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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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The Next La La Land?

"It looks like fun and Hugh and Zac make a cute couple" - Jaragon

"Why do we keep treating La La Land like some sort of longsuffering, put-upon, misunderstood underdog? It's like making time to assure the prom queen that she's pretty and popular.." -Hayden

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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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Thursday
Apr022015

Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's Sweetie

Welcome to Jane Campion month! When I asked you all to vote for our next Female Filmmaker, I was surprised when the New Zealand native won nearly half of the vote. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. Jane Campion is one of the most honored ladies on our list! She’s been nominated for two Academy Awards (one of which she won) and two Golden Globes for The Piano in 1994, garnered three Emmy nominations for Top of the Lake two years ago, and she won the Palm d’Or in 1986, before our story with her even starts! We pick up with her three years after her prestigious win, with a sad, strange, sometimes silly story of one weird woman’s even weirder family.

If taken at face value, Sweetie is a cautionary about how a daughter's untreated mental illness can cause an already unstable family to disintegrate. But nothing in Campion's surreal story is meant to be taken at face value. With the help of (lady!) cinematographer Sally Bongers, Campion shows a gift for making the mundane malevolent. When cast under shadows and seen through a wide angle lens, plastic furniture, dappled rugs, and the brightly-colored trappings of middle class suburbia suddenly suggest something rotten in the state of New Zealand. Campion refuses to shy away from the ugliness of her characters, instead covering them with candy colors that make them all the more grotesque.

Jane Campion's twisted family story after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr022015

The Smackdowns. A History

Yes, it's true. The Smackdowns will return. StinkyLulu was gracious enough to let us reboot the series here. In our one bifurcated season thus far (Aug 2013 thru Sept 2014) we covered 194119521964 (which special guest Melanie Lynskey) 19681973 (with special guest Dana Delany) 1980, 1989, and 2003. So... where to now?

Let's look at our options after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr012015

Best Shot Visual Index: Mommie Dearest (1981)

For our April Fools tradition of celebrating 'bad movies we love' (last year it was Can't Stop the Music) we opted for Frank Perry's ill-fated but extremely memorable Mommie Dearest (1981). The film, which was quickly adapted from Christina Crawford's 1978 best-selling memoir (published just a year after her famous mother's death), starred Faye Dunaway as the great movie star and Mara Hobel and Diana Scarwid as Christina, Steve Forrest as Crawford's longtime boyfriend Gregg Savitt and Rutanya Alda as Crawford's loyal assistant Carol Ann. The book was controversial in its day, with many stars defending their former co-star but the stories stuck in the public consciousness and the movie lives on in infamy. It was greeted with much derision, winning multiple Razzies (the entire principle cast just listed was nominated in their individual acting categories) but Dunaway's work, oft-quoted and beloved to this day in certain communites (ahem), has always had its share of valiant defenders.

Paul Lohmannn (Nashville, High Anxiety) was the director of photography and here are the films most memorable or "best" shots, according to participants around the web.

MOMMIE DEAREST BEST SHOTS
13 images chosen by 14 blogs
Click on the images to read the corresponding articles 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr012015

What Becomes a Legend Most? On "Mommie Dearest"

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Mommie Dearest (1981)
Directed by Frank Perry. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann (who also shot Robert Altman's Nashville!)

As a practicing film buff ever since adolescence I've spent a lot of time thinking about two different questions. The first, what is it that makes some stars last in the public imagination beyond their own lifetimes while other giants fade? The second, entirely unrelated, what is the difference between a great movie and a terrible movie, and by extension this -- are 'bad movies we love' ever truly terrible or are they actually funhouse mirrors of greatness, very nearly the same but for the random comic distortions?

In Mommie Dearest (1981), the infamous movie based on an infamous tell-all about an infamous movie star -- that's a lot of infamy -- these questions collide...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr012015

Flow It Show It Long As Hugh Can Grow It

Jason from MNPP here - you know who Hugh Jackman should play? Hugh Jackman should play Samson from the Bible, because if there's anybody continually betrayed by long hair it's him. Think upon the disaster that was Van Helsing (better yet, never think of Van Helsing ever again) or that mullet in Chappie, and then there's the years-long life-swallowing mess that was The Fountain (although I'll grant you the latter turned out interesting in the end) - it seems that we want our Hugh Jackman business on both ends (give or take the muttonchops) or not at all!

This is what today's news that Hugh will be playing Apostle Paul (as in Jesus Christ's best brah) made me think of, anyway. Matt Damon & Ben Affleck are both producing the film via their production company; there's no director attached yet. But back to the 'do and don'ts -- maybe they can go ahistorical and give the Saint-to-be a good high fade? Or Paul was half-Roman, maybe give him a respectable Caesar? Hey, George Clooney made it work. All I'm saying is think through the hair on your head, Hugh. A beard is fine though - we all know you're super good with beards.

Wednesday
Apr012015

Faye Dunaway, Author

Since this news arrived yesterday rather than today (I'm not big on April Fools joking myself) we must acknowledge that it is very likely true. 

Faye Dunaway will break her silence on playing Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest and will write a book about it, presumably one hopes for a lot of money. Though in truth, Dunaway's silence on the film has been exaggerated over the years. She did include a chapter on it in her first autobiography "Looking for Gatsby" which was published in 1995

In ye olden days before the internet this future tell-all or tell-partial (who knows) would have been an instant best-seller but I always wonder about gossip-appeal celebrity books post, say, 2000 or so. Do they actually sell? Before they're even released we generally get laundry lists of secrets revealed in list-form on every website, muting the need to pick it up. Or rather order it. Book stores....*sniffle* (300 BC - 2011 AD) R.I.P. 

Nevertheless we thank Faye and the media for this news which couldn't have arrived with more fortuitous timing since we'll be discussing Mommie Dearest today for Hit Me With Your Best Shot and you've already been voting on Christina vs. Joan (you've voted, right?) If you're eager to get to the slapping and screaming and sass of the infamous movie, these websites posted their best shot entries early so have at it with gusto: Where are the Advertisers, A Fistful of FilmsDrink Your Juice, Shelby, and I Want to Believe.

Wednesday
Apr012015

April Fools? The Age of Adaline

Manuel here wishing you a happy April Fools! To get in the spirit, I considered running a number of fake-o actressy news this morning (did you hear that Nicole Kidman is finally in talks to star in that Star is Born remake with Bradley Cooper? can you believe Angela Lansbury and Julie Andrews have signed on to star in a road-trip film about two boozy estranged sisters? could it really be true that Meryl Streep is starring in a Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? reboot? Oh wait. That last one may not be a joke after all).  

Instead, I figured we could talk about a film that pretty much looks like a joke:

 

It has to be, no? Watching the trailer I couldn't help thinking of Winter's Tale which from everything I've heard is laughable in all the wrong but oh so right ways. May The Age of Adaline follow suit? The tagline suggests that much:

"The world has changed this century. Adaline has not."

That is, of course, the plot of the film which features the beautiful Michael Huisman as Adaline's new lover whose father (Harrison Ford) may have been involved with Adaline back when he was younger... and she looked the same! Because she doesn't age, apparently? I have to admit I had a hard time getting through that trailer without smirking to myself and wondering "wait, really?" but perhaps I'm not in its demo. The film seems to be pitching itself to a Nicholas Sparks-watching crowd and so while I won't break it down YES/NO/MAYBE SO style, know that the presence of Ellen Burstyn (and the prospect of a shirtless Huisman) would be the only thing in the YES category.

But it really has the chance to be a new unintentional campy flick, no? Unless its self-seriousness proves to be too much. And so, on April Fools we're pressed to ask: is Blake Lively's career ever going to pivot away from a being a punchline?