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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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"While it doesn't seem groundbreaking, I know I will watch it eventually because of the four legends in the cast." - Rebecca

"Adored both Bergen and Keaton (and Garcia!), liked Fonda and unfortunately, thought Steenburgen kind of drew the short straw here. Overall, had a ball!" - Andrew


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Thursday
Apr142016

Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance's Shotgun Wedding

After two consecutive casting announcements from Amblin Entertainment, it’s official: Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance are, like, totally BFFs! As if collaborating their way to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and finally bringing the Roald Dahl classic The BFG to the big screen weren’t enough, it looks like this dynamic duo – what are we calling them - Stark? Ryberg? Spylance? – are gonna shack up for two more big screen ventures. You won’t see us complaining. If Bridge of Spies was any indication, this fusing of sensibilities has the makings of a director-actor partnership for the ages.

While we’re on the subject of theatre and film titans merging, the plot thickens. As spilled on Twitter by Mark Harris, the entertainment industry’s atom-splitter emeritus, Lincoln’s dream team of Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize (and, in a just world, Oscar) winner Tony Kushner is triangulating with Rylance to bring The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara to theaters in 2017. Rylance will portray Pope Pius IX in this custody tale of a young Jewish yet baptized boy torn from his Italian family and thrust into a life in the Vatican. Giving Francis a run for his money in the saying a lot with a little department, one can expect Rylance to cheekily intone conflicts of dogma and birthright with a little more papal pomp and circumstance than his Academy Award-winning role. While the pedigrees will likely be polarized, one can’t help but think of the captor or savior complex of John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane …but with much more silver-tongued, gold-hatted gravitas, to be sure.

And then yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter filled us in on the fact that Rylance is set to join Spielberg’s sci-fi actioner Ready Player One as an “enigmatic figure with shades of Howard Hughes and Steve Jobs.” Get a room, you two! Per the chronological tradition of Indiana Jones, by the time the credits for Ready Player One are about to roll – this, the fourth in their series – expect the pair to tie the knot with guest Shia LaBoeuf awkwardly linking arms on the side. This fistful of rice is about to explode.

As Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance prepare to team up in cinemas again and again and again, what are some of your favorite director-actor combos in film history?

Wednesday
Apr132016

Interview: 'The First Monday in May' Director Andrew Rossi, on the Met Gala, Anna Wintour and Why Fashion is Like Performance Art 

Jose here. The very first time I went behind the scenes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, there was an image that immediately caught my attention. A big, bright yellow sign commanding walkers to yield to the works of art in transit. It didn’t only make me wonder how many pieces by Da Vinci, Rodin, Renoir, Van Gogh, Warhol, Kahlo and many other established legends had travelled through the corridors I was walking in, it also made me wonder how many Alexander McQueen and John Galliano gowns had followed them. If the idea of fashion as art remains to some a topic of debate, it has never been so at the Met where it plays an essential part in raising awareness of the Museum’s outreach through the Costume Institute.  

 

A photo posted by Jose Solis (@josesolismayen) on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:20am PST

For decades, the Costume Institute has been holding a Gala to raise funds to preserve and expand its collection of over 30 thousand costumes and accessories that range from centuries old furs, to iconic dresses worn by Jackie O. The Gala is at the center of Andrew Rossi’s documentary The First Monday in May which was chosen as the Opening Night selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Our conversation with Rossi after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr132016

YNMS: The Lost City of Z

Laurence here. Many people were disappointed by the way James Gray's The Immigrant went mostly unnoticed beyond critics' groups. From the story to the stars, it seemed like a fairly strong prospect to garner Gray some mainstream awards attention, but the Weinsteins never seemed confident in it. Now Gray is making a decidedly more bombastic play to voting members with his new film, The Lost City of Z. This time he's paired up with Jennifer Aniston's former production company, Plan B, which has become very good at producing Best Picture nominees.

Based on David Grann's non-fiction bestseller of the same title, The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett, a British explorer in the 1920s who led an expedition to the Amazon rainforest in search of a mysterious lost city. Grann's book chronicles the numerous attempts over the years to follow Fawcett's footsteps, with evidence emerging in 2005 that the city perhaps did, in some form, exist. The film seems to primarily function as a biopic of Fawcett, whose obsession with Z's existence led him to the heart of darkness. 

Let's break down the now hard-to-find trailer after the jump...

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Wednesday
Apr132016

HBO’s LGBT History: Larry Kramer in Love and Anger (2015)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we looked at the recent doc Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures which works as a nice primer on the famed photographer and, as is par for the course for films on gay icons from a certain era, as a portrait of a man working tirelessly to make the most of his ever winnowing time: Mapplethorpe died at age 42 of AIDS complications. We’re not going too far afield this week, as we’re focusing on a documentary on “America’s angriest AIDS activist” in Jean Carlomusto’s Larry Kramer in Love and Anger.

Kramer should be familiar to you. We’ve previously encountered him and talked about his righteous anger when we talked about The Normal Heart, and by that point he had already made HBO appearances in The Out List, Vito, and Outrage. That enough should be a reminder that there’s no way of talking about American gay rights activism of the last three decades without talking about Larry Kramer. Carlomusto’s film expediently moves through Kramer’s biography; from his time at Columbia Pictures, to Women in Love and Faggots, through the Gay Men’s Health Crisis group and The Normal Heart to ACT UP and his latest health scares and marriage...

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Wednesday
Apr132016

Doctor Strange is a Tease

Here's your Doctor Strange poster. He's looking very transparent with a hint of Asgardian rainbow bridge psychedelica. We'll wait for a full trailer to do the Yes No Maybe So but this teaser suggests a mishmash of two Chris Nolan pictures (Inception and Batman Begins) with The Matrix mentor-student head trip ("I know kung fu!") filtered through Marvel's clean and/or sterile (depending on how you like it) design aesthetic. We hoped to not be reminded of other movies for something with "Strange" in the title but alas...

 

Also: Why is Benedict Cumberbatch so suprised that Tilda Swinton gives him an out of body experience? That's just what happens to the audience every time she shows up onscreen. 

 

Wednesday
Apr132016

Judy by the Numbers: "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. revolutionized entertainment. Though he was best known for the Vaudeville showgirls in the musical review that bore his name, but his reach extended beyond the Follies. He legitimized Vaudeville and funded the show that would spawn the modern American musical. Though Ziegfeld died in 1932, MGM continued glorifying - and profiting from - Ziegfeld's legacy.  In 1936, MGM released a biopic, The Great Ziegfeld based on the life of Ziegfeld and his wife, Billy Burke. The success of that film led the studio to announce a spiritual successor in 1938: Ziegfeld Girl, set to star Joan Crawford, Eleanor Powell, and Virginia Bruce. But when the movie was finally made 3 years later, the cast had changed a bit. 

The Movie: Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
The Songwriters: Joseph McCarthy & Harry Carroll, from a tune by Chopin
The Players: Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, Jimmy Stewart, directed by Robert Z Leonard & Busby Berkeley.

The Story: After the success of Little Nellie Kelly, MGM had another collaboration planned for young Judy Garland. This time, instead of Mickey Rooney, her costars were two other young starlets: Lana Turner, and Hedy Lamarr. Ziegfeld Girl was Judy Garland's first adult melodrama, though Garland still played a child. The plot might have inspired Valley of the Dolls.* As one of three showgirls trying to make it in the Follies, Judy is mostly relegated to musical comic relief while Hedy cries and Lana nearly dies. Still, the movie allowed young Judy to stretch her talents dramatically and vocally. Ultimately, that stretch mattered. The movie wasn't the success MGM had hoped for, but Judy got stellar reviews. 

*I have no evidence to support this claim.