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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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"Thank you to all the contributors & commentors for teaching me about movies!" - Andrew

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Curio: My 2013 Wish List

Alexa here. 2013 has been filled with movie gifts aplenty, my favorites thus far being the smaller-scale treasures Stories We Tell and Frances Ha. But enough pixels have been spilled over the best films of 2013, so I'm using this space to share the film curios I've been dreaming of this year, all of the art variety. Some of these I've already gifted myself, too impatient to wait for someone else to get on it!  Here's hoping you get everything you're wishing for this year, too.

  1. Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground by Matthew Chojnacki. This volume nicely covers some of the best indie film posters out there, and includes some of my favorite artists in the process. I couldn't wait for the holidays so I bought it off of my own Amazon wish list; it's sitting on our coffee table right now.



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Two Movie Advertisements of (Dubious) Note

Cheers to  Carefee Black Girl who is Italy and had the smarts to snap this incredibly unfortunate 12 Years a Slave poster. Yes, Brad sells tickets but at what price to a film's soul? 

Fox Searchlight isn't in charge of Italian distribution (IMDb doesn't say who is exactly though distributors are listed for France and Spain and a few other countries) but this just puts an unfortunate visual to the snarksters who originally attacked the movie with the "Brad Pitt solves slavery" tag when the movie first became our frontrunner.

This second advertisement, a TV spot dubbed "Outrageous" though not, unfortunately "Outrageous!!!" for August: Osage County speaks for itself. 

In a language we are not familiar with. Give us subtitles to understand the huhwazzit and the why of what we are seeing here? Why this ad now? Especially when the jingly music suggests a Christmas day opening that is no more. It's now opening on the 27th.


Podcast: American Hustle & Her

NickKatey and Joe join Nathaniel to wish you all a very happy holiday week. We begin by talking about David O. Russell's American Hustle. Katey wishes the movie had applied itself more, Joe doesn't believe a second of it, but Nathaniel and Nick enjoy the fun groovy chaos quite a lot more. We're split on Jennifer Lawrence's showboating, three of us think Bradley Cooper is amazing but the podcast quickly turns into an Amy Adams ♥fest. (Shout-outs to Saïd Taghmaoui and Michael Peña, too)

We also discuss Spike Jonze Her and its lovely script and performances. The Scarlett Johansson/Samantha Morton business on the voicework is also on the menu. Do we think Her hits its themes too hard or just right? And would we wear its futuristic fashions? 

PLEASE NOTE: If you're spoiler averse you might want to skip one minute from 18:00- 19:00

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes

Her Hustlin' Holiday


The Anchorman Continues...

Amir's Weekly Box Office Report

chart repurposed from

Ron Burgundy and his news team were the story of the weekend with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, though their numbers are anything but a big deal. The film opened at the lowest end of its expected spectrum and I have yet to come across anyone who’s liked this film unreservedly. I was never a big fan of the original, which I got around to a few years too late. (I expect this one to hit my rental queue sometimes in 2017). It opened behind The Hobbit, for which the amount of critical goodwill hasn’t been nearly strong enough to convince me something better than the insufferable first episode is in store. Smaug smug as it may sound, I can think of quite a few better things to do with two and a ½ hours.

American Hustle expanded beyond New York and Los Angeles and all the way to snowy Montreal, where I was able to watch it. (Personal story: this is the third time in my life that I’ve went to le cinema on trips to Montreal, after the first Sherlock Holmes installment and Ted. The experiences are very slowly but surely improving. I expect to catch a real good one on my 2017 trip.) Hustle is Russell’s unruliest but least energetic offering, though it’s totally worth watching because of Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper’s perm. At $20m, it doesn’t seem positioned to beat Silver Linings Playbook’s gross, but The Fighter’s should be within reach.

chart repurposed from

Further below, the stellar Inside Llewyn Davis continued its slow expansion and is hovering just outside the top ten. Like virtually any other film by the Coen Brothers, it is an essential watch. Spike Jonze’s Her is also playing now, though only on six screens. I’m less enthused than most, though there are certainly worthy elements about it – Hey! Look! Amy Adams again! – but Jonze is such a unique, vital voice. We should treasure this film before he hides for another three or four years.

Finally, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past has opened, though on even fewer screens than Her. This one’s really grown on me with repeat viewings so I encourage you to see it. Oh, and read my interview with Mr. Farhadi. Anyway, my weekend has consisted of Short Term 12 (I’m sorry Nathaniel) and American Hustle so far and will continue with whatever else goes with the mood on the train ride back home. What did you watch this weekend?


Do You Find "Inspirational" Films Comforting or Pandering? 

Something a little off the traditional awards path hit a few days ago which I've failed to discuss: The Heartland Moving Picture Award. The list comes from a non-profit group that aims to promote what some (i.e. jaded critics like, um, maybe myself) might dismiss as "pandering inspiration for the whole family!".  Or at least that's how I was prepared to dismiss it when I saw Saving Mr Banks and 42 were up to. I like Mr Banks but that spoonful of sugar is more a bowlful and I'll admit I didn't make it all the way through the baseball drama from the sweaty handholding to make sure I was INSPIRED. But then I noticed that my beloved Short Term 12 and Alexander Payne's Nebraska on there, and both are a little thornier. So I decided to stop being such a tough customer and appreciate/share this list after the jump

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Updated Charts - All Categories

The Oscar Charts are fully revised. Enjoy! I've currently predicted 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips and American Hustle to lead the nominations hogging 37 nominations between them and The Great Gatsby and Saving Mr Banks to share the asterisked honor of "most nominations without a Best Picture bid. The wildest card is still The Wolf of Wall Street and the guilds will have to show us if that one is going to make a dent.

The top five look set in stone but how many nominees will we have? The race with the most mystery might just be Original Screenplay. Too many films still seem absolutely believable as future 'of course it was nominated' nominees. But there can be only five. Can Enough Said or Fruitvale Station, two films which have never exactly left the conversation, find a way to slip in?

The precursor awards have locked up the female categories and placed guards around the door despite a pre-season that seemed robust with possibility. That's always a shame when the performances on the outside are as good as the ones that Adèle, Greta, Brie, Sally, Julia, and so on are giving. The male categories have also tightened up but the chamber isn't nearly as air tight. A bit of "who will it be?" mystery remains.

are these the films that are the biggest wild cards in terms of nomination count?

Before the Guilds speak up let's speculate wildly!

The fields are already small from "finalist" lists. Watch along with us as we try to see them all. 


Randomness: The Hunt, Film Scores, Burlesque Memories

I'm experiencing something a bit like ADHD today. I've started several articles none of which got past a few lines and worked on a few oscar chart updates or revisions none of which ever felt like I'd finished (visualdocumentary and music / sound charts). And I also spent some time stressing about Sundance which starts in less than a month and which The Film Experience will be covering. But mostly my head has remained a jumble of criss-crossed movie thoughts, so in the effort to get unstuck, I'm just blurting out a handful of random ones, a couple of which might feel familiar if you follow me on twitter.

• I'm curious to hear what your favorite film scores of the year because in this regard, I'm not sure I have any! I tend to be a fan of Alexander Desplat's work but I can't even remember Philomena's score which I saw so recently and which one assumes is an Oscar shoo-in on the composer's name alone. (See also: John Williams and The Book Thief)

• January 16th is going to be insane: Oscar nominations, Sundance's Opening Night, and the "Critics Choice" ceremony are all taking place within 12 hours of each other. Spread it out a little, showbiz! Seriously.

• I watched The Hunt last night, Denmark's finalist for The Foreign Film Category. Mads Mikkelsen is always super and his face, so full of confusion, disbelief, and hurt that's cutting as deep as the lacerations on his face from town beatings. He won Best Actor in Cannes way back in May 2012 and if the film wins its Oscar category in March 2014 The Hunt may well serve as the new poster boy reminder of how deeply strange global cinematic culture is in terms of distribution models. I've heard that people get seriously worked up about this movie, loving or hating it but frankly, either reaction is, um, foreign to me. It's an effective drama, and wholly plausible -- see also the Meryl Streep drama A Cry in the Dark (1988), a predecessor in how ugly "guilty as soon as your accused" mob mentality can be -- at least until the ending which seems tacked on as failed provocation. But it's also not doing anything particularly interesting cinematically or in the screenplay. I expected more from Thomas Vinterberg, who once made the genius Festen/Celebration (1998) which was famously snubbed by Oscar despite causing quite a stir with cinephiles. And I kept feeling like the final scene was shot at the same house where The Celebration took place. Am I crazy or is this true?

• I was at a party the other night (not a film crowd) and an older gentlemen, hearing that I was a film critic, asked me what my favorite movies were. When I got to "Woody Allen's Manhattan" he interrupts... "you mean Annie Hall?"

• Back to the foreign film finalist list, 3 of the 9 finalists each year are selected by special committee with the other 6 coming from popular vote. So which films do you think are which? I'm guessing the committee shoved Cambodia's The Missing Picture and maybe Bosnia's A Day in the Life of a Iron Picker but otherwise I can't suss out which film needed a committee boost since the other 7 finalists strike me as having obvious wide appeal Oscar hooks.

• Today Burlesque was on Oxygen and it remains insanely watchable. "Wagon Wheel Watusi"! It's not a movie that reveals something new everytime you watch it but rather a movie which just reconfirms everything you felt the first time and heightens it. It's RIDICULOUS but in a good way. And it's nice that Kristen Bell got Frozen since Burlesque has a bad case of Yentlitis -- "Only the star may sing even though we've cast a bunch of people with musical chops in this!"

• Finally, I don't know why I didn't tell you this sooner but I swear to god, last week I dreamt that Nicole Kidman was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Blue is the Warmest Color. When I woke up I tried to go back to sleep since I didn't want this nonsensical actressexual dream to end. It's been haunting me ever since...

No wonder I can't concentrate!

What's going on in *your* movie addled mind?