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Oscar History

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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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

"A miracle of a performance." -Mike

"Horrible, unwatchable performance." -Patryk

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True Blood: Return to Oz

Here's Adam, who is still on the death march to True Blood's final episode.

This weekend's episode of True Blood took place almost entirely at Sookie's house as assorted Bon Tempser forced a celebration of life on the grieving fairy. Eventually Sam Merlotte’s girlfriend/fiancé/baby mama (I’m sure she was given a name at some point during the show, but I can’t/will never for the life of me remember it) stands up and causes a scene. She's all judgmental righteous and 'how can we just have a party while surrounded by all this death?' (because heaven forbid these characters have a chance to let loose and not shudder and scream every time they walk into a room, right?). She even manages to scream out, what are we all doing here?!

What am I even doing on this show?

Bitch, that’s what we’ve been asking of you since you suddenly appeared all willy-nilly last season as a lead character. Where was Letti Mae when her trusty butcher knife could’ve actually been useful?

Meanwhile, outside the party... Lets give a round of golf claps for Lafayette penetrating James, people! [Decidedly NSFW extremely impolite musings on this week's episode after the jump...]

Click to read more ...


Curio: James Garner, Jim Rockford, and an altered matchbox car

Alexa here, back from vacation with an atypical Curio. I was very saddened at the news of James Garner's passing. While I am a fan of many of his films (The Americanization of Emily ranks especially high), he is primarily remembered from television, and, for me especially, as Jim Rockford. His beleaguered, Marlowe-esque hero was a touchstone of my childhood.

In fact, I am something of a Rockford Files obsessive: I even altered a toy Firebird to more closely resemble the one made famous from many a car chase. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Beauty Vs Beast: The Devil & Chris MacNeil

JA from MNPP here - what with The Film Experience turning its eyes towards the year that was 1973 this month I kind of feel it's my duty as the horror-genre drum-beater in residence to pick up the baton (ahh, delicious scrambled metaphors) and race us over to the brownstones of Georgetown for a hot minute, where a sweet little girl and her mother are busy being dragged through all nine circles of Hell and back for this week's Exorcist-flavored edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast."

Quite a literal round this time: an emphatically most horrible Beast, while our Beauty... well, Ellen Burstyn's Chris MacNeil is maybe even a smidge too amazing as our Beauty? I know most of the film's power comes from the corruption of the sweet relationship she has with her daughter but it always feels a wee bit to me like it strains credibility how much time this seemingly A-list actress makes for just hanging out with her kid. Anybody else? Maybe I've seen Mommie Dearest too many times. But I've always felt like there's the spectre of unaddressed tension in the scene where Regan interrupts her mother's fancy-people dinner-party with that humiliating bladder-release - Regan banished to bed, getting her revenge at a distracted mother...

That said the time's come to prove you Actressexual bonafides. Great Actress in Peril!


You have one week to vote, vote, vote as if the soul of a little girl depends upon it, and convince us in the comments why we should choose light over darkness or vice versa. The power of poll compels you!

PREVIOUSLY Last week we whipped out our business cards and compared the watermarks of two Type-A Wall Street a-holes - as I figured we were all more than willing (well 3/4s of us were anyway) to set aside our scruples for a mass-murderer as long as he looks like Christian Bale looked like in American Psycho. I'm not judging! I cleaned out my cookies so I could vote for Patrick Bateman twice. I always have a moment of hesitance when Cara Seymour gets in that limo the second time, fearing I might do the same... Said David:

"Ashamed to say this, but the image of Patrick Bateman flexing his biceps, staring at himself in the mirror while screwing prostitutes left such an indelible image frozen in my brain for years. So yes Patrick Bateman, a thousand times yes."



Guardian Tim Robey has a lovely tribute to TV & film star James Garner (RIP) who I'll always remember best for Murphy's Romance and Victor/Victoria in the 1980s
Pajiba I'm more of a cat person but this gallery of big celebrities with tiny dogs is adorable
Criterion Collection on the painstaking restoration of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Thompson on Hollywood has an in depth look at the VOD decisions involving Snowpiercer from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein (so yes it's very one-sided... but interesting nonetheless)

The Dissolve 'when images match ideas' on Snowpiercer and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 
Pajiba has the talk with Marvel about the Edgar Wright Divorce  
Towleroad Andrew Rannells starts soon as Hedwig. (I'm excited. The role is big enough for multiple interpretations)
Theater Mania Michelle Williams wants to keep singing at the Kit Kat Club longer than expected. She's staying with Cabaret all the way through November 9th now (I guess she doesn't have to start promoting Suite Française for awhile still)
Details interviews Wentworth Miller, former Prison Break hunk and Stoker writer, on his career after coming out

And, finally, are you excited for Festival Season yet?

I'm trying to remain calm as I make plans but NYFF isn't making staying calm any easier what with their Opening Night Film (Gone Girl's world premiere) Centerpiece (Inherent Vice) and Closing Night (Birdman which is scheduled for Venice as well). Tomorrow TIFF holds their opening news conference and we'll hear more about their plans as well. Here's some speculation from a Toronto news site which suggests that Reese Witherspoon is going to be a major presence and you can probably safely assume that Maps to the Stars will also be there given TIFF's love of Cronenberg.


Burning Questions: Are Marvel films Interchangeable?

Amir here and I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore. There is no Marvel movie in theatres at the moment but the world is anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy very soon, as has been the case every few months for the past several years. Like Michael Bay films, discussed in the box office column, Marvel films are entities I have vowed not to ever see again, especially after news came out that Edgar Wright was taken off Ant-Man. I was marginally interested in Guardians after seeing the kooky trailer, but who are we kidding? The off-kilter humor of the short preview is going to give way to explosions and “things crashing into other things” and the experience will be like every single other Marvel film.

Which brings me to this frustrating news: Marvel has announced release dates for (hopefully all) their future films until the end of the decade, with the catch being the absence of... film titles? Yes, that’s correct. The studio has planned its visual assault all the way for the next five years, without even bothering with the names in the announcement this time.

Have they now realized that their output is completely interchangeable? I’m not exactly sure if I’d be less upset if these dates had titles attached to them, but what stings about the news is Marvel’s acute awareness that the audience will get excited about it and mark their calendars even without characters or stories to get excited about in the first place, like zombies feeding on chiseled heroes. The studio has become the brand, fully overshadowing the content of its films; and its sibling comics business moves like turning Thor into a woman do little to conceal the studio's lack of creative force. This announcement of release dates of unnamed product reeks of what's desperately rotten with today’s film culture: That a distinctly original, unique (and admittedly problematic) vision like Snowpiercer, fails to crack double digits at the box office, at a time when a studio with no regard for originality or qualitative progress can correctly expect people to rush to their wallets five years in advance.

Something is broken and it needs serious fixing, otherwise what we're offered on screen will continue to become less versatile and more depressing by the week. If you don't believe me, look no further than this weekend's wide release box office, where a meaningless sequel stayed at the top spot; a terrible sequel came second; an even more terrible sequel came third; and the most terrible of all sequels came fifth. I’m fucking angry about everything.


Help Wanted

Regular Contributor
TFE is looking for a new regular with a focus on current cinema / movie news. Must have your own voice but one that still fits with the general tone of the site (i.e. serious about cinema but never at the expense of having fun & vice versa). Interested parties should have three writing samples but the ability to be concise and right to the point in engaging bite-sized takes is best. We never cut and paste press releases here as so many sites do but sometimes that's at the expense of not covering news at all which is not an ideal solution. Are you an alchemist who can read a press release and transform it into something short and pithy that actually still gives us the news but with a point of view? 

International Correspondents
The last time I tried this I got a lot of interest from foreign readers who wanted to talk about American cinema. But that's not what we're looking for. We're looking for people abroad (with the same skill set as regular contributors: fun, concise, accessible) who are well versed in / frequently attend their own country's cinema for monthly concise peeks at film culture elsewhere. Especially in major film markets like Germany, China, Japan, Brazil, India, France, Spain, Russia, etcetera...

If You Are Jake Gyllenhaal, You're Hired




What did you see this weekend?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continued to sell well (and should easily surpass Rise's gross) but the only box office story of much interest this weekend is Boyhood's incredible success at only 33 locations.  Though IFC Films almost never campaigns for Oscar nominations in any meaningful way, there are some whisperings that the response to Boyhood may change that. We'll see.

Raher than a top ten chart let's look at wide and platforming.  

01 DAWN OF PLANET OF APES $36 (cum. $138.9) Review
02 THE PURGE: ANARCHY $28.3 *new*
03 PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE $18 *new* 
04 SEX TAPE $15 *new*
05 TRANSF4RMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION $10 (cum. $227.1)

01 BOYHOOD $1.1 (cum. $1.8) Review
02 WISH I WAS HERE $.4 *new*
03 OBVIOUS CHILD $.1 (cum. $2.6) Review
04 IDA $.1 (cum. $3.3) Capsule
05 BELLE $.1 (cum. $10.4) Capsule

In other news Chef, Jon Favreau's 'pulling in all his favors' all-star comedy crossed $25 million in its 11th week. The movie, a light sweet comedy about a chef whose career falls apart forcing him to reevaluate his choices, has been a true word of mouth hit in limited release. Almost by accident I saw it yesterday with a friend and her family who had decided they wanted to see a movie, any movie, at the last minute last night on our beach weekend. It was the perfect kind of casual entertainment for a group. Of course to enjoy its sweet father/son drama, it's shameless twitter-ad placements, and the enjoyable camaraderie of the stars, I had to turn off my inward groaning that not only did portly Jon Favreau have Scarlett Johansson as a love interest but his other love interest was Sofia Vergara - realism unbounded! (And worse still neither of them existed as people but to prop up his character arc towards becoming a better man.) But I guess when you write and direct and star and produce your own picture you can pretend that the world's most voluptous women would be totally into your mopey ass and exist only to meet your emotional needs when you crash.