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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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Demme (RIP) and His Players

"Yes, Demme was special. So much energy, tension and subversive fun." - Edward

"Demme had great range I specially liked his comedies like Something Wild" - Jaragon

"I really, really, really NEED Beloved to be revisited and reappraised." - Kermit

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Betty Buckley (Split)
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Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
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Wednesday
Apr222015

Cannes Lineups: Director's Fortnight

Previously in Cannes news
The Coen Bros led Jury and the Lineups for Competition and Un Certain Regard 

While the competition & un certain regard films are the "star headliners" as it were, they aren't always the ones that garner the most critical buzz or sales or what not. So let's look at what's coming in the Director's Fortnight sidebar. While this section is non competitive, the films are eligible for the Camera D'Or prize if they are among the first films in a director's career, though that's tough to win since they're competing with first films in other sections, too. The last few winners of this prize were: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Oscar nominee Best Picture), Ilo Ilo (Oscar submission Best Foreign Film) and France's Party Girl.

Opening Film

In the Shadow of Women

In the Shadow of Women (France) dir: Philippe Garrel. 
A romantic drama about documentary filmmakers in Paris 

Closing Film

Dope (US) dir: Rick Famuyiwa
This action comedy about high school hip-hop fans who get caught up in a drug deal gone wrong was a huge hit at Sundance (our quick take). It has supposedly been edited since then, which would probably only strengthen it. It's very funny but a bit bloated. 

The Rest of the Lineup is after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr222015

X-Man Comes Out!

Manuel here fanboying over the increasingly diverse Marvel COMICS universe which recently outed original X-Man Iceman in the newest issue of All-New X-Men. If we must succumb to a superhero-filled world, we might as well celebrate these types of storylines:

I love her shrug

That’s Jean Grey sort of breaking the news to gorgeous Bobby Drake (played in the films by Shawn Ashmore) who seems taken aback by this realization. Marvel has always been at the cutting edge of progressive diverse representation, especially the X-Man whose central conceit has lent itself to so many subtextual storylines about discrimination and persecution. Indeed, when I first heard the news of Bobby’s “coming out” I couldn’t help but remember the following scene from X2 (arguably the best of the X-Men films precisely because it so skillfully mines the mutant-as-gay metaphor while offering great action set pieces that feel generous towards all its characters and not just the franchise’s golden boy Wolverine):

The question now becomes: will the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever catch up? With Black Panther and Captain Marvel (now with writers attached!) coming soon, Michael B. Jordan’s Johnny Storm coming our way this summer and a number of non-white members of the X-Men cast in the upcoming Apocalypse storyline (here’s hoping Bingbing Fan’s Blink gets a chance to shine!) we may be slowly moving towards a superhero slate that isn’t entirely lily-white (I’ve yet to catch up on Daredevil past the pilot but I couldn’t shake off the whole “white guy vs foreigners/immigrants” storyline it seemed to be painting) though it seems it’ll remain straight for the foreseeable future.

How long until we get a prominent LGBT character in the MCU? With total media domination (Netflix shows! ABC* spinoffs! Movies scheduled until 2098!) it's a matter of time, yes? 

*Is this the part where I'm informed that there's such a character already in either Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and/or Agent Carter, two shows I started watching but grew tired of midway through? And if so, does this just add further credence to the idea that television continues to be more open to representing diversity than the box-office beholden franchise world of cinema?

Tuesday
Apr212015

Tribeca: The Survivalist

More from the Tribeca Film Festival! Here's Jason on an Irish future dystopia flick.

The Survivalist begins by throwing us - us being humanity - right off a cliff. We watch as a pair of lines - one signaling population growth, the other standing in for oil production - dance around each other like they're in a rough cut of that Chuck Jones cartoon. Up up up they go, until oil, you know, dribbles off, and then wham, it's the yodeler from The Price is Right for all of us.

It's a mercilessly efficient way to say everything big that needs to be said (what multi-million dollar YA tent-poles take their sweet time drawing out) and to then drop us into the small ghostly after-world of the main story, where we mainly deal with the drama of one man, two women, and the well-fortified cabin and garden that comes to stand in for survival, humanity, itself.

Mercilessly efficient isn't a bad way to describe Stephen Fingleton's film as a whole, in that everybody's pretty much past words being of much use at this point - small deals are sussed out, nodded through, but it's action that matters. The minute twitch of shoulders in the direction of a weapon... or even a soft sweet palm of a hand brushing over sharp scruff. Harsh times, and harsh scruff, calls for harsh attitudes, but mercy does exist here - The Survivalist is mighty uninterested in being relentlessly bleak; that road (or should I say The Road) is well-trod by now, and these characters might be desperate people in desperate situations with mud smeared artfully on their faces, but they're also - against their best interests a lot of the time! - striving for what used to be called family.

It's in those minute twitches - not the ones for guns and knives but the ones for skin and communion, for warmth from the cold - where The Survivalist speaks the loudest, and the sweetest. Where you watch someone weigh the pros and cons of just touching, not killing, and that decision elicits its own poetry. The Survivalist is chock-full of that stuff. What survives after everything dies, it turns out, is still an awful lot.

Tuesday
Apr212015

Stage Door: "Fun Home" & "An American in Paris"

The Tony Award Nominations are exactly one week from today, so we really ought to talk about the musicals that might be vying for top honors. Both of today's shows have movie connections, albeit one more tenuous than the other. Both are also likely nominees in the Best Musical category, which is the Best Picture of the Tony Awards. Yes, there are 3 other top prizes (Play, Revival of a Play, Revival of a Musical) but Musical is the most coveted prize and the one with arguably the biggest impact on legacies and box office. Ten musicals are eligible in this category for the 2014/2015 season and I'd be surprised if these two won't comprise half of the four-wide nominee list. 

Two fine "new" musicals after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr212015

Cannes Jury: Coen Bros to Boss Auteurs & Pretty Things Around

We've long since known that the Cannes jury would be headlined by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, better known as The Coen Bros, the world's most famous sibling auteurs (though not the only of course: see also the Wachowski siblings, the Dardenne Bros, and more). We now know who'll be joining their jury and therefore deciding those incredibly prestigious prizes like the Palme D'Or, the Grand Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Actress and more.

As usual the jury is a mix of directors from multiple countries, one non-actor/non-director, and a beautiful actress or, um, three. In fact the jury is almost half women this year. The jury is, from top left:

  • Joel & Ethan Coen  (US), filmmakers
    How many masterpieces would you say they're up to now?
  • Rossy de Palma (Spain), actress
    You know and love this Picasso-assymetrical godess from Almodóvar's oeuvre
  • Guillermo del Toro (Mexico), writer/director
    Of Pan's Labyrinth & Hellboy fame. Can't wait for Crimson Peak.
  • Xavier Dolan (Canada), writer/director/producer/actor/costumedesigner
    The film world's youngest all-purpose cinematic godsend
  • Jake Gyllenhaal (US), actor/object-of-obsessions
    He's testing his range and still hasn't found his limits. He's only getting better. This is a good get for a super actor whose entire family is in the biz. 
  • Sophie Marceau (France), actress/director
    One time Bond girl and Braveheart co-star, diversified into directing in her home country
  • Sienna Miller (UK), actress
    Her career is on the upswing after starring in two Oscar favorites last year 
  • Rokia Traoré (Mali), composer
    She doesn't have many film credits but you can learn about this African goddess here 

With more actresses than usual and two men (Jake & Xavier) who are every bit as gorgeous as your typical Cannes jury actress this is an unusually easy-on-the-eyes jury. Will their various aesthetics mix well or will the jury awards be a series of compromises?  We shall always wonder... even after the official prizes are handed out late next month since they don't exactly let press into the jury room. 

Tuesday
Apr212015

Tribeca: "The Adderall Diaries" and "Hungry Hearts"

Tribeca Festival coverage. Here's Joe Reid, who you know and love from the podcast...

The Adderall Diaries
We sometimes joke around about James Franco's insane output over the last five years -- he's been in WELL OVER 30 movies since 127 Hours, with a whopping 21 of them playing film festivals. That's an average of five films a year playing in some festival or another.

For a lesser-known actor, this kind of heavy indie output might be a better idea. Throw yourself into as many projects as possible, increasing your odds that one of them will hit. Franco's already established, though. He's had his hits. What starring in so many festival indies does for him it's the opposite: it ups his odds that he'll end up in at least a few total stinkers, every year. It's gotten to the point where Franco's presence in an indie feels like the promise of disappointment.

New Franco and new Adam Driver after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr212015

Linking & Housekeeping

Pajiba Strange news. Johnny Depp did not report to work as planned. Work being continued cashing in of his 2003 brilliance as Jack Sparrow. What is afoot?
Interview on the evolution of Chlöe Sevigny
Comics Alliance tiny Ant-Man billboards. Here's to clever marketing !
Cleo have any of you seen Adventure Time? Thinkpieces on this animated show intrigue
Attitude Giorgio Armani urges you to not dress so "gay"!
The Kenneth in the (212) was The Former Bruce Jenner inspired by Belinda Carlisle?
Instagram meet Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel's son
Towleroad RuPaul recap. Conjoined twins extravaganza

All the FUN of a serious and rare medical condition without the humanity and decency that even American Horror Story provided

Cool Projects
Cinematic Corner is hosting a "White Swan Black Swan" blog-a-thon -- now through the end of the month - which looks at dual personae. 
Nick's Flick Picks has gathered his own secret TBA jury for a screening/retrospective of the entire Cannes Competition lineup of 1995 from the utterly gorgeous Shanghai Triad through the Palme D'Or winner Emir Kusturica's Underground to the provocation that was Kids. Ambitious! 
Antagony & Ecstasy continues reviewing reader requested films (this time it's Evita) for a donation to the American Cancer Society. I urge you to all do this. It's a great cause and Tim is a great critic. He's doing a few reviews for fellow TFE staff (including me) in June.

True Story
Sunday night I dreamt that Meryl Streep had died suddenly and unexpectedly. The nightmare was so real that when I woke up Monday morning i was in an absolute panic wondering how I could possibly write about such a loss and feeling bad about every time I complained that she said yes to everything rather than carefully picking her projects. The nightmare was so real that I immediately googled Meryl Streep and was greeted by happy news instead of sad. La Streep was actually in the news that very morning but for funding a screenwriting workshop for women over 40.  Whew and Awesome. And what The Dissolve said...

Whatever we did to deserve this woman, it wasn't enough.

71 Days Until Magic Mike Matt XXL
More character posters keep emerging.. so here's Matt Bomer. With Horn, Pettyfer, and McConaughey absent this time around, does he get an expanded role? In addition to being ridiculously pretty, he's said to be a very nice fellow in real life as told to us by actress and co-star Kathy Deitch.

TFE News
Apologies  that 'April Showers' never got off the ground this month as a returning blog feature, though they definitely fell from the sky. Overplanning, TFE's great sin! But that won't stop up from committing it again and again. 

TO CLOSE OUT APRIL: Sci-Fi / Artificial Intelligence theme week, Broadway stuff (Tony nominations in just one week), 9 to 5 party (tomorrow night - join us for some mowie wowie) a couple of Campions (In the Cut Bright Star) and the completion of the April Foolish Oscar Prediction charts. No really. Stay tuned.

COMING IN MAY: The Orson Welles Centennial, 1979 Smackdown and Sidebars, and finally some 2015 movies to be excited about, discuss, and get us back to the movie theaters including: Mad Max Fury Road, Avengers Age of Ultron, Far From The Madding Crowd, Hot Pursuit, Saint Laurent, The D Train, Pitch Perfect 2, Aloha, and Tomorrowland.