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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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INTERVIEWS

Pablo Larraín (Jackie)
Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)
Gael García Bernal (Neruda)
Billy Crudup (20th Century Women)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival

 

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Tuesday
Apr212015

Curio: 75 Years of Pacino

Alexa here with your weekly arts and crafts.  This weekend Al Pacino celebrates his 75th birthday.  The actor is such a mainstay in our cinematic subconscious (mine especially, due to his resemblance to my father) that his age might be his least surprising feature.  His horizon continues to be limitless, and may include his first pairing with Scorsese (The Irishman, is it happening?) and possibility being directed by Harmony Korine (The Trap).

 For now, let's celebrate his cinematic past with curios that show the many faces of Al after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr212015

Mad Men @ the Movies: "Forecast"

Lynn Lee, here again to discuss this week’s Mad Men

Glen is off to Vietnam but wants a proper goodbye from Betty

Maybe Don Draper should have been a movie director.  His best ads have a film-like narrative and emotional pull, and going to the movies (something we, perhaps tellingly, haven’t seen him do in a while) seems to recharge his creative batteries.  Even now, as he appears increasingly disaffected with the business of selling either his work or his home, he yearns for the kind of high concept that sounds better suited to the big screen, whether it involves the World’s Fair or a fantasy about the inventor of the Frisbee making a million and moving to France.  After all, he’s managed to rewrite his own life story – the public version, at least – like the brashest of screenwriters: from poverty to the penthouse.

[Jane Fonda, Vietnam and more after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr202015

Tribeca: A Second Look at "Grandma"

Lily Tomlin with writer/director Paul Weitz of "About a Boy" fameJoe Reid reporting from the Tribeca Film Festival

After months of feeling left out for not being at Sundance when this little gem debuted (Nathaniel reviewed it), I was at long last able to see Paul Weitz's Grandma, featuring as charming and exciting a central performance by Lily Tomlin as you've heard. Tomlin plays Elle Reid (no relation...though that's not what I'll be telling people), a thorny old lesbian who at times she describes herself both as a misanthrope and as a "terrible person," yet the good heart at her center never gets covered up all that effectively. She's just dumped her lover (Judy Greer) when she's visited by her teen granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), who needs money for an abortion. Elle doesn't have it, but she thinks she knows where she can get it, and pretty soon, we've got an old-fashioned road trip on our hands!

Road-trip movies have a natural episodic structure to them, and Grandma keeps some fun casting decisions around each corner. Here's Laverne Cox! Here's Sam Elliott! Here's Elizabeth Peña! (I let out a whimpered "aw" when the late Peña showed up; I found out after the film screened that a friend of mine did the same thing when she saw it.) Here's Marcia Gay Harden! The casting decisions are all quite sharp, which keeps it from feeling like a parade of familiar faces designed to cozy up to an indie audience. In particular, Elliott does some impressive work in his one scene. If Tomlin ends up folded into awards talk for her performance (she should), expect more than a few for-your-consideration pleas on Elliott's behalf.

While Grandma becomes as much of an abortion comedy as Obvious Child was, the focus never leaves Tomlin's Elle. It seems for a while that the movie is going to be a succession of dupes for Elle to mow down. Certainly that's how thing's go for Sage's boyfriend (Nat Wolff, making his requite festival rounds this year). But the film proves to be unexpectedly generous to most of its other characters, including an energetic third-act stomping-through by Marcia Gay Harden, who gets my vote for the movie's funniest line (it's about condoms).

Monday
Apr202015

Beauty vs Beast: Full Metal Maria

Tis I, Jason from MNPP, here, with another week's new edition of our "Beauty vs Beast" series. So over the next several days The Film Experience is going to be diving into the cinematic realm of Artificial Intelligence (known as "A.I." to people in a hurry and Haley Joel Osment fans), and to get the ball rolling I figured we'd make ourselves like science-fiction and hop in the way-back machine to the year 1927, when a little chap who went by the name Friedrich Christian Anton Lang, known to his friends as Fritz, made a little movie called Metropolis. In case you don't know the story, it goes like this: Boy meets Girl, Girl Gets Clones Into Evil Robot, Dystopian Nightmare Explodes, and a Kiss, The End. Somewhere in there dancing happens, and it is crazy awesome.

But thanks to a ferocious performance from actress Brigitte Helm you really couldn't get more of a clean split between the two Marias to choose from - Original Maria is all Goodness and Light, while her robot counterpart is Sex and Chaos. But what Sex and Chaos! Where does your heart belong?

Whose team are you on?
Team Maria0%
Team Robot-Maria0%

You have one week to vote!

PREVIOUSLY While I was out of town last week Nathaniel took the chance to sneak a musical (a genre I'm somewhat allergic to) in - can I just tell you that even though I've lusted for The Ten Commandments era Yul Brynner a'plenty I've never seen The King and I? So I'll be damned if I know the right choice for this round, but y'all went with Anna (Deborah Kerr) by only a slight margin (54%). Said Jija:

"I'm maybe biased because I'm Thai but I find Yul's performance ... irritating. I don't expect accurate history or anything. It's a very lovely musical but I can't get past his overacting, silly gestures and ..that accent. He's very cartoonish. Deborah Kerr, on the other hand, is everything."

Monday
Apr202015

A.I. "Robot & Frank"

We're going Sci-Fi (in part) and Artificial Intelligence especially in these last days of April. Here's Sebastian... 

Here's a film featuring artificial intelligence very much unlike those in theaters right now: Jake Schreier's Robot & Frank (2012) starring Frank Langella as an aging man reluctantly learning to accept a robot, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, taking care of him when he begins to show signs of dementia. Robot & Frank garnered some critical acclaim but didn't make much noise at the box office. It's a quiet film, a deliberate one, set in "the near future" with a sentient, talking robot as a title character. It might be labelled as science-fiction but it isn't actually all that interested in playing to that genre's tropes and familiar storytelling devices.

The exact year Robot & Frank is set in is never explicitly stated, but it can't be too far off into our future from what we see on screen. In fact the technological advances shown in the film aren't so much future as they are extremely current present. The phones, screens, cars, and appliances in Robot & Frank are of our time, they're just not common in our time. Some of those choices are made out of necessity by the film-makers – it's cheaper to have characters drive the very latest car models than make up and build new ones – but it also serves to give the world of the film a rich, lived-in feel that wouldn't be achieved if every single thing in it was new and shiny and ultimately strange to us. [More...]

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Monday
Apr202015

Ten Thoughts I Had While Staring at The Walk Poster

Manuel, who is deathly afraid of heights, here to discuss the newest poster for Robert Zemeckis's upcoming film The Walk.

1. This looks like a dolly zoom waiting to happen.
2. I miss Death Becomes Her/Back to the Future Zemeckis. Heck, I even miss Cast Away/What Lies Beneath Zemeckis. Might this be the film that restores my faith in his kinetic filmmaking after over a decade of losing him to performance capture (and that Denzel film which everyone seemed to warm up to but which left me cold)?
3. Oh, this is giving me vertigo.
4. The poster doesn’t really draw attention to it, but the blue-eyed, strawberry-blond Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the trailer still haunts me.
5. God, my palms are sweaty. And this is just a poster! Bring back that gorgeous minimalist teaser!
6. Can this live up to Man on Wire, James Marsh’s Oscar-winning documentary about this very “walk” which I saw through my sweaty palms but remember liking a lot?
7. “Every dream begins with a single step” suggests the marketing will be pushing this as an uplifting “true story." One hopes Zemeckis offers us a tad more. Related: will they really be billing it as The Walk: A True Story, and if so can we just call it TWATS for short?
8. The more I stare at this the dizzier I get and now my toes are tingling.
9. Snowden or Petit; which Joseph Gordon-Levitt “based on a real person” performance are you most looking forward to?
10. Will I survive watching this on IMAX 3D? he typed while wiping his sweat-stained keyboard.

I can’t look at this anymore without finding a nearby paper bag but I’m curious what those less heights-averse folks have to say about this poster and upcoming film. Will you take the first step with Zemeckis and JGL when this opens in October?

Sunday
Apr192015

The Lumière Brothers' First Public Screening

Sebastian here, stealing sharing a great find by Slate's Dana Stevens, who tweeted out a video of the ten short films by the Lumière Brothers that were first shown to the paying public of Paris on December 28, 1895.

On their website, the Institut Llumière offers a look at the screening's program, handed out to the patrons of Le Salon Indien, a room in the basement of the Grand Café on Boulevard des Capucines.

Unfortunately the Institut's image is tiny and barely legible. So presented here, brought to you with the help of all the latest text-formatting technology, a reproduction, updated to include links to watch the films on YouTube:

 

LE CINÉMATOGRAPHE
SALON INDIEN
GRAND CAFÉ

14, Boulevard des Capucines, 14
PARIS


Cel appareil, inventé par MM. Auguste et Louis Lumière, permet de recueillir, par des séries d'épreuves instantantées, tous les mouvements qui, pendant un temps donné, se sont succédé devant l'objectif, et de reproduire ensuite ces mouvements en projetant, grandeur naturelle, devant une salle entière, leurs images sur un écran.



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