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Yes No Maybe So - Beauty & The Beast

"Nice teaser but it going to be hard for Disney to top one of their true masterpieces of animation" - Jaragon

 "I don't have high hopes for the principals either, but the real draw is the supporting cast. I'm a NO on McGregor's accent and a YES on McKellen, so put me down as a MAYBE SO." -BD

 "CGI chandeliers? Damn, DIsney, let them build a set." -Jacob

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Sunday
May222016

Great... Train Robbery, Detective, Balls of Fire

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

1859 Arthur Conan Doyle is born. Probably rolls over in his grave 150 years later when Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes premieres and the great detective becomes a slo mo action hero
1868 The Great Train Robbery happens. It's the subject of a highly influential 10 minute silent film (embedded above) as soon as people figure out what to do with cameras and celluloid in 1903. Cross-cutting, breaking the fourth wall, inventing the western action movie genre? It's all happening right here. 
1907 Laurence Olivier is born. Not yet a "Sir" but already expecting a cooing audience
1945 Paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren are married. They become the fab Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016) 

1958 Jerry Lee Lewis tells the world he's married his 13 year old cousin Myra. Later they look just like Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder in a movie
1967 Brooke Smith, the girl in the pit, is born
1973 Nikolaj Lie Kass, Danish actor of underappreciated hotness (Brothers, The Idiots), is born 
1998 The Opposite of Sex hits theaters, Christina Ricci gets a well deserved Golden Globe Best Actress nod for her inspired star turn 
2005 The razor sharp Cronenberg film A History of Violence was stiffed of any prize at the Cannes Film Festival despite a strange round of winners which at least included Michael Haneke as Best Director for the brilliant Caché. Both films went to to make the Best Picture lineup right here at The Film Experience.
2016 The 69th annual Cannes Film Festival closes. Awards ceremony tonight in France so come back for the winners in the late afternoon!

Saturday
May212016

The Natural Comic Genius of Rose Byrne

This weekend's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising certainly has enough antics to discuss for this month's Girls Gone Wild focus, but its most delightful element is returning star Rose Byrne. While she's not as impactfully utilized in the sequel as she was in the original, she is still just as charming as a slightly reluctant adult who understands what makes the youngsters tic.

The film leaves you wanting more time with her, but when isn't that true even when she is better served?

Over the past decade, Byrne has been steadily becoming our most reliable comedic actress. Her peers may be larger box office draws or recognizable names, but none of them match her consistently rich performances or surprising hysterical highs. The trifecta of Spy, Bridesmaids, and Neighbors are all starkly different women, for Byrne never fails to surprise us with the type of laughs she can deliver with ease...

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Saturday
May212016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.2: Maureen O'Sullivan & Johnny Weismuller

one of many erotic moments in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)New Miniseries! As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we'll be ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes each weekend like we're going to an old timey matinee.

We began by staring hard at Buster Crabbe's loincloth so as to avoid the acting and plotting. For chapter 2 we're moving to the main event: Johnny Weissmuller. He's the actor most often associated with the the Lord of the Apes since he played it 12 times and because he played it so well. There's a genuine guileness and in the moment feeling to his work that lets the ape man read more simple and pure than stupid, despite all the broken English. A few seasons ago on a weakly attended episode of 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' we marvelled at how erotic the pre-code Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) was . Rather than rehash that film (though it is definitely worth your time), we jump ahead to its sequel Tarzan and His Mate (1934) which some argue is the best of the dozens of Tarzan films made during the studio era. Not I, as I think it's a notch below the 1932 original but in truth that's splitting hairs. The two films cling to each other as tightly as Jane holds on to her swinging man. More than most Tarzan films it's a direct sequel, constantly referencing events, locales, and characters from the original film.

When we left the jungle couple in 1932, Tarzan was already getting (ahem) good with his tongue. When audiences returned to see the next adventure in the Spring of 1934, Hollywood's "Pre-Code" era was ending. The code began to be rigidly enforced that year which meant there was one last burst of racy sexy times in the cinema that year for films that had already been shot. [More...]

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Saturday
May212016

Cannes Closing Ceremony Tomorrow - Any Guesses? 

The 69th annual Festival du Cannes wraps up this weekend with reprise screenings of competition titles and the closing ceremony tomorrow evening at 7:15 PM (Cannes time so a handful of hours earlier here in NYC). Sean Penn's The Last Face starring Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron (pictured in all her androgynous chic, left, at the premiere), Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman (which takes its title from an in movie amateur production of Death of a Salesman), and Paul Verhoeven's Elle starring Isabelle Huppert were among the last titles to premiere. Don't expect The Last Face, which was met with hostility to show up in the prizes.

Here are the 21 competition titles loosely grouped by your hosts vague perceptions of how well received they were (you might group them differently as its my policy not to read full reviews from Cannes - which tend to be spoiler filled for films that are months away from release). George Miller's jury will name one of these the Palme D'Or winner, one the Jury Prize winner, and then we'll see who takes Director,  Actress (we have a few ideas as to who might win), and Actor. Depending on how the jury plays it we might get a couple of other prizes, too...

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Saturday
May212016

National Gay Killers Day. What? Ewww!

Because we're having fun with this little feature we'll continue. On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1881 Ahead of her time Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross. She doesn't get a biopic because Hollywood is only interested in "Great Man" biopics
1916
Happy Centennial to author Harold Robbins who penned 25 best-sellers some of which became famous movies like The Carpetbaggers (1964), the Elvis flick King Creole (1958), and the notorious Pia Zadora Razzie winner The Lonely Lady (1983)

Rope (1949) and Swoon (1992) - two great movies inspired by the Leopold & Loeb case

1924 Chicago college students Leopold & Loeb murder a teenage boy in a "thrill killing." Their crime inspires the story of the gay deviants in Alfred Hitchcock's Rope (1949), the Cannes Best Actor winning Compulsion (1958) and is recreated in the New Queer Cinema classic Swoon (1992)
1926 Kay Kendall of Les Girls (1957) fame is born
1952 Two time Oscar nominee John Garfield (best known for The Postman Always Rings Twice and Gentlemen's Agreement though those were not his nominated films) dies unexpectedly at the age of 39. The stress from the blacklist and Communist witch hunts (he'd refused to name names) were said to cause his heart attack.
1959 Gypsy opens on Broadway starring Ethel Merman. Mama Rose becomes the defining female role of musical theater, as Hamlet is to male drama thespians. Dozens of divas play her thereafter on stage, tv, and film. The best of them is Imelda Staunton, no joke. 

1960 Jeffrey Dahmer is born in Wisconsin. Becomes an infamous gay serial killer in the early 90s just in time for America's obsession with serial killers to go truly perverse and mainstream. Within a decade or two they're the heroes on television shows for f***'s sake (This has always bothered me about showbiz - assassins and serial killers are professions as popular as being a doctor or a waitress.) Jeremy Renner plays Dahmer in the eponymous movie which yours truly has never seen. Have you? the general critical consensus is that Renner was very very good in it. But nobody was annoyed by his total franchise sellout-ness back then because it hadn't happened yet.

1970 FINALLY some role-model gayness for May 22nd, redeeming the day from infamy. Harvey Milk picks up Scott Smith in a subway station as a 40th birthday present to himself, as lovingly reenacted by Sean Penn & James Franco in Milk (2008)
1974 Fairuza Balk is born. As soon as she can speak she calls the four corners to insure that no other actresses gets her signature role in The Craft years 22 years later. 
1979 "White Night Riots" in San Francisco because the gays are rightfully furious about the "manslaughter" conviction in the assassination of Harvey Milk
1980 Star War: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) released in theaters. It's still the best one.


1992 Johnny Carson welcomes his last guest on "The Tonight Show," Bette Midler, after 30 seasons on air. She wins the Outstanding Individual Performance Emmy for this performance. Two years later she is nominated for Gypsy and loses. 
1999 Susan Lucci spoils her fame-boosting status as the ultimate awards show loser by winning on her 19th consecutive Daytime Emmy nomination

Friday
May202016

Girls Gone Wild - Showgirls

Dancin' Dan here to play a bit in the lusty month of May, with our favorite pseudo-lesbian "dancers".

Yes, there are no two wilder, lustier girls in recent memory than Cristal Connors and Nomi Malone.

I often try to figure out why I like Showgirls so much, especially since I'm not one of those people who think it's a misunderstood masterpiece (I think it's too at odds with itself for that). I think it's because in its heart of hearts, Showgirls is a (not-so) secret musical. Except instead of songs, it only has dance numbers. So, really, the best kind of musical.

In the old days of Astaire & Rogers, it was said that the dancing was a stand-in for sex. It would be easy to say that the dancing in Showgirls is meant to stand in for sex, but that's not entirely true. I mean, it IS true, but each number is standing in for a different aspect of sex, a different kind of lust...

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Friday
May202016

For Your Tweets Only: Wonderstruck, Herzog, and the Next 007 

As you may have heard rumors are swirling again (do they ever stop?) that Daniel Craig absolutely will not, won't, refused to, no matter how much you pay him, play Agent 007 again. The most frequently suggested future Bonds are Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston but there are so many worthy ideas.

Who would you suggest?

Lots more tweet fun after the jump (Clue, Ben Foster, Werner Herzog, etcetera) but first check out another intriguing photo of Julianne Moore in Wonderstruck. First we had her in Marie Antoinette mode and now this? Bless you Todd Haynes!

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