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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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Sunday
Apr242016

Review: A Hologram for the King

Eric here, with a review of the new Tom Tykwer film in theaters, A Hologram for the King, an adaptation of the best seller by Dave Eggers. It's the tale of a desperate American businessman near the end of his professional rope, who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell a holographic teleconference system to the king. 

While Tom Hanks isn’t at the peak of his popularity these days, he remains one of the biggest movie stars alive.  So it may feel surprising that this film is being released with very little publicity, dumped rather unceremoniously in “arthouse” cinemas...

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Sunday
Apr242016

Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic

Our celebration of Actors this month continues with Lynn Lee on Viggo

Is Viggo Mortensen the most interesting man in the world?  Based on his peripatetic history and eclectic interests, he’s certainly a contender.  In addition to acting, he’s a prolific painter, photographer, composer, and poet who founded his own publishing house.  A dual American and Danish citizen who spent his early childhood in South America and Denmark before returning to his native New York, he speaks multiple languages, with greatest fluency in English, Spanish, and Danish.  Oh, and his ex-wife is punk singer Exene Cervenko, with whom he has a son. 

As my husband put it, “Viggo Mortensen is who James Franco wishes he was.”

I can’t speak to the artistic merits of Viggo’s off-screen pursuits, but I do see him as a kind of anti-Franco in keeping them largely off the public radar.  And while he’s clearly driven by a need to express himself via many outlets, he still exudes a sense of some private, fundamentally unknowable core self.  It permeates his screen presence, too, and is part of what makes him so intriguing as an actor.  (Well, that plus the rugged Scandinavian good looks and dimpled chin don't hurt, either.)  More...

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Saturday
Apr232016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, now playing, promises a “new” fairy tale. That’s true only if you’re willing to stretch the definition of the word. This “new” and awkwardly titled picture is both prequel and sequel to Snow White with some Frozen fan fiction in the middle. It begins long before the events of the revisionist Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and eventually skips ahead to pick up where the last movie left off. In case you’ve forgotten your blockbuster history — spoiler alert! — Snow White and her Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) triumphed at the end by killing the true twin stars of the picture: Queen Ravenna and Her Oscar Nominated Costumes (a.k.a. former Oscar winners Charlize Theron & Colleen Atwood).

Dead though Ravenna was, when there is money to be made in franchise resurrection, nobody stays buried. In the new film we learn that the royal witch came to power alongside her kind loving sister Freya (Emily Blunt). After an unspeakable tragedy, though, Freya also became evil. Ravenna had that Magic Mirror to inspire her wickedness but Freya opts for a worn Blu-ray of Frozen as unholy talisman...

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Saturday
Apr232016

Dean & The Meddler: A Grief Dramedy Double Feature

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on two grief-driven features.

Dean (Winner of The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature)
Dean (Demetri Martin, who wrote and directed the film) is a professional illustrator whose first book of drawings was described as “full of whimsy.” The same could be said for the film itself. Just as Dean’s illustrations (Martin’s own) are simple, at times humorous, sketches (a faceless man wearing a t-shirt that reads “Ask me about my face,” a centaur to a horse-headed human body: “It’s not bestiality if we 69!”), the film finds comedy in simplicity; there are some surprises here but mostly this is a straightforward affair. You could say that Dean is a whimsical bicoastal dramedy about grief and it succeeds precisely because it's so assured.

Brooklyn-based Dean has lost his mother, and the narrative follows his attempt at coping with this loss. His father, played with relish by Kevin Kline, is seemingly moving on too fast, wanting to sell the house he shared with his wife, a decision that pushes Dean to flee to Los Angeles. Both men find themselves engaging with women that help push them past their comfort zones. Lessons are learnt, and personal growth is unavoidable, but Martin uses the film’s whimsy to his advantage: split-screens and his quirky drawings visually highlight the levity that runs through his script (a meet-cute with Gillian Jacobs is impossibly twee and surprisingly spunky at the same time). That I’m using words like “whimsy” and “twee” in positive terms should tell you that I fell in love with this film even as I know it works within a very specific register that may not be for everyone; then again, any film that gives Mary Steenburgen and Kline a flirtatious scene centered on criticizing a Broadway play about (maybe?) time travel was always going to appeal to my interests. Grade: A-

Susan Sarandon shines after the jump...

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Saturday
Apr232016

YNMS: Magnificent Seven, Girl on the Train, Cafe Society

It's a triple trailer mini breakdown. Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So on these three pictures?

Girl on the Train Trailer

YES. Emily Blunt deserves a big hit and she's always so watchable. Also: How is Allison Janney always so perfect? It's one of the great mysteries of the universe. The supporting cast is filled with solid players: Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Lisa Kudrow.
NO. Seems like the kind of picture that will be ruined before it opens with spoilers
MAYBE SO. Tate Taylor directed The Help which is better than people give it credit for being. Can he handle the thriller genre? That's quite a different skill set.

Magnificent Seven Trailer

YES. Chris Pratt being adorable again. He really sells it in this trailer. Denzel is reliable... even when he isn't trying (though we always wish he would try). The other cast members get no time in this trailer but Peter Sarsgaard is the villain and he deserves a showy role again. Also we welcome more Byung-hun Lee in our lives.
NO. Guns. guns. guns. Hollywood is like its own gun lobby really. All guns all the time. I bet like 40% of all movie posters have guns on them or something.
MAYBE SO. Is it is good as the film its remaking The Magnificent Seven (1960) which was itself a remake of The Seven Samurai (1954)

Cafe Society Trailer

YES. Jeannie Berlin looks fun as Jesse Eisenberg's mom and the premise has so much potential. Also Parker Posey as a platinum blonde sarcastic writer? Yes please. 
NO. Mobsters and showbiz? Good luck living up to Bullets Over Broadway. Dangerous film to reference cuz it's so damn funny and Woody movies haven't been that funny since. 
MAYBE SO.  Jesse Eisenberg says he's "half bored half fascinated"... even if that's true of the movie that's a win for modern day Woody pictures. We'll take half fascination. I don't know what any actor can bring to the stock hooker part anymore but if there's anyone that can maybe Anna Camp?

Saturday
Apr232016

Last Chance: Anna Karenina, Lost in Translation, Shivers, and Big Trouble

Public Service Announcement for Happy Streaming! The following list of movies are available on streaming only until the end of this month. This is not, alas, a comprehensive list (good luck with that -- even the official press releases and specialty "what's leaving" sites are never entirely comprehensive / accurate). But here are 10 titles + that caught our eye and they'll be gone when May strolls in. Now's the time if you have any desire to watch them. To help whet your appetite or kill it, depending, here is our playful yet highly unscientific practice of freezing the movies entirely at random to see what image/quote comes up. Please to discuss the titles.

Ahhh, taxation without representation, brother. Nothing's free in this world you lucky first day motherfucker."

Training Day (2001) Netflix
"I love my life," it's Denzel's second Oscar. 

Travolta, Newman, Witherspoon, and Jodie Foster after the jump...

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