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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 racial politics (114)


White Zombie (1932)


Have you ever seen any of the early Bela Lugosi movies? Audiences must have been really freaked out by his eyes because the movies kept pushing that stare as the ultimate in horror (Dracula had arrived the year before). White Zombie was the first feature film about zombies, a genre now so common you forget that there had to be a first. The film, now celebrating its 87th birthday, is streaming on Amazon Prime and since it's only 66 minutes long we decided to zip right through yesterday... 

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Believe the hype: "Green Book" is a true crowd pleaser

by Nathaniel R

The final day and a half of the very short but very fun Middleburg Film Festival went by with a whirl. We've since received word on the winners. Though Middleburg is a non-juried festival, the audience votes for a people's choice style prize. The documentary winner was Biggest Little Farm, a film about the director and his wife trying to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres in California. Farm has been making the festival rounds for the past two months and is aiming for an April 2019 bow in movie theaters.

The narrative feature winner, echoing the crowd-response at TIFF a month earlier, went to Peter Farrelly's Green Book. Green Book was the closing film of the festival and I was able to catch its first screening on Sunday before racing to the airport to return home. The crowd went wild for it and it's worth noting that Middleburg has a more diverse audience than a lot of festivals (that's probably due to the vast social connections of the founder Sheila C Johnson, co-founder of BET who is one of the nation's richest African-American women and very involved in the arts). Sadly I wasn't able to attend the Q&A though I did manage to snap this photo before racing to the airport as the star Viggo Mortensen, the composer Kris Bowers, and director Peter Farrelly entered to a wild standing ovation to discuss the movie... 

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IndieWire a brief interview with Steven Yeun about life after The Walking Dead -- strangely there are no questions about his new Korean movie Burning despite the fact that he's amazing in it
THR Bradley Cooper getting an award from PETA for casting his own dog Charlie in A Star is Born. I mean.... the dog is perfection, so why not?
Vanity Fair Fan Bingbing has broken her silence after disappearing. She is said to owe more than $100 million in backtaxes to the Chinese government

/Film Trailer for The Conners series, essentially Roseanne without Roseanne
The Guardian a wonderful interview with Samantha Morton about choices she made in her career, her new part on The Walking Dead, and why she was dubbed "difficult" in her early years of stardom.
Playbill Emmy & Oscar winner Christine Lahti now starring in a play Off-Broadway about Gloria Steinem called Gloria: A Life. Steinem is quite the hot topic at the moment since there's also a biopic in the works
Pajiba on the Bullseye rumors around Daredevil season 3
Decider a Jeopardy moment that will go viral involving drag superstar Alyssa Edwards
/Film Netflix will be releasing Paul Greengrass 22 July in 100 theaters (they're also rumored to be trying to buy movie theaters, which is odd considering how much they've worked to diminish the moviegoing habit)
MNPP Luke Benward nine times
Daily Beast and director Catherine Hardwicke reflect back on Twilight's success and the sexist aftermath

This Week's Must Read (s)
Wesley Morris has an amazing challenging essay about the new ways we discuss art and how they've come to center more on the artist and that person's perceived moral or representational correctness then the quality of the art.  I loved reading this because so much of what he's saying I've seen happening and whenever I tried to put my finger on why it was frustrating me, I couldn't quite locate the target. 

The essay also prompted this interesting discussion at Vulture among a panel of mostly female critics. I love the point raised that there's a way to discuss art in this new way while also balancing aesthetic discussion but a lot of younger critics haven't been trained in that way or encouraged to learn that skill in the charged political time we're living in.


My Fair Linky

Los Angeles Times Black Panther wants the Best Picture Oscar. Is making plans to get it 
Deadline If they want to keep Daniel Craig, the Bond producers have to move fast to replace Danny Boyle in the director's chair for the next Bond film. Here's the candidates they're considering. I love the idea of Yann Demange because '71 proved he can do propulsive nail-biting tension even without big stunts and budgets
The Guardian fun report on the tragic lack of quality in Netflix's much-hyped romcom programming
Awards Daily  Upcoming festivals and how they typically shape the Oscar race

Broadway Blog Lauren Ambrose is leaving My Fair Lady early for a TV role so in steps Laura Benanti
Variety New animated film in the pipeline called My Boyfriend is a Bear. Sadly it's not an animated gay romcom but what sounds like G rated beastiality for children.
Coming Soon Elton John biopic Rocketman has a release date: May 31st, 2019. Bold move for a biopic, aiming for summer box office. Taron Egerton (Kingsman) stars
Us Magazine Scott Eastwood is having sex "lots of it"
EW Troye Sivan on his music and Boy Erased. When asked if Kidman is a fan:

I’m…not sure! She said in an article that she and Keith are fans. And I was really gagged by that. I just don’t know if it’s true or if she was just being really nice.

politics & showbiz
• THR how is the #metoo era affecting sex scenes and no-nudity clauses?
• The Cut tries to work out the complex contradictory feelings resulting from Asia Argento being revealed as both alleged victim and alleged harasser
• New Yorker "Crazy Rich Asians and the end point of representation"
• /Film on that Buffy reboot. "Talent of color do not need white tv show and film hand-me-downs" I like this article but this wave of 'diversity rebooting' has less to do with the white lens, I'd argue, than it has to do with Hollywood's typical modus operandi: regurgitate! regurgitate! regurgitate! That's what they know how to do.

Exit Track
Michelle Yeoh making the press rounds. Here's her interview w/ the HFPA (The Golden Globes).


West Side Story, Pt 1: Something's Coming at the Dance 

Three-Part Mini-Series
Occasionally we'll take a movie and baton pass it around the team. If you missed past installments we've gone long and deep on Rebecca (1940), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966),  Rosemary's Baby (1968), Cabaret (1972), Silence of the Lambs (1991), Thelma & Louise (1991), and A League of Their Own (1992). 

Team Experience is proud to present a three-part retrospective of Leonard Bernstein's masterpiece West Side Story (1961) to honor the composer's centennial. West Side Story premiered on Broadway in September 1957 (though a success, it lost the Best Musical prize to a bigger Broadway hit, The Music Man). Four years later in October 1961 the film version opened in movie theaters, becoming the the top-grossing film of its year, winning 10 Oscars and cementing the musical's place in the cultural consciousness forever.

Part 1 by Lynn Lee

There’s something about West Side Story that inspires obsession.  Blending high concept drama and musical theater at its very best, this classic American love story balances delicately between delirious romance and sharp-edged realism until the two collide in a tragedy so gutting it still reduces me to a puddle. What’s more, it’s all transferred so seamlessly to the screen, I’ve yet to see a stage production that equals the power of the film. What’s not to obsess about... 

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Months of Meryl: Music of the Heart (1999)

John and Matthew are watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

#27 — Roberta Guaspari, a real-life violinist and instructor who brought music education to the classrooms of Harlem.

MATTHEW:  One of the pitfalls that tends to come with occupying such a prominent position in the highly public realm of moviemaking is a gradual inability to disappear into the most straightforward of roles. I’m not talking about the magical acts of self-vanishing that allow Daniel Day-Lewis to seemingly become figures as disparate as Bill the Butcher and Abraham Lincoln nor the larger-than-life personas achieved through virtuosic, full-scale deglamorizations by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Charlize Theron, but rather the everyday characters who may achieve great things but whose lives are decisively rooted in reality, their appearances neither remarkable nor particularly conspicuous. No matter how hard a performer tries to shed her star persona and immerse herself in distinctly un-Hollywood settings, it is often up to us, the viewers, to forget everything we know about a star in order to actually believe her as, more or less, one of us...

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