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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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Saturday
May092015

Tim's Toons: 1979 and the first film of Hayao Miyazaki

Tim here. May is 1979 Month at the Film Experience, and as far as animation goes, that was a pretty meager year (ardent fans of The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone would no doubt disagree, but sadly, they do not exist). There was one clear highlight, though: 1979 was the year that a Japanese animator and TV director named Hayao Miyazaki made his first feature film. And 36 years later, he’s one of the only name-brand individuals in animation, anywhere in the world.

You wouldn’t necessarily be able to guess the full range of Miyazaki’s future career from Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. For that is the title of this debut film, and if that whole “subtitle after the colon” thing makes it feel like it might have been part of an established franchise, that’s exactly the case. Lupin III was an anime series made by TMS Entertainment, adapting the adventures of a gentleman thief from French pulp literature; the first batch of episodes started to appear in 1971, and iterations of the animated franchise kept poking up for decades; the series still remains a cultural touchstone in Japan and it’s reasonably popular anywhere there’s an enthusiastic audience for classic anime.

more...

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Friday
May082015

Where My Links At

Before We Get Started...
First image of Emily Blunt from Sicario which will premiere at Cannes.  She plays an FBI agent pushed to her limits. I'm not quite sure why I decided to get so excited about this movie but I did so I'm running with it.

 

Links
THR Natalie Portman gears up for promotion of her Cannes entry A Tale of Love and Darkness, calls Oscar a "false idol"
/Film Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon's Big Little Lies project will be a limited series for HBO now. With Michelle Pfeiffer's hubby writing it! Since it's about three women can La Pfeiff be in it, too? Just suggesting! Free advice; we got it right here.
MNPP Alex Garland (Ex Machina) starts lining up a lucky female cast for his next trippy Annihilation - Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton? Wow.
In Contention Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt's By The Sea, a marital drama set in France in the 1970s, gets a release date: November 13th. Should we add it to Oscar charts?
Dissolve Juliette Binoche to play Pearl S Buck in a biopic. 
EW features Hateful Eight on its cover. I feel robbed. Unless it's a fold-out this is only Hateful Three: Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samuel L Jackson.

 

Dissolve ...okay I spoke too quickly. There are also character posters of the other ones
Pajiba "Pants-Igniting Things Oscar Isaac Is The Absolute Best At" 
TMZ Tyson Beckford losing his towel to promote that Magic Mike rip-off Chocolate City 

Still cherry-picking good Age of Ultron links because there are interesting articles out there!
Sound and Nerdery Terrific read on the complexity of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, especially focused on Age of Ultron (which has taken so much flack for her portrayal)  
CNet on Joss Whedon's twitter exit. Why we should care when celebrities leave social media
Esquire Age of Ultron reviewed by a 9 year old:

If you like movies about robots who make jokes, or movies about girls singing lullabyes to the Hulk, or movies about cities that float into the air for no reason, Age of Ultron will be right up your alley.

I like movies about all those things except the cities floating in the air part. Never dug that. Not even in The Empire Strikes Back

Exit Video
Today's intriguing watch. A trailer for the Netflix series Sense8 by the Wachowski siblings.

It looks to have a very confusing sci-fi premise (what else is new with them?) about 8 people in different cities being mind-connected or something. But Doona Bae (yes) and Max Riemelt (very sexy German actor who you might have seen in Free Fall, streaming on Netflix) star. Plus Daryl Hannah (!!!!!!!!!). Plus they throw some gay-leaning group sex into the trailer so... why the hell not try it out in June? You can always abort the binge-watching if they show doesn't grab you. 

Friday
May082015

Beauty Break: China Through the Looking Glass?

Eeep. We haven't even mentioned the Met Gala which is like the Oscars of May for how many stars come out. Each year the Met Gala theme comes from the new event exhibit which this year is "China: Through the Looking Glass." It's tough to say what is Chinese inspired about many of the looks we saw a few nights ago but who cares about themes when you get THIS photo (shared by Jessica Chastain) of three of the best and most beautiful actresses on the planet. As I said on twitter...

My brain / heart / cinephilia just exploded. See you next week once i’ve collected the pieces. 

[more photos after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Friday
May082015

Revenge of the 80s ~ Now With More 10s Sexism!

When the red band trailer for the revival (not a reboot but a long distant "next generation" sequel) of Vacation premiered yesterday, with Chris Hemsworth swinging a big fake one around for a cheap laugh, it got me to thinking about how phallic-centric Hollywood has become. This is no new thinkpiece notion of course. But with the incredible amount of material from the 1980s that Hollywood has been mining and regurgitating, we're getting about the sharpest resolution picture possible of how Hollywood has regressed in terms of equal opportunities for female stars. Hollywood has always had its share of sexism but today's Hollywood seems especially female-averse. How did it happen exactly? Hollywood will reboot ANYTHING from the 1980s. So long as it did not star a woman. No, not even if it was a smash hit. They won't do it... although they will allow those titles to be remade for television if you're really desperate to see them revamped. 

To prove the point here are a list of the most successful 1980s movies starring women. I only looked at the top 25 or so box office hits from each year of the 1980s. To give you a contemporary correlative of their success that's like from the tippity top American Sniper sized behemoth down to the Lucy-sized hit levels last year if you pretend that each year is roughly the same as the last in terms of gross domestic box office.

Disclaimer: This list should in no way be mistaken as a plea to remake these pictures -- we have more than enough remakes. We need original material!  It's just to make a point. 

40 BIGGEST HITS LED BY WOMEN IN THE 80S
(in very rough order of success) 

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Thursday
May072015

When do you see movies? When do you like to read about them? 

An open question for all readers. We've often expressed disdain for the internet model (prevalent on most well-read movie sites, even the good ones) in which the bulk of conversation about a movie happens BEFORE its release. But what to do about it? We try our best here to talk about movies mostly after they open (with the exception of the YNMS series, Oscar predictions and short news bits) which has surely cost us readers in the anticipatory-madness of current online culture. However one thing we're not good about is knowing when to discuss films. WHEN DO YOU SEE NEW MOVIES? Are you at the movie theater every week? Do you VOD? Do you rent DVDs? Do you just bit torrent everything (naughty-naughty)? Or are you totally beholden to when Netflix decides to stream something if, in fact, they ever get around to streaming it at all? (Netflix, once a godsend for cinephiles, has become something of a curse.)

It used to be so much simpler when there was just one release date but now viewing is so staggered between so many types of services, subscription and pay-per-view models, and so many exclusivity windows that it's hard to even have a DVD column that's anything close to relevant. (It's the chief reason, I believe, why piracy has grown so large and rampant: there are just too many obstacles to audience seeing a movie they want to see when they want to see it). I ask these question because so many movies we've discussed in the past but perhaps in not as much detail as we should have are released each week on DVD. Recent newbies that I've wondered if we should discuss again or in more detail (links go to previous coverage) include: The Last Five Years, Miss Julie, Mr Turner, Selma, Fifty Shades of Grey, Paddington, Mommy, The Boy Next Door, Inherent Vice. And each week brings new titles fitting that same criteria. In the coming weeks Beloved Sisters, Blackhat, Still Alice, American Sniper, and Leviathan among others arrive. 

Any thoughts on the problem of staggered viewing and how to unite us all?

Thursday
May072015

Women's Pictures - Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides

Welcome to Sofia Coppola month! Over the course of this series, I’ve noticed a pattern. So far, the first films our directors made have been smallish, personal movies; unpolished films that carry the seeds of themes and images that will grow as the directors do. The Virgin Suicides is not that movie. Sofia Coppola’s 1999 first feature film is neither small nor unpolished. While the film carries themes of isolation and adolescence that Coppola will continue to explore throughout her career, this is not the unpolished or underfunded first film of someone still learning the business. Starring two stars on the cusp of breakthrough (Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett), as well as several well-loved actors (Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Danny DeVito), and shot by a cinematographer with 20 years of experience (Edward Lachman), this may be the most well-varnished first film we’ve seen.

Adapted by Coppola from Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel, The Virgin Suicides is a nostalgic suburban gothic. Set in 1970s Detroit, an unnamed narrator reminisces on his high school crush on the girls next door, five sisters who committed suicide for reasons he still can’t understand:

Everyone dates the decline of our neighborhood from the deaths of the Lisbon girls.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May072015

Review: Welcome to Me

Michael C. here with your non-Avengers review of the week

When we daydream about striking it rich the objects of our fantasies usually fall into tangible, straightforward categories. The things we will buy, the places we will travel, the jobs we will quit. Alice Klieg, the lottery winner with borderline personality disorder played by Kristen Wiig in Shira Piven’s Welcome to Me, has more abstract ideas. Alice has spent her whole life trying and failing to live in the world everyone else seems to inhabit with ease. Now, fresh off the decision to go off her meds and with 86 million at her disposal, she can finally force the rest of us to live in her world.

When we meet Alice prior to striking it rich, she is filling her lonely days watching her vast collection of Oprah episodes on VHS, mouthing the words along with the host. It makes perfect sense then, that when she finds herself thrust into the spotlight her first instinct is to cast herself in the role of self-help guru, albeit one with her own life as her first and only subject. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May072015

icymi

May came in with a bang. Our best guess is that you couldn't keep up this first week because we barely did! To insure that you read everything - a requirement by law - here are things you might have missed in this very busy week: The podcast returned and we learned that Anne Marie has feelings for Michelle Rodriguez's biceps and Joe Reid really loves watching superheroes fight together; The first wave of Oscar predictions finally wrapped with Supporting Actress and Lead Actress discussions; Orson Welles turned 100 years old and, aside from the Best Shot Mid-Season Finale, Alexa (of 'Curio' fame) got a collage piece accepted for a centennial show in Illinois which you should check out if you live there!; Mysterious Skin turned 10; Nathaniel attended the Marvel Marathon and reviewed The Age of Ultron and also gawked at Penny Dreadful's NSFW premiere episode; Posed with Yoda, Manuel did, for a Star Wars Day photoset while Jason asked you to choose between the Dark Side and the uh... Skywalker side; Mad Men continued knocking it out of the park in its final episodes; David Lynch sold coffee; and The Lovely Laura Linney sold her soul to the devil Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

whew

Oh and we had a very special guest blogger...

THANK YOU, DAVID!
Longtime TFE readers surely had already clocked that we enjoy David Dastmalchian's work and have been waiting for him to bust out so that people can learn his name. Over the years he earned two nominations in our annual awards ceremony (both in the limited or cameo category) for The Dark Knight (2008) and Prisoners (2013). We assume he won't be haunting that category much longer as his career expands. He was kind enough to say yes when we asked him to guest blog for what should surely be his breakout summer given that the film he wrote and headlines Animals, riding critical darling status out of SXSW, opens on May 15th and two months later he gets to play with Paul Rudd in Ant-Man, joining the Marvel Universe. That's an interesting move, given that he first gained notice for a DC movie, The Dark Knight. ET Online recently asked him about the switcheroo. (Click on that photo if you'd like to see that red carpet moment. It's not embedded here because it's an automatic play):

 

Here's what he wrote for you:
David What? - His origin story & how to pronounce his name
What I Learned From Paul Rudd - On comic improv with Paul Rudd, Melissa Leo staying in character, and an idol of his Malcolm McDowell
What I Saw / Where I Saw It - four of his formative films growing up
The Making of Animals things looked bleak until magically it came together 
Soundtrack of My Life - Have you ever imagined your life in movie trailer form?
... You should follow him on Twitter & Instagram !

We sincerely hope the experience was more pleasant for him that that time he met Jake Gyllenhaal...

Are you enjoying May thus far?