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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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Lucia vs. DeeDee - vote!


"Two of the greatest acting performances of 1998, and it's genuinely hard to choose between them." - Amanda

"i am basically Lucia in real life but i'm voting for DeDee since she had sense enough to jump ivan sergei during his window of hotness." -Par

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Sunday
Apr172016

Box Office: 'Jungle Book' and 'Green Room' Get Vicious

This weekend's box office winners were all about the thrills - one for the whole family, and the other decidedly not. It's like summer is already upon us!

Especially after the deflation of BvS, everyone was expecting The Jungle Book to be a big hit this weekend, though perhaps not quite as massive as the end result. The live action / performance capture retelling from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man and Chef) closed out the weekend above $100M, becoming the second largest April opening behind last year's Furious 7. Maybe the unexpected boost came from interest in 3D (I've seen comments on Twitter calling it second to Avatar for stellar use of the medium).

But Jungle's huge success isn't the only thing that will have the folks at Disney celebrating: their spring animated sensation Zootopia also crossed the $300M mark. This year is going to be one of the tightest races ever Best Animated Feature Oscar, and Zootopia should have a good shot with this level of success despite its spring release disadvantage.

In limited release, fashion documentary The First Monday in May was the highest among the debuts, but A24's Green Room took the weekend's highest screen average on only 3 screens. The indie label has used this strategy before and almost without fail, turning niche films like the uber-violent Green Room into a miniature, must-see event. Oscar is certainly out of the question and the film's reported brutality will likely keep it from trouncing Ex Machina's grosses, but it looks like A24 has another hit on their hands.

TOP SIX
01 The Jungle Book $103.6 NEW
02 Barbershop: The Next Cut $20.2 NEW
03 The Boss $10.2 (cum. $40.4)
04 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Just More Superheroes $9.0 (cum. $311.3)
05 Zootopia $8.2 (cum. $307.5) 
06 Criminal $5.8 NEW

LIMITED HITS AND NEWBIES
16 Everybody Wants Some!! $.4 (cum. $1.5) 134 screens Review & Review
20 Miles Ahead $.2 (cum. .6) 47 screens Review
23 The First Monday in May $.1 NEW 20 Screens Interview
26 Green Room $91K NEW 3 Screens
28 Sing Street $69K NEW 5 Screens
48 The Measure of a Man $11K NEW 2 Screens Review

What did you see this weekend??

Sunday
Apr172016

April Foolish Predictions: Visual Categories

Hello Dear Reader! Your host Nathaniel checking in from a screening and chart-making frenzy. I'm heading off to my jury meeting at the Nashville International Film Festival (New Directors competition) to bestow prizes. But I wanted to point you to chart updates (the remainder will premiere this week to complete our April Foolish tradition). So let's talk costume design and cinematography and such. (lots more after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr172016

Please switch off your phone.

An excerpt from an interview with AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron, from Variety.

Would appealing to millennials involve allowing texting or cellphone use?

Yes. When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.

Actresses react. 

"Personally speaking, I can't wait to see life tear you apart".

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Saturday
Apr162016

Q&A: It's a zoo in here.

Hello! It's your host Nathaniel checking in from a screening frenzy. I'm at the Nashville International Film Festival briefly to serve on their New Directors jury but coming back to you, dear readers, on Monday night. Meanwhile here in New York, Jason and Manuel have already lept into Tribeca Film Festival reporting.

For this week's Q&A column I asked readers for a few animal questions since Monty, my baby boy and the world's first Oscar predicting cat (unfortunately he was never a very committed pundit), has been ill. While he's on the mend (hopefully) it's hard to pull my thoughts away from our four legged friends. Herewith 9 reader questions, some animal themed some not...

JAMES: Ever named a pet after an on-screen animal (or human)? 

My cat is named after Montgomery Clift and unfortunately the name suited him because he has been quite a moody thing from his teensiest days until now. He was found in the streets of the Bronx, as far as I know, as a tiny mewling mama-less thing and I got him way too young from the shelter. But even grumpy as he is, he is always right next to me no matter what room I'm in and every once in a while he looks at me like I'm Elizabeth Taylor and snuggles up and it's all worth it. 

(I was actually going to get a second cat years ago and name it Liz but for various reasons it didn't happen.)

HAAJEN: Which animal should be paired with Julianne Moore, Juliette Binoche and Jennifer Law in a movie?

What a weird freaking question that I love. It's like when Kidman's familiar was a monkey in The Golden Compass. So I'm going to say black panther for Julianne, seagulls for Juliette (I always picture her in the salty air near water -- is this a ghost image of Lovers on the Bridge (1990)?) I would also pay to see JLaw in the Clint role in a remake of Any Which Way You Can (1980) if only because I can't imagine the outcome of an absolute war to steal scenes between JLaw and an Orangutan. 

Naturally I have no photos to support this so please enjoy this photo of Idris Elba with a fake tiger.

It is extremely easy to enjoy. 

PEARL: What are your thoughts on Barbra Streisand and Barry Levinson embarking on yet another production of Gypsy for a start up studio? My spirit animal (fox) says they likely face a difficult and painful journey.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr162016

A Flag Waves In Brooklyn

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on Contemporary Color.

I vaguely remember Color Guard being a thing we had at my high school -- I know it might shock and awe you that this particular film nerd writing at you today wasn't all that into sports back then (besides the occasional loitering around a wrestling match now and then, ahem) so I don't recall ever seeing them at work though, flinging their prop guns like ballistic missiles through the air.  They seemed like a sub-set within a sub-set, not quite band and not quite the cheer-leading squad. Something in between, but also outside of.

Contemporary Color, which documents the recent shows in Brooklyn that Talking Heads' legend David Byrne organized in an effort to toss this sport under a great big spotlight, pairing ten different teams with ten different modern musician-composers (people like St Vincent and Nico Muhly) captures that strange off-center vibe well. Quirk runs far and wide, oft gloriously so. It's just a very weird spectacle, one of a kind, and even though I'm personally allergic to jazz hands I found myself captivated anyway.

Documentarian-brothers Bill and Turner Ross usually train their eye on a small community (with films like Tchoupitoulas and Western) to suss out the over- and under-lapping strands that knot them together and hold them tight - here that sense of place is abstracted; it's about movement flowing into movement, sound into sound. Make no mistake this is first and foremost a concert film, capturing the spirit of the show, but the brothers allow plenty of backstage personality to flow in too. They give us gorgeous moments of homespun artistry (there's a shot of two young girls exhausted and giggling behind a scrim mid-performance that I adored) exploding onto a big stage. It's miraculously intimate and "Muppet Show" epic all at once.

Bonus! Several of the performers highlighted in the doc were there for the premiere screening on Thursday night to give us a performance, which I managed to capture on video! (Sidenote: I had to edit the music off of part of the performance because copyrighting was blocking it; the two male dancers are dancing to this song) Enjoy:

Saturday
Apr162016

Tribeca: Madly

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on Madly.

Anthology films are always, by definition, a mixed bag. This omnibus collection, which features short films by Gael García Bernal, Sebastián Silva, and Natasha Khan among others, is concerned with “Love.” Each short tackles this loaded emotion in decidedly different ways, tackling impending marriages, stale relationships, burgeoning romances, and everything in between.

Mia Wasikowska, for example, in a particularly interesting segment titled “Afterbirth” focuses on the love between a recent mother and her baby. Those of us who know she’s worked with David Cronenberg and Park Chan-wook will recognize the influences that run through this eerie, off-kilter attempt at depicting the disorienting world of new motherhood. Spoiler alert, it won’t pair well with Garry Marshall’s Mothers Day. Part of the strength of the film lies in Kathryn Beck’s performance; she’s all wide-eyed and beautiful so that it’s only when Wasikowska’s camera lingers on her blank, almost indifferent expression that we begin to intuit that something’s a bit amiss.

Kathryn Beck in Wasikowska's "Afterbirth"

Among the rest, I have to admit I wasn’t wowed by Silva’s work. I’m starting to feel I’ll just never “get” what he’s doing even as he offers the most overtly LGBT entry in the collection. As a fan of 2/3 of Nasty Baby, I somehow kept expecting the other shoe to drop in his young black gay kid in a rough neighborhood sojourn (and it does, don't you worry about that). As for Gael’s fragmented take on a couple's storied history, I found myself noting that it'd be the type of needlessly puzzling film you’d condescendingly describe as “arty." The other one worth mentioning? Sion Sono’s sex club/incestual family comedy which is definitely unlike anything you’ve seen before and perhaps even more bizarre than it sounds.

Grade: A through C (nothing is quite a disaster)