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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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9 Foreign Film Finalists

"Cheering for BODY AND SOUL or LOVELESS for the win. - Travis

"My two favorites, BPM and Summer '93, were left out so now I'm rooting for Chile's A FANTASTIC WOMAN all the way." - Peggy Sue

"THE WOULD... I'm ecstatic its profile has been given this boost." -Goran

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Thursday
Jul212016

On this day: Hemingway, Falconetti, Clueless, Dunkirk

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Corey Stoll as Hemingway

1892 Maria Falconetti is born. Delivers one of the best performances ever captured on film thirty-six years later in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
1899 Famous author and real 'character' Ernest Hemingway is born. In addition to his work being made into films and TV miniseries he frequently pops up as a character in cinema played by everyone from Chris O'Donnell (In Love and War) to Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris - robbed of an Oscar nod though we honored him here) and now Dominic West (Genius) ...and that's not even the half of it.
1922 Don Knotts is born. Mugs it up in 70+ film and TV projects including Three's Company, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Andy Griffith Show - 5 Emmy wins for Supporting Actor thereafter until his death in 2006

1948 Steven Demetre Georgiu is born in London. He becomes the famous folk singer Cat Stevens of "Peace Train" and "Morning Has Broken" fame. Among his many early classics are the songs from the seminal 70s film Harold and Maude (which ridiculously received zero Oscar nominations). Later changes his name to Yusuf Islam and quits music for many years.
1951 Robin Williams is born
1953 Visual FX man John Nelson is born in Detroit. Gets his first FX gig with Terminator 2 (not a bad way to start) and wins the Oscar on his first nomination with Gladiator (2000)
1955 Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr is born. His best known pictures: Sátántangó, Werckmeister Harmóniák and The Turin Horse
1957 Jon Lovitz, SNL's "Master Thespian" and comic scene stealer of 90s pictures is born
1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon; Stanley Kubrick is nowhere in the vicinity at the time.
1971 Charlotte Gainsbourg is born to famous parents in London. Later submits herself to perpetual Lars von Trier torments.
1978 Ridiculously fine looking actors Josh Hartnett and Justin Bartha are born
1981 Singer Paloma Faith is born in London. Plays herself in a weirdly unflattering role in Youth (2015)
1989 Juno Temple is born. Specializes in sexually corrupted childwomen.
1992 Jessica Barden is born. 2016's been a breakout year for her via  "Justine," a bloodthirsty prostitute on Penny Dreadful and her role as "Nosebleed Woman" in The Lobster 
1995 Clueless is 21 years old today. It can drink now though it's always given us a contact high. (Please note: IMDb lists the release date as Wednesday the 19th rather than Friday the 21st but Wikipedia disagrees so I don't know.)
2006 Monster House hits theaters. Receives a well deserved nomination for Best Animated Feature but loses to Happy Feet which... recount!

Well, whichever. At least Cars didn't win!

2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows goes to market in book form. Sells 11 million copies on the first day before being split in two in movie form to reap an extra billion at the box office.
2010 Orlando Bloom goes off the market when he secretly marries model Miranda Kerr
2017 Christopher Nolan abandons sci-fi for a WW II drama Dunkirk, which will open in theaters on this day. Guess he really is pissed about being denied a single Oscar nomination for directing. 

Thursday
Jul212016

Pick Your Poison: The Hallmark Homages of Stranger Things

Daniel Crooke here. For the past two weeks, I've walled myself off from any pop cultural offering that doesn't include the letters LGBT while working around the clock at Outfest Los Angeles, our seminal, international queer film festival here in the City of Angels. Naturally the only external filmic force strong enough to infiltrate this border includes the words Winona Ryder. Slay, queen, slay.

I too have taken a long, hungry taste of the ananchronistic (and extra-colorful) Kool-Aid that is Netflix's '80s-set Stranger Things, the sci-fi outing that investigates a humdrum Indiana small town as a local young 'un mysteriously disappears in their midsts without warning. Much has been made of the homage-heavy layers that bake into its Spielbergian, Carpenteresque, Lynchian, and Stephen King-adjacent baklava; although the reason it succeeds beyond the hat-tip recipe can be found within the rich, nitty gritty filling of its heart-achingly true familial dynamics, of which Super 8 would have been smart to expand upon beyond the basic ingredients. So let's take a big bite and revel in its delicious influences. My personal favorite so far - despite Ryder's irresistible parallel to Melinda Dillon's momma bear on a misson from Close Encounters of the Third Kind - goes beyond bicycles and plunges the references to disturbing depths.


Jonathan's secret photo shoot in the woods recalls Blue Velvet's voyeuristic view from the closet; despite their quests for homegrown veracity, neither he nor Jeffrey were invited to the peep shows of a teenage pool party or a transgressive Rossellini-Hopper assault, but they've shown up in the shadows nonetheless. And yet we're still glad to be in on the drama. We've spent some time getting to know the traumatic roots of their curiosity via their displaced family units but these Peeping Toms challenge that sympathy through sensually clandestine invasions of personal space.

Apart from the bedroom posters of The Thing and Evil Dead, which Stranger Things visual reference sets your bicycle afloat?

Wednesday
Jul202016

Garry Marshall (1934-2016)

One of Hollywood's key figures passed away yesterday at the age of 81. His work in the past five years has consisted of a string of critically lambasted all star romcoms (Valentines Day, New Year's Eve, Mothers Day) and the day before he died one of the many actor he made famous (Scott Baio of Happy Days Joanie Loves Chachi fame) embarrassed himself on national television at the RNC. To put it bluntly, the last few years have not been kind but this is not the legacy that the beloved Garry Marshall deserves. We need to look a little further back. While he was never exactly a critic's darling - let's not rewrite history -- his work often resonated wildly with the public on screens both small and large. And that, my friends, is no small thing with or without a shelf of showbiz trophies.

He was a mammoth figure in comedy television, first, coming up as a writer on seminal shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and famous properties like The Lucy Show. After developing The Odd Couple for television (1970-1975) he created three true pop culture behemoths in Happy Days (1974-1984), Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983) and Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), the latter introducing the public to Robin Williams with whom they fell madly in love.

In the movies, and this is also no small thing, he was irreplaceable when it came to the careers of mainstream superstar actresses in both the 1980s and 1990s. He directed one of Goldie Hawn's most enduring hits (Overboard), one of Bette Midler's melodramatic bests (Beaches) and he was instrumental in the superstar blossoming of both Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) and Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries). He also guided Michelle Pfeiffer through one of her most controversial roles  (Frankie & Johnny) but even though everyone argued miscasting she made fine work of it. He even tried to help Lindsay Lohan along (Georgia Rule) but it's hardly his fault that that didn't take. He was not without his missteps of course (Raising Helen, The Other Sister, Exit to Eden) but who isn't? 

My personal favorite Garry Marshall movie, BEACHES (1988)Laverne & Shirley starring his sister Penny (who also became a director)

Do you have a favorite film or television show from his resume? There are a lot of choices as his work was so deeply embedded in our pop culture for decades on end. 

Wednesday
Jul202016

What's on your cinematic mind?

Do tell in the comments. We're searching for inspiration... 

Wednesday
Jul202016

Beauty Break: Natalie Wood Forever

My first true actress love as a wee boy watching her movies on TV whenever they'd pop up. She would have been 78 today. Happy Birthday in the Cosmic Cinema Pantheon, Natalie. Here are 12 glorious photos of her and a few listicles...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul202016

Judy by the Numbers: "Get Happy"

In 'Judy by the Numbers' Anne Marie looks back at Garland's career through key songs

By the time Judy Garland turned 28, her entire adult life and her entire star persona had been a product of MGM. In 1950, Judy Garland's image - as cultivated by MGM and the Freed Unit - was of an exuberant talent, small in stature but big in heart and voice; a buoyant box office sensation. However, the reality was different. In the 13 months between the release of In The Good Old Summertime and Summer Stock, Judy Garland fought drug addiction, rehab, an increasingly strained marriage, an unsympathetic studio, and a suicide attempt that made headlines worldwide. Filmed before her attempt but released two months after it, Summer Stock is a record of the conflict between the image of Judy Garland and the reality of Frances Gumm.

The Movie: Summer Stock (1950)
The Songwriters: Harold Arlen (music), Mack Gordon (lyrics)
The Players: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria de Haven, directed by Charles Walters 

The Story: "Get Happy" is the number that shouldn't be from the movie that shouldn't exist. Neither Judy Garland nor Gene Kelly was supposed to be in Summer Stock.  Judy had just dropped from Annie Get Your Gun and entered rehab, and Gene's star was rising with Arthur Freed. However, Joe Pasternak coaxed them into another picture, a return to form based on the old Rooney/Garland "let's put on a show!" model. Though it was intended to be a triumphant return, ultimately Judy lags through much of Summer Stock, which needs her energy to carry through a plodding plot. She looks and sounds a little slower, though sources disagree on why - either she was recovering from rehab or further spiralling into addiction. 

In this context - and even out of it - "Get Happy" is a shock. Filmed months later at Judy's insistence, with design and directorial help from husband Vincente Minnelli, the number shows Judy shining like she hasn't in a while. She's sexy, she's witty, she's beaming, and she's urbane in a way that sticks out from her nostalgia-laced image. Even without the maelstrom of malady surrounding her, this would be a defining number for Judy. With this backstory, "Get Happy" takes on another meaning too - the "fix." If Summer Stock is the movie where Judy Garland's facade slipped, then "Get Happy" is the number that restored it, at least temporarily. Don't worry about the exhaustion! Judy's back, and better than ever. Forget your troubles!

The fix was a public one only. Though Summer Stock was a success, Judy and MGM parted ways in 1951. Divorced from the studio that had raised her, Judy Garland would find the 1950s to be both happy and heartbreaking. She would live out private struggles in public, and her image would change from child star to musical maiden to something more complicated. For some stars, the tragedies of their lives become as image-defining as their successes.