Film Bitch History
Oscar History

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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How had i never seen... Enter the Dragon

"A action movie classic" - Jaragon

"Honestly, I saw Kentucky Fried Movie -- which ends with a long parody of this film -- about 5-10 years before I got around to seeing Enter the Dragon itself. I remember so much more about [the former]". -James

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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 Rachel McAdams (37)


Oscar Charts: All Categories Updated!

Spotlight or Martian? Rooney or Alicia? Brie or Saoirse? Joy or The Revenant or Hateful Eight among the unseen? If we're asking these questions we're playing into awards season narratives that are already in place. And not "narratives" that belong to the Oscar stories of the movies themselves -- i.e. the narratives that matter -- but the plotting that's emerging from the thundering din of The Movie Internet where we all conjecture about things we haven't seen or presumed precursor momentum that has yet to take place for months on end. Welcome Awards Season!

The Martian has planted a lot of Oscar seeds. Will they be ripe for harvest?

So at The Film Experience we like to focus on nomination conjecture and not wins. That's how our charts our arranged, not by likelihood of win. One "race" at a time, thank you. Please to enjoy the new charts which were all updated earlier this week. TFE is currently predicting The Martian to lead the nomination tally with 10 and Bridge of Spies to surprise as your second in charge with Spotlight and The Revenant in hot pursuit for Third Most Nominated. Though it's breaking our heart to predict only 4 nominations each and in none of the top categories for Carol and Mad Max Fury Road, that's what we're doing. Is this to inocculate us against disappointment later on? Ding! Ding! Ding! You're so smart, readers.

The new Gurus of Gold charts in the top 6 categories are also up. General consensus is clear in some places (Spotlight and The Martian) and totally foggy in others. I see I'm more bullish on the actors from Youth and Room and the overall prospects of The Danish Girl and Sicario than other pundits and more doubtful about the films that have yet to emerge. The Gurus excitement about Joan Allen in Room is causing some second guessing chez moi. As you know yours truly (Nathaniel R) thought the role wasn't meaty / showcased enough but she keeps propping up in conversations. Maybe it's because people miss her so much ... as well they should. 

Investigate the Charts and report back in the comments!
PICTURE and  DIRECTOR (big movement for The Martian and Ridley Scott), ACTRESS (gains for Lily & Saoirse), ACTOR (gains for Hanks & Damon), SUPPORTING ACTRESS (gains for Rachel McAdam who I believe will be hanging on tight to those Best Pic coattails), SUPPORTING ACTOR (Mark Rylance nearing "locked" status), SCREENPLAYS (Bridge of Spies is saying it's an original despite the same title as a book on the same subject), VISUALS (Mmmmm eye candy), SOUND, and shakeup eligibility for ANIMATED FILMS, DOCUMENTARIES and SHORTS


Links: Oscar, Kubrick, Jones, Knightley, and Ado Annie

Playbill Reviews are in for Keira Knightley's Broadway turn in Therese Raquin
Variety Nicole Kidman lines up a new thriller Silent Wife. The good news is the director is Adrian Lyne who is great with actresses: see Fatal Attraction & Unfaithful
Just Jared Jonathan Groff dies of happiness when Beyoncé pays him a compliment 

Brooklyn Mag pornish art films before Gaspar Noé's Love
Pajiba Patton Oswalt ranks the GOP candidates with D&D statistics 
Pajiba Quentin Tarantino vs. Cops. Ugly business.
My New Plaid Pants Rachel McAdams, Serious Journalist (via Spotlight

The Superverse
Variety talks to superhero loving TV megaproducer Greg Berlanti (The Flash and Supergirl are big hits ... but they aren't even his first superhero shows - remember that Incredibles/Fantastic4 ripoff called No Ordinary Family?)
Empire lots of new Suicide Squad photos 
Coming Soon Matthew McConaughey turns Marvel villain role down - I mean wouldn't you? Their villains suck
Tracking Board Li Bingbing (not to be confused with fashion icon X-Men actress Fan Bingbing) will supposedly headline a superhero film called Realm which is an original idea of Stan Lee's. It's a long ways off since the script isn't even written yet. Li Bingbing has previously appeared in action films like the recent installments of the Transformers and Resident Evil series

Oscar Mania
Movie City News Why The Martian is the movie to beat for Best Pic at the Oscars
Awards Daily Time to take Room seriously as a Best Pic winner? 
In Contention on the costume design Oscar race

Trailer Tease
After lots of teasing -- and we're sick of teasing! -- a real trailer finally emerged for Netflix's Daredevil followup, Marvel's Jessica Jones starring Krysten Ritter. ICYMI it goes like so...

(On a personal note it'll be interesting to watch this one as for once I have no connection to the comic books. So much of contemporary comic book cinema and television is based on characters who've been around since before most of us were born. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman are practically octogenarians. Most of the Marvel superstars at the movies recently hit the half century mark. Etcetera. Jessica Jones didn't emerge in comic books until 2001 long after I had stopped reading them so I have no idea what to expect. )

Must See Mashup
This one is from some place called "GumpTV" which I hope isn't inspired by Forrest himself (blech). The short is called "The Red Drum Getaway" and it pits Hitchcock's Jimmy Stewart against the sinister auteurism of Stanley Kubrick. Terrifically edited, well paced, and that finale. Wowee.

The Red Drum Getaway from Gump on Vimeo.

Showtune to Go
Did you know that Oklahoma! (1955) is coming back to movie theaters for its 60th anniversary? Here's Kristin Chenoweth singing "I Cain't Say No" in celebration.


Review: A Most Wanted Man

Michael Cusumano here to check in with my weekly review.

Anton Corbijn’s film of John le Carré's A Most Wanted Man builds to a single moment where the main character, Günther Bachmann, head of a modern day German counter-terrorism spy ring, comes face to face with a devastating realization. Corbijn fixes the camera on him and lets the moment hang there wordlessly. You can practically see the ramifications shake the character to the core of who he is and what he believed about his place in the world

To let the whole movie live or die on a single moment like that is a high risk/high reward gambit. The fact that Gunther is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman should give you a clue as to why the filmmaker was confident his lead actor could drive it home with the power it required. After Hoffman’s heartbreaking death at the age of forty-six the temptation to go for broke in singing his praises would exist no matter what his final significant performance, but it turns out no hyperbole is required. Hoffman’s last starring role is one of his best. It’s a subtle and satisfyingly layered performance, one that would be worth the price of admission even without the poignant context.

As Bachmann, Hoffman walks as if he carries the weight of his responsibilities in his bulky physique. His eyes speak of a soul heavy with guilt and unwanted knowledge about the dangers of the world. Yet when he speaks in his gentle German accent it is with an unexpected softness, and he often lets a wry smile creep into his expressions. We get the feeling that this fugitive sense of irony is one of the last lines of defense between his psyche and the horrors of the world.

We learn that years ago Bachmann was responsible for a mission gone horribly wrong, and his assignment to a rinky-dink unit in Hamburg is the result of that colossal screw-up. He now tracks terrorist money through the backchannels of Germany, understaffed and underfunded, with skeptical bureaucrats second-guessing his every move. Into Bachmann’s crosshairs comes a wild card in the form of a half-Chechen, half-Russian Muslim named Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin). Issa has a checkered history and he arrives in Hamburg looking every bit the part of the religious fanatic. When Issa is set to collect a massive inheritance waiting for him at a German bank, Bachmann sees him as the perfect bait to lure a big money funder of terrorism out into the open. But is Issa really as dangerous as he appears, or does his thousand-yard stare reveal him to be a harmless shell of a man? More to the point, is it worth the risk of leaving him on the street long enough to find out?

A Most Wanted Man managed to engross me in these questions without ever stirring my spirit. Corbijn lays out his plot points like a surgeon laying out his instruments, each one cold and polished and precise. We are too detached from the emotional undercurrents to be moved, and the intrigues are too slow-burning to thrill. There is nothing to match, say, the white-knuckle sequence in Alfredson’s recent take on le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy where Benedict Cumberbatch has to boost the documents from the heart of British intelligence. Even a chase scene where Bachmann comes perilously close to losing his quarry is curiously sedate. It’s like the film is mimicking the technique of its spy surveillance teams, diligently noting down the details without getting too worked up over them.

Out of this dispassionate atmosphere the film turns into a showcase for Hoffman more or less by default. The supporting characters fail to register much outside their function to the plot, despite a cast stocked with ringers like Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl and Robin Wright. Even the crucial relationship between Issa and Rachel McAdams as the naïve, do-gooder attorney who takes up his cause is a dud. Their relationship should be the beating heart of the film, with her growing close to him, despite the risk involved, but the pairing never sparks to life. The screenplay carries on as if they are generating a palpable sexual tension but their chemistry is closer to that of a child therapist caring for a traumatized patient. 

Flaws aside, Corbijn deserves points for crafting a story that absorbed me. I respect the way he doesn’t gild the lily. He lays it out straight and clean and makes sure to give the whole thing an atmosphere that you can feel in your bones, even when the nuts and bolts of the plot aren’t reaching you. And if A Most Wanted Man only approaches greatness in Hoffman’s performance we should be eternally grateful that the great actor was given the opportunity to exit at the top of his form. B-

previous reviews


Lupita Lives To Fight Another Day

JA from MNPP here. If you don't count doing voice-acting the wolf-mother in the upcoming Jungle Book CG-stravaganza, we're blasphemously still waiting for Lupita Nyong'o to find her follow-up to her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave. But now we've got a whisper - she might be taking a role in Southpaw, the upcoming "Jake Gyllenhaal is a boxer (and then JA blacks out thinking about Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer and misses the rest of what the movie's about)" movie written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and directed by Antoine "Training Day" Fuqua.

She'd be playing a social worker keeping track of Jake's young daughter. Dunno how substantive the role is - are we talking Mariah Carey in Precious or Brie Larson in Short Term 12? Whatever the case let's once again say a humble yet firm prayer to the Hollywood Gods that they do right by Lupita. We're watching you!

Also in talks to join the film are Forest Whitaker as Jake's coach and Rachel McAdams as Jake's lady. And in case you missed the pictures of Jake getting into prime boxing shape for the movie click on over here - they're worth your time and effort, I guarantee it.


Beauty Vs Beast: King of the Ring

JA from MNPP here, getting ready to rumble with a brand new edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast" for youse guys... we're running up the steps of the Philly Museum of Art and giving a victorious twirl (a very manly twirl, mind you) this week in honor of just having seen Rocky: The Musical.

It wasn't entirely by choice - my mother was in town and I'm always forced to see things I otherwise wouldn't (last visit it was Jersey Boys, which I'm still recovering from), and since she's a huge fan of the Sylvester Stallone's 1976 Oscar winner it seemed only right to hit up the stage version. Especially on the heels of its Tony nomination for Andy Karl as Best Actor in a Musical...

... but since we the people of The Film Experience seem to be cursed right now, Karl was a no-show at our performance. I can't say if the show would've popped more with him up there or not - his nomination makes me think so, but as it was the entire thing seemed reliant less on small things like music and character and more upon its admittedly spectacular staging. Ben Brantley nailed it - you kind of forget how bored you were for the first 3/4s when the boxing-ring rolls into the audience for the last act and shit goes bananas. It's empty calories, sure, but you walk out on a high.

That said what does come across well with the stage-version is the even-handed equinimity that Stallone & Co. treated both the the men-in-gloves with - yeah we're there with Rocky the whole time, but Apollo Creed isn't a stache-twirler. Both men have their faults and their strengths, and that's what's always made the showdown, spectacle or no, one for the ages. Apollo's established so well that by the sequel they become buddies and when evil Ivan Drago shows up in Part IV, well, not a dry eye in the house. And that brings us to today's showdown!


Which man will be standing in the end? Place your bets in the comments and prepare yourself for a grueling fifteen rounds over the next seven days of duel - see you back here next Monday when we'll crown the king of the ring.

PREVIOUSLY ON Last week was all about the Mean Girls, what with its ten year anniversary being heralded far and wide across the web and beyond (Tina Fey's ears musta been ringing something fierce) - so which Plastic exerted dominance over all the tables of the cafeteria? Who else? We all gave Cady a big "Boo you whore" and threw her under the bus - long live Regina George. Said Paul Outlaw:

"If Lindsay Lohan hadn't grown up to become an adult version of Regina George, Team Cady would probably be walking away with this. (Team Regina here.)"


Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Mean Girls (2004)

For this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we're reairing one of the earliest of episodes. We invited new readers to select a shot if they weren't around in 2010 when "Best Shot" first began so this survey of Mean Girls best shots, as chosen by each participant (click on the link for the corresponding article) is an fusion of old and new pieces 'round the web. Here's my choice:

And what I originally wrote:

The camera tracks Regina through the hallway after she's hatched her brilliant revenge plan. She's regained control of the screaming rage we saw in the prior scene and she's just gliding through the hallways, with a neat hint of actressy athleticism. Gone is the sex kitten and in her place the marathon runner. 

The shot functions like a reverse Hansel & Gretel; the witch leaving a bread crumb trail. In the bookend shot that follows the camera is still moving, gliding away from her, but the witch isn't. Witness her hungry self-satisfaction while she watches the children gobble up the crumbs; They're already baking in her oven!

So, that's my choice. What's yours?

as chosen by 16 of the greatest people you'll ever know
click on the image for the corresponding article 

a blink-and-you-miss moment in the film... absolutely hilarious."
-Sorta That Guy 

The best performance of her career..."
-Coco Hits New York 

The conspicuous gap between them...
-Antagony & Ecstasy

No shot in the film makes me bust out loud laughing more..."
-Best Shot in the Dark 

I love to think about Regina...

Each of "The Plastics" has great lines, but Karen takes the cake"
- Dean A 

This could not be more on point."
- I Want to Believe 

...captured the insanely fun spirit of the film but also encapsulated the plot really well."
- Awkward is What We Aim For 

And she's not just maintaining a place among North Shore royalty, she's threatening to take over..."

She even describes herself as 'a woman possessed'..."
-Film Actually 

...a wicked Madonna from a Renaissance tableaux."
-Movies Kick Ass

The queen of the jungle..."
-The Entertainment Junkie 

Daniel Franzese, far and away the funniest part of Mean Girls"
- Serious Film 

Her flock who've come to worship..."
-Musings and Stuff 


My pick for Best Shot has actually accrued more meaning over time....
-Dancin Dan


Oh you girls keep me young I luv ya..."
-The Film's The Thing 


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Next on 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' - JOIN US
05/06 Altman's strange / wonderful Three Women (1977) with Shelley Duvall & Sissy Spacek
05/13 Antontioni's mod classic Blow-Up (1965) Vanessa Redgrave and a mysterious murder 
05/20 Choose any or multiple Batman films. Pick and post your fav shot for his 75th