Oscar History
Welcome

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.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment Du Jour
Review: QUEEN OF KATWE

"LOVED this move. If the Academy could be convinced to see this, I could absolutely see it sneaking into BP." -Eurocheese

"I would love to see 'Oscar winning director, Mira Nair' written somewhere someday" -Choog

 

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe
Friday
Sep262014

NYFF: Gone Girl's Gone Wild

Tonight marked the opening of the 2014 New York Film Festival with the world premiere of David Fincher's Gone Girl -- here's Jason's take on the film.

In the deeply darkly funny world of Gillian Flynn's bestselling murder mystery Gone Girl, Nick and Amy Dunne's wedding vows are like cliffhangers or dares - in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, I do... she does, he does... what exactly? All manner of unspeakables, it turns out. The book's at its sharpest as a ghoulish fun-house mirror reflection of deranged marital compromise - the hollowing out of our interior spaces for the exterior presentation of platonic ideals; a jack-o-lantern propped on the front porch with a pumpkin pie in the oven, all is pretty and home and sugar and spice on the windowsill... save that horror show, smashed glass coffee tables, mopped blood, behind closed doors. And what happens when the nightmare tumbles out into the street for all the world, and all the world's cameras, to see? Who pulls the mess back in once its spilled, and how...

David Fincher's Gone Girl is at its best when it has everybody grabbing their pails and their shovels and frantically trying to scoop up those spilled Humpty Dumpty pumpkin guts and make sense of it. For a two and a half hour movie it's shockingly spry on its feet, bouncing from Clue One to Clue Two in its own emotional kind of scavenger hunt, trying to piece together the What Went Wrong And How, and in its finest moments it vibes on a surprisingly loose Coen-esque sense of danger - as the sharp tools in the shed try to stay one step forward and find themselves in up to their necks, there's fun to be had in their catch-up, watching games change and rules rewritten mid-play.

[more...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep262014

NYFF: Maps to the Stars, Or: Julianne Moore is God, Again

The New York Film Festival has begun. Here's Nathaniel on the latest from David Cronenberg which won Julianne Moore the Best Actress prize at Cannes earlier this year.

Let's not bury the lede. At a key moment in Maps to the Stars when the actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) gets some bad news that she's more or less been expecting/dreading, she is in a Buddha pose in yoga pants. Her eyes struggle to hold back tears and her body struggles to pretend it's relaxing when she lets out a sudden wail. You think the wail will descend into Julianne Moore's familiar crying jag (You know how she loves to do). Instead the wail abruptly stops. Fans of Julianne Moore won't be able to silence their own screaming so quickly. I, for one, felt euphoric watching her. For those of us whom we have famously dubbed "actressexuals" - the word originated at this blog though it's now escaped our small pfeiff fiefdom and entered the greater internet -- major achievements from our favorite stars can feel, however absurdly, like personal triumphs. Or at least like just rewards for enduring loyalty. Especially if you've worried that the magic has dissipated with familiarity, poor career decisions, lesser roles and/or medicore films.

This year, with Maps to the Stars and Still Alice (previously reviewed), the Julianne Moore I first fell for, the actress who inspired my whole career path (newbies might not know that this site emerged from a zine I started in the 1990s with issue #1 dubbed "Julianne Moore is God," pictured left) came roaring back into full power.

Pity, then, that the movie can't quite keep up with her or harness her brilliant satirical embodiment of all that is self-absorbed, self-loathing, self-medicated, and self-serving in modern Hollywood celebrity. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep262014

NYFF: A Swarm of Surrealism

Our coverage of the 2014 New York Film Festival, which opens today, continues - here's Jason with an askance look at some of the unsung heroes of The Wonders and their cinematic precedents...

Earlier this week Glenn wrote up a review of Alice Rohrwacher's really very fine film The Wonders, which I also heartily endorse. I was sitting next to him at the press screening and besides being communally delighted (that sounds dirty but I mean it in the most innocent way possible) by the movie together we squirmed, writhed, and let out little moans of discomfort (alright it sounds dirty again, just bear with me here) when the screen repeatedly filled with bees - so many bees! If I'd given it any thought beforehand I might have skipped the film because despite not having an allergy I am a total melissophobic and watching them crawl on human skin is akin to water torture - you might know me as a horror movie fan, a badge I wear with pride, but nothing will make me cover my eyes and climb backwards in my seat quicker than a plain ol' minding-his-own-business honey-bee. Know the real enemy.

That said there's a surrealistic beauty to ways the bees are shot in The Wonders (there's a reason that the poster uses the imagery), and also another animal in the film (which I won't name since it contributes a nice jolt of WTF), and all this got me thinking about the use of animals as surrealist props. It's got a long, sometimes sordid (think of Jodorowsky blowing up all those poor frogs in The Holy Mountain or the tortoise being slaughtered in Cannibal Holocaust) history - I'm sure there have been plenty of dissertations written on it but what I think it comes down to is the unfathomable interior life of The Beast - we cannot know what is going on behind the eyes of these creatures, and so they will always remain strange, the Other. They're a nice short-cut to Uncanny Land, in other words.

And now, because I agree with Nathaniel that lists are super fun, here are the 5 fun instances of animals being used to inject a little surrealism into a film.

The Giraffe in The Great Beauty

The Escaped Zoo Animals in Twelve Monkeys

The Cat Attack in Let the Right One In

Chaos Reigns: The Fox in Antichrist

The Elephant Funeral in Sante Sangre

---

Name some of your favorites in the comments!

Friday
Sep262014

Ellen Page

Photographed for W Magazine by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Yum.

Friday
Sep262014

NYFF: '71, Your Opening Weekend Nightmare

The New York Film Festival begins tonight. Here's Nathaniel on the Irish thriller '71 starring this year's breakout actor Jack O'Connell (see also: Starred Up, and Unbroken)


Rookie soldier Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is already breathing heavy when '71 begins. He and his fellow soldiers are deep in military drills, managing obstacle courses, target practice and running hard miles. Introductions are brief and rote as they meet their commanding officers, only one of whom drops the protocol for a little personality. Lt. Armitage (Sam Reid) attempts to win the new recruits over by admitting that's he's green in his position, too. This isn't comforting to everyone. Just as soon as we've begun the new soldiers get their orders and learn that they're not flying out but staying put in Ireland.

You aren't leaving this country." 

For some that sentence will be literal, and a fatalistic omen. But which country are we talking about? Whose country? Belfast in 1971, where the story takes place, was deep into "The Troubles," a bloody and decades long conflict over the identity of Ireland itself. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep262014

Thinking Outside the Shortlist for Women in Comedy

Margaret here with a guessing game for you: a studio comedy is in production, and the lead is a woman. Who gets cast? If you're a Hollywood executive, the answer is Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig or Jennifer Aniston. Looking at today's top-grossing movies, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there are only four comic leading ladies; the studio focus on bankability keeps them sticking to a pretty rigid shortlist.

Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, known best for her work in Bridesmaids and Reno 911!, thinks that shortlist should be a little longer. Earlier this week she took to a guest column at Laughspin to stump for her favorite comic actresses, and pitch a host of new projects.
I am in no way saying that the women on the funny-lady short lists aren’t funny; they absolutely are! This is just a gentle reminder that there are other bankable comediennes out there, and that creative casting pays off, (Orange is the New Black, anyone?) because it can oftentimes elevate so-so material. Casting is like dessert: no one really knows what they want until you roll the cart by and show it to them.

Orange Is the New Black's cast of unknowns spun comedy gold. It can happen again.

McLendon-Covey's suggestions include: casting that all-female Ghostbusters reboot with Carrie Brownstein, Michaela Watkins, and Regina Hall; bringing together Laurie Metcalf, Jane Lynch, and Shondrella Avery as state college professors competing for the same research grant; pairing Gabourey Sidibe and Edi Patterson as proprietors of a marijuana dispensary / cat sanctuary who are looking for love; and putting Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski together as process servers who go around breaking hearts. 

(Personally, I would love a movie where Kate McKinnon, Danielle Brooks, Christine Baranski, and Casey Wilson all have a bottomless mimosa brunch with me. Selfish? Probably.)

McLendon-Covey may be spitballing, but her point is clear: we may have gotten Hollywood to stop asking the monstrously tedious question "Are Women Funny?", but it still needs a kick in the pants to get past the idea that only a handful of women can be funny at a time. 
 
Would you want to Kickstart any of these projects? Which funny ladies would be in your dream cast?