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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

The Highs & Lows of RALPH BAKSHI
comment(s) du jour

"Wow it's so nice to see somebody else appreciate American Pop" - Doctor Strange

"Cool World has its moments but PG-13 hurt the film's potential to be so much more" - Steven


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


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.

What'cha Looking For?

Entries in Kristen Wiig (20)


In praise of Wiigs

Manuel here asking: when did Kristen Wiig become the reigning queen of indie cinema especializing in fascinatingly messed up women? 

Left to Right: A Deadly Adoption, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Welcome to Me, Nasty Baby (front), Skeleton Twins, Girl Most Likely

I just watched Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sundance review) and while the film is clearly a showcase for newcomer Bel Powley, I couldn't shake off the former SNL funny gal's Charlotte. And that got me thinking about Wiig's amazing recent roster of fascinating female characters, some of which deserved better vehicles (coughGirl Most Likelycough). She really was never going to rest on her comedic laurels, was she? 

In other Wiig news, her other Sundance flick, Nasty Baby (read Nathaniel's review) now has a trailer and a release date (Oct 23). I'd embed it on here except all trace of it has apparently disappeared from YouTube and thus from all other outlets which posted it (guess they want to keep the film a secret?). But you can still watch it here.

BYOYNMS in the comments and tell me: Which indie drama Wiig is your favorite?


Yes/No/Maybe So: The Martian

Manuel here to talk space trailers. It’s been a week since the trailer for Ridley Scott’s latest project about Matt Damon getting stranded in Mars dropped, and we have been mum about it here at TFE. Is it because we have no Fassy to look forward to this time around? Or because we prefer our Scott vehicles better when they involve a certain Ms Weaver? The Martian centers on Watney (Damon), an astronau that finds himself stranded in the red planet when a NASA mission is forced to quickly retreat. Alone, unable to contact Earth and armed only with a month's worth of food, he sets out to survive in a planet where, as he says in the trailer, nothing grows. Will his science-know how keep him alive long enough for him to call for help and wait for his team to rescue him from Mars? We'll have to wait until November to find out! 

In the meantime, let's break down the trailer in true TFE-fashion:


Click to read more ...


Review: Welcome to Me

Michael C. here with your non-Avengers review of the week

When we daydream about striking it rich the objects of our fantasies usually fall into tangible, straightforward categories. The things we will buy, the places we will travel, the jobs we will quit. Alice Klieg, the lottery winner with borderline personality disorder played by Kristen Wiig in Shira Piven’s Welcome to Me, has more abstract ideas. Alice has spent her whole life trying and failing to live in the world everyone else seems to inhabit with ease. Now, fresh off the decision to go off her meds and with 86 million at her disposal, she can finally force the rest of us to live in her world.

When we meet Alice prior to striking it rich, she is filling her lonely days watching her vast collection of Oprah episodes on VHS, mouthing the words along with the host. It makes perfect sense then, that when she finds herself thrust into the spotlight her first instinct is to cast herself in the role of self-help guru, albeit one with her own life as her first and only subject. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Living For Love & Skimming Through Grammys

Annie takes us to church, then puts a spell on usWith Taylor Swift's cheekily titled "1989" the music world's best-seller of 2014, and a least half of all movie franchises with their roots firmly embedded in the "me" decade is pop culture forever frozen in 80s amber? We hardly needed another reminder that the 1980s are still roaring but what were the chances that the two best performances of the Grammy's would come from Annie Lennox and Madonna?

I don't ask this as someone with significant ties to loving the 1980s (though I am someone like that) but from genuine surprise. It's not that there aren't great performers that are very now but they all seemed conspicuously absent last night or visibly subdued within the long procession of funureal ballads the Grammys showcased. Hell, even Pharell's boppy "Happy" which memorably gave us Streep shimmying and Nyong'o jumping to her feet at the Oscars last year, was performed with 'everything is not awesome' minor key ominousness.

After the jump movie & Oscar related Grammy stuff and big wins. But first a few words on Madonna and the delicious deep red new video from the undeposed Queen of Pop.

Click to read more ...


Sundance Quickies: Dope, Last Days in the Desert, Nasty Baby

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance with three quick takes

The biggest sale at Sundance was this no-stars comedy about three geeky high school seniors who are obsessed with 90s hip hops (that's a character detail and joke factory -- not the plot). Malcolm (Shameik Moore joyfully charismatic in the lead role) a Straight A student who dreams of Harvard and his two best friends Jib (Tony Revolori - just as strong as he was in Grand Budapest Hotel) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons from Transparent in her feature debut) live in "The Bottoms" an impoverished crime-ridden neighborhood. Malcolm gets mixed up with Dom (Rakim Mayers aka A$AP Rocky), a local dope dealer, and soon the three friends are on the run from cops, drug dealers, gang members and continually out of frying pans and into other fires. The film it most reminded me of is Go (1999) for its parade of memorable characters, smart fast comedy, and crime plot but this one is lighter.  Dope has inarguably high energy and fresh laughs for the first hour but, like many comedies, it overstays its welcome as it wants to be taken more seriously in the second half (tightening the second hour before release would be of huge benefit). Regardless, those huge laughs, great racial politics jokes and its endearing central trio could well make it a sleeper smash. B/B+

Funny Coincidence: I saw this directly after The Diary of a Teenage Girl and both movies feature a shot of a horny teenage girl licking a photograph. In this case it's lesbian drummer Diggy licking the 2 Live Crew album cover. Ha!

In this film, shot in natural light by that DP without peer Emmanuel Lubezki, Ewan McGregor plays Jesus near the end of his 40 day fast and desert wanderings. McGregor also plays the Devil which gives this film the entertaining kick it needs to survive lots of contemplative moments / scenes of Jesus just staring into and walking around the desert thinking about the shit that Sons of God think about.I liked the film's invention of a troubled family Jesus meets (Ciarin Hinds and Tye Sheridan as father/son -- though thankfully their dramatic parallels to Jesus and his  "Daddy" as Satan hilariously calls God are not so neatly correlative as to be obnoxious.) Satan wears a beautiful dangly gold earring (I guess because vanity is evil? Or because they wanted to make fun of one earring wearers?) but otherwise he looks exactly like Jesus. The film is by Rodrigo Garcia, a director I've always wanted to love given his actressexuality -- though weirdly this film is almost entirely male -- but have never been able to because his films tend to be a bit sleepy. This one is smartly reined in at 98 minutes but it does feel a bit slight, exercize-ish, despite the heavy topic. B-/C+

Ewan McGregor revealed in the Q&A afterwards that he did a lot of studying to play Jesus (scriptures, books, etcetera) and none to play Satan ("the devil came naturally"). Hee!

Kristen Wiig just keeps on overachieving, doesn't she? After conquering comedy she keeps on impressing in dramatic roles, too. She's got a beautifully authentic rapport with writer/director/star Sebastian Silva (who is most famous for his Golden Globe nominated terrific Chilean film The Maid). Silva and Wiig play Freddy & Polly, best friends who'e been trying to get pregnant for months but it hasn't been working. They enlist Freddy's hesitant boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe in his first feature since 2008's Rachel Getting Married -- he was the guy Rachel married!) to do the sperm donor duty. Meanwhile a crazy neighbor keeps harassing everyone on the street and Freddy struggles to realize his art project "Nasty Baby" in which he wants to explore how disgusting babies of all kinds are by investigating their "gross cuteness" -- it gets a big laugh in context, trust -- and he plans to explore that by rolling around naked making baby sounds? It's a video installation, just go with it. It's all an ultra specific urban slice of life dramedy -- so ultra-specific in fact that I assume this will be a very hard sell for many. Making it even more difficult for potential audiences is the sharp left turn it takes into uncomfortably suspenseful territory toward the end. But despite what will surely be a hard road to find its natural fanbase, I admired it for being so wholly itself... or maybe its two selves. Or its three selves? The end credits are set to the cast doing roller disco for totally inexplicable but delightful effect. And the cast -- including the little seen Mark Margolis (who you'll recognize from Darren Aronofsky's movies) as a protective old gay in the neighborhood -- just felt wonderfully organic. B


Good Morning! "Teen Girl" & Sales Notes from Sundance

Sundance is keeping me mighty occupied though I promise that more reviews are coming. Yesterday I caught Glassland (reviewed), and two gay films, one of which I loved (Tangerine - not to be confused with the Estonian picture nominated for an Oscar right now) and the other that I'm trying to parse my feelings for still (I Am Michael) but both reviews are in the queue.


Inbetween every movie I keep hearing people enthusing about The End of the Tour starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel (the latter winning dream reviews). If it wasn't that it was people bitching about being shut out of additional screenings added to keep up with demand for The Witch. The two of those seem to be the fest's buzziest title (thus far) so of course I didn't schedule either! It's always a crapshoot when you work out a schedule... or don't work one out early enough which tends to be my problem. There was no warning on the success of The Witch at all as it's a period piece (set before the Salem witch trials) from a first time director without any stars in the cast. Fresh voices as festival breakouts? Yes please. Sundance always hopes to be about that, actually, but quite often the buzziest titles are less unfamiliar.

My final film yesterday was one of Sundance's other hot titles, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. The film stars a very young looking 22 year old British actress named Bel Powley as a precocious 15 year old who is experimenting with and embracing her burgeoning sexuality in 1970s San Francisco. The film opens with a line that goes something like 'Today I had sex for the first time. Holy shit!' Her bohemian mother (Kristen Wiig, excellent again) is rather oblivious to her daughter's horniness and doesn't realize that her own boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) is sleeping with Minnie. Writer/director Marielle Heller (as well as, presumably, the novelist Phoebe Gloekner who provided the source material) daringly shows Minnie initiating the sex in Lolita-esque fashion....

Click to read more ...


Emmy Nom Hangover: Snubs & Peculiarities

Apologies for my radio silence yesterday. Off my game I was for the entire day plus which means I'm know 36 hours behind on writing projects. Hooray. Nevertheless, because Emmy nominations are still very much on my mind after the initial response and the main titles detour (oh don't pretend you aren't still thinking about them) I polled a few members of Team Experience about their feelings. And here's what they had to say on four questions. Answer them yourself in the comments, too. The more the merrier. 

What's the Nomination That Most Perplexes You?

Adam Armstrong: Kristen Wiig – The Spoils of Babylon. When I read her name among the nominees, I was like:

...Pure, unadulterated, ecstatic, confused bliss. 

Andrew KendallSo many options, but it's impossible for me to let Christina Hendricks in Mad Men just pass - for so many reasons. Everyone loves Joan and Hendricks is one Mad Men's finest actors but in the seven episode "half season" 2014 gave up what did Joan Harris even do to warrant a citation? I'm always willing to defend the Emmy voters when people accuse them of voting without watching (maybe they just have trite tastes?) but can anyone have watched this last season of television and sincerely felt Christina Hendricks did anything of note? Her nomination this particular season is even more of an albatross to the category than Maggie Smith's never ending series of nominations for frowning on Downton Abbey.

Dancin' Dan: Michelle Dockery, Lead Actress in a Drama. Does she actually do ANYTHING remotely interesting or difficult on Downton Abbey? This nomination has always perplexed me.

Anne Marie: Apparently the only people still watching Glee are Emmy voters. It's the only way to explain how it got a directing nomination for an episode with fewer audience members than the population of New Mexico.

Omission You Will Hold Against the Emmys Forever?

[RuPaul, Hannibal, Archer, The Good Wife and much more after the jump]

Click to read more ...