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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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Curio: Surrendering to Dorothy

Alexa here. This fall has put me in home-decorating mode while we look for a new house; I am using a lot of my brain space filling the space we haven't found yet. My fantasies have recently led me to look for art that represents my love of film, but not in an obvious, film-poster way. So I'm pretty sure that something from UK design Studio Dorothy will find its way into our home.  

Dorothy is a group of 4 designers who create some unexpected and clever film art.  On the top of my lust list are these prints from their Hollywood Star Chart series, wherein they re-imagine constellations as American films from cinema's Golden Age and the modern era.  

Two closeup details...


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Crazy/Possessed Ballerinas. Are There Any Other Kinds? 

In preparation for our two part Horror Best Listing (pre-Exorcist and post-Exorcist which arrives tonight) I caught up with a few classic titles. One of them, briefly discussed on the latest podcast, was Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977). I can't say I took to it exactly, despite being partial to films which boozily strip naked and beg their Production Designer & Cinematographer to f*** them.

slumber parties in horror movies? never a good idea

Suspiria (have you seen it?) starts sort of well, flying right into an unnatural rainstorm with a weirdly off kilter urgency as ballerina Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) arrives in Germany to attend an prestigious ballet academy. But those first two kills are so yuck making the intro a mixed bag for me. For its middle section, which I assume is where the film's classic status derives, the movie does little cul-de-sacs in creepy/garish atmospherics punctuated by two perversely inventive murders. But then, oops, time is up. For its last trick, Suspiria speeds through a dud finale with mood-killing exposition (how was Udo Kier ever this young!?) and badly dated visual effects. By the time the credits appear, it's lost pretty much all of its intermittent unnerving power. For me at least; I understand others really do dig it.

After Suspiria ended, my mind wandered to a more general cinematic question: Are there any silver screen ballerinas that are happy?

See, it seems like screen ballerinas are always batshit crazy whether they're...


...possessed by the occult


The Red Shoes

...dancing feverishly as if possessed by toe shoes


Black Swan

...having psychotic feathered breaks


The Turning Point

...or engaging in neurotic Oscarbait-offs. 


Can you think of any well adjusted ballerinas in fiction?
And if you can't whose your favorite nutjob ballerina?


"Beetlelink! Beetlelink! Beetlelink!"

If you say it three times, a link roundup appears from the other side!

By now you've heard that Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are prepping a sequel to the 1988 comedy classic Beetlejuice, largely because Burton has long since run out of ideas and better a sequel than another remake, right?! If they name it "Beetlejuice 2" instead of "Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice" I will be disappointed in their mundanity. I love that movie but honestly if this project does not star Winona Ryder I hope whoever deigns to see it will sit in the theater alone... *utterly* alone... because the rest of us should boycott. Noni was the best thing about the original aside from its playfully smart comic visuals including the Oscar winning makeup.

Now a few links...

E! Online reactions to the awful Parks and Recreations hiatus news
Women and Hollywood on male directors and depictions of female sexuality: Chile's awesome Gloria and France's buzzy Blue is the Warmest Color discussed 
Film School Rejects on the short film Next Floor by Denis Villeneuve. You should see it. It's so good and Villeneuve is having a prolific "moment", what with the 1-2-3 punch of Incendies, Prisoners and Enemy.


Monologue: Judi Dench in “Shakespeare in Love” (and at the Oscars )

Andrew here. Jose was just talking about Romeo & Juliet so there's our blogging segueway to Shakespeare in Love! I love this movie, despite the less than stellar reputation it's built up since its release 15 years ago. I’d argue that it’s the most successfully executed romantic comedy in the past 20 years. Those that claime that Shakespeare in Love is little more than a bauble often forget that it was penned by one of the finest English language dramatists of the 20th century, Tom Stoppard. Films written by playwrights work well for this column because playwrights are innately aware that monologues are like great set-pieces to show off the acting craft. Shakespeare in Love is filled with monologues and sotto voce asides and it’s not just because of Stoppard’s playwright sensibilities. The very best trick Stoppard plays in Shakespeare in Love is delightfully imping Shakespeare’s technique in the film.

But the monologue. Today we focus on that slight, but effective Supporting turn which won the Oscar.

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Stage Door: Romeo and Juliet x 3

In the Stage Door series we look at current theatrical productions with our cinematic eye. Here's Jose on Romeo & Juliet

Some time within the last 14 days, I subjected myself to three versions of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet playing in NYC. "Subjected?" you ask, well dear reader, each of them was perhaps more horrifying than the previous, leading me to ask if I wasn't an unwitting participant in some Shakespeare-meets-Halloween project. However in the name of scientific research I've come back with some results.

The versions in question are...

1) a Broadway update (the first in over four decades) starring Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom as the infamous lovers from Verona.
2) a new film (written by Julian Fellowes) starring Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet and Damian Lewis as her dad
3) an off-Broadway version with Elizabeth Olsen and newcomer Julian Cihi as the title characters.

Both theater versions feature anachronisms and are set in unspecified times, the film version inversely has a time-appropriate setting yet somehow it doesn't feel like the most old fashioned of them.

The Best and Worst of each pair after the jump...

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Sisters of the Forest

JA from MNPP here. We all know what happened the last time a girl named Nell wandered into the woods - no good can come from it! I kid, I kid - I know there are vehement Nell defenders out there, and I've no doubt you're all up in this actressexual's haven, so I'll step off.

I only use that Jodie Foster film as a sideways stepping stone to address today's news that Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood have signed up to star in Into the Forest, an adaptation of Jean Hegland's book about a pair of sisters (named Nell, a-ha, and Eva), one a ballet dancer and the other a student (I don't think I'll ever figure out which actress is playing which role!), who are forced into survival mode together when society comes crashing down around them in the not distant future. Have any of you read the book? I have not but it sounds right up my alley and I think I will go pick myself up a copy right this second. What do you think about Page and Wood playing sisters? Patricia Rozem, who previously made the womanly entertainments Grey Gardens and Mansfield Park, is directing.


Hollywood Is Mean To Older Women. Let's Help Them With A Chart!

The news about Laura Dern playing Reese Witherspoon's mother made me giggle at first this weekend since she's the right age to play her big sister. But the more I thought of it the more it bugged me. Especially since it came hot on the heels of realizing that Tilda Swinton, who turns 53 in a week or two, had the role originally designed for the legendary Angela Lansbury (who is 88) in Grand Budapest Hotel. To add insult to injury, Alex reminded me on Twitter that Susan Sarandon will be playing Melissa McCarthy's grandmother in the upcoming comedy Tammy. Sarandon is just 24 years older than McCarthy which would make her a fairly young mother of the star but a grandmother? That means she and her fictional daughter were knocked up as pre-teens. Gross!

None of this should be miscontrued as me not enjoying myself some Dern, Sarandon and Swinton! But all of this reminds me that Sally Field, ten years senior to Tom Hanks, played his mother in Forrest Gump just six years after rejecting him romantically in Punchline. That's misogynist Hollywood's version of karmic punishment, right?! [more]

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