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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Entries in moviegoing (50)

Monday
Jul212014

Burning Questions: Are Marvel films Interchangeable?

Amir here and I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore. There is no Marvel movie in theatres at the moment but the world is anticipating Guardians of the Galaxy very soon, as has been the case every few months for the past several years. Like Michael Bay films, discussed in the box office column, Marvel films are entities I have vowed not to ever see again, especially after news came out that Edgar Wright was taken off Ant-Man. I was marginally interested in Guardians after seeing the kooky trailer, but who are we kidding? The off-kilter humor of the short preview is going to give way to explosions and “things crashing into other things” and the experience will be like every single other Marvel film.

Which brings me to this frustrating news: Marvel has announced release dates for (hopefully all) their future films until the end of the decade, with the catch being the absence of... film titles? Yes, that’s correct. The studio has planned its visual assault all the way for the next five years, without even bothering with the names in the announcement this time.

Have they now realized that their output is completely interchangeable? I’m not exactly sure if I’d be less upset if these dates had titles attached to them, but what stings about the news is Marvel’s acute awareness that the audience will get excited about it and mark their calendars even without characters or stories to get excited about in the first place, like zombies feeding on chiseled heroes. The studio has become the brand, fully overshadowing the content of its films; and its sibling comics business moves like turning Thor into a woman do little to conceal the studio's lack of creative force. This announcement of release dates of unnamed product reeks of what's desperately rotten with today’s film culture: That a distinctly original, unique (and admittedly problematic) vision like Snowpiercer, fails to crack double digits at the box office, at a time when a studio with no regard for originality or qualitative progress can correctly expect people to rush to their wallets five years in advance.

Something is broken and it needs serious fixing, otherwise what we're offered on screen will continue to become less versatile and more depressing by the week. If you don't believe me, look no further than this weekend's wide release box office, where a meaningless sequel stayed at the top spot; a terrible sequel came second; an even more terrible sequel came third; and the most terrible of all sequels came fifth. I’m fucking angry about everything.

Thursday
Jul172014

Open Thread & Movie Naps

What's on your cinematic mind? Discuss as I finish a few more Oscar charts.

Anyone know which Manhattan movie theater this is? I thought Film Forum at first but the building next to it looks wrong.

I woke up thinking about Ingmar Bergman movies because in Summer Wishes Winter Dreams (1973) Joanne Woodward and her mother Sylvia Sidney take in Wild Strawberries. Joanne immediately falls asleep which you should never do at great movies. Bad Joanne, bad! But how funny is it that one of the Oscar nominated films of 1973 has a  Bergman scene in it in the same year that the Academy went wild for Cries and Whispers? And then I thought about how evil it was for me to program two awesome but gruellingly enigmatic movies in a row for Best Shot (Under the Skin then Cries & Whispers) but they are going to make such amazing 'hit me with your best shot' episodes. Movies that leave a lot of room for the audience to wander around in deserve audiences that will do the wandering if you what I mean. 

Monday
Jun302014

Second Helpings. How Often Do You Have Them?

Ten years ago today Spider-Man 2 (2004) was released. I loved it so much that I went back the next day for seconds. This is not in my nature. This is so infrequent for me, in fact, that I can remember every single time it's happened. The othertimes being Queen Margot (1994) and Ladyhawke (1985) and, once on DVD if you want to count that, with Trouble in Paradise (1932). Because those four movies are so similar, what.

So I guess my next-day-rewatches are on the same timetable as Cher's #1 singles and Diane Keaton's Oscar nods arriving once per decade; We're due for another.

This still from Sam Raimi's awesome movie (still my choice for best superhero film) neatly sums up how I feel about the hateful reboot franchise which is just wasting so much money and talent (Andrew Garfield, who was supposed to be one of our great new actors, has literally been in nothing else since Social Network and it's been FOUR YEARS). In case you need help interpreting the photo the reboot is James Franco and he's trying to kill the best superhero. Greed ruins everything.

Anyway...

How often have you seen the same movie on consecutive days? I doubt I'll ever start doing this but I will probably end up seeing movies a second time more frequenty than I used to since MoviePass makes the money much less of an obstacle. I saw Snowpiercer today and may actually need to see it a second time to clarify my feelings. 

Sunday
Jun292014

Our Link Summer

Must Reads
The Atlantic 'How Brando Broke the Movies' -excellent piece from Tom Shone on perceptions of movie stardom, acting and chameleon tricks
L'etoile on summer's anniversary nostalgia and childhood idles
Pajiba shares fun excerpts from Neil Patrick Harris' upcoming autobiography. Sounds like a must-read. The Scott Caan story is delicious 

More Links & News
The Guardian "The Glorious Folly of Dance on Film" Singin' in the Rain, Pina and more
The Dissolve Bond 24 gets a rewrite. But why? Daniel Craig returns of course with Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris in tow
Geeks Out Boo. Disney is taking pains to make sure we know that 'Wandering Oaken' from Frozen (the guy with the store and sauna) isn't gay like the internet said
Kenneth in the (212) Shia Labeuf and the Jordan Almond defense
Towleroad Gay Iconography: Bette Midler
Vérité recommends Rob the Mob (2014) with Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda. This is one of those rare 'under the radar' recommendations that actually is. I hadn't been aware of this Bonnie & Clyde like tale but I'm up for more Arianda for sure.

Off Cinema
Salon has a list of the 19 greatests 'double entendre' songs from "Brand New Key" to "Milkshake" and so on. I object to the exclusion of Cyndi Lauper's "She-Bop"
Gizmodo how long until we get this weird 'Smart Morphable Surface' technology in sci-fi movie designs? 

Oscar Notes / Production Design
In case you missed it as the weekend began, AMPAS made some minor adjustments to the rules (as they are prone to do) which In Contention analyzes. Mostly it's technicalities like how nominations are credited for Song & Best Picture but the super interesting one is that movies nominated for Production Design which feature heavily digital environments will now have an added nominee, the digital designer. I personally suspected /was hoping that the change which was bound to happen would be closer to the Black and White vs. Color designations that Oscar went through from the mid30s through the mid60s in cinematography and I was hoping it would happen in both cinematography and production design since visual fx achievements keep winning in one or both of those categories (think Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Gravity, Hugo, etcetera). But I guess that was wishful thinking.

Monday
May262014

Mad Men @ the Movies: That Wild Bunch and Their Waterloo?

Last night we said our final goodbyes to Mad Men. Oh wait, no. Our penultimate goodbye to Mad Men but boy did it feel like a series closer. There are seven episodes to go, ruthlessly delayed until 2015 which will serve no one but AMC executives, but I wouldn't blame anyone for saying their goodbyes now. You'd be going out on such a well earned high, a breath-taking, teary-eyed, conflicted-emotion farewell in two episodes.

I want to go to the movies!"

Peggy whines in "The Strategy" as she struggles through her doubts about a campaign pitch for potential new lucrative client Burger Chef. Mad Men almost always hits its peak whenever it zeroes back in on the long form pas de deux between Don and Peggy. In this episode they refind each other as Don (Jon Hamm) helps Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) trust in her own creativity and Peggy learns to forgive her hard-to-love mentor. It even ends with a weary actual dance. 

Don's other girl, Megan, also wants to go to the movies in the mid-season finale "Waterloo".  I adore that the movie referenced by name here is The Wild Bunch (1969) which she plans to see with a girlfriend even though Don pathetically implies that she wait 'but I want to see it, too'. Megan is done waiting as that curtain closing wordless airplane scene in "The Strategy" implied and she breaks up with Don in what seems like an amicable surrender, both parties too tired to keep fighting off the inevitable death of their marriage.

Nine men who came too late and stayed too long."

That tagline!

Let's try not to read too much into it even though the episode is also called "Waterloo" which didn't end so well for Napoleon; in Mad Men's timeline ᗅᗺᗷᗅ has yet to be invented to make final defeats sound adorable and fun again. Let's try not to read too much into it even though Mad Men has lasted 8 seasons (or 7 whatever. I hate this bifurcated bullshit). That tagline could describe just about any ensemble series then dared venture past season 5. (Season 6 is typically when even the greatest of tv series start to stumble. That's my story and I'm sticking to it)

Aside from Roger Sterling's business maneuver to keep the company and team he knows and loves together - the title implies this might not be the big save everyone thinks -- the big events are all piggybacked into one night and morning, the simultaneous moon landing (which everyone watches on TV) and the death of Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) and Peggy's next day Burger Chef pitch which she improvises to include the Moon landing awe. A hearty "Bravo" to the Mad Men creative team that figured out a way to braid all of this together with a bravura but atypical fantasy sequence in which the ghost of Bert Cooper sings "The Best Things in Life are Free." It's a wink to the long shadow impishness and prickly warts-and-all personality of the Cooper character over the tone of the whole series and a tip of the hat to Morse's own history as a song & dance man and the original Tony winning star of the 1961 musical "How To Succeed in Business Withour Really Trying". A tearful Don watches in stunned silence. 

I would like to file a class action lawsuit against AMC for intentional infliction of emotional distress for making us wait another entire year to see the last seven episodes of swansong to television's greatest series, even though they're already in the can gathering dust until 2015. But if the world suddenly ends between now and then, this would be a lovely send-off for the entire brilliant series.

Mad Men belongs to everyone,
The best thing in life on TV... ♫ 

The StrategyA-
Waterloo

Sunday
May112014

Podcast: Mother's Day Special

For this very special and ultimately quite spontaneous edition of the podcast, Nathaniel calls a few of his team members to grill them about their moms & the movies. Sadly the entire team was not available -- some of them were being good kids en route to visiting their mothers so they have a good excuse -- but you get to hear from a few of us and how our moms factor into our cinephila. Expect name-droppings of Margo Martindale, Susan Sarandon, I Remember Mama, The Lord of the Rings, A Separation and much more... 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes.

00:01 Intro
01:00 Amir
09:00 Abstew
14:00 Anne Marie
20:30 Tim Brayton
27:00 Funny Girl Interlude & Surprise Guest
32:00 The Guest of Honor, Nathaniel's Mom!
40:00 Exit Music "Baby Mine" with Bette Midler 

Nathaniel's mom & dad in 1960I can't interview each and every one of you out there listening about how your moms shaped your moviegoing but if you have any key stories, please share them in the comments. I actually teared up making this one. Keep the love a-going. And call your mama or take her to a movie today!

Further Reading To Enhance This Podcast
Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate"
Tim's Home Schooling Essay on "Mean Girls"
Amir's "Hello Cinema"
How Many Barbra Streisand's Have You Seen?
Loretta Young, Nathaniel's Mom's Favorite

 

Mothers Day with TFE

Wednesday
Mar192014

Dinner with... Joel & Clementine & Link Roundups

November 19th, 2003. Dinner at Kang's again. Are we like those poor couples you feel sorry for in restaurants. Are we the dining dead?"

How did i forget this shot of Joel playing with his food. Food product smiley faces forever

I will definitely be 'the dining dead' tonight... slowly chewing on my food from the same restaurant I always order from. I can already feel the numbness kicking in. Long day. Best to send you off running to other blogs. 

Eat Links Instead
New Now Next is hosting a funny daily March Madness tournament for the "Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time" - I voted already but some of these face/offs are striking, silly, and super. I had to use a lot of "s" so pronounced tha sentence with a sibilant s please. 
YouTube the new Maleficent trailer - same as the one we covered extensively but for more of Elle Fanning and a backstory about Maleficent's wings (!) I am even more intrigued now but I wish movies would save surprises for the theater 
Gawker Landmark theaters invites you to bring your child to see Nymphomaniac Pt. 1. LOL (Hey, it'd be healthier for them than those slasher movies I always see parents dragging their kids into)

Buzzfeed not so insane fan theory about the interconnectivity of Disney kingdoms in Frozen, The Little Mermaidand Tangled. This is trippier than anything Chris Nolan ever dreamed up
The Playlist in addition to just being a mediocre actor Aaron Johnson is also a fussy one and didn't want to have white hair as Quicksilver thus further ruining the character for me in Avengers: Age of Ultron 
The Wrap Tilda Swinton and Barkhad Abdi join Bill Hader and Brie Larson in Judd Apatow's comedy Trainwreck  

Eternal Linkshine
If you aren't yet sick of the 10th anniversary party after all those Best Shots here...
Huffington Post talks to Kate Winset about her memories of the film
Cine Munch for those of you who have more creative energy for a dinner tonight or tomorrow this new blog offers menus and recipes to go along with great movies like this one . Complete with a drink: The Blue Ruin Mind Eraser with my favorite: Curaçao
People Mag 20 elusive facts about the movie - I didn't know a lot of these