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Entries in bad movies (26)

Sunday
Sep142014

TIFF: Miss Julie or, Acting: The Movie! 

The 2014 edition of TIFF ends tonight and so will Nathaniel's review coverage with Still Alice. Wrap-ups and Oscar updates coming shortly thereafter. Now Liv Ullman's Miss Julie... 

"Kiss my shoe!" Colin Farrell reenacts critical reaction to Chastain's debut film year

This review contains 126 year-old spoilers if you’re not familiar with August Strindbergh’s one act play, which has been adapted to film frequently. The play is about the bored, lonely, and loveless daughter of a Baron, Miss Julie (Jessica Chastain) who enjoys toying with the servants, especially with John her father's valet (Colin Farrell). She flirts shamelessly even in front of his fiancé the cook (Samantha Morton) ordering him to perform sometimes demeaning and not very valet-like duties, like kissing her shoe or bringing her flowers. The story takes place in a single night in which the valet and the lady of the house will consummate their extremely uncomfortable and scandalous attraction with incredibly disastrous results... especially for Miss Julie. If 19th century Swedish country estates had been unionized John surely would have told her what wasn't in his job description. 'Not that. Not that. Definitely not that. You're playing with fire, Miss Julie!'

We understand Miss Julie's maddening hypocrisies straightaway as, when the story begins, she's already ordered the cook to feed her dog "Diana" an abortive dinner since the naughty girl has had sex with the gate keeper's mongrel dog. Foreshadowing 101 anyone? Diana is played by an adorable pug so we'll ignore, for Jess's dignity, that the play indicates that the dog ought to resemble Miss Julie! The pug laps down the meal hungrily and then proceeds to whimper through the entire first scene. This too proves foreshadowing, as yours truly began to do the same. If only Samantha Morton could have scooped me up, as she mercifully does with the confused pup, to carry me out of the screening room! 

more...

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Wednesday
Jul092014

Best Shot: Batman (1966)

Happy 75th Anniversary to the world's favorite f***ed-up orphan billionaire!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns on the evening of July 15th with a special free-for-all episode in which you choose whichever Batman feature film you want to look at and post your choice for its Best Shot. We link up. It's our way of celebrating Batman's 75th birthday. I opted to start at the beginning. No, not Tim Burton's high gothic smash but the special feature edition of the 1960's TV series, which was filmed after season 1 wrapped (the props were reused for follow-up seasons)

BATMAN (1966)


Batman (1966) has a ton of sight gags. I'm not claiming that any of them are particularly well-executed but my favorite bar none is Batman's lunatic run holding a lit bomb that he can't find a place to dispose of. It's what would happen if you crossed Batman with a Mr Bean skit. But that joke isn't freeze frameable since it's all in the montage / length. Since this is the only Batman feature that's an intentional comedy (someone will cover Joel Schumacher's movies I'm sure) I had to choose something humorous for my best shot. Nothing is funnier in 60s era Batman than the OCD labelling of everything. It's not enough to have everything shaped like the Bat symbol and called 'Bat-this' and 'Bat-that' but the Bat-name must also be displayed in big letters ON the item in case the hero forgets who he is or what props are (but remembers how to read). Even the four villains (Catwoman, Joker, Riddler and The Penguin) get in on the act with their own labelled shelves in their submarine HQ.  

In the movie's opening maritime rescue setpiece Batman dangles from the Bat-Copter on the Bat-Ladder (yes, there's a label on the last rung) when suddenly he emerges from the water with a shark dangling from his leg nine years before Jaws made that a universal nightmare. Batman tries to go all Lara Croft on its ass, but lacking her mad shark-punching skills many years later, Batman needs Robin to save him (but he's not in a hurry about it since he's Adam West and he likes to make each sentence into 3 sentences.)

Best Shot

Hand.    Me Down.    The Shark Repellent Bat Spray.

Robin climbs down the Bat-Ladder (no one is piloting the Bat-Copter. Just saying). Instead of just handing his Sugar Daddy the Bat Spray Shark Repellent --  it's not like the shark is going to leap legs for Burt Ward's chicken legs when it's already got an Adam West thigh --  the Boy Wonder pauses to be all acrobatic about it and hangs upside down to pass over the spray.

It's super dumb and I love it. 

[Gluttons for punishment can check out a few more shots I loved after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun212014

Review: "Jersey Boys"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

 

‘I’m looking for sky blue and you’re giving me brown,' a fey producer sighs when the Four Seasons are in the recording booth. They’re just going through the motions rather than livening up their material. He could just have easily been dissing Jersey Boys itself, Clint Eastwood’s needlessly dull adaptation of the Broadway smash. In truth the band’s performance in this scene isn’t appreciably worse than their performances elsewhere in the movie. If you can’t readily spot differences in inspiration and creative fire from one performance to the next, maybe there’s none to be found?

“Brown” isn’t quite the color of it, though. Clint Eastwood’s aesthetic favors underlit rooms, heavy blacks and washed out color. You’d think that aesthetic would change for a splashy musical but you’d be wrong. I mean, why shouldn’t a musical about a famous band with a gift for hooky pop gems look as depressing / dead-end as a drama about desperate boxers or a war film about an island massacre?

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Thursday
May222014

Tim's Toons: Oz well that ends well

Tim here. By now, you've undoubtedly all heard the biggest news of the summer movie season so far: there’s a conspiracy by Big Hollywood to bury the little cartoon indie that could, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

“Legends of which, now?” I can already hear some of you asking.

Exactly the point!  As producer-fundraiser Greg Centineo so sagely put it:

We’re nobodies in this industry. And we stepped into a deep, deep ocean with some very, very big sharks. Some of those mainstream critics have not just trashed the movie, but literally tried to crush it… You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out something is wrong there.”

Damn straight!

It's a well-established fact that critics and audiences tend to agree about 100% of everything, and the movies with the best reviews always make the most money. Surely only a shadowy cabal of self-sabotaging distributors and bought-and-paid for critics could be responsible for the film’s box office failure, and I am disgusted that you might even think it’'s because a handful of con artists fleeced a whole bunch of rich idiots out of their investments on a movie whose reported $70 million budget is clearly nowhere to be seen onscreen, obvious even from the trailer.

More...

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Saturday
May172014

Cannes Tidbits: Deals, Toons, and Oscar Futures

I haven't organized my thoughts. I'm warning you up front. I am just collecting them like dead leaves and throwing them at you in chunks with links to related articles. I'm doing my meager part to engage with Cannes from my Harlem apartment across the ocean...

COMPETITION & UN CERTAIN REGARD
After that much maligned Monaco kick-off, not uncommon with festival openers, Cannes competition films have been collecting more fans. Well, not Atom Egoyan's Captive (which was booed) but the others. And frankly no film festival ever wins consensus "that was awesome" reviews anyway. It's part of the ritual this 'it's a terrible year for the fest!' hand-wringing.

Diana chimed in earlier today on the African film Timbuktu and Mike Leigh's artist biopic Mr. Turner which we can safely suspect will win plentiful Oscar talk. There's a ceiling for Leigh films with Oscar but the Academy adores him nonetheless. Since his mainstream breakthrough Secrets and Lies (5 nominations / 0 wins) all but 2 of his pictures have won at least a screenplay nomination with Topsy Turvy and Vera Drake (period pieces like Mr Turner) proving most popular. To date Topsy Turvy is the only Mike Leigh picture to win any Oscar statues and Mike Leigh himself, though a 7 time nominee, is still Oscar-less. That's probably good news for Mr. Turner on both the 'overdue' front and the 'it takes a period piece and a genre they love' (in this case the biopic) truth about awards bodies. If you're interested in Mike Leigh's process (and many are since it's so unusual) there's an article in the LA Times where he explains why they still do the same character creation groundwork for months before shooting even though the actors are playing real people rather than fictional ones. I think Mr Turner is also inspiring some interesting reviews (including this one from David Poland who compares it to the Grand Budapest Hotel of all things) 

More Oscar hopefuls, deals, and animated buzz after the jump...

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