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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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Love Affair (1994) - as "A Year With Kate" nears its conclusion

A YEAR WITH KATE... 2 episodes left

 "A really beautiful look into the careers of one of my favorite actors, but it's made me consider the careers of so many different actors and how the great ones adapt to eras while still staying true to themselves. This is a special, lovely series. I both cannot wait for and am so sad for the end next week.-John T

 

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Entries in Canada (22)

Saturday
Jul262014

NewFest: "Futuro Beach" and "Gerontophilia"

This double feature review was originally printed in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opened the annual LGBT film festival Thursday night, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

[More...]

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Friday
May232014

Posterized: Xavier Dolan

Mommy, which spurred spirited conversation at Cannes (and really wowed our woman on the ground, Diana) and could walk away with a prize this weekend (as literally all of director Xavier Dolan's previous features have but for Tom at the Farm, which went the Venice/Toronto route instead).

Xavier Dolan at the photocall for "Mommy" at Cannes, 2014

I remain perplexed that an international star with this much critical cachet and this many easily marketable elements (young, hot, queer) hasn't found a deep pocketed patron in the world of US distribution, in the way many auteurs do. Think of how Miramax used to favor certain directors or the way Sony Pictures Classics really invested in building the Pedro Almodovar brand. I keep hoping a younger edgier disribution company (my dream: A24) will fall in love with him because with the right promotion and cultivation, he'd have a devout following Stateside. For now, if only here, he'll have to make do with critics and really hard-working cinephiles who attend festivals regularly.  

The Canadian wunderkind just turned 25 and Mommy is his fifth feature in five years. If he keeps up this pace he could have a filmography that's impossible to be a completist about later on. Get in early and sample the goods. They're yummy. Distributors might not have made it easy for you wherever you live, but at least Netflix has been kind. How many of his previous features have you seen?

 

I Killed My Mother (2009)
Dolan's debut won much acclaim at Cannes including two prizes and became Canada's Oscar submission (it was not nominated). Much film festival chatter and an international release in major cities around the world, EXCEPT THE US, kept the buzz going for another year. Supposedly it hit US theaters this past March (yes, in 2013, four years after taking international cinephilia by storm) but I want proof that it actually happened because it seems like every year since 2009 we were told it was opening. [Available on Netflix Instant Watch]

Heartbeats / Imaginary Lovers (2010)
This unrequited love triangle, available on Netflix Instant Watch, won the "Regards Jeunes" at Cannes and was released in the US briefly in 2011 under its new boring title. [Nathaniel's Review at Towleroad]

Laurence Anyways
(2012)
This trans epic, Netflix to the rescue again, ran nearly 3 hours, and was the first that Dolan didn't star in himself. It took another two prizes at Cannes ("Queer Palm" and "Best Actress") and a brief US release in 2013. [Glenn's love for this movie is huge.]

Tom at the Farm
(2013) 
This thriller about a young man (Dolan) attending his lover's funeral in the country, only to discover that the lover was closeted and the family virulently homophobic, is still awaiting US release. [Nathaniel's TIFF Review]

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN?

 

Tuesday
May062014

Hot Docs '14: Beyond Clueless, The Secret Trial 5

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting on The Hot Docs Film Festival which wrapped Sunday. Reviews will continue this week.] 

In the history of cinema, there are few genres that receive as little acclaim or critical analysis as the high school film does. British critic Charlie Lyne's (of Ultra Culture blog fame) visual essay is therefore a treasure for enthusiasts of recent film history. In Beyond Clueless, he examines teenage characters in a wide variety of films produced between 1996 and 2004. Little of the titular film is shown, though its influence over the films that came after it looms large. From The Craft to Mean Girls, from The Faculty to Rules of Attraction, via Spider-man, Final Destination and everything in between, the high school student is analyzed through the tumultuous process of entering that period of adolescence and exiting it unscathed and transformed.

Beyond Clueless itself takes on the narrative arc of a teen movie. Divided in five chapters that are designed to embody the high school experience, it begins with ‘Fitting In’ and ends with ‘Moving On.’ No new material is added to the clips taken from the films discussed, but crucially, the lengthy essay is narrated by Fairuza Balk, star of The Craft, whose somber but familiar voice instills the film a teen personality of its own. [More...]

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Tuesday
Nov122013

Long Live the New Flesh: David Cronenberg's Exhibition

It’s Amir here, reporting on a couple of films I saw at the David Cronenberg exhibition currently held at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. As the biggest Canadian director working in cinema today, the master of body horror is held in high esteem in national circles. This comprehensive tribute to his body of work is a tremendous showcase for a filmmaker whose work has done a major service to the Canadian film industry over the past three decades.  

Running alongside the exhibition that includes all things Cronenberg like film memorabilia, set props and a life-size mugwump, Long Live the Flesh also hosts screenings of the director’s films with lectures and Q&A sessions. I had the chance to attend two of these events: a screening of Naked Lunch introduced by David Cronenberg and his longtime producing partner Jeremy Thomas (Oscar winner for The Last Emperor) and my first big screen experience with his seminal science fiction film, The Fly, which was followed by a Q&A with the film’s Oscar-winning make-up artist Stephan Dupuis. Both conversations were illuminating though the films didn’t quite affect me in equal measure.

Naked Lunch, adapted from the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, is one of the more personal projects in Cronenberg’s canon, born of his passion for the writer’s work. Cronenberg described the film as both a dream-come-true for allowing him the opportunity to adapt one of his personal favorite novels, but also one that made him extremely anxious as he felt the necessity to get the Burroughsian elements just right. Asked if adapting the supposedly unfilmable novel was a difficult task, Cronenberg referred to the project as one of the easiest screenplays he’s written for the way Burroughs’ prose and his dialogue transfers itself directly to the screen.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec192012

10 More Critics Prizes: "Argo" & "The Master" Fight For "Zero Dark" Scraps

I haven't done the math but why count with my fingers when The Wrap is a born calculator and reveals that as the critics prizes have shaken down Zero Dark Thirty leads the race with 8 while Argo is in second for Best Picture prizes with half as many triumphs thus far. The Master is the only other film that's managed multiple "Best Film" gongs (3) in this thankfully divided year. Licking the crumbs off the critics awards plate we have Amour, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and... Safety Not Guaranteed? Well, ok, Indiana! You go your own way.

Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, and The Master are the critics win leaders

Les Misérables is the only film from Oscar's presumed big five that hasn't managed a Best Picture win from a critics group though it's surprising to realize that Lincoln hasn't done much better in terms of taking the top prize. Another casualty is Beasts of the Southern Wild. That gloriously original moving indie has recovered from its first weeks in the precursors where it couldn't win "first film" or "breakthrough performer" prizes with the unexpected strength of How to Survive a Plague and Middle of Nowhere blocking its pathway with critics or at the Gothams respectively. It's won a few things here and there. But I'd argue it's the biggest casualty of the critics weeks since it hasn't managed even one Best Picture win. It deserved and needed them so it's no surprise that it's outsider shot at a Best Picture nomination which once seemed totally doable now looks like a true long shot.

Supporting Actor Disappointments and more after the jump...

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Thursday
Sep132012

Nathaniel's No Fly Zone

Are you rushing to plan an international jaunt days before said jaunt? I can't recommend!

Last week I realized that TIFF was upon us and realizing that I hadn't at all planned for it (the summer was bumpy) - no accreditation requests, no tickets, nothing, I attempted to course correct.  I thought I'd pop up to Toronto for the last four days of the festival and scrambled: line up premiere invites, find lodging, buy new premiere outfit, order first pair of glasses ever (for long nights staring at my laptop). I closed my eyes tight-shut and hit "purchase" on the expenses as my card buckled in protest. Then Tuesday evening whilst packing, I realized that my passport had vanished. When was the last time I'd used it? Iceland??? Seven hours later my apartment, looking like Dorothy had just been violently whisked off to Oz, still refused to give the sacret document up. I brought every document of my existence with me to the airport last night (expired passport, birth certificate, you name it) and was unceremoniously turned away. I was offered the option of driving with one caveat -- Canada would let me in with my current documents but the US would not let me back in.

The worst part of the whole experience? The Boyfriend said "You're like Nasseri in Charles de Gaulle". And just when I had managed to forget all about the existence of Steven Spielberg's woeful The Terminal, too! Argh!!! and thanks a lot.

The bright side? (Always make lemonade, people.) The airline and the hotel did not rob me blind on cancellation fees but merely pickpocketed. Amir is still there to cover the fest. And now that I'm not in Toronto there's time to catch up on posting, hit some screenings right here, share my Lizzy Caplan interview, and tell you the story of how I met Kristen Stewart and Gabby Sidibe. Stay tuned! Yes, Fall Film Season, and Starry Oscar Campaign Trails are already upon us. I'm thrilled despite being grounded for the forseeable future.

May your September travels be smoother!