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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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Wednesday
Mar192014

A Year With Kate: Quality Street (1937)

Episode 12 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order

In which Katharine Hepburn is an old maid at 30 and sometimes I hate Old Hollywood.

It's strangely fitting that the last movie before Kate's string of classics turns out to be the worst film of her RKO career. Yes, I'm including Spitfire. Spitfire was laughably bad. Quality Street is downright insulting. But while groaning through the longest 82 minutes of my life, I did a little research, and I managed to solve the mystery behind the last 11 weeks of (mostly) bad movies. Better yet, I solved it with science. But first a little exposition.

I've been informed that I occasionally skip over major movie details/actor information/whatnot. Here's a quick summary: Based on a J.M. Barrie play, Quality Street is the story of a spinster teacher who, at 30 years old, finds herself too worn and ugly for her recently-returned beau (Franchot Tone, remember him?). Determined to win his heart, the spinster disguises herself as her prettier, (fictional) younger niece. This only works because by Hollywood Logic, Hepburn's bonnets have the same beauty-dampening power as Rachael Leigh Cook's glasses in She's All That.

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Wednesday
Mar192014

Dinner with... Joel & Clementine & Link Roundups

November 19th, 2003. Dinner at Kang's again. Are we like those poor couples you feel sorry for in restaurants. Are we the dining dead?"

How did i forget this shot of Joel playing with his food. Food product smiley faces forever

I will definitely be 'the dining dead' tonight... slowly chewing on my food from the same restaurant I always order from. I can already feel the numbness kicking in. Long day. Best to send you off running to other blogs. 

Eat Links Instead
New Now Next is hosting a funny daily March Madness tournament for the "Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time" - I voted already but some of these face/offs are striking, silly, and super. I had to use a lot of "s" so pronounced tha sentence with a sibilant s please. 
YouTube the new Maleficent trailer - same as the one we covered extensively but for more of Elle Fanning and a backstory about Maleficent's wings (!) I am even more intrigued now but I wish movies would save surprises for the theater 
Gawker Landmark theaters invites you to bring your child to see Nymphomaniac Pt. 1. LOL (Hey, it'd be healthier for them than those slasher movies I always see parents dragging their kids into)

Buzzfeed not so insane fan theory about the interconnectivity of Disney kingdoms in Frozen, The Little Mermaidand Tangled. This is trippier than anything Chris Nolan ever dreamed up
The Playlist in addition to just being a mediocre actor Aaron Johnson is also a fussy one and didn't want to have white hair as Quicksilver thus further ruining the character for me in Avengers: Age of Ultron 
The Wrap Tilda Swinton and Barkhad Abdi join Bill Hader and Brie Larson in Judd Apatow's comedy Trainwreck  

Eternal Linkshine
If you aren't yet sick of the 10th anniversary party after all those Best Shots here...
Huffington Post talks to Kate Winset about her memories of the film
Cine Munch for those of you who have more creative energy for a dinner tonight or tomorrow this new blog offers menus and recipes to go along with great movies like this one . Complete with a drink: The Blue Ruin Mind Eraser with my favorite: Curaçao
People Mag 20 elusive facts about the movie - I didn't know a lot of these

Wednesday
Mar192014

Asian Film Awards: Snowpiercer, The Grandmaster, and More

The youngest of film awards for Asian cinema (they have quite a few) is the Asian Film Awards which are now in their 8th year. Unlike the prestigious Golden Horse which (mostly) goes to Chinese language cinema, these encompass just about anything Asian: Japan, China, India, South Korea, The Phillipines and so on. Their best picture nominees this year:

The near misses, we assume, are Ilo Ilo from Singapore (Oscar submission last year) and Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father Like Son from Japan (the one Spielberg might remake) since they did well with nomination tallies in major categories.  If you're interested you should look at their official site because they smartly include photos of everyone - you can even see what the cinematographers, editors and costume designers look like.

Wednesday
Mar192014

Jane & Lily are "Grace & Frankie"

Lily & Jane together in 2006 for a Nine to Five party (photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com)In the greatest news that ever existed today, Netflix has revealed that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will co-star in their the forthcoming original series "Grace & Frankie". The show's premise sounds hilarious (at least for a short run) as it's about two enemies whose husbands leave them for each other. Grace & Frankie slowly becomes friends.

There's no word yet on when we'll see it, but it joins about 4 other new shows Netflix has ordered in the wake of their smash success creating original programming: Orange is the New Black and House or Cards are both sensations and apparently even Hemlock Grove generated strong numbers despite being shamelessly terrible. 

 The new comedy is created by Marta Kauffman. If that name sounds familiar it's because she's brought the world "Friends". With two formidable and now underused comic talents like Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin on board this could be really special.

The only logical question that remains...


Who do we have to sleep with to get Dolly Parton on the show? 

 

Wednesday
Mar192014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "The Giver"

Normally we don't cover "teasers" in the Yes No Maybe So trailer series but we'll make an exception with The Giver because it is trapped somewhere between a short teaser and a full length trailer. And because we might not want to talk about it again, if this 'traiser' is evidence. Despite two of the world's greatest actors (Jeff Bridges & Meryl Streep) helping it along our appetite is not whetted.

The movie, based on a fantastical YA bestseller (aren't they all?), is about a boy living in an utopian future that is actually a dystopia. SURPRISE! La Streep plays the Elder, who likes to be the figurehead of the repressive harmonious society and Jeff Bridges, her mirror on the other side, who helps our young hero to see the truth.

The trailer and our YNMS breakdown after the jump

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Tuesday
Mar182014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

I am Joel Barish.

Or I was while rewatching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I hadn't seen the film in about 8 years and it rushed at me which such full force it felt like the first time again... or at least like the most vivid Déjà Vu ever. The experience is disorienting in its speed (20 minutes in and you're already portal'ed into Being Joel Barrish, without quite realizing it) moving in performance (career best work from Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey and a pitch-perfect supporting cast) and fascinating in its premise, looping structure and mirrored ideas (Charlie Kauffman's ingenious screenplay justly won the Oscar). But it's in the realm of the visuals where Michel Gondry and DP Ellen Kuras bring it all together with imagination, verve and an entirely bold and unusual use of light and focus.

The "Best Shot" task suddenly seemed unthinkable. "Can I choose 'every'?" I ask myself in a whimper, like Joel begging to keep just this one intimate moment with Clementine in bed. What kind of a sadistic game is this series of ours? I wanted to throw my hands up and cry out... or at least type out in blog form: 

Do you hear me? I want to call it off!"

For anyone who has ever loved and lost painfully, the premise of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is cruelly precise, both tempting and unthinkable. The most literal representation of that is surely the iconic shot of beautiful bright Clementine pulled from the ice beside Joel into inky blackness, forever out of reach. That and the blurry iconic "Meet me in Montauk" closeup which feels exactly like the irreversible imprint that its meant to be, are the two images that I think of immediately whenever my memories flutter back toward the movie.

Neither have lost their power.  

But as a movie that's unfolding before you and not as you remember it, the most powerful shots are those in perpetual motion (see photo above). This is Eternal Sunshine at its most alive and dangerous, as Joel tries to outrun and escape his foolish decision to have Clementine erased from his mind. This image, Joel running  through ever-shifting but somehow circular hallways, pulling his beloved along (she is never as fully visible but for that unmistakable tangerine hair) is repeated twice in the movie. It's broken up with a third variation that is horizontal as a spotlight keeps catching them as they run through Clem's bookstore.  Kuras' choice of bright spotlights which lend each frame both blinding beauty and empty darkness, feels almost like lucid dreaming and definitely like love gone hopelessly wrong; you're experiencing it, you think you can control it, but it's perpetually slippery, sliding at the edges into a nightmare. Which is not unlike the futile experience of trying to avoid grief or pretending the love wasn't there. 

There is no escape from the past. And if there were some soothing ill-advised oblivion to choose instead, gone goes all the beauty with it.

"Okay?" "Okay."

The Collection of 33 Best Shots  from participating cinephiles... Or just click around on these blogs and be surprised: The Examiner, I Want to Believe, Manuel Betancourt, Mario Arratia, Lam Chop ChopStranger than Most, Victim of the Time, Awards Circuit, Entertainment Junkie, Antagony & Ecstasy, (Home) Film Schooled, We Recyle Movies , Martin Fernando, Amiresque , Film Actually, Ben's Talking Pictures, Coco Hits NY, A Blogwork Orange, Best Shot in the Dark, Cinemunch, Intifada , Cinema Romantico, Dancin' Dan on Film, Sorta That Guy, Film Misery, Encore's World, Three Pounds Lost, The Film's The Thing, Musings and Stuff, Cinema Pop, My New Plaid Pants, and... Yours?

Next Tuesday: L.A. Confidential (1997) starring Noah himself, Russell Crowe 

Tuesday
Mar182014

Visual Index ~ Eternal Sunshine's Best Shots

In the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series we ask participants (all are welcome) to post a single shot that they think is the chosen movie's best and tell us why. "Best" is open to interpretation of course and often highly personal... and subject to change, just like memories. Memories are the environment and subject of this week's film, Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). The film celebrates its 10th anniversary on March 19th and feels as essential as ever. 

Though we usually list the Hit Me With Your Best Shot collective choices in chronological order, memories aren't linear. Instead we're sharing the best shots in rough reverse chronological order of when we received them. Read them all for the opportunity to see the movie with new eyes: someone else's.

Meet us in Montauk... 33 images after the jump

Click to read more ...