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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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Sunday
Jul012012

Review: "Magic Mike"

An exhilarating all night double date is winding down on a bridge in Tampa, just before the sun rises. Mike (Channing Tatum) stands up on the railing, looks over his shoulder and dives gracefully backwards into the water to the mild delight of the anonymous girls. His new protégé "The Kid" (Alex Pettyfer), already eager to follow in his new buddy's footsteps (and body rolls), jumps in awkwardly after him.

Hey Mike, I think we should be best friends!" 

The Kid blurts the invitation out with both of them bobbing in the water. He's like a little boy who's just discovered a whole new playground. It's a perfectly crush-worthy unguarded moment -- the kind that makes you give yourself over completely to a movie. My heart is yours, movie. Treat me right. 

This gem of a scene is also, as it turns out, the exclamation point to a perfectly formed Act One, "June". The movie takes place over the course of one life-changing summer for Mike and The Kid: June, July, and August. You go to Magic Mike to see seven spectacularly formed male bodies but the movie turns out to be all sculpted, too: June is introductions, flirtations and promise, by July you're deep in love/lust and too hot for clothing, and in August... 

the cock rocking kings of Tampa

Well, you know how sticky August gets...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun302012

June. It's a Wrap

The halfway mark. Gulp. What do we have to show for it? Perhaps a renewed sense of purpose? We're crawling our way back after a very difficult May/early June. Here were ten highlights from the month that was.

Frock of Ages Joanna & I had a laugh -- make that several-- discussing recent premiere fashions
How Long Since You've Seen The Matrix? A look back at the beloved 1999 reality bender. "There is no spoon."
Seven Ways... that Waiting For the New James Bond Movie (Skyfall) is Exactly Like Waiting for the New Woody Allen Movie  (To Rome With Love)
True Blood Sinks / Teen Wolf Rises time to pass the (supernatural) torch 

On Screen Beauty and Jean Harlow who died young 
Oscar Prediction Updates it had to be done.
Isabelle Adjani and The Story of Adele H "Best Shot" returned with a rarely discussed but interesting historic Oscar bid. "Best Shot" needs fresh blood. Won't you join us soon?
Twins! We spent our time under Gemini discussing them touching on films like Minority Report, Star Wars, The Witches of Eastwick, Showgirls, Interview with the Vampire and more...

Most Discussed: Burning Question: What is your "stand alone" film?  
Michael wondered what movie you alone consider a masterpiece.
Most Eyeballs: Thoughts I Had While Staring at the Magic Mike poster  
Not all of them were lust-based, honest.

I meant to end June with a little "see? This blog is totally worth a dime a day" (see the sidebar subscription box) but I'll give you one more month to consider and hit you up in July when I've fully recovered from May. God, that was rough. What's coming in July? Magic Mike and Other Cinematic Strippers, Halfway Mark Madness, Farewell My Queen (2012), Batman and Spider-Man (you can't really avoid them), Picnic (1956), Pink Narcissus (1971), Beasts of the Southern Wild interviews, The Lost Boys (1987) anniversary, more webcomix (I so need to make them), and the first wave of a big Gene Kelly Centennial Retrospective. I hope you love him as much as I do because I need his wide smiled high leaping toe tapping joy in my life right now. 

Saturday
Jun302012

12 Word Reviews: "Brave", "Beasts of Southern Wild", "Moonrise Kingdom"

My 1000+ word review of Magic Mike will be up tomorrow but in the meantime, let's clear the cache with a few words, a dozen in point of fact, on movies I didn't review properly.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)
A six year old girl learns survival lessons from her father in a drowned world. But synopsis won't due its real poetry any justice. See it!
10WR: Overwhelming sense of loss tempered by vivid originality, guileless acting, flexible allegory.  A-
Oscar? I doubted it at an Oscar contender at first (defiantly weird and filled with first timers) but it has tremendous critical approval, and there's nothing else even remotely like it on the filmscape. It's very difficult to shake once you've experienced it. Could factor in across the board or, more likely, fight for a few key nods. Adapted Screenplay might be the safest bet (so far).

Brave (Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell)
A Scottish princess seeks to transform her fate but the magic she calls on has dangerous repercussions.
10WR: Refreshing steps outside Pixar comfort zones but oddly disjointed. Still... that hair! B
Oscar? A good bet in the Animated Feature category (Pixar has only missed that nomination once -- just last year with Cars 2) but anything beyond that and the music categories will be a tough sell.

What kind of bird are you?

Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
Troubled pen pals run away from home (and scout camp) in this darkly sweet tale of adolescent (and adult) loneliness.
10WR: Amusing affectations are balm and escape from real pain.Anderson's second best! B+
Oscar? That brilliant last movement in the end credits, with the narration of Desplat's music could go a long way for selling Best Original Score. But how about Screenplay and Art Direction? Too affected or just right?

People Like Us (Alex Kurtzman)
A young man (Chris Pine) discovers a half sister (Elizabeth Banks) he didn't know existed but keeps the truth from her and his angry recently widowed mother (Michelle Pfeiffer. 
10WR: Strong actresses but uncomfortably incestuous plot bizarrely filmed like an action flick. C-
Oscar? If it's an unlikely hit, Pfeiffer could win traction in Supporting Actress.

 

 

Peace , Love & Misunderstanding (Bruce Beresford)
An uptight depressed lawyer visits her estranged hippie mother and their cultures clash... again.
10WR: Kindhearted with enjoyable if obvious performances. Too programmatic when complexity is needed. C
Oscar? No. Though it sure is nice to see Jane Fonda back onscreen.

Prometheus (Ridley Scott)
A team of scientists seeks our genetic ancestors on a far away planet and discovers the diabolical origins of those pesky acid-blooded creepy crawlies instead.
10WR: Tremendously visual. Intermittently heart-stopping --  that abortion sequence!. Plot is a tough sell.  B
Oscar? We discussed this

 

YOUR TURN in the comments

Saturday
Jun302012

Young Clint, 1956

 

Clint Eastwood at 26 years of age, lounging in his pool. He was still doing TV guest spots and uncredited teensy tiny roles in movies. Courtesy of NY Mag's Magic Mike inspired gallery of famous shirtless men through the ages

In related news: Summer is suddenly unmistakably here. Have such a good one that Clint will want to make a movie about you next year. He can surely cram it in between other projects. 

Friday
Jun292012

AMPAS Continues To Change Rules, Add Members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka AMPAS aka The Oscars aka "That Organization That The Media And Public Are Constantly Calling 'Irrelevant' Whilst They Disprove Their Point By Talking About Said Organization Incessantly") has changed their rulebooks yet again and opened their figurative doors to new players. Their reasoning and criteria remain, as ever, a mystery to those of us with strong opinions on the matter.

Here's what happened...

Visual Effects
The bakeoff system is a bit different now. Ten films will be selected as semi-finalists. The branch will then vote and five will become nominees.
TFE DECREES: Smart, humane move after those years with only 6 or 7 semi-finalists... which was embarrassingly like being "the last one picked" when you didn't end as a nominee.

Makeup (and Hairstyling!)
New Rule: It's a name change from Best Makeup to Best Makeup and Hairstyling. 
TFE Decrees: Good Move But Entirely Cosmetic. The award was already meant to include hairstyling if it greatly contributed to the film -- you'll remember that Meryl Streep's longtime hairdresser won for The Iron Lady last year. The name change will only matter if the branch that's voting takes the name change to heart and starts conveying, through their nominations, that they care about things other than werewolf makeup and old age latex. The last few years have shown a bit of willingness to shake up this category for the better so good on them.

Best Foreign Film
New Rule: Films still have to be submitted in 35mm to AMPAS for consideration but they no longer have to screen that way in their home countries.
TFE Decrees: Good, though only 0.000001% of Oscar watchers will ever notice. But anything to loosen restrictions up for the committees in other countries who have to decide which film best represents them.

Best Original Song
New Rule: In special circumstances four songwriters can now become nominees. The number was three.
TFE Decrees: Excuse me .... [raucous laughter] ... how does this even matter since the system as is keeps refusing a full slate of nominees? It's as if the music branch is completely ashamed of their craft and considers nothing worthy. The only thing that would fix this category is a complete overhaul of the rules and maybe even the branch members. The voting system, in which you can actually torpedo viable popular contenders by giving them terrible scores, is the problem... not the number of songwriters credited.

176 NEW ACADEMY MEMBERS!
This is the best part of AMPAS changes each year, since it's fun to look at who is finally "in" and scratch your head at what took so long. Trying to parse meaning behind the newbie invites is a fool's errand since their criteria are suspicously vague. Non-distinguished actors, for example, are invited each year and yet sometimes they don't invite one of the actual Oscar nominees. Michelle Williams was a strange example as she was not an Academy member until some years after Brokeback Mountain.

New AMPAS Members: Yeoh, Kulcher, Martindale, Kar Wai, and Djurkovic

Ten invitees I was extremely happy about... (excluding last year's nominees which are too obvious to chat about): ACTORS - Fine character actors Margo Martindale ("Carol"!!!! from Paris Je T'Aime) and Clifton Collins Jr (Traffic), gorgeous actresses who should be much bigger stars like Kerry Washington and Michelle Yeoh, and Andy Serkis who will undoubtedly be in the history books given his pioneering role in a newish form of acting; VISUAL TALENTS - Production Designer Maria Djurkovic who did such surpassingly excellent Oscar snubbed work on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Cinematographer Alwin Kuchler who recently wowed with Hanna, MAKEUP ARTIST -Toni G (who did the Oscar statue worthy Oscar snubbed work on Charlize Theron's Monster); DIRECTORS -Wong Kar Wai and Terrence Malick (!!! Perhaps he's refused them in the past?)

How are you receiving all this Oscar news? With indifference or excitement?