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Entries in Rosewater (5)

Monday
Nov172014

Review: Rosewater

Michael C. with your weekly new release review...

A key part of Jon Stewart’s appeal is that no matter how maddening the news is he doesn’t lapse into ironic detachment. His isn’t someone throwing up his hands in surrender, but the guy who can’t help but marvel at the variety of ways government finds to sabotage our best intentions and allow stupidity to win out over rationality. So it should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Stewart that Rosewater, his directorial debut, is marked by the same earnest intellectual curiosity.

As director and screenwriter Stewart brings a sly complexity to material that could have been one note or overwrought in other hands. His trademark wit is not absent from the film but it has been restrained and left to simmer under the surface as Maziar Bahari’s months long imprisonment and torture at the hands of Iranian government steadily edges into the realm of absurdity. “Why would a spy have his own TV show?” Bahari protests when his interrogator presents a Daily Show appearance during which he is jokingly referred to as a spy as evidence. It’s a moment of indisputable logic that gets him nowhere, oppressive regimes not being famous for their sense of humor.

Of course, Bahari’s arrest, torture, and solitary confinement for over 100 days was not simply the matter of a joke gone awry. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov162014

Box Office: America Loves... Dumb Things?

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. Dumb and Dumber To came out on top this weekend, beating Big Hero 6 to the number one spot. It’s curious that my anticipation for this sequel which had been building up and gradually increasing over two decades completely deflated the minute it was released, but that tends to happen when reviews, commercials and even the film’s stars seem unenthused about their work.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s other wide opening, Beyond the Lights, finished fourth. I want Gugu Mbatha-Raw to be a star so badly, so here’s hoping it sticks around in the top ten for while. And speaking of sticking around, Gone Girl remained the top 5 for the seventh week in a row, a bigger success than most had imagined and now the second biggest success of David Fincher's career (after Se7en) if you adjust for inflation.

TOP DOZEN
01 DUMB & DUMBER TO $38 NEW
02 BIG HERO 6 $36 (cum. $111.6) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
03 INTERSTELLAR $29.1 NEW Michael's Review
04 BEYOND THE LIGHTS $6.5 NEW 
05 GONE GIRL $4.6 (cum. $152.6) The Podcast /  Jason's Review
06 ST. VINCENT $4 (cum. $33.2) Michael's Review
07 FURY $3.8 (cum. $75.9) Michael's Review
08 NIGHTCRAWLER $3 (cum. $25) The PodcastNathaniel's Review 
09 OUIJA $3 (cum. $48.1) 
10 BIRDMAN $2.4 (cum. $11.5) The Podcast Nathaniel's Review
11 JOHN WICK $2.2 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
12 ALEXANDER... VERY BAD DAY $1.5 (cum. $62.3) 

PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding wide openers losing theaters
01 ROSEWATER $1.2 371 locations NEW
02 KIRK CAMERON'S SAVING CHRISTMAS $1 410 locations NEW 
03 WHIPLASH $.8 419 locations (cum. $2.4) The Podcast / Michael's Review
04 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $.7 41 locations (cum. $1) Nathaniel's Review
05 FOXCATCHER $.2 NEW 6 locations Nathaniel's Review / Michael's Review

I saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and while I have you here in our intimate little corner of the internet at The Film Experience, away from the wrath of Nolan fanboys, let me vent for a minute about how awful it is. Seriously, do any of you want to stop Nolan, pull him to the side and whisper in his ear: “your films are too long; your plots are convoluted; several of your characters are redundant; your dialogue is atrocious; your spirituality is plastic; get a screenwriter”? Those are the same problems comings up in every one of his films since… The Prestige? Anyway, Matthew McConaughey was the saving grace, making his earthy, warm presence felt through Hans Zimmer's loud screeching in the sound mix.

High profile openers were happening in limited release: Jon Stewart’s story of political imprisonment in Iran, Rosewater, didn’t do great business but you’ll hear more on that one soon right here. Doing exactly 40 times the business per screen was Bennett Miller’s Oscar hopeful, Foxcatcher. It’s going the same route that most of Sony Pictures Classics’ awards contenders go and it’s probably the correct strategy for this film. Finally, there was Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, which won far better reviews than its Cannes reception predicted, doing decent business on only 4 screens.

Have any of you seen of those yet? If not what did you see this weekend?

Wednesday
Sep102014

New Posters (Now With Less Floating Heads)

Manuel here to whet everyone's appetites with some recently released posters.

Fall movie season can sometimes feel much more thrilling for the way it builds anticipation than for what it actually delivers. Every year we can count on plenty of films to entertain, amaze, and awe us, but I'd wager that that number is usually lower than the number of films you were looking forward to. This is partly a math game and partly an acknowledgement of how PR and marketing savvy distributors (both big and small) have become. 

Take, for example these new posters for, respectively, Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Children (as divisive after its premiere in Toronto as the film's trailer proved here), Justin Simien's Sundance sensation Dear White People, and Jon Stewart's first feature film Rosewater. I have to admit I love these posters not only because they aren't full of floating heads or beautifully lit silhouettes, but because they manage to signal the film's sensibility. Arguably, this is what we expect from movie posters, but it's not often we get artistic posters like these that embrace the expressiveness of the medium without resorting to distractingly obvious photoshop.

Men, Women and Children clearly works overtime to let you know that it is a Reitman joint what with the imagery evoking that opening credit sequence from Juno and placing Jennifer Garner front and center; yet it also (if a bit bluntly with that tagline) lets you know what the film's core problematic is, something the poster needs to do when the title itself, unless you know the source material, gives you little to no information. How many people do you think are reading The Film Experience on their phones in this poster? 

But if Reitman's poster goes for both quirky and serious, Dear White People openly goes for laughs in a way that is keenly attuned to the racial politics of the film, with Tyler James Williams' character's equally exasperated yet sardonically knowing look letting you know precisely where the film's humor lies. (You can actually read more about the poster's design over at Vulture; turns out a fan of the film went ahead and created this design only to find it becoming the film's official poster when he sent to Simien who loved it!).

The stark color scheme, the off-center image of Gael (covering up his entrancing eyes! the horror!), the prominence of that ever ubiquitous "Based on a True Story" tagline -- or is it more a disclaimer? a promise?; the poster is clearly wanting to associate "Jon Stewart" with something other than the comedic satire he's known for, going instead for a bleak poster that nevertheless bleeds into a hopeful light in the right hand corner. I particularly love the single bullet hole above the S.

What recent posters have nabbed your attention? Has any of them already secured a spot on your movie poster wall? If you could design a poster for one of your all-time favorite films, which one would it be? 

Sunday
Aug312014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Jon Stewart's Rosewater

Amir here, anxiously over-analyzing the trailer for Jon Stewart’s directorial debut. Rosewater tells the story of Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist who was arrested following the Green Revolution riots, when Iranians protested against the controversial presidential elections of 2009. At the time, Daily Show host Jon Stewart followed the story in great detail. That publicity was instrumental in Bahari’s eventual release and Stewart's interest in the events has evidently not subsided since. Rosewater stars TFE favorite Gael García Bernal as Bahari.

The trailer and our usual YNMS treatment after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug012014

Links

Screencrush offers hilarious proof that every superhero movie is called the greatest superhero movie ever. People are easily excitable!
Sight and Sound picks the best documentaries ever by pollling filmmakers: Man With a Movie Camera, Shoah and more...
MBetancourt finishes his Instagram Buffy The Vampire Slayer project. It was awesome. Naturally "Tabula Rasa" was the most popular - but not because it's a great episode

PopBytes I normally dont link to super gossipy things but this Justin Bieber / Orlando Bloom fight is just so bizarre and the coverage keeps getting weirder. I guess...
Gawker
... Leonardo DiCaprio was also there, cheering Orlando on? I mean who wouldn't?
Vox I love Todd Vanderweff but I'm not sure I buy Lucy as a feminist movie, even one that's afraid of feminism as posited
Gawker "I am terrified of Reese Witherspoon and a little bit in love with her"
In Contention Rosewater by Jon Stewart starring Gael Garcia Bernal gets an awards friendly release date

Awards Daily another longer trailer for Birdman. I can't watch this one. I don't want to see one more frame before the actual movie
THR the top 25 film schools?
MNPP talks about that John Waters Isabelle Huppert event

RIP
As you've undoubtedly heard the influential makeup artist Dick Smith who made Linda Blair demonic in The Exorcist (currently discussing) and pushed Marlon Brando into hugely convincing Godfatheriness among other achievements has passed away at 92 years young. Some obits/tributes to read: LA Times, In Contention, EW, and multiple Oscar winner Rick Baker