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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 | instagram | letterboxd 

 

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Entries in TV (327)

Tuesday
May192015

Q&A: Summer Classics, Best 'Action' Acting, and Late 70s Silliness

Yay, reader question time! I did two public appearances, with mic in hand, this weekend which is rare for me. First up was the Q&A with David Dastmalchian for the Animals opening at Village East Cinemas and then on Sunday, a very stressful pre-screening trivia for the Mad Men Finale at The Astor Room restaurant in conjunction with The Museum of the Moving Image. I am always terrified if I'm miked but here at home on TFE, no terror. I type at you, no miking necessary.

Let's take 9 reader questions. I suggested 1979 related questions (our year of the month) but let's do some general questions first on action film acting, summer movies, Oscar sweeps, and classic novels on the screen...

BHURAY: What are your five favorite novels of all time and if they've been translated to film how would you rank the films?

NATHANIEL: I don't feel all that well-read I confess. I spend so much of my time with movies that it's hard to carve out several hours for a book. But when I do read I try to alternate between one for fun and one because-it's-classic when I do read. These are the five best novels I've ever read:

Beloved and lots more questions after the jump...

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Monday
May182015

Review: Bessie 

TFE's newest contributor Angelica Jade Bastién on HBO's latest biopic

For over two decades Queen Latifah has been trying to bring the life of Bessie Smith, the legendary "Empress of the Blues" who found success in the 1920s and 1930s, to the screen. Despite Bessie's life being a perfect mix of glamour and tragedy that seems tailor made for a biopic I'm not surprised it has taken Latifah this long to bring her story to life. Bessie Smith (Queen Latifah) is a rough hewn, country, bisexual, and passionate broad. The film doesn't sand off her edges or shy away from her contradictions instead it embraces them. Bessie tracks the legend from her early days as a singer with her older brother/manager, Clarence (Tory Kittles) always in her corner to the Great Depression when all her personal and professional success falters. 

Anyone familiar with women's pictures knows the emotional terrain Bessie is covering. But what makes this women's picture downright transgressive is its sympathetic,multi-layered portrayal of black queer desire...

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Sunday
May172015

Goodbye To Dear Loved Ones

I'm too distraught at the moment to truly process it but my favorite television show of all time ends tonight. End of an era, indeed. In just a few short hours at that. I'm off to co-host a finale party at the Museum of the Moving Image. (We will surely discuss later and probably through the Emmys so awards seasons have their blessings in keeping conversation relevant and alive.)

But to those who are also in mourning, you are not alone. This show has fascinated so many and inspired such wonderful writing on the web for seven years at many different sites. Let us cry on each other's virtual shoulders. Favorite episode. Favorite character. Favorite season in the comments please!

Wednesday
May132015

HBO’s LGBT History: The Beginning

Manuel here kicking off a mini-series of sorts focusing on HBO's decades-old commitment to telling quality LGBT stories. I spent much of this spring recapping Looking here at The Film Experience and as polarizing as many (both here and elsewhere) found the show, it remained the sole American television show centered on the gay male experience to air last year. As we all know, shortly after the season 2 finale, HBO understandably pulled the plug; the show garnered a mere 0.298 million viewers for that episode, a mere pittance when compared to their Westeros-set hit, but also nearly half of what Lena Dunham’s show metered that same evening. And so, to fill the void and build up to a very gay-friendly upcoming HBO film roster (Queen Latifah’s Bessie, that rumored Matt Bomer/Montgomery Clift biopic, the Looking wrap-up film), we’re diving headfirst into a crafting an oral LGBT history of the network that gave us Patrick, Richie, Kevin, Agustin, and Dom, but which had clearly paved the way for such a show with a long storied list of LGBT stories even before it became the ratings giant it is now.

To say HBO, as a cable provider, as a television network, and as an independent film producer, has changed the media landscape is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Its long-running tagline, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” spoke to the core of what has made HBO such an institution. Despite various attempts at replicating its successes, HBO remains staunchly and idiosyncratically itself. Netflix and Amazon may be sniping at its heels but with a bucket load of Emmys, a gigantic and zeitgesty fantasy series on hand, and its new streaming service (anyone sign up for HBO Now, yet?), the cable giant is showing no signs of aging.

[Angels in America and Your Requested Participation after the jump...]

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Tuesday
May122015

You'll Believe A Frog Can Bike

Travel back in time with me to the late 70s. Superman (1978) birthed the modern superhero film with the instantly classic visual-effects spotlighting tagline "You'll believe a man can fly." If the internet had been around back then, it surely would have become a meme and been parodied ad infinitum. (Maybe it did in whatever form memes used to take?). The very next year The Muppet Movie (1979 - our year of the month!) could have used the tagline 

You'll believe a frog can bike. 

My movie memories are super spotty until the 1980s but I have a handful from the late 70s and this is one of them. My eyes going wide and little jaw dropping at the sight of Kermit the Frog on a bicycle. I must have been aware that my beloved Kermy -- stand down, Miss Piggy! --  was a puppet since being a puppeteer was the childhood career goal. So how was this possible; puppets don't have legs because people's hands go up their butts!

Happy National Bike to Work Week! 

The Muppet Wiki tells us how this was accomplished and the Muppets are on the brain since they'll be revived for primetime next season. Does this trailer sell you on a contemporary version? (On a scale of Yes No or Maybe So... I regret to inform that I'm not fully in the first column.) 

P.S. This trailer reminds us that Kermit is kind of an awful husband/boyfriend. Miss Piggy is the faithful one. He's the commitment-phobe. And yet she's always painted as the shallow one. Hmmm.

Tuesday
May122015

Q&A: Gene Kelly 1, Character X, and Best Actress 2: The Sequel

It's time to answer a dozen reader questions pulled from the last two "Ask Nathaniel" suggestion-box posts. Please to note that in the podcast this weekend, we answered a few already that were Ex Machina related and last night we teased you with an appetizer about the emotions of Inside Out and actors who best embody them.

Jumping right in...

BVR: Do you think audiences will ever flock to dramas again the way they used to years ago?

I hope so, all things being cyclical. It happens once in a while still. The Blind Side (2009) and American Sniper (2014) were both supersized hits in the way movie star dramas of the past have been when they've hit big. Unfortunately they both felt like anomalies and only that successful because they managed to get people who don't go to the movies into the movie theater. The problem today is obviously at least four-fold: TVs got larger, the amount of content exploded, theatrical windows shrunk, and the theaters, rather than stepping up their game to compete, actually made themselves less hospitable with smaller screens and tons of commercials.

Movie theater chains seem to be trying again but once you've lost a regular moviegoer, it's hard to restore their habit. What is next in terms of technological advances? Will we ever get fully three dimensional hologram-like movies you can walk around inside? And if we do, won't dramas be the favorite, rather than special effects pictures, for the 'choose your own proximity adventure' in terms of closeups of the actors? I imagine they'll be performed very much like straight plays for multiple cameras and since you're the one doing the editing, theater training will be important and superb acting could rise again to "favorite visual effect" dominance. 

Or did our recent sci-fi week warp my brain too much? This wasn't the answer you were looking for.

BROOKESBOY: Who will be the next winner of a second Best Actress prize?

More Questions and Answers -- a lot more -- after the jump

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