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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in melodrama (5)

Monday
May152017

Pedro Party: What Have I Done To Deserve This? & Volver

It's a Pedro Party. We're celebrating Almodóvar each day as we count down to Cannes 2017. Here's Daniel Crooke.

Women hold the universe together according to the peacock-feathered films of Pedro Almodóvar, and never more earthily or elegant than in his mirrored portraits of multitasking matriarchs putting out the fires of the men around them: 1984’s What Have I Done To Deserve This? and 2006’s Volver. Both domestic dramas with a hint of the supernatural, they showcase a pair of imperfect pragmatists – respectively, Gloria (Carmen Maura) and Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) – caught in the crucible of their everyday lives with no signs of slowing down, spinning an interminable amount of plates only to wash them straight after so they can serve their families dinner on time. While their inattentive lazybones husbands bark orders from the couch and fail to see the strength beyond their busts – no matter, as they’ll soon both be dead– Gloria and Raimunda are the breadwinners, juggling odd jobs and managing the affairs of family and friends to simply keep the lights on.

Strikingly feminist with an emphasis on the superhuman virtues of intergenerational sisterhood, What Have I Done To Deserve This? and Volver display two working women hustling on the verge with no time for a nervous breakdown...

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Sunday
Aug212016

Ben-Who? Weekend Box Office

The name "Ben-Hur" wasn't enough of a brand on its own to lure moviegoers to theaters this weekend for the remake. My guess: Those who know of Ben-Hur love the 1959 version too much to care about a 2016 version. I have zero desire to see it so if you dared the movie theater this weekend to do so, tell me this: did any of the 1925 sensuality or the 1959 homoeroticism survive in the 2016 version. Or is this just all antiseptic generic blockbuster action mode? 

Ben Hur in 1959, 2016, and 1925If you didn't see Ben-Hur, what did you see? Did you like it? More after the jump including the fate of Kubo and the Two Strings and the best thing I saw this weekend...

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Monday
Feb022015

Sundance: Oscar Hopeful "Brooklyn" is Beautifully Old-Fashioned

Nathaniel's final review from Sundance

Late last year while interviewing Yves Belanger on his lensing of Wild (2014) and his ongoing working relationship with Jean Marc Vallee I noticed he had a non-Vallee project on his forthcoming filmography called Brooklyn. He spoke highly of the experience, an about face from Wild's all natural light mandate. He said it was much more stylized lighting, an 'old fashioned romantic drama'. He hoped people still wanted to see that sort of thing.

If the reaction at Sundance is any indication (and a word of caution: Sundance fever is 50/50 for the real world at best) the people will welcome it with open arms... and tear ducts.

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Thursday
Apr172014

Seasons of Bette: Dark Victory (1939)

Seasons of Bette had a headache last week but is feeling much better now, thank you. Herewith, your catch-up episode on Dark Victory (1939)

it was the ghastliest feeling, everything went fuzzy. 

Fallen out of order, have I. That's awfully dreadful of me given that the great revelation of both Anne Marie's brilliant A Year With Kate and my own intermittent Seasons of Bette series is that you can actually watch a movie star grow in power and nuance and embrace of their own specificity if you watch their films chronologically.

This is true, at least, of the studio system where stars were invested in for the long haul rather than dabbled with for a few months at a time if agents, lawyers, producer, directors and stars could agree on a one-time contract. The old system had its drawbacks of course, giving thespians less agency in their own filmography and less ability to test their range in different genres and with left turn character types. Despite that, and even because of it, it was uniquely ideal soil for the true movie stars to grow like majestic redwoods. You know the kind of superstar I'm talking about: they are emphatically always themselves no matter how well they play any particular character. [more...]

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Sunday
Apr142013

Derek Cianfrance and Genre

Paolo here. I am the bearer of bad news. Apparently there are Blue Valentine' haters out there, two of whom are close writer friends of mine. One of these friends has repeatedly criticized the movie through Twitter, especially its director Derek Cianfrance's melodramatic tendencies. 

At first I disagreed with this minor yet tolerably vocal crowd, since that movie evinces hard-hitting, unquestionable emotions. I finally admit that yes, its saturated colours do evoke a hispter version of a Todd Haynes picture (nothing wrong with that!). And as it pains me to write this, Young Dean's (Ryan Gosling) appearance and actions are reminiscent of the cartoony, blinding spark on a boyband member's smile.

Maybe it's Cianfrance's new movie, The Place Beyond the Pines, that allowed me come to terms with the director's melodrama leanings. This release is being sold as an epic crime drama and sure, it delivers on that regard; a movie with a masculine cast gets slapped and labelled with a masculine genre. I normally take most movies at face value but I'll share with you how I see this movie. One that features a handsome man from the wrong side of the tracks, dysfunctional families, rapid aging and time lapses, and the revelation of a secret identity.

We're watching a fucking soap opera, people. Revenge with Boys

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