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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
Apr212017

Tribeca 2017: Super Dark Times

by Jason Adams

There was this boy named Donnie that was a year below me in High School that I was in love with in that way teenagers are always in love with impossible things. He was a wrestler in the mold of the an Apollo statue, and he was correspondingly popular – even though he was a year younger than me he hung out with the popular kids in my class, and all of them together had it in common that they had no time for the likes of me. I used to go to wrestling meets just to watch him – I’d skulk in the bleachers, trying not to be noticed, as he sauntered, full singlet, in spotlights. I heard a few years after graduation that Donnie was killed in a car accident – it’s likely he and I never spoke, but when I think of High School, I still think of him.

Stylish and moody and deeply sad, Super Dark Times brought back rushes of memories like this – of high school tinged through black times; youth and beauty all muffled and dark...

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Friday
Apr212017

Tribeca 2017: Hounds of Love

by Jason Adams

Even people who profess to like horror movies don’t always like it when horror movies make them really uncomfortable. It’s why you see F grade Cinema-scores for truly disturbing flicks like Wolf Creek  - we want to be scared in a fun way, but we don’t want to waltz with actual despair. There’s a scene in Wes Craven’s  Last House on the Left that made me feel so awful it still haunts me to this day.

Hounds of Love, the first film from Aussie director Ben Young, waltzes with such awfulness, and might just announce a real talent a la Craven too...

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Saturday
Apr082017

Review: Anne Hathaway is "Colossal"

by Jorge Molina

As much as her career seems to have been engraved by "light" and "fluffy" material like The Princess Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada, and despite the bubbly and eager-to-please persona that she has become infamous for, Anne Hathaway is no stranger to playing characters plagued by demons: recovering addict, martyrized mother, troubled wife, woman with degenerative disease. She’s always had the outstanding capacity to portray a complex darkness within.

Colossal brings this into the light like no movie she’s done before...

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Wednesday
Apr052017

Review: The Zookeeper's Wife

A portion of this review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Zabinski, The Zookeeper's Wife, a true story based on the international bestseller of the same title. The Zabinski family run a lovingly crafted zoo in Warsaw but political unrest unnerves Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenberghenough to attempt to send his wife and child away. Antonia, naive and endearingly devoted to her animals, won't have it. Then German bombs hit their attraction, killing many animals. Poland surrenders to Germany quickly. Much to the Zabinski’s horror they learn that their surviving animals will all be killed for meat to feed soldiers unless they can strike a deal with fellow zookeeper and now Nazi officer (Daniel Brühl, Hollywood’s go-to Germanic villain who isn’t named Christoph Waltz). 

While working on this deal with the devil, Antonina and her husband begin a dangerous game, hiding Jews in their now empty zoo until they can figure out a way to get them out of Poland to (relative) safety in a world gone mad...

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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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