Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
Alicia Vikander cast as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Only supporting actress winners are allowed to play this role!

"What on earth can Alicia bring to this role, and why bother? Good luck." - Tom F

"How long must we wait for Dianne Wiest as Lara Croft!?" - Mike

 

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe

Entries in film festivals (304)

Friday
Apr292016

New Directors: Banana, Transpecos, Spa Night, and The Fits

One day I will figure out to keep up with the cinematic madness but April contained none of those days. A week ago the Nashville Film Festival wrapped and I have yet to share with you the prizes my jury bestowed! Not that you've been clamoring to read about films you've never heard of but one of the joys of film festivals is in the discoveries. Hence my great thrill to be asked to sit on the "New Directors Jury". Let's survey a handful of the competitors starting with the two winners, both of which made one step closer to theaters this week.

HONORABLE MENTION The Fits (2016)
I'm starting with this one because it's out very soon (June 3rd in NYC / June 10th in Los Angeles) and you absolutely shouldn't miss it. I'm already eager to see it again. We need directors with fresh voices and a unique gaze and we've got one in Anna Rose Helmer. The Fits follows a young girl named Toni (Royalty Hightower, pretty great) who spends her days helping her older brother with his job cleaning a boxing gym. She's fascinated by the boy rituals and the girl rituals which are happening just down the hall where a local dance squad rehearses in another gymnasium. Just when you think you've figured out the film's theme (there's certainly much to ponder in its gender dynamics) one of the dancers has a violent fit and faints and you realize Helmer has a lot more yet on her mind. There's no easy allegories here and maybe it's a little opaque but there's much to ponder in its metaphysical poetry, thoughtful camera work and editing and, above all else, its persistent fly-on-the-wall curiosity, the camera a soulful twin to Toni's ever-searching eyes. B+ (A-?)

Breaking News: The Fits got a poster (left) and a perfect moody trailer this week from Oscilloscope Pictures. 

More after the jump including an awards magnet which keeps winning festivals... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr282016

Tribeca 2016 Review Index

Tribeca Film Festival wrapped this weekend and I want to hear a huge round of applause for Manuel Betancourt and Jason Adams who filed so many reports. The festival's main narrative competiton was juried by Anne Carey, Chris Nashawaty, and the actors James Le Gros, Mya Taylor and Jennifer Westfeldt. Additional juries handled documentaries, new directors, and international narrative features.

this Persona-riff won Best Actress for Mackenzie DavisFestival Winners Reviewed
Dean (Manuel) -Best Narrative Feature
The Fixer (Nathaniel) -Best Actor Dominic Rains 
Always Shine (Jason) -Best Actress Mackenzie Davis
Women Who Kill (Jason) -Best Screenplay Ingrid Jungermann 
Contemporary Color (Jason) - Documentary Cinematography Jarred Alterman and Documentary Editing Bill Ross
Madly (Manuel) - Actress in an International Feature Radhika Apte in "Clean Shaven," a segment in Madly 

Other Films Reviewed
All We Had (Manuel)
Califórnia (Manuel)
Charro de Toluquilla (Manuel)
Detour (Jason)
Elvis & Nixon (Jason) *now in theaters*
Equals (Jason)
Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray (Manuel) 
Fear Inc (Jason)
High-Rise (Nathaniel)
Holidays (Jason)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Jason)
A Kind of Murder (Jason)
King Cobra (Jason)
The Meddler (Manuel)
Memories of a Penitent Heart (Manuel)
Mother (Nathaniel)
Obit (Jason)
Rebirth (Jason)
Special Correspondence (Jason) *now on Netflix*
Strike a Pose (Manuel) 
Wolves (Jason) 

P.S. We'll have more on Strike a Pose (2016), the documentary about Madonna's dancers from Truth or Dare (1991) that Manuel reviewed, in a couple of weeks. You know we can't pass up the opportunity to celebrate Truth or Dare's 25th anniversary in style so we'll have a "blonde ambition" theme week (May 8th-13th) with Madonna madness and other cinematic blondes to mix it up. (We're now waiting impatiently for news about a proper release for Strike a Pose

Thursday
Apr282016

TCM Classic Film Festival Starts Today!

Anne Marie here, reporting from sunny Los Angeles!

The 6th Annual TCM Classic Film Fest starts today in Hollywood, kicking off 4 days of fan-friendly classic film viewing. Though Turner Classic Movies's festival is only six years old, the TV channel works to make each year bigger and broader than the year before it. This year, TCM will honor legendary director Francis Ford Coppola with a handprint ceremony, and call on the likes of Angela Lansbury, Faye Dunaway, Rita Moreno, and Anna Karina to introduce its decades-and-countries-spanning festival lineup. If you thought "Classic Movies" meant films shot in LA from 1930-1950, TCM has some mind-altering revelations for you!

This year's theme is Moving Pictures; movies that not only move us to tears (It's A Wonderful Life and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), but also laughter (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid), trepidation (Band of Outsiders), spiritualism (The Passion of Joan of Arc), and introspection (Network, M*A*S*H). Throughout the festival, TCM continues to challenge the defintion of "classic," expanding the cinema canon and bringing film experiences from across history and nations. I'll be on the ground to report on the best of these, with plenty of surprises on the way.

The TCM Film Festival comes on the heels of two major announcements from the network: the launch of the fan subscription service TCM Backlot, and the TCM/Criterion streaming collaboration to be launched in fall, Filmstruck. TCMFF, already a six-years-strong example of TCM's ability to engage with fans, provides the network with a platform to celebrate these new opportunities. Time and promotion will tell how propular these new ventures will be. In the meantime, we have a film festival to attend!

 

Would you use a classic movie subscription service like TCM & Criterion's FilmStruck?
Sign me up! Netflix is missing too many titles.
Nah, I can always watch them somewhere else.
I'm indifferent. What else is on?
Do Riddles

 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr262016

Mad Miller & the Cannes Jury

Oscar-robbed George Miller is back! Well, not in movie theaters (alas) but as president of this year's Cannes Film Festival competition jury. The announcement of the jury is always a cause for excitement since the list provides an annual eclectic mix of international artists both behind and in front of the camera. For 2016 we have:

President
George Miller (Writer/Director/Producer, Australia) fresh off of his across-the-board triumph Mad Max Fury Road

Jury Members (Alpha Order)
Arnaud Desplechin (Writer/Director, France) His current release is My Golden Days (our interview) and he's also responsible for the sublime double of Kings & Queen (2004) and A Christmas Tale (2008) which are must-see feats of intricate storytelling & actressing

Kirsten Dunst
(Actress, US) Little Kiki has long since grown up though she's the youngest member of this jury at 33. There seems to be a renewed appreciation for her talent out there, for which we have Fargo season 2 to thank. But really the artistic renaissance goes back to All Good Things (2010). Though she was all but wasted in Midnight Special (just discussed) she has exciting projects coming including the remake of The Beguiled.

Valeria Golino
(Actress/Writer/Director/Producer, Italy) Though Golino hasn't been a major presence in Hollywood since the late 80s/early 90s (Rain Man, Big Top Pee Wee, Hot Shots!) she's kept the career going in her homeland -- recently winning Best Actress in Venice -- and branched out to be a multi-hyphenate threat.


Mads Mikkelsen (Actor, Denmark) we've loved him since his early Danish films and now the whole world does. This is rarely acknowledged but he's the reigning face of Oscar's Foreign Film category having starred in more nominees than anyone else in the past ten years (After the Wedding, The Hunt, A Royal Affair). And 2016 is another big year: he'll chase jury duty with two probable box office behemoths: Rogue One and Doctor Strange this winter. 

László Nemes
(Writer/Director, Hungary) has had an incredible year 12 months. His film debut Son of Saul took the Grand Prix last summer at Cannes and then an Oscar and now he's in the jury. What a swift rise. We wonder what he'll do for an encore. He's the second youngest member of the jury - he and Dunst are the only members under 40. 

Vanessa Paradis
(Actress/Singer, France) Her most recent film success was with Jean Marc Vallée's Café de Flore (2011) and she's still recording music. You can listen to her on Spotify if you so choose. Do you choose? Most famously (at least stateside) she's Johnny Depp's babymama. Her son with Johnny is only 13 and since he's named after Johnny (John Christopher Depp III) he'll have to go by his middle name or his nickname "Jack" if he wants to follow daddy into showbiz. Their 16 year old daughter has, of course, already started her acting career.

Katayoon Shahabi
(Producer, Iran) We aren't familiar with her but she's apparently a mover and shaker in international distribution and Irandian documentaries. Also her company produced the masterpiece A Separation which you know we worship here.

and...

Donald Sutherland
(Actor, Canada) Over 50 years in front of the camera now with classics occasionally peppering that gigantic resume. With over 180 credits we assume he just lives on sets.

What do you think of this year's jury? 

Saturday
Apr232016

Dean & The Meddler: A Grief Dramedy Double Feature

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Manuel on two grief-driven features.

Dean (Winner of The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature)
Dean (Demetri Martin, who wrote and directed the film) is a professional illustrator whose first book of drawings was described as “full of whimsy.” The same could be said for the film itself. Just as Dean’s illustrations (Martin’s own) are simple, at times humorous, sketches (a faceless man wearing a t-shirt that reads “Ask me about my face,” a centaur to a horse-headed human body: “It’s not bestiality if we 69!”), the film finds comedy in simplicity; there are some surprises here but mostly this is a straightforward affair. You could say that Dean is a whimsical bicoastal dramedy about grief and it succeeds precisely because it's so assured.

Brooklyn-based Dean has lost his mother, and the narrative follows his attempt at coping with this loss. His father, played with relish by Kevin Kline, is seemingly moving on too fast, wanting to sell the house he shared with his wife, a decision that pushes Dean to flee to Los Angeles. Both men find themselves engaging with women that help push them past their comfort zones. Lessons are learnt, and personal growth is unavoidable, but Martin uses the film’s whimsy to his advantage: split-screens and his quirky drawings visually highlight the levity that runs through his script (a meet-cute with Gillian Jacobs is impossibly twee and surprisingly spunky at the same time). That I’m using words like “whimsy” and “twee” in positive terms should tell you that I fell in love with this film even as I know it works within a very specific register that may not be for everyone; then again, any film that gives Mary Steenburgen and Kline a flirtatious scene centered on criticizing a Broadway play about (maybe?) time travel was always going to appeal to my interests. Grade: A-

Susan Sarandon shines after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr212016

Cannes Announces Its Critics' Week and Classics Selections

Cinephiles across the globe collectively held their breaths last week wondering whether the new Olivier Assayas or Lucretia Martel would make it onto the 2016 Croisette – his did, hers didn’t – as Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux unspooled the Competition, Un Certain Regard, Midnight Screenings, and Outside Competition line-ups. As if the promise of new adventures with Almodóvar, Dolan, and Park Chan-Wook weren’t enough, the recent announcements of the Critics’ Week and Cannes Classics sidebars present a whole host of new gems and old treasures to discover.

Let’s start with Critics’ Week, where a coterie of freshmen and sophomore directors compete for their own Nespresso Grand Prize. That would make this the branded stadium for spring-boarding international talents, such as Iñárritu (Amores Perros), Wong Kar-Wai (As Tears Go By), as well as Andrea Arnold and Jeff Nichols who are contending in the Main Competition this year with American Honey and Loving, respectively. The Critics Week features competition includes a number of films that examine schisms in national identities, and a closing selection of shorts featuring the directorial debut of human mystery box Chloe Sevigny. And speaking of people that could always be lurking over your shoulder; this is where David Robert Mitchell’s sexually transmitted horror film It Follows debuted back in 2014.

Critics’ Week 

  • Albüm – directed by Mehmet Can Mertoğlu (Turkey)
  • Diamond Island – directed by Davy Chou (Cambodia/France)
  • Raw – directed by Julia Ducournau (France)
  • Mimosas – Oliver Laxe (France)
  • One Week And A Day – directed by Asaph Polonsky (Israel)
  • Tramontane – directed by Vatche Boulghourjian (Lebanon)
  • A Yellow Bird – directed by K. Rajagopal (Singapore)

    Opening Night: In Bed with Victoria - directed by Justine Triet (France) 

Cannes Classics
The festival also hosts restored films from the international canon. This year they'll feature honors for documentarian and institutional excavator Frederick Wiseman, as well as a master class with raconteur and all-around mayday man William Friedkin. In addition to that Friedkin talk, Cannes Classics will screen the divisive Sorcerer, his 1977 remake of Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear – a film that sets a long fuse for a series of gut-wrenching flare-ups, a rattling exercise in tension. Ivory’s Howard’s End, Parts 5 and 6 of Kieślowski’s Decalogue, Gordard’s current repertory release Masculin feminine, and a bunch of other exciting classics will remind us why we were drawn to the cinema in the first place.

Any ideas how we could all split the cost of a yacht to the south of France this year?

Thursday
Apr142016

Cannes Film Festival Official Lineup

Kieran, here. The Cannes film festival is a peculiar animal. Its relation to the Oscar race (it's April, so I'm allowed to mention it again) is nebulous. While the festival raerly fails to deliver at least a few titles that will net multiple nominations, it's hardly the launching pad into awards season in a way similar to Toronto or (in more recent years) Telluride. And truthfully, that's one of the things that makes it so compelling to follow. Regardless of whatever criticisms one can levy against Cannes, it's hard to deny that it clearly has its own rich history and identity with different motives on its mind compared to many high profile festivals.

The lineup for the festival is replete with interesting cinematic offerings. There are certain directors who can always garner a slot on the roster (*uses quiet voice* regardles of the quality of the actual film). Even still, it's such a thrill every year when they announce the list, quibble as we may at the inclusion of the usual suspects. Below is the official lineup for the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival in full.

Opening Night Film

 Cafe Society – directed by Woody Allen

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in Woody Allen's latest

Doesn't it seem strange that it took this long for Woody Allen to put Kristen Stewart in one of his films? Woody Allen is definitely on the list of aforementioned directors who can always land a spot on the Cannes roster. Whether it's a rapturously received Midnight in Paris or a more tepid You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger level offering. Which will this be?

Competition 

Toni Erdmann – directed by Maren Ade
Julieta – directed by Pedro Almodóvar
American Honey– directed by Andrea Arnold
The Unknown Girl– directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Personal Shopper – directed by Olivier Assayas
It’s Only The End Of The World – directed by Xavier Dolan
Ma Loute – directed by Bruno Dumont
Paterson – directed by Jim Jarmusch
Rester Vertical– directed by Alain Guiraudie
Aquarius– directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho
Mal de Pierres – directed by Nicole Garcia
I, Daniel Blake– directed by Ken Loach
Ma’Rosa – directed by Brillante Mendoza
Loving – directed by Jeff Nichols
Bacalaureat – directed by Cristian Mungiu
Agassi– directed by Park Chan-Wook
The Last Face – directed by Sean Penn
Sieranevada – directed by Cristi Puiu
Elle – directed by Paul Verhoeven
The Neon Demon – directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Elle Fanning in Nicolas Winding Refn's THE NEON DEMON

The announcement of the lineup has dovetailed nicely with the release of the trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon, which has the internet buzzing. Have you watched yet? Seeing the haunting, enigmatic stills of Elle Fanning I opted not to and hopefully go into the film cold when it reaches stateside. Seriously, though...how absolutely amazing does this lineup of in-competition features look? Bacalaureat directed by Cristian Mungiu (Beyond the Hills and the fantastic 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) is the title that most has me wishing I could attend the festival. There's no guarantee it'll reach the United States in a timely manner. 

Un Certain Regard

Varoonegi – directed by Behnam Behzadi
Apprentice– directed by Boo Junfeng
Voir Du Pays – directed by Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin
La Danseuse– directed by Stephanie Di Giusto
Clash– directed by Mohamed Diab
La Tortue Rouge - directed by Michael Dudok de Wit
Fuchi Bi Tatsu – directed by Fukada Koji
Omar Shakhsiya – directed by Maha Haj
Me’Ever Laharim Vehagvaot – directed by Eran Kolirin
After The Storm– directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Hymyileva Mies– directed by Juho Kuosmanen
La Large Noche de Francisco Sanctis– directed by Francisco Marquez and Andrea Testa
Caini – directed by Bogdan Mirica
Pericle Il Nero – directed by Stefano Mordini
The Transfiguration– directed by Michael O’Shea
Captain Fantastic – directed by Matt Ross
Uchenik – directed by Kirill Serebrennikov

Viggo Mortensen in Matt Ross' CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Captain Fantastic, the second feature by actor turned director Matt Ross (American Psycho, TV's "Big Love" where he was excellent as a gay serpentine polygamist cult zealot) already played Sundance to good notices. Will it also impress the Cannes audience?

Midnight Screenings

Gimme Danger – directed by Jim Jarmusch
The Train to Busan – directed by Yeon Sang-Ho
A Chad Tragedy – directed by Mahamat-Saleh Aroun
The Death of Louis XIV – directed by Albert Serra
L’Ultima Spiaggia – directed by Thanos Anastopolous and Davide Del Degan

Outside Competition

The BFG – directed by Steven Spielberg
Money Monster – directed by Jodie Foster
The Nice Guys – directed by Shane Black
Gok Sung – directed by Na Hong-Jin

Jodie Foster directs George Clooney in MONEY MONSTERThe premiere and subsequent reception of Jodie Foster's Money Monster (which will be released in the US the following day) will be interesting to watch for several reasons. Foster, while obviously accomplished as an actor, has never really broken through with unanimous critical acclaim for any of her outings as a director (though Home For the Holidays is excellent). This is also the first film produced by George Clooney with a female director. He has previously only produced white-male-directed films--an odd bit of trivia given his reputation as a bastion of forward-thinking politics in Hollywood. He was one of the louder critics of the Academy's lack of diversity this past season, so perhaps we're seeing Clooney going beyond rhetoric (which does have value when you're a star of his reach and influence) and putting his money where his mouth is. 

What are you most excited to see?