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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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Mike Leigh 4 Film Retro for his 75th

secrets and lies, vera drake, happy go lucky, and topsy-turvy

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Months of Meryl: Sophie's Choice

"This is the best Streep performance ever captured on film. "That's all."" - Dorian

"I support this movie, partially because I loved the Styron novel and, along with Schindler's List, it's one of the best American movies to teach people about the holocaust. Streep is sublime in it, and it's such a great role - she gets to play Sophie before the war, during the war, after the war, etc. " - Tom

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Wednesday
Sep142016

Team Experience Remembers Blair Witch

This weekend sees the release of surprise sequel Blair Witch, a high(er) tech follow-up to 1999's The Blair Witch Project. You might recall the GOTCHA moment on social media when Adam Wingard's The Woods was revealed at Comic Con to be a surprise sequel to an unwitting audience, but the original was somewhat of a surprise in its unveiling as well. Launching at Sundance to an audience unclear of its authenticity (later revealed to be fictional), the building buzz of its shocks created a box office hype machine so large that it could only leave some viewers feeling dooped.

Still today, the film can inspire fierce debate among genre fans and cinephiles over whether or not the film is indeed scary...

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Wednesday
Sep142016

TIFF: Michelle Rodriguez & Sigourney Weaver in (re)Assignment

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

We must ban the use of the word "problematic" so that it may be deployed to describe pop culture offerings which are PROBLEMATIC in all caps. (re)Assignment is one of those, even if its too dumb to capitalize on its sophomoric provocations.

A hired hitman named Frank (Michelle Rodriguez...with prosthetic dick because her figurative big one wasn't enough) is drugged and operated on by an amoral vengeful doctor (Sigourney Weaver) and wakes up with breasts, vagina and a smoother more beautiful face...

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Wednesday
Sep142016

More "Best Foreign Language Film" Oscar News

by Nathaniel R

Look at this cute still from Train Driver's Diary. That's Serbia's submission to the Foreign Language Film Oscar race which was announced yesterday. It won the audience prize at the Moscow Film Festival and tells the story of a retiring train driver training his son to take over. The old man holds an infamous record: the most accidental killings on the job. 

Forty-one countries have now made their announcements official including high profile choices like Chile's Neruda which stars Gael García Bernal and could put the auteur Pablo Larraín in contention for yet another nomination to whatever haul his brilliant Jackie picks up.

Spain's submission of Julieta, is even more high profile given Pedro Almodóvar's international statue...

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Wednesday
Sep142016

Judy by the Numbers: "I Could Go On Singing"

by Anne Marie

We have reached the end of Juy Garland's film career. From this point forward, this series will be focused exclusively on her television appearances. So, why not play Judy out the way she's remembered best, belting a big number in glorious Technicolor? But the hopeful title and Judy's brassy voice belie a darker truth. This week's number serves not only as the title song of the film, but also as a thesis for Judy Garland's later career.

The Movie: I Could Go On Singing (United Artists, 1964)
The Songwriters: Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
The Players: Judy Garland & Dick Bogarde, directed by Ronald Nearne

The Story:  If A Star Is Born represents Judy Garland's image as a tragic, romantic figure in Hollywood, then I Could Go On Singing may be the closest Garland got to a public confession of how messy the tragic parts of her life coud be. Filmed in England while Judy battled for divorce (and custody of her younger children) with Sidney Luft, the film looked like life mirroring art mirroring life. The story of a concert singer whose relationships disintegrate even as she tries to shield (and connect to) her estranged son incorporated biographical details and observations straight from Judy herself. Co-star Bogarde reported rewriting large scenes with Garland to incorporate her own musings on celebrity, addiction and performance.

Perhaps most telling is the scene that happens directly before Judy performs this number. She's all smiles and charm while placating the audience she kept waiting. She looks restored just stepping onstage. However, just moments before, injured and recovering from a destructive bender, she destroys the idea that performing was a pallative:

"There's an old saying: When you go onstage, you don't feel any pain; and when the lights hit you, you don't feel anything...It's a stinking lie."

Tuesday
Sep132016

Miss Sloane If You're Nasty

by Jason Adams

True story: the other day I was in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, down near the water and I looked around myself at the muddy yards of the warehouses and I suddenly had this vision of Jessica Chastain coming at me in that gorgeous white overcoat and Pfeiffer-wig that she wore in A Most Violent Year, waving her big gun, and instead of being scared I was elated -- that is, as I'm sure most of you are aware, how we actresssexuals roll. "Kill me if you must, but just be fabulous about it!"

Anyway I flashed back to that moment while watching the just-dropped trailer for Miss Sloane, Chastain's upcoming film about a gun lobbyists from director John Madden...

I am a simple man with simple pleasures and that cuts to the core of it. So Miss Sloane has a killer cast besides Miss Chastain - there's Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Strong, Sam Waterston, Dylan Baker, Jake Lacy, and John Lithgow - and it's out on December 9th; will it be this year's Michael Clayton (nominations all over the place) or this year's Thank You For Smoking (notsomuch)?

Tuesday
Sep132016

New to DVD: The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum

By Daniel Walber.

What makes a film theatrical? It’s a word that gets bandied about a lot. Often it just means that the script is like that of a play, with a limited number of locations and lots of dialogue. Or it can be used to describe a style of acting, playing to the rafters rather than the more intimate audience of the camera lens. Rarely, however, do we use the word “theatrical” to describe elements of direction, cinematography and editing.

Yet this underserved implication of the term is the key to understanding The Story of The Last Chrysanthemum, an early triumph of iconic Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi that has just been released by the Criterion Collection. This epic family drama was a proving ground of sorts for the filmmaker’s signature use of long takes, which would elevate such later masterpieces as Ugetsu and The Life of Oharu. But first he took a much narrower approach, crafting the style of The Story of The Last Chrysanthemum from the conventions of kabuki theater.

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