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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in politics (133)


Kieran Gives Thanks

Kieran, here wishing all TFE readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Being part of Team Experience these past few months has been a sheer joy. I’m thankful for a place to share my writing where the discussions are always interesting, thoughtful and fun. Thanks to our gracious host, Nathaniel for providing this space.

I'm thankful for

...Shameless and more specifically Emmy Rossum on Shameless. After her breakthrough in 2004’s Phantom of the Opera, it seemed that Rossum found herself underutilized and underserved in a lot of films. After that rocky slate of film roles, seeing her cast against type on Shameless and doing some of the best, criminally ignored work on television today is absolutely thrilling.


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Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" - Still angry, still timely

TFE is celebrating the three Honorary Oscar winners this week. Here's Lynn Lee on one of Spike Lee's most controversial joints...

Is Spike Lee an Angry Black Man?  Reductive as the label is, it’s hard not to associate with an artist as reliably outspoken as he is accomplished—if only because so much of his best work is fueled by genuine anger at the condition of African Americans and the state of American race relations generally.  The irony of having achieved major critical and commercial success by channeling those frustrations surely hasn’t been lost on him, even if it’s done nothing to diminish them.

Bamboozled (2000), an incendiary, balls-to-the-wall satire about a disaffected black man who creates a pop culture monster, shows Lee at his angriest and most conflicted.  The film takes its cue from Malcolm X’s famous wakeup call:

You’ve been hoodwinked.  You’ve been had…You’ve been bamboozled”

It tells the tale of a Harvard-educated black TV writer (Damon Wayans, sporting a deliberately outlandish pseudo-French African accent) who pitches a hideously racist modern-day minstrel show as a fuck-you response to his white boss’s demand for “blacker” material—only to have the show become a megahit despite, or rather because of, the controversy it causes.  [More...]

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"Suffragette" Shoulders into the Oscar Fray

Is “Suffragette” faltering under the weight of overly high expectations?  With its impressive pedigree and unimpeachable subject matter, Sarah Gavron’s historical drama about the militant wing of the British suffragist movement seemed poised to be a strong Oscar contender for this fall.  Now, as we move towards the holidays, its status is looking uncertain: reviews have been mixed, and it’s drawn criticism for everything from its limited narrative focus to the limited screen time of Meryl Streep, who receives top of the line billing for a role that’s essentially no more than a cameo.  

If there’s a common trend to the criticism, it’s that the critics seem mostly preoccupied with what the movie doesn't do rather than what it does.  “Suffragette” is less a historical chronicle of the suffragettes than a snapshot view through the eyes of one (fictional) working class woman who’s accidentally and at first reluctantly drafted into their ranks.  It’s a study of what circumstances would drive such a woman to join a movement that would seem to hold no immediate benefit or attraction for someone in her position.  [more...]

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Tweetweek Beefcake

Behold The Film Experience's favorite Tweet of all time.

You agree that it's perfect, yes?

Sorry to be so self-serving (actually he's not, Nathaniel says about himself in the third person) but that has to be the nicest thing anyone's subconscious has ever dreamt up about me... that I'm aware of.

A collection of other great tweets including beefcake via miners, politicians and actors is after the jump...

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Belated Thoughts on "Freeheld"

Freeheld, the civil rights drama based on the Oscar-winning documentary short of the same name, hasn't made an impact at the box office or with critics but it really should've been featured on The Film Experience of all places. We apologize for the delay but better late than never... especially when it involves dying wishes!

First a wee bit of background: Autospell keeps trying to change the title to "Freehold". For what it's worth the Freeholders, a local county governing board, are the antagonists of the picture. They're a group of men who deny local hero cop Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) her dying wish that her pension go to her domestic partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) when she dies. The only thing that keeps the Freeholders in the human realm and away from cartoon moustache-twirling is Bryan Kelder (Josh Charles), the most conflicted of them who doesn't see what the big deal is about granting her wish but also isn't conflicted enough to put his career on the line and he's running for a bigger office soon. The boards refusal stirs up a firestorm of activism in her home county in New Jersey

Here are a handful of thoughts on the movie...

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Pictures from a Rebellious Premiere

Here's Murtada on the opening night of the BFI London Film Festival.

The BFI London Film Festival opened Wednesday night with a gala premiere of Suffragette. Alongside stars Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter, protesters made their voices heard. The group Sisters Uncut chose this movie about suffragettes to protest the UK government’s recent cut of funds supporting victims of domestic abuse.

It was an apt choice and led to some interesting pictures. On the same red carpet the latest couture gowns mixing with color bombs and protest signs. Glamour and activism after the jump...

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NYFF: Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival, where Michael Moore’s latest documentary had its first American screening after a bow at TIFF last month.

Moore’s Where to Invade Next is born out of the same sense of anger and despair that characterizes his earlier docs, but as he noted himself in yesterday’s press conference, he found a way to funnel that anger in a more productive way. Indeed, while the opening images (which juxtapose anti-terrorism presidential sound-bites with horrific national images from Ferguson and Sandy Hook) feel driven by an unwavering anger at the current state of US affairs, what follows is a rather optimistic portrait of the potential for change, presented, of course, with the irreverent wit that Moore epitomizes.

Tasked with “invading” countries by himself, Moore visits various European countries in hopes of, as he says, being able to “pick the flowers, not the weeds”: finding, that is, the best ideas about public policy that are thriving in other countries in hopes to steal them, bring them back to America, and watch them be implemented. The entire premise was a way, Moore explained, to make a documentary about the United States without shooting a single frame in the United States. Every hot button issue you can think of, from police brutality to women’s reproductive health, from the industrial prison complex to school lunches, from labor regulations to women’s equality, is tackled head on from the outside in. He travels to Italy to learn about their paid vacation policy (8 weeks!). He travels to Norway to visit their maximum security prison (where inmates carry the keys to their cells which come equipped with TVs, and who can use the state of the art recording studio or the expansive library at their leisure). He travels to Tunisia (an Islamic state, let’s remember) to visit their women’s health centers where abortions have been legal since the 1970s and learn how riots by women toppled a conservative government that hoped to repeal those female rights and protections. And so on, and so forth, talking to school cafeteria chefs, factory workers, multinational CEOs, and policemen, from Portugal, Iceland, France, Germany and Norway.

“I am American. I live in a great country, built on genocide and grown on the backs of slaves.” - Moore, candidly summing up what he sees so few jingoistic Americans acknowledging.

Each “idea” he hopes to take back after his invasion is at its core, both impossibly simple and also similarly absurd: five months paid maternity leave? sex-ed that isn’t based on abstinence? school lunches that value health over pizza and fries? teachers who value their students’ happiness over standardized tests? a prison where guards carry no guns and inmates have access to kitchen knives? a policy that decriminalizes drug possession? But the ultimate message is utopian in its simplicity: every one of these “flowers” he picked began with small gestures that, like the hammers and chisels that led to the physical dismantling of the Berlin Wall (which Moore witnessed first-hand in 1989 and which alongside the Mandela election helped cement his idea that things can change seemingly overnight), can make all the difference. They also continually hint at words and values that seldom find themselves in American political rhetoric: happiness, curiosity, community, human dignity. That the film ends in a powerful call for women’s equality, suggesting in no uncertain terms that having women in power is a necessary part of political and cultural progress, is perhaps the film’s most surprising element. (Do stay through the end of the credits to find Moore riffing beautifully off of Marvel’s most emulated trademark: the post-credits sequence).

How you feel about the film and its message will no doubt depend on your own political affiliations. Even as the audience at my screening clapped rapturously as the credits rolled, suggesting perhaps Moore was merely preaching to a converted choir that could wave away the tricky logistics that would make these ideas hard to implement wholesale in these shores, I could pick out snippets of dialogue that suggested this choir was a tad more cynical than Moore anticipated: “I mean, it’s so reductive, really.” “Well, but none of that will work here.” “I wish it were that easy!” Where to Invade Next is, in that, classic Moore: a conversation starter that will be greeted with equal number of wolf-whistles as exasperated sighs.

Check out the teaser for it below:


Where to Invade Next played Saturday October 3rd at the NYFF, and while concrete release date plans or distribution are up in the air, Moore’ doc is bound to open wide sometime soon.