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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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Wednesday
Aug262015

1954 Look Back: Grace Kelly's Fight for Independence

David looks back on the biggest cinematic year of one of cinema's most glamorous stars...

The thrill of this moment keeps me from saying what I really feel. I can only say thank you with all my heart to all who made this possible for me. Thank you. 

Grace Kelly’s surprise Oscar win on 30 March, 1955, was the belated cherry on top of an incredible year by any actress’ standards, and certainly the busiest and most successful of Kelly’s ultimately brief Hollywood career. The basic narrative is now one of legend: the young, popular new star caught the attentions of the Academy over the established older performer; in this case, despite only being seven years older, Judy Garland. Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper said it was a matter of just 6 votes. If you believe her, than it's probably the closest Best Actress race ever, outside of the 1968 Hepburn-Streisand tie.

History has decided that Grace Kelly didn’t deserve it. History may be right.

But at the time, there seemed to be no more fitting capper to Kelly’s incredible year than this reward, one received in such gracious form. In 1954, she starred in 5 films – almost half of her entire cinematic catalogue and a ubiquity comparable to the likes of Julia Roberts in 1990, or Jennifer Lawrence in 2012. While Princess Grace has been mythologised like few other Hollywood stars, the real story is a far more complex one than the romantic image allows. But that, of course, is the Hollywood machine for you. [More...]

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Wednesday
Aug262015

11 Questions For You: This Week's DVD/BluRay Releases

Eleven questions about this week's newly released titles.
Q1: Which of these titles are you planning to catch up with or revisit at home?

Aloha (Reviewed) Cameron Crowe directs Bradley Cooper & Emma Stone in Hawaii.
Q2: Are you the type who rubbernecks at car crashes?
Citizen Four (Oscar Discussion / Podcasted) 2014's Oscar winning Documentary on Edward Snowden
Q3: Do you try to see all nominees in the doc category each year and if so do you succeed?
Iris Albert Maysles is no longer with us but before he left us, he made one last documentary about an eccentric old lady (which you might say is a specialty)
Q4: Do you love Grey Gardens (rhetorical question) and if so did you watch "Sandy Passage" on Documentary Now this week?
Lila & Eve Viola Davis & JLo are out to avenge the murder of their sons
Q5: Has Viola moved into her trashy B-phase with this revenge thriller and How to Get Away With Murder and if so are you eager for something classy again?
October Gale Director Ruba Nadda and Goddess Patricia Clarkson reunite post Cairo Time for this drama about a doctor (Patricia Clarkson) and a man who washes up on her shore wounded (Scott Speedman). Is a killer coming to finish the job?
Q6: Do the words "Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman" in combination make you suddenly hungry because that sounds delicious to me?
The Runner Nicolas Cage is a politician with a sex scandal problem. With Sarah Paulson and Connie Nielsen and the BP Oil Spill in supporting.
Q7: What did Sarah Paulson ever do to deserve this?

Save him, Patricia!Action Flickers: Tony Jaa & Dolph Lundgren

Skin Trade Giant powerhouse Dolph Lundgren hunts his family's killer down in Southeast Asia with tiny powerhouse Tony Jaa by his side.
Q8: Dolph or Tony?
Two Days One Night Oscar nominated Marion Cotillard tries to save her job in this wrenching smart drama from Belgium's Dardennes brothers.
Q9: On a scale of 10-10, how utterly amazing do you think Cotillard is in this movie?
Where Hope Grows an athlete befriends a man with Down's Syndrome
Q10: Are you even reading this post?
TV Season Releases
Elementary (3rd), Revenge (4th), The Walking Dead (5th), Good Wife (6th), Criminal Minds (10th)
Q11: Do you still buy TV seasons on DVD or did you give that up with the rise of streaming options? 

Tuesday
Aug252015

Bergman & Rossellini "Journey To Italy"

Our Ingrid Bergman Centenary Celebration finally continues (sorry for the hiatus) with Nathaniel on Journey to Italy (1954)

The opening lines of Roberto Rossellini's marital drama Journey to Italy go like so

Mr Alex Joyce: Where are we? 
Mrs Katherine Joyce: Oh I dont know exactly.

The Joyces (George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman) are not yet talking about their marriage, but also: they are. Were the Rosellinis also examining their marriage through play acting marital drama? Who is to say. But Where They Were is just as important in our mini-history of Ingrid Bergman's career.

In 1949 while filming Stromboli (1950), Ingrid and the director that she was already a fan of (in short: she had written him a fan letter and he had countered with by writing her Stromboli) fell in love and got pregnant. Both were already married and the scandal was immense... at least in the US. Even the Senate got into it denouncing Bergman for her "immorality." They quickly divorced their spouses and married each other and Bergman journeyed to Italy to stay...

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Tuesday
Aug252015

Say What: Rose & Susan?

Amuse us by adding a caption or dialogue to this image of Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne as mother and daughter in their new film.

(The film is called The Meddler from the writer/director of Seeking a Friend at the End of the World. Susan is the lead, a widow who moves to LA to be near her daughter.)

Tuesday
Aug252015

Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1980s

We did this once for the 1990s and you loved it, so here's round two. 

Young Oscar fanatics might not have tripped over this tidbit yet but in the 1980s they were still giving out an award for "Original Song Score" - an old vestige category of the decades when a dozen plus movie musicals arrived each year. Three of these Oscars were handed out in the 1980s for Victor / Victoria (1982), Yentl (1983) and Purple Rain (1984).  None have been handed out since even though it's technically still a category... just not one that they invoke anymore. Though it's a pity they didn't consider giving one to Moulin Rouge! or Hedwig and the Angry Inch for 2001 as the category can also be awarded to "Adaptation Score"

The presence of this category in the early 80s probably explains why Purple Rain and Victor/Victoria had no "Original Song" nominees in their years (why double dip?) but it does not explain why Yentl had nominations in both categories. Because of these films I only allowed myself 2 songs per movie so as not to let these five films hog this entire list.

BEST ORIGINAL MOVIE SONGS OF THE 1980s
Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee | ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Nine to Five"* -Nine to Five (Dolly Parton)
  2. "Le Jazz Hot" - Victor/Victoria (Henry Mancini)
  3. "Purple Rain" - Purple Rain (Prince)
  4. "Into the Groove" - Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna)
  5. "Xanadu" - Xanadu (Jeff Lynne)
  6. "Fame"** - Fame (Michael Gore & Dean Pitchford)
  7. "When Doves Cry" - Purple Rain (Prince)
    33 more numbers after the jump...

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Tuesday
Aug252015

Bring Link On

Mic Manuel on the transgressive feminism of Bring it On 15 years later
Grantland Mark Harris on four takeaways from this summer's box office - great piece as usual
Stuff this piece is old but I was shocked to learn (sorry if I'm way late) that the 80s posters (like Madonna's debut album) in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night weren't real. I loved that vampire bedroom!
Awards Daily reshares the Lady in the Van trailer. I guess it's back on for 2015? Such a crowded year for Best Actress already but I'm expecting an onslaught of "weak year for best actress" pieces any moment since we get those every year even when it's a good one
A Fistful of Films shares his personal awards from 1988 - fun choices including Married to the Mob and Salaam Bombay both of which are underloved 

Empire I'm trying to avoid reading about the new Star Wars -- doesn't anybody like to be surprised in the movie theater anymore? -- but I ended up clicking on this piece about Kylo Ren (with the jagged lightsaber) and now I'm more excited about the premise behind the villains
Empire Léa Seydoux offered female lead in Channing Tatum's Gambit
Pajiba catches us up on what's going on with Tom Hardy's TV projects including a new one called "Taboo". (Somehow Tom Hardy is making time for TV every year despite his ever increasing In-Demandness in big movies, too)
Guardian the great Jacques Audiard will make his English Language debut with The Sisters Brothers. John C Reilly headlines. Audiard's past leads have tended to be fascinating dangerously sexy actors like Matthias Schoenarts, Romain Duris, Vincent Cassel and Tahar Rahim. John C Reilly as follow up? 

Stage Door
Playbill Kevin Bacon will star in a stage adaptation of Rear Window in October.
THR fun guests at Taylor Swift's Monday concert including Ellen Degeneres
Playbill Top US colleges for Theater Majors? from NYU to Florida State via the highly specific metric of which colleges are represented on Broadway right now
Theater Mania Steven Pasquale on a painful audition. He has been working on stage and TV forever and somehow people don't realize how incredible his singing voice is. Movie musical please.

For LOLZ
"Rock Dentistry" fun tumblr of the moment 
The Poke lost Stephen King books recovered. Need to read "Brian's Arse"
EW "how the internet would have GIF'ed the first MTV Music Video Awards" - the title is more exciting than the GIFS chosen but a highly worthy topic and of course, the internet would have GIF'ed the hell out of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" 
and
"Hi, I'm Marvel... and I'm DC"

 

Tuesday
Aug252015

No Woody For Bruce

So...21 hours or so ago pics from the set of Woody Allen's latest Untitled  2016) dropped featuring Bruce Willis and Jesse Eisenberg and an unnamed actor (maybe Paul Schackman?) filming a scene. About 10 hours after that word broke that Bruce Willis is no longer with the film . The parties involved are citing schedule conflicts with his upcoming Broadway run in Misery (in the James Caan role of course). 

I'm sorry but I don't believe this for one hot second. Woody Allen's films run on very predetermined schedules since he does the same thing every year like clockwork (whether or not the script is in good shape as we see from his highly uneven work). And Bruce Willis's Broadway commitment was a thing known long ago. What actually happened? Makes you wonder. 

Monday
Aug242015

The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

A couple of weeks ago news spread around the internet that Universal might revive The Creature From the Black Lagoon as part of their planned Classic Monsters universe (every studio wants their own connected franchises now post Marvel Studios). It didn't seem like much of a news story at the time, full of "mights" and "possibly" and "they're interested in Scarlett Johannson." Scarlett for the buxom conquest, not the amphibious creature of course!

You know the type of "news" I'm talking about. The type we get when there's no story at all yet. But since we're celebrating 1954 next week with the Smackdown, why not travel back in time to the original to see if it's worth reviving at all?

I may or may not have seen this old horror flick as a child on TV but if so I had no recall whatsover so this would be like a first screening. I imagined from the posters that it would be like a watery King Kong, a tragic beauty & beast story. This was quite wrong. 

Thoughts I had while screening... 

• Rather unexpectedly the film begins with a brief "Creation of the Earth" myth complete with Biblical narration and visuals of explosions, clouds, and an earth-like sphere, followed eventually by more nature footage of stormy oceans and sand.

It's surprisingly easy to picture Terrence Malick at 10 years of age agog at a drive-in in the Midwest when the movie arrived in early 1954. (10 might be the ideal age for this.)

More after the jump...

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