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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Box Office: Little Willie Style

Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Will Smith quit headlining movies very abruptly 5 years ago. He stuck a toe back in box office waters last year for another Men in Black but the one-time king of summer movie blockbusters couldn't even beat a Jesse Eisenberg ensemble picture or a 6th edition of a long-in-the-tooth franchise with no bankable stars outside of that franchise? That's some sort of wake-up call but to whom and for what? Will? The Smith Family Players? M Night?

For his next trick, he'll make Will Smith giant-sized bankability disappear

01 FAST & FURIOUS 6 $34.5 (cum. $170.3)
02 NOW YOU SEE ME  $28.5 *NEW* 
03 AFTER EARTH  $27 *NEW* M Night Shyamalan's Fall
04 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS  $16.4 (cum. $181.1) The Dumbing Down of Star Trek
05 EPIC $16.4 (cum. $65.1)
06 THE HANGOVER PART III $15.9 (cum. $88)
07 IRON MAN THREE $8 (cum. $384.7) Reviewed & Podcasted
08 THE GREAT GATSBY $6.2 (cum. $128.2) Reviewed & Dreamt About
09 MUD  $1.2 (cum. $16.8)
10 THE CROODS $.6 (cum. $180.5)

In limited release Frances Ha nearly cracked the top ten in its third week and will pass Margot at the Wedding's gross quickly. The real test will be if it can break through to Squid and the Whale levels without the aid of awards buzz since we're not in the season.  Meanwhile, Before Midnight, which in a perfect world would be a $100 million blockbuster, wasn't very aggressive in expansion in its second week. I wonder what the future will hold for it?

What did you see this weekend?
I binged (hence the lack of posting) with two oldies having big anniversaries Adventures in Robin Hood and Cleopatra - good christ but that movie is a slog to watch in one sitting! - and three 2013 offerings (The East, Mud, and What Maisie Knew) so I should write something about something soon, shouldn't I?


Say What? Prisoners

you added caption or dialogue to this, the first official image, from Prisoners with Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman [via] who happen to be two of our favorite actors here at TFE.

Winning entry after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Ask Nathaniel...

Your chance to ask me questions and I pick two handfuls to answer in next week's Q&A column. So have at it (but bear in mind questions that would require a huge top ten article or entire lengthy essays of their own don't tend to get answered in this kind of format)


Will Smith Doesn't Know His Oscar History

Have you read this incredibly obnoxious interview with Big Willie & Son on working together and the family business "patterns, boom!" There are a lot of ridiculous pull quotes but this one, on the Oscars is naturally my favorite. To mock.

Do you think there is a single theory to everything?
 There’s definitely a theory to everything.
 When you find things that are tried and true for millennia, you can bet that it’s going to happen tomorrow.
 The sun coming up?
 The sun coming up, but even a little more. Like for Best Actor Oscars. Almost 90 percent of the time, it’s mental illness and historical figures, right? So, you can be pretty certain of that if you want to win—as a man; it’s very different for women. The patterns are all over the place, but for whatever reason, it’s really difficult to find the patterns in Best Actress.

It's not 90 percent unless you include physical disabilities in there!!! Will Smith is neither Oscar buff nor actressexual apparently, since he's obviously dreamt of winning Best Actor (but not hard enough to push himself out of his comfort zone - turning down Quentin Tarantino is a sign that you're getting in your own way in this regard) and never given much thought to its distaff counterpart. Which is, if you think of it, totally a no brainer given his filmography. Women in his movies are merely decorative and usually extraneous and apparently, from what I've heard of After Earth, that isn't changing any time soon.

So we should help him with the Best Actress patterns in the comments. I'll start...

• Haven't you ever heard of "de-glamming", Will? That's been a popular winning strategy since Grace Kelly beat Judy Garland in 1954.

• And speaking of...
Doesn't the Fresh Prince know anything about The Princess Factor? Hepburn over Kerr, Kelly over Garland, Matlin over Turner, Foster over Close, Paltrow over Everyone, Roberts over Burstyn, Cotillard over Christie, Portman over Bening, Lawrence over Riva -- the popular 20something to early30s fresh star beauties are always beating their legendary older rivals.

• Historical figures (nowadays this has morphed into "biopic mimicry") aren't just a winning strategy in Best Actor! 


May. It's a Wrap.

Maybe we ended with a whimper but May was a pretty great month here at TFE with lots of bangs for your buck... not that you are spending bucks (though we always welcome subscriptions -- see sidebar -- to keep us afloat). I know because I had a way more difficult time selecting entries for this "Best of the Month" post than usual. And that's not even including regular series like Monologues, Tuesday Top Ten, or the seasonal May Flowers postings (thank you especially on two of those three to new TFE contributors Andrew & Andrew (no relation: that's Andrew Kendall and Abstew in the bylines). And then of course we also found time to do the first Oscar predictions for the upcoming race - Always fun to argue about!

So herewith ten highlights from the month...

Those Who Have Gone "Before" five reasons why the Before trilogy is masterful
Q&A discussion of disappointing actresses and mixed-up hunks 
Team Experience: Oscar's Greatest Losers in which we investigated the greatest Best Actress nominated performances that didn't win Oscars 
Summertime & The Talented Mr Ripley -- two straight weeks in Italy -- marked the peak of popularity for 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' this season. Are you trying to tell us something about your next vacation? 
Cannes Closing Ceremony thoughts on the orgasmic finale to the fest
RIP Smash the musical series we rooted for but were crushed by 

Q&A discussion of disappointing actresses and mixed-up hunks 
I Dreamed of Gatsby Baz Luhrmann sucks Moulin Rouge! dry
The Only Post You Will Ever Need on the August: Osage County Teaser Poster - done
The "Punk" Met Gala with fashion-joke girl genius, Courtney Enlow Hall
Burning Questions what's the greatest quality divide is between Movie and Soundtrack?

P.S. And just in case you haven't been voting in the spontaneous silliness of our polls, please humor me. It gives me lolz to see your votes and comments. And - please to note - that on the last serious poll "which book becoming a movie should I read?" Twelve Years a Slave and Labor Day triumphed so we'll be reading those and discussing sometime soon. Care to join us?

P.P.S. Coming in June. I've actually no idea though the blog might be dark for a week (more details to come). Any suggestions?


Belated Birthday Flowers: Carey, Annette, Helena

Belated Birthday May Flowers ~  Andrew here.

It’s the end of May and with the end of the month comes the end of May Flowers (*tear*). This past week saw three significant birthdays pass by for The Film Experience – Helena Bonham Carter (May 26), Carey Mulligan (May 28) and Annette Bening (May 29). Although we didn’t carve out proper time at TFE to fête each of them  – a combined celebration of May Flowers will surely suffice. True, they’re all at different stages in their career but if there’s one thing that we at The Film Experience know it’s that actresses are the flowers in the garden of cinema and we just couldn’t survive if they stopped prospering. So, on with the celebration. 

First up, Carey Mulligan...

Click to read more ...


Cast This: Young Hillary & Young Elton

There's a lot of talk going around about the casting of a young Hilary Rodham Clinton in a bio with big star names like Reese, Jessica and Scarlett floating around though all seem too sexy if you ask me -- though Reese's steel could be interesting. Pajiba has one off-the-path brilliant suggestion in Eden Sher.

Another hot casting topic: the Elton John biopic Rocket Man which is currently courting though not married to Tom Hardy. He has shown a willingness to uglify for roles so his masculine beauty might not be a problem but his lips, his defining feature, are in every conceivable way not a match. Still, he's a fine actor so they could make it work outside of the closeups of the singing. Elton John originally wanted Justin Timberlake - who took over in a great music video some years back -- to do the film. But I have to ask: was Philip Seymour Hoffman not available or was he deemed too old for the role?

And if the biopic is decades spanning one, who is going to play David Furnish. And will this eventually be retitled Behind the Candelabra Pt 2? And why is no one talking about the casting of the other roles? At least in Elton John's case that's just as (potentially) interesting.

Who would you in cast any these roles?

Young Hilary?
Young Bill Clinton?

Young Elton?
Bernie Taupin -Elton John's other (musical) half
Renate Blauel -Elton's wife in the 80s
Old Elton?
David Furnish?

<--- Oh lookylol, David Furnish has a picture of himself with Hilary on his facebook! Keeping things on topic we are.