in theaters

new on DVD/BluRay

review index



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 | letterboxd


Powered by Squarespace
Beauty vs. Beast


I think I know who the twins are voting for in our SHINING poll. But who are you voting for


Comment Fun

Birdman's Secret Advantage
Oscar Loves Theater Stage Movies


"My favorite movie about the theater is ALL ABOUT EVE, but then again that movie is my favorite movie about everything about movies and love and lust and life itself." - Jay

"TOPSY-TURVY perfectly captures the feeling of imminent failure that you get when you're in rehearsals." - Peggy


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?

Halfway House 2012. Lead Actor (Thus Far)

It's part three of our Halfway Mark rundown as we survey the film year thus far from January through June releases. It's been crickets thus far in terms of possible Oscar players (with the exception of one of these men -- but we'll get to him in a minute.) but that doesn't mean there isn't work to appreciate.

If I was forced to draw up a ballot right now...

explanations and Team Experience commentary after the jump

Click to read more ...


Princess Naomi

It's the first official image of Naomi Watts as Princess Diana in Caught in Flight (2013)

I don't think I could survive another British Icon Impersonation Oscar Win just yet. Not after The Queen (06) and The King's Speech (10) and The Iron Lady (11). Imagine four winners in just seven years -- it's not even tough to imagine. Stop the madness! We just celebrated Independence Day but AMPAS wishes we hadn't destroyed all that good British tea in 1773. 

Are you looking forward to Naomi becoming Lady Diana? If this one doesn't work out for her she's also attached to another future biopic about Gertrude Bell called Queen of the Desert.That one will be directed by Werner Herzog and thus sounds instantly promising... even if it's still sort of no sure thing. 


Halfway House 2012. Best Picture (Thus Far)

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! We're taking stock and talking 2012 crop now that the year is half over. If you asked me to nominate for "Best Picture" right now, here are the titles I'd scribble in the air with sparklers... in alpha order.  I fully expect 2 or 3 of them to be written in ink at the end of the year in my top ten list.


The Avengers (review)
Let's not overstate. Popcorn entertainment occassionally does come better than this but The Avengers is still pretty damn fun and clever as it hurdles the complicated 'how on earth do you combine all these franchises into one?' question with confidence and humor. It's easy to forget how wrong this could have gone. Well done Joss Whedon. Extra bonus points for redeeming the two most previously disappointing characters (The Black Widow and The Hulk) by making them the unexpected key pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Benh Zeitlin's evocative utopia/dystopia journey is like nothing you've ever seen. So get to seeing it the first chance you get. We'll obviously be talking about it more as the year wears on and top ten lists and awards begin looming.

Bullhead (review)
Michael R. Roskam's brooding tragedy-laced crime drama about a lonely cattle farmer and illegal growth hormones was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year. It finally hit US cinemas this year. They always make us wait. 

Declaration of War 
Valérie Donzelli's restless, experimental retelling of her own traumatic experience as a new parent of a sick child with then boyfriend Jérémie Elkaïm(also playing a version of himself) was a bracing experiene and even an oddly joyful movie. Though it was clearly a longshot for Oscar play (they didn't nominate it for foreign film) I'm glad France submitted it bringing it to our attention here. 

 A Festive 4th of July with Dallas and the Kings of Tampa

Magic Mike (review)
Steven Soderbergh's nuanced observational portrait of a stripper/entrepeneur facing the uncertain future has stylish filmmaking, good solid laughs, and better character portraits than you usually get on the peripheries of the narrative. 

Moonrise Kingdom
Not since The Royal Tenenbaums have Wes Anderson's form and content enjoyed a marriage this whimsical, aching and bittersweet. It's multifaceted and, better yet, enjoyable on serious and silly levels depending on your mood. Seems likely to reward us on future viewings. 

Runners up? Not really. Those six stand head and shoulders, even groins in Mike's case, above the pack. Don't miss any of them. If I had to make a top ten list this early with so few films seen (yikes) 7 through 10 in descending order would go to... no I can't it's too unsatisying... I can't I ca... oh, all right

Try to imagine what would happen if the year ended right now. Which films do you think would make Oscar's BP list? It has to be films that are eligible (i.e. released already) so I'm feeling like there's no way it wouldn't be these five: Avengers, Beasts of, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Hunger Games and Moonrise Kingdom... with Hunger Games losing a Best Director opportunity to Steven Soderbergh for Magic Mike. I've got this alternate reality all figured out! Marketable skill.

Those five movies are arguably the only five that'll have enough devotees to cry "it's going to happen!" in five more months... even if it isn't in most of those cases. Do you agree? Or do you think something heartwarming / messagey (like The Intouchables?) or something critically supported but divisive (like Magic Mike) would surprise and knock the not-beloved-but-way-successful Hunger Games out?

Most importantly: What would your ballot look like so far? And do you think anything we've seen yet is going the distance to an Oscar nomination.

Read Also "Best Of..." Actress, Actor , Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress


Happy Fourth of July from The Film Experience

Happy Independence Day from Raquel Welch, Chris Evans, Matthew McConaughey, Holly Hunter and The Film Experience. xoxo

Be safe. Enjoy the boom boom boom even brighter than the moon moon moon fireworks.

We'll be back late tonight with more "best of the year (so far)" listing. Speaking of... Magic Mike, which has a 4th of July scene is pulling out all the stops (tearing away all the pants?) with holiday posters after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Red (& Blue) Carpet Convo: Andrew ♥ Emma

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! We return to Red Carpet Convos with a special Spidey edition starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone at premiere events with myself (Nathaniel) and Film Experience fan and Pajiba columnist Joanna drooling on them. Moviegoers will be doing the same over the holiday no doubt as The Amazing Spider-Man tests the "how soon is too soon?" mega-question of The Reboot.... 

Is your Spidey Sense tingling?


Nathaniel: Before I succumb to Hollywood's cutest couple, I have to say that though I hear Michael's point, I still live in horror of how well the movie might do and how fast it will then speed up the cycle of reboots. THE HUNGER GAMES STARRING ELLE FANNING IN 2015!

Ahem. But if this movie was necessary to bring Emma & Andrew together, I accept it in all its unecessary glory

Joanna:  ‪It should be noted, that no matter what I say about their clothing, every time I look at a photo of them, I feel like I've been aggressively snuggled by a puppy.  They are the adorablest.‬

Nathaniel:  ‪a puppy with a super cold wet nose and the softest fur imaginable. A whole litter of aggressively cuddly puppies in fact.

Joanna:  ‪Where do we start?  OOOO!  Can we start with Elvira, Mistress of Darkness?‬ 

Nathaniel:  ‪Yes‬. 

Joanna:  ‪Especially because good old Andy is wearing a shiny red suit. A. Shiny. Red. Suit.‬ Not pictured: the (I'm not kidding) gold medallion around his neck.

Nathaniel:    ‪Although this is kind of like skipping ahead to the climax. The best thing is that he doesn't even seem uncomfortable but like he owns it. He's wearing the Shiny Red Suit. The Shiny Red Suit is not wearing him.‬ Which I hope is true in the movie too. Theme clothing! 

Joanna:  ‪Oh sorry!  Did I peak too early?  Well then can we take a post-coital look at the turquoise bed skirt Emma is sporting?‬

Nathaniel:    ‪These are the casual looks from press events earlier in the day at premieres. ‬Although if this is post-coital, what does that say about his t-shirt "I'm an animal lover" well... "_m a_ _nima_ _ve_ " so i'm guessing.

Joanna: ‪I bet you're a whiz at Hangman‬

Nathaniel:   ‪boggle, scrabble, hangman. I ♥ words.

Joanna:   ‪Do you love Andrew's macho T-Bird look?‬ Do you think black leather suits him?

Nathaniel:    ‪This is the only gray area in his choices thus far. It's possible that the Leather is wearing him.‬

‪How is it possible that Emma Stone is so unpredictable with her fashions and yet always looks great. Like there's no signature look at all but everything is perfect. If it were possible to hate whole litters of snuggly puppies, you'd have to hate them. Too much perfection.‬

Joanna:   ‪The fact that HE wants to snuggle her even when she wears pounds of lace and embroidered flowers restores my faith in humanity...and puppies.‬ 

Nathaniel:   ‪But even embroidered flowers look great on her. I'm dying to see her on laundry day. I bet even dirty pajamas and worn embarrassing t-shirts from 10 years ago look great on her.‬ 

Joanna:   ‪Do you miss her Ginger hair at all, though?  I think the blonde makes her look a mite pale all over.‬

Nathaniel:   ‪I do. I always miss ginger hair and it always worries me for actresses. *coughlindsay‬* Blonde is just too common. It's practically the Official Hair Color of Actressing and as such, you're never special when you wear it unless you are one of the true goddesses of the color (Monroe, Deneuve, Harlow, Pfeiffer, and a few more)

Joanna:   ‪I knew we were headed there.‬ 

Nathaniel: lol. But how sharp and natty is Garfield's gray with sweater ensemble?

Joanna:   ‪That's my favorite one!‬ As a fellow Word Lover, I have a thing for English Professor chic. If that coat has elbow patches, I'll just die.

Nathaniel:   ‪And we'll reboot you in ten years.‬ 

Joanna:  ‪To be played by an as yet unborn Fanning!‬ 



Which is cuter, a litter of soft puppies or Emma & Andrew? 


Savages premiere
To Rome With Love premiere


Yes/No/Maybe So: The Sessions

Michael C here.

“In my heart I feel that he will give you a free pass on this one” says kindly priest William H Macy to paralyzed John Hawkes. Hawkes is looking for a greenlight from the church to use a sexual surrogate so he can finally experience the joys of intercourse. "My penis speaks to me, Father Brennan," Hawkes helpfully clarifies.

So opens the trailer of Sundance crowd pleaser The Sessions.


Come on everybody. Let’s see if we can get a chant going like the end of Rudy…'John Hawkes! John Hawkes! John Hawkes!'

After his brilliant nominated work in Winter’s Bone and his equally brilliant un-nominated work in Martha Marcy, there is every indication that Hawkes delivers another sit-up-and-take-notice performance here. Honestly, Sessions could end with Helen Hunt wheeling him out onto the field at the Super Bowl to catch the game winning pass in his teeth and I’m confident Hawkes could make it intensely subtle and believable.

A nomination for The Sessions – and sexual frankness aside it certainly looks pitched right at the Academy sweet spot – will likely be chalked up to their love of gimmick performances, but really, Hawkes is currently one of those guys like Tom Hardy or Michael Shannon knocking it out of the park every time at bat.

I also felt an unreasonable amount of pleasure seeing William H Macy turn up. He’s not exactly pushing his talent to its limits, but doesn’t it feel like forever since he’s had a really good big screen role?  Last thing that springs to mind is him insisting that Vermont would not apologize for its cheese.

Also, that bit about simultaneous orgasms? Funny.


Right around the time the OK Go song kicked in I felt my expectations take a hit. This preview is going out of its way to let audiences know that even though the main character is a man paralyzed by polio from a young age Sessions is still going to be fun, fun, fun. There is even the strong suggestion an unlikely yet heartwarming romance blossoms between Hawkes and Hunt.  

Hopefully, this can be chalked up to the nature of trailers to reduce any movie to two minutes of mushy comfort food, skipping over complex or tricky material in favor of punchlines and triumph over disease uplift. Hopefully.

Maybe So

For whatever reasons Helen Hunt has proved a surprisingly divisive actress. For hardcore movie folk a lot of it no doubt stems from her ’97 Oscar win over Judi Dench (a travesty to be sure) but other than that I’ve never understood why she rubs so many people the wrong way. She has never been my particular cup of tea, but that has a lot more to do with her questionable taste in material than her performances. I’ve got the feeling this performance may silence a few of her haters. Or I’m kidding myself and the mere presence of Hunt in the trailer has haters running at the movie like Spike Lee with a trash can at the end of Do the Right Thing. “HAAAATE!”

The fact that Sessions won the Audience Award at Sundance is also a positive indicator. Their track record isn’t perfect, but Sundance voters do have a knack for picking out gems like The Station Agent or Maria, Full of Grace as well as breakout hits like Hustle and Flow and Precious.   

Are you a Yes, No, or Maybe So?

So for the presence of Hawkes and for giving off the vibe of an intelligent, emotionally honest movie along the lines of 50/50, despite the trailer tricks, mark me down as a solid yes. What say you?


Burning Questions: What's Wrong With An Instant Reboot?

Michael C here to get Spidey's back this Fourth of July.

There used to be a natural life cycle for big movie franchises. It began with audiences thrilling to the sight of Christopher Reeve soaring over Metropolis and ended a few films later with everyone looking away in embarrassment as Superman traded punches with Nuclear Man on the moon. This was followed by a period of mourning long enough for everyone to wonder if the last film was some kind of fever dream, and then and only then could a fresh creative team breathe life into the dormant franchise.

But now, no sooner does Emo Spidey cha-cha his way into an early grave, than the suits decide to shake the etch-a-sketch on the whole show and pretend the last three films never happened. In a world fast approaching franchise over-saturation, with sequels dropping with a frequency normally reserved for Tetris blocks, the idea of a hugely successful series starting over from scratch while the body of the last entry is still warm, feels like a new low in shameless cash-grabbing. 

Time for a new actor to don the mask

But take a step back for a moment, put emotions on hold and ask the logical question: What is so bad about an instant reboot?

Click to read more ...