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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Saturday
Nov082014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man" (1952) 

In "The Honoraries" we're looking at the careers of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients (O'Hara, Miyazaki, Carrière) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Belafonte). Here's abstew on an Irish fav...

 

I have often said that "The Quiet Man" is my personal favourite of all the pictures I have made. It is the one I am most proud of and I tend to be very protective of it. I loved Mary Kate Danaher.

-Maureen O'Hara 'Tis Herself

The making of John Ford's Oscar-winning film The Quiet Man was a labor of love for all involved. Despite having already won the Best Director Oscar three times, Ford found it difficult to get his passion project off the ground. As far back as 1944, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara had agreed to star in Ford's love letter to Ireland. And it eventually found a home at the most unusual of places. B-movie studio Republic only agreed to make the film (which they thought would lose them money) if Ford, Wayne, and O'Hara first made a guaranteed money-generating Western together first. After 1950's Rio Grande for the studio, they headed to shoot on location among the lush emerald fields of Ireland itself and the affection for the country and its people is apparent in every frame.

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Friday
Nov072014

Review: Big Hero 6

Tim here. Something feels unmissably “off” about Big Hero 6, the 54th film in the Walt Disney Animation feature canon. It’s a film that wants to offer a little something for everybody, and succeeds, but this comes at the cost of feeling erratic and imbalanced, and curiously adrift. By now, we’re used to superhero origin stories that use up all the oxygen on setting up the heroes’ powers and briefly sketching in their personalities, but even by that standard, as Big Hero 6 started to move into what was unmistakably its endgame, I found myself sinking into outright dismay that this inconsequential scrap against a nondescript bad guy with wicked plans barely large than a city block was actually where the movie was headed, after its strong opening.

But that’s all part of the scheme: the filmmakers (including directors Don Hall, of the 2011 Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams, of 2008’s Bolt) know that some people want emotional tenderness, and some want big action scenes, and so they deliver both. But not in a way that’s completely satisfying to either group. It’s the same problem of every CGI animated American movie of the last decade and a half writ large and done with shockingly little attempt to disguise the joints between it narrative modules.

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Friday
Nov072014

AFI Opening Night: A Most Violent Year Spawns A Most Excellent Party

Dear readers, though I have crashed a bit mood-wise (blame my Gemini nature) on this Friday the first 24 hours in Los Angeles for "The AFI Fest Presented by Audi - they expect everyone to say that since it rolls right off the tongue! -  were euphoric. It was surely a good omen that all the emails and tweets awaiting me once I was out of airplane mode were about The Fabulous Baker Boys 25th anniversary photo reunion. My favorite new compliment that I plan to use whenever I can think of a way to use it came from devout reader / awesome Canadian Cory who wrote:

Congrats on this existing".

In fact, that's exactly what I should have said to JC Chandor at the after party for A MOST VIOLENT YEAR's gala premiere. [More...]

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Friday
Nov072014

The Honoraries: Harry Belafonte and the Music of 'Beat Street'

In "The Honoraries" we're looking at the careers of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients (O'Hara, Miyazaki, Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Belafonte). Here's Glenn on a Belafonte hip-hop musical gem…

Harry Belafonte brought hip-hop culture to the world with Beat Street. This rather unassuming musical from 1984, made in the shadow of Style Wars and Wild Style, might not strike you as an important film, but it very much is for the way it influenced a lifestyle and popularized it around the globe. Belafonte was a producer on the film as well as the soundtrack (the first film to ever release two soundtracks – I have part one on vinyl!) and his influence shows. His time-tested ability to spin niche into cultural touchstones is yet again on display with this, the first mainstream film to focus on hip-hop, graffiti art and breakdancing into a hit. Giving the under-heard voice of the youth an audience.

I also just happen to think it is a wildly entertaining film, and the kind of which we rarely get.

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Friday
Nov072014

HTGAWM: He Deserved to Die

Here's Manuel taking over How To Get Away With Murder Recap duties for the next two weeks.

Is it is me or was this the first wholly uninteresting HTGAWM episode yet? And might that have to do with the fact that we were focused on arguably the least fascinating character on the show, Rebecca Sutter? I can’t tell whether her schizophrenic characterization (is she wily or is she broken? is she indifferent or just cooly in control?) is an intentional if badly executed performance choice or a result of the show’s fragmented storyline which depends on withholding information in order to propel narrative tension from week to week. I’d recommend its writers watch every season of Damages to see how to use flashbacks to keep audiences guessing (and how to build tension by refracting known information rather than continually serving up new revelations) but it’s clear that HTGAWM is sadly constricted by its by-the-week network formula.

And so, with that said, watch me tackle this week’s episode with an attempt to break down said formula so you too can write your own HTGAWM spec script! (Beware, spoilers and a slightly NSFW gif ahead)

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Friday
Nov072014

Review: The Overnighters

[The Overnighters was recently longlisted as one of the 134 films in contention for this year's Best Documentary Feature Oscar. Here's Amir with his thoughts on the film.]

Jesse Moss spent more than a year in the North Dakotan town of Williston following a news story he had found about mass immigration to the oil rich area. When the practice of fracking began to turn the fortunes of the Midwestern state around after recession, thousands of men flocked there from all the around the U.S. in search of a new life. The sudden, unsustainable upsurge in population caused tensions to grow between the local residents and the itinerant workers, fuelled by reports of theft and sexual abuse that were alleged to be committed by the “overnighters”.

 In the midst of this, pastor Jay Reinke of the Concorida Lutheran Church is opening the doors of the church (and its parking lot) to these men and allowing them to sleep there at nights. His congregation feels uneasy about the presence of the nomads. The more reserved church members complain ostensibly about the mess and chaos left over by allowing more people in the small space than it was designed for, or bring up fire hazard issues. The more outspoken members mention the past records of the temporary workers, some with felony charges, others with their names listed on the sex offenders list.

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Friday
Nov072014

Inside the Dolby. AFI Fest Begins!

Anne Marie and I had a stupendous time tonight at the premiere of A Most Violent Year which we were  mpressed by: tense, gorgeously shot, with a fiery Jessica Chastain and an ice cool Oscar Isaac. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. But for now -pics & tweets.

(We got there early and couldn't resist geeking out a bit inside The Dolby, the home of Hollywood's High Holy Night each year, The Oscars. [More photos after the jump]

 

I am inside the Dolby, land of Hollywood's High Holy Night. Streep is amused.

A photo posted by Nathaniel R (@nathaniel_tfe) on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:46pm PST

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