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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 Patrick Wilson (9)


Beauty vs Beast: The Monster From Mini Apple

JA from MNPP here, and I think we've got some Charlize Theron fans up in here, correct? While we ache away on our insides for Mad Max: Fury Road to get here (May seems so far away) let's give her one of her very own "Beauty vs. Beast" tributes to pass the time.

I contemplated going the Snow White route but that seemed kinda obvious so the best Charlize movie instead. Jason Retiman's 2011 too-cool-for-Oscar flick Young Adult is endlessly rewatchable... as long as you get off on cringing through your laughter and watching a wonderful actress wield her beauty like a weapon.

One that cuts both ways - watching Mavis be stripped of her beautification accoutrement (those sad silicone inserts) becomes a perverse sort of deglamming that would have made Aileen Wuornos blush. And Patrick Wilson's no slouch - he always gets taken for granted as the premiere amiable suburban object, but Buddy's a sharp portrait of a dude who's never had to give too much thought to things having a whole lot of thought smashed his way in way too short a time.


You have one week to cast your vote for the prom king or the prom queen and let us know why in the comments - and give Charlize your birthday wishes while you're at it!

PREVIOUSLY Even though we tried to bribe you a little bit by showing off Tom Hanks' surprisingly fabulous gams, you were having none of it on the occasion of Turner & Hooch's 25th anniversary - slobbery though he may have been it's just a general rule that you're never gonna beat an adorable doggy. Hooch bounded away with just short of 70% of the vote; said Henry:

"As a cat person, I would ordinarily choose the human......but my fourth (or was it fifth) husband was a neatnik. I'll take slobbery over Felix Ungernesseryness any day."


Box Office Ten

No, no. Not the top ten actual grosses from last weekend but ten things worth noting.

1. Any article about this weekend's movies that does not mention Short Term 12 is just a giant waste of time. Expanding into 30+ more cities, this awesome indie climbed the box office charts escalating its gross to a healthy ½ million to date. Congratulations to writer/director Destin Cretton and Brie Larson (interviewed right here at TFE) and everyone involved with this wonderful movie. But most of all let's thank Cinedigm and their publicity team for really getting behind this one. Securing distribution is only half the battle. Once you've got a distributor, you had better hope someone really believes in your movie. And several someones did. 

2. Insidious Chapter 2 opened at #1 with a huge $40.2 million, making it Patrick Wilson's second smash hit horror movie of the year. He's found his niche, however different that niche is than I expected when I first fell for him.

3. The Family, Michelle Pfeiffer's pfirst leading role since Chéri (2009) and only her third in the past ten years (jesus!) opened in second place with $14 million. That's neither here nor there as openings go but at least she's in a movie again! We'll talk about that one soon. 

seven more brief notations about current movies after the jump

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What Did You See: Hauntings, Shootings or Snail-Races?

If people were actually going to see the new Patrick Wilson movie to see Patrick Wilson he'd be a bankable star instantly! But we know they're going to The Conjuring -- just like they went to Insidious -- because the audience for cheaply produced horror flicks is enormous and insatiable.  But at least Our Mr Wilson has found a cash-cow niche since Hollywood proper couldn't figure out what to do with him despite a) talent, b) a stellar singing voice, and c) matinee idol looks.

Patrick Wilson recording reactions to Vera Farmiga's Emmy nomination

02 DESPICABLE ME 2 $25 (cum. $276.1)...about to become the 2nd biggest hit of 2013
03 TURBO $21.5 *NEW* (cum. $31.2)
04 GROWN UPS 2 $10 (cum. $79.5)
05 RED 2 $18.5 *NEW* 

It was a rough weekend for The Lone Ranger (reviewed) which lost a huge swath of screens and fell out of the top ten in only its third weekend. Things weren't much rosier for the crowded field of newbies apart from the documentary Act of Killing which had the best per screen average and excitable reviews and The Conjuring. The latter has already doubled its budget where other newbies like the snail-racing cartoon Turbo and the CGI action comedy RIPD (Ryan Reynolds just can't open movies but Hollywood keeps trying to fix that) with budgets well over $100 million struggle to find an immediate audience. I hope that the disappointing totals for Red 2, which opened weaker than its predecessor though sequels usually build these days, and RIPD which looked like a plagiaristic reboot of Men in Black (at least in trailer form) with aliens swapped out for dead people, give Hollywood cold feet about greenlighting sequels or reboots of EVERYTHING ...but that's hoping for a miracle, I know. 

In limited release The Way Way Back is still building an audience and Fruitvale Station (reviewed) did well in its second weekend passing the million dollar mark. It goes wide next weekend and is surely hoping to win enough box office attention to seal its status as a talking point Oscar contender.

Last Chance! If you can find Frances Ha and The Bling Ring, two of the most unique and discussable 2013 movies, in a theater near you, do it. They'll vanish from theaters any second now and you won't see them on DVD for awhile and good movies are better in theaters anyway!. Only Bling Ring has a date (September 17th) announced.

What did you see this weekend?


"Into the Woods" Seeks Investors & Very Famous Witch

This happened Monday. (Thanks to Julia for alerting.) How crazy is that?

A live reading of Stephen Sondheim's wondrous "Into the Woods" shortly after its Shakespeare in the Park summer (with only Donna Murphy as The Witch transferring from Central Park) to raise interest/funding for Rob Marshall's film version. He's surely hoping to redeem himself post-Nine which angered critics and lost a ton of money at the box office and return to his Chicago heyday. But I swear to god if he makes up some stupid framing device where it's all a dream/fantasy...

I don't know about you but the idea of Patrick Wilson & Cheyenne Jackson as the eternally unsatisfied but self-satisfied Princes is to die for. The other names that most excite me here are Nina Arianda, Victoria Clark, Christine Baranski,  Anna Kendrick, Megan Hilty,... oh wait, I'd just type up every name! 

How do you read "Into the Woods" -- Did they talk/sing through their table read, stand beside the piano for Hollywood moneybags or was it very very short? confirms that this reading did happen as planned though the film version would obviously *sniffle* get an entirely new cast. (We once had a very robust discussion of who should play whom right here at The Film Experience.) Many of those names listed above are famous and accomplished and have golden statues of some sort and are amazing vocalists but you know they'll be thrown over in a second for bigger names with weaker chops.

Streep will probably get the role made famous by Bernadette Peters, and later played by Vanessa Williams and Donna Murphy

Meryl Streep is already reportedly in talks about the most coveted role in any production: The Witch (who raises Rapunzel as her daughter and sings "The Last Midnight" and the show's thematic anthem "Children Will Listen"). That sucks for the great great Broadway diva Donna Murphy who, to date, has only ever had one movie role worthy of her (The Witch... who coincidentally raises Rapunzel!... in Tangled) though she gets frequent tiny roles. But that's how it works for stage-to-film transfers. And Meryl does have a wondrous vocal instrument; I can and have listened to her tracks from Postcards from the Edge, Prairie Home Companion and Death Becomes Her on loop (Mamma Mia not so much). If rumors that Marshall originally wanted Toni Collette for Roxy in Chicago are true -- and why wouldn't they be cuz damn if she isn't great in musicals -- can't we throw her in this movie somewhere?


Yes, No, Maybe So: "Young Adult"

Last time director Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody got together they gave us Juno (2007). This combined effort won them millions at the box office and four Oscar nominations. Can they strike gold twice? 

Cheers. Charlize Theron is a fierce funny bitch in "Young Adult" 

Young Adult features Oscar winning glamazon Charlize Theron as "Mavis" who returns to her hometown to win back an old boyfriend who is now a happily married father. Everyone else knows this is a terrible idea.


  • A lying cheating amoral lead character who is a "psychotic prom queen bitch"? We're so there.
  • Dogs in bags, black fingernail polish... love that she's a bit dated in her badass "coolness" but totally pleased with herself about it. You can't get a bead from these two minutes whether she's aware that she's "shocking" (see also: Liza in Cabaret) or if she's oblivious to her own crazy... but either way that'll be funny.
  • Biggest LOL Moment: Mavis and the ugly baby. If the whole movie is that funny, it'll be a perennial you can watch on repeat.
  • Love the disconnect in her conversations "I'm a married man." "We can beat this thing together!"
  • Charlize's comedic talents rarely get such a work out so bring it on.


  • The trailer promises The Charlize Show, but one of Juno's strengths was its fully humanized supporting cast. This doesn't suggest any depth of focus at first glance beyond its showy lead. Will Charlize be enough?
  • If Charlize ends up with Patton Oswalt, that's just going to be weird and yet totally pandering/typical of the movies where the über babes are always falling for guys who look like regular moviegoers. 


  • Jason Reitman's films are usually fairly impressive juggling acts with dramatic and comedic balls up in the air (sorry) constantly. This looks like a simple straightforward comedy. It might be more but even if it isn't won't that be welcome in the heat of Prestige Film Season surrounding by Totally Meaningful Sober Epic Dramas?

Here's the trailer

Are you a yes, no or maybe so? Charlize Theron: how ya like her now? How you like her Oscar chances once that Golden Globe is sewn up... or will Kristen Wiig's Bridesmaid trip her up there?


Small Screen: Prime and Suspect Pilots

I promised a bit more TV talk this year and though I haven't seen any show that would inspire me to cover it weekly (Mad Men and True Blood are rare beasts, as interesting to write about as they are to watch) here's a quick overview of first impressions of new series. 

A bit strange to watch this one in the receding shadow of last weekend's Emmy Awards. The whole time I kept thinking "Oh... here's one to shake up the Best Drama Series field next year if it can be shook. And Best Actress, too!"

But then, immediately after it ended, I felt ashamed of this inner golden-winged monologue. Great acting is no promise of statues after all. I must must must remember my own mantra -- difficult as it is to remember whilst enthusiastically prepping for Oscar season -- Great Work Is Its Own Reward. And Maria Bello is her own reward (and so rewarding, too).  Which is as it has to be given the cold shoulder from Oscar in the past (The CoolerA History of Violence).

Prime Suspect, her new show (adapted from the now 20 year old Helen Mirren series) details the murder investigations of the smart abrasive Jane Timoney, the only woman in her homicide department. The first hour had a few script and performance beats with the zing of those 'Clarice Starling surrounded by tall men' visuals in The Silence of the Lambs but Bello just refuses to shrink. Though procedurals never really capture my imagination, character studies do and Bello demands that I keep watching. Her detective is funny without feeling scripted-quippy and unusually capable without seeming infallible (such a danger for protagonist roles in TV and film). Best of all she shades all of Timoney's more typically admirable qualities like confidence, cleverness, intelligence, and femaleness in such a way that they throw shade; her confidence curdles into arrogance, her cleverness veers towards the reckless, her intelligence has zero warmth and her vagina is both interference and scapegoat. Yes, her department is sexist but isn't her cold arrogance and lack of sympathy for co-workers (who have justifiably open wounds in this episode)  more than half of the problem in being welcomed into their club?

Click for more on Prime Suspect plus Revenge, Charlie's Angels and two more newbies.

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Interview Extra: Dagmara on a Hot Tin Roof

When you're writing up pieces for publication from interviews, whether for magazines or blog posts or whatnot you can rarely use everything. So why not treat them like DVD extras and toss them out a little later on? With Patrick Wilson's new TV series A Gifted Man premiering tonight, I thought what better time to revisit The Film Experience interview with his wife Dagmara Dominczyk . She was a warm and funny presence on the Higher Ground promotional trail just as she is in the movie in a key supporting role.  Hopefully more of you have had the chance to see Vera Farmiga's directorial debut since that piece went up.

I told Dagmara that I had seen her in Broadway's shortlived The Violet Hour several years ago and the conversation turned to her stage work which seguewayed to a fun Patrick moment. 

Nathaniel: Dagmara, I know you were the original understudy in Broadway's Closer in the role of "Alice". I don't know if you ever went on...

Dagmara: [Emphatically] 13 times I went on and I know every single time!

Her name is "Alice"Nathaniel: So did you see the movie later and think I could do that.

Dagmara: YEAH [Vera Farmiga laughs suddenly. Dagmara is deliciously open with her answers.]

But I didn't think "damnit why didn't I?" You know what I mean? There's a difference. Patrick and I... our dream that we talk about as a side fantasy is to do a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Vera: That would be awesome.

Nathaniel: [Momentarily stunned] God, you'd be great for those parts. That's so weird. I instantly pictured it.

Dagmara: Right?!? Hello! So he's got a few more years left to make that happen.


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