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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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Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

"Margaret Atwood's novel is superb. If this is half as good, it will be great!" - Marcelo

"My one concern is how much of the novel is covered so quickly. Even in the first episode, they pulled a lot of events from the middle of the novel right in there to establish the universe. The pacing works onscreen, but what are they going to have left to cover by episode 9 and 10?." - Robert

Interviews

Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Saturday
Apr182015

Tim's Toons: Star Wars - the Animated Misadventures

Tim here. A good cinephile would be able to look around the world and think about the whole range of possible movies in all their splendid variety. Me, I haven't been able to stop thinking about Star Wars ever since the new Episode VII trailer dropped yesterday. That's the poisonous fever bog of nostalgia for you.

So, as long as I'm not going to get my head right anyway, how about we take a little wander through the corridors of Star Wars and animation? Because, golly, talk about being gripped by a dubious affection for a brand name...

At some point, people subjected themselves to all of these things just to get a little tiny bit more of a Star Wars fix. And even if The Force Awakens can't live up to the awesome pileup of top-shelf fanservice in that trailer, there's not any chance in hell that it can be as bad as some of these:

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1979)
Two and a half years after the original film redefined what blockbuster box office could look like, the very first expansion of the universe came in the form of this legendarily wretched variety show that starts with ten damn minutes of people in terrible shaggy suits barking at each other in unsubtitled Wookiee-ese. After which it proceeds to get worse. The solitary highlight, and that's almost solely because of the lowlights surrounding it on all sides, is a short animated sequence by Nelvana in which Luke, Han Solo, and Chewbacca fall for the most transparent con job in the universe and future fan-favorite Boba Fett is introduced. He rides a dinosaur. [More...]

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Friday
Apr172015

Review: Ex Machina

Michael C.   returning for review duties. 

Science fiction stories have wondered for ages if people will accept technology that simulates human behavior, but honestly, it probably won’t be much of a struggle. The robots will win in a walk. The urge to empathize is hard wired into the human psyche. I can remember when I was young, watching other kids develop deep emotional bonds to plastic eggs with crude blinking pixel displays just because they were called digital pets. What chance does the species have when a robot arrives with supermodel looks and a subtle range of emotion, one that can take you by the hand, gazes deeply into your eyes and say, “I love you” like it means it? Game over, man...

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Friday
Apr172015

Tribeca: Relating to "The Wolfpack"

The Tribeca Film Festival 2015 kicked off this week and we'll be bringing you our screening adventures. Here's special guest Joe Reid on a buzzy documentary...
 

I thought a lot about Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth during Crystal Moselle's Sundance winning documentary The Wolfpack, now playing at the Tribeca Film Festival. How could I not? The Wolfpack tells the story of the Angulo family, including the seven siblings whose extreme home-schooling meant they were rarely permitted outside their modest Lower East Side apartment. That kind of forced isolation of children is always going to make me think of Lanthimos' dark comedy.

Knowing the premise, you might expect the Angulo kids to end up as warped as those kids in Dogtooth, but they're decidedly not. They speak about their unusual childhood with uncanny emotional intelligence and articulation. And the more you watch The Wolfpack, the more you might want to chalk it all up to the power of the movies.

The dynamite opening to the film sees the Angulo boys' filmed reenactment of Reservoir Dogs (1992), complete with costumes, props, and honestly? Some pretty decent line-readings. You immediately get a sense of how long the boys have had to perfect this production. It helps when you're never allowed to leave your home. These boys are no mere dabblers; they're movie fanatics, with hand-drawn movie art papering their walls; with lists at the ready ranking their personal favorites. They're shown transcribing Pulp Fiction, studying Blue Velvet, poring over Scream. I found myself leaning forward, relating so hard.

More...

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Friday
Apr172015

Quick Impressions: Annie Funke's Violent Year

Quick Impressions. There are showbiz dreams embedded in nearly every frame of your favorite TV shows and films. Consider this series a celebration of SAG card holders and free advice for casting directors.

Meet Annie Funke (It's pronounced "funky"). She's only made one movie but what fortune to land such a strong one for your debut! The actress has just two scenes in J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year (2014), just out on DVD & BluRay, as the unexpected heir of a rival company who Oscar Isaac's desperate businessman must turn to for help. While the cast is uniformly fine, there was just something about Annie Funke's pin-drop tense scenes in particular that we just couldn't stop thinking about. We had to know more...

While Funke's first movie and a buzzy breakthrough a couple of years ago in a play called "If There is I Haven't Found It Yet" which she refers to as a "game-changer" have both been heavy dramas it turns out she came up through musical comedy. Because of scheduling conflicts during the casting of A Most Violent Year she thought she wouldn't get the part but here we are. And here is where we'll jump into our conversation...

NATHANIEL: I love musicals and plan to see your next one but it's exciting that you're making waves elsewhere now, too. 

ANNIE FUNKE: As a kid in Oklahoma with a musical theater degree I had no idea that my career would go in any way to tv/film. It wasn't on my horizon at all

But then you got A Most Violent Year from a self-taped audition!

When I showed up on set the first day I hadn't met anyone. That was completely like being shot out of a cannon. [Laughs] 

more...

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Friday
Apr172015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 4) the Original Gone Girl

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca -  Nathaniel introduced us to our nameless heroine whose youthful, clumsy charm lands her the brooding Maxim de Winter. Abstew attended their nuptials and the first of the second Mrs. de Winter's trials at Manderley. Then Anne Marie ventured into Rebecca's room to see how deep Mrs. Danvers obsession goes. Will our mousy leading lady ever find the peace and love she desires at Manderley or will the ghost of Rebecca prove too great an obstacle?

Part 4 by Angelica Jade Bastién

We begin where Anne Marie left off, with #2 (aka The Second and Less Fabulous Mrs. de Winter) getting her wish for a costume ball. After failing to come up with a costume to her liking Mrs. Danvers offers to help. But, #2 soon learns that Mrs. Danvers version of help is quite dangerous. 

1:16:06 Costume balls, much like Halloween, allow people to become what they deeply want to be even if it’s just for an evening. For #2 this is especially true as she takes Mrs. Danvers advice and dresses up as Lady Caroline de Winter based on one of the many family portraits that punctuate the walls of Manderley. Lady Caroline represents everything #2 is not: poised, beautiful, disarming. 

While some of our team hasn't warmed to Joan Fontaine in this nameless role, I agree with Anne Marie's estimations. Fontaine perfectly embodies her. When we first see #2 in her costume she is nervous with desire, unsure of her decision. She carries herself with a sort of clumsiness I remember from my high school years; trying to have some sort of grace but instead bristling against the confines of early womanhood. Which makes me wonder how old is #2 supposed to be exactly? [More...]

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Friday
Apr172015

Links on the Bubble

Variety Baz Luhrmann has found his lead for his Netflix music series The Get Down. It's an unknown singer songwriter named Herizen Guardiola 
THR 13 shows on the bubble. They'll be renewed or cancelled by early May. I'm rooting so hard for Agent Carter but you never know
The Guardian Matthew Vaughn (The Kingsman) to reboot Flash Gordon. Oh dear
/Film that was quick - Daredevil (Charlie Cox) will officially be in Avengers: Infinity Wars movie in some capacity. But that's like a billion superhero movies away so we'll see if it comes to pass


Awards Daily Meryl Streep does everything: she's now written a foreword to a new cookbook
THR industry folks rank New York's film critics 
Variety rave reviews for Imelda Staunton's Mama Rose in London's current revival of Gypsy
Comic Alliance the Wonder Woman film lost its director (Michelle McLaren) and now has a new one Patty Jenkins -- the same Jenkins who was supposed to do Thor and didn't. Ah musical chairs
Time the list of 100 Most Influential People is out. Movie peeps that made the list: Richard Linklater, Julianne Moore, Bradley Cooper, Chris Nolan, and Chris Pratt 

LGBT Interest
Out also has an annual power list out. While most of the showbiz entries lean heavily towards TV there are a few movie players: Megan Ellison, Scott Rudin, Lee Daniels (though he surely made the list due to Empire), Dustin Lance Black and Ellen Page.
New Now Next the 13 greatest sissies of all time from Quentin Crisp (you must read his writing about movies) to Liberace

SJP a few days ago in NYC

MNPP Rock Hudson's ex lover speaks
The New Civil Rights Movement (long read) "Maybe Yesterday, But Not Tonight" on gay marriage and the inner and outer turbulence of our changing world

Finally
It's not news per se since we've known about it for a long time but it's now official that Sarah Jessica Parker is returning to HBO Comedy series stardom with Divorce. SJP is fearless. Think of the way people treat Madonna. Once women are past a certain age people want them to disappear. Only the brave soldier on so I hope this series is brilliant and all best wishes her way. But can we talk about how rude it was for Gothamist to illustrate the news of this series order by HBO with a photo of Sarah caressing her husband Matthew Broderick's face? 

Friday
Apr172015

Ask Nathaniel 

Our new banner is in honor of last week's "question of the week" from Fadhil. He wanted actors at the movies or people eating food. I figured it was harder to convey actors at the movies in tiny banner photos. So food. Sustenance. Deliciousness it is.

What's your question this week? I'll pick a handful to answer, maybe more. Food questions welcome.