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Entries in Network (4)

Sunday
Feb092014

I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Link It Anymore

CHUD James Franco to direct a film based on the making of bad movie everyone obsesses over which I haven't seen The Room. You guys, I can't even with Franco's lack of focus. I mean I don't dislike him. I think he's interesting but he is way too scattered. 
In Contention on Santa Barbara's Robert Redford tribute
Guardian Valentino makes a gauche error, pimping the fact that Amy Adams carried a Valentino bag to PSH's funeral stating they didn't know it was a funeral photo. Um, everyone is in black and they look abso-depressed
MNPP who knew that Fran Kranz from Dollhouse had that chest under his clothes and why on earth didn't Joss Whedon exploit it on that oft-horny show?

NY Times Maureen O'Dowd wonders what Network's Paddy Chayefsky would think of today's click-driven world with its total monetization of every editorial decision
Awards Daily a BAFTA members favorites
Coming Soon Gravity becomes only the third film (after Avatar and The Dark Knight Rises) to earn over $100 million from IMAX screenings alone
Variety the ongoing saga of "Alone Yet Not Alone" continues. It's now selling briskly and nominated for the faithbased MovieGuide Awards 
i09 will The Runaways -- if Marvel ever makes it -- be their Godfather?
Salon talks to the director of The Great Beauty on Italy's Oscar dreams. (For those who are not aware Italy has the most Oscars in the Foreign Film category though France has the most nominations.)
Slate "You Still Have Control" Samantha Geimer ("The Girl in the Shadow of Roman Polanski") once again proves herself the smartest most well adjusted and least hysteric person in the room when it comes to the topic of sexual abuse cases - and she lived it! This is a must read for anyone who has struggled to move on from past traumas. 

And the Most Terrifying News of the Week
We're hearing from Coming Soon that John Travolta will be playing Gummy Bear, or Gummibear if you prefer or are European, in an upcoming animated film version of the yummy treat. The character designs look hateful, really and not much like the actual food stuff.

Frankly, I don't see the point in a Gummy Bear movie when the deliciousness was already twice immortalized via Robot Chicken and Hedwig and the Angry Inch...


Luther: You must like candy.
Hansel: I like Gummi Baerchen 

Monday
Oct222012

Monologue: "Lousy Lay"

I was married for four years and pretended to be happy and had six years of analysis and pretended to be sane. My husband ran off with his boyfriend and I had an affair with my analyst who told me I was the worst lay he'd ever had. I can't tell you how many men have told me what a lousy lay I am. 

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Tuesday
Apr122011

Network (1976). One Angry Man.

In honor of Sidney Lumet who passed away this weekend, we're re-publishing The Film Experience retrospective on Network from a few years ago. It's new to some of you!

One Angry Man
One thing I suspect about director Sidney Lumet: He liked his drama super-sized, Empire State Building big. No 800 lbs gorillas in the room please, make it King Kong. Give them 16 tons of drama. Lumet wanted grunting, sweating, lunging, screaming, gargantuan desperate drama like the kind you get in Dog Day Afternoon, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Serpico. Never mind 12 Angry Men. How about 1 Angry Man, Sidney Lumet, and in the case of Network -- arguably his best film -- one angry fictional man named Howard Beale (Peter Finch). Network eventually gets around to naming Beale the “mad prophet of the airwaves” but it’s also a self descriptive tag. The movie is mad as hell and prophetic, too. Network is Howard Beale and Howard Beale is Network. This impressively large but also miniature film --it's not hard to imagine it as a stage play -- swings wildly from mood to mood like its bipolar madman.

A lot of movies steal from Network but I love the borrowing that Network does right out of the gate, in omniscient detached voiceover.

In his time Howard Beale had been a mandarin of television. The grand old man of news with a hot rating of 16 and a 28 audience share. In 1969 however his fortunes began to decline. He fell to a 22 share. The following year his wife died and he was left a childless widower with an 8 rating and a 12 share.
That calm voiceover, giving numbers as much if not more weight as the man's personal life, has already begun the chilling process of reduction. It's overtly reminiscent of both All About Eve's arch view of the theater world and Sunset Boulevard's ghost-eye view of Hollywood. Network’s target is television. Is it boldly proclaiming itself the final third of the Holy Trinity of Self-Loathing Showbiz Pictures? Whatever the intent, it moves with utter confidence, thereby forcing itself into the godhead. 
We're in the boredom killing business.
It may seem odd to claim that such a black hearted picture is completely entertaining, even enjoyable, but it is. Right from its first shot of four television screens (the one featuring Beale eventually growing to fill the whole screen) the movie surges at you with such electric, articulate force that you have no choice but to go with its current. The prologue of the film then finds Beale (just given his walking papers) with old friend Max Schumacher (William Holden) drinking and laughing maniacally. The chaser to their raucous laughter? A perfect 180˚ cut to Beale seated at the bar quietly announcing “I’m going to kill myself”. The two friends begin to set the movie's plot in motion with improvised plans for live suicides and terrorism on TV. "The Death Hour!" Max proclaims with forced 90 proof glee. Where does all this gallows humor put us before the title credits even begin to appear? 
That puts us in the shithouse. That's where that puts us.
Network is an easy film to quote and its super sculpted and scalding dialogue is undoubtedly the reason why the screenplay (by triple Oscar winner Paddy Chayefsky) is so lauded. It’s the type of talky feature that's jerry-rigged to draw attention to its themes, BIG ideas, diamond hard one liners and showcased monologues. But words aside, the plotting is also tight and strong. I can’t think of a single film that’s more interested in stopping for speeches that also moves with breakneck speed through the twists and turns of its various plots. 


Plot A: Howard Beale threatens to kill himself on air, leading to rubberneck ratings jumps and corporate exploitation of his sudden insanity. As Beale slips deeper into a complete psychotic break, corporate sharks Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) and Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) start swimming, devouring the smaller fish at the network like Max Schumacher, as they try to capitalize on Beale's popularity with the public who embraces his catchphrase:

I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

 

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Saturday
Apr092011

Sidney Lumet: 43 Feature Films, 5 Oscar Nominations, 1 Fine Career.

A goodbye with gratitude to prolific director and Honary Oscar winner Sidney Lumet who died this morning at the age of 86 from lymphoma. He was small in stature (5'5") but his legacy looms large as one of Hollywood's most prolific and beloved directors. 

He was a stage actor and a television director before moving into feature films. Actors always loved him and he returned that love guiding several of them through signature roles. He worked with some stars multiple times including, notably: Sean Connery, Timothy Hutton, James Mason, and Al Pacino. The stage-to-screen movie, the courtroom drama, the social conscience narrative, and the true crime story would never have been the same without him. He is survived by his wife of 31 years Mary Gimbel, and children and grandchildren (you'll remember that his daughter Jenny Lumet wrote the blissful Rachel Getting Married screenplay. Our thoughts go out to the family today.

After the jump, the posters for all 43 of his theatrical features with thanks to google, the IMDb and IMP!

How many have you seen?

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