The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun


 "I love that two people independent of one another gave Claire Trevor an extra star simply for being Claire Trevor." - Glenn

"Interesting to see the take of young people on these movies." - Les

"That was fascinating. I love the thoughts on Executive Suite, post-post-WWII and the "benevolent patriarch." " - B.D.


Keep TFE Strong


Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience


For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?

NYFF Must-See: "The Square"

TFE's 51st New York Film Festival (Sep 27-Oct 14) continues with Jose discussing The Square.


Jehane Noujaim's The Square is one of those rare movies that provoke physical reactions in their audiences. Watching it in a pretty much packed room, it was strange to listen to gasps, "ohmygod"s and clenching teeth in the darkness. All of these reactions were caused by brutal images of torture and violence in which we see regular people being deprived of their freedom, their dignity and even their lives. Noujaim's documentary is a chronicle of the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo as seen through the eyes of key players of the revolution including a young idealist, a member of the controversial Muslim Brotherhood, a folk singer and actor Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93).

The filmmaker takes us through the most significant moments of the uprising and we see how with the people's sheer will and persistence three regimes are overthrown within less than a year. Noujaim cleverly structures the film so that more than being a journalistic piece, it also works as a seamless drama. "As long as there's a camera the revolution will continue" says one of the main character and we see some of the characters change political positions, suffer horribly at the hands of the military and even become enemies of sorts once they discover what might be the film's most shattering revelation: that in the end it's always the people fighting each other.

Having grown up in one of the few countries in the American continent where coups still occur, The Square hit perhaps a little too close to home; where I ought to have been inspired, I was sadly reminded that democratic changes often take decades to finalize. The film as such is a rousing call to action that ought to intimidate totalitarian regimes by simply reminding them that people will fight for what they believe in.  For me personally, it was a bittersweet experience that lifted my spirit, brought it back down and then sent me home complete pissed off. This is what political cinema should be about, right?

The Square won the Audience Awards at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals. It plays exclusively on 10/03 and it's a true must-see.  


NYFF: World on Fire in The Czech Republic's Oscar Submission

TFE's 51st New York Film Festival continues with Jose on Burning Bush

The morning of January 16, 1969 seemed like it would be a regular Thursday in Prague, that is if there was anything "regular" about living in a country that had been occupied by the Soviet Union. On that day, 21 year old student Jan Palach decided it was time to remind his countrymen that they were being demoralized by the occupying forces, his mean of protesting was to set himself on fire in the middle of busy Wenceslas Square. Palach's self immolation was part of a collective protest, which warned the government that more young men would repeat his actions until the Soviets left Poland. 

Renowned filmmaker Agnieszka Holland was a college student around the time and the event left such an impression on her that she chose to make it the starting point to build the epic Burning Bush. The four hour long film (it was broadcast as a miniseries in Europe) is one of the most impressive chronicles of modern history captured on film and it was rightfully chosen as the Czech submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Holland talked about the making of the film during a press conference at the New York Film Festival. 


Click to read more ...


Uh Huh Link Her

Erik Lundegaard on lipsyching w/ talent via Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Jimmy Fallon
Guardian Kevin Smith talks about Ben Affleck's Bat Cave. errrrrr....
Empire The Help reunion! Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer will co-star in a James Brown biopic for Tate Taylor. Unfortunately neither won of them is playing James Brown (This aint no I'm Not There)
THR Hugh Jackman will play a supporting role in Chappie, the next sci-fi epic from Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium)

Towleroad James Franco's Sal Mineo biopic Sal which seems like it was completed many years ago finally gets a trailer
Deadline good grief. They put up and then removed a Diana poster from the Princess's crash site in Paris?
NY Times Magazine talks to director Kimberly Peirce about her stop and start career, from Boys Don't Cry to Carrie 

Today's Must Read
Interview Magazine is featuring a conversation between Darren Aronofsky and Scarlett Johansson about Her (which Aronofsky loves and which she vocally stars in) and the funny but serious banter reminds us of why we love both of them.

"I've got Patrick"... Scarlett photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Interview

Scarlett even indirectly adresses what we were talking about on the last podcast, how she's totally become a more nuanced dimensional actress in the past couple of years:

JOHANSSON: I like doing voice work, and I've also become increasingly interested in pushing different parts of performance, whether it's a physical thing or a kind of vocal nuance, so this seemed like it would be an interesting thing to at least talk about...

ARONOFSKY: Did you think about what you were going to do with your voice in terms of what artificial intelligence might sound like? Or was the goal always just to be as present and natural with the performance as possible?

JOHANSSON: Well, one thing that Spike really emphasized was the fact that the character, Samantha, is really experiencing everything in the moment because she's developing, so she doesn't have any preconceived ideas of anything. Even her programming is not really preconceived—she has no opinion on anything until she forms it right then, in the moment. So Spike just wanted it to have a real levity and, I think, a curiosity. He also wanted that level of depth. So more than just the tone of the voice, which was ultimately sort of unimportant. With her, it was about finding the shape of things and building this character that's almost a babe—but just fresh out of the package in every way.

Fresh out of the package in every way, eh? That's how she feels as an actress of late. The change is 100 proof intoxicating.


Top Ten: Red Carpet Cate 

Jose here. There's only a handful of things we can lock up for the upcoming Academy Awards and Cate Blanchett getting a Best Actress nod for Blue Jasmine is one of them.

The Australian goddess has been getting career-best reviews for her work in Woody Allen's latest, and considering she's played Bob Dylan, Kate Hepburn and Queen Elizabeth to perfection, she's been doing the right kind of press by being modest and saying she owes her success to Woody.

Tomorrow she's even getting a tribute at the New York Film Festival (read our festival coverage here)! Tributes are a key strategy in many Oscar campaign; she might finally win her second gold man. But let's not jump ahead of ourselves with that tricky Oscar fella and let's predict the other thing we can pretty much be assured will happen: Cate will be the best dressed woman on Oscar night. Doing the press rounds for Blue Jasmine donning everyone from Alexander McQueen to vintage Balenciaga, she has been on a roll (even when she goes for statements instead of "dresses"). Which forces us to wonder if she'll be out of ideas by spring! 

after the jump 

Click to read more ...


Curio: Lucky Jackson 

Alexa here. Film and embroidery don't seem a natural combination, but, as I've posted before, there are plenty of crafters out there celebrating their film fandom with an embroidery hoop.  One in particular, Jennifer Jackson, a.k.a. Lucky Jackson, continues to amaze me with her prolific output.  She uses thread like others might sketch with a pencil, stitching celebrities she's crushing on or movie scenes she loves.  

Richie's tent

In 2011 and 2012 she did an embroidery each and every day for a year, filling it with many a Bill Murray and Margot Tenenbaum. See a selection, including Bonnie Parker, American Beauty, Kick AssZoolander and more after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Is there hope for an interesting Best Animated Feature race?

Tim here. Right at the end of last week, the Academy very quietly issued a rules change pertaining to the Best Animated Feature Oscar: instead of requiring that members of the nominating committee had seen at least 80% of the films on the eligibility list (an onerous task indeed, given that these are people who care about animation for a living, and that list can sometimes be, like, 20 films long), now the voters can pick any animated films they darn well want to, which is potentially going to do away with all those fun little nominees like A Cat in Paris and The Secret of Kells, things that badly need the exposure. Perhaps not. But if we’re about to enter a world where Planes can snag a nomination over Ernest & Celestine (please oh please Oscar gods, don’t let that happen), something is even more broken with a dodgy category than we’ve thought.

Now comes the news that the European Film Academy has announced its own list of nominees:  the modeling clay stop-motion of Jasmine by Alain Ughetto and a new version of Pinocchio by Italian director Enzo d’Aló. And The Congress featuring Robin Wright which played at Cannes and is the new film by Ari Folman, director of Waltz with Bashir (which famously attempted three specialty nominations for Documentary, Animated Feature and Foreign Film but was disqualified from the first, failed the second and became the first animated film ever nominated for Best Foreign Film.)

Jasmine is a "claymation story of love and revolution"

We have no way of knowing if any of these will be squeaked into the United States in time for Oscar qualification – the vagaries about what counts as “qualifying run” for this category is especially dubious – but given how everyone in the world agrees that we’re looking at the weakest year for animated features since the category was born, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some canny distributor decided to use this nomination as the spur for a Hail Mary pass.

Is there a possibility of repeating 2011, when two functionally un-released foreign films made the nomination list? It’s hard to say, especially with the rules change in the nominating process, but faced with tiny niche releases that nobody has heard of getting national attention, and the possibility of the phrase “Oscar nominee Turbo” ever being said by anybody, I know which one I’m hoping for.

updated animation & documentary chart


NYFF: Charm Offensive

TFE's coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival (Sep 27-Oct 14) continues with JA discussing About Time.

Charm is a hell of a drug. Be it in real life or up on a movie screen, it can intoxicate a person right out of their senses, making the charmer in question immune from all kinds of quibbles - major or minor, animal vegetable or mineral. If that certain somebody or somebodies are lighting off sparks, we the charmed, defenseless and weak, are willing to overlook a lot whilst under their spell. Put those fireworks front and center in a romantic comedy and you're pretty well good to go...

And so it goes with Richard Curtis' new flick About Time. There's actually a sequence in this movie where the beloveds at center stage (played by Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams) are falling for each other and we're given a montage of time passing involving wacky outfit changes and god save us all subway buskers, and yet instead of reaching into my brain through my ear canal and lobotomizing myself right then and there I only rolled my eyes a little - not even a lot! That's a feat, one I must lay down in awe at the feet of our charm-riddled lovebirds. ("It's the H1N1 of romantic comedies!" = my poster blurb.) I almost always find McAdams worth watching when she tries (at last year's fest I positively luxuriated in the sight of her campily swanning around in lingerie in Brian DePalma's Passion) and here she's at her most homespun loveable, fringe and all - she knows her way around and back again with a sly knowing smirk.

But I'd be lying if I said it my scales (and the movie's, it must be said) weren't tilted ever so slightly in the favor of Gleeson - indeed I came out of this movie thinking I'd just been introduced to the world's skinniest gingeriest movie star since Julia Roberts squealed "Well color me happy there's a sofa in here for two," in thigh high pleather boots and a Carol Channing wig. Domhnall's been building up a memorable resume with everything I've seen him in, from Never Let Me Go to Anna Karenina, but here, to borrow a turn of phrase from Mama Grape, he shimmers and he glows. Total charm offensive.

He's so captivating that not only can I overlook mad-cap subway musician antics, I can very nearly tip-toe right past all kinds of questionable moral quandaries that his time-travel antics cough up, like gosh there's nothing at all creepy about relationships built on excessive one-sided manipulations (they're not really lie lies), and gosh, women don't so much need personal agency, do they, as long as somebody parrots their girly likes back at them. (A fixation on Kate Moss is a really strange fixation for a person to have though. Really very.)

Indeed the movie manages to swerve around these sorts of questions by pushing the third act's beating heart, where our expectations are set for the standard relationship implosion-to-reconciliation arc, into the body of a father-son picture instead (Bill Nighy's basically just playing Bill Nighy, or the Bill Nighy we all imagine Bill Nighy is, but I still like Bill Nighy, so I was okay with it); there's life in the fact that the movie manages to side-step our well-trod expectations, to be sure, but the movie actually kind of forgets about McAdams once she's good and won and churning out the babies. I hoped there'd be some curiosity bestowed upon her character regarding her amour's constant shuffling off into cupboards, at least? But that wasn't to be - she's set on the shelf while the film unearths its true colors, as a tear-jerking fantasy about family and memory and the passage of time, and also ping pong. Most meaningful ping pong!

Honestly though, truth be told, I was so high off what Domnhall was giving me it was only once the film was over and my love hangover set in that I began picking our personal love affair apart. And even then notsomuch. Subway buskers come and go, but Domhnall's grin is forever.

You should all make time (groan) for About Time when it plays at the festival tonight, 10/2, or 10/6. Then come tell me whether I was blinded by ginger or not.