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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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Entries in Holidays (87)

Thursday
Jul182013

Young Natalie: Thoughts on one of the great child performances of all time

Hi all, it’s Tim. With Natalie Wood Week upon us, there will be much talk of the actress’s run of films as a beautifully virginal ingénue, or her transition into roles as troubled adults and young women. But I want to pause on the threshold of all those Splendor in the Grasses and West Side Stories to pay tribute to the an earlier era in the Life of Natalie, when she became one of the best-loved child actors of the 1940s (and a good time it was for child actors, too).

The film that put her on the map was Miracle on 34th Street, of course, released when the actress was a mere eight years old in 1947. It wasn’t her first credited role (that would be the Claudette Colbert/Orson Welles vehicle Tomorrow Is Forever, from 1946), nor even the first movie to showcase her to good effect; earlier that same year, she’d been a solid presence in the supernatural melodrama The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, though that film ultimately didn’t ask very much of her besides being cherubic and innocent (this would remain true of a frustrating number of her vehicles throughout her later career). Simple, even if the simple ability to be a dazzlingly cute kid without it spilling over into tackiness was already enough to mark Wood out as more than just one more saccharine little girl ready to fill the void left by Shirley Temple’s ascendance into her late teens.

Miracle on 34th Street was something entirely different.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul042013

Four for the Fourth: America in the Movies

It’s Tim, here to wish all of the U.S. readers of the Film Experience a Happy Independence Day, and to everyone else, "Happy Thursday!"

This particular holiday isn’t one commemorated in movies as much as many others – the odd scene here or there, but rarely an entire film dedicated to the themes and meanings behind the day. In order to save everyone from watching the classic but overfamiliar Yankee Doodle Dandy or 1776 – or the Roland Emmerich / Dean Devlin explode-o-rama Independence Day, if that’s the way you roll – or the miserable direct-to-video slasher movie Uncle Sam, if that’s how you roll, and for that you have my sympathy – I thought I’d put together a little list of a few films about America, in its many different forms, that might make for somewhat more novel viewing than seeing James Cagney speak-singing George M. Cohan songs for the 20th time. 

 

(Though if you haven’t seen the film, for God’s sake do it, he’s a dancing genius!) Four great movies about America below the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May122013

Happy Mothers Day! (What's the Last Movie You Took Your Mother To?)

Did you call your mother yet? I was just talking to mine. Before we hung up, apropos of nothing, she says...

I was watching Turner Classic Movies this week. Sometimes I think of you when I watch."

Which... well, from my mother that's like a huge bouquet of flowers and hugs since she isn't super verbally affectionate. When pressed about which movie(s) she couldn't remember. "You know... that actress"

Was it... Barbara Stanwyck? I asked, trying to help with the first name that popped into my mind. "No. But I've seen lots of her movies. I didn't used to like her but now I do." 

Her current obsession is The Pirates of Penzance (1983) with 'that great new actor Kevin Kline' (new, mom?). She has apparently been buying up his filmography on VHS at garage sales and also likes French Kiss (1995) "except for the awful language!" Last time I visited she wanted to see Snow White and the Huntsman and then closed her eyes for half the movie.

What peculiar movie tastes does your mom have? What's the last movie you took her to?

Tuesday
Apr232013

Happy Earth Day: Actressexual Edition

Happy Earth Day! (It's April 22 where some of you are, still.)

 Andrew here. Isn't it s a shame that even though the earth is made up of so many natural, renewable resources we tend to get so few films about characters who are particularly interested in it? Lawyers, doctors, nurses, writers - those jobs tend to roll of the tongue easily from movie scripts. Environmentalists? Umm, not so much. When you think of how to celebrate Earth Day through film there doesn’t seem to be a large pool of cinematic options to choose from. Every now and then an An Inconvenient Truth type film will appear tackling earth related issues, but it’s not just the films completely devoted solely to the earth that telegraph the message of caring for our environment best. Oftentimes, an incidental character trait revealing an appreciation for the earth can do wonders.

Here at The Film Experience we all worship the deity that is Actresses (we're not very picky, good actresses all are welcome) and what better way to celebrate Earth Day, original Mother Earth Day than by recognising three women to celebrate both our Actressexual urges and our love for the Earth which the live on?

1. Julia Roberts in ERIN BROCKOVICH

three (plus) more divas after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr022013

My Easter Movie: The Wicker Man (1973)

[Editor's Note: My apologies to Deborah Lipp (and you!) Since I forgot to post her review of her favorite Easter movie this weekend. Pretend it's still Easter for us! Here's Deborah to sing that movie's praises. - Nathaniel R]
 

The Wicker Man is one of my favorite movies. There's a lot to be said about it, and I'm not going to say it all here. I'll start with the obvious: Different people perceive this film in very different ways. It's horror, it's a musical, it's kitsch, but it's also, quite blatantly, religious. Despite the fact that it takes place around the Pagan holiday of Beltane (May Day), I am going to argue that it's an Easter movie, dealing with sacrifice and resurrection.

May Morrison (to Sergeant Howie): You'll simply never understand the true nature of sacrifice.

The Wicker Man's horror centers on the conflict between two spiritual world views that are alien and opposite to one another. Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is a pious, not to say priggish, Christian, while the residents of Summerisle are Pagan. (Spoilers aplenty once you proceed.)

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr022013

Curio: Film Devotionals

Alexa here.  This Easter/Passover time of year is always replete with biblical references; for me, most are tied to film.  For instance, my main understanding of the significance of Passover is through my repeated childhood viewings of The Ten Commandments.  As one of the heathen mob, I am more likely to light a candle to mourn the loss of Ryan Gosling from the screen than ask saints for intercession. Religious or not, I thought TFE readers would enjoy some curios that aid in the practice of film idolatry, like these devotional candles from this etsy shop.

Who would you light a candle for this year?

More false idols including Tim Burton, Steve Buscemi and The Avengers after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr012013

Box Office "Rock"ed. How Was Your Easter Weekend?

Easter is quite a benevolent holiday what with the fluffy bunnies, pastel eggs and resurrection from the dead sans zombie feelings. But the world wanted big explosive violence and big muscled men at the movies. Does anyone remember on Monday how troubled GI Joe: Retaliation once was, what with the very expensive "oops, we're not going to release it after all!" that it went through last year.

The Rock was top of the box office.

1,000 + Screens
01 GI JOE: RETALIATION $41.2 *NEW*
02 THE CROODS  $26.5 (cum. $88.6)
03 TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION TO PUT HIS NAME IN EVERY TITLE  $22.3 *NEW* 
04 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN  $14 (cum $54.7) 
05 OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL $11.69 (cum. $198.2) Review
06 THE HOST  $11 *NEW*  
07 THE CALL $4.8 (cum. $39.4) comment discussion
08 ADMISSION $3.2 (cum $11.7) on Tina Fey / on Paul Rudd
09 SPRING BREAKERS $2.7  (cum $10.1) False Advertising?
10 THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE $1.3 (cum. $20.5)

So the gamble to waste all that prep P&A last year and pull the movie last minute in 2012 for a safer spot pre-summer movie season in 2013 paid off. In very limited release I don't think you can say that wasting your early press and publicity efforts paid off at all.

Less Than 100 Screens
01 THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES $.2 *NEW & REVIEWED* 
02 NO $.2 (cum. $1.3) Review
03 GINGER & ROSA  $.1 (cum. $.3)
04 FROM UP ON POPPY HILL  $.1 (cum $.2)
05 ON THE ROAD $.1 (cum $.4)

Ginger & Rosa and On The Road are two more pictures to add to the endless pile of "one week qualifiers" that have worked hard to win attention at festivals and on the Oscar circuit in one year only to not let anyone spend money on them until well into the following year when people have moved on and are confused when the movie is brought up again as a "new" film. It's a strange strategy that almost never pays off and yet distributors keep trying it! Eternal optimism.

For what it's worth both pictures have plenty to recommend them even if they aren't home runs: Ginger & Rosa is a completely rare beast - a thoughtful intelligent picture about teenage girls flinging themselves into politics and hormonal indulgences with a terrific emotionally expressive performance by Elle Fanning; On the Road is beautifully shot but more hit and miss with performances but man does Garrett Hedlund ever hit it as the object of everyone's erotic and creative attention. 

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