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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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Lessons from the success of "It"

"The marketing was smart...they did a good job of using a "less is more" approach" - Jakey

 "This is a rare case of a movie that was perfect to remake: has a strong nostalgic following but which also kind of sucks and has a lot of room for improvement. You get the pre-installed fan base but don't have the pressure of re-creating and improving on a legit classic." - MJS

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Thursday
Mar242016

Lake Bell Returns To Her Director's Chair To Ask What's The Point?

After securing the 2013 Sundance Film Festival’s Screenwriting award, a slot on the National Board of Review’s top ten list of indie films, and the vocal support of critical heavy hitters like A.O. Scott, Lake Bell’s pitch-perfectly precise comedy In A World… announced itself as one of the more confident debut features in recent memory, let alone from an actor-turned- director/writer. If you haven’t seen this film about voiceover artists in Los Angeles, it expertly defines the multidimensional barriers to success that women face any time they wish to advance upward – and it’s the movie where Tig Notaro met her wife.

This week Bell announced her follow-up feature What’s the Point?, continuing her series of personal, sharp social commentaries with titles that end in grammatical whodunits. According to Deadline, What’s the Point? poses the additional question of whether marriage should be a seven-year contract with negotiable renewals – which, if you’ve listened to her episode of WTF, you know she has no shortage of smart answers when it comes to the topic of married life. Bell will again attack the issue from three angles - as director, writer, and star - and Ed Helms will anchor the other half of the onscreen couple.

While we patiently wait for the film, here are a few suggestions to pass the time:

  • Make sure to check out her wise deadpan playing dumb on Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. In this series and others, Bell’s witty ability to crack open nuts without ever showing her hand often recalls some of Madeline Kahn’s most blistering, hysterical work.
  • Watch every episode of Children’s Hospital and then re-watch In A World… and then count up all the actors who appear in both.
  • Support other TV actors-turned-directors with your ticket dollars. This year we’ll see Clea DuVall’s debut The Intervention – which won Melanie Lynskey an acting award at this year’s Sundance – as well as Jason Bateman’s follow-up to Bad Words, The Family Fang starring Bateman, Nicole Kidman, and Christopher Walken. And right now you can see her Wet Hot sorta-love interest Michael Showalter’s full-on Sally Field crushfest, Hello My Name Is Doris (Nathaniel’s review).

Have you caught up yet with In A World… and does the promise of another Lake Bell joint sound like your thing?

Thursday
Mar242016

Carey Mulligan to work with Dee Rees

Murtada here. Carey Mulligan is continuing her quest to collaborate with the most interesting directors. After Luhrmann, the Coens, McQueen, Refn and Vinterberg, it’s time for Dee Rees (Pariah, HBO’s Bessie). The two are planning to work on an adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2009 novel Mudbound. Rees will write and direct, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund and Straight Outta Compton’s standout Jason Mitchell will co-star.

Despite what Mulligan claimed her agent told her after watching Suffragette (2015); 'Darling, you're lovely in it, but blue jeans film next”, it’s another period piece. Although this time it’s set post WWII in Jim Crow’s South. Mulligan will play a city bred woman who is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta cotton farm, and her entanglements with two soldiers returning home from the war - one of them is white and her brother-in-law, and the other is black, a son of the sharecroppers who live on the farm. The story deals with among other things the extreme racial prejudice of that era. We assume Clarke is the husband, Hedlund the brother-in-law and Mitchell is the other soldier.

Carey should have no problem this time since she's not working with a man

It is an exciting collaboration since Rees proved a distinctive cinematic voice with Pariah and that she had an eye for period drama with Bessie. Mulligan is always fascinating on screen, although perhaps she hasn’t quite yet found a film that allowed her to soar as high as she did on stage last year in Skylight. And it’s nice to see Mitchell get a chance to capitalize on his impressive breakout. The project is in early stages and hasn’t secured full financing yet so lets hope it sticks.

Has anyone read the novel? Should we be excited?

Wednesday
Mar232016

Reader's Choice: Cruel Intentions (1999)

Wednesday nights are now devoted to you. We'll alternate between a Q&A and a Reader's Choice Movie. So you are essentially picking the topics each week. We started with Gattaca but y'all kept asking for Cruel Intentions so here we are again.


Believe it or not, I've never seen Cruel Intentions (1999) so I gladly accept the multiple requests to discuss. This is written and directed by someone named Roger Kumble and the name did not ring a bell. It turns out he's still working, mostly on television and he's working on a TV sequel to this very movie. I missed this news somehow but Sarah Michelle Gellar is reprising her role so this post is more timely than I meant it to be.

The credits also inform us that it's only "suggested by" Dangerous Liaisons.  That's a fancy word for adapted if you want to compete in Original Screenplay at the Oscars. (Not that this teen picture had any such designs.) I'm not sure if you know this but Dangerous Liaisons (1988) is one of my all time favorite movies. And Swoosie Kurtz is in this one, too! We begin with her as Sebastian Valmont's (Ryan Phillipe) therapist. Her broad gestures and funny notes remind us that this is a comedy. Of sorts. 

Swoosie, an unlikely victim in both Dangerous Liaisons movie

In both movies Swoosie is the mother of someone who couldn't have possibly come from her womb: Uma Thurman in the 1988 movie and Tara Reid in this movie -- so, downgrade. Tara must have been left on the editing room floor because this photo is all we see of her

His therapist is immune to young Sebastian's charms but she learns as he's leaving that her daughter wasn't. She screams at her nasty patient as he leaves the building and he flashes her this baby devil grin. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar232016

Bye Instant Watch: Sinatra, Flashdancers, and Spielberg's Worst

It's your last chance to watch the following multiple Oscar nominated titles for free on Netflix or Amazon Prime. There are more films leaving than these but you know The Film Experience isn't good copying and pasting press releases and calling it a day. It would make our lives SO much easier but it's just not how we do. This is for you Oscar completists -- you know who you are. As is our habit, we've freeze framed the titles at random and just shared whichever image came up.

Got any feelings about these pictures? Or will you by midnight on March 31st? Do you think they deserved their wins and/or nominations?

10 OSCAR TITLES LEAVING NETFLIX AT THE END OF THE MONTH
* indicates Oscar win in the category 

African violet. I can't tell you how difficult that was to come by.

Amistad (1997)
Oscar Nods: Supporting (Anthony Hopkins), Cinematography, Costumes, Score.
Shameful Confession: I've never seen this. I think it's my most significant gap in 1990s Oscar viewing. 

9 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar232016

HBO’s LGBT History: Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia (2014)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at Andrew Rannells’s Elijah (Girls). Ogling his latest sexcapade with Corey Stoll, who plays a famous actor on the show, we talked about the way the Broadway actor has made himself an essential part of Lena Dunham’s show, giving the vapid narcissism of his character the necessary depth to avoid falling into cliché. This week, we revisit a 2014 HBO documentary about the dangerous anti-gay vigilante groups that have recently proliferated in Russia. The title comes directly from one gay man featured in the film. A victim of a raid on an LGBT gathering that left him blind in one eye, he puts it all too bluntly:

“Hunting season is open…and we are the hunted.”

Released the same year as the Sochi Olympics—which in themselves brought closer scrutiny to what many around the world saw as a state-sanctioned anti-gay stance—Hunted: The War Against Gays In Russia paints a portrait of the homophobic culture that has spurred civilian vigilante groups to actively “hunt” gay men. Groups like Parents of Russia boycott and disrupt pro-gay propaganda (like film festivals and demonstrations), which the government has all but made illegal. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar232016

Links

Fistful of Film Fisti is sharing 100 reasons why Xavier Dolan's Mommy is his all time favorite film
Buzzfeed has an extensive interesting essay on Jennifer Garner's transformation from promising actress to magazine-celebrity mom
Tracking Board Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer, Mother) is doing a monster movie for Netflix that will star the Gyllenhaal, Tilda, Kelly Macdonald and Lily Collins. Somehow they chose the only boring cast member in that list for the photo


Pajiba 11 examples of terrible singing in movie musicals - fine list except for including Christian Bale & Ewan McGregor - love both of those performances and I'm a total nitpicker with movie musicals
Demanders great piece on The Flash's vision of masculinity (so different than other superheroes, thank god)
Ali Benz "Reasons why Nicole Kidman is a legend"
Towleroad wide ranging Sir Ian McKellen interview with Owen Jones
Playbill The Fosters had a musical Romeo & Juliet episode
AV Club an archive of unsold TV pilots
Variety Jenna Dewan Tatum (Mrs Channing Tatum) will host a new dance competition series for ABC
The Russo Brothers show "Chris Evans" the finished Captain America: Civil War and get his reaction. What's his favorite part?
Guardian has a very oddly timed screed against the mediocrity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oddly timed because a certain DC behemoth is opening right now and...
Rotten Tomatoes... reviews are abysmal for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Titles / Release Dates:
Woody Allen's 2016 picture (starring Steve Carell, Kristen Stewart, Parker Posey and more) takes place in the 1930s and is called Cafe Society. It might debut at CannesBen Affleck's next Oscar hopeful as a director, the Prohibition era drama Live by Night (which he also stars in) will open October 20th, 2017 

OffScreen For Fun
Cracked 10 Facts to make you feel better about the upcoming presidential election
Kenneth in the (212) a catty meme
The Gaily Grind  Easter Egg Butts (nsfw)

Important!
Goldie Hawn has joined Instagram.

 

My happy hour cocktail 🍸#greenjuice

A video posted by Goldie Hawn (@officialgoldiehawn) on Mar 9, 2016 at 6:37pm PST