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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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Mike Leigh 4 Film Retro for his 75th

Secrets and Lies
Vera Drake
Happy Go Lucky
Topsy-Turvy 

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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice

"This is the best Streep performance ever captured on film. "That's all."" - Dorian

"I support this movie, partially because I loved the Styron novel and, along with Schindler's List, it's one of the best American movies to teach people about the holocaust. Streep is sublime in it, and it's such a great role - she gets to play Sophie before the war, during the war, after the war, etc. " - Tom

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Wednesday
Sep212016

Yes No Maybe So: "Passengers"

Do you like the Passengers trailer? The film, opening December 21st, is a mainstream-aimed original. Those are not quite an endangered species (yet) even though it feels that way after this summer of numbing sequels, remakes, and franchise extensions.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep212016

Judy by the Numbers: "You're So Right For Me"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

The terribly tricky thing about early TV (or really any TV) history is that episodes are often filmed and aired in different orders. Because of the discrepancies in airing schedules, we will be following in the order in which they were shot. After the CBS lawsuit was settled with the agreement that Judy Garland should make a show for CBS, the question became what kind of show to do. It took two years for the usual contract negotiations, delays, and upheavals to settle enough for that question to be decided. On June 24, 1963, Judy Garland recorded the first episode of a variety show titled (unsurprisingly) The Judy Garland Show

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode #1
The Songwriter: Mel Torme (uncredited)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Jerry Van Dyke

The Story: A musical variety show seemed to be the perfect format for Judy: it was a popular genre that took advantage of its star's talents in not only singing, but also dancing and sketch comedy. Just two problems: 1) by 1964 the variety show was considered "old hat" and 2) CBS decided to air this new/old variety show against Sunday night behomoth Bonanza.

With the pressures of broadcast television, a new creative team (including Mel Torme), and her disintegrating relationship with Sidney Luft, Judy Garland requested that her first guest be someone she could trust: Mickey Rooney. The company line was that she was doing an old pal a favor, though it's clear from watching the clip that he's doing her a favor as well. Judy begins the clip full of nervous energy - she even mouths some of Mickey's lyrics - but eventually two decades of partnership and four decades of friendship put her at ease. By the time they get to the reprise, Judy Garland is genuinely, truly having a good time just being herself. The question was whether Judy Garland herself was something TV audiences would tune in for.

Tuesday
Sep202016

Supporting Actor Has No Frontrunner

Oh sure... Liam Neeson you say. So did I at one point. But Silence is looking like an increasingly imaginary film, don't you think? I'm not dumping him from the predicted lineup just yet though The Supporting Actor Chart has a ton of movement post-festival explosion.

The biggest chart debut goes to Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy in Jackie (they love actors as real famous people and he's typically strong) while Michael Shannon moves on up for stealing the entire show in Nocturnal Animals. And with the eyebrow-raising news that Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is not debuting for critics before its NYFF premiere, have we been overestimating that film? What a strange decision! 

Finally what to make of the men of Moonlight? They're all terrific but due to the triptych nature of the film, not a one of the men is in more than a third of the picture. My favorites were Trevante Rhodes (the lead character as an adult) and Mahershara Ali (a major figure in the first third) but you could fill up a whole supporting actor category with the men in Moonlight. No really. Here they are...

The Men of "Moonlight"

Mahershala Ali
as Juan

Alex R Hibble
as "Little"

Ashton Sanders
as Chiron

Andre Holland
as Kevin 

Trevante Rhodes

as "Black" 


With apologies to Jharrel Jerome who plays Kevin as a teenager and is also really good (but we have to stick to five because them is the rules)

Tuesday
Sep202016

Whatever Happened To...

...photos of stars discussing their scripts together?

Tuesday
Sep202016

Supporting Actress: Nicole Kidman's Fourth Nomination? 

Here's to the thought of Nicole Kidman back in an Oscar lineup - CHEERS!

Lion and Queen of Katwe were runner ups to La La Land for Toronto's People Choice prize and people were loving on Nicole Kidman and Lupita Nyong'o as warm mothers in those films. With a strange absence of contenders to this point (especially given the comparatively abundant Leading Actress wars) they both move way up the chart. Also shifting on the chart: Felicity Jones, Nina Arianda, Greta Gerwig x 2, Live by Night ladies, and a few drop-offs now that the films have been seen.

In category-fraud-loving Hollywood we have to assume that one of the leading ladies (Best Actress chart is not yet updated) will demote herself to secure a nomination in a weaker field. Viola Davis is a possibility in Fences  -- in the first Broadway run her Fences character was considered "featured" (Tony Award code for "supporting) and in the revival (the one Viola nabbed the Tony for) the same character in the exact same play was considered "lead". But we'll leave her in Best Actress for now because the plethora of her supporting roles aside, we all know Viola Davis is a Leading Lady down to the marrow and it shows in her supersized talent.

See the updated chart. Thoughts? 

Tuesday
Sep202016

Doc Corner: Nick Cave and The Beatles Show Mixed Musical Results

Thankfully for us, Nick Cave is not a musician who is easily distilled into a formula blueprint. He isn’t an artist who is easy to pigeonhole and that means anybody who attempts to make a film about him is forced to think outside of the box. Consider 20,000 Days on Earth in which Cave celebrated his 20,000th day of living by driving around with friends like Kylie Minogue and Ray Winstone. That film, partly fictionalized, was only two years ago so if it feels somewhat excessive to have another Nick Cave documentary so soon then the circumstances around Cave’s life since then mean a lot has changed since his 20,000th day on Earth that has dramatically altered him.

One More Time with Feeling is directed by Cave’s friend Andrew Dominik who Cave had worked with on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Like that film, this is another wholly singular film, the pairing of the two proving to bear the most unique of fruits. Initial sequences suggest that this is going to be a slog of a documentary, the pairing of famous director not known for documentary filmmaking and a famous subject who many filmmakers might just feel the need to point a camera at and shoot and feel as if their work is done.

That is blessedly not the case.

Click to read more ...