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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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Big Little Lies

"I am blown away by this miniseries." -Michael R

"Laura Dern's Renata is crazy but she reminds me of several professional women that I know in the San Francisco Bay Area." -Jono

"Loved the jarring editing this week, and the reveal of what Perry did with the toys..." - DJDeeDay

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Thursday
Apr242014

Tribeca: "Every Secret Thing" with Dakota Fanning & Diane Lane

Tribeca coverage continues with your host Nathaniel on a new feminine driven mystery


Twisted women are an easy hook for this movie nerd and Every Secret Thing's premise provides. Ronnie (Dakota Fanning) and Alice (Danielle MacDonald) are just out of juvenile prison for a gruesome crime they committed when they were all of 11. Rivals rather than friends as children, in no small part because of Alice's single alcoholic mom (Diane Lane) who pours affection on both girls, biology be damned, they impulsively kidnapped a baby girl one terrible day. Years later, the two disturbed girls are back in their hometown and the years in lock-up have obviously further scarred them. Ronnie has withdrawn into a vaguely Goth shell and Alice, who has eaten her feelings for years, still protests her innocence.

But then another baby goes missing...

Every Secret Thing is written by the gifted Nicole Holofcener (based on Laura Lippman's novel of the same name) but directing duties this time go to Amy Berg. Berg is an Oscar nominated documentarian making her first narrative feature though she's been in the news lately because of the Bryan Singer allegations and the new documentary she's making about Hollywood sex rings. Holofcener's involvement is both surprising and not. On the one hand the film is largely about interpersonal relationships between women (her specialty) but on the other it lacks the kicky personality and wit of her other films. Just about the only laughs in this sometimes monotonous drama come from the gallows. Alice, memorably if arguably overplayed by MacDonald, has an odd relationship to the truth which sometimes makes for the kind of laughter that you have to swallow half-way through from guilt (Should I be laughing at this?)

Though Every Secret Thing has enough solid actressing to keep you engaged (Lane and MacDonald are trying to push the material to the weirder place that it should live in but the film isn't brave enough to follow) it's usually no more than solid. Fanning's role is disappointingly the slimmest of the four principle women. Elizabeth Banks' straight-laced detective, who investigated the original case and is on the case again, is too one note to maintain interest. In the end Banks's work and the underlit cinematography reflect a kind of dreary punch-pulling in the acting and direction, that make the film far too sedate given its pulpy plot points. Every Secret Thing keeps blanketing the sharper edges of its actually gruesome story, just when it should be exposing you to bracing truth, like it's tucking you in drearily so you won't have nightmares. B-/C+

Thursday
Apr242014

Tribeca: "5 to 7," Or Why Frustrated Writers Should Back Away From Final Draft

Tribeca coverage continues with Diana on 5 to 7 with Anton Yelchin & Glenn Close

Based on the imaginings of an out-of-touch, middle-aged writer-director, 5 to 7 is about a 24 year-old “writer” (Anton Yelchin) who becomes involved with the 33 year-old wife of a French diplomat (Berenice Marlohe). Brian lives in Manhattan, presumedly on his parents’ dime (Glenn Close and Frank Langella, both painfully misused), and attempts to write, his creative juices facilitated by posting a multitude of rejection letters on his wall and playing lonely man wiffleball in his apartment. Arielle also lives in Manhattan  and is oh so very “French” -- husband, two kids, posh neighborhood, and ability to balance high heels with a well-fitting dress.

Spotting Arielle in front of the St. Regis, Brian pursues her through quips that sound more like early drafts of “wit” rather than the finished product (think Woody Allen without the neurotic charm). She tosses words back at him that are meant to signify mutual attraction. When they do end up in a hotel room together (after she hands him the key), there is zip chemistry between the pair, cringingly highlighted all-the-more when Arielle tells Brian that he is a natural lover and asks whether his other lovers had told him that. That’s the crux of the problem with this film - we are told things consistently through voiceover and character iteration (Brian loves Arielle, Arielle loves Brian, Brian’s mother can see that they love each other), but we’re rarely shown anything substantial enough to back up these assertions. [More...] 

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Wednesday
Apr232014

April Showers: Éponine in Les Misérables

waterworks at 11. here's abstew on Les Miz...

Ever since the musical version of Victor Hugo's sprawling novel hit the boards, Éponine, the tragic waif whose love for her friend Marius goes unreciprocated, has always been a fan favorite. Her storyline in the musical is definitely the most relatable. I don't know about you, but I've never had to turn to prostitution to support my young child or served a 20 year prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread. But being in love with someone that doesn't have the same feelings for you? Yeah, we've all been there. And this patron saint of unrequited love's anthem "On My Own" has become the rallying cry of broken-hearted teenage girls (and gay boys) for decades now.

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Wednesday
Apr232014

'six links forward and five links back, I got -- I got an angry link'

Vulture Jeff Tetreault, the screenwriter of Bad Johnson, is a go-go boy by night. This is an amusing article
Defamer Lupita Nyong'o chosen to headline this year's People "50 Most Beautiful" issue. Yeah yeah. But can we hear about some new roles? Seriously? What is this insane wait. Why isn't she buried in offers?
Vanity Fair's Hollywood turns out that Naomi Watts Marily movie Blonde is back on... only now it will star Jessica Chastain. Basically every actress is rumored to or will play Marilyn Monroe at some point in her life
USA Today congratulations to Jodie Foster. The actress just married her girlfriend after a year of dating
Variety Cannes by the numbers with directors from 25 (Xavier Dolan) to 83 (Jean Luc-Godard) in two women in competition this year
THR oh jesus Christ. Hollywood can't leave any franchise alone. They're talking about reviving Flash Gordon now.

Playbill Opening night of the Hedwig revival on Broadway with Neil Patrick Harris
Towleroad Andy Towle was also there in the first row

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS SAT ON MY FACE LAST NIGHT AND I LOVED IT

Variety it's really happening. They're remaking Ben-Hur (1959) which won 11 Oscars. No film is safe! (That said, Ben-Hur was also a remake of a silent epic so...)
Mark Ruffalo is tweeting photos from the set of Avengers: The Age of Ultron
Coming Soon weird news: Meg Ryan will be the voice of future Greta Gerwig on How I Met Your Dad

Tonight's Watch
Screen Junkies gets really cheeky supercutting all the F words in The Wolf of Wall Street. But not those F words

Wednesday
Apr232014

Beauty Break: "On Wednesdays We Wear Pink"

Mean Girls Week Begins! For the next seven days (betwixt the normal blogging) we'll be dropping in occasionally on the students of North Shore High to celebrate 10 years of Mean Girls which opened April 30th, 2004.

For now please to enjoy this very pink gallery with a lavender note from Damian...

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Wednesday
Apr232014

A Year with Kate: Woman of the Year (1942)

Episode 17 of 52 of Anne Marie's chronological look at Katharine Hepburn's career.

In which Tracy and Hepburn explode on screen in a dynamic maelstrom of celluloid chemistry.

What sparks great star chemistry? Katharine Hepburn, an actress who was all angles and independence, bottled that lightning not once, but twice, with two men who were polar opposites: Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy. Near the end of Bringing Up Baby, Grant’s character tells Katharine Hepburn “...in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you, but, well, there haven't been any quiet moments.” This stuttering sentence sums up the banter-based rapport between Hepburn and Grant that played through their four films together. Watching Grant and Hepburn is watching two master comedians play a scene - glamorous, theatrical, loud, and wonderful. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are the complete opposite: authentic, intimate, sexy, and sweet.

Woman of the Year, the first Tracy/Hepburn film, is full of those “moments of quiet” abolished from Bringing Up Baby. But, oh! how loud a quiet moment can be! The electricity crackling through those moments between Kate and Spencer isn’t born of perfect comedic timing or a well-written script. It is one of those undefinable energies, like the always elusive “star quality,” that you know as soon as it hits you like a bolt of lightning.

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Wednesday
Apr232014

Tribeca: Spacey, Shakespeare, and Sightseeing

Tribeca Film Festival Coverage continues. Here's abstew on a Kevin Spacey doc

"That's why the film is called 'Now', it's not just the first word spoken at the beginning of the play, but it was meant to evoke that immediacy of live theatre. It's happening right now, in front of you," director Jeremy Whelehan said to a packed audience at the world premiere of his documentary film Now: In the Wings on a World Stage.

The film chronicles The Bridge Project, a transatlantic theatre company that was a collaboration of the British Old Vic (which for the past 10 years has had two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey at the helm as Artistic Director) and New York's BAM, and the last production the company performed, Richard III. The documentary (which Spacey also produced) goes behind the scenes of director Sam Mendes' production of the Shakespeare work about the deformed, power-hungry king and the year long, globe-spanning journey of its company of players. Spacey and the entire cast were on hand to introduce the film and stayed afterward for a discussion moderated by legendary anchorman Charlie Rose. [More...]

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