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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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Review: Beauty & The Beast (2017)

"I found much of this version charming, diverting and moving. But it's not a patch on the 1991 masterpiece" -Ian O

"I begrudge the decision of executives when it comes to casting a movie like this. They didn't need a 'star' to fill the seats. They needed someone who could elevate the material..." -Jones

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Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)
Céline Sciamma (My Life as a Zucchini)
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)

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Entries in religiosity (64)

Wednesday
Mar222017

Interview: Melissa Leo on Playing 'The Most Hated Woman in America'

By Jose Solís 

Few actors can command the screen like Melissa Leo. She has cemented her status as a true scene stealing chameleon in films like The Fighter, Frozen River, Mildred Pierce, and The Big Short. And while she’s mostly regarded as a character, read supporting, actor, she gets a chance to show off her leading lady chops in The Most Hated Woman in America which debuts this week on Netflix. She plays atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who led a campaign that banned Bible readings in public schools.

Leo infuses the part with heart and courage, so that she becomes a perfect embodiment of the notion that the personal should be political. Director Tommy O’Haver uses Madalyn’s kidnapping and horrific murder, to frame a film that aims to reach everyone’s humanity, regardless of their religious beliefs. Anchored by Leo’s majestic performance, it becomes one of the most important films of the year, in terms of the conversations and debates it could, and should, spark. I had the chance to speak to Leo from SXSW where the film premiered...

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Saturday
Mar112017

New Directors / New Films: Sexy Durga

New Directors / New Films which runs March 15th through the 26th is a festival of emerging international filmmakers here in NYC each year. We'll cover a few titles staring with a nightmare journey in India... 

Sexy Durga
Do you ever feel like you're missing something no matter how closely you pay attention? Not being well versed in Hinduism, it's difficult to make many inferences from the use of the goddess Durga in this film's title though calling her "Sexy" was quite a controversial move. I'm not sure why given that a quick bit of research reveals that she's a supreme goddess which sounds damn sexy to me...

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Friday
Mar032017

New to Netflix: Spinal Tap, Blazing Saddles, Jurassic Park...

It's that time of month when we get our new streaming options. Here are random new titles on Netflix for March (or that showed up late in February), freeze framed at totally random places, whatever comes up. As we do...

It's part of a musical trilogy I'm doing in D minor, which I find is really the saddest of all keys. I don't know why but it makes people weep instantly.

This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Heh. So funny this movie. Christopher Guest and Rob Reiner's collaboration became a classic. Without it we probably wouldn't have had Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show or whatnot. 

More films after the jump...

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Saturday
Feb112017

15 Days Until Oscar: The habit, get into it. 

15 is today's magic number. As far as I can tell -- though I am not Pope-infallible-- 15 women have been Oscar nominated over the years for playing nuns or nun apprentices... what are they called, novitiates? novices? problems-like-Maria?

Let's pray for them together after the jump. Which of these nominations do you most approve of and why is it so hard to win for playing a Sister or Mother Superior? 

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Tuesday
Jan312017

Doc Corner Goes to Slamdance

by Glenn Dunks

Okay, so if we had really gone to Slamdance I feel like you would have noticed with some extra coverage given that it runs at the same time and in the same city as Sundance. So despite not travelling to the snowy surrounds of Park City, I was still nonetheless lucky enough to get a peek at Slamdance’s documentary slate. And here we are telling you about FIVE of the titles in this super-sized edition of Doc Corner. Those five include outback savages, musical amateurs and geniuses and more that should be coming to festivals and VOD over the next year...

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Wednesday
Nov232016

Yes No Maybe So: "Silence"

Each and every year I pray that we will have ample time to CONSIDER each Oscar nominee. But one film always wants to emerge so late in the game that the world (i.e. Oscar fanatics, critics, list-makers, and awards voters) will be rushed to judgment.

I pray but I'm lost. Am I just praying to silence?"

It worked out well for the late arrivals last year (The Force Awakens and The Revenant which between them nabbed 17 Oscar nominations and 3 wins) so will it be as successful for Rogue One and Silence this year which we believe will be the last two movies to screen and which will dutifully fill the exact same slots of Star Wars Movie and Brutal All Male Historical Epic.

The Silence trailer is here so we may now finally judge for ourselves based on 2 minutes and 13 seconds instead of all of the rumors. The Trailer and our Yes No Maybe So™ breakdown after the jump...

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Sunday
Oct022016

NYFF: Mysteries of "The Ornithologist"

Nathaniel R reporting from the New York Film Festival 

Would it help if I could speak Portuguese? Perhaps an intimate knowledge of Portugal's history and politics or a Catholic education would do the trick? What is it exactly about films from Portugal that make them so impenetrable? The latest confusion-maker from the Iberian peninsula, on the heels of last year's confounding but intermittently wondrous Arabian Nights, is The Ornithologist by Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

The film begins, literally enough, with a long sequence in which our protagonist Fernando (Paul Hamy, a fine Tom Hardy-like specimen) watches birds for hours in an idyllic lake. He also takes a swim, has cel phone trouble when he tries to take a call, and kayaks further into nature to see rarer birds. The opening act, part nature documentary, part contemplative reverie is superb. Both the cinematography and its subjects are beautiful and irresistibly unknowable. One intuitively right and sustained visual motif is frequent shots from the birds point of view where Fernando looks just as alien to them.

This peaceful wonder gives way soon enough to abrupt danger. From that point forward the film becomes stranger and stranger with each new, well, stranger that Fernando meets in his travels: Chinese tourists, Amazonian hunters, mute shepherds, and more. While clearly allegorical in the telling, the meanings escaped me. 

LGBT cinephiles might know the director Joao Pedro Rodrigues from his disturbing and sexually charged debut O Fantasma (2000) or the trans drama To Die Like a Man which was Portugal's Oscar submission in 2010.  The Ornithologist is similarly suffused with queer eroticism -- Fernando is tied up like Saint Sebastian in his tighty whities in one memorable sequence, and has sex with a shepherd named Jesus in another. The Ornithologist is thankfully not quite as nihilistic as the director's earlier work and even ends on an incongruously giddy (tongue-in-cheek?) note, but it remains a head scratcher despite that inarguably hypnotic pull. 

Previous Reviews from NYFF:
Graduation (from the director of 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
The Unknown Girl (from Belgium's Dardenne brothers)
Staying Vertical (from the director of Stranger by the Lake)
Paterson (Directed by Jim Jarmusch starring Adam Driver)
Abacus (Documentary from Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame)
I, Daniel Blake (this year's Palme D'or Champ)
Hermia & Helena (Directed by Matías Piñeiro)