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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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Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

"Margaret Atwood's novel is superb. If this is half as good, it will be great!" - Marcelo

"My one concern is how much of the novel is covered so quickly. Even in the first episode, they pulled a lot of events from the middle of the novel right in there to establish the universe. The pacing works onscreen, but what are they going to have left to cover by episode 9 and 10?." - Robert

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Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Entries in Reviews (516)

Wednesday
Apr052017

Stage Door: Amélie, The Musical

By Dancin' Dan

Say what you will about the seemingly unending run of new Broadway musicals based on non-musical films, enough of them have been good enough that you write them off at your own risk. Kinky Boots and Waitress are just two recent examples of stage musicals that, if anything, improve on their source material. The just-opened Amélie, an adaptation of the 2001 Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, attempts to recreate the success of those two adaptations: An established, inventive director in Pam MacKinnon, music and lyrics by singer-songwriter Daniel Messé (of music group Hem) with some help from musical vet Nathan Tysen, and a book by the respected playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss). And of course, a Broadway star on the rise in the lead role: the angel-voiced Philippa Soo, who stole hearts in Hamilton and the Off-Broadway incarnation of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

Unfortunately, this new musical fails to reach the dizzying heights of Jeunet's purely cinematic film. But the way in which it fails that lofty goal is interesting...

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Thursday
Mar302017

Review: "The Death of Louis XIV"

by Bill Curran

Laying in regal and rotting repose, the glorious tendrils of a white M-shaped wig framing his ashen face, King Louis XIV of France, in the year 1717, spends his final days dying atop luxurious satins and attended to by hand-wringing bureaucrats and a largely silent wife in Albert Serra’s (you guessed it) The Death of Louis XIV.


As far as “death trip” movies go, Louis XIV is a quintessential ordeal. Like moths around the flame, the films in this still-thriving trend announce the demise (or prolonged distress) of their subjects up front, with imminence and duration the focus, often with a titular clue to the narrative framework: The Passion of the Christ, Last Days, 12 Years a Slave, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, 127 Hours, Day Night Day Night, Hunger, Two Days, One Night, and Son of Saul, to name but a few...

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Wednesday
Mar292017

ND/NF: "Menashe" and "The Future Perfect"

MOMa and Film Society of Lincoln Center's annual New Directors / New Films festival wrapped up this past weekend. Their goal each year is to celebrate "a group of filmmakers who represent the present and anticipate the future of cinema: daring artists whose work pushes the envelope and is never what you’d expect"  The big tickets this year were two buzzy Sundance titles: the gay drama Beach Rats (a subway misshap prevented me from making the screening - argh!) and the rap comedy Patti Cake$ which will be out in July. The latter prompted a bidding war with Fox Searchlight offering $10+ million. Beach Rats was picked up by a new distribution company called Neon so who knows when it will arrive. Colossal, that Anne Hathaway as a kaiju oddity, will be Neon's first proper release on April 7th. 

At ND/NF we previously reviewed Sexy Durga, Happiness Academyand Strong Island. Here are the two final films yours truly caught, one being maybe my favorite of 2017 thus far...

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Tuesday
Mar282017

Doc Corner: Meet the Girls of 'All This Panic'

“It’s just one of those things when you expect something to be amazing and perfect and it’s not.”

Those words are spoken by 16-year-old Lena in Jenny Gage’s gorgeous slice of life documentary, All This Panic, as she describes the feeling of liking a boy who didn’t like her back. Never mind that, though; aren’t they a perfect encapsulation of the teenage existence more generally? Lena is just one of a handful of teenage female subjects that Gage and her cinematographer husband Tom Betterton stumble upon in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; the experiences of whom make up this exquisite debut feature.

Lena, socially forward but with a struggling family life, is joined by sisters Ginger and Dusty, Gage and Betterton’s neighbours, the elder of which has little concept of where she wants her life to go and confesses to being “petrified of getting old”; Sage, a rare African American student at a prestigious Manhattan school whose outspoken attitude is coupled with an internal battle between her class status and her face; and Olivia, who confides to the camera about her sexuality before she ever would her parents.

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Monday
Mar272017

When "Life" Goes Wrong...

by Nathaniel R

Stop me if you've heard this one before: a group of scientists are tasked with bringing samples of life back from outer space. Soon they are trapped in a nightmarish monster movie, as the alien life force picks them off one by one.

Life, the latest monster movie set in space, does a lot of things right despite its familiarity. Let's give credit where it's due. It hired capable involving actors in all the underwritten roles including Jake Gyllenhaal who we'll follow anywhere, even into deep space for a Alien ripoff. It's very handsomely lensed by prestigious cinematographer Seamus McGarvey. The direction by Daniel Espinosa (Child 44, Safe House) makes repeated smart use of the zero gravity setting, with well staged setpieces and even some unexpectedly beautiful compositions; the earliest casualty among the crew prompts the movie's eeriest morbidly pretty image. Apart from one confusing action sequence near the climax, the filmmakers seem to have a complete handle on the material.

So why then, is it unsatisfying? 

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Sunday
Mar262017

Review: "Wilson"

by Spencer Coile

Daniel Clowes struck gold in 2001 when he wrote the screenpay for Ghost World, an adaptation of his graphic novel of the same name. Telling the story of self-identified outcast Enid (Thora Birch), his first screenplay toyed with themes pertaining to isolation, the dissolution of friendships, and lots and lots of teen angst. It was relatable and altogether melancholic, but importantly-- it all worked. Drawing from his own work (no pun intended), Clowes pulled together some all-too-familiar film tropes, and managed to subvert them in thoughtful and oftentimes amusing ways. After a return to the screen with another adaptation of his own work, Art School Confidential in 2006, Clowes layed low, working primarily on writing/drawing and short films. He's back with Wilson, now in theaters, pairing with The Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson, for another foray into the hilariously damaged human spirit...

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Tuesday
Mar212017

Review: Song to Song

By Eric Blume

It’s difficult to review Song to Song, the latest film from Terrence Malick, because based on the standards of cinema (plot, characters, structure, acting, etc.), it’s a pretty terrible movie.  But with this film, Malick continues his journey to discover some sort of new cinematic language and style that has a weird beauty all its own.

The story, such as it is, revolves around three people in the music business (played by Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Ryan Gosling).  They go in and out of relationships with each other and a few other folks (notably Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Bond girl Berenice Marlohe).  Malick gives you no real sense of time, so it’s never 100% clear what happens when exactly.  But there are many, many scenes with those five people running their hands over each others’ bodies while voiceover proclaims banalities about sex and connection...   

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