's a musical western genre mashup that misses Oklahoma! by three years and and one saloon fight.
3) Angela Lansbury plays a chorus girl/prostitute named Em. In fact, the movie is a veritable Who's Who of MGM & the Freed Unit, since it also stars baby Cyd Charisse, the return of former Scarecrow Ray Bolger, deadpan alto Virginia O'Brien, and the delightful dulcet tones of Marjorie Main and Chill Wills!

More importantly for Judy, though, this movie shows the Freed Unit's ability to find a winning formula for its tiny Technicolor titan and stick to it. Like Meet Me in St. Louis before it (and many Freed films after it), The Harvey Girls was a musical that leaned heavily on nostalgia; a period piece mixing authentic songs - conveniently taken from the MGM catalogue - with new insta-classics provided by a rotating stable of songwriters. The plots of each of these movies revolves around Judy meeting, loathing, then learning to love a confounded-but-charismatic man; providing ample opportunity for musical numbers, slapstick, and a brightly-colored battle of the sexes. Though this decision may seem limiting, it also further defined Judy Garland at MGM: Judy's image would embrace the tension between modern stardom and nostalgic Americana, a potent symbol of post-war America.