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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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Tuesday
Mar222016

The Signage of the Lambs

Can we get a round of applause for Daniel's great work on the new series "The Furniture"? I'm loving it so much and we're only two episodes in.

Consider this a spin-off one-off. I thought I'd share a particular movie obsession that we haven't yet dived into in all these years of blogging - signs. Shove a professional sign or any diegetic text or hand-scrawled message in front of the camera and I go all bookworm eyes. Are they subliminal subtitles? That's surely up to the set decorator, prop man, production designer and director. But on our recent revisit to Silence of the Lambs (1991) its signs felt newly purposeful.

Probably because the film begins with such a bold aggressive dare, nailed right to a tree. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar222016

Doc Corner: SXSW x3

Glenn here and welcome back to Doc Corner. Each Tuesday we're bringing reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we’re looking at films that screened at the just-ended SXSW about musical icon Gary Numan, self-helper Tony Robbins, and mature-age trans women.

Gary Numan: Android in La La Land

You know I hate to ask
But are 'friends' electric?
Only mine's broke down
And now I've no-one to love

Like many artists of Numan’s vintage who were experimenting with electronic music, there was a queerness to him, an otherness that the made him a symbol to hordes of young audiences who had never seen or heard anything like him before. He was a musician whose dark and complex lyrics were perfectly paired with the aloof roboticism of his performance – an android dreaming of the electric beeps and boops of a Moog synthesizer. But for a performer who made much of his early fame and success off of the obscure oddness of his lyrics and imagery, this documentary by Steve Read and Rob Alexander is awfully straight.

I can only wish that Read and Alexander had taken some of that electro-punk attitude as inspiration for while Gary Numan: Android in La La Land will be an enjoyable sit for fans of the 58-year-old British singer famous for songs like “Cars” and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” (like myself), but as cinema it lacks something propulsive. This brand of musical comeback doc is certainly popular – recent examples like Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets and I Am Thor were mostly more successful thanks to meatier narrative hooks – and the two directors are wise to focus in on some of the more unique elements of Numan’s life such as his long-standing marriage to a fan and his anxious worry about an impending comeback record while on a family vacation. Still, Android in La La Land works best with it fuses Numan’s abstract lyrics and music with strange beautiful images rather than the musician-moves-to-LA narrative that forms its core. The musical sequences are as vibrant as you would expect, but the power of the songs and his genius doesn’t shine through any clearer than if simply listening to them.

Two more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar222016

Tues Top Ten: Best Performance of the Decade (Thus Far)?

Today's top ten was inspired by Robert MacFarlane who asked what the greatest performance of the decade was on twitter to a quick flurry of responses involving some usual suspects: Phoenix, Hoffman, Cotillard, Blanchett and some unusual suspects: O'Connell, Culkin, Pitt. But the question naturally lingered because who doesn't love ranking such unrankables?

Let's do this!

BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE DECADE (THUS FAR)
Ranking likely to change tomorrow. Oscar nominated roles marked with asterisk. Oscar winning roles with double asterisk 

Honorable Mentions (No Particular Order): Binoche in Certified Copy, * Keaton & Norton in Birdman, * Riva in Amour, ** Day-Lewis in Lincoln, ** Bale in The Fighter, * Rampling in 45 Years, and many others...

10 James Franco, Spring Breakers (2013) --look at his shittttttttt
09 * Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night (2014) --transcendent
08 * Cate Blanchett, Carol (2015) --daringly stylized, mesmerizing
07 * Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (2010) --she did a great thing, sweetie
06 Charlize Theron, Young Adult (2011) --the layers. the layers
05 * Viola Davis, The Help (2011) --smart. kind. important. (and other wonderful adjectives)
04 Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike (2012) --lawbreaker in the house
03 Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy (2012) --Bless Charlotte Bless
02 ** Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (2013) --from airplane to park bench, perfection
01 Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


What are yours? 

Tuesday
Mar222016

Gus Van Sant's LGBT Rights Miniseries On ABC Gets Actressy

Laurence here. Sea of Trees; remember that? 2015 wasn't really Gus Van Sant's year, but it seems like he's looking for redeption by going back to his roots. Reuniting with Milk writer, professional Sam Smith-brutaliser and Tom Daley-owner Dustin Lance Black, Van Sant will direct the first episode of ABC miniseries We Will Rise, which is set to follow a diverse group of activists involved in the LGBT+ rights movements.

Other details are scarce but judging by the characters involved, it seems set to centre around HIV/AIDS activism and a particular focus on lesbian activists, so often underrepresented in queer rights narratives, in San Francisco during the early years of the movement there. Guy Pearce has been cast as Cleve Jones, who was played by Emile Hirsch in Milk. And thus far, the cast is rounded out by Carrie Preston as Sally Miller Gearheart, Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy, and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, Diane Jones.

Given the ages of the characters now, we can expect this to be a period drama, with flashbacks - each character has a young actor cast to play their younger self. Yet to be cast are two hopefully prominent roles for people of colour: community organiser Ken Jones and trans HIV activist Cecilia Chung. So far it appears to be only straight actors cast in major roles, which may cause a PR problem for the show.

Nevertheless, the main characters are at least partially a corrective to the usual focal points of these stories. On paper, this could be a great miniseries, and American Crime has proved that ABC has been willing to put dimensional queer stories on screen. But with its champion, former ABC president Paul Lee, out the door, it may not quite be the same.

Who do you think we might see cast in the remaining roles?

Monday
Mar212016

Daredevil Season 2 (Episodes 1-3)

Matt Murdock can't wait to hit the streets and rooftops each night as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. And I can't wait to finish my "Best Shot" entry super early for once. For this week's assignment (anyone can play along!) you can pick any one episode or multiple episodes of Daredevil Season 2 and choose a Best Shot. You have just under 24 hours left to pick one and post it since the Best Shot Roundup goes up tomorrow night at about 10 PM EST. 

I'll get to my three choices, one per episode, after the jump. But damn it's good to have Charlie Cox's naked torso Daredevil back on Netflix

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar212016

Stage Door: Revive This! (a musical lover's list)

This week I caught the Off Broadway hit Red Speedo about a swimmer who thinks he needs performance enhancement drugs. It was a totally solid thought-provoking play and if that sounds like faint praise it's only that because the raves have been so breathless. I had front row seats (not intentional) which is a weird angle with which to see this show because the pool part of the stage looms large in front of you (you do get splashed). I don't mind getting wet so I wished they'd used the pool part of the well designed stage a little more. The actors were uniformly terrific so if you're interested in the topic, by all means go. 

But back to Broadway itself. After finally seeing The King and I, one of last year's Tony winners, and the news that Hello Dolly will finally return (with Bette Midler!) after decades of invisibility, thoughts turned to shows that rarely get revived. Some shows like Les Miz & Gypsy & Fiddler on the Roof and a handful of others seem to return to the big stage every 4 or 5 years.  It begs the question of why others are never revived. So herewith a list!

10 Longest Running Shows That Have Not Been Revived in Over 20 Years 
Not a qualitative list but factual based on how long the show ran.

01 Oh! Calcutta! - the nude musical revue closed in 1989 after two very successful multiple-year runs. Why no third?

02 Life With Father -Broadway's longest running straight play ever closed way back in 1947 the same year the film version came out. Among its 1939 opening night cast was future Oscar winner Teresa Wright. 

more after the jump...

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