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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Welcome Back Andrew Garfield

"Okay. I felt exactly the opposite way about Garfield's presence in 99 Homes." - Goran

"I'm just glad he got rid of that beard and GOD-AWFUL man bun." - Chris


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What'cha Looking For?

Leo, Lists, Ladies, and Link Love

French Toast Sunday 5 best summer movies? Confession: I have never seen Crooklyn but always wanted to. 
Gawker on Cher's wiggy performance on The Voice 
The Local did you hear this story about how a French teacher an 11 year-old class Saw? WTF? At least pick a classic horror with artistic historical merit.
Guardian the next Star Wars sequels are looking for a teenage female lead? Whoa. I guess Hunger Games and Twilight are even more influential than they appear to be

Variety Miss Saigon is returning to the boards but I'm personally still curious as to why the movie version has never happened?
My New Plaid Pants the three things you need to see from the Anchorman 2 trailer
Los Angeles Times Show Tracker the women of Mad Men speak about the impending end
Film Flare awww, I had totally forgotten about "Elizabeth Taylor" on Sex & the City 
The Cinematic Katzenjammer Shailene Woodley cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (ahem, 5). What, no Mary Jane? Seems odd to cut her just as her star is rising
Empire speaking of which. Here's more on her Hunger Games which is called Divergent
Hark, A Vagrant! takes on The Secret Garden 

On Leo...
Awards Daily asks why Leonardo DiCaprio is so often ignored by the Academy (brought on by The Wolf of Wall Street trailer). I know he has many devout fans and I am often criticized for not adoring him wholeheartedly these days but I disagree (and muchly) with the notion that his work has improved with age. I still think he has beautiful moments in several of his recent star turns but as a whole from film to film he is not pushing himself and is deeply repetitive in his acting choices (not just in the surface role similarities I've mocked like his run through The Dead Wives Club).

But I harbor no illusions that the Academy shares my opinion of his gift...

I think it's as simple as this: Leading Men who are considered beautiful always have to fight harder for Oscar love. That's all there is to it (well, that and them preferring five other people each time he's missed out). Paul Newman and Jeff Bridges, two of the best screen actors of all time, didn't win until their 60s and Leo isn't nearly that good! Plus he's only 38 years old. Leo has the same amount of acting nominations as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp and the similarities are instantly noticeable, aren't they? Good looking marquee value men who are often viewed as STARS first, ACTORS second (whether or not that's an accurate description). I have no doubt Leo will eventually win -- and I think nominations will be much easier to come by in his 40s after whatever hiatus he plans to take -- but I think if it doesn't happen for him with Wolf, he'll have to wait until at least his mid40s and possibly much longer as many desirable leading men have had to in the past. I'm not sure why everyone expects the rules to be different for this one actor. The question of why not yet is as simple as the male dominated Oscar's completely obvious binary gender standards: they usually like to award female actors for being young and hot and, to some extent, new; and they usually like to award male actors for their bodies of work when they have stood the test of time (and are less sexually threatening).



This Sunday...
Oooh, I totally wanna watch this. Oprah is talking to four black actresses on their unique struggles in Hollywood on her new network. (Do I even get this network? I do not know)

Alfre Woodard (that's enough right there!), Viola Davis (YES), Phyllicia Rashad (makes sense) and Gabrielle Union (Bring it!) which is a classy lineup, don'cha think?

The Film Experience on facebook. You haven't "liked" us yet. Rectify!


James Gandolfini (1961-2013)

Like the rest of the world I was stunned to hear that James Gandolfini died suddenly earlier today of a stroke while vacationing in Italy. He was only 51 and there was every reason to believe that more great work was ahead of him since male character actors of great reknown can work for as long as they'd like really in Hollywood's male-centric world.

My most recent fond memories of the actor were the gentle surprise of his comic timing when we meet him in a frisky scene in In the Loop (2009) in which he flirts with Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy) by joking about bestiality


Click to read more ...


12 Years Of Fassbender

JA from MNPP here - have y'all seen the first batch of photos from Steve McQueen's upcoming slavery drama 12 Years a Slave? USA Today has several, including the two Fassbender-centric ones you can see here. It's Fassbender's third team-up with the Hunger / Shame director, and I can't be alone in hoping this might be the role that will finally get him some Academy attention after his most terrible omission in 2011. Same goes for the film's actual lead, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who's also been doing great work for several years now - he first really caught my eye in Dirty Pretty Things back in 2002 (although to be honest I cannot for the life of me remember squat about Amistad).

I haven't read the book upon which the film's based so I even hazard to guess whether this could actually be Academy friendly - so far McQueen's proven too outre for their tastes. But this one's got some big-time star-power behind it - it also stars (deep breath) Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, Scoot McNairy and Quvenzhané Wallis, amongst many others. And 12 Years a Slave is out at the end of December, a not-so-subtle sign that somebody's thinking statues...


'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' Returns on July 3rd

Our weekly group-look at essential visual moments in movies from all genres / decades resumes in two weeks so Queue these movies! Season Four has had wonderful turnout from great blogs so let's complete the season this summer with a robust party (bring all your friends!) every Wednesday evening through summer's end!

July 3rd American Graffitti (George Lucas, 1973)
 [Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
"Where were you in 1962?" went the tagline for this hit which went a long way towards popularizing 'instant nostalgia' movies. I wanted something nostalgic for the holiday week but mostly I chose it because I've never seen it and its a gap in my Oscar knowledge (5 nominations including Best Picture). Legendary DP Haskell Wexler is credited as "visual consultant". If you know anyone who was a teenager in the 1960s, use them as "nostalgia consultant" ;) and if you're feeling really ambitious, I keep reading it makes a strong double feature with Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993). 

July 10th Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)
 [Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
David Cronenberg's artful chiller about twin brother gynecologists (Jeremy Irons at his career best) and the vaginally, uh, complicated woman they both love. This week's choice is in honor of Nick Davis of Nicks Flick Picks. This film plays a key role in his first book The Desiring-Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema 

July 17th Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)
[Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
This year's December release Saving Mr Banks concerns the making of this movie. It's garnering much pre-release curiousity so let's revisit this supercalifragilistic musical fantasy starring the practically perfect in every way Julie Andrews. Trivia Note: July 17th is also the 58th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland! 

more titles tba... the season ends in late August


Top Ten 1960s

I still have a lot more to see from the 1960s but this top ten, more than most apart from the 1980s is a combination of films I fell for as a child on television in the 70s and 80s and films I love now as an adult. I'm bookending with two Natalie Wood features -- the first actress I ever loved -- though I recognize that they are more personal favorites than perfect films. That caveat aside I do find Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice to be grossly undervalued since it's essentiall a comedy about its time and therefore "light" and "dated" . Still, I absolutely insist, it's a wonderful wonderful light and dated thing. At the top of the list West Side Story has been my favorite film of all time for as long as I remember being conscious of movies so it'll just have to keep on being so -- it's fundamentally part of who I am -- flaws and all (and yes, I can see its flaws).

Natalie & Deneuve, the greatest of the 60s screen beauties

top ten
01 West Side Story (1961)
02 Persona (1967)
03 Psycho (1960)
04 The Sound of Music (1965)
05 Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
06 Hud (1963)
07 They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
08 [Cheating w/ a Deneuve Double] The Umbrellas of Cherbrough (1965) & Belle de Jour (1967)
09 The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 
10 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

pick a film, any film

i'll only be satisfied with a top 17
11 Rosemary's Baby (1968)
12 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
13 Splendor in the Grass (1961)
14 La Dolce Vita (1960)
15 Mary Poppins (1964).... coming up soon on "Hit Me..."
16 Playtime (1967)
17 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

and affectionate nods to... 
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), Breathless (1961), Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962), My Fair Lady (1964), 8 ½ (1963), Darling (1965), The Apartment (1960), Bay of Angels (1963), and Rachel Rachel (1968).

Which films define you and which films can't you live without... from the subcategory of the 1960s of course?

Previous Top Ten Quickies
1930s | 1950s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2010s (thus far)  
and don't forget to like the film experience on facebook


Nathaniel with Auroch & Oscar (and other Scandinavian Misadventures)

I won't feel like my Scandinavian voyage is over until I a) unpack b) do laundry c) write about it.  Here are a few random movie-adjacent thoughts from my journey. Obviously movies weren't the focus but you know I can work them in to any conversation!

Hush Puppy & Me W/ Aurochs.

I'll always think of aurochs as the giant pigs that haunted Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild but Copenhagen's National Museum tried to wrestle them away from neo movie mythology. 

In Denmark the aurochs immigrated after the end of the Ice Age circa 9000 BC these bulls with the largest and most inner dangerous animals in the forest but they could do little against the hunters arrows. The aurochs weighed almost 1000 kg. Old scars on the ribs show that the old giants survived earlier encounters. Three arrowheads lying among the bone suggests that the bull was fatally wounded when I sought refuge in a lake around 8600 BC . A few thousand years later around 6000 BC the aurochs was extinct in Zealand . In Jutland small-stocks survived until the iron age and the last aurochs died in Poland in 1627

I also looked at a whole lot of ancient ships and weaponry but in 2013 København the constant fit blond beauties walking or cycling by remind me a bit less of the brutal scarred Nordic warriors from The History Channel's "Vikings"... and more like a sea of Alexander Skarsgårds (I realize he's Swedish) or, perhaps more accurately, a parade of handsome blond preppy villains from 1980s teen movies: perfect blonde hair, chiseled jawlines, moneyed physical ease.

This store window had it about right...

up where they stay all day in the sun ♫The most iconic of Copenhagen's tourist attractions are Tivoli Gardens (amazing amusement park) and The Little Mermaid statue... one and ½ of which we saw. Tivoli was a blast and even turns romantic at night with the change in the light but The Little Mermaid was a lesser experience. We only saw it from a distance on the canal tour (which I highly recommend if you ever go there despite it being a shamelessly tourist thing to do) but my friends refused to indulge me in visiting it to pay true homage the following day. Did they fear my I'm sure highly original urge to sing "Part of Your World" at it in a photo or are they just curmudgeons?

Still, the statue is, as you must know, hardly evocative of the beloved Disney movie. Instead it expertly conveys the lonely longing of Hans Christian Andersen's original this-will-all-end-in-tears-and-sea-foam tragedy. 

Wenche againOslo
I was exhausted by the time we got there (and feeling a little unfaithful since I wanted to go back to Copenhagen, a city I am now hopelessly infatuated with) but there was much to see. Despite the running on fumes final days of the trip, I can happily report that I never once felt as suicidal as a character in a Joachim Trier movie (Reprise and Oslo August 31st - see them immediately!) and again I ran into Wenche Foss idolatory. She wasn't on the tail fin of a plane this time but just a statue in the park. 

Two little girls spoiled my fantasies of a nation devoted to actress-worship. They glanced at the statue disinterested all "hvem er det?" to their mom (Sigh). Indifference to actresses is a curse found all over the globe!

On the first day we walked on the roof of the newish Opera House (a stunning piece of art and architecture). On the second day we took a ferry and visited several museums including one devoted to the Kon-Tiki expedition, which recently got the movie treatment (twice over actually) to the tune of a Best Foreign Language Film nomination. I wasn't crazy about the new movie -- or the museum, actually, which was rather confusingly laid out and cluttered.

And yet, it was a treat to the see the actual boat. And you know I had to take a picture of me with Norway's first Oscar of sorts, which went to the 1950 documentary on the Kon-Tiki expedition.

The Boyfriend laughed about how the picture came out with the Oscar obscuring / reflecting all over my face "the story of your life"

My favorite part of the trip was the middle when we took it easy for a few days and just breathed in Norwegian beauty, fjord trips, train rides and the views from a lakehouse we airbnb'ed in Vestland.

Fjord tour. You get to drink from waterfalls!

I lept wildly into the North Sea / Norwegian Sea twice -- like ice water with moss --  but the most paradisical moment was hiking to the most beautiful stretch of unspoiled land I can recall ever spending an afternoon with. The trees were so green and the ground was so soft and spongy I felt like I could curl up and sleep on it like a lost child in some benevolent magical fairytale woods. When the trail opened up on the most pristine lake with the most swimmable water ever I could barely speak.

The only thing I managed to utter to break the silence in that idyllic moment was: 

The loons Norman, the loons! my best Katharine Hepburn. And then I dove in.



This is not what "bent" is supposed to mean in this context...

Happy--no, Sad face. My copy of Nick Davis's book "The Desiring Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema" arrived. YES. But it arrived like so, rolled up like a damn newspaper! NO.

I've tried to straighten the gorgeous gay out but it's not budging. Permanently bent!

[one hour later] Oops... I started reading instead of finishing this post which I should not have done since I have to return this copy! I'm so into the launching Cronenberg chapter and am digging the provocative argument that I can't. Must. Return. Get. New. Copy.

I can't even bear to take a photo of the mangled cover so you should remind yourself of how beautiful it is here. And if you haven't ordered it yet, do it now. Nick is a great writer, provocative thinker, and unshakeable cinephile and since it's gay pride month, it's a great time to start digging in. You'll probably even have your beautiful unmangled copy before I get this one replaced by Amazon!