NOW PLAYING

in theaters


review index

new on DVD/BluRay


review index

HOT TOPICS



Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
CINDERELLA -Yes No or Maybe So ???

Cinderella's evil step family

YES "Sandy Powell is doing costumes and the team of Ferretti & Lo Schiavo are production designers so I am a-seein' it.-Johnny 

NO "Disney is so deeply devoted to itself. " -Deborah

MAYBE SO "That moment where Cate holds up the shoe and says, "Looking for this?" has me intrigued how they will spin the story...-Shawshank

 

Beauty vs. Beast

COUNTESS OLENSKA vs. MAY WELLAND

The countess is watching....
Does she have your vote

Keep TFE Strong

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.

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe
Sunday
Nov132011

Oh Sister, My Sister... It's Dakota & Elle

Everyone's favorite teen blonde star sisters are covering W magazine this month.

It's too bad nobody writes really great nuanced dramas about glamourous teenage sisters, huh?

Elle Fanning on Dakota leaving for college:

I went into her room at home in California, and all her clothes were gone! Her closet was empty! I don’t get to go in there and steal clothes anymore. It’s really strange. It’s sort of like she’s off making a movie, but this time she’s not coming back.

Big interview reveal: Dakota is learning how to do her own laundry now that she's at NYU. Hee. (I laugh not at her but with her since I also didn't learn to do my own laundry until college. I know that's pathetic but my mom is a workaholic martyr-type, needs to do everything for everyone.)

Controversy
The interview never raises the latest controversy about Dakota Fanning's Marc Jacobs ad being banned. Flowers as Vagina is such a symbolic cliché that it's hard for me to take it seriously and be offended. Particularly when sexualizing young girls is such a constant and constantly celebrated aspect of pop culture (not saying it's right but it seems so arbitrary as to when people get up in arms about it vs when they love it, you know?). But anyway this particular cliché makes me lol because of Dianne Wiest's awesome "magnificent vagina" monologue in Bullets Over Broadway.

But back to the sisters... 
Who do you think scores an Oscar nomination first and how long are they both gonna have to wait? 


more photos and interviews (weirdly not conjoined) at W magazine

 

Sunday
Nov132011

The Amazing Linker-Man

Vanity Fairy Paul Mazursky, who made one of my favorite pictures (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) recalls its critical reception and then starts his own film reviewing for VF:  J. Edgar and Melancholia.
Wall Street Journal  Baseball legend Yogi Berra sees Moneyball and reminisces about his own history with the movies. Fun piece.
Coming Soon Emma Stone's opening monologue on SNL last night. Andy Samberg's Spider-Man arrives to interrupt her with a new script. Love this bit.

Emma: Ok, Andy, aren't you just redoing the same monologue that Kirsten Dunst did like 10 years ago?
Andy: Uhhh, yeah. Aren't you just redoing the exact same Spider-Man movie from 10 years ago?

Hee.

Awards Daily on the unshakeable charms of The Artist.
Thelma Adams falls for Kirsten Dunst's beautiful bitterness in Melancholia.
Playlist multihyphante showbiz woman Rie Rasmussen is gaga for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained which will "revolutionize Hollywood."
In Contention looks back at early Charlize Theron, pre Oscar Charlize in fact.
Funny or Die Ryan Gosling, the strong and very silent type. 
Serious Film on the makeup in J. Edgar
MNPP while looking at the new EW cover of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo this is what your eyes did.
Towleroad I had a brief chat with Dustin Lance Black about his screenwriting work on Milk and J. Edgar

stagey
NYT Hugh Jackman on Broadway review
La Daily Musto Hugh Jackman on Broadway review

Finally...
Let's end with this tribute to the title design of Saul Bass from Art of the Title...

The Title Design of Saul Bass from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

There are few things we enjoy more than a good title sequence. Which have been your favorite this year? FYC me for those Film Bitch Awards which begin sooner than you think.

Saturday
Nov122011

Review: "J. Edgar"

Disclaimer #1: This reviews briefly talks about the ending but... duh. It's history.
Disclaimer #2: Everyone has biases and the only people who tend to get in trouble about them are the ones that admit them like me. Generally speaking I think biopics are the dullest of film genres and it takes a strong artistic voice to overcome their persistent nagging limitations.  Generally speaking I do not love the work of Clint Eastwood. Though many critics feel duty bound to praise even his most obvious misfires, I've been accused of the exact opposite approach though I liked all four of his modern Best Picture grabs... (just not in the way Oscar did.)
Disclaimer #3: Clint Eastwood makes me sad because -- though this is not his fault -- he has ruined many famous film critics for me. My favorite living filmmaker is Pedro Almodóvar but I didn't try to pretend that Broken Embraces, Live Flesh, or The Skin I Live In were masterpieces. I don't trust anyone who can't see Eastwood's weaknesses as a filmmaker, his inability to vary up his visual ideas, the uneven "we did it in one take!" acting (it shows), and so on...

If you've already tuned out I understand and forgive you. That's too many disclaimers but one must approach the ceaselessly idolized Clint Eastwood with caution. Extreme caution is also recommended when approaching J. Edgar Hoover, the infamous half century FBI overlord and mean SOB. "J. Edgar" who is played from sixteen (?) to death by L. DiCaprio is also, as it turns out, an unreliable narrator. J Edgar (2011) is fully aware of this though weirdly cagey about when to reveal it. Rather than encouraging us to look at the man and his actions with clinical wide eyes from the start, it encourages much sympathy with groaner on-the-button lines like 'no amount of admiration can fill the place where love should be.' In fact, it embraces the title man's point of view to such an extent that he narrates the entire movie -- that old groaner device of "telling his story for posterity." His point of view is the only point of view so even his life long "friend" Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) is first viewed only as a menacing shadow behind closed doors, something to be ashamed of. After two plus hours of sympathising and listening to apologies about his behavior (but his mommy hated the gays -- naturally he was fucked up!) he is clumsily retrofitted at the tail end as the movie's Keyser Soze of sorts, only less purely evil on account of all the sad little boy business. But yes, he's been lying all along... or fibbing, if you're still feeling sympathetic.

Though the screenplay needed another few drafts as badly as some of the minor performances needed additional takes, there are brief flashes of the movie it could have been. The Charles Lindbergh and John Dillinger storylines, for example, are enough to fill movies by themselves. We know this because they've made for better movies than J. Edgar. Despite decades of evidence warning filmmakers about this exact "EVERYTHING!" approach, J. Edgar falls for the typical bio-traps. Movies are shorter than novels and definitely shorter than entire human lives and must thus choose which elements are worth dramatizing. Instead J. Edgar, like so many bios before it, crams itself full with cliff notes instead of truly absorbing the text and breathing its ideas. J. Edgar clings to many of the famous storylines and its own suppositions about them as desperately as Hoover clings to Tolson. But it's not just their manly love that's unconsummated; this whole movie has blue balls. Just as you become invested in one chapter or detail, you've lept ahead or backwards and on to another. No one involved in the production ever seems to decided what they found interesting about the material other than "ALL OF IT!"

For their part, the actors do what they can with the unfocused material. Leonardo DiCaprio, ever fond of playing anguished men, gives it his all but doesn't reach the charismatic precision or depth of feeling that he can hit when the material is more focused on entertainment than on SERIOUS ACTING. (In short, we're losing DiCaprio the movie star to DiCaprio the 'Master Thespian' and this is a crying shame.) Armie Hammer is more than adept at the dreamy Ivy League gay catch he plays in the early scenes but loses his way once he's playing a character well beyond his own age. He's swathed in lbs and lbs of prosthetics (maybe he couldn't see his marks? Why do makeup artists think "old" means 130? Why does he look older than Judi Dench?) Naomi Watts, who needed anything but yet one more bleak movie on her resume, is barely consequential at all. Though she embodies "Loyalty" -- we know because J Edgar tells us just that in the constant narration -- you could leave her on the cutting room floor and not lose much. Finally, though she's in little of it, Judi Dench walks away with the whole thing with her devastatingly unsympathetic mother-son chitchat about "daffodils". It's obvious and cruel code for "don't be a fairy!" though she knows her boy already is one. 

"Is that legal?"In the end, though, what burdens the movie as heavily as the extreme prosthetics must have weighed on Hammer and DiCaprio is its utter joylessness. Again Clint Eastwood dully plinks away on the piano at key moments rather than hiring a composer who could have elevated this movie with something more robust and filled with different shades of feeling. The murky cinematography by Tom Stern, is just as monotonous in feeling in addition to being practically monochromatic. Another Eastwood picture all drained of color. Black and white movies are among the most beautiful movies ever made so if you want to make a black and white movie, have at it; consummate the love affair! But none of this "color is too flowery!" business.

Even the early most playful scenes wherein J. Edgar and Clyde are becoming intertwined lack the spark that you can only see in Armie Hammer's eyes. You could stretch and say that the film's entirely bleak aesthetic is meant to represent the joylessness of Hoover's life only if you've never seen a recent Clint Eastwood. That's just how they always look. The movie is an über-drag, long before J Edgar is softly whimpering in his mamma's dress.  D+

Saturday
Nov122011

Ryan & Anne ... Sitting in a Tree...

Two of our best recent additions to the A List of Movie Stardom share a birthday, so let's sing a collective off pitched "happy birthday" for Ryan Gosling and Anne Hathaway today, turning 31 and 29. Given Ryan Gosling's absurdly potent chemistry with virtually all female co-stars, and his and Anne's mutual "photoshopped" bodies (seriously?), we're pretty certain that Hathaway is already stripping and running for the bedroom set if anyone offers them a movie together...

Gosling and Other Drugs

Isn't it weird that Hollywood hasn't thought to pair them?

If Ryan keeps up his current pace and doesn't quit the movies to make babies as he threatened earlier this year he'll soon have co-starred with virtually every important age-appropriate actress. By this time in 2013 we'll have seen him with rising Rooney Mara (Lawless) and reunited with Emma Stone (Gangster Squad). And he's already worked magic with McAdams, Wood, Mulligan, Dunst, and Williams!

 

 

 I recently suggested that I thought he'd look great with Andrea Riseborough (or TV stars Deborah Ann Woll or Katee Sackhoff if anyone would ever give them the big screen role they deserve.) but readers countered with some man-on-man suggestions. And since Gosling's enviable range hasn't yet dropped him into a gay role, what's your favorite reader suggestion there? 

 

 

 

Anne Hathaway hasn't been paired as frequently with opposite sex peers who share her star wattage with the notable exceptions of Gyllenhaal (twice), McAvoy, and Christian Bale next year (at least we assume the Bat and the Cat are still going to be scrappy sex partners, though who knows! Nolan's films do tend to swerve asexual.)

Who would you love to see Anne Hathaway paired with once she's out of the cat suit?

P.S. Today would have been Grace Kelly's 82nd birthday. We were just discussing the casting of her upcoming biopic.

P.P.S. Easy ways to kill time today on tumblr: Fuck Yeah, Anne Hathaway, Ryan Gosling vs. Puppies, Feminist Ryan Gosling

Saturday
Nov122011

Q&A Special Pt. 2: Briony, Nashville, Early Onset Actressexuality

Back again. So losing track of time lately. Fridays as Mondays. Thursdays as Fridays. When am I? Saturday AM? What? But here's the promised second part of the Q&A column. I loved the James Dean question and the Spice Girl question but I'll have to give them their own post or something later because my brain can't deal with their enormity tonight.

Here are a few more questions I wanted to / could answer. As always, I love to hear your answers to the same questions or your responses to mine in the comments.

MATTHEW: Choose three Oscar-nom'ed/winning actresses from the Aughts whose careers are most in need of redirecting and explain how you would help get them back on track.

I would've said Charlize Theron a year ago but -- yay -- totally back on track these days.

I want to start with Ellen Page. She gets work regularly but Whip It, her last vital role, will soon be three years old and it seems like we should be hearing her name more often in the 'who is up for what part' sweepstakes. I worry that Hollywood doesn't think she's "sexy" -- maybe it's the somewhat butch energy? -- and therefore doesn't consider her for the parts that they keep divvying up between Evan Rachel Wood, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, and the like. I think she should embrace the androgyny and do something harder-edged with a confrontational or casual sexiness. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would've been a great move for her. But alas...

Hilary Swank. I know I've been rough on her over the years... but it's not like she's without talent (though her line readings in the New Year's Eve trailer are truly lumber yard ready. Yikes!). I think the extraordinary early success misdirected her career and she ended up playing all these Movie Star roles she wasn't suited for and doing all these genres she's terrible at. She needs to stick with contemporary drama and maybe look for a challenging memorable character in a strong ensemble piece. The only way she's getting a third Oscar nominations is a vivid supporting part.

Mo'Nique. The only problem with her career is that she doesn't work enough. When you can do what she did in Precious you kind of owe it to the world, if you ask me. (You'll notice I didn't even mention the vanishing act that is Joan Allen's career. I can't even talk about that lest I burst into tears.)

Sir Ian His AwesomenessSMG: Who are your favorite real-life gay actors? gay characters?

Y'all have to start narrowing down your questions! Characters? This sounds like a top 100 list waiting to happen so I can't do it in this format. As for gay actors, I have total organic fondness for any public figure brave enough to come out of the closet. People are always saying "oh, it's personal. leave them alone. etcetera" but basic sexual orientation is not a private matter -- sexual preferences in the bedroom, sure, but not orientation. Look around you and you will see evidence of sexual orientation EVERYWHERE. The "stay in the closet if it's what's best for you" is just heteronormative societal pressure and the thing people are always telling actors "don't come out because it'll kill your chance to become an A List movie star like ____" is sick. As if people should lie about their life for their whole lives for the sake of a lottery ticket! That's just the dark side of our capitalistic 'every man for himself' / 'dog-eat-dog' thinking. Notice how each year it gets easier for gay actors and actresses and it's becoming less of an issue. Why? Because people before them were altruistic and brave enough to come out and have opened the doors. The world is a better place post Ellen Degeneres and post Ian McKellen and post everyone-else. We can pretend we all live in bubbles but we don't. Our actions affect other people; we live in a continuum.

Politics aside, some workign gay actors I'm extra fond of in that I usually love their work and always perk up when I see them (no offscreen / offstage kinship required): Lily Tomlin, Sir Ian McKellen, Cheyenne Jackson, Miriam Margolyes, Fiona Shaw, John Benjamin Hickey, Jonathon Groff, Udo Kier (I'm still giggling remembering his bit in Melancholia), and Alan Cumming. That's off the top of my head. 

Lily Tomlin in Nashville's "I'm Easy" Sequence

JOE K: Pick three performances in Nashville which you think are the most impressive that aren't Lily Tomlin and Ronee Blakley.

Nashville! One of the best topics in all of cinema. I'll name my choices and answer a drama/musical question and a first actress crush diary after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov112011

Actressland: "Martha Marcy May Marlene

New Series! Weekly Web Comic

 more panels after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov112011

11•11•11

To mark this historic occassion at 11:11 am of 11/11/11 and to continue procrastinating review writing (ugh writer's block) 11 lists of 11 things. Just because. Comment party: Please state your favorite 11 things of today in the comments!

11 Favorite Movies of the Year That Have Already Come Out On DVD (no particular order). 
Beginners, Poetry, Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires), Bridesmaids, Jane Eyre, Rango, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, The Tree of Life, Captain America: The First Avenger, ...and is Certified Copy on DVD yet? I mean other than in the UK?

11 Favorite Colours
Purple, Silver, Turquoise, Green, Almodóvar Red, Blue, Black, Burgundy, White, Platinum Blonde, and any color by Krzysztof Kieslowski

11 Prettiest Male Movie Stars of All Time (no particular order off top of head)
Gene Kelly, Jude Law, Keanu Reeves, Paul Newman, Montgomery Clift, Brad Pitt, Alain Deloin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Gary Cooper, Warren Beatty, Oh and Marlon Brando for a teeny tiny window of time.

11 Young Actresses I'm Currently Most Excited About (off the top of my head: NON-BINDING!)
Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Olsen, Kim Ok-Bin, Saoirse Ronan, Ellen Page, Jurnee Smollet, Mia Wasikowska, and Dakota & Elle. THIS LIST IS NON-BINDING. I'm sure I forgot someone truly amazing.

11 Favorite Edibles
Coffee, Cheese, Ice Cream, Pizza, Pad Thai, Flavored Vodka, sun dried tomatoes, sushi, enchiladas, cake, and a tall glass of water

11 Books That Are Closest To Me As I Type
"Made to Stick", "Inside Oscar", "What You See in the Dark", "Three Stooges FAQ" (what the hell?), "Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young", "The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael" "Anonymous William Shakespeare", "Swanson", "Eyewear: A Visual History", "Steve McQueen", and "Monsters in the Movies" (by John Landis... more on this one soon)

11 Favorite Animals
cats, elephants, racoons, ladyhawke, snakes, birds, panthers, butterflies, tigers, Monty and mermaids.

11 Things I Have Done This Morning That I Already Regret
not writing a review, typing up all these lists.... and running out of time to actually finish them. I only finished 7 of them. I ruined the 11 mania.