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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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Entries in Reviews (207)

Saturday
Jul262014

Review: Mood Indigo

Michael C. returning for duty. I'll be joining Nathaniel on the weekly new film review duties so you'll get two each weekend instead of just one.

My reflex reaction is to be protective of Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, and not simply because the director exists in a permanent state of grace for giving the world Eternal Sunshine. It’s because his latest film is such an easy target. To come branded with the moniker “quirky” is to risk immediate snide dismissal by those who would sooner face a firing squad than offer a stamp of approval to anything with hipster appeal, and Mood Indigo may well be the quirkiest thing that has ever happened. It is the black tar heroin of twee. 

This film is such a perfect culmination of Gondry’s work up to this point, it’s a surprise to learn it didn’t originate in his brain but is based on a novel much loved in France. Every frame is packed to bursting with Gondry’s signature handcrafted effects. Indigo’s hero, Colin (Romain Duris) lives in an apartment that brings to mind a French Pee-wee’s Playhouse by way of the Peter Gabriel’s "Sledgehammer" video (Ask your parents, kids). There doesn’t seem to be a single inanimate object in the place. Colin’s breakfast is a ballet of squirming stop-motion treats, and the doorbell scurries around the wall like an excited pet when there is a visitor. Even the piano is revealed to be a clever gizmo that dispenses cocktails to match the mood of the tune played on it. One cannot accuse Gondry of laziness. 

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Saturday
Jul262014

NewFest: "Futuro Beach" and "Gerontophilia"

This double feature review was originally printed in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Help, he’s drowning! In good movies so don’t rush to the rescue. Both the opening and closing night films of this week’s satisfying NewFest (July 24th-29th), NYC's annual LGBT film festival in partnership with OutFest, begin with a drowning. Both drownings become romantic catalysts for the lifeguard, but the films couldn’t be more different in tone or purpose so it’s surely a coincidence. NewFest got the order right, opening with the dramatic punch and ending with a sweet drive into the sunset.

In the Brazilian/German film FUTURO BEACH, which opened the annual LGBT film festival Thursday night, two tourists are hit by violent waves. Lifeguards rush in to save them but only one survives. Donato (Wagner Moura) shaken up by losing his first swimmer, seeks out the survivor's friend, a sporty motorbike enthusiast named Konrad (Clemens Schick) to explain the process for dealing with the body. Soon they're angrily rutting, caught up in the disorienting and wrenching drama. Their hookup appears destined to burn bright and die quick due to its emotionally disconnected start and its rapid and frank visual presentation -- English language cinema still lags far behind European cinema in its depictions of sex; the full frontal here is presented as if it’s no big deal.

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Friday
Jul042014

Review: Melissa McCarthy > Tammy

An slightly abridged version of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best developments of movie advertising this past decade is the use of single scenes as teasers. Remember when The Devil Wears Prada used the opening sequence, fashion magazine peons freaking out about the arrival of Miranda Priestley as a perfect hook? Do you want to see more? Yes Ma’am! 

Tammy employed a similar tactic at first giving you a peak at the actual movie instead of a greatest hits montage. The first tease was a single scene of Melissa McCarthy clumsily robbing a fast-food restaurant in a dumb paper bag mask: too large to clear the counter, too blind to lock a storage room door, too sweet to be threatening. “You want some pies? You want pies” It’s a very funny sequence promising a slapstick filled comedy about a bumbling amateur criminal. Melissa McCarthy is currently on top of Hollywood’s food chain after three consecutive smash hits (Bridesmaid, Identity Thief and The Heat) the first and last of which are top-notch comedies, continually funny, bracingly rude and totally rewatchable. 

Unfortunately, the robbery proves to be Tammy’s single best bit and, oops, we’ve already seen the whole thing. [More...]

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Thursday
Jul032014

Joe Manganiello and "La Bare"

It's not every calendar year that an actor gets two titles as diverse as "First Time Filmmaker" and "Hollywood's Hottest Bachelor" but that's just what Joe Manganiello has accomplished in 2014. His male stripper documentary La Bare premiered at Slamdance this past January and hit theaters just as the final season of True Blood was kicking off. Good timing and you have to hand it to him. I mean this in the nicest possible way but actors of limited range who understand both their niche and the unique window of time they have to make some sort of substantial showbiz mark and then maximize it deserve a loud round of applause. Well done. 

With La Bare, Manganiello manages to make a career move behind the camera that's also a not-at-all subtle reminder of his hunky allure in front of it. 'Oh yeah, he was in Magic Mike!' All of which slyly serves to remind us that there's more to him than werewolf Alcides ...and he's willing to show it. 

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Friday
Jun272014

Review: Me and You

Bertolucci at Cannes, two years agoThere was a time when the release of every new film from Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci would cause some level of controversy. Consider that in a career that spans more than five decades, he has directed films like The Conformist. Last Tango in Paris and The Dreamers. His latest film, Me and You, was made almost a decade after The Dreamers. It premiered at Cannes more than two years ago but is being released only now, almost as if the publicity for his films has gotten as quiet as the man himself, now sitting (and directing) permanently in wheel chairs. 

The opening of Me and You promises more of the director’s provocative thematic interests. Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) is a troubled looking teenager finishing a conversation with his psychiatrist. He is reclusive and detached, and his misbehaviours are confirmed when we overhear a conversation between his separated parents on the phone. An early scene in which Lorenzo and his mother dine at a restaurant shows the most prominent touch of Bertolucci’s perversions as the young boy incessantly asks his mother what she would do to repopulate the world if they were the only two people left on the planet. [More...]

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