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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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Mad Men turns 10 - how much do you miss it? 

"I started re-watching a few weeks ago. I loved Breaking Bad, but I tell everyone that Mad Men was the better show." - Nikki

"the crown jewel of the series will always be The Other Woman.." -Andrew

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Tuesday
Aug112015

Scorsese + Leo: With Six You Get Body Counts...

We knew they would work together again and now we have confirmation:  Leonardo DiCaprio will headline Martin Scorsese's adaptation of Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil and the White City. That's a true crime novel about serial killer Dr. HH Holmes who murdered dozens or possibly hundreds in Chicago in the late 19th century. H.H. Holmes was born just a couple of years before the events in Gangs of New York so they're returning to roughly the same time frame of their first collaboration (hello Oscar nominations in craft categories) 

This will be Leo's first serial killer role (if not his first villain) though it's always amusing to remember that Hollywood intended him to be our Patrick Bateman in American Psycho before history course-corrected and gave us the one we needed: Christian Bale. But let's not get sidetracked.

The Devil in the White City will be the sixth collaboration between the director and star. DiCaprio is still well behind Robert De Niro as Scorsese's foremost muse both in number of films and quality of films, but maybe some day he'll catch up to him? Scorsese turns 73 in November. Though he's definitely not Clint (85) or Woody (79) with the indefatigable prolificness neither is he all that slow. He averages about 5 movies a decade and Silence, currently in post, will be his fourth this decade already. By the time they release this one (2018?), we'll have our five for the decade unless Marty squeezes one more in somehow. But don't hold your breath. We first heard about this project way back in 2011 when they hired a screenwriter so there's finally a little bit of movement on it (presumably the script is written now) 

In honor of Marty & Leo's partnership, their five movies together ranked in four ways just because...

THE MARTY & LEO FILMS

In Order of Release Quality 
(Best to Worst)
Global Box Office Success
According to Oscar (Most Loved to Least)
Gangs of New York (2002) The Departed
great 
Wolf of Wall Street
$392 million 
The Aviator 
(11 noms | 5 wins)
The Aviator
(2004)
The Aviator
underappreciated at this point
Shutter Island
$294 million 
The Departed
(5 noms | 4 wins incl BP so really it's #1)
The Departed
(2006)
Wolf of Wall Street
divisive for a reason
The Departed
$289 million
Gangs of New York
(10 noms | 0 wins)
Shutter Island
(2010)
Shutter Island
meh
The Aviator
$213 million 
Wolf of Wall Street
(5 noms | 0 wins)
Wolf of Wall Street
(2013)
Gangs of New York
ugh
Gangs of New York
$193 million 
Shutter Island
(zero noms)

 

Have you read this novel? Do you look forward to a Marty/Leo reunion or do you wish they would move on?

Tuesday
Aug112015

Life Magazine Best Actress Covers, 1954

Researching 1954 for other posts, I came upon the realization that Life Magazine had featured not one, not two but three of the eventual Best Actress nominees on their covers that year in April (Grace Kelly who had a lot of films out that year including The Country Girl), September (Judy Garland for A Star is Born) and November (Dorothy Dandridge as "Hollywood's Fiery Carmen Jones"). It was "Hollywood's Brightest and Busiest New Star" vs. the World's Greatest Entertainer for the golden statue that year. The tag line to the Judy article was "Judy Garland Takes Off After Oscar" but it was not to be and Grace Kelly cemented the Princess effect with Oscar just a year after that had already helped Audrey Hepburn to her Roman Holiday win. (With Oscar, it rarely turns out that well for the older women, as you know)

This particular Best Actress race will haunt actressexuals forever as Judy Garland's A Star is Born performance is one of the greatest ever committed to celluloid. Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina) and Jane Wyman (Magnificent Obsession) were also nominated that year but did not get a Life cover. That's weird in Audrey's case as she was a regular cover girl. 

Finally while everyone knows that Dorothy Dandridge was a trailblazer this cover represents a twofer: She was not only the first African American nominated for a Leading Role at the Oscars (previous nominations had only happened in Supporting Actress) she was also the very first black woman to appear on the cover of Life Magazine!

Have you ever seen Carmen Jones? We've talked about it before.

Tuesday
Aug112015

Curio: James Charles' American Iconomics

Alexa here with your weekly arts and crafts. At the Bad Dads show in New York last week, currency artist James Charles' had some work up, but I thought he deserved his own post. James has been working for years on his series called American Iconomics. In it, James alters actual U.S. currency with the faces of actors, actresses, musicians, and other icons of popular culture.  Similar to Andre Levy's coin portraits, James morphs the familiar presidents’ faces into his new portraits, even successfully altering the text at the bottom to carry a message together with each portrait.  

Here are some if his bills from the world of film...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug102015

Beauty vs Beast: The Red Jungles of High Society

Jason from MNPP here with this week's episode of "Beauty vs Beast" for your fun-time entertainment -- while it's certainly not as important numerically as the approaching 100 year anniversary of Ingrid Bergman (which we're celebrating with great enthusiasm here at TFE) I think it's a happy enough happenstance that today marks the 113th anniversary of the birth of the terrific actress Norma Shearer and we should likewise celebrate her. And what better way than with that grand dame of cinematic cattiness, George Cukor's 1939 classic The Women? Shearer plays the betrayed society wife Mary, whose husband can't resist the shopgirl charms of (one two three - hiss!) Miss Crystal Allen, played by a totally game Joan Crawford. There's no way to play if you don't enter the kennel...

PREVIOUSLY Last week we also took on a "good wife" trampled by some dark-haired hussy, facing down Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver in The Ice Storm. And the hussy won! The hussy always wins. (As we'll probably find out in another week when this Women poll's results come in.) Said Joe:

"Both women were brilliant in this. This is my favorite Ang Lee film. I'd give the edge to Sigourney. Outside of the Alien films, this is her best work. It's SHOCKING that she was not nominated for an Oscar that year. I mean, Minnie Driver??"

Monday
Aug102015

Review: Fantastic [sic] Four

Tim here. The best and maybe the only compliment I can pay to the new Fantastic Four, the third unsuccessful attempt at bringing the oldest of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's creations at Marvel Comics to the big screen, is that it's not obviously the worst one yet. Its insipidities, and it is very insipid, aren't inherently worse than those of the ghastly 2005 big-budget version. That film heralded the end of the "brightly colored larks that are wholly insubstantial but also not much fun" era of comic book movies; time alone will tell if its 2015 sibling will similarly ring down the curtains on the "ludicrously dark and serious-minded exercises in bitterness and misery" era, though I think we should be hopeful.

How much of the film's misery and internal confusion is due to the awkwardly visible fencing match between director Josh Trank and the executives at 20th Century Fox is beyond our ability to say for certain. It does feel like a movie that wants to be anything other than what it is. There were rumors that Trank was hoping to make PG-13, summer-friendly body horror, and there are vestigial traces of that conception; it would have been better for the film to have gone all the way, for at least then the bleakness of tone would have felt like it had some actual purpose. [More...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug102015

Ingrid's First Oscar Nomination

We continue our Ingrid Bergman Centennial with Andrew Kendall on For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

It's difficult to speak of Ingrid Bergman without consider her place in Oscar history. She's one of the few people to win three acting Oscars. And, she's fourth (only to Kate, Meryl and Bette) when it comes to Oscar's Actress Hierarchy. For modern fans, then, the celebrity of that first nomination is a curio regardless of its quality. When did Oscar first bite? For Ingrid it came four years (and five films) after her Hollywood debut. Not for that year's best picture winner Casablanca, but for the adaptation of For Whom the Bell TollsCasablanca, and Ingrid's "Ilsa," have endured as such integral parts of film culture that her work in For Whom the Bell Tolls immediately faces the scrunity of living up to it. Why the vote for this over her work there? 

But, it’s essential to remember that films and awards as creatures of their time. At the time of its production Casablanca was merely a minor World War II drama and literary adaptations were all the rage (from 1937 through 1942 every Best Picture winner was an adaptation of a recently pubished text). The adaptation of the literary triumph of 1940 was the bigger ticket. Ingrid was desperate for the role and Hemingway also loved the idea.  In a 1971 interview Bergman revealed that Hemingway, a writer typically averse to being too involved in adaptations of his work, lobbied significantly for Bergman to get the role even reportedly sending her a copy of the novel with the inscription

You are the Maria in the book”.

Click to read more ...