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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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Spirit Nominations
Call Me By Your Name leads with 6

"I think Good Time is going to do better this award season then people realize. It's slowly developing a cult following similar to Drive. " - Mike

"Really happy to see Harris Dickinson in male lead. That's a great category." - Joseph

Ugh Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name reeks of Rooney Mara in Carol all over again. LGBTQ film with two obvious co-leads where one is relegated to supporting and pushes out a fantastic, legit supporting player (Sarah Paulson/Michael Stuhlbarg)." - Aaron

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Thursday
Jul072016

John Cho's Sulu Comes Out

In a fun bit of refreshing happy news, it has been revealed that John Cho's Sulu will be gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond. What a heartwarming nod to the series's original Sulu George Takei, who has been one of the loudest and proudest out performers advocating for LGBT rights for some time.

This is also a welcome alternative to the after-the-fact revisionism granted to franchise icons like Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, though Takei himself disagrees. But Sulu hasn't previously had any romantic backstory in the canon, so any grousing of opportunistic pandering isn't quite fair either. Reintroducing the character as gay without a "might be" or "actually was" asterix is something else entirely while the series is running, especially without definitively being drawn as straight in his history.

The reported nonchalant introduction of Sulu's same-gender partner is a hopeful sign that gay visability in mass entertainment to moving toward characters that that don't shy from queerness but don't require it to solely define them. Cho commented on the reveal:

I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations...

While the unfortunate obvious truth is that we are not at that point with LGBT acceptance, having a beloved character who now happens to be gay is a necessary step towards wider visibility that has been missing in franchise entertainment.

This is a step in the right direction for franchise entertainment as a whole, but one that seems long delayed for the historically progressive series. Toss in that original Rihanna track and Beyond is starting to look like a gay old time at the movies - but Sulu, honey, you're supposed to come out during Pride month, not after!

Do you find Sulu's outing exciting or revisionist?

Thursday
Jul072016

Lukewarm Off the Presses: Woolf, Winona, and La Pfeiffer

Things we forgot to talk about but it's never too late.

Do You Love She Loves Me?
Did any of you manage to catch the Broadway livestream of She Loves Me June 30th? It was the first ever of its kind though I've heard no details on how well it performed (i.e. if we'll see more of them). They've extended the availability to rent it until July 10th on Broadway HD

The Hours 2: The Return of Virginia Woof
Okay not really. Basically everybody committed suicide or got old in The Hours. But recently we got word that Virginia Woolf is coming back to the big screen  in the adaptation of the play Vita & Virginia which is about Woolf's friendship and affair with another female writer. The most delightful part of this news may be that the play and its screenplay adaptation were both written by the actress Dame Eileen Atkins who was in The Hours (she worked in the flower shop in the Streep section). No word on casting but allow me to have a brief fantasy about Nicole Kidman reprising her Oscar-winning role before we hear who got the plum gig. 

Winona is Back
Time Magazine recently published a solid interview with Winona Ryder on the eve of yet another comeback. This time via Stranger Things on Netflix. Of interest is a lengthy response when she's asked about the recent allegations against Johnny Depp. It's definitely the most levelheaded response we've read on any celebrity weighing in on the matter. But then we tend to like levelheaded responses and people who realize that they don't know what happened whatever their assumptions. That kind of response is almost impossible to find online from normal folks and it's also increasingly rare with celebrities.

But the best part of the interview was a question about the current nostalgia rage.

I get asked a lot, ‘What does it feel like to be a ’90s icon?’ And I’m like, ‘You think I sit around and think of myself like that?’ You can’t think about yourself in those ways, because who does that?

...I think because I started so young, I secretly wanted to be older all the time.

The interview is good but even better is that Stranger Things is getting really strong advanced buzz... especially for Winona herself who hasn't had anything work out that well for her showbiz-wise in aeons with the exception of that brief dark flash of Noni fever via her bit part in Oscar favorite Black Swan (2010).

Finally in confusing rumor alerts...
I don't normally share rumors (the internet is way too hung up on speculation when dialogue about things that actually exist is way more healthy/substantial) but I can't let this go without a mention. Remember the news that Jennifer Lawrence's Darren Aronofsky picture (working title Day 6) would co-star Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, and Michelle Pfeiffer? The story's logline is:

A couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Most of the speculation on the internet was that Michelle Pfeiffer was playing Jennifer Lawrence's mother which seemed like a leap in logic -- why would they be related given that logline? A new rumor recently sprung up that the film would be titled Mother. Pass the fainting salts could this mean Pfeiffer was the actual lead -- but no, then that rumor was debunked by Paramount. It's all very confusing and typical internet (shut up everyone!) but any news of a Pfeiffer movie actually making it into production without her bolting is thrilling. And we are apparently getting three of them in relatively short succession, which all sound way more promising than that misfire The Family (2013) which was her last time before cameras. Two are already filmed - HBO's Wizard of Lies, and the indie drama Beat-Up Little Seagull (both due later this year though specific dates aren't announced) and Day 6 the following year unless she bolts from the set mid-production.

Thursday
Jul072016

"gargantuan"

Thursday
Jul072016

Links

Guardian the kids of the controversial Oscar nominated documentary Jesus Camp 10 years later - how are they doing and how do they remember their evangelical childhoods?
ESPN's Bodies issue is out. Check out the gallery. The human body is really so beautiful. But I realize we're not supposed to acknowledge that because people are so angry about the profile at...
Vanity Fair on Margot Robbie. Which is... Honestly I can't see anything wrong with it. Almost every good celebrity profile talks about what the star looks like, and what their big screen appeal is. It's not especially salacious as these things go. I'm stunned that it offended so many people. But me...
Nathaniel... I don't want to live in a world where we cant celebrate movie star beauty
Playbill Kristin Chenoweth doing a reading of proposed Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for the stage? Oh god oh god let this Broadway musical happen. Amen.
Dear Cast & Crew Dear Harry Nilsson -- (great letter re: A Bigger Splash)
EW Five Nights in Maine poster and trailer. Apparently this premiered at TIFF last year. I don't remember reading about it but Dianne Wiest, Rosie Perez, and David Oyelowo are all in it!
Vanity Fair Hive A.I. isn't just all the rage in movies and on television. It's an investor obsession, too.
Twitter Apparently some dumb people launched a petition to have Jesse Williams fired from Grey's Anatomy due to his BET Humanitarian Awards speech 

Look at This!

Production has begun on Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool which stars Annette Bening as Oscar winner Gloria Grahame in her final days. Jamie Bell is The Bening's leading man. We hope The Bening is making one last sustained run at winning that Best Actress trophy that's eluded her. Momentum counts for a lot in Oscar races so if it doesn't happen this year for 20th Century Women, maybe it'll happen next year for this biopic of sorts? Though actors win Oscars all the time for playing real life people, the only star who has won an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner is Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004).

Random Emmy Thought
By now you've probably heard that the 7th/8th Game of Thrones season will start shooting later than usual due to weather issues. Different websites have different wording on this news. Sometimes it sounds like just the slightest delay and not worth reporting but for the clickbait traffic. Other articles suggest that this will delay the premiere until late Summer instead of GoT's traditional late spring early summer airing. If the latter take is true that means we'll actually have an Emmy free year of Game of Thrones in 2017. That would be a welcome relief for those of us who hate to see the same shows dominating year after year. Unfortunately they're also splitting GoT into two more super short seasons with only 13 or so more episodes left before the series finale. It worked for Breaking Bad and Mad Men in terms of Emmy statuettes though it was bad for interrupting the natural flow of storytelling arcs (at least with Mad Men - I can't speak to how it affected Breaking Bad). At any rate I stand by my proclamation that these split final seasons are anti-audience and nothing more than a cynical cash grab for advertising dollars, extended media attention, and double the awards that a show should be eligible to receive. It's gross. I wish Emmys would rule against 6 or 7 episodes counting as a full season. There really ought to be some standards and "season" by its very name suggests a few months of time. Six episodes is not a few months of story -- it's barely more than one!

Thursday
Jul072016

John McMartin (1929-2016)

Good lord but 2016 has been rough on the showbiz community. It's as if the Grim Reaper is trying to meet some new end days quota starting with entertainers.

John McMartin has passed away at 86 from cancer. While the name might not wring a bell to everyone surely the face will. In his 60 year career he worked across all three actor's mediums regularly: stage, tv, and film...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul072016

Steven Soderbergh's Comeback

Steven Soderbergh is retired no more. The director, who had previously announced Side Effects (2013) as his last feature film, is making two movies in the next year or so. It was just announced that he will be directing a feature film about The Panama Papers, the leaked documents which revealed how many of the super-rich employ legal, but dodgy accounting systems to avoid taxation. Even some luminaries in the film world (Emma Watson, Pedro Almodovar and the estate of Stanley Kubrick) were named in that scandal. The film will be based on Secrecy World, a to-be-published book by the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Jake Bernstein. The adaptation will be written by frequent Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z Burns (Contagion, Side Effects, The Informant!).

Sounds like another Contagion, no? Taking a global incident and examining it from different points of view. Before that he will make Ocean’s Fourteen -- well not exactly, but Logan Lucky is a crime thriller with an all star cast set in one location. Sound familiar? This time there’s no Clooney or Pitt but we will get Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Katherine Heigl, Hilary Swank, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane and Katherine Waterston and the NASCAR race in North Carolina as the heist location.

Soderbergh never really retired of course. He became prolific on TV, directing The Knick and gifting us with Behind the Candelabra. He recently produced The Girlfriend Experience which raised Riley Keough’s profile so it fits that she’ll be part of his new movie. And let's not forget that he was the cinematographer on Magic Mike XXL. But with these two projects announced he’s now a full time feature films director again. Are you excited for his return?