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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


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The Greatest Sci-Films. A Top Ten

"Excellent list. I wish it had included John Frankenheimer's and Rock Hudson's Seconds. The War of the Worlds also coulda been a contender. We won't discuss Soylent Green- BCarter

"...something new for my Netflix list. "-John

How would you rank them?

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Burning Questions: Lifetime Passes 

Michael C. here. This week’s Burning Question came to me when my heart sank upon seeing the poster for Woody Allen’s latest.

Maybe it's the inexplicably prominent placement of Roberto Benigni. Maybe it's because the Committee to Blandify Movie Titles reduced the movie's name from the interesting The Bop Decameron to the acceptable Nero Fiddled to the yawn-inducing To Rome With Love. Or maybe it was just the beige Nancy Meyers-ness of the whole thing. Whatever the reason, my gut tells me this is a return to the lifeless, script-out-of-the-bottom-drawer rehashes that have been the rule and not the exception for Woody’s output over the last decade. 

Of course this would all be a lot less distressing if I didn’t know there was no way I would miss seeing it. Why? Because I, like many others, have issued Mr. Allen a lifetime pass out of gratitude for Annie Hall and Manhattan and a dozen other titles that constitute a large chunk of the foundation of my love of movies. Therefore I will keep setting myself up for disappointment, like Charlie Brown forever returning to kick that football.

Annie Hall by Al Hirschfeld

Would it not make more sense to ignore the completist in me that insists I see every title Woody releases even when it's an obvious gutterball? Does anyone really deserve a lifetime pass?

First off, lets be clear what constitutes a lifetime pass...

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Review: "Mirror Mirror"

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad.

Once upon a time there lived a director with big canvas visual ideas. He would stretch them across just about any surface and start painting. Serial killer craziness (The Cell), muscle queen mythology (The Immortals), and uncategorizable period fantasy (The Fall) were all fair game. Any topic would do including a comic spin on Snow White because why the hell not? 

His name was Tarsem Singh or Tarsem or Tarsem Singh Dwandwar or Tarsem Dwandwar Singh because he could never settle on a signature. He would halfheartedly skim screenplays until inspiration struck. Once the spell was cast, he'd toss the script into the fire, chug absinthe, and speed dial Eiko Ishioka. He'd sketch until the last of the words had turned to ash and only his drawings remained*. The end. 

*not his real process.

Whether you live happily ever after from watching his movies depends on what you go to the movies for. [Continue]

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Yes, No, Maybe So: "People Like Us"

It's time to buy your tickets -- or not -- for a new movie based entirely on its trailer. This one is called People Like Us and stars Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks (who introduces the trailer... I find it so weird when they do that). The film also stars La Pfeiffer but they weirdly pretend like it doesn't until halfway through. Which also happened with Dark Shadows. Marketing departments clearly think she has no bankability anymore which is depressing. She has a robust online fan community still -- far more than some other 80s superstars -- so it stands to reason that they go see movies if she's in them. Unfortunately there are few case studies to be had. And maybe Hollywood is basing everything on Chéri bombing a few years back?

Let's break it down after the jump.


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April Foolish Predictions: Best Actor 

Every year on the 1st of April we begin consulting our well used crystal ball. It's like "the Oscars, again? Don't you wanna know winning lottery numbers or something?" It's foolish to predict the Oscars before practically any of the contenders have screened but foolish can be fun.

This year the contest might be between two men playing beloved US presidents, Bill Murray as FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson and Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, and even if it isn't that angle will get media play. Streep's win a month ago reminded us that Oscar has always loved political performances (if not overtly political films) and they literally can't go one year without having one of the four acting winners playing a real life character. (Benjamin Walker is also playing Abraham Lincoln this year but he's playing him as a vampire hunter so he doesn't figure into the chart.) 

Ryan Gosling has a few leading roles again this year but after the past few years it's clear that Oscar just isn't that into him. So we look to people they love nearly without fail like Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. It's possible that he'll overplay the role of a charismatic cult leader but that might actually help with Oscar. They love Clint Eastwood more as a director than an actor but one last chance to honor him for The Trouble With the Curve, a father/daughter road trip drama might be too much to pass up.

At this point I'm most curious about Hugh Jackman's chances for Les Misérables -- I'm guessing they're very good but I'm also guessing that that opinion won't be shared by all -and whether John Hawkes can fend off dozens of upcoming contenders and keep the heat from his Sundance success in The Surrogate as a man in an iron lung. 

Numerous leading men are coming but only five of them can win Oscar love. Other possibly interesting lead performances are on the way from Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Oscar Isaac, and of course Jamie Foxx as Django Unchained.

Who will it be? Here's my new guesswork.

How would you shift it?
Whose work are you most curious to see? 


Box Office: The Wrath of the Mirror Games in the Yemen

On Thursday night, Hunger Games became the highest grossing film of 2012 (thus far) so it entered its second weekend having already slain its competition. How much further can this film go? This is a very good year for both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Josh is nearing $100 million with his other top ten'er too. But if we're taking votes for EW's  "Entertainer of the Year"... I think it's obvious that Channing Tatum is going to chart, with two 100 million hits already and more films to come.

But if we're taking votes for EW's  "Entertainer of the Year"... I think it's obvious that Channing Tatum is going to chart, with two 100 million hits already and more films to come. Strong holds for Tatum's comedy and Hunger Games squeezed some of the potential life out of the two new mainstream hopefuls.

TOP TEN (Estimates)
01 THE HUNGER GAMES  $61.1 (cum $251) Reviewed
02 WRATH OF THE TITANS  $34.2 new in wide release
03 MIRROR MIRROR  $19 new in wide release
04 21 JUMP STREET  $15 (cum. $93.1) Reviewed
05 THE LORAX  $8 (cum. $189.6)

06 JOHN CARTER  $2  (cum. $66.2) Reviewed
07 SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN $1.2 significant expansion (cum. $3.1)
08 ACT OF VALOR  $1 (cum. $67.7)
09 A THOUSAND WORDS $.9 (cum. $16.5)

What did you see this weekend? I saw Mirror Mirror (review tomorrow) and gave The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo a second spin on DVD. No, I don't know why I haven't seen Salmon Fishing yet. Ewan & Emily? That sounds like a wonderful pairing. What's keeping me. Oh, yes. Constructing the Oscar charts. It's time consuming.


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