all reviews




The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

Mad Men Returns - The Premiere

"I'm so looking forward to this final season, and will be sad to see the show go. I think it's unrivaled, especially as period pieces go." -Joseph

"I will miss the sets, I will miss the clothes, I will miss the movies, I will miss discussing the endless discussion of the closing song while the credits run." -Leslie



Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?

Top Ten 2010s... So Far

I just spent 108 minutes catching up with Jesse and Celine. We've met them twice Before... and I spent the first 2/3rds of the movie grinning like a damn fool I was so happy to be marinating in their always passionate detour-filled conversations. It's too early to say how much I loved the movie (though I did) but it got me to thinking what an achievement this series is and got me to thinking of true movie magic and how much of it we've had lately. So while so many of my fellow critics enjoy their mad rush through Auteursville at Cannes tonight I'm remembering the time I fell in love with this movie...

...and that one

...and that one

...and that one.

Here's my ten favorite movies of the 'Teens (2010-2019) ... so far of course

the bonafide masterpieces -it'd be tough to imagine them not being on the decade best list 6 years from now
1. I Am Love (Luca Guadagnini)
2. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
3. The Social Network (David Fincher)

indelible achievements

4. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)
5. The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko)
6. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance)

movie magic

7. Amour (Michael Haneke)
8. The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
9. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)

10 ... let's leave this spot open for a current passion since this list is silliness until 2019 rolls around. How will Frances Ha and Before Midnight age? They'll certainly make my top ten list this year. And if they don't this will be a startlingly fine year.

And while I still have your attention you should "like" The Film Experience

Honorable Mention: Beginners, Weekend, Magic Mike, and Moonrise Kingdom
Growing?: Blue Valentine and The Fighter and Melancholia are aging well
Fading?: I admit my initial passions for both Black Swan and The Artist have cooled a bit.

Which films this young decade have already staked a claim on your 4ever heart?

Previous Top Ten Quickies
1930s | 1950s1970s | 1980s | 1990s


Kidman in Cannes. Part 3.

Jose here. I succumbed to what felt like a Satine-sque bout of consumption over the weekend and to show her sympathy Nicole Kidman stopped showing up at Cannes events. What do you mean she doesn't know who I am? She made two appearances on Sunday bringing the one accessory she'd been hiding so far, her husband Keith Urban.

Who She Wore: her face designer L'Wrenn Scott
Which Director She's Trying to Lure: this dreamlike blue, red and black leaf pattern was obviously made to grab the attention of the mysterious Apichatpong Weerasethakul who's known for his exotic settings and even weirder plots. (Nicole calls him "Joe" like the rest of the world but knows how to pronounce his name.) If this dress doesn't scream Uncle Boonmee then I don't know what does...
What "Charlotte Bless" would think of this: "Mmhmm"

More Kidman and the big Keith reveal pics after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Curio: Posterized in Watercolor 

Alexa here. I can't think of two mediums more diametrically opposed than watercolor and film, with watercolor so slapdash and immune to editing.  Maybe that's why I've been seeking out film posters made by watercolor artists, something about the fusion of the unexpected. That, or I just like the handmade touch.

For instance, here's Alfie, rendered free-as-a-bird in watercolor by Javier Camara.

More after the jump, including some Katniss, Spring Breakers and Nicolas Winding Refn...

Click to read more ...


First & Last: Ceremony

the first and last image from a motion picture

Can you guess the movie?


Rite of Link

straight outta Cannes
Guardian wonders why Sofia Coppola is so obsessed with pole dancing. The pole is back for Bling Ring
MCN David Poland has several capsule thoughts on Cannes films. This is my favorite type of festival review since I find that festival environments are not good for full length reviews and yet people persist in lengthy split second reactions anyway. Let the movies marinate. But he hates the explicit gay sex drama Stranger by the Lake and thinks it wouldn't be in the festival it it were hetero explicit 
In Contention gives the same film fuller consideration
Apple Daily Tony Leung Chiu Wai -at Cannes for his wife's new film -- meets Ang Lee for dinner. Chinese press follows but the Lust, Caution pair are not reuniting any time soon (shame). Tony tells the reporters that he's seen Zhang Ziyi already, too.  
Ultra Culture lists ten selfless acts committed by the protagonist of Fruitvale Station. Just in the first hour! I was kind of worried about a lack of nuance in this buzzy tragic drama and if the character is a complete angel, I wonder if the movie will experience a huge critical backlash when it opens. Most interesting characters are not 100% anything. 

speaking of Michael B Jordan
...who is the lead in Fruitvale. You may not know this since I don't talk about TV much but I'm most definitely a fan. He's already done really sensitive affecting work in both Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. /Film  is revisiting the rumor that they want him for the Fantastic Four reboot as Human Torch. I'm usually all for color blind casting since it should be about who is the best actor for the job, you know? But there are some cases where it doesn't seem like a great idea and this, to me, is one of them. In fact, I'd pick The Fantastic Four dead last, along with like The Black Panther and Storm, as Marvel Universe roles that should be color-blind casted. One of the peculiarities of FF is its kind of dated nuclear family WASPy feel (I think director Peyton Reed's original concept ten years back about doing it as an early 60s retro-stylized thing would have been so interesting and right for the material). Since they went with Allison Williams as Sue Storm (I like her just fine but she seems as weird of a fit for Sue Storm as Jessica Alba was!) I have no understanding of what they're new concept is. Other than just "reboot and make money!"

Sundance Now revisits Disney's weird sorta wonderful Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) - those mid90s post Lion King/Aladdin movies are as underrated as that duo is overrated if you ask me
Guardian Antonio Banderas will headline the flick about the Chilean miners rescue. His career seems to be back on the upswing. Can we blame the reunion with Almodóvar?
CHUD is doing a series of 15 great actors who haven't starred in a comic book film and they started with Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Although really shouldn't that Mission: Impossible 3 movie kinda count?)  
Filmmaker Kurt talks with Julianne Moore, "cinema's modest chameleon"
New York Times congratulations to my friend Tom, who composes for musical theater (more on him right here
at TFE soon if...well, I'm not allowed to say just yet), who is now married. His engagment is commemorated with this cute NYT Video!  
/Film thinks a limited Christmas opening with a platform rollout in January for the Jason Reitman Kate Winslet Labor Day picture shows faith in the movie for the Oscars. Hmmm. to me the shy December openings with January rollouts are more hedging your bets than total confidence. If there's so much faith you go wide (see Django & Les Miz last year) to get the holiday money. 

Oh and don't forget...
Tomorrow night (and the following Wednesday night) are the last episodes of Hit Me With Your Best Shot before a hiatus in June. So if you've been meaning to join us, now's the time. Tomorrow night is Disney's experimental FANTASIA (1940) which were doing as sort of an offhand centennial tribute to Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" which turns 100 years old this month. So pick one image from the Rite of Spring section and your favorite from the movie as a whole. (Or one for each of its six musical sections if you're feeling into it). Next Wednesday is the brilliant Paul Newman as HUD (1963) which I want everyone to see it because it's one of the best movies of that decade. Even if you're not doing a "best shot" rent it so you can experience it in full before reading the articles.


Early Bird Oscar Predix Nearly Finished !

Working as fast as I can through the first wave of Oscar charts. I realize 'fast as I can' this year is snail-paced but you have to agree that this year has been a slow-starter anyway. Not that things haven't started now. Cannes is in full swing and in addition to the awards speculation for the Palme D'Or, Cannes prompts film sales, too, and thus distributor shuffling. Stephen Frears Philomena (currently in post) was picked up by the Weinstein Company and given that they had a full slate already -- especially for Best Actress since they're also representing Streep & Kidman in August and Grace -- it must have been more than Judi Dench that prompted the high priced sale. I've added it to the previously completed charts because it's just one of those projects that felt right to me when I first heard about it. Isn't it about time for Stephen Frears to get his mojo back? I've added that new contender to the prediction charts.

But for now, let's talk about the visual and aural categories. What follows is not my predictions but just a few thoughts to kick off a conversation. You can see predictions on the charts here (for visuals) and here (for sound) 


It may finally be Emmanuel Lubezki's year. The truly great cinematographer has always been overshadowed by non-discriminatory love for competing films in his nominated years -- in fact he's one of the very rare frequent below the title nominees that does not require any degree of Best Picture heat to be in the conversation. In fact only 20% of his nominations come from Best Picture nominated films. So you know they really love his work and it's not just coattails from the movies. This year he has the now-important advantage (sigh) of working with a ton of visual effects with his frequent collaborator Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. For reasons that are still unclear to me Oscar voters now view Cinematography as an extension of the Visual Effects category; in the last four years the winners of both categories have been the exact same film. This is a terrible trend since cinematography is an art that's been producing myriad breathtaking works long before anybody had ever heard of CGI. Still... if this is what it takes to finally get Lubezki the Oscar... [more]

Click to read more ...


Monday Monologue: “There is no Barbara Novak”

Andrew again, with your weekly monologue. Chances are, if you’re asked to remember what films were tickling your fancy a decade ago you wouldn’t turn to Peyton Reed’s sophomore effort Down with Love. I wouldn’t hold it against you. 2003 had many good films, even great ones to offer. Reed's pastiche of the sex-comedies of the '60s was unlikely to be anyone's #1 film of the year but that does not mean it's without ample merits.

Ewan and Renée display their flexibility

When Down with Love opened in May 2003 to unexceptional reviews, both of its stars, Ewan McGregor and Renée Zellweger, had higher profile releases coming out in December of the same year and by the end of the year few were even thinking about it. Ten years after, less so. But that's unfortunate. The film, like many an homage, does not offer expressly much in the way of originality but as far as well intended romps in the romantic comedy genre go Down with Love ably succeeds more often than you’d expect.  We're a few days late in celebrating its 10th anniversary, but for this week’s Monday Monologue here's a reminder of the frothy pleasures of the film...

Click to read more ...