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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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Cannes Jury

"The Jury Lineup is very diverse and unconventional " - Amy

"I love Agnes Jaoui! If you haven't seen her movies yet, you are in for a treat." - Adri

"Huppert's chances of winning seem increased to me with her biggest fan Chastain on the list." - Tyson

Interviews

Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Tuesday
Oct062015

NYFF: Spielberg's frosty Bridge of Spies

Manuel reporting from the New York Film Festival on Steven Spielberg's latest Cold War film.

Bridge of Spies opens with a man working on a self-portrait. There’s a weariness to his features that he’s ably translating from his mirrored reflection onto his canvas. There’s a purpose to every brush stroke he takes. He works methodically. Silently.

Spielberg, long admired for large-scale adventures and expertly crafted action sequences, seems to have entered a quieter phase of his career. While War Horse seemed to play to his strengths, while trying John Ford on for size, the talky Lincoln showed that the director could create a kinetic urgency even in what was, for the most part, a chamber piece about laws and votes. Bridge of Spies pushes further still in this direction. Yes, we’re dealing with spies, and fallen aircrafts, government agents and tense phone calls, but at its heart, this is yet another installment of the Cold War-as-bureaucracy genre. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct062015

12 Questions: A Room with Ultron's View of the XXL Freakshow

It's easy to get lost in future film excitement this time of year. So let's step back for a moment into the now. Here are two handfuls of key new releases on DVD. Answer nine questions about them in the comment party (it's not a party if people don't show up so do RSVP, wont'cha?)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron in which Joss Whedon juggles dozens of powereds but struggles to make the whole as good as all the parts
Q1:  Would you kill me if I went deep on this in a future miniseries? Yes, I'm a crazy person who has already seen it thrice. And yes I speak out loudly about the damaging effects of superhero culture on cinema but... but... but I have this terrible soft spot for all things Captain America

Dark Places the Gillian Flynn adaptation that never seemed to open!
Q2: Are you covering your ears right now delusionally "Charlize Theron only made one movie this year and it was awesome!!!" ?

Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison of Belief in which Alex Gibney (and presumably a team of top HBO lawyers) take on the "Church" of Scientology and its famous disciples
Q3: Did you feel more or less for Tom Cruise in His Bubble after seeing this? 
Q4: Do you think this has a shot at the Documentary Oscar?

Magic Mike XXL in which Channing Tatum and Company attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle without as much flesh peddling
Q5: What is your favorite scene in this movie other than "Chez Andie MacDowell" ? (obvs the best scene)
Q6: Which of the strippers do you most want a lap dance from? 

Dame Besties (Smith/Dench) are pure delight in "A Room With a View"

A Room With a View (Criterion Collection) in which Merchant & Ivory found their breakthrough hit, provided the world with ridiculous amounts of joy (seriously this movie) and helped launch the careers of three-named wonders Helena Bonham Carter and Daniel Day Lewis in this picturesque influential comedy about stuffy Brits at home and abroad.
Q7:  Will you join us for BEST SHOT on this one if we do it on Wednesday October 14th?

Spy in which Melissa McCarthy gets to star in her own comedy James Bond movie. 
Q8: It's weird to think of McCarthy movies on DVD or BluRay right? They all  feel like they are all made specifically to be on loop on cable channels for years to come until everyone can quote them verbatim.
Q9: Do you know what a sad Bulgarian clown looks like? 

When Marnie Was There in which a lonely young girl is sent to live in the country and encounters a mysterious mansion
Q10: Do you think Studio Ghibli will somehow rally and start making features again? 

Zipper in which Patrick Wilson has trouble keeping it in his pants
Q11: Why didn't they just use that for the tagline? 

TV Seasons
The Leftovers (S1), Jane the Virgin (S1), iZombie (S1), Fresh Off the Boat (S1), Penny Dreadful (S2), Vikings (S3), Grimm (S4), AHS: Freakshow (S4), South Park (S18)

Q12: Do you watch any of those shows or did you stop reading this the second you realized that American Horror Story Freakshow is now on Netflix Instant Watch where you can watch Finn Wittrock oil himself up, bathe in blood, and suck alcholo from nippled baby bottles whenever the mood strikes you?

Tuesday
Oct062015

Nicole & Lee, Reunite for Interview Magazine

You've heard the news by now that Nicole Kidman will make an appearance on TV's mega-smash "Empire" at some point to be determined. Apparently her guest gig was meant to have happened already but her London run in Photograph 51 prevented it (hmmm. which role was it originally we wonder - have you been watching Season 2?)

Interview magazine, smart devils that they are, hooked her back up with Lee Daniels for their latest issue (with photos by Fabien Baron) and it's clear that the two were tight as bandits on the set of The Paperboy (2012) and feel each other as kindred spirits. 

LEE DANIELS: Nic! Hi, honey. I just spoke to Chris yesterday. He told me that you were having the time of your life in London. 

NICOLE KIDMAN: I am. I'm having a really good time here. 

DANIELS: I was disappointed to hear that because, of course, I want you on my set. [both laugh]

The interview is full of "naughty" memories like why Nicole was dancing in the rain with Zac Efron in his undies in that infamous film, and her fearless dive-in commitment and 'use everything' approach to acting.

DANIELS: Does your personal life ever bleed into the work? In other words, if something is fucked up in your personal life—family, husband, kids, parents, friends, what you're going through—does any of that ever bleed into your work?

KIDMAN: Yeah, but we're taught to bring everything—the state of being, the environment—and use it. If it's raining, or the other actor doesn't know his lines, everything has to be used. So your own emotional state comes into play, and I certainly remember that happening a lot on, say, The Hours, when I was going through an enormous amount of turmoil. And even though it was appropriate at times for the character [Virginia Woolf], at other times it wasn't. But I would just bleed it in; it would manifest in different ways. For me, the idea of having a plan, that you've got to hit this particular place, shuts down other possibilities. And that's probably why I work well with you because you're also like that. You see something, you jump on it. Jane Campion is the same. You are very similar in the sense that everything is so detailed, and everything you see, or sense intuitively, you focus on and pull out. 

There's also asides to talking theater with The Lovely Laura Linney (!), and how her voracious reading habits as a child (Tolstoy at 12, hee) led her to acting.

It's a must read so go there...

Tuesday
Oct062015

NYFF: The Treasure

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival which is in full swing.

“Do you like Romanian cinema?”
“I haven’t watched much, actually.”
“Well, this is very Romanian.”

I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this overheard conversation ahead of the screening of Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Treasure, had it not echoed in my head by the time the film's final intentionally strident soundtrack played right before the credits rolled. If this is so Romanian, perhaps I'm missing something in translation.

This occurs to me from time to time when I watch foreign films. It happened as I watched Journey to the Shore and as I watched Arabian Nights (though less so when I watched In the Shadow of Women, given my familiarity with French cinema). I wondered whether, as a non-national, I was missing crucial contexts, subtexts and frames of reference that would not only enrich my viewing experience but make it suddenly come alive. As much as we like to think cinema is a universal language, we sometimes forget that the best storytelling need not transcend its own borders. Sometimes, as is the case here, it's about precisely looking inward to Romania's own history and crafting what seems like a universal parable, though borrowing from a decidedly Catholic British icon: Robin Hood.

That is to say The Treasure is a good film, though one whose allure escapes me. The plot is as simple as they come: a man asks his neighbor for money to hire a metal detector professional who’ll help them unearth a possibly buried treasure in his grandfather’s old estate in the country. Porumboiu’s filmmaking is impressive, from his unshowy long takes to his penchant for medium and wide shots that let his characters interact freely, giving the film a kinetic stillness on pace with its laconic deadpan script. But, given the film’s attentiveness to Romania’s past, from the 1848 revolution, to its recent communist history and its slow integration into free market capitalism (all of which are briefly glossed by the film), I still felt like an outsider looking in, gripped by the plot and enthralled by the trio of performers, but always feeling like I was missing something in its simple absurdity.

The Treasure plays at NYFF Thursday October 8th, Friday October 9th and Sunday October 11th.
Monday
Oct052015

Curio: We're at (Crimson) Peak Excitement

Alexa here with your weekly art appreciation.  The internet excitement over the release of Crimson Peak is at a fever pitch: Gothic romance! Tom Hiddleston sex scenes! Giant creepy Victorian house! Tom Hiddleston being sexy!  It's like fanfiction come to life.  Of course, the return of Guillermo Del Toro's visual sumptuousness brings its own excitement, especially for some visual artists out there. Little White Lies filled its latest issue with art inspired by the film; they're also curating an exhibition celebrating all of Del Toro's films, with an artist interpreting each film as a Victorian-era gothic book cover.

Here are some other creations I've spotted recently that were perhaps made during repeat viewings of the trailer. See them after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct052015

Beauty vs Beast: Marriage Among the Ruins

Jason here, taking a little break between New York Film Festival screenings to give you this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- this past weekend Danny Boyle's film Steve Jobs screened at NYFF to sold-out crowds and from what I gathered very good notices (stay tuned for TFE's take soon; I took that picture to the left myself at the press conference), and I heard that on Saturday night Danny Boyle led the crowd in a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to birthday girl, beloved actress, Oscar winner, and icon Kate Winslet.

Kate turns 40 today! We have been worshipping Kate ever since she helped bash in her girlfriend's mother's head with a brick in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures, and we've never wavered... well okay we had no idea what anybody was thinking with Labor Day either, but other than that, not ever. Here on her 40th birthday let's give love to one of her best recent performances, one that just happened to coincide with a reunion with the Bogie to her Bacall, Leonardo DiCaprio, who was doing very fine work right across from her.

PREVIOUSLY Last week in anticipation of Ridley Scott's The Martian's looming box office boom we faced off our favorite pair of Red Planet invaders -- well it was Tim Burton's little green men that zapped their way into our hearts, to the tune of nearly 80% of your vote. Sorry Tripods, better luck next invasion. Said Denny:

"ACKACKACKACKLOLOLOLOL The martians from Mars Attacks win for their Frankenstein-ian experiments ALONE. "

Monday
Oct052015

Podcast: Carol Aird of Manhattan, Mark Watney of Mars.

Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick, get stranded on Mars with Astronaut Matt Damon. After rescuing each other they fall for shopgirl Rooney Mara with Cate Blanchett. Yes, we're discussing Ridley Scott's The Martian (now playing at a theater near you) and Todd Haynes's Carol (opening November 20th but surely already playing in your head).

Nathaniel is sick -- apologies for the vocal germs! --  so Katey hosts this one. 

43 minutes 
00:01-14:30  The Martian. How often must mankind save Matt Damon? 
14:31-40:00  The miraculous healing powers of Carol. Struggling with/loving on Rooney's remoteness and Blanchett's range and roll. 
40:01-43:00 Oscar fanfare / Sign-offs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments won't you? Especially those two prompt questions: What did you think of The Martian and when were you most turned on by Cate Blanchett?

Carol and The Martian