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Entries in Kristen Wiig (16)

Tuesday
Jan272015

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

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance with three quick takes

DOPE
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 hugely endearing 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!

LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT
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!

NASTY BABY
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

Sunday
Jan252015

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....

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Saturday
Jul122014

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]

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Friday
Dec132013

TGIF: What's Your Favourite Award Presentation?

Glenn here. It's Friday, which for a lot of people means the weekend. If, like me, you don't work a traditional 9 to 5 job then it means nothing at all. Except, of course, it becomes socially acceptable to be up until 4am watching movies. I have an OFCS ballot that is incomplete and I've only got 30 hours to watch all the contenders!

Of course, I'll never actually get to watch them if I spend my time continuously watching clips from award shows, which is something that inevitably happens during the season. It's a sickness, I swear. Inspired by yesterday's Golden Globe nominations and watching Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell present musical/comedy actress at this year's award show for about the 100th time. Apropos of it being the end of the week, here are some of my favourites, but how about yours? 

Sunday
Jan202013

"Get out of heeeeeerre"

A week later and I'm still giggling about this. And also SO FRUSTRATED THAT SAG IS NEXT SUNDAY INSTEAD OF TODAY.

Award Shows. I get The DTs. Don't judge.

This calls for a poll!

 

 

Tuesday
Jun122012

Tuesday Top Ten - Motion (Picture) Sickness

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JA from MNPP here. First off, my apologies to those of you with weaker constitutions. This might not be your sort of Top Ten list today. With that out of the way, want to know why I still won't eat cherries to this very day? Since it's "The Witches of Eastwick week"I think y'all can probably put two and two together. Take a giant silver bowl of them, stir in a trio of witchy women under the influence of one Big Bad, and shake thoroughly - out spills what might be the always game Veronica Cartwright's most memorable cinematic moment. (And this is a woman who has been terrorized by Hitchock's birds and phallically attacked by HR Giger's Alien, so she knows from memorable scenes.)
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You'd be excused for expecting it to be the walls and furniture to be what tumbles out of her mouth since she spends the first half of the scene devouring the scenery in a tour de force of bravura overacting, but the devil's in the details - that red-stained torrent of cherry pits is something you just don't forget, even 25 years later. (Watch the whole scene here.)
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So in it's honor, a list!
Here are 9 more cinematic spews... from Bridesmaids through The Exorcist

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