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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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Sunday
Mar232014

Review: Divergent

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

Erudite. Dauntless. Abnegation. Amity. Candor. Doesn't have quite the same ring as "Charisma. Uniqueness. Nerve and Talent" does it? But it's with the awkwardly titled five factions of DIVERGENT's world that we begin. In some future Utopia young citizens must choose their faction (a fancy word for tribe) on their 18th birthday after taking an aptitude test that reveals where they truly belong. They have the option of any faction but most, we are led to believe, choose either the tribe they grew up in or the tribe of their aptitude and these are often the same. Nature vs. Nurture and all that, you know.

Our heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) lives with her parents in Abnegation, the "selfless" tribe that runs the government -- your first clue that this is total science fiction! They also feed the homeless (aka the "factionless"), dress like monochromatic fashion-forward Amish and eschew mirrors. Beatrice is played by Shailene Woodley and her parents are Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) - our first clue that this is actually a Dystopia*; how long could any of them survive without mirrors?

Tris is ready to jump and we continue after ours...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar232014

"Crowd Control"

Pumpkin: A lot of people come into restaurants

Honeybunny: A lot of wallets.  

Pumpkin: Pretty smart, huh?

Honeybunny: Pretty smart.

I'm ready let's do it. Right now. Right here. Come on.

Pumpkin: All right, same as last time, remember. You're crowd control. I handle employees. 

Sunday
Mar232014

Box Office: Divergent's Not Dead

Amir here, with the weekend's box office report. As expected by every single person not living under a rock, Divergent took the top spot, affirming the unfortunate bankability of YA adaptations. Critically and commercially, it fell somewhere much closer to Twilight than The Hunger Games, but the target demographic seems content and that's all that matters to the studio. I'm sure a sequel is already underway, though my level of interest in finding out whether the source novel actually has sequels or not also falls somewhere much closer to my interest in Twilight than The Hunger Games, no. Sorry. I’ll pass on all of them.

BOX OFFICE
01 DIVERGENT $56 *new* 
02 MUPPETS MOST WANTED $16.5 *new*
03 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $11.7 (cum. $81) this franchise's history
04 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $8.6 (cum. $93.7)
05 GOD'S NOT DEAD $8.5 *new*
06 NEED FOR SPEED  $7.7 (cum. $34)
07 GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $6.7 (cum. $12.9) 
08 NON-STOP  $6.3 (cum. $78.6) Amir's Review 
09 THE LEGO MOVIE $4.1 (cum. $243.3) Nathaniel's Review
10 TYLER PERRY'S SINGLE MOM'S CLUB $3.1 (cum. $12.9)

Muppets Most Wanted turned out to be an ironic title for a film with such a tepid reaction. It’s a shame considering what a real delight the last Muppets outing was and that the reviews for this aren’t half bad. This one will probably just make a profit because I suspect it will have the legs to stick around for a few weeks without massive drops. You know what will definitely make a profit though and probably already has? God’s Not Dead ! Like you, dear reader, I had not heard of it until this weekend and, like you, I have not rushed to see it. The box office numbers have been astounding though, with $8m already in the bank in three days for the indie on less than 1000 screens, so someone somewhere must have heard about it. Agree or disagree with the film’s beliefs/mythology, we have to concede that no film since 12 Years a Slave had managed to so succinctly describe its entire plotline in the title.

The critical darling of the hour, The Grand Budapest Hotel, earned $6.7m, a weekend gross that Moonrise Kingdom never achieved throughout its run. It’s still a very real possibility that it will end up as Wes Anderson’s most successful hit. On the limited release side, six new films opened on Friday, the buzziest of which are Jodorowsky’s Dune and It Felt Like Love. If you are one of the extremely lucky people who live near those theatres, you might want to keep an eye out.

My weekend consisted of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Arabian Nights, Majid Majidi’s Baduk and George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story, and I’m happy to report I have nothing to complain about with that trio.

What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Mar232014

Link a Prayer

Hello Cinema our friend Amir started a podcast on Iranian cinema. It's an interesting listen even if you know nothing about the topic, particular the first section on how Amir and Tina came to love cinema
Coming Soon Ellen Page will star in Queen and Country based on a comic book about a British intelligence operative
Comic Alliance on the petititon to cast an Asian American as Iron Fist in the upcoming Netflix series. This is SUCH a good idea, because that character was obviously envisioned as white for very problematic reasons given that he's totally tied to Asian culture.

Shadow and Act there's a Spike Lee box set coming this June which will include the first ever Blu-Ray of Summer of Sam so that's great news.
/Film an infographic on Hollywood disasters. They love destroying New York City but it's not the only city they ruin
Vanity Fair rejected movie poster designs for Gravity
House Next Door a look back at Madonna's most beloved song "Like a Prayer" which just turned 25 years old!
Kevin Maguire the X-Men do the Oscar selfie 
Playbill a history of Les Misérables which is reopening on Broadway. It just keeps coming back. 

Release Date News
Everest, that mountain climbing adventure with Jake Gyllenhaal and Zero Dark Thirty's Jason Clarke (among others in a fairly stellar cast) will hit IMAX and 3D screens on September 18th. In case you didn't hear James Gray's long delayed The Immigrant will open (finally) on May 2nd, nearly a year after its Cannes debut - nothing like striking when the iron is hot! And because they're just never going to stop and neither is Hugh Jackman despite his vague protestations, the X-Men have dates scheduled through 2018

And Today's Watch(es)
Kevin Bacon goes a little Footloose on The Tonight Show (looking pretty good for 55) and it turns out Jennifer Lawrence recorded not one but two lipsynch numbers for American Hustle. The deleted one is to Santana's "Evil Woman" - I'm not embedding it here because it starts playing without asking it to. That is NOT okay in embeddable videos.

 

Saturday
Mar222014

Interview: Alfre Woodard on Her Favorite Roles

Alfre Woodard has been an American treasure on screens large and small since the early 80s when she first broke through in a big way with her Oscar nominated supporting role as "Geechee" in Martin Ritt's Cross Creek (1983). Yesterday we learned that Alfre will be co-starring in a new series pilot "State of Affairs" starring Katharine Heigl as a CIA Operative. Woodard is tapped to play none other than the President of the United States who Heigl counsels.

That'd be shocking given how slowly American politics moves toward inclusiveness, were it not for Woodard's natural gravitas. Last year, that formidable screen presence was put to uncommonly good use as the fascinating Mistress Shaw, a slave who married her master, in the Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. We recently celebrated that small but pivotal role right here in our own awards.

With 12 Years now on DVD and the announcement of her new role, it seemed like a perfect time to look back on her career beginning with that amazing cameo and working our way backward to her favorite roles. They might surprise you...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar222014

ICYMI 

I know you didn't read everything. So I'm giving you homework on a weekend. But easy fun homework. Highlights from the week that was...

Jake Gyllenhaal doubled-up for the trippy Enemy
Kate Winslet finally got her "Star"
Sofia Coppola might direct a new version of The Little Mermaid
Rob Lowe turned 50 so we looked back
Colin vs Ralph (VOTE NOW!) in the latest 'Beauty vs. Beast', In Bruges style
Streep vs. Bridges in The Giver trailer 
Pixar announced more sequels 
Finally... Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale might do biopics on Busby Berkeley and Steve Jobs respectively

And while we wait for Spring movie season to really start we also revisited some older films. Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate" finally made it through Katharine Hepburn's rough RKO period-piece era and somehow Anne Marie entertained even when the film's didn't. She's about to hit the real classics starting next Wednesday so you'll want to be here. We also celebrated two Peter Sellers films with 50th anniversaries: The Pink Panther and The World of Henry Orient. And for Eternal Sunshine's 10th Anniversary the return of the communal "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series and had the best turnout ever with 32 shots. Please do join us next Tuesday night when we look at the Best Shots from L.A. Confidential and make it 33 by posting your favorite.

 

Friday
Mar212014

"Did you just call us prostitutes?"

Bouncer: All right, down the street."

Regan: Did you just call us prostitutes?"

Katie: Did you just call us prostitutes?"