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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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Entries in bad movies (36)

Wednesday
Apr012015

What Becomes a Legend Most? On "Mommie Dearest"

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Mommie Dearest (1981)
Directed by Frank Perry. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann (who also shot Robert Altman's Nashville!)

As a practicing film buff ever since adolescence I've spent a lot of time thinking about two different questions. The first, what is it that makes some stars last in the public imagination beyond their own lifetimes while other giants fade? The second, entirely unrelated, what is the difference between a great movie and a terrible movie, and by extension this -- are 'bad movies we love' ever truly terrible or are they actually funhouse mirrors of greatness, very nearly the same but for the random comic distortions?

In Mommie Dearest (1981), the infamous movie based on an infamous tell-all about an infamous movie star -- that's a lot of infamy -- these questions collide...

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Wednesday
Apr012015

April Fools? The Age of Adaline

Manuel here wishing you a happy April Fools! To get in the spirit, I considered running a number of fake-o actressy news this morning (did you hear that Nicole Kidman is finally in talks to star in that Star is Born remake with Bradley Cooper? can you believe Angela Lansbury and Julie Andrews have signed on to star in a road-trip film about two boozy estranged sisters? could it really be true that Meryl Streep is starring in a Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? reboot? Oh wait. That last one may not be a joke after all).  

Instead, I figured we could talk about a film that pretty much looks like a joke:

 

It has to be, no? Watching the trailer I couldn't help thinking of Winter's Tale which from everything I've heard is laughable in all the wrong but oh so right ways. May The Age of Adaline follow suit? The tagline suggests that much:

"The world has changed this century. Adaline has not."

That is, of course, the plot of the film which features the beautiful Michael Huisman as Adaline's new lover whose father (Harrison Ford) may have been involved with Adaline back when he was younger... and she looked the same! Because she doesn't age, apparently? I have to admit I had a hard time getting through that trailer without smirking to myself and wondering "wait, really?" but perhaps I'm not in its demo. The film seems to be pitching itself to a Nicholas Sparks-watching crowd and so while I won't break it down YES/NO/MAYBE SO style, know that the presence of Ellen Burstyn (and the prospect of a shirtless Huisman) would be the only thing in the YES category.

But it really has the chance to be a new unintentional campy flick, no? Unless its self-seriousness proves to be too much. And so, on April Fools we're pressed to ask: is Blake Lively's career ever going to pivot away from a being a punchline?

Tuesday
Mar242015

Q&A Part 2: Guilty Pleasures, Boytoys, and Best Animated Feature

Yesterday I  answered reader questions about film sets worth living in and all time favorite actors and I hope that conversation keeps going because I haven't heard from too many of you what your choices are. There were so many good question this week let's keep the party going for an extra day. Here's the next six questions featuring Guilty Pleasures, Oscar's Best Animated Feature and Unseen Classics. One question will be answered in a forthcoming theme week that's already been planned and one final question is getting its own post. 

You can't say we've been slacking here at TFE.

LADY EDITH: Do you have a favorite Altman? 

I do. And it's no contest. I just shout Nashville (1975) as enthusiastically and loudly as I can when asked. Which is not to dismiss the rest of Robert Altman's always at least interesting filmography. My other two favorites are Three Women (1977) for its psychosexual actressing and Gosford Park (2001) for the sheer pleasure of it but I love his movies... well, maybe not Dr T and the Women but I love quite a few of his movies.

JEFF: What's your biggest guilty pleasure movie? Or a movie that most of the readers would be surprised that you happen to love.

After so many years writing online about movies I fear I have no secrets left. I love the usual guilty pleasures and probably talk about them too much (Xanadu and Showgirls chief among them). I suppose in terms of things I rarely write about the #1 guilty pleasure would be that I do kind of have a (small) thing for B grade action movies and affection for the sometimes limited actors that star in them like Jean Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, and Schwarzenegger of course. This is not a blanket genre appreciation; I never was interested if the movie starred Steven Seagal or Sylvester Stallone. I've seen Highlander (1986) with Christopher Lambert several times because my brother and his friends loved it. I loved Universal Soldier (1992) for some reason. One truly terrible movie that I used to enjoy with an old friend was Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee. This actually happens in it...

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Monday
Mar162015

Run All Night and the Liam Neeson Ass-Kicking Hierarchy

Michael C. here.  It has been over six years since Liam Neeson reinvented as filmdom’s reigning action hero by making “I will find you, and I will kill you” sound less like a threat and more like a statement of simple fact. Since then, a sort of unofficial franchise has formed around the concept of Neeson as a grim dispenser of violence. This series, not including would-be franchises launches like Battleship and The A-Team, breaks down into three distinct groups. They are:

  • Pure, unadulterated schlock. Only the faintest trace of plot or character. Just Neeson methodically throat-punching his way through an unending supply of sleazy Euro-Villains bent on doing unspeakable things to his loved ones: Taken 1, 2, 3
  • Still schlock, but with bonus bells and whistles. Supporting characters, a high concept premise, and a plot of rapidly escalating absurdity. Slightly less throat punching than the Taken films, but still a lot of throat punching: Unknown, Non-Stop
  • Actual films of substance smuggled into theaters. Under the guise of another Neeson schlock-fest, naturally. Little to no throat punching. Occasional implied wolf punching: The Grey, A Walk Among the Tombstones

For a while it looks like the latest entry in this series, Jaume Collet-Serra’s currently underperforming Run All Night, is poised to join Grey and Tombstones in that elite third group...

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Sunday
Feb222015

Review: 'Kingsman' is a Toxic Stew of Tone Deaf Mayhem

Michael C here with a question: When did it stop mattering if the hero saves the day?

Recently, it seems as long as the protagonist gives it the old college try that’s good enough to get rounded up to a victory. If a few thousand innocents die before he gets the job done, eh, nobody’s perfect. I started noticing this trend right around the time Man of Steel had to be careful to keep the piles of dead Metropolitans out of frame while Superman kissed Lois Lane on a pile of rubble.

Now we have Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service which ups the ante by not only having the hero fail to stop the villain from causing an outbreak of mass violence, but by lingering lovingly on the mayhem, including a mother who is brainwashed into attempting to murder her own baby. With previous examples of this trend, one could chalk it up to blockbuster inflation, with each movie trying to top its predecessors until the implications of all that destruction became unavoidable. With Kingsman, however, it feels like the showing of true colors, dropping the pretense that the film is about anything more than unashamedly reveling in a mass bloodletting. Vile stuff.

I realize I risk coming off as a prude and a scold by taking to task a film which wants only to be giddy escapist entertainment. [More...]

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Monday
Feb162015

Review: 50 Shades of Grey

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with a couple of minor adjustments.

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing happens in 50 SHADES OF GREY. Nothing at all. The property’s idiot savant genius may be how well it achieves this tabula rasa narrative and aesthetic zen state. Its slate is so blank that the audience is free to project whatever they’d like on to it including the drama. BYOE: Bring Your Own Everything. Perhaps this accounts for its enormous “event” like status at the box office. 

We begin with an embarrassingly botched interview between a young woman who we're supposed to think of as a frumpy plain jane, an unstylish deer in the headlights if you will, and the snappily dressed über intimidating businessperson who will decide her fate. (Think The Devil Wears Prada plus sexual tension minus jokes). Naive and beautiful young Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), her name apparently downloaded from a romance novel generator, has gone to see the young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) but she's not actually supposed to be there. She's doing it as a favor for her sluttier worldly BFF Karla (think streetwise Kit to impossibly virginal hooker Vivian in Pretty Woman) who happens to be sick on the day of her interview with the college's most successful alumnus/eligible bachelor. 

So our leads meet quite by accident. Is it fate? Will it get kinky? 

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Saturday
Feb142015

Bad Movie-thon

Jose here. Ah, it’s Oscar season and all movie lovers can talk about is who was snubbed or who will and should win. While basking in the glow of acclaimed movies and conversations about the merits of sound editing and screenwriting is nothing to frown upon, most people forget that new movies are released each week, yes, even during Oscar season. And yes, most of these releases are of dubious quality, but sometimes you can only watch your favorite Best Foreign Language Film nominee so many times before you want to go see something new, right?

But what to choose among the pile of critically lambasted offerings that 2015 has brought us so far? I saw a bunch of them, to bring you this concise report.

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