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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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Big Little Lies

"I am blown away by this miniseries." -Michael R

"Laura Dern's Renata is crazy but she reminds me of several professional women that I know in the San Francisco Bay Area." -Jono

"Loved the jarring editing this week, and the reveal of what Perry did with the toys..." - DJDeeDay

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Wednesday
Jun102015

HBO’s LGBT History: And the Band Played On (1993)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions... 

Last week we looked at a biopic of one of the most reviled political figures in twentieth century American history in Citizen Cohn. This week we continue our collection of HBO AIDS films (notice that every single film we’ve discussed so far has been centered on the epidemic: from the Harvey Fierstein chamber piece, Tidy Endings, to Epstein & Friedman’s Oscar winning doc, Common Threads and even that James Woods’-led biopic which structured itself around Cohn’s own battle with the disease) by looking at And the Band Played On, a film you should all watch if for no other reason than to see the eclectic cast Aaron Spelling (yes, he produced it!) assembled.

Lily, Sir Ian, and a troubled production history after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun102015

Emmy FYC: Matt Czuchry for Supporting Actor, Drama

Team Experience is sharing their personal Emmy dream picks daily each afternoon. Here's Andrew Kendall...

Even for ardent fans of The Good Wife, I suspect that Czuchry's name is not the first they'd consider when pitching an FYC for the show. Matt Czuchry, like his character Cary Agos on the show, has been oft-ignored. But Czuchry’s inimitable ability to serve up emotion through a glance has always made the character work more than it might in lesser handers. put to good use. This season with former series regular, Josh Charles, off the show, Czuchry stepped up as the next important male with an arc which immediately thrust him into the forefront:

Cary Agos goes to jail... 

But Czuchry does not just earn this FYC for  (finally) having a very strong season arc. The success of his work in season 6 was the way its built on moments since the show's inception. Consider the very first shot of Czuchry on the show. It's so dissonant with the Cary we've come to know, especially this past season. [More after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun102015

it takes two to make a link go ri-ight. It take two to make it outta site

Two-Some Links

  • Stuff has the cutest story ever: Stunt doubles from Mad Max Fury Road fell in love on set (while punching each other in the face and so on)! I swear to god Fury Road is like a gift that keeps on giving. Have you seen it yet?
  • Bryce Dallas Howard still hasn't quite convinced people she isn't Jessica Chastain. So she's trying it in musical form in this cute video. But they really do look alike -- it's the coloring plus the chins.
  • Deadline Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara will co-star in Collateral Damage. Plot details are scarce but Jackman is an ad executive trying to overcome a personal tragedy. They better not be romantically paired! There are plenty of actresses in his age range (mid 40s) who he'd be great onscreen with.
  

Today's Must Read #1 - Awards Fallout
Entertainment Weekly Mark Harris wonders why the Tony Awards are so afraid to be the Tony Awards. Even if you don't follow the Tonys this is worth a read in the way it echoes what we're always saying here at The Film Experience about the odd choices Oscar producers make. It's as if every awards show is terrified of really thinking about its core audience and serving them and accepting that nothing is for everyone anymore. (It was different when there were only three channels but that hasn't been the case in a very very long time and many institutions have had trouble with that paradigm shift and they're constantly all "maybe [insert teenage/early 20something star] will bring in new viewers by reading from a teleprompter about something their fans aren't interested in!?!?")

[More Tony Fallout: The Visit closes on June 14th; Gigi closes June 21st; Fun Home's sales quadruple after its Best Musical win; Kelli O'Hara is getting some mainstream attention - like her insanely quick costume change going viral, that dancing gif, and a little photodiary in Vogue]

Today's Must Read #2 - Mia Wasikowska
Film Comment Nick Davis interviews Mia Wasikowska! Nick even mentions Streep's Jane Eyre shout-out at the Globes but I liked this exchange on costuming best (just a small sample)...  

As an actor, do you like being in dialogue with people like the cinematographer and the costumer, or do you prefer responding to creative choices they’ve made independently?

I do like collaborating, but I also feel I’ve been working with such wonderful people that there’s nothing I could even add to what they’ve already imagined. As much as possible, we still find ways to feed off each other, but really, across the board, everyone on these films I’ve been doing has just been incredible. Costumes, especially, are so important, especially on a project like "Madame Bovary". Every color was so representative of Emma’s place in her journey... 

..Enquiring minds are dying to know if you got to keep your gloves from "Maps to the Stars".

That’s so funny! I didn’t! I should have. They’re so stingy, they never let us keep any of the costumes. But for sure, those gloves were completely great.

Exit Video #1 Swiftie Spoof
The hilarious Jeffery Self & Drew Droege ("Chloe"!) & Robert Michael Morris ("The Comeback") and more co-star in this spoof of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" (recently discussed right here due to its movie trailer riffings) called "Sad Studs" that's also an activist reminder of FDA's obnoxious anti-gay policies. 

Exit Video #2 Showtune to Go
Judy Garland would have turned 93 today if she had lived to be a very old lady. Not that she would have still been working -- not every actor has the stamina to work into their 90s like Christopher Lee & Betty White (both born the same year as Judy) -- but oh what glorious entertainments the world was robbed of when we lost her. "The World's Greatest Entertainer" and also one of the best movie stars the cinema ever had. 

They're playing
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, with Shostakovich,
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, Mozart and Bach,
Ta-tlee-a-ti, Ta-tlee-a-ti, and they don't know which,
'Cause anything can happen when they start to rock

I chose this number from Thousands Cheer (1943) because of the Mozart mention. Shameless Plug: Our Best Shot episode of Amadeus (1984) is tonight -  don't forget. Especially since it's about to leave Netflix Instant Watch. Have your entry posted befoire midnight so we can include you in the visual fun. Even if you only have time to skim your favorite scenes, you should join us.

Wednesday
Jun102015

Happy 10th Anniversary, Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr. & Mrs. Smith celebrates its tenth year anniversary today so in lieu of diamonds (which we hear is what's customary on this occasion), here's Manuel offering up some choice words about the lovely couple -- who knew they'd make it this long!? Or that it would take them another 10 years to co-star again (By the Sea, opening this November)


I remember it vividly. Some friends and I caught a weekend screening of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the film that had brought two of Hollywood’s biggest stars together (yes, cinematically, but also, as it turned out, romantically). The gossip mags had gone insane but we were obviously more excited about the film itself which we’d heard was slick and enjoyable. This was peak charming Brad (Snatch, The Mexican, Ocean’s franchise) before we’d lose him to more highbrow fare that only sporadically allows him to slap on a smirk and a winking look. It was also a transitional moment for Jolie coming as it did after a string of artistic and commercial flops (Life of Something Like it, Sky Captain, Alexander) and reinvigorated her career as an action star beyond Lara Croft. In a way, it was lightning in a bottle...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun092015

Farewell & A Few Favorite Things

The Film Experience is thrilled to have Cara Seymour taking over the blog for the day. Here's her final post! - Editor

A Favorite Actor
I took this picture of the brilliant Patrick Fitzgerald in Dublin when we were performing "Gibraltar," his adaptation of James Joyce's "Ulysses". He worked on that novel, with the devotion of a monk and discovered things that no other academic had found. The greatest acting challenge I ever had was performing the Molly Bloom monologue, which was, even edited, forty minutes of stream of consciousness.  Patrick coached me every step of the way. The great Terry Kinney went on to direct a production with us, at The Irish Rep. We also performed together in Mike Leigh's "Ecstasy" in 1995, the first big hit for The New Group. We have had extraordinary moments together on stage.  He's one of my favorite actors.

A Favorite Song
Philip Chevron singing "Thousands are Sailing"

One of my favorite songs about Irish immigration. I used to go and see The Pogues. He performed this song in a spotlight, I remember him sparkling in the light, not sure if that was his jacket or his soul.

A Few Favorite Films
Martin Scorsese's King of Comedy (1983) and Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990). Love these movies, they feel like cousins. Something about class, fame and delusions and wanting to be someone else. And, of course, Robert DeNiro is just magical. I'd love to watch these movies together one night...if I ever got my son to bed early. 

Mama Roma (1962). I've watched this so many times.  I love Pasolini movies. Anna Magnani's performance is just brilliant. That laugh. That twinkle. And pain. There's a couple of seconds in that movie that just rip me apart.

There are many, many reasons to be a fan of Steven Soderbergh, who I've been working with on "The Knick," and one of them is that he used footage from one of my favorite English films, Poor Cow (1967) directed by Ken Loach in his haunting movie, The Limey (1999).  Terence Stamp was magnetic in both movies. Carol White was the lead actress in Poor Cow.  Carol White was really something. Ahead of her time.

"Poor Cow" with Carol White and Terence Stamp
love this clip

 

My takeover of The Film Experience is now just love notes. I could go on and on... so I better sign off! Thanks for reading. 

The Knick is back in October.  I start work next week on Elisabeth Subrin's film A Woman, A Part with Maggie Siff and John Ortiz. Check out Subrin’s blog, Who Cares About Actresses?

- Cara Seymour

 

Tuesday
Jun092015

Interview: Mary Harron on "American Psycho" & More

The actress Cara Seymour is guest blogging for the day! Please enjoy. - Editor

The following is an interview with director Mary Harron with whom I've had the great honor of working with twice in American Psycho (2000) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). Mary has more guts than anybody I have ever worked with and she's a profound humanitarian.  After I did the threesome scene in American Psycho she sent me a bouquet of flowers because she knew just how scary that was to do.

I sent her a few questions and she sent me back these fabulous answers...

Myself in The Notorious Bettie Page (2006) and Director Mary Harron

CARA SEYMOUR: Is there a film you return to as a source of inspiration?

MARY HARRON: I go back repeatedly to the films I saw when I was a child and teenager. Luckily my parents took us to a ton of art house films and old movies with no regard for whether they were suitable for children or not. I saw 8 1/2 when I was ten, and my sister remembers my mother arguing with a movie theater over the phone because they wouldn't let her take us to see Last Year at Marienbad. I think we were 9 and 11 at the time.

Rosemary's Baby and Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise are two films I go back to. Night of the Hunter is a special favorite. Kind Hearts and Coronets. Anything by Howard Hawks and Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang. Drugstore Cowboy and Blue Velvet had a big effect on me when they came out because they showed me you could tell a really different kind of story in American film. But what I look at for inspiration really depends on what I'm working on at the time.

CARA: Are there any movies you've rediscovered, that you're loving right now?

MARY: The Bill Douglas Trilogy.(My Childhood, My Ain Folk, My Way Home) I saw My Childhood when I was 18 in a church hall in North London and it burned itself into my brain. It was one of the most intense film going experiences of my life. I saw the whole trilogy again a few months ago at Light Industry and it was just as amazing as I remembered. In these three films Bill Douglas recreated memories from his childhood with poetic clarity and such fierce accuracy that they seem more real than life itself. I guess they are a distillation of life. He used the same actors, filming his trilogy over seven years, taking his young hero from a child to a young man, Yes, this was forty years before Boyhood, and it saddens me that no critics mentioned that Bill Douglas did it first. As did Satyajit Ray in the Apu trilogy - I just saw the first film in the series, Pather Panchali at Film Forum in a gorgeous restoration.

CARA: How do you feel about the lasting impact of American Psycho?


MARY: I'm kind of sick of it by now, but at the same time of course I'm grateful that it has had such an effect on people. When something hits the zeitgeist like that it is like winning the lottery. And it's curious because it took many years for it really to become a success. I don't think it made a single critic's top ten list when it was released and Christian didn't get any nominations in the US for his amazing performance. People didn't know what to make of it, so it had a kind of delayed reaction.

CARA: Would you make another dark satirical comedy?

MARY: I would love to but it's hard to find the right material. Good satire is rare as hens teeth. And I never get sent anything like that. I just get endless generic serial killer scripts, which really isn't what American Psycho was all about.

Salvador Dalí & GalaCARA: What are you doing next?

MARY: A film about the last years of Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala. That has some dark comedy in it. They are both so outrageous.

CARA: If there were no financial restraints what kind of dream project would you make?

MARY: I would have an infinite amount of money for production design, wardrobe and locations. I would shoot chronologically, and go back and reshoot anything I wanted!

 

Tuesday
Jun092015

Cara Seymour on Playing Sister Harriet in "The Knick"

Cara Seymour (Adaptation, American Psycho, The Savages) is Guest Blogging all day today! - Editor
 

-by Cara Seymour

Getting to work on "The Knick" has been one of the greatest experiences of my career. I screamed with joy when I got the part and I'm not a big screamer of joy.  Amazing director, talented and really fun cast and all round impeccable team of super talented people in every department.  I'm madly appreciative of this.

Michael Begler, Jack Amiel and Steve Katz wrote this extraordinary character of Sister Harriet - she leapt off the page. But I wanted to know more about nuns in 1900 when The Knick takes place, so I ordered nun books.

"Through the Narrow Gate,"  by Karen Armstrong was an unflinching account of her life as a nun in a convent pre Vatican II -- read every word of that!

Didn't read them all from cover to cover. Not quite that crazy!

(more on The Knick after the jump)

Click to read more ...