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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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"Love the premise of Feud, but the execution of it? Oof. Molina, Davis and a smattering of technical nods (ex. those opening credits!) would be more than generous, IMO." - Mareko

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Thursday
Feb252016

Bad Movies on Oscar Weekend

This weekend's release of Gods of Egypt got me thinking about the fact that we never get great movies opening on Oscar weekend. Studios must be betting that those of us watching the show are too busy prepping movie-themed party snacks to sneak in something special at the movies. Instead, they usually cater to an audience who'll likely be avoiding the big show. Hardly a new standard for release schedules, this weekend has been a dumping ground for forgettable cinema for some time.

Like the notorious poor quality of early months of the year, this weekend rarely gifts us with cult classics or enduring pleasures either. You have to go back 1997's Oscar weekend to find releases that still have vocal fans: TNT staple Selena (remember good Jennifer Lopez?) and Liar Liar (remember good Jim Carrey?). The previous year had David O. Russell's underappreciated sophmore film Flirting with Disaster, which did get some precursor love.

However, for something timeless and Oscar recognized, this weekend's biggest standout in modern memory is Pretty Woman. Julia Roberts performance as What Do You Want It To Be Vivian wasn't the most recent Oscar nominee debuting the weekend of the ceremony.

Let's see how far back we have to go to get an Oscar nominated film released on Oscar weekend!*

*full disclosure: I cheated, but you will totally agree why after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb252016

Short Film Contenders Pt 1. Who Will Win?

Eric Blume reporting for duty. We hadn't yet reviewed the short film Oscar nominees so I binged all 15 of this week. Many minds and bladders wander away from the Oscar telecast during these three categories.  Even those of us who claim we’ve “seen everything” have rarely seen all of the entries in the three shorts fields. But pay attention because these winners can bring some of the best moments of the show:  remember the 1991 show when producer Debra Chasnoff won for Documentary Short Subject for the General Electric expose Deadly Deception?  She got to the podium and said “boycott GE!” with a cut to Barbra Streisand smiling and clapping with Kevin Costner right behind her decidedly smiling and not clapping.  We Oscar lovers live for moments like this.

There’s a lot of quality among the three categories this year.  Here’s a quick overview as well as thoughts on who might prevail and why on two of the categories.

Documentary Short Subject

Body Team 12 follows the only female Liberian Red Cross member of a team which comes to remove dead bodies during the Ebola outbreak.  It’s the shortest of the five nominees at only 13 minutes, and therefore it doesn’t have a strong driving narrative, nor does it culminate in a larger meaning.  It simply follows the team while they gear up and remove the bodies, interspersed with an interview from its main subject.  It’s focused and lovely in its simplicity, but it suffers from its brevity. 

Pro:  Ebola.  Con: Uncomplicated.

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness follows Saba, a Pakastani girl who is shot and left for dead by her father and uncle in an “honor killing” once she marries the young man she loves.  It’d be hard for anyone with a feminist bone or beating heart in them to not get riled up by this story, and it’s told with restraint and intelligence. 

Pro:  Angry.  Con: Angry.

Eight more shorts after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb252016

The Lady Eve's slippery 75 years

David here. There are many things about The Lady Eve we could discuss to celebrate its 75th anniversary today - it is, after all, one of Hollywood’s most perfect films - but there’s one particular delight that we’re treated to right off the bat.


Warner Bros. employed Leon Schlesinger’s animation studio - the masterminds behind the Looney Tunes cartoon - to craft the genius opening credits sequence starring the cheeriest snake you’ll ever meet. Even in these halcyon days where the credits came at the film’s beginning, the brevity of them meant you rarely got much beyond an ornate border. Here, though, the snake winding his way across the screen is practically a fully rounded character in himself - just witness his pure joy as he shakes his maraca, and his venomous indignity as he’s conked on the head.

With this minute and a half of introductory magic, The Lady Eve starts playing with its themes of duplicity before Eve or her Adam have even appeared. And it plasters the grin on your face that is sure to remain there for the whole running time. You’ll be positively the same dame!


The Lady Eve Opening Credits by pezhammer

 

Wednesday
Feb242016

Jessica Chastain Can't Stop, Won't Stop, Launches All-Female Production Company

Daniel Crooke here. When it comes to gender inequality in the film industry, Jessica Chastain would like the means of production to know that she finds it very disrespectful. Deadline reports that Chastain has thrown her Zero Dark Thirty Aviators in the ring and founded her own production company, Freckle Films. This is obviously hugely exciting news and such an Aries move. As if her engine of multifaceted roles wasn't already roaring on overdrive, she decides to kick it up another notch and become the president of her cinematic brainchild. Hold onto your Coca-Colas because it gets better: Freckle Films will be employing all-female executives and (we assume) zero sex-stymying stereotypes onscreen.

Freckle Films has partnered in a first dibs development deal with Maven Pictures – whose execs’ credits include The Kids Are All Right, Still Alice, and Black Nativity – with two film adaptations (from female authors with female protagonists) already in the works. Ten cheers for the endlessly inspirational Chastain, who constantly reminds us of how to be an unrelenting champion on and off the screen and on Twitter. We’re not surprised that in the midst of #OscarsSoWhite and torrential reports of gender wage inequity, when the call for industry diversity is arguably louder now than it has ever been, Chastain is on the side of shaking things up in the name of representative evolution. More power to the people after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb242016

What's on your cinematic mind?

It's an open thread as your host is otherwise slammed at the moment. Are Oscar's all that's on your mind or are you a non-conformist this week and otherwise cinematically preoccupied? Do tell in the comments. 

P.S. Just as I posted this news broke that Nate Parker's slave rebellion drama The Birth of a Nation, the Sundance sensation, has a release date now. It'll be a wide release (!) on October 7th, 2016 from Fox Searchlight. October is a good month for Oscar releases. 

Wednesday
Feb242016

Musical Moments

Time for more Film Bitch Categories. We're almost done*. Click away for the nominees in two more scene categories involving music.

Films featured in this round include (deep breath now): Chi-Raq, Ex-Machina, Girlhood, I'll See You In My Dreams, The Last Five Years, Magic Mike XXL, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Ricki & the Flash, Straight Outta Compton, and Victoria

*Only eight more categories to go... Best Scenes (not featured in these categories), Opening and Closing Scenes, Title Sequence, Sex Scenes, Best Kisses, and Best Actor and Best Actress in Limited or Cameo Roles... (which generally means no more than 2 scenes). We'll name our gold, silver, and bronze medalists on Friday/Saturday.