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
Comment Fun

what did you see this weekend?

"Well, I saw MOMMY on Saturday, and it kind of spoiled my Sunday movie-going, it was so good. " - Bill

"THE SKELETON TWINS. Darker than advertised." -Charlie G

"MAPS TO THE STARS at the cinema. It's certainly very "Cronenberg", satyrical and darkly funny...and Julianne Moore is absolute dynamite. It must have been so much fun for her! - Carlos

how about you, dear reader?

Beauty vs. Beast


 drink your milkshake and... 


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?

Smash: "Tech" & "Previews"

Smash recently announced that its creator and season 1 showrunner Theresa Rebeck was moving on. and Josh Safran (who ran Gossip Girl) is moving in for Season 2. What this means for the show we'd rather not speculate because Smash is such a fragile series. Tweak it this way it becomes a great series rather than a good one. Tweak it that way and it all falls apart. Expectations were too high to avoid studio interference but what the show needs is someone who embraces the core of its appeal and doesn't worry about appealing to every demographic. (Even Marilyn Monroe herself was hardly a universally beloved / respected movie star.) Shows that know themselves first and foremost tend to be the ones that people come to and adapt to, not shows that try to adapt to that  mythical monolithic audience.

Happy Birthday.... Mr. Director ♫

1.13 "Tech"
Despite various complaints about the direction of Season 1 I think the show actually has a pretty good handle on forward momentum. more after the jump.

Click to read more ...


"Maleficent" - Now With More Mike Leigh!

Had a private double take giggle last night when I read the news of Maleficent's latest cast members. Maleficent herself Angelina Jolie and Sleeping Beauty Elle Fanning will be joined by Brit prestige actors like Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson (who will be play the fairy queen aunt of Maleficent), Sam Riley (Control), Kenneth Cranham (Made in Dagenham), and.... wait for it... Mike Leigh thespian goddesses Imelda Staunton & Lesley Manville as Beauty's protectors (two pixies instead of three fairies).

Imelda and Lesley will protect Sleeping Beauty in "Maleficent"

Suddenly I was picturing Mike Leigh in the director's chair!

Imagine the gritty British realness. Picture Angelina Jolie rehearsing for six month to suit Leigh's process. Hee. The insights into Maleficent's psyche- the grotty castle home she's lived in for decades, centuries worth of raven droppings, her unspoken trauma from past society shunnings, the weight of the horns on her head and how it's left her with a permanently sore neck. Imagine Angelina and Miranda diagramming their entire history as relatives in a quiet rehearsal space and writing their own lines. The pixies vibe would include stunted maternal instincts and adoptive parent sorrow "We have to give the wee lass back?!?".

Mike Leigh's Maleficent wouldn't break $200 million but I'd buy several tickets. 

In the eternal "Pink... no Blue" fairy godmother debate, we figure Imelda gets the pink if she wants it.

She owns the pink. 

P.S. If they were to add a third fairy godmother, excuse me "pixie" who should join Imelda & Lesley to raise narcoleptic Elle Fanning? Cast it in the comments! 


Les Línkables

TMZ life imitating art - Shawarma sales skyrocketing in LA after The Avengers opening.
Coming Soon has a new photo from the set of Les Misérables. I'm choosing to interpret this set as an homage to Moulin Rouge!'s greatness
Acidemic would like you to know that 1933, not 1939 was the greatest year at the movies.
Playlist Maybe Edgar Wright is going to make that Ant-Man movie after all.

Antagony & Ecstacy looks back at Ang Lee's Hulk (2003) in the wake of the new green giant fever sweeping the nation. Really interesting piece.
In Contention Gene Kelly centennial tribute hosted by the Academy next week in LA. Someone go and tell me all about it. We'll celebrate his centennial here in August (the actual month of his birth)
Movie|Line Jessica Chastain finally passes on a movie. Hee!
SuperPunch has photos of Wal-Mart's The Avengers set. I include this only because its rabidly sexist. I believe when the camera spun around the heroes in that highly publicized shot it was The Black Widow and not Loki who was part of the heroic team. (sigh) 
Kenneth in the (212) Fun couples: Woody Allen and... Lindsay Lohan? 

P.S. This is the best thing that Kate Beckinsale has ever done.


Told ya!

Off Cinema.
It's sometimes worth stepping out of the movie theater. Rarely but still...
The Realist for those of you who've spent too much time on Facebook
Playbill weirdest music news of the week. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider recording an album of showtunes with Broadway friendly guest stars


Burning Questions: When Will America Get Animation For Adults?

Day of the Dead comes with Lively ColorMichael C. here. Eyebrows were raised when Pixar recently announced their slate of upcoming films. After two projects we already knew about – a dinosaur focused film now titled “The Good Dinosaur” (May 30th, 2014) and the film that takes place inside the mind – there was a new project, intriguingly described as Untitled Pixar Movie About Dia De Los Muertos.

The idea of the full resources of Pixar set to work on an animated film about the Mexican Day of the Dead is enough to get any film lover’s expectations soaring. Obviously, there is no promise the film will be any more artistically daring than the spooky yet family-friendly likes of Henry Sellick’s Coraline. But for now it is reason enough to hope we will soon have an affirmative answer to the question animation lovers have asked for decades:

When will mainstream American cinema finally accept adult animation?

I will not subject you to another rendition of that familiar tune about the rest of the world not holding our country’s prejudices about cartoons being just for kids. Suffice it to say the end of American animation’s extended adolescence is long overdue. 

Disney appeared poised to take the plunge back in the Nineties. I am still stunned anything as mature as the tortured Catholicism of Hunchback’s “Hellfire” sequence found its way into a film with Happy Meal tie-ins. More after the jump


Click to read more ...


Goodbye, Maurice

JA from MNPP here with very sad news indeed - Maurice Sendak, the author most famously of Where the Wild Things Are but also amongst many more In the Night Kitchen and Outside, Over There (which was the basis for the movie Labyrinth) and the illustrator for thrice as many more, passed away today at the age of 83 due to complications from a recent stroke. His most recent book Bumble-Andy just came out last year, and he made the interview rounds reminding many of us just what a brilliant ornery singular man he was. Here's the first part of a wonderful interview he did with Stephen Colbert just in January, and here's part two. It's must watch.

Spike Jonze adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are came out in 2009, and it was my favorite movie of that year; about it I said that Spike Jonze "scraped up not just the book but everything inside myself that's attached to its memory and he spilled it out on the screen, a torrent of beautiful and horrible feelings and thoughts, jumbled up like rawest adolescence itself." Losing Maurice today is making me feel the same way - like a bewildered and angry child, and knowing that he would have smacked me and told me to snap out of it only makes the loss worse. RIP Maurice.


It's Over! Hot Docs '12 Finale Edition

The Hot Docs Festival wrapped late last week and a jury handed out awards on Friday.

Call Me Kuchu

I saw Call Me Kuchu after it won Best International Feature (each year they play three award winners during the festival's last evening). I had tried to avoid the movie because depression and anger aren't emotions I like feeling, especially with something that affects me on such a personal level. The anger is rooted in denial.  I'd like to think that the struggle is over for LGBT people but it isn't in so many communities and countries. 

"Kuchu" is a pejorative umbrella term referring to homosexuals, male or female, for Uganda's homophobic government and majority opinion. Directors Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright follow a small group of gay activists in this hostile environment and focus on David Kato in particular. His violent death took place during this documentary's production. His murder sparked outrage in the Western world but Uganda's government and majority resent the Western interference in their policies.

One of the other movies given an additional screening was Nisha Pahuja's The World Before Her, which also  made a splash at Tribeca. It won the top prize of Best Canadian Feature and $10,000. This documentary compares contestants of the Miss India pageant with young women of the same age toting guns in Hindu fundamentalist camps, exposing the lack of options for social and economic mobility of young woman in India. According to the CBC, Pahuja's previous credits include TV doc Diamond Road and it took her two years to gain access to the fundamentalist camps. More award winners after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Monday Monologue: Barbara's Revenge

Dame Judi Dench has been on my mind lately what with the eye condition, a new James Bond film coming and Marigold Hotel in theaters. So herewith an article from 2008. If you only started reading The Film Experience in the past few years, it's new to you! May is also Mental Health Awareness Month so let's appreciate some crazy bitches...

They always let you down in the end."

My contrarian opinion of Dame Judi Dench is that sometimes she phones it in. How many ways can one play the quippy unfazeable grande dame? But in Notes on a Scandal (2006), she's unimproveable. Faced with the atypical character of "Barbara Covett", Dench rises and soars. The film's politics are horrendous: boo hiss --an evil predatory spinster lesbian attempts to destroy a heteronormative marriage! But the actress is magnificent, giving the film a metronome precise drip drip of theatrical malice.

My favorite sequence in the film runs from Barbara's inconsolable grief for her lost feline, through the resulting perceived betrayal by Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), who doesn't have time to console her, to the exquisite sequence when she is confronted with another teacher with amorous feelings for Sheba. She boils with vengeance in mind.

You'd like me to ask Mrs Hart if she's inclined to commit adultery with you? I don't want you to suffer more than is necessary. No one should. I couldn't possibly speak for Mrs. Hart but instinct tells me you might not be her type. 

"She's got a type, then?" is her co-worker Brian's sad response. The film has a few exquisite and small supporting turns and Phil Davis (also terrific as the husband to Vera Drake) is aces in this scene, all befuddled crush turned to shell shock.

Kettle's boiled. Dench likes her tea with bile.

Oh it's no reflection on your attractiveness. My impression is that her preference is for the younger man...surprisingly young; Boys, I'm told. Naturally she doesn't discuss any of this with me but I've been hearing some rather alarming rumors about one in particular.

Playground gossip, staffroom whispers and so on. You might know the boy in question. Ummm... Stephen Connelly."

Brian indicates that her tea is ready.

I think the kettle's boiled.

[V.O.] You say the words and it's done. Easy. Judas had the grace to hang himself. But only according to Matthew, the most sentimental of the apostles. Is this the last night of her old life? I wonder how long my messenger will take?

People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely but of the drip drip of long haul no end in sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.

Dench's every line reading is carved out of the tough bark of decades of loneliness and cynicism; if you could cut through Barbara's hardened shell, you'd see disappointment and repression expanding like rings in an ancient tree. As the words escape her, she sharpens them to a lethal point with fermented emotions and curdled wit, wielding them like weapons. Earlier in the film, Barbara refers to herself as a battle axe. For a woman drowning in self-delusion, it's a surprising lucid self-assessment.