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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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what did you see this weekend?

"Well, I saw MOMMY on Saturday, and it kind of spoiled my Sunday movie-going, it was so good. " - Bill

"THE SKELETON TWINS. Darker than advertised." -Charlie G

"MAPS TO THE STARS at the cinema. It's certainly very "Cronenberg", satyrical and darkly funny...and Julianne Moore is absolute dynamite. It must have been so much fun for her! - Carlos

how about you, dear reader?

Beauty vs. Beast


 drink your milkshake and... 


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Entries in magazines (44)


Curio: David Cronenberg in 1988

Alexa here.  While I anxiously await getting out to see A Dangerous Method, I've been busying myself reading all the reviews, interviews (including Nathaniel's) and accompanying discussion of how un-Cronenbergian the film is.  Well, he's been accused of that before, hasn't he?  The first time I recall it happening was with one of my personal Cronenberg favorites, Dead Ringers, which, at the time, seemed to break from his previous, more pure genre films. Then, after reading in a recent interview that he attempted adapting Dead Ringers for television (yes, please!), I decided to dig up this old issue of American Film I've held onto, mostly for the Cronenberg interview it contains.  Here are some excerpts from the piece, written by Owen Gleiberman, which is an interesting read today, given the trajectory Cronenberg's career has taken since.

[As for the upcoming Dead Ringers], "I think it's a departure in the way it's perceived and the way I'm perceived. It's like doing a more intricate dance on the high wire but it doesn't feel like so much of a departure to me creatively, because I feel I'm dealing with the same themes I've always dealt with," Cronenberg says.

In a sense, what Cronenberg has done is bring the genre of bodily horror into the post-Freudian age. His most prominent innovation (it's linked to the gooey verisimilitude of his special effects) is making the sexual and fear-of-disease subtexts of studio horror films explicit, self-conscious, stripped of the reassuring distance of fantasy...If just about every Cronenberg film has hinged on the proverbial split between mind and body, with the body taking on a hideous life of its own, in Dead Ringers a human personality is itself divided into warring parts. "This is not a horror film. This is a relatively straight drama. I don't have a lot of trickery to hide behind."

Despite their fixation on disease, Cronenberg's films have dealt explicitly with sexuality as far back as They Came From Within. "It was very important that my twins are gynecologists. Somehow, it was the idea of two men forming a perfect unit that excluded everybody else. The twins share not only one woman in particular sexually, but they share their understanding of women and their study of women...I identify with all my scientists and my doctors, because I think what they are and what they do is very similar to what I do. And then I've always been very fascinated with how abstract elements, whether it's spirituality or sexuality, relate to physical elements of our life, which is to say, genitalia and brains and things like that."

"I think [Dead Ringers] really relates to all intense relationships in which things happen that have the potential to become liberating on one level but suffocating on the other level. And I think at that point you're talking about marriage, you're talking about parents and children. The twins become a metaphor for all those things."

[Editors' Note: In a moment of totally unexpected synchronicity, Nick's Flick Picks has also just written a piece on Dead Ringers (1988). Even if you haven't seen that Cronenberg masterpiece, you'll want to read it if you have any interest in the process of critics awards voting and the out-of-the-box choices various organizations make, only very occassionally, when it comes time to name the "Best". -Nathaniel]


The Girl With the Embargoed Reviews

Mikael Blomkvist: What are you doing?
Lisbeth Salander: Reading the reviews.
Mikael: But they're embargoed!
Lisbeth: ... 


Perhaps you've heard about the kerfuffle with the breaking of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo embargo? Usually these behind-the-scenes details are kept private but what happened was simply that David Denby ran his review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo early since he works for a weekly magazine rather than a daily blog and according to this thorough roundup at The Hollywood Reporter he felt he had to cover some of the important Christmas movies early (space and time limitations) else wait til January for some of them. Sony got very very angry even though the review was positive and basically a love letter to Rooney Mara who I can confirm --- no wait, I can't... I'm under embargo! In the end this amounts to nothing so much as free publicity for Dragon Tattoo and free publicity for David Denby and The New Yorker so everyone wins... though you'll surely read differently elsewhere since people like to get on soapboxes about such things.

Scott Rudin claims that Denby will be banned from his future movies but embargos are broken every year and nothing happens to anyone who breaks them. The studios are so inconsistent about how they handle them from movie to movie -- and even often from journalist to journalist on the same movie -- that it's not always easy to take them seriously. I always obey them but this is only because I'm polite and from the Midwest. But I wish I didn't ;) Playing by the rules generally doesn't help you and you may have heard that 'there is no such thing as bad publicity'? You've heard it because it's true.


Oh Sister, My Sister... It's Dakota & Elle

Everyone's favorite teen blonde star sisters are covering W magazine this month.

It's too bad nobody writes really great nuanced dramas about glamourous teenage sisters, huh?

Elle Fanning on Dakota leaving for college:

I went into her room at home in California, and all her clothes were gone! Her closet was empty! I don’t get to go in there and steal clothes anymore. It’s really strange. It’s sort of like she’s off making a movie, but this time she’s not coming back.

Big interview reveal: Dakota is learning how to do her own laundry now that she's at NYU. Hee. (I laugh not at her but with her since I also didn't learn to do my own laundry until college. I know that's pathetic but my mom is a workaholic martyr-type, needs to do everything for everyone.)

The interview never raises the latest controversy about Dakota Fanning's Marc Jacobs ad being banned. Flowers as Vagina is such a symbolic cliché that it's hard for me to take it seriously and be offended. Particularly when sexualizing young girls is such a constant and constantly celebrated aspect of pop culture (not saying it's right but it seems so arbitrary as to when people get up in arms about it vs when they love it, you know?). But anyway this particular cliché makes me lol because of Dianne Wiest's awesome "magnificent vagina" monologue in Bullets Over Broadway.

But back to the sisters... 
Who do you think scores an Oscar nomination first and how long are they both gonna have to wait? 

more photos and interviews (weirdly not conjoined) at W magazine



The Best Thing Joel Schumacher Has Done Since...?

Sweet relief! Should anyone feel compelled to ask oft-derided director Joel Schumacher "what have you done for us lately?" he need no longer sheepishly mumble "Trespass with Nic & Nic". Instead he can point right to this great fake ad, shot by Steven Meisel, which announces the launch of Joel Schumacher's fashion label "Made to Measure".

Love it.


Here's the accompanying text:

Joel Schumacher, 72, might not seem like the most obvious man to front a glamorous high-fashion label in the vein of Halston. But long before he was directing such films as St. Elmo's Fire and Batman Forever, Schumacher was a fashion kid, designing window displays for Henri Bendel and styling stories for Diana Vreeland at Vogue. Additionally, "he's just so chic," says Enninful. 

More of Meisel's fake advertisements from the new issue of W Magazine.

I snuck my two favorites in after the jump: "Tantrum" and "Pizzazz"

Click to read more ...


Top Ten: Actress Centerfolds

Given the recent cancellation of The Playboy Club which we mourned mainly because Laura Benanti deserves to be famous.... Given James Franco's Flaunting and pants-dropping... Given the waves the oft-naked Shame has been causing at festivals ... Given disgraced actress Lindsay Lohan's newly announced decision to pose for "Playboy" for a million bucks (only a million? I hope she realizes she used to make more than that for acting) today feels like the unofficial Mandatory Day of Nude Celebrity Appreciation. [Disclaimer: I type this fully clothed.]

So let's celebrate the movie actresses who have gone before Lindsay!

Oh sure, sure. The common wisdom is that this is La Lohan's new rock bottom and we shouldn't be celebrating but -- please -- actresses take off their clothes all the time for totally worthwhile purposes (Acting!) and the only thing that's shameful about the human body is that we're ashamed of it. Plus, it's worth noting that actresses have won Oscars AFTER doing this so this isn't rock bottom so much as a lame opportunity to have just said "Lindsay Lohan" and "Oscars" in the same sentence!

If anything this might be her first smart move in years. But only time and Lindsay herself will be able to confirm that.


I thought I'd kick off with this perverse double bill, and I have a reason. Marilyn Monroe was on the first cover of Playboy in 1953 the year of her definitive ascent (Niagara, How To Marry A Millionaire) but she didn't actually pose for the magazine. The famous nude was shot years prior to her stardom, in 1949 to be exact. Sandra, one of Hollywood's most consistent provocateurs, posed purposefully for reasons of her own 40 years later. We won't deign to speak for her as to why but it did carry a certain exegetic charge as an imagined passive/aggressive (aggressive/aggresive?) response to ex-friend Madonna's "Sex" book which also debuted that year. All of which is to say these are the two poles between which the general truth of nude photospreads lies: first what Playboy imagined itself to be with women as commodity specifically for male pleasure (again, Marilyn wasn't actually involved) and second what Playboy pictorials often become with women as entrepeneurs of their own career/bodies and the pleasure of men of secondary, tertiary, or even no concern at all.

Not to get all fancy about T&A. 

NSFW Beauties after the jump: Julie, Charlize, Drew, Kim and more...

Click to read more ...


James Franco Cracks Me Up

Just when you think you've seen it all when it comes to James Franco's uncanny ability to keep himself embedded in the popular conversation, even when he doesn't have a movie out (an increasing rarity given the speed at which he throws himself at cameras or behind them), the old dog comes up with a new trick.

In the profile inside he says

I don't want to be confined."

We didn't realize he meant it quite so literally... the other alternate Flaunt cover [NSFW] after the jump.


Click to read more ...


Curio: Meryl, 30 Years Ago

Alexa here. Digging through my magazine collection (I'm not a hoarder, really) I came upon this Meryl Streep-covered issue of Rolling Stone from October 1981, back when Annie Leibovitz was photographing for the magazine, and when Meryl was promoting French Lieutenant's Woman.  She was a mere 32 years old then, younger than Kate Winslet is today.  There are a lot of choice bits in the interview inside, confirming again that she is just, well, the best and most endearing of them all.

On her method (or lack thereof):

I don't have any method. People who have est, or people who have other means of relaxation, feel sure they have 'The Way' tucked inside their scripts. I don't have that. I sort of go at everything from a different direction.

On fame:

Put yourself in this position. You're passing the newsstand at Fifty-seventh Street and Sixth Avenue, and there's your face on the cover of a magazine. And one week later, you're on the subway, and there's that cover, with your face, on the floor. Somebody's probably pissed on it. It's an immediate sense of recognition of what this is.

On having just starred in Alice in Concert, a musical version of Alice in Wonderland, at the Public Theater: 

I had just done three movies, and I needed to jump and leap and feel the way I see my little boy play. And I wanted to forget the way I look, to become un-self-conscious, to have that freedom children have when they're doing something in the middle of a room full of adults looking at them - and they just totally don't care. Sure, maybe I can go to an analyst to try not to be self-conscious, but it never occurred to me to do that.

On her choices:

This is a particularly unadventurous time intellectually and artistically, even in terms of entertainment. And I feel worried, because my livelihood is threatened because I'm not interested in doing most of the films that are being made. People think you make choices based on some array of characters that are placed in front of you. Well, it isn't that way. There are so few beautifully written scripts that if there's something with any promise, you latch on. You pay them to do it.