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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

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Entries in comedy (91)

Monday
Dec152014

Last Thingz - Missi's Farewell

The Missi Pyle Experience is a wrap.

- by Missi Pyle

Before I go, I want to give y'all a sentence or two about eight photos, a few of which Nathaniel asked me about. 

GALAXY QUEST (1999)

Tony Shalhoub is a fucking dream boat. This movie was the best experience of my life. Also every day Alan Rickman sat and ate lunch with us like a real human being, not in his trailer. He is like a beacon from heaven. I am so lucky I got to do this movie.

[Gina Gershon and Joan Rivers after the jump... ]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec092014

Team FYC: Obvious Child for Best Picture

Editor's Note: We're nearing the end of our individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar / Globe / SAG race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be a voter, take note! Here's Matthew Eng on "Obvious Child". (Do you think it can swing a Globe nod?)

In the category of “Movies That I’m Thrilled Even Exist,” Obvious Child would easily take the cake this year, without question. Writer-director Gillian Robespierre, in the first of a hopefully long line of complex, female-focused comedies, has crafted a film that takes such confident and unfussily righteous pride in its pro-abortion stance, all the more crucial considering the efforts still being made to demonize and outlaw the act.

Working with co-writers Karen Maine and Elisabeth Holm, and in tandem with the warm, witty, and wondrously empathetic efforts of redoubtable leading lady Jenny Slate, Robespierre has produced a near-rarity: a romcom heroine we can believe in. [More...]

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Monday
Dec082014

Open Thread. Wanna Help with my Critics Choice Ballot? 

Nobody was more badass than Emily Blunt as the Full Metal Bitch ... no matter what you're calling the movie nowYesterday I shared the eligibility list (not-official, but Nathaniel-created) for an underdiscussed Critics Choice category "Young Actor/Actress" but that's not the only category that the BFCA has that isn't discussed enough to insure widespread careful consideration for a strong lineup. Here are some other categories you can help me with.

FYC your favorites in the comments for the following COMEDY & ACTION categories! We're only allowed 3 votes in each so there are some no brainers for yours truly: Rose Byrne for Comedy Actress (Neighbors) i imagine she's a longshot for a Globe nomination which pisses me off to no end; Emily Blunt for action actress (Edge of Tomorrow); Captain America: Winter Soldier for Action movie... and it's just no contest. Other movies: You got nothing on Cappy in that elevator. Sorry bout it!

BEST ACTION MOVIE
BEST ACTOR in an ACTION MOVIE - name AND film
BEST ACTRESS in an ACTION MOVIE - name AND film


BEST COMEDY
BEST ACTOR in a COMEDY - name AND film
BEST ACTRESS in a COMEDY - name AND film

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE
For some reason this one doesn't get acting categories to go with it. I'm a member but the Critics Choice Awards sometimes feel poorly thought out in terms of categories. Either commit or don't, you know? 

Saturday
Nov292014

The Animated Feature contenders: Penguins of Madagascar

Tim here. I’m going to spend most of the remaining weeks of 2014 taking a look at some of the 20 films submitted to for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. These will mainly be the little underdogs that don’t really have a chance for a nomination, but deserve our attention as lovers of movies anyway.

But first, a different kind of film that doesn’t have a chance at receiving any Oscar buzz: this week’s new Penguins of Madagascar, the 30th release by DreamWorks Animation, and the last wide-release animated feature of the year. If I may confess my sins to all of you, I was actually looking forward to this, kind of: the penguins of the Madagascar film trilogy have been reliable stand-outs for as long as the franchise has existed: a wacky military squadron comprised of an ebullient Skipper (Tom McGrath), no-nonsense Kowalski (Chris Miller), wide-eyed moron Private (Christopher Knights), and demented, dangerous Rico (Conrad Vernon), executing fearless action film maneuvers with no sense of sanity or reason, and giving the gaping chasm of mediocrity of the first two Madagascar pictures precious comic energy for a few minutes at a stretch.

The thing about the penguins, though, is that they were brilliantly used as little shots of free-floating absurdity, random gag machines delighting in cartoon physics and psychology, not so much breaking the rules as ignoring their existence outright. That’s fine for comic relief, especially in a film whose idle state is so dreary as the first two Madagascars. But those little vacations from reality only work when we don’t actually need to care about the penguins beyond knowing that they are surreal and goofy. Putting them front and center over a long running time and a sustained character arc places a demand on the characters that’s totally unsustainable. These aren’t characters, they’re agents of chaos, and they can’t be used like characters.

Yet the three writers and two directors of Penguins of Madagascar go right on ahead and try to fit them into the normal beats of an American kid-focused animated film, down to the sad bit about the character who just wants to be understood for his idiosyncratic ways (“be yourself, love yourself” is a good lesson for children, of course, but it’s one of the dominate themes of, seriously, like every single DreamWorks film). The characters’ one-note personalities, and the limited number of gags that can be spun out of them, turns shrill and noisome over 90 minutes. There’s a plot behind this, but it barely matters: a James Bondian sort of deal with a penguin-hating octopus (voiced with unexpected brio by John Malkovich) on one side, a team of Arctic animal spies lied by a wolf played by Benedict Cumberbatch on the other. And in between, the four penguins whose history with the octopus spurred his rage act with all the insensible fearlessness their braggadocio can support.

It’s manic as all hell, which isn’t really the problem: it’s the routine sameness of it that drags the film down. One setpiece follows approximately the same beats as all the others, and the penguins are designed too specifically to be inflexible, unchanging characters to remain interesting over the course of everything that happens. Even their expressions barely change: the animators don’t even get to play around much with exaggerated gestures or faces. And while any ten-minute slice of the film has some level of playful, unexpected comedy, all of the slices resemble each other to the point where watching eight of them in a row is soporific.

It’s not devoid of good humor and even real wit. Werner Herzog vocally cameos as a deranged Germany documentary filmmaker in a parody of his Encounters at the End of the World, and it comes close to the “anything goes” feel that made the penguins enjoyable to begin with; and there are just enough gags that seem to have been inserted into the film largely because nobody could come up with a reason not to put the penguins in lederhosen, or to have them infiltrate Fort Knox. It’s not insufferable, but it’s awfully tiring, and the packed house of deadly quiet children and parents I saw the film with would seem to back me up that whatever this film is good for, it’s not providing more than the most generically passable entertainment.

Oscar chances: Oh, no. No, no, no. DreamWorks needs to put it all on How to Train Your Dragon 2 and pray.

Friday
Sep262014

Thinking Outside the Shortlist for Women in Comedy

Margaret here with a guessing game for you: a studio comedy is in production, and the lead is a woman. Who gets cast? If you're a Hollywood executive, the answer is Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig or Jennifer Aniston. Looking at today's top-grossing movies, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there are only four comic leading ladies; the studio focus on bankability keeps them sticking to a pretty rigid shortlist.

Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, known best for her work in Bridesmaids and Reno 911!, thinks that shortlist should be a little longer. Earlier this week she took to a guest column at Laughspin to stump for her favorite comic actresses, and pitch a host of new projects.
I am in no way saying that the women on the funny-lady short lists aren’t funny; they absolutely are! This is just a gentle reminder that there are other bankable comediennes out there, and that creative casting pays off, (Orange is the New Black, anyone?) because it can oftentimes elevate so-so material. Casting is like dessert: no one really knows what they want until you roll the cart by and show it to them.

Orange Is the New Black's cast of unknowns spun comedy gold. It can happen again.

McLendon-Covey's suggestions include: casting that all-female Ghostbusters reboot with Carrie Brownstein, Michaela Watkins, and Regina Hall; bringing together Laurie Metcalf, Jane Lynch, and Shondrella Avery as state college professors competing for the same research grant; pairing Gabourey Sidibe and Edi Patterson as proprietors of a marijuana dispensary / cat sanctuary who are looking for love; and putting Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski together as process servers who go around breaking hearts. 

(Personally, I would love a movie where Kate McKinnon, Danielle Brooks, Christine Baranski, and Casey Wilson all have a bottomless mimosa brunch with me. Selfish? Probably.)

McLendon-Covey may be spitballing, but her point is clear: we may have gotten Hollywood to stop asking the monstrously tedious question "Are Women Funny?", but it still needs a kick in the pants to get past the idea that only a handful of women can be funny at a time. 
 
Would you want to Kickstart any of these projects? Which funny ladies would be in your dream cast?
Thursday
Sep252014

Review: 'Pride,' the Year's Most Adorable Movie

This article originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission...

Truth is stranger-than-fiction and also often gayer. The new feature PRIDE dramatizes a largely unknown historical anecdote from the bitter year-long miner’s strike in Thatcher-era Britain when a group of gay activists fundraised for the miners. This alliance is at first an awkward tense match but it eventually finds heartwarming pockets of oxygen when these two unlikely groups are breathing the same air.

It begins with a handful of gay activists (“and lesbian!” their only female member interjects with a small wave in a recurring joke), notice a sudden decline in police bullying in their neighborhood. They make the connection: the conservative government has a new minority to scapegoat. They form a group called LGSM “Lesbians and Gays for the Striking Miners” to help the people suffering without paychecks for months on end — a byproduct of Margaret Thatcher’s war against the unions.

At first, though, these gay heroes can’t even find a miner’s group that will take their money in this cross culture dramedy. [more...]

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