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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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Review: Ready or Not

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Yes Not Maybe So: Bombshell

" I am not liking this trend of portraits of terrible women, like Meghan and Phyliss Schafly, unless it's camp." - Jane

"Miss Charlize is like, "Do I need to remind you guys again who is the baddest bitch around here?." I just can'ttttt! She looks like Megan Kelly's twin -- that makeup work is insanity!!!" - Jono

"if Nicole doesn't wear a bad wig in a it really a must see event?" -Chris

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Caroline or Change (4)


The Links of Grindelwald

• Feedspot This is nice. The Film Experience has been listed as one of the top 40 movie podcasts.
AV Club the Random Roles series grills Sarah Jessica Parker about her defining roles
• THR goes deep on The Favourite's power plays
Rotten Tomatoes Ouch. Reviews for Fantastic Beasts 2 are brutal
Pop Sugar the casting of Nagini in Fantastic Beasts was controversial but here's where you've seen the actress before
Stephen Colbert Jude Law discuss fan nicknames for Dumbledore. Very cute

• Awards Daily Rob Marshall "wanted to bring a gift of hope into this climate" with Mary Poppins Returns
• /Film the effort to save Filmstruck has now gotten some big name directors behind it
• The Playlist opinions are divided in Hollywood about whether Netflix's theatrical play with Roma is playing by the rules or a con
• Variety ...speaking of. Italy is cracking down on streaming service with new laws about theatrical windows
• Film School Rejects Kiersey Clemons (Hearts Beat Loud) lines up a biopic which could take her career to the next level
• Coming Soon the Jack Reacher franchise is dead for now. They hope to reboot in TV series form with an actor who is more faithful to the character (who is 6'5"... nearly a full foot taller than Tom Cruise!)

Today's Must Read
Critics Notebook "The End of Endings" I bow to this great piece. And I worry like ∞

Stage Diversions
EW Tom Hiddleston will star in a revival of Harold Pinter's 70s classic Betrayal in the West End in the spring
Playbill Caroline or Change returns to NYC at the Astoria Performing Arts Center next summer. I saw their production of Follies last season and it was really strong so I have high hopes that they'll do this great musical justice. I still think if they ever make this into a movie, whoever plays Caroline will win the Oscar. 
Playbill Broadway grosses for the week: New shows Network with Bryan Cranston and Tatiana Maslany and To Kill a Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels are already hits, playing to 100% capacity. The emptiest houses are unfortunately for the Go-Gos musical Head Over Heels (which we loved but which has been struggling to find its audience). Head Over Heels will be one of the Thanksgiving performances at the Macy's Day Parade so we'll see if that helps get them through the holidays. 


Mothers & Imagination

The Film Experience is proud to turn the site over to Ann Dowd for the day. Enjoy...

- by Ann Dowd

As I’ve said I did not grow up in an environment where acting was a viable career choice. I remember once when I was a teenager seeing Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet and having to go to bed afterwards … from grief! Can you imagine? I had not read it and when I saw the tragedy happening I said  “NO NO NO” I just knew that there was no way Romeo would not get the message that she wasn’t dead, that she was just sleeping. But when it went in that direction — I just was “THIS CANNOT BE TRUE”. I had to go to bed. My mother said “That’s it — No more movies! That’s the end of it.” 

Later when I became an actor she was less than thrilled. I think deep down she saw it coming, mothers are smart that way, but I know she hoped the desire would fade and I'd stick with medicine. She felt that it was such an unstable life.  But she’s wildly supportive now. She’s on board now. I love her to bits.

Of course it will be different for my children if they are interested since they grew up in the environment. My husband is also an actor and he's the chair of the acting department at CAP 21. It’s a musical theater school, a great school. I'm not teaching at the moment because I'm not able to commit to a schedule but one of my favorite things was to teach Chekhov and Tennessee Williams. I hope to do it again because it’s a lovely thing when you’ve been at acting for awhile and you can understand enough of what the students are going through and be of use to them.  

My oldest boy doesn’t have an interest in acting. My girl, who is 17, does. My littlest one came into the world singing and dancing. Living in New York our children are exposed to a lot: Music, plays, books. We remind them that there are other ways to negotiate the world besides technology. Keeping your imagination alive and well is a big thing in our house. 

Previously: Playing Patti on The Leftovers and Falling in Love with Acting 
Next: A Few Key Roles



Q&A Special Pt. 2: Briony, Nashville, Early Onset Actressexuality

Back again. So losing track of time lately. Fridays as Mondays. Thursdays as Fridays. When am I? Saturday AM? What? But here's the promised second part of the Q&A column. I loved the James Dean question and the Spice Girl question but I'll have to give them their own post or something later because my brain can't deal with their enormity tonight.

Here are a few more questions I wanted to / could answer. As always, I love to hear your answers to the same questions or your responses to mine in the comments.

MATTHEW: Choose three Oscar-nom'ed/winning actresses from the Aughts whose careers are most in need of redirecting and explain how you would help get them back on track.

I would've said Charlize Theron a year ago but -- yay -- totally back on track these days.

I want to start with Ellen Page. She gets work regularly but Whip It, her last vital role, will soon be three years old and it seems like we should be hearing her name more often in the 'who is up for what part' sweepstakes. I worry that Hollywood doesn't think she's "sexy" -- maybe it's the somewhat butch energy? -- and therefore doesn't consider her for the parts that they keep divvying up between Evan Rachel Wood, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, and the like. I think she should embrace the androgyny and do something harder-edged with a confrontational or casual sexiness. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would've been a great move for her. But alas...

Hilary Swank. I know I've been rough on her over the years... but it's not like she's without talent (though her line readings in the New Year's Eve trailer are truly lumber yard ready. Yikes!). I think the extraordinary early success misdirected her career and she ended up playing all these Movie Star roles she wasn't suited for and doing all these genres she's terrible at. She needs to stick with contemporary drama and maybe look for a challenging memorable character in a strong ensemble piece. The only way she's getting a third Oscar nominations is a vivid supporting part.

Mo'Nique. The only problem with her career is that she doesn't work enough. When you can do what she did in Precious you kind of owe it to the world, if you ask me. (You'll notice I didn't even mention the vanishing act that is Joan Allen's career. I can't even talk about that lest I burst into tears.)

Sir Ian His AwesomenessSMG: Who are your favorite real-life gay actors? gay characters?

Y'all have to start narrowing down your questions! Characters? This sounds like a top 100 list waiting to happen so I can't do it in this format. As for gay actors, I have total organic fondness for any public figure brave enough to come out of the closet. People are always saying "oh, it's personal. leave them alone. etcetera" but basic sexual orientation is not a private matter -- sexual preferences in the bedroom, sure, but not orientation. Look around you and you will see evidence of sexual orientation EVERYWHERE. The "stay in the closet if it's what's best for you" is just heteronormative societal pressure and the thing people are always telling actors "don't come out because it'll kill your chance to become an A List movie star like ____" is sick. As if people should lie about their life for their whole lives for the sake of a lottery ticket! That's just the dark side of our capitalistic 'every man for himself' / 'dog-eat-dog' thinking. Notice how each year it gets easier for gay actors and actresses and it's becoming less of an issue. Why? Because people before them were altruistic and brave enough to come out and have opened the doors. The world is a better place post Ellen Degeneres and post Ian McKellen and post everyone-else. We can pretend we all live in bubbles but we don't. Our actions affect other people; we live in a continuum.

Politics aside, some workign gay actors I'm extra fond of in that I usually love their work and always perk up when I see them (no offscreen / offstage kinship required): Lily Tomlin, Sir Ian McKellen, Cheyenne Jackson, Miriam Margolyes, Fiona Shaw, John Benjamin Hickey, Jonathon Groff, Udo Kier (I'm still giggling remembering his bit in Melancholia), and Alan Cumming. That's off the top of my head. 

Lily Tomlin in Nashville's "I'm Easy" Sequence

JOE K: Pick three performances in Nashville which you think are the most impressive that aren't Lily Tomlin and Ronee Blakley.

Nashville! One of the best topics in all of cinema. I'll name my choices and answer a drama/musical question and a first actress crush diary after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Stage Door: Marisa Tomei vs. Julianne Moore

Stage Door will now be a weekly Tuesday series featuring Nathaniel's (or other contributors') theatrical adventures and, as often as possible, how they do connect or could connect with the cinema. So pardon this Monday entry, and subsequent double dip, but 'tis the season; we'll do this again tomorrow for the Tony Award Nominations! But today... a few notes on Marie & Bruce, the current revival of the play with Marisa Tomei (it closes this coming weekend) and the movie version with Julianne Moore.

I mentioned the play briefly before. It opens with Marie and Bruce in bed. Marie is unable to sleep and proceeds to talk herself in circles, spewing bile towards her sleeping husband whom she apparently hates and plans to leave that very day. She tells us about his prized typewriter which she threw away and complains that it's a hot summer, they've both had the flu, and neither of them have jobs. After she wakes him, she emasculates him repeatedly while he tries to make coffee and dress for a lunch date. You get the sense that she's Martha but he's not George  --- a one sided Virginia Woolf (not that this play is a qualitative match but, then again, what is?). Instead of fighting back, he merely says "well darling" this and "well darling" that, smothering her with verbal affection which she returns with mocking bile.

The play is staged superbly in its current revival with a gorgeously flexible set which, with only minor adjustments, acts as the couple's bedroom, the dining room of a friend's party, and a romantic cafe. (It's basically a mini three-act play performed without intermission.  Both Marie and Bruce are hard to get to know but you still feel for them since they seem so ill at ease in all three environments. Or at least Marie does. The constant fourth-wall breaking monologues, which generally feel natural in theater settings and too affected in movies (and Marie and Bruce is no exception), help win you over to the harsh characters.

Throughout the entire second act, the party, you become privy to snippets of conversations from each partygoer. It's the best part of the play, staged ingeniously with a rotating set as if you're circling the party and drifting from conversation to conversation as people actually do at parties. Strangely, or perhaps ingeniously, the key to Marie's character seems to be one of these offhand conversations.

In the movie version, Marie (Julianne Moore) seems entirely stoned during the party sequence -- not just confused about her own feelings -- but she leans in to this particular party profundity (monday monologue alert!), bewildered but cognizant that she should understand it. And feels immediately sick thereafter.

Woman at Party: I understand what you're saying but isn't it possible for sometimes people to not feel what they actually do feel? Do you know what i mean?

I mean they may actually feel a certain thing but they don't really know that they do because
in their own conscience minds they're so incredibly involved in what they think that they feel that they don't really feel the thing at all. Do you see what i'm saying?

I mean like, for example, a very common example is when you're supposed to feel pleased by something thing like when somebody gives you a present and you're supposed to feel pleased but actually you don't because the thing is something that  actually you hate or you actually already have the thing. But you're not supposed to say 'Well, I really hate this.' You're supposed to say 'oh boy that's great I really like it.'

Julianne Moore has always had a gift with neurosis and her best characterizations tends to involve women who are lost to themselves through self delusion, mental illness, or societal mores (See: Amber Waves, Cathy Whitaker, Carol White, Laura Brown, etcetera). In theory Marie -- who seems very decisive only to gradually reveal herself to be confused and paralyzed -- is a perfect match for her gifts but it's actually Marisa Tomei who wins this round. It helps a lot that her vehicle is better all around and has more precise ideas about how Marie will interact with the audience; the movie can't seem to make up its mind about how much of a storyteller Marie should be or whether or not she should stare directly at the camera and break the fourth wall. But there is something in Tomei's gabby everywoman sensuality, and instant relatability that trumps the character's offputting nature. Marie is still an incredibly unhappy woman spreading her misery around -- Tomei doesn't sugarcoat it -- but she's somehow more sympathetic. Moore, with her inarguable star allure is maybe too much of a presence -- unwittingly closing the already impenetrable character off even further.

The play: B; The movie: C-; The current revival: B+/A-


Stage Door
Drama Desk Nominees announced. Color me very surprised that all three principles from Women on the Verge... got nominated: Sherie Rene Scott, Patti Lupone and Laura Benanti (pictured left). Only Benanti as the ditzy chatterbox who sleeps with a terrorist thrilled the audience the night I attended; the musical was no match for the Almodóvar source material.
Gold Derby has the Drama League nominees. I served one year on the nominating committee several years ago and it was a ton of fun (they have a rotating civilian section of the nominating committee)
Back Stage Blog Stage Seems that Sutton Foster (one of our favorites) and Bobby Canavale (The Station Agent, Will & Grace) are now an item.
Kritzerland Camelot's original London cast recording from 1964 is getting released this summer. Laurence Harvey instead of Richard Burton as King Arthur! [gasp]
La Daily Musto lists a very odd assortment of his fav "11th hour" Broadway Musical numbers. He seems to have a very loose definition... but there's absolutely no beating "LOT'S WIFE" from Caroline or Change. I saw that show twice and both times I thought I was going to explode inside it was so moving.