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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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William Holden in Picnic

"I find Holden has a more earthy sex appeal in his early roles, you could kick your shoes off and put them on his lap and he wouldn't flinch." - Mark

"My mother's favorite actor. His dance with Kim Novak is an unforgettable movie moment." -Jaragon

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Wednesday
Aug032016

New to DVD: April and the Extraordinary World

by Tim Brayton

As even the quickest look at a box office report shows, 2016 has been a great year for the popularity of animated films. But outside of the heavyweight American studio tentpoles, there have been genuine treasures that have still managed to slip through the cracks. Thus it's my pleasure to introduce to you the crackling Franco-Canadian-Belgian sci-fi fantasy April and the Extraordinary World, new to DVD this week, thanks to the endlessly wonderful folks at distributor GKIDS.

The film takes place in an alternate world where Emperor Napoleon III of France died in a lab explosion in 1870, just before our history had him falling from grace in the eyes of the French legislature; here, his son ascends as Napoleon IV and ushers in a bold new era of European diplomacy that manages to prevent both of the 20th Century's World Wars, but also results in an era of scientific stultification, meaning that by 1931, when the film proper begins, the world is still in an age of steam.

Here we meet young April, whose parents are working on a serum to prolong life...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug032016

Frances McDormand: from Blood Simple (1984) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

1984 is our year of the month for August. Here's Matthew Eng to talk about a treasured actor that made her on camera debut back then...

For the better half of her nearly four-decade film career, Meryl Streep has managed to compel generations of moviegoers to accept a self-styled character actress as not only an acting heroine for the ages but also a bona fide movie star with mass-market appeal and unimpeachable box office credentials. Like no other actress since Bette Davis, Streep has perfected a once-unfeasible practice of playing the sort of idiosyncratic women she has always drifted towards, but within the safe confines of midrange, studio-supported moviemaking that seems to satisfy audience expectations as well as her own.

Sometimes Streep’s projects—and, it must be said, Streep herself—can disappoint. For every quietly graceful gem (like her underrated Hope Springs performance) or skillfully uninhibited turn (as in the best passages of It’s Complicated), there are another two or three within Streep’s latter-day canon that could stand some sharper finesse or at least more dexterous directorial guidance. Whenever I’m let down to by Streep, I can’t help but wonder what one of her less-viable peers might do with the opportunities that are scarce for any actress born before the Kennedy administration and which Streep barely has to put up a fight for.

The Beginning: Blood Simple (1984); The Most Recent Triumph: Olive Kitteridge (2014)

For as long as I can remember, Frances McDormand has served as the purest and most intimidating embodiment of what a character actor should be. “That woman has no vanity,” my mom remarked with clear admiration after watching her in Lisa Cholodenko’s Olive Kitteridge, where McDormand delivers one of the decade’s most masterful star turns, a perfectly prickly meeting of actor and role that might have been a surefire Oscar winner had the project aimed for a bigger screen...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug032016

Queen Viola. And Other Links

Bless Viola Davis forever
A TMZ reporter asks her if Suicide Squad will net her another Oscar nod. Her face at this question! Her quote while laughing:

No. But that's okay. I'll stick with it. 

We'll take it she means acting and not critically lambasted supervillain movies. P.S. Have you heard about the hilarious petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes because of  Suicide Squad's abyssmal approval percentage (worse than Batman v Superman's score!). I guess we need a PSA on what "aggregate" means and also a PSA on how to find a good therapist in your neighborhood. In more Suicide Squad news, THR has a story about its rushed production and competing edits. Worth a read if you're curious (but just ignore that confusingly written subheader). 

Showbiz
Vulture Mark Harris on the indie boom for actresses over 60: Streep, Smith, Danner, Field, Mirren and hopefully more to come...
Times Talk Meryl Streep will be doing one on August 11th so watch the live webcast
Awards Daily Cheryl Boone Isaacs reelected as Academy president
Awards Daily TV on how a new rule may hurt shows with multiple nominees in various Emmy categories
TFE ICYMI we looked at David Harbour's best work --> He was glad to see stage work on it

Off Cinema
The Washington Post The once prolific Stephen Sondheim, who hasn't written a musical since 1999, reportedly has a new one nearing the finish line!!! 
Playbill Cheyenne Jackson lists his favorite theatergoing experiences - fun group
Social Justice For All "How very dary you Hillary" a change of heart from a former Bernie man
Esquire "A few words about progress. And grace. And American cool." Gorgeous piece on Obama's place in history and his Democratic Convention piece.

P.S.
Look at this perfect instagram from the Academy! 

 

#Oscars #movies #greatmovies #oscarweekend

A photo posted by The Academy (@theacademy) on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:00am PDT

 

Wednesday
Aug032016

Beautiful Dolores, Princess Anne, Merylish Mamie, and Olympic Jesse

on this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Dolores Del Río auditioning for Catwoman. No wait that's not right. Dolores Del Rio in Journey Into Fear (1943)1885 Carlo Montuori, famed cinematographer of Italian neorealism is born. He went on to lens the essential Bicycle Thief (1948)
1904 Dolores del Río, one of the first three Mexican actors to become movie stars in Hollywood (the others being her cousin Ramon Novarro and Lupe Vélez - they all started in silent films and moved into talkies), after which she used her fame and beauty as part of Mexican cinema's Golden Age with the occasional Hollywood film thrown in. Credits include: Bird of Paradise (1932), Flying Down To Rio (1933), Journey Into Fear (1943), Cheyenne Autumn (1964) and multiple Best Actress winning films in Mexico:  Las Abandonadas (1944), El Niño y la Niebla (1953), and Doña Perfecta (1951).
1906 Alexandre Trauner, Oscar winning production designer. His credits include The Nun's Story (1959), The Apartment (1960, Oscar win) and The Man Who Would Be King (1975, Oscar nomination), Subway (1985), and 'Round Midnight (1986) 
1923 Jean Hagen. I "caaaaiiiiinnnnt stan' it" that she didn't win the Oscar for Singin in the Rain (1952)
1926 Fifties beefcake Gordon Scott is born in Oregon. Later stars in five Tarzan movies (including one of the best of the franchise, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure) and sword and sandal flicks

More after the jump including The Princess Diaries, Unforgiven, Mamie Gummer's debut, and the Summer Olympics...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug032016

Judy by the Numbers: "The Faraway Part of Town"

After the critical and financial disappointment of A Star Is Born (1954), Judy took another hiatus from moviemaking. While she continued an active concert touring schedule, and began popping up on television on occasion, exhaustion, disappointment and illness kept her from another film. It took an old friend to coax her back into movies, in the weirdest cameo of her career.

The Movie: Pepe (Columbia, 1960)
The Songwriters: Dory Previn (lyrics), Andre Previn (music)
The Cast: Cantinflas, Shirley Jones, Dan Dailey, directed by George Sidney

(A cleaner version with proper aspect ratios can be found here.)

The Story: Cantinflas was already a beloved megastar of Mexican cinema by the time he made a splash in Around the World in 80 Days. Hoping to capitalize on a new opportunity, Columbia cast him in Pepe, and added cameos by 35 Hollywood stars just in case the Mexican comedian didn't pan out.

Judy was one of the 35 cameos. Originally coaxed on board by her former director, George Sidney, Judy was just recovering from hepatitus when the movie began shooting. Columbia reduced her cameo to a singing one, either for health reasons or because they were afraid she'd gained too much weight. At any rate, this may have inadvertently saved Judy - the movie bombed, but she ended up with an Academy Award nominated hit. 

Regardless of the rest of the film's legacy or reception, there is something truly trippy in the best way about watching a Mexican comedian dance with the current Hollywood "it" soprano (and future Mrs. Partridge) to a Judy Garland number. It sums up the strange transition period that was early '60s Hollywood better than any other clip I can think of. It worked in Judy's favor, too. The next year, Judy Garland was awarded a Golden Globe for lifetime contribution to American film. However, her contributions weren't over yet. She was about to give one of the most devastating performances of her career.