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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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Entries in Reviews (530)

Friday
Jun022017

I Was Tricked Into Seeing "Baywatch"

by Sean Donovan

Of the men currently dominating American movie box offices, few are more men than Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. And by this I don’t mean to praise or value anything specific in their incarnations of masculinity, rather I mean that when one watches Dwayne Johnson or Zac Efron, it’s as if they are working at every fraction of a second to scream in reminder to you “I AM A MAN! I HAVE MUSCLES! I AM STRONG! I EAT MEAT! I PROVIDE FOR MY WIFE AND CHILDREN!” It’s a function of the danger men in real life often pose that masculinity isn’t something we can easily mock or laugh at.

Not so with Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron (and to a lesser extent Chris Hemsworth). Masculinity is rarely sillier than in a Dwayne Johnson movie, the actor’s mind-boggling physique dominating every frame, each new performance somehow more muscled and over-the-top than before. Johnson’s instagram is a running tribute to the inflated absurdity of his sweat-drenched lifestyle. Efron, though not as fully the author of his own image as Dwayne Johnson, has found his greatest performances in Neighbors and its equally great sequel, where he plays up an arrogant frat-boy shtick, with peeks to the insecurities underneath, to absolute comic gold. Both allow us to look at hyper-masculinity as something laughable and campy, a cathartic moment we rarely get elsewhere.

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Sunday
May212017

Review: "Alien: Covenant"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

If the famed director Ridley Scott were in art school, his professor would be yanking the paintbrush out of his hand — “it’s perfect, stop adding brush strokes!” His wife probably has to pull spices from his hands as he cooks. If you’ve been playing along with this Hollywood giant’s career you know that he can never leave well enough alone. I’ve lost count of how many “versions” there now are of his early sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner (1982) and, after years of threats, that film will have a sequel this October, Blade Runner 2049, though Scott opted to pass the directorial reigns over to Denis Villeneuve (Arrival).

Having exhausted returning to that particular sci-fi well, Ridley has moved back even earlier in his career to the film that made him famous, Alien (1979). He’s now directed two prequels to it (Prometheus and now Alien: Covenant) and more films are promised. (Perhaps the controversial ending of 1991’s Thelma & Louise is the only thing that’s kept that film, the third member of his holy trinity of masterworks, free of his tinkering!).

So how’s the new film?

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Friday
May192017

Review: "Everything, Everything"

by Chris Feil

It’s not summer without at least once piece of romantic counter-programming, and for the most part Everything, Everything is a cut above the last few years’ offerings. There is a surprising amount of imagination in this tale of teenage love, and more genuine feeling. Its sappier side is kept at a softer level throughout, more concerned with showing the intricacies of blossoming young love than pulling your emotional strings. The film is more organic and modest in its emotional beats, until it turns its back on its own strengths.

Newly eighteen Maddy (The Hunger Games’s Amandla Stenberg) has been homebound her whole life, suffering from SCID, a genetical disorder that makes her essentially allergic to the world at large...

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Friday
May192017

Thomas Vinterberg returns with "The Commune"

This review originally ran in September 2016 from the Toronto International Film Festival. With the film finally in theaters in select cities starting today (and available to rent on Amazon), we didn't want you to miss it...

Thomas Vinterberg first came to fame with the Dogme 95 masterpiece The Celebration (1998) which was an international success reaping Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Foreign Film. Oscar famously snubbed it during their long stretch of controversial years in the 90s and 00s where they regularly ignored major critical darlings eventually prompting reforms to the selection process in the late Aughts. Vinterberg was eventually nominated with another international success The Hunt (2012) and after his English language sleeper success Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) it's safe to say he's on quite a roll currently. 

For years people had suggested to Vinterberg that he make a film about commune life since he had grown up in one as a child in the 70s...

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Sunday
May142017

Review: Amy & Goldie get "Snatched"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

You bring stuff into the movie theater with you. I’m not talking about snacks though that’s a frugal and smart thing to do given concession prices and the inherent tastiness of things you aren’t supposed to be eating. My point is this: we come into each movie with our own baggage, nothing existing in a vacuum.

Angry internet types like to call this “bias” when they disagree with anything but it’s just human nature. We all have our predilections. I share this because I walked into SnatchedAmy Schumer’s latest with Goldie Hawn in her first movie in 15 years (!!!) wanting to love it...

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Saturday
May062017

Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"

by Chris Feil

Superhero sequels these days seem burdened to go more bigger than bombastic. If the entire human race isn’t at stake and they aren’t finding new ways to topple more and more skyscrapers, they aren’t following the rules of engagement. So it is with some relief that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 operates very much on the same level and ambitions as its predecessor, its sights on delivering what it did before and just as well. It gets what we loved about it before, and doesn’t mistake it for empty spectacle.

That means more bickering, more quips, and more retro tunes as our space badasses once again defend the galaxy - but also about the same amount of scale in regards to what they are saving us from...

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