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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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JANE is the doc frontrunner

"Can we hav a tie w both Jane and Faces Places?" - Claran

"Jane was wonderful. Goodall's such a compelling presence that the talking heads even give off a freshness that that format has lacked in recent documentaries." - John T

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Entries in California (22)

Thursday
May182017

Beauty Break: Happy 90th Birthday to the Grauman's Chinese!

One of my favorite places in Hollywood turned 90 years old today. The Grauman's Chinese Theater, which often houses premieres and events, opened on this day in 1927, so its centennial is just ten years away. It's currently known as the TCL Theater and was called the Mann Theater before that but it's still popularly known as Grauman's. You can rename something as perks for modern corporations but sometimes the original name hangs around (as well as it should). Don't even get me started on beautiful Broadway theaters chucking their iconic stage giant names for "American Airlines Theater" or whatnot. DO NOT GET ME STARTED. 

The Grauman's most familiar pop culture aspect is its large collection of cement tiles out front bearing the handprints of movie stars from all eras. So it's time for a Beauty Break. Which of these ceremonies after the jump do you most wish you had been at? 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan132017

Octavia Spencer is a Class Act

Octavia in Hidden Figures painting by Stella Blu

Octavia Spencer posted this painting above with the following message for screenings TONIGHT at the Rave in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles

I've bought the 8 PM showing of Hidden Figures... if you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can't afford it have them come. It's first come first served. My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings. So, I'm honoring her and all single parents this MLK weekend. Pass the word.

Very cool gesture from a very cool actress.

Saturday
Jan072017

Pfandom: Introducing Michelle Pfeiffer... "Miss Orange County"

Pfeiffer's Yearbook Photo (76?). Miss Orange County Win (78)

Pfandom. Episode 1.
Michelle Pfeiffer Retrospective. Every Saturday in 2017 at TFE
by Nathaniel R 

The time is spring 1978. Fountain Valley High School graduate and former Vons Supermarket checkout girl Michelle Pfeiffer is 19 going on 20 when she takes the Miss Orange County beauty pageant crown. She's dreaming of bigger things and community college isn't quite it.

The first bigger thing is the "Miss California" pageant. The young future-very-big-deal walks stiffly down a makeshift runway for Miss California in that highly practical ready-to-wear combo of swimsuit and high heels...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec122016

We ♥︎ the San Diego Film Critics Society

I want to make out with every member of the San Diego Film Critics Society right now. Why? It's not for their individual choices, no, though some of them are good. It's for this simple fact: they looked at the entire film year and not just movies that are just now hitting theaters. And, my friends, that is EXACTLY what film critics are not only supposed to do but best suited to do. The publicity teams and Oscar campaigns are already on the job of reminding people about which movies are coming out. Critics should notice more than what's being shoved at them minutes before they vote. 

Hell or High Water is their big winner but other pre-November releases in their mix include Aquarius, The Nice Guys, Love & Friendship and more. Good work San Diego! You can see the full list after the jump...  

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb032016

HBO’s LGBT History: The Case Against 8 (2014)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we talked about the thrilling and necessary anger fueling Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, something not even Ryan Murphy’s at times clumsy direction could quell. From that we turn to what might be the limpest most inessential HBO LGBT film I have encountered in this entire series (sorry, The Out List, you had a good run): Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8.

There’s a fascinating, informative, and entertaining doc to be made about the circuitous road to overturning California’s same-sex marriage ban, but Cotner and White’s film isn’t it...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan292016

Retro Sundance: 2006's Quinceañera

Dancin' Dan continues our classic Sundance celebration with a tenth anniversary of a film that should really have a bigger fan base.

Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's Quinceañera is one of those films that is inextricable from the story of how it was made: The two moved to the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, a primarily working-class Latino neighborhood that was rapidly gentrifying. After being invited to their neighbor's fifteenth birthday party - a Latin American right of passage known as a quinceañera - they were amazed by the elaborate ceremony and thought it would make a great setting for a film. Later, when thinking about making a drama partially based on their experience as a white gay couple in a gentrifying neighborhood, the idea resurfaced. And the rest, as they say, is history: Quinceañera won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for dramatic feature.

Both of those awards make total sense after watching the film, which is a low-key crowd-pleaser that isn't afraid to tackle some big, complex issues head-on. Thankfully, the film isn't primarily about the white couple moving into the under-privileged area, but rather about Magdalena, a pregnant virgin, and her cousin Carlos, who is gay. Both have been thrown out of their homes for the seeming sins of their lives, and move in with their uncle (or tio) Tomas. The building where Tomas lives has recently been bought by a white gay couple, James and Gary, who move in and waste little time in starting up a ménage à trois with Carlos.

These three separate story threads - Magdalena's, Carlos's, and James & Gary's - combine to make Quinceañera not so much a coming-of-age story, but a coming-of-home story, looking at what makes us feel a sense of belonging both in life and in a specific place. And it's the film's sense of place that really makes the film resonate. The whole thing feels authentic, between the location shooting, the mostly non-professional (though quite talented) performers, and the cozy-looking living places. Everything has a lived-in feel that is more rare than it should be in films, and Glatzer and Westmoreland (who gave us Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance in Still Alice, just before Glatzer passed away) keep what little quirk there is grounded enough that it never grates.

This is a small film with a lot on its mind, and it stays true to its modest roots all the way through. It's a Feel-Good Movie that you really can feel good about.

Happy 10th Birthday, Quinceanera! Remind us to throw you a huge party in five years. You'll surely be just as wonderful as when you first premiered.