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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, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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DAY FOR NIGHT -another great movie about movies

I'm not sure if I like it more than 8 1/2 or Singing in the Rain, but when the majestic trumpet music plays, it reminds me of why I love cinema in the first place. The actors are terrific in this film as well. However, nothing will top Topsy-Turvy for me about the mystery,repetition, and heartbreak of the artistic process.❞ -Lars

 

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Monday
Jul162012

Stripper of the Day: "Ricky The Rocket"

While "Magic Mike" is in theaters we're looking back at memorable movie strippers

It's hard to know what possessed Oscar winning director John Avildsen to make the very trashy A Night in Heaven (1983), and less than a decade after his Rocky triumph at that. But make it he did. This one time paycable regular is about a schoolmarm community college professor named Faye (Lesley Ann Warren) who falls for a student named Rick (Christopher Atkins) once she sees, uh, more of him at her local bar's Ladie's Night. It takes place in Florida and considering that this is the only major theatrical motion picture about a male stripper before Magic Mike which also takes place there, does this mean that Florida is the capital of pelvic thrusts and loincloths... or just ceaselessly horny?

By day Rick's cocky glibness irritates Faye in speech class where she flunks him. But by night she discovers that he's "Ricky The Rocket", a star attraction. Ricky The Rocket immediately recognizes her during his space-age routine and in the film's cleverest visual beat, he's temporarily backlit by a halo as he moves toward her. 


His body may be heavenly but Rickie is no angel.  And he's definitely not safe for (Faye's) work...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul162012

Burning Questions: The Best of Bonus Features

Hey everybody. Michael C here to rifle through your video collections like a guy at a garage sale.

All of us probably have enough material residing in the bonus features of our DVD collections to fill a respectable film studies course for a semester or two.

The first time I was introduced to a bonus feature was a double VHS box set of Scream with a second cassette featuring a Wes Craven commentary. Since then, like most cinephiles, I’ve spent countless hours wading through commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and other supplemental material, much of it interesting, some of it entertaining, a good chunk of it filler.

Since so many of us have amassed movies collections over the years to rival the Library of Congress, it stands to reasons there should be some gems buried in there. So it is with genuine curiosity that I put this question to the floor: Which Bluray/DVD extra features do you treasure for their own sake, apart from the films to which they are attached?


The bonus feature I most often return to is Magnolia Diary: the documentary chronicling the creation of PT Anderson’s ’99 opus of dysfunctional parents, children and frogs.

Behind the scenes cinematic chronicles are a sub-genre of documentaries that have produced masterpieces such as Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse and Burden of Dreams. Magnolia Diary doesn’t quite belong in that distinguished company but I would easily rank it the equal of Lost in La Mancha, the doc recording the painful death of Terry Gilliam’s long-in-the-works Don Quixote movie.

What sets it apart from the thousands of other making of docs is the stunning amount of access, going so far as to wander through the orchestra during the recording of the score. There are numerous moments where we eavesdrop on the most sensitive moments in the process, as when Anderson runs lines with Melinda Dillon and Philip Baker Hall for their dramatic confrontation.

It plays like a documentary companion to Making Movies, Sidney Lumet’s essential book on the filmmaking process. It's packed with goodies like Julianne Moore explaining how she pitched her performance to the operatic tone of the script, or the director and Philip Seymour Hoffman having a friendly argument about just how much actorly "business" he adds to the simplest of actions. There is much ado about transforming the climactic plague of frogs from a screenwriter's flight of fancy to a filmable reality.

So that is my favorite bonus feature. What’s yours? Is there a commentary you return to often? Let's hear about it in the comments.

You can follow Michael C. on Twitter at @SeriousFilm or read his blog Serious Film.

Monday
Jul162012

Truth in Advertising

My friend sent me this photo of a marquee on the East Side yesterday.

Ha! I guess that means he read my review

 

Sunday
Jul152012

Review: "Farewell My Queen"

An abridged version of this review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad 

There are numerous reasons why the Marie Antoinette story has fascinated artists and storytellers for centuries now. From the Court's commitment to theatrical flamboyance with a blind eye to the consequent suffering of the masses (modern pop culture echos were seen as recently as The Hunger Games this spring), to the complexity of the Queen's intimate lonely gilded cage tragedy played against the backdrop of a vast messy violent history. One could argue that the now mythic story is super relevant all over again in this era of rampant socioeconomic injustice and the angry gap between the 1 and 99%. 

Benoît Jacquot clues you in early that he means to tell the famous story differently in the just released French import  Farewell My Queen. For one, it's told "backstage" through the stressful lives of the servants. Consider it the French Revolution: Downton Abbey Edition... without Maggie Smith or the jokes.

The German actress Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) plays the troubled big-spending transplanted queen, Léa Seydoux (Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol), the film's actual lead, is her bosomy devoted servant Madame Laborde, and Virginia Ledoyen (8 Women) is the Queen's Object of Affection, the Duchess de Polignac. The French people were so unhappy with this rumored affair that the ostensibly powerless Duchess was fairly high on the list of the 286 heads demanded for the guillotine! [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul152012

Celeste Holm (1917-2012)

The oldest living Best Supporting Actress winner has now, unfortunately, left us. And to think we were just talking about the divinely appealing Celeste Holm. Holm died earlier today at 95 years of age in her Manhattan home with her husband at her side. She'd recently been hospitalized for dehydration and suffered a heart attack.

Celeste celebrating her Oscar at an anniversary screening in '12 and on Oscar nite in '48

Today's she's best remembered for her work in All About Eve (1950) and Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but her successful career also included Broadway stardom (she was the original Ado Annie in Oklahoma!) and her own television series "Honestly Celeste". She will most definitely be missed. 

In the last completed episode of Best Pictures from the Outside In (a series y'all bring up with regularity), we talked about Gentlemen's Agreement in which I found Holm fully deserving of her Oscar, writing:

In all seriousness Celeste Holm is tremendously good in this movie as a sassy career gal with a big but slightly lonely social life. At first I was worried it was one of those cases where you latch on to and overvalue a charismatic performance because it saves you from its dull surroundings (too many examples to name) but by the movie's end I was convinced that I would have found her sensational even if she hadn't been surrounded by so much dead air; the portrait was so vivid I could project a whole sequel with her character as the star.

Mike remarked that he wanted to meet her to thank her for being the best thing in so many movies.

Celeste and her husband at her 90th birthday party in 2007Celeste had been recently troubled by bitter family divisions and legal complications involving her depleted fortune, her much younger husband (from her fifth marriage in 2004) and her two sons. Our condolescences go out to all of them -- we hope everyone resolved their differences towards the end and hangs on to the good memories.

Program yourself a mini-Celeste fest in her honor soon. There are wonderful and/or storied films to choose from: All About Eve, Come to the Stable, Gentleman's Agreement, High Society, The Tender Trap, and the television musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella among them.