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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

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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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Friday
Oct022015

News Bits & Bobs: Steve & Natasha, Jenn & Donald, Taika & Mjölnir

• Asking the important question: Is Captain America a virgin still? [Pajiba]
• Damnit. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have delayed the opening of their new museum. I'm so excited about this but we're talking 2018 now [Variety]
• Queen of Dystopia Jennifer Lawrence (who should thus know) has declared that if Donald Trump becomes President it will be "the end of the world". This may have been the most intelligent thing the verbally uninhibited actress has ever said [AV Club]
•  71's awesome debut director Yann Demange will director a true crime story about a teenage undercover informant - they're looking for a quick start in 2016. Yay! [Deadline

• John Waters might finally make another movie. But he won't talk about it yet! [Speakeasy]
• Black Widow is getting a new comic book in 2016. Why can't the movies understand that she deserves her own? [Comics Alliance]
• Harry Potter's voice actor in Brazil (Caio César Ignácio Cardoso de Melo), who also works as a cop, has been killed. Tragic. [The Guardian]
• 10 reveals from Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron commentary including why he put them in marble in the end credits (I personally ed that) [Coming Soon]
• What the hell is going on with Xander (Nicholas Brendan) from Buffy? Violence and arrests right after rehab? So sad. Hope he pulls out of this tailspin. [Variety]
• Joseph Gordon-Levitt will likely headline a new thriller In Sight from screenwriter Katie Lovejoy after a bidding war [Tracking Board]
• Handsome* New Zealander hired to lift Mjölnir. Taika Waititi of What We Do in the Shadows fame will direct Thor: Ragnarok [The Wrap]
• An interesting review of Janet Jackson's new album via Rich Juzwiak. I wish the talented Juzwiak didn't have to diss Madonna to complement her but dissing that icon is as natural to humans as breathing. (sigh) [Defamer
• Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tatiana Maslany, Olivia Cooke, and Gina Rodriguez are all in the mix for the two key female roles in Star Wars Episode VIII. That's a formidable shortlist of strong popular diverse and young actresses. Let's hope the two roles are good and not just window dressing. John Boyega will chemistry test with them. [/Film]

*What? I met him one time at a festival for his second directorial feature Boy and to my surprise was struck semi-incoherent. I am only human. 

Friday
Oct022015

Southpaw returning to the ring. (And by ring we mean movie theaters.)

someone wants an Oscar... someone wants an Oscar...

We say this in a sing-song teasing way but super-affectionately! For who beyond Jake Gyllenhaal among Hollywood's current leading men has earned more Oscar love than he's received? It's still virtually unthinkable that he missed the shortlist last year for Nightcrawler in which he burrowed into a character that proved far more indelible and challenging and even showy (and AMPAS loves that) than many of the actual nominees. And his work was better than almost all of theirs, too. (At least we gave him a prize right here)

Jake is in theaters right now climbing mountains in Everest but his headlining gig in the summer's modest boxing drama success Southpaw will get another go at theaters (and thus industry attention) this weekend courtesy of The Weinstein Company who just don't mess around when it comes to campaigning for gold. (Although, frankly, if they were going to do this at all, shouldn't they have y'know, announced it with more preliminary fanfare? And maybe not done it during Matt Damon's possibly record-busting weekend?)

Breaking into this year's Best Actor field might still prove difficult since his work in Southpaw isn't as memorable as his work in Nightcrawler and isn't as uniquely inspired as his work in next year's Demolition (he's so terrific in that one - pity about the delay.) On the other hand this year's competition could well thin out if The Revenant is not all that or if AMPAS voters view all the Spotlight guys as supporting, or if Johnny Depp can't reheat that super brief bonfire of Black Mass goodwill or if Matt Damon keeps sticking his foot in his mouth or if...

If if if if if if. You know how this works. Do you think he has a (long) shot? 

 

Friday
Oct022015

NYFF: Microbe & Gasoline

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on Michel Gondry's latest film.

I've always been fascinated by, in this modern day-and-age of super handy internet pornography (ha ha handy), the cartoonish sort you'll sometimes stumble upon online - with access to the billions upon billions of pixelated private parts available at the click of a mouse just who's getting off to this hand-drawn stuff? Michel Gondry offers up the answer with Microbe & Gasoline, and of course it had to be Michel Gondry. The best known purveyor of cinematic hand-stitched whimsy, who's turned everything from dreams to clouds to memory itself into tactile seeming sensations, would want to get his mitts smudged with the detailing of wank-book pencil lines. 

This isn't as odd an entry point into Microbe & Gasoline as it might seem at first blush. The film, which tells the tale of the bloom and blossom of friendship between two teenage outsider princes, their crowns two matching heads of thick provincial locks, is somewhat obsessed with body functions, as teenage boys are prone to. It's not just getting laid (although that is there too, waving wildly) - it's haircuts and bathroom stops and strangers (putting the strange in stranger danger) wanting to caress your molars.

But then Gondry is our tightrope practitioner of phantasmagorical practicality - when he soars, he soars along a surface of scratches and knicks and splintered wooden beams. Whereas somebody like Christopher Nolan will go out of his way to scrub the surface of his imagination into a flat gleaming cube, inscrutably too scrutable, Gondry's gonna flip that mirror over and get to work on its underbelly, hammer in hand, nails in teeth.

It doesn't always work! It hasn't really worked in awhile, save moments here and there - I liked bits of Mood Indigo but it always felt like somebody else's story, too dour by several degrees. And don't get me started on The We and the I, which felt like being trapped in an echo chamber of humiliation and teenage horror which I hardly made it through - Gondry can almost be too generous a soul, allowing his folks to tip far too far towards screech instead of sing. Microbe & Gasoline though, it works. He keeps himself in check - the whimsy bumps and chugs along the road with precision-crafted engineering, and his two lead actors have an endearingly low-key rapport. It's his best film since Eternal Sunshine.

Microbe & Gasoline is screening at the New York Film Festival on Sunday, October 4 and Monday, October 5.

Friday
Oct022015

Something Link-ed This Way Comes

The Movies
• How does The Intern stack up to previous Nancy Meyers releases at the box office? It's a bit too early to tell but I totally didn't know and was a bit surprised to realize that they were nearly all bigger hits overseas than in the US [Box Office Mojo]
• Sasha Stone comes up with a new sneaky way to define leading roles as supporting. She's calling them "anchors" as in "anchors to the lead," not "the other lead." Hee. Of course she doesn't mean Anchor as Category Fraud but a rose by any other name... [Awards Daily]
• Singing the praises of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and their upcoming slate for cinema-voracious New Yorkers. And really, sing these praises at full volume. [MNPP]
• Not everyone loves the new Macbeth [Shadowplay
• "The people behind [Sicario] understand that what makes a great thriller is not the abundance of shootings, murders or jump scares and plot twists - it's the fear that something horrible can happen at any moment." [Cinematic Corner

Off Screen
• Oh god. File under totally depressing: If even Meryl Streep doesn't understand what feminism is, the earth is doomed. One of the most successful things conservative thinkers ever did is fooling progressives (and women of any political stripe) into thinking it was a bad word [Refinery 29]
• I mean... Keira Knightley is awesome but shouting marriage proposals at her while she's trying to make her Broadway debut last night. Not cool, drunk stalker! [Playbill]
• "Homophobia unites people of different Christian faiths" - Dan Savage, hero, on the Pope/Kim Davis mishegoss [MSNBC]
• I missed this report last week but The Tony Awards might be leaving their regular home - considering different theaters [NYT]
• "The last time I saw Madonna was on September 6th, 1989, during the live telecast of the MTV Video Music Awards. I was in my parents basement with my mother..."  Love these personal essays about stars when people can pull them off. Must Read. [The Hairpin]

Scream Queens
• Is Nick Jonas too into queerbaiting his fans? [Towleroad]
• Are any of you watching? It's such a mess, strains for laughs and (worst of all) revels in its misogyny (Murphy and his writers really need to stop putting words like "gash" into the girls mouths to demean other girls) to the point where you know it's not parody but just actual feeling disguised as parody. I'm only in it for Jamie Lee Curtis (fun but she's been better) and recent Emmy nominee Niecy Nash (making the very very very most of a small role - what a gift she is!). This quote from Towleroad's recap of the third episode made me LOL:

“Chainsaw” ...crammed in so many obvious red herrings, I think it qualifies as an aquarium.

Image of the Day
Michael Fassbender as MacBeth. I will never for the life of me understand what is taking so long with this movie (remember how long ago we saw the first images -- I swear it was 2013 -- or even why they're going to distribute it like a poor stepchild movie. (sigh).

click to embiggen

"Critics Choice" Ch-ch-changes
It's worth noting that the BFCA, of which I am a member -- yes, I'm still bragging about sitting with Jessica Chastain last year --  is making a major change. They're fusing their fairly new TV arm (which currently holds their ceremony in May each year) with their cinema body for one conjoined show starting in January that's 3 hours long. I don't understand what that will mean for current TV shows (two awards for their favorites in just a seven-month span?) but this will obviously make the Critics Choice Awards far more like their sworn enemy* the Golden Globes. Obviously to make this successful the BFCA will have to axe some of their odder categories from their ever-expanding roster but that was okay because things were getting seriously weird there in their attempts to cover everything but NOT officially categorize anything (resulting in weird 'it's an action movie but it's not... it's a comedy but it's not... it's a drama but... no, scratch that we don't say "drama" about anything --that's the default!') 

I have to admit that it seems odd to have two separate organizations do one event together. Just let us vote on both, and not have to be part of two organizations! Just change the name to Broadcast Critics Choice Awards, dropping the pesky film or tv separations. 

* I'm kidding though for all the heat the Golden Globe take from US journalists, it's perpetually hilarious that US journalists always want to be more like them. 

Friday
Oct022015

nothing gets past the Fiennes gaze.

The eyes of perpetual intensity. 

Oh and also...

Friday
Oct022015

NYFF: The wonderful absurdities of "The Lobster"

About five disorienting minutes into The Lobster, all pretense of disorientation for disorientation's sake is stripped flatly away as the headmistress of the hotel (a terrific Olivia Colman) where Colin Farrell's character has found himself lays out the movie's premise. And oh how small the word "premise" seems in relation to what The Lobster has up its sleeve: Singletons will be turned into an animal (meaning a literal non-human creature) if they cannot find a mate in an ordained amount of time! 

It's a moment as surprising as it is funny (her notion of what is and what isn't absurd is the definition of absurd itself). While director Yorgos Lanthimos' previous films Dogtooth and Alps both reveled in their inscrutable rules, forcing the audience to pick up the fragments of what's offered and chase behind the film, trying to cram them together, everybody in The Lobster instead can't stop telling us exactly how this insane world works ("Didn't you read the guidebook?" is asked multiple times), and the more they lay it out the funnier and funnier it all gets.

And The Lobster is a very very funny film, seemingly finding all new ways to be funny that have never been found funny before - I wouldn't want to spoil its dark surprises but let's just say some of its punchlines got several audience members at my screening up on their feet and right out the door with madcap quickness. 

But for all of its laugh-out-loud cynicism about the way our own world works, refracted through the not-so-fun-house mirrors of how its own world works, Lanthimos' film has a heart, maybe black but beating hard, under its strange shape. He manages to make the old-fashioned obstacles of another sad love story hum with newness, scraping the gunk off romance and holding this bright shiny new thing high and proud. It's a marvel, like nothing else, singular from every single stupefying angle.

Alchemy will distribute The Lobster in the US. No date has been announced. For previous posts on the Lobster click here. Follow Jason on Twitter and read his blog MNPP

Thursday
Oct012015

Dear Readers, obrigado, xie xie, takk, danke!

Before Fall Film Season hits us like a ton of bricks in 3...2...1.. I wanted to thank the faithful readers. Running a daily site is not even remotely easy though it may sometimes appear to be from the outside. We truly cherish those of you who tune in regularly. Especially those of you who take the time to tweet out articles, or email them to friends or share them on facebook or what not. 

Your editor Nathaniel (c'est moi) has always loved globes & maps. This could account for some of our obsession with oscar's foreign film submissions each year (today was the final day for countries to submit!). Whilst pitching an ad block to a distributor recently we got lost in statistics to where the readership actually is. More...

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