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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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Friday
Mar252016

Thoughts I Had While Looking at Television's Actress Elite...

Good morning, readers! Here's your wake-up call:

That's a whole lot of actress powerhouses on television in one small selfie: Sarah Paulson (The People vs. OJ Simpson), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Constance Zimmer (UnREAL and House of Cards), Regina King (American Crime), Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Kerry Washington (Scandal), and Jennifer Lopez (Shades of Blue). Before you jump to conclusions that Ryan Murphy is just expanding his empire, let's take a closer look:

1. What exactly caused this moment of divinity? Casual friday brunch? Do they all share a dentist?

2. We are not worthy of Regina King and we never will be.

3. Kerry Washington is there too?! Ray reunion! Wouldn't they make a great duo in something fun and female-empowering like Thelma and Louise?

4. Everyone is lovely here, but Sarah Paulson is serving.

5. It's easy to forget if you're like me and don't watch much television that even large stars are making the TV leap by the minute - but haven't we kind of been sleeping on the fact that Jennifer Lopez is the star of a network procedural?

6. This is the Emmy's Actress Roundtable we actually want, yes? Yes.

7. Maybe Jennifer Lopez should be planning the members of group magazine covers a la Vanity Fair. I'd totally buy this off that magazine rack!

8. Wait! There's room for one more next to Constance Zimmer! What TV actress would you squeeze into this selfie?

Thursday
Mar242016

Casting Nancy Kerrigan

Kieran, here. It was announced earlier this week that Margot Robbie would be playing figure skater turned tabloid fodder Tonya Harding in a biopic titled I, Tonya. On a personal note, I distinctly remember my mother voicing her distaste about Harding being on the cover of nearly a dozen tabloid magazines in my pediatrician’s office when I was a kid. It was everywhere and given how ubiquitous the story became, it’s kind of surprising that it’s taken this long for it to get the cinematic treatment. Well…the earnest, theatrical cinematic treatment. There was a hastily assembled television movie which aired in April of 1994 (the Harding scandal was at the 1994 Winter Olympics). It features Heather Langenkamp (yes, Nancy from A Nightmare on Elm Street) as Nancy Kerrigan, just in case you were wondering.

A director has yet to be attached to the project or even named to be in consideration, but Patty Jenkins (Monster) immediately feels like a great choice. Other than the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, Jenkins hasn’t directed a feature film since her 2003 debut which netted Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar. In Monster, Jenkins showed a real knack for empathy without absolution while dealing with a troubled protagonist. As sensationalized and as much the butt of jokes Tonya Harding became, her story is ultimately one of abject poverty, fleeting triumph and tragic failure. One would hope that it doesn’t descend entirely into an exercise in camp and Jenkins could provide a sure yet sensitive hand at the helm.

One can hardly embark upon telling the tale of Tonya Harding without talking about Nancy Kerrigan. No actress has signed on for the part, so its presumably still up for grabs. When considering who would play the oft mocked silver-medal winner who became America’s sweetheart for a short time, many names came up.

Chris Feil, fellow Team Experience member shrewdly suggested Daisy Ridley, fresh off Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the role, complete with photographic evidence. Ridley would be a good choice and more importantly it would be an opportunity for the young rising star to show her range beyond blockbusters. Word is that Ridley is currently courting the Lara Croft role in a Tomb Raider reboot.

A few people online have named Anne Hathaway as a good choice. There are certainly parallels. It seems that both Hathaway and Kerrigan got dinged for a certain...wholesomeness that seems to enrage people for reasons that are completely alien to me. The Hathaway hatred is absolutely baffling and it feels almost certain she'd be inexplicably pilloried even further if she took a role that requires her to cry earnestly on screen yet again.

 

Though both are interesting choices, the actress who I’d be most curious to see step into the role of Kerrigan is Alicia Vikander. It seems that she’s made her mark in films that are either period (or more period than 1994) or heavy on stylization. I’d be curious to see how Vikander, fresh off her Oscar win, performs in the absence of either.

Are you excited for the project? Who would you like to see in the role of Nancy Kerrigan?

Thursday
Mar242016

Looking Back, With Anger: Inside Man (2006)

Eric Blume here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Spike Lee's Inside Man, which remains his biggest box office hit. 

When this tightly-plotted bank heist movie was released a decade ago, it promised a heavenly trio of huge stars:  Denzel Washington, two time Oscar winner; Clive Owen, fresh off his first nomination for Closer; and Jodie Foster, coming off two solo box office successes (Panic Room and Flightplan).  A decade later, only Washington (the least interesting actor of that trio) still works with annual frequency in major pictures.  He lends effortless dynamism and charisma in his usual everyman role. Unfortunately its been lazy sailing for him ever since with one major exception (Flight).

Watching Inside Man again, it’s the loss of both Owen and Foster as regular cinema fixtures that burns, which is ironic since the film demands little from them. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar242016

What's on your cinematic mind?

Do share in the comments. What movie were you thinking about just now? 

Thursday
Mar242016

Lake Bell Returns To Her Director's Chair To Ask What's The Point?

After securing the 2013 Sundance Film Festival’s Screenwriting award, a slot on the National Board of Review’s top ten list of indie films, and the vocal support of critical heavy hitters like A.O. Scott, Lake Bell’s pitch-perfectly precise comedy In A World… announced itself as one of the more confident debut features in recent memory, let alone from an actor-turned- director/writer. If you haven’t seen this film about voiceover artists in Los Angeles, it expertly defines the multidimensional barriers to success that women face any time they wish to advance upward – and it’s the movie where Tig Notaro met her wife.

This week Bell announced her follow-up feature What’s the Point?, continuing her series of personal, sharp social commentaries with titles that end in grammatical whodunits. According to Deadline, What’s the Point? poses the additional question of whether marriage should be a seven-year contract with negotiable renewals – which, if you’ve listened to her episode of WTF, you know she has no shortage of smart answers when it comes to the topic of married life. Bell will again attack the issue from three angles - as director, writer, and star - and Ed Helms will anchor the other half of the onscreen couple.

While we patiently wait for the film, here are a few suggestions to pass the time:

  • Make sure to check out her wise deadpan playing dumb on Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. In this series and others, Bell’s witty ability to crack open nuts without ever showing her hand often recalls some of Madeline Kahn’s most blistering, hysterical work.
  • Watch every episode of Children’s Hospital and then re-watch In A World… and then count up all the actors who appear in both.
  • Support other TV actors-turned-directors with your ticket dollars. This year we’ll see Clea DuVall’s debut The Intervention – which won Melanie Lynskey an acting award at this year’s Sundance – as well as Jason Bateman’s follow-up to Bad Words, The Family Fang starring Bateman, Nicole Kidman, and Christopher Walken. And right now you can see her Wet Hot sorta-love interest Michael Showalter’s full-on Sally Field crushfest, Hello My Name Is Doris (Nathaniel’s review).

Have you caught up yet with In A World… and does the promise of another Lake Bell joint sound like your thing?

Thursday
Mar242016

Carey Mulligan to work with Dee Rees

Murtada here. Carey Mulligan is continuing her quest to collaborate with the most interesting directors. After Luhrmann, the Coens, McQueen, Refn and Vinterberg, it’s time for Dee Rees (Pariah, HBO’s Bessie). The two are planning to work on an adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2009 novel Mudbound. Rees will write and direct, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund and Straight Outta Compton’s standout Jason Mitchell will co-star.

Despite what Mulligan claimed her agent told her after watching Suffragette (2015); 'Darling, you're lovely in it, but blue jeans film next”, it’s another period piece. Although this time it’s set post WWII in Jim Crow’s South. Mulligan will play a city bred woman who is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta cotton farm, and her entanglements with two soldiers returning home from the war - one of them is white and her brother-in-law, and the other is black, a son of the sharecroppers who live on the farm. The story deals with among other things the extreme racial prejudice of that era. We assume Clarke is the husband, Hedlund the brother-in-law and Mitchell is the other soldier.

Carey should have no problem this time since she's not working with a man

It is an exciting collaboration since Rees proved a distinctive cinematic voice with Pariah and that she had an eye for period drama with Bessie. Mulligan is always fascinating on screen, although perhaps she hasn’t quite yet found a film that allowed her to soar as high as she did on stage last year in Skylight. And it’s nice to see Mitchell get a chance to capitalize on his impressive breakout. The project is in early stages and hasn’t secured full financing yet so lets hope it sticks.

Has anyone read the novel? Should we be excited?