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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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9 Foreign Film Finalists

"Cheering for BODY AND SOUL or LOVELESS for the win. - Travis

"My two favorites, BPM and Summer '93, were left out so now I'm rooting for Chile's A FANTASTIC WOMAN all the way." - Peggy Sue

"THE WOULD... I'm ecstatic its profile has been given this boost." -Goran

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Interviews

new Claes Bang Actor
(Sweden's Oscar Submission)
Nikolaj Lie Kaas Actor
(Denmark's Oscar Submission)
Hana Jusic Director
(Croatia's Oscar Submission)

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Tuesday
Jun072016

Doc Corner: Mayles' In Transit is a Stunning Achievement

Glenn here. Each Tuesday we bring you reviews and features on documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week we look at the final work of Albert Maysles, In Transit.

Last week we looked at Chantal Akerman's final film, and this week completely by accident I am reviewing another final film by another towering name in documentary filmmaking. In a career that includes Grey Gardens, Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Monterey Pop, Albert Maysles has made many films that are considered among the greatest non-fiction titles ever made. And while last year’s glimpse into the life of aging fashion icon Iris Apfel, Iris, was billed as his last work, it is in fact this deeply searching piece of cinema verite made in collaboration with Lynn True, David Usui, Nelson Walker III, and Benjamin Wu that is his last work and an incredibly fitting one, too. It’s the work of a documentarian unmistakably trying to grasp as much experience in the world and revel in the unique people and share it with audiences before its too late.

The beginning of In Transit informs us that the Empire Builder is America’s longest and busiest passenger rail, constantly shuffling people between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. The roaming cameras latch onto individuals just long enough to hear their story before moving on over its brisk 76-minute runtime and few are offered more than a few minutes of screen time at most. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun072016

Schuyler Sister, Disney Princess?

With Hamilton fever not relenting any time soon, we're starting to get excited for Lin-Manuel Miranda's next projects, including the resucitated In the Heights movie adaptation and Mary Poppins sequel with Emily Blunt. But we won't have to wait years for his next musical feat: he's partnered with Disney for the music on November's animated Moana.

But he's taking some Hamilton family with him: castmate and Schuyler Sister Phillipa Soo has joined the vocal cast which also includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and newcomer Auli'i Cravalho.

The casting doesn't come with details on her character beyond "villager", with much of the South Pacific-set animated film still under wraps, but surely you're thinking what I'm thinking. Could Soo be following the likes of Idina Menzel and Jodi Benson from Broadway leading lady to Disney princess? Besides, aren't Schuyler Sisters already the girl power heroes we always hope new Disney princesses will be?

Call it a stretch with as little as we know about the film (and she's not the title character - *shrug* details), but considering the composer connection, we can at least expect some gorgeous music to come from the actress. She faces stiff competition for Lead Actress in a Musical at the Tonys this Sunday, but might we even see her performing at the Oscars come 2017? Miranda shares scoring duties with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancini, and could already be safe bets for Original Song nominees thanks to Disney and Hamilton's combined cache. If Soo got one of the film's key songs, it would be quite a thrilling (and fast) reunion.

Moana Opens this Thanksgiving! What other Hamilton cast member would you like to see join the Disney ranks?

Tuesday
Jun072016

Remember Gandhi? Baby Jake? Harlow?

On this day in movie related history...

1893 Mahatma Gandhi committed his first act of civil disobedience refusing to move from a whites only first class section of a train. He had a valid ticket, after all. He was forcibly ejected in South Africa's Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. This event and many others from his nonviolent revolution were reenacted by Ben Kingsley in Gandhi, Oscar's Best Picture of 1982. (You can cover a lot with a running time of 191 minutes.)
1909 Jessica Tandy is born. Steals Michelle Pfeiffer's Oscar 80 years, 9 months, and 19 days later.
1917 Rat Pack royalty Dean Martin is born. Centennial next year.
1928 Perpetually underappreciated and totally awesome director James Ivory is born. Later makes masterpieces like A Room With a View and Howards End. Where's his Honorary Oscar, AMPAS? He's 87 people get on that immediately. 

1937 The original Bombshell, Jean Harlow dies suddenly at the peak of her fame at the age of 26. Where's her biopic?
1952 Liam Neeson is born.
1958 Prince is born. *sniffle*
1966 Tom McCarthy, the director of last year's Best Picture Spotlight (2015) is born
1972 One of the world's most handsome actors, Karl Urban, is born in New Zealand. Later goes to both Middle Earth and Space, the final frontier. Next up: Pete's Dragon and Thor: Ragnarok. Meanwhile in New York Grease opens on Broadway. It becomes a movie phenomenon six years later. It is never leaving us.
1985 Goonies and Perfect both open. "What's so wrong with wanting to be perfect?"
1974 Bear Grylls is born so we might one day see pampered A list actors try to look tough in survival mode in the wild... albeit with a film crew around them so how Wild are they really Running? 
1976 ”The Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” by journalist Nik Cohn is published in New York magazine. It becomes a movie very quickly, a classic too, Saturday Night Fever (1977)
1990 Universal Studios Florida opens. Original rides based on Jaws, Earthquake, and King Kong all experience technical problems.

Baby Gyllenhaal

1991 City Slickers opens, turning into a surprise hit. Jack Palance wins the Oscar and little boy Jake Gyllenhaal makes his film debut 
1998 The Lion King, the Broadway sensation based on Disney's mega-hit movie, wins six Tony Awards
2015 Helen Mirren wins her Tony for playing Queen Elizabeth on Broadway, a role that also won her an Oscar (The Queen). She also won an Emmy for playing a different Queen Elizabeth. She's just an audiobook about royalty away from her EGOT.

Monday
Jun062016

Link Me Amadeus

The Ringer "X-Men Apocalypse Self-Loathing Index" funny stuff on which actors want to be there and which are embarassed by it
Variety Peter Shaffer the man behind the classic plays turned classic movies Amadeus and Equus has died at 90 because 2016 is the worst (The Grim Reaper must want to make his bonus this year or something)
The Playlist Splash is getting a remake (with an unnamed twist). Good luck trying to beat Daryl Hannah as Madison. They'll need it. 

Seventh Row "Matthias Schoenaerts and the art of not speaking"
The Economist Why does The Shining have such cross media cultural staying power? 
Variety wonders if its time for Emmys to bring back blue ribbon panels and divvy up the voting with so much acclaimed television coming from such unlikely places. Why not do it like Oscar's foreign film committees to narrow things down before final nomination voting?
Comics Alliance investigates what's going on with the movie rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner since even Marvel executives have often been wrong about it in quotes. The basic gist is "we don't know" but the punchline of the article is wonderful
Pajiba on Mystique's shape-shifting and the X-Men's Queer metaphors. I like this piece but I still hate the idea of a Mystique movie with Jennifer Lawrence which the internet keeps wishing for. It's the only performance she's ever given that seemed to have zero interest in its own existence. Dear actors, please never take roles you're not interested in if you already have enough money. It only hurts the movie and the audiences. 
The Film Stage new trailer to Phantom Boy from the directors of the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris. Oh, and here's the new poster:

If you'll recall I loved this movie when I saw it at TIFF last September and urge you to go see it when it hits theaters on July 15th. We already have two animated contenders, the other being Zootopia, to really get behind this year for Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature

OffScreen
New York Times great essay by Wesley Morris on how Muhammad Ali evolved from sports idol to the public's conscience

Monday
Jun062016

Stage Door: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's "Bright Star"

In Stage Door we talk theater, usually making some form of movie connection because that's how we do things...

I don't know anything about Bluegrass music but I wouldn't have connected it to the Melodrama form. If I tried to tell you the plot of Steve Martin's Broadway show "Bright Star," you wouldn't even believe it, so I shan't. Let's just say that if the plot were a movie it would be a silent film with wild eyed pantomiming it's so BIG with oversized emotional rug-pulling. I was just crazy about the music but the book not so much. (On the night I attended it was all worth it because Steve Martin made a surprise appearance. There he was as the curtain raised for Act 2, playing on his banjo. He was loving it and so was the very very appreciative crowd. How lucky that he picked our night to show up!)

Aside from the Original Score which just won the Drama Desk Award, the show's MVP is its Tony nominated lead actress Carmen Cusack who plays her character, beautifully, at two separate ages as a gangly uninhibited teenager and a much stiffer heartbroken woman in her 30s; when she fuses their temperaments at the end into the same woman, it's divine. Her voice can soar gorgeously and crash down to earth with equal potency. The Original Cast Recording is now available which might be the best way to experience the otherwise uneven night of theater. The highlight of this particular lucky night out on Broadway was the surprise appearance of Steve Martin playing his banjo as Act 2 began. He was loving it and so were his appreciative surprised fans in the theater that night. I was lucky enough to be among them. 

Bright Star is up for 5 Tonys: Musical, Book of a Musical, Score, Actress, and Orchestrations. 

More Theater
54 Below Molly Pope is doing a one night show in July based on A Star is Born. She's a stunning live performer -it's pricey but I have to be there
NY Times An ode to Broadway replacements Heather Headley & Marin Mazzie
NY Post Michael Riedel predicts a mini Hamilton backlash at the Tonys. It will lose in at least a few categories 
Theater Mania Once frequent Oscar nominee Marsha Mason is directing a production of Steel Magnolias in Pennsylvania (now running through June 18th). Jessica Walter is playing Ouiser which is great casting, don't you think? 
Broadway Blog Cheyenne Jackson has a new album out "Renaissance"

 

 

P.S. Jason and I also caught American Psycho again the day before it closed and during intermission, while chatting with Pushing Daisies / Hannibal TV genius Bryan Fuller (who also enjoyed the show) we all met a crazy fan who was wearing an American Psycho dress . A second time through I'm even more convinced of its brilliance. The Tonys really stiffed it but at least it picked up 3 well deserved Drama Desk Awards (Lighting, Projections, Design) 

Monday
Jun062016

Cast This: "Ocean's Ocho"

Remember that time when everyone was excited about the prospect of a female Expendables even though that action series wasn't any good in the first place? We were guilty, too. But the prospect of an all female version of another Oceans 11, not THAT sounds worthy of premature fandom.

There's one in the works right now with Sandra Bullock & Cate Blanchett headlining a la Clooney & Pitt.

The film is currently being referred to as Oceans Ocho suggesting the team of thieves is only 8 women wide this time and maybe it's taking place in some Spanish-friendly locale? We wish it were using the working title of Oceans Veinticuatro because more actresses hollaaaaa.

There are already rumors zooming around about other possible co-stars like Jennifer Lawrence (because that one needs more franchise. smh) and Gillian Anderson (a far more intriguing proposition) but nothing is set in stone since we're still talking casting and pre-production. 

1960s Cast 2000s cast

We need six more actresses to work with Bullock and Blanchett. Who would you have them be and why?

Remember that the first two iterations of this franchise had a wide range of stardom-levels, ages, and personalities so follow suit with your suggestions. Let's make it extra enticing!