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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) B+/A-
Nymphomaniac (2014) B-
Divergent (2014) C
Enemy (2014) B/B+

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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. "Like it" on facebook!

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Baz Luhrmann then & now?

The idea of Baz Luhrmann making a Martial Arts movie sounds akward but also plausible at the same time. I like his films because the first half part of them is always hilarious messy and then deadly serious in the second half.❞ -Sonja

 There's a brilliant movie somewhere in Australia, but there's just too much going on.❞ -Val

which pop star/dj i haven't heard of will be doing the cover/remix of 'kung fu fighting' for the climatic twenty minute fight scene?❞ -par

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Box Office: Cowboys, Smurfs, Soldiers, Aliens, Beginners

Confession: I loved The Smurfs when I was young though I knew that they drew scorn from many corners. I would sing "la la laLALALA la la la la la" loudly whenever I wanted to annoy my older brother. That said, the movie looked a-tro-cious so I felt roughly zero in the way of nostalgic pull. I don't know how you cast talents as comedically strong as Hank Azaria and Neil Patrick Harris and then rely on fart jokes but apparently they did since "Who smurfed?" is supposed to be a joke therein. I was discussing this on Twitter last night with strangers lamenting that their kids liked it and Miyazaki would have to wait. I just returned from a vacation week with close friends and their children (including my goddaughter) and I'm happy to report that Miyazaki is well loved by the tween / early teen set. So there's hope for all disheartened parents of toddlers out there! Some of your children will grow out of their bad taste. Some of them won't and will grow up to rush to movies like Zookeeper wtih Kevin James on opening weekend. It's not the end of the world. It only feels like it to the devoted cinephile.

Weekend Showdown. Cowboys vs. Tiny Blue Aliens

box office top ten
02 THE SMURFS new $35.6
03 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [review$25.5 (cumulative $117.4)
05 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [your takenew $19.1
06 FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS $9.2 (cum $38.1)
07 HORRIBLE BOSSES $7.1 (cum $96.2)
09 ZOOKEEPER $4.3 (cum $68.8)
10 CARS 2  $2.3 (cum $182.1)

Items of Note: HP 7.2 passed the difficult $300 million barrier domestically and the even rarer billion mark globally placing it at the #2 position for 2011 just behind #1s Transformers 3 (domestic) and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (global). Given that "It All Ends!" has only been in release for two weeks, it'll easy defeat both of those films any day now. In ten days Captain America has earned about $116 here in its home country which means its already falling behind Thor despite a similar opening weekend draw. Thor was an even bigger hit across the Atlantic which doesn't seem likely for Cappy due to his homeland hero specificity. Cars 2 is running out of fuel, and may become the first Pixar release since A Bug's Life to fall short of $200 million domestically. Ah well, they'll always have their merchandising bonanza. Wasn't that the whole point of the sorry film to begin with?



other films we thought we'd check in on...
18 SARAH'S KEY $.3 (cum. $.5)
20 THE TREE OF LIFE [overheard / thoughts$.3 (cum. $11.6)
25 BEGINNERS [review]  $.2 (cum. $5)
39 THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE new $.09
53 THE FUTURE new $.02 

Sarah's Key a Holocaust drama starring TFE favorite Kristin Scott Thomas has been surprisingly robust with ticket sales thus far at only 33 theaters. Should we have been considering this one long ago?

I included The Devil's Double and The Future because I missed critics screenings but I'm totally curious about both (would love to hear your thoughts if you've seen them). Plus, we hadn't checked in on the lower ranks of the charts in some time. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, keeps puttering along in arthouses (widest release peaked at 237 theaters) and it might even eventually gross as much as the first two days of Zookeeper (!) which, as one friend soberly notes, ' why we can't have nice things.'

'Sarah's Key' and 'Beginners' are arthouse hits

Beginners has been a small and sturdy arthouse attraction itself, roughly akin to Winter's Bone at this point in its life (2 months) in terms of both gross and theater count. But can a 5 million grosser summon up enough energy to grow legs and stride through the often brutal precursor awards season without, one presumes, a lead performance and director with similar awards hopeful traction? Do you think Christopher Plummer has a good shot still or did the film need to catch on with more fervor for what might be a lone supporting bid?


July. It's a Wrap

Only one month of this infernal heat to go and we enter Prestige Season, our collective favorite time of year when the A list festivals begin and Hollywood starts its four month-long unveiling of presumed Oscar heavy hitters. Here are a dozen highlights from July in case your brain melted and you've barely been cognizant.

super soldiers and their cocoons

My Magnificent Aliens Obsession Kurt shared some face-hugging childhood memories during Aliens week
Highest Paid Actresses What are they worth to you?
Shouldn't "Best" Mean Something? yet more Oscar rule changes. 
True Blood Reviewed I'm having fun doing these. Hope you're enjoying. 

Actress Character Wins Miranda Priestley and Clarice Starling and other iconic characters from the past two decades of cinema.
Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause Love her. Love it.
1986 Nick and Nathaniel share 80s memories and revisit Oscar and Cannes favorites 
Complete the Sentences... what would you use Captain America's shield for? 

popular: Stage Door: Disney's Aladdin and Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock... I Guess
comments galore: Emmy nominations and Harry Potter Goodbyes

The Others (10th anniversary!), Fright Night, Higher Ground, Fall series promo, Judy Garland, Jane Eyre, Planet of the Apes, Raven of RuPaul's Drag U, Lucille Ball centennial, Armie Hammer, Win Win, summer recap, festival plans and more.


Take Three: Peter Sarsgaard

Craig here with Take Three. This week: Peter Sarsgaard

Take One: Garden State (2004)
Including Garden State as a Take Three take meant two things: watching one of Sarsgaard’s very best supporting performances again and watching the actual film again. The charm of the former outweighed the task of the latter. Despite essentially disliking the film, Sarsgaard makes it worth seeing. You get no sad, woe-is-me moping from him, nor do you get “original” moments of screechy-unique arm waving. His character, Mark, a grave digger, comes from the ‘insta-best friend’ vault of movie characters, but it’s what Sarsgaard does with it that makes all the difference. He’s essentially present to take a face full of Braff’s woefulness. During an abysmal rainy shout-a-thon into a large pit, he's on gooseberry duty, forced to awkwardly stand around whilst Braff and Portman snog each other’s faces off. But Sarsgaard lingers with style.

Mark still lives at home with his mother, parties hard with booze and pot and steals jewelry from dead people. Like everyone else in the film he has additional personality traits that, per Braff’s MO, make each and every character come across as utterly original. But Sarsgaard’s the only actor who doesn’t make a self-examining show of them. Instead he absorbs the quirks of character into performance and makes Mark both likeable and grounded. 

Take Two: Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Boys Don’t Cry is the first taste many of us got of Sarsgaard’s acting prowess. He’d been in a few independent movies beforehand (including Another Day in Paradise and Desert Blue for example) and he had played a murdered teen in 1995’s Dead Man Walking but Kimberly Pierce’s film was his first real flag planted firmly in the movie map. He was rightly lauded for his part in the story of murdered transman Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank in Oscar-winning form). As John Lotter, the central hateful antagonist, he couldn’t have been more charismatically devious.

Click to read more ...


Lazy Stupid Link

Links starring the cast of... u guessed it.
My New Plaid Pants 'Today's Fanboy Delusion' featuring Ryan Gosling.
Film Dr thinks the movie is "mostly stupid" 
La Daily Musto in praise of Marisa Tomei. Nearly twenty years since that Oscar win and still going strong.

Movie|Line 9 milestones in the evolution of Julianne Moore
Grantland on Julianne Moore's adulteress film tendencies. 

At this point, her very presence in a movie alerts us to an unstable sexuality lurking just below the surface — or at least at the bottom of that extra glass of Chardonnay. She’s a marriage-wrecking, conflict-creating, ginger-haired Jezebel.

It's true. The adulteress thing is getting as default mode as the Bad Mommy thing we've discussed repeatedly.

Bat Blog Tom Hardy on the set of Dark Knight Rises 
Boy Culture Abel Ferrara and his DP remember Dangerous Game. Lots of Madonna stories.. and yes, she was good in that film, detractors be damned. 
Television Blend Rosie O'Donnell gets a show on Oprah's network.
The Wrap Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt plan to do less acting. Sigh and also: hasn't Angelina already been doing less acting even as she's continued to make films ;) ?

And finally just a heads up that Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking is now available on DVD. It's funny. My favorite part was the celebrity genealogy section that sprung from the Elizabeth Taylor vs Debbie Reynolds Eddie Fisher scandal. 


Hallelujah! A Judy Garland Retrospective

The Lincoln Center and the Paley Center here in NYC have joined forces to celebrate the all-singing all-dancing legend that is Judy Garland! 

Shout 'Hallelujah', c'mon get happy!"

Once upon a time she was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer." Few celebrities have ever earned their PR self-mythologizing titles the way Judy G did. There's just no beating her for musical pleasure and cathartic heartbreak. And as if her sensational singing and dancing weren't enough, she was a fine actress, too!

I missed the first week of the celebration being in Michigan but I'll see what I can catch for the remainder of the summer program which ends August 9th. If you're not in New York City, you can always follow along at home as best you can with an impromptu DVD festival.


Still to come in the festival are...

Young Judy:
Everybody Sing (1938), For Me and My Gal (1942), Presenting Lily Mars (1943).... and of course a handful with Mickey Rooney: Babes in Arms (1939), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), Life Begins For Andy Hardy (1941) and Girl Crazy (1943)

Peak Judy: 
Meet Me in St. Louis
(1944) *one of my personal all time favorite films*, The Clock (1945) which was her first non-musical dramatic role, The Harvey Girls (1946), Easter Parade (1948), In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Summer Stock (1950), and the legendary A Star is Born (1954) in which Judy gives one of the greatest performances of all time. It should have won her the Oscar with ease. 

Late Period Judy:
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) *Judy's final Oscar nomination*, A Child is Waiting (1963) with Burt Lancaster, and the must-see (for its thinly veiled Judy autiobiopic'isms) I Could Go On Singing (1963). Meanwhile, over at The Paley Center there's a longer celebration of her television years which runs through August 18th [more info here].

Watch a Judy Garland film this week! Which would you choose?