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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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100 Best of the 21st Century?

"Carol >>>>>>>>>> most of these movies" - Clarence

"The more I see these snooty lists, the more I get turned off of by film critics. What about Lord of the Rings, The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada..." -Jono

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - The movie you're hoping to see every time you go in the cinema" - Jeremy

 

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Wednesday
May142014

Lupita Lives To Fight Another Day

JA from MNPP here. If you don't count doing voice-acting the wolf-mother in the upcoming Jungle Book CG-stravaganza, we're blasphemously still waiting for Lupita Nyong'o to find her follow-up to her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave. But now we've got a whisper - she might be taking a role in Southpaw, the upcoming "Jake Gyllenhaal is a boxer (and then JA blacks out thinking about Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer and misses the rest of what the movie's about)" movie written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and directed by Antoine "Training Day" Fuqua.

She'd be playing a social worker keeping track of Jake's young daughter. Dunno how substantive the role is - are we talking Mariah Carey in Precious or Brie Larson in Short Term 12? Whatever the case let's once again say a humble yet firm prayer to the Hollywood Gods that they do right by Lupita. We're watching you!

Also in talks to join the film are Forest Whitaker as Jake's coach and Rachel McAdams as Jake's lady. And in case you missed the pictures of Jake getting into prime boxing shape for the movie click on over here - they're worth your time and effort, I guarantee it.

Wednesday
May142014

Gridlink

Big Screen
Comics Alliance reviews the new mutant twinkies inspired by X-Men Days of Future Past. No, really
Self Styled Siren Farran's first novel "The Missing Reel" is coming out this year. If you've ever read her site you know this is a big deal since she's a wonderful writer. She promises lots of film references in this romantic comedy set in the 1980s at a NYC revival house. 
The Dissolve Ridley Scott might direct The Martian starring Matt Damon. Mars movies always flop but Hollywood is eternally optimistic 

Why So Sad, Batman makes the only smart use of the first photo of Ben Affleck as Batman 
Out director Bryan Singer profiled, he declines to comment on the legal battles involving sexual assault claims but there's quite a lot of commenting on perceptions of his sexuality
AV Club Wolverine Remixed. 'Snikt' with a dance beat 
The Film Stage See a short film from Godzilla director Gareth Edwards 
Cinema Blend first look at Tom Hanks in another novel adaptation. This one is A Hologram for the King from Tom Tykwer 
Film School Rejects I was going to do a "posterized" on Godzilla but they beat me to it 

Small Screen
Variety love love love these motion posters for Orange is the New Black
My New Plaid Pants 'tell me how to feel about...' the latest development in the Greta Gerwig sitcom story
Vulture ABC Upfronts. Viola Davis's new show has a pretty awesome teaser but I'm still not happy the movie star thing didn't happen. *sniffle* 
Vulture NBC Upfronts. Nothing looks interesting to me here and Jesus that Katharine Heigl show looks derivative - like someone created it with a computer program that randomly mixed up elements of Homeland and Scandal scripts.
Vulture Fox Upfronts.  I'm sorry but this Gotham show looks so dumb. We just don't need this much Batman in the world. Also: Last Man on Earth. Intriguing ballsy teaser but how do you sustain that?


RIP
Reuters brilliant artist H.R. Giger, who gave us Ripley's acid-blooded enemies in the Aliens franchise, has passed away.
The Guardian tragic news. Documentarian Malik Benjelloul has apparently taken his own life, less than two years after winning an Oscar for Searching For Sugar Man (2012) 

Off Screen
Because sometimes you need to take a breather and read about regular life...
The New Yorker "The Woman Who Coined The Term White Privilege." Fascinating interview.
Outsports comments from Michael Sam's NFL-draft  ESPN kiss attached to photos of NFL players on camera with their lady friends. There have been so many fascinating and funny and ridiculous articles and TV talk meltdowns about this. All from a quick closed-lip kiss with a hug. Haha. Which is so... nothing. Standard business when someone hears great news. It never ceases to amaze me how many people can't see double standards from the fog of their hysteria. It is interesting, though, isn't it that very few people seem upset that it's a bi-racial relationship we're looking at? You'd think while people were trotting out their homophobia they'd toss in a little racism, too. Progress!
Time "30 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Horrible"  I know better but I still make some of these mistakes. (sigh)
The New Yorker Lynda Barry, my all time favorite cartoonist, sells all her art in the show "Everything: Part One." 

Whither Cannes Reporting?
As previously noted I've been super ill. There was a moment an hour ago where I felt vaguely human again so tomorrow I will hopefully be back to the mad blogger routine of frequent posting. Until then please enjoy this appropos sand carving on the beach in the south of France...

Wednesday
May142014

A Year with Kate: Dragon Seed (1944)

Episode 20 of 52 of Anne Marie's chronological look at Katharine Hepburn's career.

In which Katharine Hepburn dons yellow face for the war effort.

Did you celebrate Kate’s birthday on Monday? Early in my Hepburn idolatry, I used to bemoan the fact that I missed sharing her birthday by just two days. This year, however, I was excited. “My birthday is on a Wednesday this year,” I thought gleefully to myself. “I can celebrate both our birthdays with A Year With Kate!” Turns out the joke was on us. Happy Birthday, Kate and Anne Marie. Let’s talk about racism.

When you are a fan of the Studio System Era, you learn to live with certain uncomfortable truths about Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age. Films were overtly racist, sexist, and homophobic in ways that thankfully would never be tolerated now. As a modern viewer, how do you make peace with it? The answer, at least for me, has been to acknowledge (though not forgive) the various forms of bigotry that run rampant through these films. However, my attempt at benevolent righteousness stalls when confronted with Katharine Hepburn in all her yellowface shame and glory in Dragon Seed. This is a movie that is not only overtly racist with its cast of white actors in “Oriental” makeup, but--more dangerously--subtly racist in its attitudes towards both the evil Japanese soldiers and the good Chinese farmers. Dragon Seed is proof that good intentions do not make up for terrible bigotry. 

[More after the jump if you dare...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May132014

Visual Index ~ Blow-Up's Best Shots

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic is Michelangelo Antonio's new wave classic Blow-Up (1966) and we're dedicating it to Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave, the first biography written about her which is released this week from Pegasus Press. I read an advanced copy on my cruise last month. The author is Dan Callahan, who I know here in New York City and who is a tried and true Actressexual™ (and loved that word the moment Nick and I coined it). He's previously written a book on Barbara Stanwyck so you know he has good taste. Because he values actresses, the biography is more concerned with her gift onscreen and stage than her scandal-laden politics, though those details are there, too. (Dan also picked his favorite shot from the movie for our little weekly viewing party.)

Imagine my surprise when Vanessa Redgrave was barely in the movie! I had remembered the film quite differently but this movie is a slippery one, as you can tell from the write-ups. We had more dissenters than we usually get when we pull films directly from the canon.

Blow-Up's 7 Best Shots?
as determined by the brave cinephiles playing the Hit Me With Your Best Shot game
[Click on the images for the corresponding articles]

As critical an indictment of the camera eye as anyone who made his living on the backside of a camera could possible make." 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

The photographer as minotaur in his own labyrinth...
- The Film Experience 


More than just a simple glamour shot..."
-The Film's The Thing 


 

We're just as paranoid as Thomas is...

- The Entertainment Junkie

 

 Redgrave makes you ask all of these questions and far more."
- Dan Callahan author of "Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave" 

Creating his own story using still frames..."
- Intifada


The guy can’t decide what he should be doing, and I think that’s my problem with the movie..."
-Coco Hits NY

I took my cues from Antonioni and his lead and went for something that captivated me simply for the mood it conveys..."
- Film Actually 

 

NEXT ON HIT ME
Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000). This film was part of our first season of Best Shot so this one, like Mean Girls last month, is a reprise. But if you weren't with us in 2010, now's the time to join the cause before the Mutants Strike Back in X-Men Days of Future Past which opens on the 23rd.

Tuesday
May132014

Open Thread. Sick Day

I regret to inform that though I have about four or five articles halfway finished I came down with some nasty summer cold or some such and am having a helluva time finishing anything, drifting in and out of coherency and am going back to bed. Don't catch the summer cold. Despite what you might have heard, it is no fun.

While we await new posts, including tonight's "Best Shot" party for Blow-Up, discuss amongst yourselves.

What's on your cinematic mind?  And did you spend your last sick day watching movies?

Tuesday
May132014

Frames Within Frames in Labyrinthine "Blow-Up" 

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic is in honor of the release of the book Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave.  Imagine my surprise, given that dedication, when I watched Blow-Up for the first time since I was maybe 17 or 18 and realized that Vanessa is barely in it! Oops. Her presence looms large and plays tricks with the memory. Is it because we are constantly staring at her photograph and she takes on mythic dimension. Or is it because the actress herself is adept at playing not quite a flesh and blood woman but a projection, a prism of Mysterious Woman? 

But, then, Vanessa aside. What isn't tricky about this enigmatic classic? The plot, as skeletal as it is, centers on a womanizing fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who sneakily follows a statuesque beauty (Redgrave) and her lover on their stroll through the park. He snaps away. Later he becomes convinced that while he was shooting them an actual shooting took place and he's inadvertently caught a murder in progress on the negatives. But has he? I love this noncommital bit of dialogue between the photographer and his friend late in the movie...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May132014

Curio: Earth Girls Are Easy

Alexa here with some curios for your Tuesday. As Nathaniel mentioned, Earth Girls Are Easy just turned 25. A relic of Julie Brown's heyday, it is an afternoon-watch favorite of mine, belonging to a group of late-80s quirky screwball comedies that also make for good afternoon viewing, like the superior Making Mr. Right and the far superior Married to the Mob

Here are some curios in honor of this vintage curiosity.

Click to read more ...