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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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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Owen Wilson (6)


Yes No Maybe So: Jacob Tremblay is a "Wonder" 

by Nathaniel R

From a distance the forthcoming film Wonder (2017) looks like Mask (1985) for the junior high set. The film is based on the novel of the same name by RJ Palacio about Auggie, a boy who enters school after years of home schooling due to his many surgeries and complications with a rare facial deformity. Jacob Tremblay, in demand post Room, plays the main character Auggie. The film is directed by Stephen Chbosky who already has some experience with transferring YA novels to the screen since he transferred his own for his directorial debut The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). Wonder is his sophomore effort though this time he left the screenwriting to another. Steven Conrad, who previously adapted The Pursuit of Happyness and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to screen, adapts. 

Let's compartmentalize the first trailer with our Yes No Maybe So™ system after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Vintage 1968: Ten Most Awesome People (And Other Lists)

Each month's Supporting Actress Smackdown inspires us to go back to the year in question for a little context. When the movies of 1968 were playing in theaters, making their case for Oscar glory the following spring, the world was experiencing a time of great unrest. The Vietnam War was raging; The Prague Spring was happening; Martin Luther King Jr was killed; Racial tensions ran high in the Civil Rights fight; student protests in France raged (derailing the usual Cannes process - no Palme D'Or that year); the Zodiac killer began his murder spree; Andy Warhol was almost killed. (All of these events have received cinematic treatments over the years in films like The Dreamers, Zodiac, I Shot Andy Warhol and countless historical epics and war films.)

1968 introduced Goldie Hawn, The Big Mac, "Hey Jude" and TV's first interracial kiss 

But our focus is on the movies, so let's investigate the cinematic crop.

Best Movies According to...
Oscar: Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Oliver!, Rachel Rachel, and Romeo & Juliet were the Best Picture nominees but Oscar obviously also really enjoyed Star! (a flop that still managed an incredible 7 nominations), 2001: A Space Odyssey (4 nominations) and the foreign film classic The Battle of Algiers (3 nominations) which finally opened in America.
Golden Globes: Hollywood's Foreign Press Association liked Charly, The Fixer, Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Lion in Winter and a movie I've never heard of called Shoes of the Fisherman (Drama) and they also sang and laughed with Finian's Rainbow, Funny Girl, The Odd Couple, Oliver!, and Yours Mine and Ours (Comedy/Musical)

Awesome people, dance parties, and more '68 trivia after the jump

Click to read more ...


12 Links Today

Cinema Blend 50 Shades of Grey might go with Alexander Skarsgård (and a new screenplay)  now that it lost its leading man. Skarsgård has to be anxious for True Blood to wrap given the movie offers coming his way.
Ultra Culture the exhaustive list of Xavier Dolan's credits... in his own movies.
Xavier Dolan ...oh and he's started film #5
Pajiba has an awesome take down of the recent resurgence of "boohoo it's hard to do female characters" quotes and articles -- I can't even with those comments from the animators of Frozen!

Popcorn Taxi Tom Hiddleston doing Owen Wilson doing Loki. wtf? (and also LOL)
Coming Soon Netflix has ordered a new family secrets thriller series from the creators of Damages
Variety Paul Rudd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are said to be Marvel's top choices for upcoming superhero flick Ant-Man
Variety Weird. Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri may star in a mother/daughter sitcom. I can't say I predicted a sitcom for Sarandon and isn't "Mom" already on TV?
i09 the weirdest vampire movies ever made
The Playlist new images and clip from 12 Years a Slave 
MNPP 250 words or less on Captain Phillips 

my favorite Best Actress win of the 1970sFinally...
Movie Mezzanine seemingly asked everyone but me to compile their "top ten" of the 1970s without commentary. I dont know why lists without commentary are fun to read but they are. It's fun to see which movies dominated their massive roundup (The Godfather is the expected winner, topping 6 lists and it's nearest rivals - more interesting -- are tied for 3 #1 ranks each:Annie Hall, Days of Heaven and Taxi Driver). I've already done this particular top ten in an earlier post but if I were to redo it it'd maybe look like so. And weirdly no one they polled had my #1 as #1 though it appears on a few lists. 

1) Manhattan 2) Nashville 3) Cabaret 4) Apocalypse Now
5) Network 6) All That Jazz 7) Carrie 8) Taxi Driver 9) Annie Hall
10) Dog Day Afternoon 11) Cries and Whispers 12) The Conversation
13) Three Women 14) Jaws 15) The Godfather 16) The Way We Were
17) Klute 18) McCabe and Mrs Miller 19) Star Wars
and 20) Grease (for the nostalgia. shut it)

Okay I cheated with a top twenty but the astonishing thing about that decade is that everyone's lists look completely reasonable because great films can be seen wherever you choose to look in your 70s film education. You know? 

Exit Music
How about a little "Chopsticks" with Oscar bound (again) mega-stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock? So crazy that today's new adults (Happy 18th, 1995 babies!) were born into a world where Hanks and Bullock were ruling the box office and today here we are again. Talk about legs (and I don't mean Bullock's literal ones but wow those gams)


Box offices binges on "The Purge"

It's Tim, taking over Monday box office duties for Nathaniel while he's away, so if I've made some little formatting mistake, apologies in advance.

It says all there is to say about the cool state of the box office right now (nobody wants to put something out just in time to have Man of Steel cut its legs off next week) that the big story is a horror movie with toxic word of mouth hugely outperforming expectations. Truthfully, though, $34 million for the Ethan Hawke home invasion thriller The Purge is pretty impressive: it more than doubled the open weekend of Hawke's last horror picture, Sinister, while blasting past pretty much every comparable film in recent memory. That's what a drought in the marketplace will do for you: horror fans will turn out to see new wide releases if it's been a long time, even if the new release in question looks completely awful. I know whereof I speak.

Meanwhile, Wedding Crashers reunion/feature length Google ad The Internship has made exactly the non-splash that could be predicted based on how much nobody in the entire world was talking about the movie, though it's worth pointing out that it's not particularly out of line with the recent films Vince Vaugn and Owen Wilson have made seperately in the past few years. Also, Fast & Furious 6 broke the $200 million mark before Star Trek Into Darkness, which is a statistic that I don't think anybody would have willing to predict at the start of the summer.

01 THE PURGE $34.1 *NEW*
02 FAST & FURIOUS 6  $19.2 (cum. $202.8)
03 NOW YOU SEE ME  $19.0 (cum. $60.9)
05 EPIC $11.9 (cum. $83.9)
04 STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS  $11.4 (cum. $199.9) The Dumbing Down of Star Trek
07 AFTER EARTH  $10.7 (cum. $46.1) M Night Shyamalan's Fall
08 THE HANGOVER PART III $7.3 (cum. $102.3)
09 IRON MAN THREE $5.8 (cum. $394.3) Reviewed & Podcasted
10 THE GREAT GATSBY $4.2 (cum. $136.1) Reviewed & Dreamt About

In limited release, Frances Ha and Before Midnight are both purring along nicely (both were up from last weekend, in fact!), though neither they nor anything else came close to breaking into the top 10. The only prominent new film, Joss Whedon's modern-dress version of Much Ado About Nothing, put up a strong but not mind-blowing $34,388 per-screen average at five theaters, and didn't even crack the top 20, though its nationwide expansion on June 21 ought to improve its fortunes considerably, while giving all of us who don't live on the coasts a chance to see what Whedon's post-Avengers palette cleanser plays like.

Did you see anything this weekend? I didn't, taking advantage of the weather to do yardwork, though a friend and I are catching The Purge tonight. Like I said, horror fans are used to seeing things that we know are going to be utterly worthless.


Why, O Why, Don't I Love "Paris"?

Hallo folks! Ester here. You might remember me from such previous forays into Film Experience as my "Reader Spotlight" and my Two Stars, One Slot tribute piece, "Waif vs. Waif: Mia Wasikowska vs. Saoirse Ronan." Today I come to you with a feminist chip on my shoulder and a spark of rage in my eye, and my target is Woody Allen -- specifically his tepid time-travel fantasy, Midnight in Paris.

It's not surprising that Hollywood, the quintessential vehicle of nostalgia, is obsessed with landmarks. Jack Nicholson has only to get up in the morning and put his shoes on the right feet four shooting days out of five to get nominated for an Oscar, because Hollywood is just so gosh darn grateful an old-school movie star like him is still gracing films with his presence. Similarly, Woody Allen has only to make a movie that is not truly godawful terrible to make every film critic in the US sigh happily about how the maestro has done it again. 

Even then, by the way, he still makes several insufferable stabs at cinema for every Vicky Cristina Barcelona (or Scoop, which I actually kind of enjoyed).  

I understand the impulse to make ourselves hoarse praising the man. After all, we're talking about Woody Allen, auteur extraordinaire, Oscar-winner, redefiner of comedy, granddaddy to a thousand less-talented copy-cat narcissists. He's so prolific he probably doesn't even remember making one of my favorites of his films, the wistful and imaginative Purple Rose of Cairo. (Such small, delightful movies are often called "gems," which confuses me as gems come in all sizes; in fact, a woman I know recently received one that may weigh more than she does. But that's neither here nor there.)

Friends, a mediocrity is a mediocrity, whether it comes from Shakespeare or Dan Brown. Why do we insist on grading Woody Allen on a curve?

Click to read more ...


Yes, No, Maybe So: "Midnight in Paris"

It occured to me yesterday while writing up the Crazy Stupid Love trailer that we hadn't yet discussed the new Woody Allen trailer for Midnight in Paris. Despite the occasional Vicky Cristina Barcelona or Match Point the Woodster has been dwindling creatively for some time. Let us not speak of last year's obnoxious and unfunny Woody. So let's break this one down like we do: yes, no and maybe so.

I have to admit that that "But Paris after midnight... is Magic" beat, got me. Especially because the staccato images included Owen Wilson dancing. I am a firm believer that dancing makes most any movie better, no matter who is doing it and it also brought back warm memories of Woody's 1996 musical Everyone Says I Love You which I really loved at the time (I haven't seen it since. Does it hold up?). In fact pretty much everything in that little sequence of the trailer looked promising, though Marion Cotillard as Ideal French Woman is a bit...expected at this point. There are other French actresses you know. France churns out awesome gorgeous talented actresses with pretty much the same speed that Australia manufactures movie stars.

For all the surface excitement of the new "Woody Allen, World Traveller" film series (it kicked off with The Blondes in London Trilogy), he's still making pretty much the same movie every time: Unhappy well educated couples cheat and even the cheating doesn't make them happy. This happens whilst Woody philosophizes either through the characters or a narrator. The samey-sameyness of the filmography didn't used to be a problem when the films were as perfect or as imaginative or as funny as they once were. To be honest, I'd rather he stopped switching countries and experimented with switching genres. Lately he seems to just be doing dramedies that aren't fully dramatic or comedic. One of the reasons Match Point worked so well was that it was quite a serious darkly dramatic picture.

But I guess I am interested in seeing Owen, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and especially In the Loop's Mimi Kennedy act within his universe.

The most promising aspect of the trailer is that it does not in fact, tell you the plot. It does what all trailers should do instead: set up the premise, leave said premise dangling in the air, allow audiences to wonder about What Happens.

Most of the trailer is familiar but then we get the sense that Something Happens and a P.I. is brought in but that P.I. disappears? This doesn't seem to be the same movie unless it's a red herring.

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So?

I guess I'm a soft No based on what I see here -- and how much I actively disliked You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger -- but my vote matters less than yours. See, I religiously see Woody Allen pictures even if I don't want to. It''s kind of my personal annual thank you for him being such a crucial figure in how I came to love the movies.