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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Monday
Jun202016

YNMS: Denial

Manuel here with yet another sign of the Rachel Weisz renaissance we all so spiritedly discussed a few weeks back. When the trailer for The Light Between Oceans surfaced I was probably not alone in earmarking her supporting role in that Vikander/Fassbender weepie as a chance for the actress to nab her second Oscar nomination (which most of us had vainly hoped she’d net with her beautiful work in The Deep Blue Sea). Well, there may be a clearer path for the actress with Denial which is, after all, squarely focused on that most Oscar-ey of topics: the Holocaust.

Rather than focus on the event itself, the film centers instead on a very public libel suit in the UK in the 1990s between a writer, David Irving (Timothy Spall), and a historian, Deborah E. Lipstadt (Weisz) after she accuses him of denying the Holocaust. Let’s break down the trailer YNMS-style after the jump...

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Monday
Jun202016

The Furniture: Orlando's Otherworldly Pageantry

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Sally Potter’s Orlando is a work of otherworldly character. It does not take place in a fantasy land or on a distant planet, but all the same it does not really seem to take place in our own reality. This might seem an obvious thing to say about a movie whose protagonist is an Elizabethan nobleman (Tilda Swinton) who lives for centuries and abruptly becomes a woman midway through the story, but there’s more to it than that. Its mood is one of near-anachronistic magic, built with a narrative logic that resists the strict signposts of linear storytelling, and lit by a shimmering queer sensibility.

Each of the film’s changing atmospheres has something quite specific to say. The central Istanbul section, filmed in the ancient walled city of Khiva, Uzbekistan, uses architecture to isolate Orlando in the disorienting fog of war. A later chapter, labeled “SEX,” wraps the Lady Orlando and her lover, Shelmerdine (Billy Zane), in the windswept Victorian fantasy of a Bronte novel.

But the singular triumph of the production design team, led by Ben Van Os (Girl with a Pearl Earring) and Jan Roelfs (Gattaca), is the Elizabethan first act. Here is when the young Lord Orlando is the most vulnerable, the most restricted, and the most confused.  [More...]

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Monday
Jun202016

Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

This calendar year has been filled to the brim with unthinkables. The latest terribly sad happening: The talented Russian-American actor Anton Yelchin died yesterday in a freak accident at only 27 years of age. He was crushed by his own car on its steep driveway incline.

Yelchin was best known to general audiences as Chekov in the modern Star Trek franchise but to us he'll always be Byrd Huffstodt (the sensitive brainy teen in the underappreciated cable drama Huff) or awestruck poseur Ian (from the hipster vampire greatness that was Only Lovers Left Alive), and especially Jacob from the college romance drama Like Crazy (2011). Though Like Crazy was mostly heralded at the time for Felicity Jones's work as his British girlfriend, it was Yelchin that gave the movie its lovestruck foolish soul... but nuanced emotionally astute work by male actors, especially young ones, in romantic dramas are rarely given their just critical props. Even when miscast (when Hollywood thinks you're the next big thing they'll put you in anything, even if it's an obviously uncomfortable fit) as in Fright Night or Terminator Salvation, Yelchin was always, at the very least, watchable. 

A tiny gift of remembrance to fans which in no way makes up for this truly absurd loss: Yelchin worked so steadily as an actor that we will still see a handful of new performances released posthumously. The forthcoming films are: Star Trek Beyond (due July 22nd), Rememory (with Peter Dinklage), the family drama We Don't Belong Here (with Catherine Keener as his dysfunctional mother), the international romantic drama Porto (with French actress Lucie Lucas - Yelchin was fluent in multiple languages and it seems likely he would have pursued more international films later in life if Hollywood offers ever got too repetitive or unchallenging), and the thriller Thoroughbred (with Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch).

He will be missed. Do you have a favorite Anton Yelchin memory at the movies or on TV? 

Monday
Jun202016

Things that happened on Nicole Kidman's Birthday over the years

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1893 Lizzie Borden acquitted of the axe murders of her dad and stepmom but everyone still thinks she did it. I still haven't seen that show where Christina Ricci played her. Oops.
1905 Lillian Hellman, playwright and screenwriter is born. 
1909 Swashbuckler supreme Errol Flynn is born
1910 Fanny Brice debuts in "Ziegfeld Follies". The moment was recreated (see photo above from the Academy's archives) and heavily fictionalized of course, in Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl (1968)
1915 Director Terence Young is born. Goes on to kick off the Bond franchise with Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball and direct Audrey Hepburn to her last Oscar nomination for Wait Until Dark (1967)
1928 Martin Landau is born. 66 years, 9 months, and 7 days he wins a well-deserved Oscar for Ed Wood (1994)

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Sunday
Jun192016

Review: Finding Dory

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best things about breakout supporting characters is that the fandom surrounding them comes honestly. Scene-stealers aren't handed their movies, but earn them. So it went with Dory, Ellen DeGeneres's forgetful blue tang who swam circles around every other character in Finding Nemo (2003), figuratively speaking, though she did sometimes swim in actual circles since she couldn't remember where she was going.

Thirteen years later, though Finding Dory takes place just after Finding Nemo ends, we're swimming in circles again with Dory, via a suspiciously similar movie. Let us count the ways...

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Sunday
Jun192016

Finding Treasure (with Pixar's Dory)

It will surprise you less than Dory, that she's the new queen of the box office. Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar's most beloved non-Toy based title with mainstream audiences (not with us though - we're WALL•E / Incredibles people round these parts), broke records when it swam into theaters Thursday night. The bankability of a little Hart (Kevin) and a Big Johnson (Dwayne "The Rock") made an impact in second position, as well, though it's worth noting that pairing them didn't remotely result in twice their usual opening weekend grosses (these are fairly typical for either of them. Maybe their fanbases are too similar?) Between those two movies requiring nearly 8,000 screens between them it was a rough weekend for other movies with most big and small releases losing a ton of movie houses (yes even Love and Friendship and The Lobster which both had strong momentum until they lost theaters. *sniffle*). There's a lot of summer left but there's only one last tidal wave of box office as we move towards the July 4th holiday and Independence Day, The BFG, and Tarzan soon battle for dominance.

TOP WIDE
arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
๐Ÿ”บ01 Finding Dory $136.1 NEW Review
๐Ÿ”บ02 Central Intelligence $34.5 NEW
๐Ÿ”บ03 The Conjuring 2 $15.5 (cum. $71.7) 
โ–ซ๏ธ04 Now You See Me 2 $9.6 (cum. $41.3) 
๐Ÿ”บ05 Warcraft $6.5 (cum. $37.7) Six Questions

Jude Law & Colin Firth in GENIUSTOP  LIMITED
Under 1000 screens. Excluding previously wide. 
๐Ÿ”ป01 Love & Friendship $797K (cum. $10.9) ReviewPodcast
๐Ÿ”ป02 The Lobster $647K (cum. $6.3)  ReviewishPodcast
๐Ÿ”บ03
 Maggie's Plan $471K (cum. $1.8)  Review

๐Ÿ”บ04 Genius $306K (cum. $442K) Review 
๐Ÿ”บ05
Weiner $144K (cum. $1) Review 

 

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND? 
I caught Neon Demon (ooh boy. that's going to be tough to write about) and rewatched Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - our 50th anniversary celebration of that classic begins tomorrow!

Sunday
Jun192016

Olivia @ 100: It's Love I'm After

We're counting down to Olivia de Havilland's historic 100th birthday (July 1st!). Team Experience will be looking at highlights and curiosities from her career. Here's Josh...

Is there a film star in history who could stare doe-eyed better than Olivia de Havilland? Or anyone who delivered a line with seething bitterness through a smile better than Bette Davis? The rarely seen 1937 comedy It’s Love I’m After offers an early showcase of both women doing what they do best before their long careers to come. Davis was in the process of reaching mega-stardom, and de Havilland was unknowingly just one year away from taking Hollywood by storm opposite Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. It’s Love I’m After was a chance for both of them to show off their comedic chops in the screwball era. It was also the first of the many collaborations between the two women... 

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