HOT TOPICS


NOW PLAYING

in theaters


all reviews

new on dvd

 

 

Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
Remember when Samuel L Jackson used to ACT?

"If there were any justice, he would've been nominated and won for Jungle Fever. Still towers above everything he's done, including Pulp Fiction." -New Moon Sun

 

Beauty vs. Beast

 

Remember CORALINE ? 
VOTE ON THE POLL 

Keep TFE Strong

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
What'cha Looking For?

Entries in film festivals (232)

Wednesday
Jan292014

Sundance Documentary Round-Up: 'Rich Hill', 'Happy Valley', 'Private Violence' and 'Last Days in Vietnam'

Our Sundance coverage is just about wrapped up. Here's Glenn on four documentaries that may just end up on the Oscar long list in 11 months time.

When I moved to New York early last year, one of my movie missions was to see more documentaries. Given there’s on average three released here a week, that was never going to be too hard. I definitely succeeded with a year-end tally that nudged 50, which I think is pretty good considering years prior my number was much smaller and in some particularly disappointing years was limited exclusively to Oscar nominees. Michael has already reviewed and liked Life Itself, Nathaniel has reviewed and didn't like Web Junkie, and I announced my love for My Prairie Home. For completions sake, here are four more starting with the Grand Jury winner...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan282014

boy, you should know what you're linking for ♫

AV Club Sad Keanu Doll 
Empire JJ Abrams on the secrecy of his Star Wars sequels
Empire 25 different covers celebrating X-Men: Days of Future Past. I hate the cinematic interpretation of Quicksilver already... but they never do right by my favorite characters (see also Storm). And I didn't realize Sunspot was in this but they cast a Mexican actor to play an African-Brazilian? 
Playbill Brokeback Mountain: The Opera debuts today in Madrid

US Magazine Charlize Theron & Sean Penn holding hands. The rumors are true. So that's a good excuse to relisten to...
That Film Experience Podcast in which we fantasized about same-year Oscar couples
Variety The Great Gatsby sweeps the technical prizes at the first half of the Australian Oscars. They announce the headline categories Thursday
Guardian Johnny Depp receiving an award from the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild 

Post Script Sundance Sales
Ah, Sundance. My wrap up index post is coming late tonight but I enjoyed reading Vulture's takeaways and loved talking up the Sundance favorites with Guy Lodge on the podcast. I was also reading this piece about the non-spectular but steady sales at Sundance and a list of titles from the festival which now have distributors via Sound on Sight and I found both frustrating. I don't know if the latter list is 100% accurate (it's tough to keep track and did they ignore pre-sold films? If you know of a 100% complete list let me know) but it's frustrating. Only 20 deals were made? So naturally the great majority of films didn't sell. Some of them have easily saleable elements -- like oh, Anne Hathaway! --and in some cases are much stronger than some on the films that sold. I'm aware that in this day and age of DIY  distribution, VOD, and [insert latest trend here] not selling to a major distributor is not a death knell, just as being picked up is not always a godsend (some films that have distribution curiously never make it to screens or arrive years later when the buzz has gone ice cold). The three films I most wish had been picked up are:

  • Blind -Norwegian films rarely make a dent at the arthouse but it's so good
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night -Glenn loved it and it sounds like a must-see curio
  • Appropriate Behavior -in the comic subgenre of sexually impulsive twentysomething New York lady in a tailspin it's superior to Obvious Child which did sell.

Exit Music
Here's Vin Diesel dancing to Katy Perry (!) and grabbing his crotch a lot. Two things that are worth doing when one tops
                the dvd charts.

He would be in big trouble if he was asked to "lipsynch for your life"... but wouldn't he be an awesome guest on RuPaul's Drag Race? Make it happen, Ru. 

Tuesday
Jan282014

Sundance: Horror Comedies Shine with 'Cooties' and 'In the Shadows'

Our Sundance Film Festival coverage continues with Glenn Dunks on two of the festival's midnight movies.

Horror comedies can be so tricky sometimes. Is the film a horror movie with comedy or a comedy with horror elements? It might sound like semantics, but I feel it’s the difference, for instance, between Scream and Shaun of the Dead, both of which are excellent examples of the tight rope act that is the horror comedy genre mash-up. They knew exactly what they were doing and ultimately work as both a horror and a comedy without forgoing one half or the other. Cabin in the Woods, on the other hand, by all rights should have been a smart and scary horror movie, but instead lacked the tension that its jokes should have been buffering. It’s a tricky minefield to manoeuvre, but when it goes right the results can be fantastic. 

ravenous pre-teens and vampires after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan262014

Sundance Prize Winners

The Sundance prizes were handed out tonight and the top winners will be screening on Sunday the last day of the festival. =Glenn, Michael and I have a handful more reviews for you including a couple of these winners. But it figures that not one of the three of us caught the unquestionable champ, Whiplash starring Miles Teller as a drummer and JK Simmons as his military father, which took home both the juried top prize and the audience award for dramatic feature. You may recall that last year Fruitvale Station won both of those prizes too... but it wasn't able to convert that early rush of promise into Oscar nominations. The year before that those top prizes were split between Beasts of the Southern Wild (jury) and The Sessions (audience) which both went on to Oscar nods. The year before that Like Crazy (jury) and Circumstance (audience). Etcetera. Sundance is hit and miss in terms of its top films going on to further awards glory. Any guesses as to how Whiplash will fare further down the road? 

Full list of winners is after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan262014

Sundance: This Girl Walks Alone Into Greatness

From the Sundance Film Festival here is Glenn on 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night'

Despite the high profile of vampire movies in the past decade, very few of them have been strong enough to justify their budgets and mainstream success, let alone done enough to warrant any sort of long-term attention. Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded in 2003 and since then TV series True Blood and The Vampire Diaries have attempted to pick up where Joss Whedon left off. On the big screen, however, the only vampire property to strike any form of sustained reverence is Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish take on vampire lore, Let the Right One In – and, depending on who you ask, the American remake, Let Me In, too – although I did enjoy the Spierig Brothers’ high-concept Daybreakers as well (I didn’t care for Stake Land, but I hear people like that one, too). So it’s not only a surprise, but an genuine delight to report that Ana Lily Amirpour’s stark beauty, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is not just great movie, but should be considered an instant entry into the cannon of vampires on cinema.

With perhaps the most literal title of the festival, Amirpour’s American-made yet Iran-set film takes place in the fictional town of Bad City. A lawless wasteland of a location where a local pit is home to the rising number of dumped, abandoned corpses, and where thugs and pimps undertake their criminal enterprises is broad daylight. Oil drills chug and churn on the city outskirts sucking the land's resources even more than Bad City's low life residents, and a teenage boy takes advantage of a local drug dealer’s death by stealing his stash and moving in on his territory. Bad City, undoubtedly inspired at least in part by Sin City, is a town that both literally and figuratively is being drained of blood; where people don’t so much live and merely exist. It exists in a seemingly parallel world, a twilight zone of evil and it's the perfect place to go unnoticed. 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan252014

Sundance: Sophomore Directors Soar in 'Listen Up Philip' & 'I Origins'

Watching Alex Ross Perry’s mumblecore comedy The Color Wheel or Mike Cahill’s ambitious, but disappointing Another Earth in 2011 can’t really prepare you for their sophomore efforts, both of which premiered in Park City. Both Listen Up Philip and I Origins demonstrate a near stratospheric development for the pair in virtually every conceivable way. Cahill, especially, appears to have finally found a compelling way to conclude his high-concepts, which was one of the most frustrating elements of his debut. Perry on the other hand, has taken all of the promise found within his Indie Spirit-nominated gem and spun it into a literary tapestry that unfolds delicately and yet at breakneck speed.

You’d be forgiven for being taken entirely by surprise with Listen Up Philip thanks to its vivid, golden colourful strokes of 16mm beauty appearing in stark contrast to the minimalist aesthetic of his debut. Even more surprising is the structure that delightfully plays with audience expectations regarding the direction of certain characters. Just when you think Perry’s astute screenplay is teetering on the verge of monotony, it veers ever so delicately so that you may barely even notice. It’s a wonderful little game of bait and switch that helps make the film feel more intricate and less like two straight hours of people talking.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan252014

Sundance: The Raid 2: Raid Harder

From the Sundance Film Festival here is Glenn on the bone-crunching 'The Raid 2: Berandal'

"It doesn't end, does it?" asks a character in the excessively bloated sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal. He's talking about the depth of Indonesia's underworld, but I choose to take it literally and out of context, okay?! Fans of Gareth Evans' 2011 original will likely find nothing wrong in this film's 150-minute runtime - it's 9.7/10 IMDb rating only two days after its world premiere suggests just that - but as somebody who had hoped the original's 0% body fat take on the action movie formula would be given time to breathe and open up with the extended runtime, I was severely disappointed. 

\

Much like The Raid (which absurdly went by The Raid: Redemption in the US), Evans' sequel sees a cop battle a seemingly endless stream of villains amongst the Indonesian underworld with little else in between. Funnily enough, it reminded me most of all of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, which I also didn't like. Both are excessively indulgent and monotonous films that sap all the potential fun out of their concepts. The Raid 2 doesn't even allow its actors to revel in their villainry although I did get some enjoyment out of Ken'ichi Endô looking like Willem Dafoe. Likewise, the brief performance of Julie Estelle as "Hammer Girl" is fun and I'm tempted to compare her to a lesser Gogo Yubari from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol 1 (a film with about ten times the amount of colour, style, fun and pizazz as The Raid 2). 

Of course, looking for anything other than bone-crunching violence in one of these films is ultimately silly and futile. 150 minutes of almost constant nihilistic violence isn't my idea of a good time, although my crowd was certainly into it with clapping, laughing and hollering throughout. The action choreography is certainly impressive, there's little denying that, but eventually becomes little more than a processions of swinging fists and kicks. I enjoyed the lone, spectacularly filmed car chase sequence because it was at least a change of pace and allowed the eyes something different to concentrate on. 

Still, when characters take on the consistency of zombies, constantly getting up and fighting despite broken bones and gushing blood, it becomes hard to take any of it seriously. It was also eye-rolling worthy to see the film's hero so routinely saved at the last second by a gunman running out of bullets just as it looked like his number was up. The blood flows freely and the pulsating film score rarely gives you a moment of peace, all adding up to a sequel that took all the of the original worst habits and amplifies them. For many, I guess that will not be a problem. For me, however...

Grade: D+
Distribution: March through Sony Pictures Classics