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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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Cameraperson is the best film of the year. Nothing else is even close. -Mark

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INTERVIEWS

Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
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Friday
Sep252015

Tim's Toons: A Genndy Tartakovsky Primer

This weekend sees the release of 2015's latest animated feature, Hotel Transylvania 2, and it is somewhat hard to get excited for it. Being an animated sequel will do that. 

Being a movie where all the shots were being called by Adam Sandler will do that, too. Being an animated sequel under the control of Adam Sandler in the same calendar year that witnessed the deeply repugnant Sandler vehicles The Cobbler and Pixelswill do that most of all. But let me put on my bravest face and try to tell you about the thing that is noble and interesting about Hotel Transylvania 2 despite all the obvious ticks against it: it's a Genndy Tartakovsky picture.


"And who is Genndy Tartakovsky?" you may now be asking yourself
. I very much hope you are, since answering that question is the reason we're here now. The simple answer is that Tartakovsky is one of the great stylists in contemporary American animation.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep252015

NYFF: Journey to the Shore

Manuel here kicking off TFE's New York Film Festival coverage. The festival begins today but they've pushed back the "official" opening The Walk (2015) to Saturday due to the Pope's visit.

So let's start with a moody melodrama from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, better known for his successful horror and thriller pictures (Cure, Pulse, Retribution).

Journey to the Shore is a ghost story. This is an economical description of its plot and an acknowledgment of its genre. But it is also, its thematic concern. Mizuki (Eri Fukatsu) is mourning and missing her husband, Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano). He’s been gone for three years. We don’t quite know what’s happened to him and he doesn’t really explain himself when he appears out of nowhere in front of his wife at their apartment. Her prayers, which she’s been dutifully writing down pleading for his return, have perhaps worked. Yusuke then asks his wife to take a trip with him; like all ghosts (for what else could he be?) he has unfinished business to attend to. There’s at first a playfulness to Kurosawa’s setup: well-versed in ghost stories, his audience surely looks for dead giveaways (can he be touched? can others see him?) and much of those first scenes tease these questions out, even at one point offering the suggestion that Mizuki, in her grief, has dreamed this all up.

But that is not really the point. Yuzuke is not quite a ghost but he’s also not quite alive, and the film makes it clear soon enough that this should not be our concern. Instead, the emphasis is on Yusuke and Mizuki’s relationship. As they make their way to the “shore” of the title, Mizuki is offered glimpses of where her husband spent the last three years of his life. This gives the film an episodic feeling and there are some set pieces that work better than others (a stay at a newspaper delivery warehouse is eerie and soulful in the ways the entire film aims for, while a stay near a waterfall where the dead presumably travel to is much too schematic, using another couple to comment on our central pair).

I won’t spoil much else about Kurosawa’s film which is focused, in any case, more on mood than on plot. As I said, it is a ghost story and perhaps even from this all-too-brief summary, you can tell where the film is headed. Ghost stories, after all, are about our inability to move on. That Kurosawa literalizes much of this subtext is precisely the point but ultimately it’s unclear what we’re supposed to get from this stylistic move, especially when the film’s most captivating scenes exist outside of the film’s ghostly parables (a confrontation between Mizuki and one of her husband’s female colleagues is exquisite precisely because it is all subtext, every line laced with hidden implications, every look a tacit accusation).

Gorgeously shot and languidly paced, Kurosawa’s film was, I have to admit, a bit of a drag, its ideas both too blunt and too obscure, and try as it might, it never quite moved me, even though plenty of tears were shed on screen.

 

Journey to the Shore plays NYFF on Tuesday September 29th and Thursday October 1st.

Friday
Sep252015

What's on your cinematic mind?

You've been suspiciously quiet. Have you hibernated through summer -- f*** u bear schedule -- to emerge refreshed for the best film season? 

What movie are you thinking about right now? What are you seeing this weekend?

Friday
Sep252015

Beauty Break: Alexander Fehling

In a very stacked weekend for new releases -- 10 of them in total with names as big as Anne Hathaway, Andrew Garfield, Robert de Niro, and Ryan Reynolds -- plus expansions for the mountain climbing spectacle Everest and the hotly buzzing Emily Blunt & Benicio del Toro cartel thriller Sicario -- let us draw your attention to one of the smallest, but not the least of the new films and stars. Germany's Foreign Oscar contender Labyrinth of Lies arrives by way of Sony Pictures Classics. Yes, it's a Holocaust drama* but here's something much less sober to contemplate: the beauty of its leading man Alexander Fehling who you may already recognize from Inglorious Basterds (2009) or Young Goethe in Love (2010) and who you'll see very in just over a week on the season premiere of Homeland's 5th season as he joins that series as legal counsel Jonas Happich, Carrie Matheson's new love interest.

But we saw him first, Carrie!  [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep242015

This is a rhetorical question, right?

We'll come tonight if you'll be there, Carol. Jeezus.

On a scale of 1-20 how sick are you of waiting for the new Todd Haynes masterwork*? I finally get to see this on Monday... so Cate is just teasing me with this gif (with its "Sunday" nonsense) which I stole from The Tracking Board**

For the record icymi: Carol has an earlier release date than it once had and now arrives in limited release on November 20th. It screens as part of the New York Film Festival in October. 

*presumed, but it's Todd Haynes so such presumptions are historically based.

** The Tracking Board lists Carol as a movie they'll skip in theaters and watch on Netflix later. They are either a) insane or b) have never experienced a Todd Haynes movie on the big screen and either way we feel terribly for them.