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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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Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

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Tuesday
Jul172012

Take Three: Vincent D'Onofrio

Craig here, back after a week away, with this week's Take Three. Today: Vincent D'Onofrio

Take One: Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The first thing I think about when I think about Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is D’Onofrio’s face sunken into a foul grimace by deep hatred – of himself and everything and everyone around him – as he sits on a toilet in the starkly Kubrickian military ‘head’ in the dead of night, loaded rifle by his side. “Hi joker,” he says, in a decidedly creepy fashion, as Matthew Modine shines a torch on his face. Somethin’s up. He’s not quite... there

I AM... in a world... of shit!”

  This exchange draws us into one of the film’s most powerfully effective scenes, one that stays wedged in your mind. (Nothing in the film’s explosive second half is as powerful as thi) It’s D’Onofrio’s last scene in the film, his big, terrible, final moment. All the prolonged abuse and intense physical strain he’s endured up until this point is distilled into his words, his desperate and maniacal expression. Outside of R. Lee Ermy’s shouty Golden Globe-nominated grandstanding, D’Onofrio walks away with the acting honours. The physicality required (D’Onofrio added an extra 70lbs, beating DeNiro’s bulk-up for Raging Bull) is complemented by his proficiency in conveying the inner workings of a broken army soul.  D’Onofrio’s Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence (nicknamed after a Jim Nabors character on The Andy Griffith Show) is key to understanding what Kubrick was getting at with Jacket.  Full Metal Jacket’s best moments and Kubrick's most pointed statements about war and military endeavor are translated through his bold, grimly-evinced performance.

two more takes after the jump

 

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Tuesday
Jul172012

Curio: The Dark Knight Rises, Posterized

Alexa here. It seems like anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises has been going on for years. With it has come an inevitable stream of fan poster designs that recently broke into a flood. (Riding the wave is Mondo, the indie press affiliated with Austin's Alamo Drafthouse, which recently showcased some Dark Knight Rises posters at Comic-con, including this stunner by Olly Moss.) I've been reveling in my own excitement (yes, I have my tickets already) by sifting through the multitudes to choose my favorites. The lack of strong designs featuring Hathaway's Selina Kyle has been disappointing; I'm hoping this will change once the film is released.  Here's what I've culled from the masses.

Design by Paul Shipper.

Pulp version by Shaun Watson.Click for more...

 

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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...

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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...]

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