in theaters

review index

new on DVD/BluRay

review index



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


"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

"He has become someone I look for in films because he always comes across with such honesty." -Henry


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 Madonna (70)


London: W.E., Oslo and Japan

David here, reporting from the final week of the London Film Festival. If there's one name guaranteed to grab my attention, it's...

The sight of Madonna's name heading up movie credits is a slightly surreal one, and it's difficult to imagine the icon standing behind a camera, and so W.E.'s worst foible is an understandable one from such a deified person. Re-edited after a poor reception at previous festivals, there is a fair deal to admire here, but all those flashbulbs must have gone to her head, because the photography is stuffed with dramatically posed shots, as if its being filmed with a still camera. Yet it's in the camera work that the film digs up shards of emotional truth amongst the narrative cliches, suggesting that Madonna might prove a worthwhile director. When the camera moves, it does so with a defiant tactility, a visual sense alive with feeling and clarity. This story of a late-'90s neglected wife (Abbie Cornish) in New York turning to the story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough, superbly poised) for comfort and reflection is the stuff of clunky parallels with little sense of historical ambiguity. The soundtrack is alarmingly overloaded. But the immediate, reactive sense of the photography delves through the physical to the emotional roots, scoring unpredictable truths. (C) more articles on W.E.

Oslo, August 31st is like two pages ripped from a diary; one covered with words, the second blank and sodden with tears. After his first feature, the textured novelistic Reprise, director Joachim Trier follows in Louis Malle's footsteps by adapting Pierre Drieu La Rochelle's Le feu follet, a melancholy tale of a man debating suicide. Anders Danielsen Lie, one of the two leads of Reprise, is given the luxury of a film to himself ...only his character, Anders, isn't one to luxuriate. The film's first half is full of words. Anders attempts to spread his wings, testing the waters of the outside world as he breaks from a spell in rehab. A discussion with his friend Thomas (Hans Olav Brenner) stretches imperceptibly to twenty minutes, dense with completely natural musings, arguments, and agonising admissions that absorb both characters and viewers. As Anders spirals into the night, and into August 31st, the film shifts into sensory expression, the lens focus shifting lucidly, the soundtrack slowly emptying to mournful desolation. Far from easy to watch, and tearfully inconclusive, this is nonetheless another quiet triumph from Trier. (A-) more articles on Oslo August 31st

two brothers in "I Wish"

Two brothers on a quest to repair their family. It's a story out of 1980s Hollywood cinema, and I Wish does ring with the cliches of quest narratives like Stand By Me or The Goonies. Hirokazu Kore-eda, a festival favourite thanks to films like Nobody Knows and After Life, directs this bright tale which centres around the supposed miracle that occurs when two bullet trains pass each other. Koichi and Ryu, each stuck with a parent on opposite sides of Kyushu, plot a voyage to witness the miracle and wish their family back together. Where Kore-eda betters his Stateside influences, though, is in his generous characterizations of the adult characters, who lack the intimacy we're granted with the vibrant kids but feel alive with both warmth and foibles. Inevitably, the film cycles through familiar ideas, but the wheels are so smooth it scarcely matters. The achievement of the quest isn't the thing, but the journey, and you're unlikely to find a more heartwarming, vibrant trip all year. (B+)


the link i live in

Animation Magazine Have you heard that Steve Jobs wanted Aaron Sorkin to write a Pixar movie? It's be more interesting if he wrote a movie about Pixar. How would his sharp sometimes cynical wit mesh with Pixar's self-promoted internal cheer as the happiest workplace on earth?
Towleroad I say a few words about Pedro Almodóvar's latest
IndieWire interviews Elena Anaya on her role in The Skin I Live In. *mild spoiler alert*
New York Times "The Formula of Melodrama" brought on by Almodóvar's gripping The Skin I Live In.
My New Plaid Pants more pics from the set of Steven Soderbergh's flesh fest Magic Mike plus JA's hilarious commentary. 

Gold Derby finds fun elected trivia about Meryl Streep's upcoming nomination for The Iron Lady (what do you mean "if") 
Awards Daily pontificates about Olivia Colman's Oscar chances for Tyrannosaur. I saw the movie much earlier this year and she is brilliant in it. 
Culture Map Austin Kristen O'Brien shares memories of George Harrison, whose back in the cultural ether (not that the Beatles ever leave it) given Martin Scorsese's documentary. Love this bit about Madonna and Shanghai Surprise (which Harrison provided music for) of all things.

On this last visit to Friar Park we met first to view footage from the film Shanghai Surprise. I joined Dad to watch the dailies with Harrison and the principal actors in the film, Madonna and Sean Penn. After the screening, we went back to Friar Park for dinner. However, before dinner was served, we gathered in the TV room so that Madonna could get Harrison’s feedback on her latest as-yet-unreleased video. It was "Live to Tell," and she shyly played it for all of us, looking earnestly to George for his approval. After the video we watched The Muppet Show, and I remember thinking it was funny, but yet perfectly natural, to be sitting here with Madonna laughing over Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

CBR has a list of unproduced superhero movie screenplays that might make good comic books. Though I knew that Tim Burton and Michelle Pfeiffer wanted to do a Catwoman movie after Batman Returns... I didn't realize that an actual screenplay was turned in (and rejected). Either that or I've just forgotten to block out the pain. 
Keyframe Nick, Timothy and Kevin (three of my four favorite Chicagoans) are arguing over the Chicago Festival fare in this ongoing conversation including The Kid With a Bike, Miss Bala, My Week With Marilyn, and The Artist, and Melancholia. I'm happy to see Nick appreciated Melancholia as much as I did. Where is my review? Funny you should ask. Why am I procrastinating it so? 

Finally, if you're young musical theater performer type -- I know TFE has readers of that persuasion -- you might want to consider auditioning for The Glee Project Season Two. In the past I've always been violently opposed to reality shows which cast productions of anything. Casting should not be a democracy. It should be left to the experts or the people who have to work with the people that are auditioning. I had NO intention of watching this show but I stumbled on it one day and was surprised at how interesting it was. The audience couldn't vote (yay!) and it became this behind the scenes expose (albeit heavily edited and undoubtedly self-censoring) of how show creators react to talent who would love to work with them, and what does or doesn't factor into their hiring decisions. It reminds you of how true it is that talent will only get you so far (i.e. a foot in the door) but there are so many intangibles in showbiz.



TV|Line Madonna may be this year's halftime performer at the Superbowl
The Oreo Experience. An amusingly provocative (and depressing) look at fall movie trailers and what the white and black characters get to do in them. 
My New Plaid Pants on Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus... coming soon. I'll admit a lack of familiarity with this particular Shakespeare play, too. 
ioncinema Andrew Haigh, the writer/director of Weekend names his ten favorite films. I asked him a similar question (which I didn't include in the published interview) and he only mentioned three of these: Don't Look Now, Last Night and Some Like It Hot.

Natasha VC on best uses of music in a Martin Scorsese film
Movie|Line Netflix Ten Most Rented Movies. An Interesting and Irritating List.
Shock Till You Drop asks David Cronenberg about his future projects including sequels (?) to Eastern Promises and The Fly. I spoke with Cronenberg today (interview coming eventually) but I didn't have time to talk up future theoretical movies since my predilection is always towards actual existing movies. Crazy, I know. I feel so lonely sometimes since most people only seem to care about future movies... though obviously I would be quite happy to see either of those imaginary movies as I'm a fan of both originals.

New York Mag talks to Laura Dern (Enlightened) who is my new hero for saying this:

I’m becoming fluent in French so I can go to France and make French films when I’m 60."

I have been suggesting this to actresses since I started writing a decade ago and finally someone is smart enough to take my advice. (okay okay. Maybe Laura doesn't read The Film Experience but let me have my fantasies. Shut up!)

Finally, Sasha over at  Awards Daily sounds off on the old complaint/notion that talking Oscar sucks the air out of the film room... particularly during the fall when we should be talking about how good the movies are. I'm in complete agreement here about film advocacy being the thing people are missing when they bitch about the Oscars. I discovered my cinephilia through the Oscars (as have several other people I've been lucky enough to meet over the years through my writing). They're two separate things now -- as they should be but all things take time -- but I take no issue with them sharing space each year.


Q&A: Shady Ladies, Brutal Scuffles, and Winsletisms

I begin with the lamest of blog clichés, an apology about my tardiness with the Q&A column. Somehow I completely forgot to do my "A"s last Monday despite asking you for the "Q"s. I've been lost in some sort of daze on which I blame the weather (why not) insomnia (for sure) and Lars von Trier (hear me out). Melancholia keeps creeping back into my peripheral vision at inopportune times and I feel I really need to talk about it. But, see, I'm the sort of guy who likes a good conversation and film culture continues to torment me with its deathly shuffle. It takes FOREVER for movies to open after people first start talking about them. By the time many of you get a chance to see Melancholia, Lars von Trier will probably be editing his next picture instead of trying to cast it... thus killing all beneficial opportunities for conversation between moviegoers and the media. 

Now on to the movie questions you totally forgot you asked since we're one week late!

Brian Z: A large number of filmmakers (Crowe, Payne) seem to be back after a bit of a hiatus. What director who have been away for awhile would you most like to see again?
Nathaniel: Obviously Paul Thomas Anderson needs to come back (and stay). I'm ready for Jonathan Demme post Rachel Getting Married. I don't understand why Christopher Guest needed to go away (though I did find For Your Consideration disappointing).  I want to say Peyton Reed but only if he would get funding for something he really wanted to do (he started off in such a high spirited / original way with Bring it On and Down With Love but then...). And if you want to go much further back it's disappointing to me that Leos Carax who so startled with Lovers on the Bridge (1991) and Pola X (1999) hasn't followed those difficult memorable dreams up with another visionary feature.

Michael: If all of Viggo Mortensen's characters got into a fight, who would win?
Nathaniel: Immediately I'm picturing Nikolai (Eastern Promises) in a naked steam room brawl with all the other Viggos for which I thank you (and David Cronenberg). Viggo has played several dangerous men over the years but I think the final rounds include brutal military officer (G.I. Jane) vs. Tom Stall (A History of Violence) but since Demi Moore can kick his the Chief's ass than he doesn't survive Tom Stall's crazy speed and death blow efficiency aim. Nikolai puts up a long fight and makes it through several rounds but in the end when Aragorn arrives with all his superpowered friends and ghost armies in tow, his massive sword swinging low, then it's really no contest whatsoever. Aragorn for the win.

Middle-P: Do you think that Marti Noxon and the new writing staff will actually be able to redirect/save Glee from the uneven mess of a sophomore slump it took during season 2?
Nathaniel: I think Glee may have been doomed from Season 1 when it made the same mistake that all high school shows make (you'd think someone would learn) when it didn't think to vary up the ages of the key characters so that nobody would kill the show when they graduated (and I'm sorry but without Kurt & Rachel, they just don't have a show) and decided that Sue Sylvester would have to be the Big Bad for all time. Jane Lynch is funny but it just doesn't work as a constant war of ridiculous proportions. But I think you mean tonally. Good writers can definitely mend its weird personality switcheroos. I hold out hope that Season 3 is an improvement but I think the show will be a short-lived wonder and maybe they'd be totally smart to call this their final season and go out on a high note, no pun intended. 

Bryan: What are your top five Kate Winslet performances?

FIVE BEST KATES and more actressy goodness after the jump.

Click to read more ...


The Girl With the Drive-By Linkings

Film School Rejects 33 things we learned from David Cronenberg's commentary on The Fly (1986)
Slant Ed Gonzalez unleashes his Prime Time Emmy predictions
Wow Report a funny run in with young actor Logan Lerman
Awards Daily Sasha Stone (aka David Fincher's #1 Fan*) loves loves loves the early footage of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


And while we're on the subject have you seen the fun Muppets parody of it's "feel bad" trailer?

Alt Screen on the Gus Van Sant retrospective at MOMI
IndieWire on the director of Norwegian Oscar submission Happy Happy, Anne Sewitsky
Antagony & Ecstasy travels back in time to the gender-flipping anxiety of Mr Mom (1983)
Pink is the New Blog Madonna unleashing a Truth or Dare perfume next year. The Brand ever expands... and if that reminds one person to check out Truth or Dare, it's done the world a service. Best music doc evah.
IndieWire in non-news news Tom Ford has his A Single Man follow up planned but has no intention to make it in the next couple of years ??? I post this only as a reminder of what passes for news on the future-obsessed blogosphere. Let's discuss films that actually exists! Anyone? Anyone? ;) 

Broadway Blog No Way! A Meryl Streep interview from 1977. "I think she's going to be the next Carole Lombard" HEE. Her laugh and breathy intakes are exactly the same 31 years ago. Now go read what Broadway Blog has to say about her.
Cinema Blend more trouble for Netflix. This worries me so. Nobody should wish death on DVD services since Netflix had such a better selection than most services and any service that has more films is good for film buffs. The scarcity of older films is so scary.

Drive I Said
My New Plaid Pants recorded a Q&A with Drive's director Nicolas Winding Refn for you. Go watch it if you got a spare 37 minutes.
Self Styled Siren on Drive. I haven't read this yet because I haven't yet written my review and you shouldn't either unless you've seen the film. But if you have The Siren is always worth a read.

Just for fun
Business Pundit interesting map of the USA that renames states as foreign countries with similar GDP. 

*I mean this in the most endearing way because David Fincher is the man.


TIFF: Michelle, Andrea and Felicity in buzzy films.

Paolo here. Day 6 of TIFF brings movies about love and passion crossing borders and oceans or trying to, despite the difficulties. Ladies and gentlemen, bring your handkerchiefs or roll your cynical eyes.

THE LADY (Luc Besson)

Most of you must already know about detained Burmese President-elect Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh), but her unlikely entry into political life happened so long ago that we, especially the younger generations, forget a few facts. First, that she lived in Oxford and bore two boys for her husband Michael Aris (David Thewlis), a professor of Southeast Asian studies and that the reason for her untouchable status in a military dictatorship is her ties to England. Second, that the reason the university intellectuals have chosen her as the figurehead of the Burmese democracy movement is because her father, a general, fought for the same goals after World War II.

The story of her adult life is now adapted to the screen as The Lady directed by Luc Besson. This movie allows Besson to diversify his CV but I personally couldn't avoid looking for his trademarks. Suu is Besson's female heroine, Michael his the Tati-esque old man, and a superstitious general is the campy, quirky villain. Besson keeps the violence to a reverent level this time, even if Suu's father becomes a martyr in the film's first scene. The Lady also has a few montages which chronicle the news of Suu's planned rallies spreading throughout the streets of Rangoon. They went on a bit longer than necessary.

As biopics go, The Lady has a surprsing lack of naturalism. Take this paraphrasal of one of Suu and David's conversations:

'The world reveres you as someone with no negative qualities.'
'I will list my negative qualities right now.'
'Your negative qualities made me fall in love with you.'

But because I like this, I'll call it 'classic English dialogue', pulled off well by Thewliss and especially Yeoh who has perfected a politician-style elegance; in a festival full of misanthropy, characters who are 'too nice' are a welcome change.

W.E. (Madonna)

The title of Madonna's much-discussed new film, is an acronym for the most gossiped marriage in the past century between Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and King Edward VIII (James D'Arcy). The couple belong to a story within the story, which is an obsession for  fairytale-stricken Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish), who comes close to the couple's property six decades after their exile. Wally is bored of her neglectful husband while befriending a foreign Sotheby's security guard (Oscar Isaac). I'll assume that Madonna took on this story in engender her own so-called feminist perspective, and she brings a sympathetic and sometimes humorous light to the maligned woman. I would have preferred to see a movie based on "Famous Last Words," Timothy Findley's novel about Wallis.

More on what I liked about W.E. and disliked about Like Crazy after the jump.

Click to read more ...


Wooooo(t). It's Link Time.

As you know if you're paying attention (there will be a quiz) I've been offline for 72 hours. GASP! So if some of the following links are GASP 72 hours old, you will forgive. For the record I highly recommend spending 72 hours in a cabin in the woods without internet, tv or cel phones (provided there are no serial killers nearby). Highly relaxing!

Let's catch up with pieces/stories you (by which I mean "I") might have missed! 

The Film Doctor on Contagion and the "die-off" scenario.
Go Fug Yourself succinct funny snappy boring Brangelina
Blog Stage will Broadway actress Mary Farber be a new SNL cast member? 
Towleroad the continuing antics of James Franco. This time painted pink for Woooo mag. 
My New Plaid Pants Kate Winslet... and Elizabeth Taylor 
Natasha VC remember a time via Pauline Kael when Nicolas Cage was sorta wonderful. I saw Moonstruck again recently and it was just ♥♥♥♥... well that's amore!

Empire Online Hugh Grant joins the already gargantuan name cast of Cloud Atlas which, if you'll recall, already has three directors. It sounds like a mess but Empire is feeling hopeful.
Awards Daily on Oscar and sex. Do they really take issue with explicit films? (in short: yes)
IndieWire Remember when I made that brief Oscar prediction about Shailene Woodley in The Descendants and people made fun? Well, her buzz isn't boiling or anything but it is simmering ever since Telluride.
WSJ Asia Scene Deanie Ip (A Simple Life) who just won the Venice Volpi Cup for Best Actress on why she took a long break from acting...

I think nobody wants me, because I’m very difficult.

Towleroad Clint Eastwood kicks off the UnOfficial (but not for long) Armie Hammer Best Supporting Actor campaign for J. Edgar while Hammer boasts of his own chest hair
The Telegraph interviews the ascendant Ryan Gosling

If I'm still acting at 46, I'll be surprised.

Say it ain't so. Of course it isn't. I wish I had kept a spreadsheet of all the alarmist things celebrities have said over the years because no one ever remembers... including me. As I typed this sentence I was about to share this anecdote about what Matt Damon said this one time in a magazine about making ridiculous amounts of money and how that would mean he would... but I've already forgotten what he said he wouldn't do anymore. It was something about quitting or not doing any press. Something silly. Because of course he went on to make gazillions and still works in front of the camera and plays to it in interviews. 

Today's Must See Video
Madonna on the whole silly Venice Film Festival loathing hydranges "story"

There really is nothing better than Madonna with a sense of humor about herself. It's always been her saving grace and if she doesn't locate it as often as she once did, at least it's still there! And it's great timing since she's hitting the publicity circuit with such gusto. Two of my friends/acquaintances, fraquaintances? even interviewed her: Peter and Scott. I can't imagine how either got through it. Honestly, I can't. 

if you're as interested in editing as I am, you might enjoy this very thorough analysis of a key action sequence in The Dark Knight (2008).

In the Cut, Part I: Shots in the Dark (Knight) from Jim Emerson on Vimeo.


I highlight it because, like Jim Emerson, I have always been thrown by that film's editing (the Oscar nomination is baffling to me) as it doesn't make coherent sense, spatially or time-wise. (If you don't share this pet peeve -- I realize many people enjoy contemporary cinema's rule-free freneticism of editing -- you might not enjoy this video. This is actually the #2 most prominent reason as to why I have never been a Christopher Nolan convert. I prefer action filmmakers like James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow who never (or very very rarely) sacrifice coherency for thrills.

Page 1 ... 5 6 7 8 9 ... 10 Next 7 Entries »