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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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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Christina Aguilera (4)


Soundtracking: Moulin Rouge!

by Chris Feil

Perhaps it’s easy to forget how revolutionary Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge! was in 2001. The thing about masterpieces is their legacy sometimes overshadows the context that birthed them. But at the time, the musical was a massive gamble and creative leap, helping to relaunch the genre that had died a slow death at the box office and to cultural  cinematic tastes. Just as Luhrman’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet had aggressively re-imagined its text for the MTV set, he delivered something even more drug-fevered to the musical, shattering notions of what the genre’s limitations were and how it could exist in the modern era.

Musicals may be more commonplace now, but they have yet to be as audacious since. But as much as Luhrman’s trippy, frenetic stylings play nearly twenty (gasp!) years later as its most obvious innovations, it was Luhrman’s music choices that were the biggest shock to the system for movie musicals.

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Soundtracking: "Burlesque"

by Chris Feil

Much as we love it, isn’t Burlesque one of our least distinct recent original musicals? The genre is no stranger to borrowing tropes that have worked in the past and Burlesque is no exception - dreams of stardom, vague romance, putting on a show to save the barn. The real culprit here the film’s mishmash assemblage of tunes, populated with high peaks and easily ignored plains.

But I should shut up because really: who cares? It’s Cher, bitch!

And oft repeated quotables aside, the presence of a singing and dancing Cher on screen is a now rare delight that shouldn’t be taken for granted (soak up those Mamma Mia! 2 rays of sunshine this July, kids). Some are quick to forget that Cher is always in on the joke, or that her lack of pretension makes opulence where more self-serious performers would be trapped in chintziness...

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Box Office: Dolly & Queen vs. Cher & Xtina?

I would have been all about Joyful Noise this weekend, had I not been suddenly ill. I even had to miss a bestie's birthday dinner. Boo! I think it's worth noting that Joyful Noise had a nearly identical debut to Burlesque in 2010.

Opening Day
Burlesque (11/24/10) | Joyful Noise (01/13/12)
Weekend Gross
Burlesque $11.9 |  Joyful Noise $11.3
Weekend Rank
Burlesque #4 | Joyful Noise #4
Theater Count
Burlesque 3,037 | Joyful Noise 2,735
Per Screen Average
Burlesque $3,934 |  Joyful Noise  $4,148

Given that Burlesque opened during holiday craziness (lotsa movie-going) and Joyful Noise opened in January's dumping ground, you might have to hand this battle to Joyful Noise. But will it be able to beat Burlesque's final gross of $39.4 domestic / $89.5 international? I say this with the caveat that I have not seen it yet but from the stills and trailer it certainly looks cheaper than Burlesque production wise so perhaps it'll turn out a much tidier profit. I can't imagine that it's better than Burlesque though. But we shall see. Or rather I shall see the second I feel like venturing out into the cold again.

Takeaway: $11.5 million opening weekends are the new decorative fanciful glass ceiling for dueling multi-media singing divas.

BAKERS DOZEN (Estimates)
01 CONTRABAND  $24.1 new  
02 BEAUTY & THE BEAST 3D  $18.4 rerelease  
03 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE -  GHOST PROTOCOL $11.5 (cum. $186.7)
04 JOYFUL NOISE  $11.3 new
06 THE DEVIL INSIDE $7.9 (cum. $46.2)
09 WAR HORSE $5.6 (cum. $65.7)
10 THE IRON LADY $5.3 wide (cum. $5.9)
11 WE BOUGHT A ZOO $5.2  (cum. $63.6)
12 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN $4 (cum. $67.7)
13 TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY  $3.1 (cum. $15.1) 

Talking Points
Beauty and the Beast had a successful first weekend but nothing compared to The Lion King. I hate rooting against such a great movie but the whole 3D craze? Oh, I hate it more and more each month. Do. not. want. I do not want to wear glasses while watching movies. I just don't. It never adds enough to the experience, even in its best moments, to justify changing the whole freaking experience of the movies. GO AWAY.

A Separation continues to fill its theaters but it has yet to expand. Are SPC letting their tiny window on this one close? Let's suppose someone watching this week's awards shows (BFCA thursday & GLOBES tonight) wanted to see it after Thursday's win and tonight's possible win? Nope. They're out of luck. Just 6 theaters for this one in its third week. Carnage finally expanded in its 5th week but interest in it looks to have already crashed. Too bad it didn't open when competition was less severe for all-star adult-oriented films.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows just lept-frogged The Help and Bridesmaids on 2011's top box office chart. Now, the top dozen have no originals among them - only franchise movies allowed at the top of the charts. This is why we can't have nice things and it's also our fault as audience members. We need to stop chasing old highs at the box office. Seeking out familiar experiences is what television series are for. That's their whole raison d'etre, the same characters each week but with new twists on the same old via new chapters. That's not what movies should be for. Different strengths and different purposes for different mediums.

What did you see this weekend?


A Quickie With The "Four Whores of the Apocalypse"

You have to have noticed by our hastily slathered wallpaper that we've entered MOULIN ROUGE! WEEK. Baz Luhrmann's "Spectacular! Spectacular!" went into wide release ten years ago tomorrow! (Tomorrow night we'll have a "hit me with your best shot" episode celebrating the movie and at least a couple of other posts, this week, too.)

So to get us in the mood...

"Harold Zidler... and his infamous girls. They called them his Diamond Dogs.

Also known as "The Four Whores of the Apocalypse." Can you even choose a favorite?! Everyone should vote! Don't be a wussy bystander; risk it all on that chaotic dance floor.


And in related 10th anniversary polling. Remember "Lady Marmalade", their intro music?!

Who was it for you at the time: Mya, Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim and P¡nk? And is your answer the same today, ten years on?