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Oscar History
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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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The Men of Moonlight

"I've definitely been noticing Ashton Sanders and his clothes. Handsome man, and a real sense of fun. A great combo." Edward

"Where's André?" Paul

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Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)
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Wednesday
May132015

Grace and Frankie 5-6: "The Fall" and "The Earthquake"

We're almost halfway through Grace and Frankie, so here's Manuel recapping episodes 5 & 6 of this Odd Couple  actressexual Netflix offering.

The show keeps toying with playing the "Old Lady" card but these two broads are so spry and full of life (so much physical comedy!)

After gently suggesting Grace should dive right into the dating pool by activating an online dating profile, Frankie and Brianna get stoned and urge Grace to drive them for some FroYo where an ill-placed yogurt spill causes Grace to fall, break her hip and need surgery. It’s a thin plot but it’s surprising the amount of pathos the show garners from focusing on Grace’s mortality. Chalk it up to Jane Fonda who even when bed-ridden manages to imbue her character with a winnowing sense of sadness and anxiety. Of no help is Frankie who keeps reminding everyone who’ll hear her how hip surgeries are wont to be awry especially at their age.

Frankie: Dr Paul wants you to suck on this. You have to suck on the inhalation nozzle, and move the balls. Don't worry, I made a sex joke about that and he laughed.

Of course, as with almost all of these early episodes, the storyline is designed to a) showcase Fonda and Tomlin’s talent by b) creating a situation wherein Grace and Frankie realize they’re in the same boat and goshdarnit they might as well make peace with the fact that they’re “stuck with each other.” That said, in a nice callback to episode 4, it turns out that everything we saw was all a split-second Grace hallucination (she actually doesn’t fall as Frankie - surprise! - catches her before she does) most likely fueled by her guilt of having jilted Frankie at the funeral.

lots more after the jump

Best Jane Moment

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Wednesday
May132015

Red Carpet: Cannes Begins!

A New Season of "Red Carpet Lineup" Begins...

NATHANIEL: Bonjour Jose. You're back on red carpet duty by popular request. I dared to post about the Met Gala without a conversation to go with it and I heard it from the readers.

JOSE: I'm moved but if they saw what I'm wearing now they wouldn't ask for me.

NATHANIEL: Always blame it on Laundry Day.

Before we begin proper can I just say that one thing I find exceptionally annoying about Cannes is when stars don't pose alone but only with groups. This seems to happen most with the Jury who are joined at the hip like they will be judged as a team in this maxi-challenge. And tonight Deneuve, the great lady of French cinema, stuck with her director Emmanuelle Bercot (whose opening night film Standing Tall has received warm notices) and the cast despite a rather becoming two-looks-in-one dress.

JOSE: She wants others to bask in her light, maybe? I do love her double gown. Two Face in a couture Batman

NATHANIEL: Opening Night always brings out the A listers so we have some of Oscar's favorite gown-wearers to discuss after the jump Natalie, Naomi, Lupita, and Our Juli...

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Wednesday
May132015

HBO’s LGBT History: The Beginning

Manuel here kicking off a mini-series of sorts focusing on HBO's decades-old commitment to telling quality LGBT stories. I spent much of this spring recapping Looking here at The Film Experience and as polarizing as many (both here and elsewhere) found the show, it remained the sole American television show centered on the gay male experience to air last year. As we all know, shortly after the season 2 finale, HBO understandably pulled the plug; the show garnered a mere 0.298 million viewers for that episode, a mere pittance when compared to their Westeros-set hit, but also nearly half of what Lena Dunham’s show metered that same evening. And so, to fill the void and build up to a very gay-friendly upcoming HBO film roster (Queen Latifah’s Bessie, that rumored Matt Bomer/Montgomery Clift biopic, the Looking wrap-up film), we’re diving headfirst into a crafting an oral LGBT history of the network that gave us Patrick, Richie, Kevin, Agustin, and Dom, but which had clearly paved the way for such a show with a long storied list of LGBT stories even before it became the ratings giant it is now.

To say HBO, as a cable provider, as a television network, and as an independent film producer, has changed the media landscape is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Its long-running tagline, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” spoke to the core of what has made HBO such an institution. Despite various attempts at replicating its successes, HBO remains staunchly and idiosyncratically itself. Netflix and Amazon may be sniping at its heels but with a bucket load of Emmys, a gigantic and zeitgesty fantasy series on hand, and its new streaming service (anyone sign up for HBO Now, yet?), the cable giant is showing no signs of aging.

[Angels in America and Your Requested Participation after the jump...]

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Wednesday
May132015

New To (Some of) You: Still Alice, Futuro Beach, Beloved Sisters

Thanks to everyone who answered last week's open question about DVD coverage. We won't fuss too much about switching things up but we will do a little more than we are doing for the second and third wave audiences.

NEW DVD / BLURAY
This is your weekly reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner! The film that finally did the job (in conjunction, of course, with goodwill from a dozen undeniable acting triumphs in her past) was Still Alice, a minimalist drama about a linguistics professor suffering from early on set Alzheimers which is now out on DVD and BluRay for you stragglers. Who still hasn't seen it? You owe it to Julie so, rectify.  For those that did see it two questions:

  1. Which scene do you think cemented Julianne's Oscar traction or even her win?
  2. If it's different, what scene or moment do you still think about?

Also recommended: Germany's most recent Oscar submission Beloved Sisters didn't win much press or Oscar traction despite an actual theatrical release in the December glut but it will satisfy those of you that love a good costume drama and don't mind a long running time. It's about two sisters whose mother hopes for them to marry rich but they both fall in love with the same penniless poet. Perhaps they'll share him? Here's the complete review if you missed it.

Also new though good luck finding someone who recommends them: Mortdecai (Johnny Depp + Gwyneth Paltrow + moustaches?), Blackhat (Michael's review), The Cobbler (the scathing reviews were something of a surprise since writer/director Thomas McCarthy is usually beloved), and Taylor Lautner in Tracers (though I'm never going near one of those again post-Abduction

Two recommended Instant Watches after the jump...

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Tuesday
May122015

"Because I'm a Nurse"

We didn't get a proper theme week celebration off the ground for National Nurse's Week but it comes to an end today. Here's Andrew Kendall, who can't let the moment pass without shining a light on his favorite movie nurse. - Editor

Sure, The English Patient is really the story of the (not English), László Almásy, Hungarian explorer, but Binoche’s Hana is central to the story. She opens and closes the film, after all. After its wordless desert prelude the film really opens with her on duty towards the end of World War II.

 

Her first nursely duty, giving a kiss to an ill soldier, is perhaps not very auspicious. It’s a sweet moment, though...

 

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Tuesday
May122015

Grace & Frankie E4: "The Funeral"

Put on your finest black Willie Nelson T-shirt, cause we're going to a funeral!

abstew here continuing our coverage of Jane & Lily Grace and Frankie. After being separated from their recently gay (well, to our leading ladies at least) and recently shacked-up husbands, the gals must come face-to-face with their estranged spouses for the first time since the first episode. And because they're of a certain age, the gathering naturally happens at a funeral (it's like clubbing for retirees). And nothing says comedy quite like a funeral setting (unless it stars Hugh Grant and is preceded by 4 weddings) and this episode proves it by carrying some pretty heavy dramatic moments and a breakdown from Martin Sheen that shouldn't have made me laugh as much as it did (since he was actually going for heartfelt drama).

The episode begins with Grace interrupting Frankie's art class with ex-cons so that the two can get to the funeral of their mutual friend Larry before Sol and Robert arrive for their "coming out party".

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Tuesday
May122015

Curio: Mad Men Parting Gifts

Alexa here, shedding a tear for the loss of our beloved Mad Men. Possibly the biggest thrill of my life as an artist was when Christina Hendricks herself purchased a load of my Mad Men playing cards and postcards as gifts for the final days of filming. I don't know who exactly she gave them to, but some days I like to imagine that Jon Hamm is playing poker with something I once handled.  

Shameless plug: you can still buy them at my shop. 

One of the things I've loved the most about the show is how it has inspired so many people creatively, like the wild resurgence of Mid-century modern interior design, fashion, and visual art. One of my favorite offshoots was Dyna Moe's Mad Men Illustrated. Dyna, a New York illustrator, has created illustrations for every episode of the show's run, and was eventually commissioned by AMC to create the Mad Men Yourself app and the book Mad Men: The Illustrated World.  She is still doing illustrations for every episode; you can see them all on her tumblr.

More arts and crafts after the jump...

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Tuesday
May122015

You'll Believe A Frog Can Bike

Travel back in time with me to the late 70s. Superman (1978) birthed the modern superhero film with the instantly classic visual-effects spotlighting tagline "You'll believe a man can fly." If the internet had been around back then, it surely would have become a meme and been parodied ad infinitum. (Maybe it did in whatever form memes used to take?). The very next year The Muppet Movie (1979 - our year of the month!) could have used the tagline 

You'll believe a frog can bike. 

My movie memories are super spotty until the 1980s but I have a handful from the late 70s and this is one of them. My eyes going wide and little jaw dropping at the sight of Kermit the Frog on a bicycle. I must have been aware that my beloved Kermy -- stand down, Miss Piggy! --  was a puppet since being a puppeteer was the childhood career goal. So how was this possible; puppets don't have legs because people's hands go up their butts!

Happy National Bike to Work Week! 

The Muppet Wiki tells us how this was accomplished and the Muppets are on the brain since they'll be revived for primetime next season. Does this trailer sell you on a contemporary version? (On a scale of Yes No or Maybe So... I regret to inform that I'm not fully in the first column.) 

P.S. This trailer reminds us that Kermit is kind of an awful husband/boyfriend. Miss Piggy is the faithful one. He's the commitment-phobe. And yet she's always painted as the shallow one. Hmmm.