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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


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"Evita" Contest Winners!

Don't cry for these three readers who've won themselves a 15th anniversary Evita Blu-Ray. I asked contestants to submit a photo of themselves in the famous arm(s) up Evita pose if they weren't shy. It was super fun to read the stories of Evita moviegoing and musical obsession, so a big thanks to everyone who participated. I wish I had dozens more copies to give away. 

The winners, drawn randomly, go like so...

TFE Reader Brian on the actual Casa Rosada !


I had the privilege of traveling to South America last year, and in a two-week trip filled with "money shots" (Machu Picchu, Rio, etc.), the attached photo is probably the champ.  It was taken of me on the actual balcony at the Casa Rosada.  (Madonna popularized the neighboring balcony, inaccessible to tourists, but Eva used both.)  I mean, come on.  How much better does it get for an Evita/Madonna fan?  I still get chills thinking about approaching that balcony.


Wow! I never thought when I asked for photos that I'd get a real Casa Rosada shot for posting. Well done, Brian.

Winner #2 ROBERT, UTAH

I remember it was cold and snowing a little, and the line stretched out into the parking lot. Evita was important for me because it was when I fell in love with Madonna. Of course I had sort of followed her career, but I was young (12 in 1996) and I didn't really get into her until I got the soundtrack. As a kid I loved musicals and musical theater, so this was like crack. The curtains opened, the audience fell silent and they were enraptured for the next 2+ hours. I saw it two more times.

It's also just a very special memory with my family. That Christmas was ALL Evita ALL the time. My friends and I would stage "Buenos Aires" or "Another Suitcase" or "Don't cry for me Argentina" in my garage. Great times.


I was living in London in the 70s and was one of the lucky theater goers to first see Evita. London went wild over Elaine Page when she brought Evita back to life. I love both the theater and film versions. Madonna most captures the look and essence of Evita. Listening to the score always transports me back to that London night and the magic of Evita and Buenos Aires.

 Congratulations to the winners!


Box Office Special. A Sticky Cartoon Strip-a-Thon ! 

I didn't cover the box office last weekend in one of it's most interesting episodes. What's wrong with me? So today in honor of Channing Tatum's third consecutive $35 million plus opening last weekend (expect him to be offered every part for a 25-40 year old man in the next year, even the ones he's totally wrong for) a Magic Mike themed box office countdown to kick off Stripper Week. I'm pretending that the nation's #1 movie featured a musical stripping sequences a la Magic Mike. Just go with it. (File under: Anything to keep the commerce part of movie-going interesting. Cuz that's so notthe interesting part!)

Inappropriate Spider-Man cartoon (I made it*!


Box office chart after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012)

The Oscar winning character actor, star of 1955's Best Picture Marty, died today at 95. His career was so healthy that his IMDb page requires much scrolling through 200+ titles. The prolific filmography obscures the fact that he didn't even get started until this thirties.  Starting late isn't always a drawback when you've got the goods... particular for character actors; you can't have matinee idol looks and sell an everyman schlub like "Marty". Borgnine's career was so enduring that his latest completed role was a starring one: The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez (2012) just recently debuted on the festival circuit

A career that long is bound to have its rough patches, its controversies and divisiveness. Borgnine generated some deserved internet ire seven years back for publicly refusing to see Brokeback Mountain (2005) despite voting on the Oscars. [The Film Experience's position on this has always been that AMPAS members should be required to see all nominees in order to vote on a win in any particular category. Currently you have to for foreign film but most categories do not require that you actually watch the movies.]

Ernest Borgnine bullying Monty Clift in "From Here To Eternity"Borgnine had been very active for a 90something actor. In addition to Vicente Fernandez, he'd done a lot of television, voicework on Spongebob Squarepants and popped up in a memorable cameo in the action comedy Red (2010). But it's his work in the 1950s and 1960s that will be his legacy: McHale's Navy, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch and two best picture winners From Here to Eternity (1953) and Marty (1955) among them.

Have you ever seen Marty? What role first pops to mind when you think of Borgnine?


Cast This! "Hocus Pocus" Sequel

A new rumor swirling round the internet this weekend is that Disney is considered a sequel to Hocus Pocus (1993) that mildly amusing witchy family comedy starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker which was a much bigger success on video than it was in theaters. I remember liking it -- I love funny women trios as I just mentioned -- but wishing it was as funny as we all know all those actresses to be.

Moviehole reports that Disney may fast track this new film for release next year and is calling it Hocus Pocus: Rise of the Elderwitch. /Film reports that Disney is denying it entirely. The title sounds, to me, like an unecessarily complicated title when modern trends suggest that they'll probably just remake it (excuse me "reboot" it) and attempt a new franchise.

If you were making a magical comedy about three naughty witches, who would you cast? You need really funny girls to live up to Midler, Najimy & Parker and as is the tradition with female comedy trios from 9 to 5 to Witches of Eastwick and Hocus Pocus and on through the Charlie's Angels movies, you need distinctly different personalities / hair colors.

If you don't include Ari Graynor in your triple wish list, I will never hire you to cast my own debut feature. Go!


The Not So "Amazing" Spider-Man

originally published in my column at Towleroad

Andrew Garfield hanging about on The Amazing Spider-Man set.

Déjà vu  is an unsettling feeling. You can’t quite place the why and whens of it but you know you’ve experienced whatever this is before. Not so with the reboot of Spider-Man which has been optimistically retitled “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” for 2012.  The new webslinging film arrives only five years after Spider-Man 3, that final sour note in Sam Raimi’s otherwise sweet trilogy. This déjà vu is easy to place with the “whens” and thus less unsettling if still perplexing on account of the “whys”. We’re back to summer 2002 when Peter Parker first pined for a high school sweetheart, first indirectly contributed to his uncle’s murder, first learned that with great power comes great responsibility, and first swung around a big screen Manhattan in his iconic red and blue spandex.

Franchises are the comfort food of the movies and though there’s nothing wrong with comfort food beyond its lack of nutritional value, so much depends on the delivery when it comes to the familiar pleasure. The Amazing Spider-Man spins its title card with webbing very swiftly which leaves you hoping for a zippy entertainment with key twists on the mythos to keep you engaged. But after a new corporate thriller prologue featuring Peter Parker’s heretofore unseen parents the movie settles into excessively familiar story beats. We’re forced to wait out the entire numbing origin story again and relive many story beats from the 2002 origin story, with the only major exclusions being the absence of Parker's employment at The Daily Bugle (weird) and no James Franco shaped obstacle to his girl’s affections. Other than that only the names of the major characters have changed: Blonde Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) stands in for Redhead Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) as the love interest Peter likes to photograph; Dr Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) stands in for Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) as the scientist Peter looks up to whose illegal human experimentation (on himself!) wreaks havoc on his mental stability.

Once you start talking to yourself in an out of body "evil" voice, it's just a matter of time until you're a Green Super Villain. More...

Click to read more ...


The ½ Way Mark Finale. Best Supporting Actress

Previously: Actress, Actor , Supporting Actor and Picture.

As per usual even with only six months of film releases, not even of the prestige variety, there's more than enough to choose from for a solid Supporting Actress list. Though I'll always be most tied to Best Actress on account of movie star fascination, it's easy to understand why this is year in, year out, many readers favorite category.  

SUPPORTING ACTRESS  January through June Releases
For Your Consideration... my ballot as of July 7th. 

  • Eva Green, Dark Shadows (discussed in the review)
  • Frances McDormand, Moonrise Kingdom
    Magic. Don't you feel like you know exactly what it's like to be her child, her husband, or her middle aged lover while you're , to be her husband and her lover while watching this? 
  • Olivia Munn, Magic Mike
    A textbook example of seizing an opportunity and making the most of a character. Her slumming grad student with an open body, adventurous spirit, but compartmentalized heart is a key foil to reveal Magic Mike's own self-awakening.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, People Like Us (previously discussed)
  • Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
    Could she do this in her sleep? Probably. But that shouldn't negate the joy of watching her work or the affecting reveal of a kind heart buried under a nasty exterior and a lot of ignorance.

With apologies to Charlize Theron who made good on that Young Adult comeback twice over by ruling over Snow White and the Hunstman like a Queen, the royal kind, in Snow White and the Huntsman (maybe she went too big ... maybe... but someone had to keep that film from flatlining!) and an intriguingly robotic ice queen, the figurative kind, in Prometheus. 

Team Experience Votes?

Alexandra says: since I am at a loss, I have to give it to Anne Hathaway for Les Misérablespurely on the strength of the trailer ;)

Michael says: The Five-Year Engagement may have been a minor entry in the Apatow pantheon, but his technique of loading the supporting cast with comedy ringers continues to pay dividends. This time its Alison Brie, sporting an impressive English accent as Emily Blunt's sister, who ends up supplying the film with its most consistent source of laughs. It makes one wish the movie was changed to Five Week Engagement and rewritten to follow her and Chris Pratt's couple. 

Beau says: Eva Green in Dark Shadows. For (finally!) delivering on that promise she showed nearly a decade ago in Bertolucci's The Dreamers. For circumventing the limitations of the script and strutting off with the film in tow. For stealing a picture away from incredible name actors, looking quizzically at you when you mention that and denying it; you can't steal something when it was always yours.

Nicely said, Beau. Green would be my winner if I was forced to vote right now, too. On to the second half of the year! (After we get your ballots in the comments that is.)

And if you haven't seen them... my Current Supporting Actress Predictions


Basic Link-stinct

Never Mind Pop Film lists "rules of the cinematic universe" and they're really so true
Tom and Lorenzo
Sharon Stone is still a star
The Oregonian theories as to why festival hits do such middling box office 
Empire The Hobbit Parts 1 & 2 have finished filming. 
/ Film How ridiculous is this? A new Aliens related video game won't include any playable female characters? Fans are up in arms. This is after all the franchise that starred Lt. Ellen Ripley and now Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. 

The Film Doctor on Wes Anderson's miniaturized world in Moonrise Kingdom
Handmade this is so cool Moonrise Kingdom Cross Stitch. This movie is aging well in my brain... and heart.
Interiors Film Journal maps out the great elevator scene in Drive
Burbanked on the trailer to Here Comes the Boom. I would only add: why is no one complaining that the plot is like a grotesque parody of Warrior (2011)? 
In Contention Tapley asks a smart question "Could Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's divorce make The Master this year's zeitgeist movie?" ohmygod. with headlines like this "Could Dark Knight Rises win Best Picture?" all I can say is 'Here we go again. Gird your loins!'

Off Cinema 4 Fun
Abtruse Goose "arithmetic for beginners" 
Twaggies this website illustrates funny tweets. This one has a movie connection sort of 

Today's Must Read
Listen, I know I link to Tom Shone way too much. I have a massive mancritic crush, I freely admit. I just love his writing. His new column for the Guardian "Magic Mike turned me gay!" is great... Like Mr. Shone, I am bisexual at the movie theater so I appreciate the confession. The article even veers towards the difference and sameness of the "male and female gaze," a topic we just happened to be on while discussing Kim Novak in Picnic (1955)