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 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 London (27)

Sunday
Oct052014

Interview: Matthew Warchus (Pride, God of Carnage, Matilda The Musical) on Stage and Screen Transfers

Portions of this interview originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad discussing "Pride," the year's most adorable movie. This is the full interview with additional topics, Matilda the Musical's upcoming film adaptation chief among them.

If you didn't get to cinemas these past two weekends, the year's most adorable movie is still waiting for you, eager to please. Pride has been playing New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco but will add new cities next Friday. I expect all Film Experiencers to turn out for it! If you've read my review (aka paragraphs of me drooling on the movie) you'll know it's the true life LGBT story of a group of activists in the 1980s that stood up for striking miners during Margaret Thatcher’s bullying reign. The film is looking to be a "word of mouth" hit in miniature, but CBS Films plans to nurture it towards larger sleeper status. They'll be expanding carefully.

Two weeks back I had the opportunity to talk with the director Matthew Warchus who had just attended a pre-release screening with a "tumultous reaction" in LA. The 46 year old director, a stage veteran and Tony winner, recently replaced Kevin Spacey as the artistic director of the Old Vic so he isn't leaving the boards, he's just multi-tasking. He's already working on his follow up to Pride, a big screen adaptation of the Tony nominated hit Matilda: The Musical.

I talked to him about both projects, his stage directing skill set and how it affects his film work and how he approaches moving a property across mediums.

NATHANIEL R: You’ve done a lot of stage work before this. What do you think most prepared you for to tell this particular story and on film? 

MATTHEW WARCHUS: One great bit of preparation: I grew up in a village in the middle of nowhere in the North of England surrounded by coal mines and massively isolated. We had moved into that village so we were outsiders, wanting to to assimilate and be accepted. That gave me an understanding of how those communities work and the positives and minuses.

[Adapting musicals, sharing Pride, and more after the jump...]

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Thursday
Sep252014

Review: 'Pride,' the Year's Most Adorable Movie

This article originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission...

Truth is stranger-than-fiction and also often gayer. The new feature PRIDE dramatizes a largely unknown historical anecdote from the bitter year-long miner’s strike in Thatcher-era Britain when a group of gay activists fundraised for the miners. This alliance is at first an awkward tense match but it eventually finds heartwarming pockets of oxygen when these two unlikely groups are breathing the same air.

It begins with a handful of gay activists (“and lesbian!” their only female member interjects with a small wave in a recurring joke), notice a sudden decline in police bullying in their neighborhood. They make the connection: the conservative government has a new minority to scapegoat. They form a group called LGSM “Lesbians and Gays for the Striking Miners” to help the people suffering without paychecks for months on end — a byproduct of Margaret Thatcher’s war against the unions.

At first, though, these gay heroes can’t even find a miner’s group that will take their money in this cross culture dramedy. [more...]

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Tuesday
Aug262014

Stage Door: "Sweeney Todd" & "My Old Lady"

In Stage Door, our semi-weekly live performance column, we cover theater news that's directly or merely ever-so-slightly connected to film and television... mostly because theater is heaven. If you can manage to see it.

Photos from Sweeney Todd the movie ought not to be read as an endorsement of actors who can't sing starring in musicals.

It is this blog's policy never to endorse Kickstarter projects because if you start, where do you stop? But since this one is about to be fully funded, I have to share my excitement. The Tooting Arts Club, a site specific theater company in London had a brilliant idea. They're staging a full production (with Stephen Sondheim's blessing) of Sweeney Todd in an actual old pie shop with help from the barber shop across the street in October. There are only 32 seats in the shop so tickets will be hard to come by. I'm tempted to buy a plane ticket just to see how they pull this off.  

Drag queens and old ladies after the jump...

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Sunday
Oct202013

LFF: Saving Mr. Banks

David brings you one of the first reviews from the London Film Festival's world premiere of this unseen Oscar tip. Will Disney add some more statues to his vast collection?

Emma Thompson is an exquisite crier. Friends, acquaintances and enemies still cite her strand of Love Actually as easily the film’s strongest aspect, and her reaction to her husband’s thoughtful but incorrect present as one of the actress’ finest moments. There’s something about the way the composed, somewhat remote attitude crumbles, drawn all over Thompson’s face, that makes it so sympathetic and wistfully beautiful to witness. And it’s due to this, partly, that Saving Mr. Banks is as successful as it is – the experienced, perceptive way both Thompson and co-star Tom Hanks have of selling their monologues and close-ups, which in less experienced hands could so easily have seemed hackneyed and manipulative.

John Lee Hancock’s tale of the negotiations between Walt Disney (Hanks) and Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Thompson) is pretty standard sentimental stuff, quickly establishing the hearty transatlantic binary between uptight Brit and liberal American. Travers insists on being called “Mrs. Travers”; Walt, his employees whisper to her, only works on a first name basis. Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith’s screenplay mines this for as many laughs as it can possibly produce. [More]

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Saturday
Oct192013

LFF: Home to Britain

David reporting on four of the British films in the London Film Festival.

The crown jewel in the archive selection this year is the BFI’s pristine restoration of J.B.L. Noel’s overwhelming 1924 documentary, The Epic of Everest. It’s one of those films where the sheer audacity of what’s being filmed, as opposed to any technical prowess, is what really impresses. And when the intertitles (it’s silent, of course, though outfitted with a gorgeously minimalist new score from Simon Fisher Turner) announce that a particular shot is brought to you using a revolutionary telephoto lens, that’s quite an achievement. Though no words are spoken, and faces barely seen, it’s hard not to become enthralled in Noel’s recounting of their journey through Tibet and up the mountain, with breathtaking long takes of some passages of the mountain gripping in the simplicity of distant figures precarious movements. Andrew Irvine and George Mallory died in the attempt, a tragedy captured in a climax that combines painful distance – the camera could only be taken so far up the mountain – with melancholic intertitles that seem to reach out through time. The BFI restoration is released in the UK this weekend, with a detailed DVD and Blu-Ray release sure to follow – in any format, it’s an awesome experience of an extraordinary expedition.

Charlie Cox (remember him?) in Hello Carter plus two more new films after the jump...

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Thursday
Oct172013

LFF: Kill Your Darlings

Dave is at the London Film Festival, plotting how best to avoid the hoardes of Daniel Radcliffe fans who'll be coming for him soon.

In writing you must kill all your darlings."

The dilemma of how to literally take William Faulkner’s melancholy quote is the central crisis point of John Krokidas’ debut feature Kill Your Darlings. The film is a playful, confident but messy tale of Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) and his obsessive friendship with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), a fellow student at Columbia University. Krokidas makes this relationship the heart of his film, aesthetics and narrative bound up in their complex bond, relying heavily on the two young leads who have reached this point in their careers by markedly different paths. Despite the presence of some more seasoned hands in the cast - Ben Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Cross - this is a strikingly youthful film, effectively matching the burgeoning talents it explores.

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Saturday
Oct052013

LFF: All is Lost

David reports from the London Film Festival on his first voyage to meet Robert Redford, lost at sea... (This film is also playing at NYFF)

Since Kanye West just brought The Truman Show and its climatic sailing sequence into public parlance again, it’s perfectly appropriate for me to refer to All is Lost as an enlarged version of that scene. The manipulator of the heavens here is not a flatcapped Ed Harris, but writer-director J. C. Chandor, fleeing from the immensely talkative boardroom of Margin Call to the vast sea of a practically wordless one-man-show. ‘Our Man’ (as the credits call him) is Robert Redford, in an Oscar-buzzed performance that is certainly his most remarkable in many years. Not only for the physical commitment - the rough winds of the sea buffet the sailor every which way - but for the restraint with which he crafts a stolid and complex man who barely says a word.

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