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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 sci-fi fantasy (96)

Friday
Apr142017

Three Fittings: Fantastic Beasts' Odd Costume Win

New Series! Three Fittings celebrates costume design in the movies. The number is necessary self-restraint for we love the art of costuming too much.

By Nathaniel R

Dear reader, I didn't think I'd ever need to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016). I thought, solid reasoning given the golden trajectory of most franchises, that Oscar would want to move on after a year of regular craft nominations for the series. I thought, surely they'd never hand one of them an actual Oscar if they hadn't done so by now. But in the interest of completism, after Colleen Atwood's generous fourth statue for costuming this particular movie and its bluray release, I caught up. 

I was both impressed and utterly perplexed by what I found.

While Atwood does unusually understated work (for her), there are far fewer costumes than you might expect (approximately one per man, two per woman). Sussing out why they voted for this confident minimalism within a fantasy over more traditional costume perfection in Jackie, the primary color bliss of then-frontrunner La La Land, the erotic glamour of Allied, and the flouncy Most-ness of Florence, proves nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, here are three key looks to discuss:

Click to read more ...

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...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr072017

Hugo Nominees 2017

Like many awards groups the Hugo Awards (which specialize in sci-fi literature) have been the subject of controversy over the years. That's not just in terms of nominees but the voting process itself. But as window dressing for those of us who like sci-fi but aren't immersed in that world firmly, so to speak, they still make for a handy list of reading suggestions! I'm going to try a couple of these since I needed some new books to read.

They have two screen movie/tv related categories, too, so Arrival has a chance to win something else (crosses fingers)

THE NOMINEES
[Note: If there's a bold link, the nominee is free to enjoy online. Regular links go to Amazon. We're an affiliate so if you purchase anything after clicking over (and some of these are quite inexpensive) The Film Experience gets an eensy-weensy little kickback.] 

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

  • Arrival, (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
  • Deadpool (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
  • Ghostbusters (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
  • Hidden Figures (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)
  • Rogue One (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)
  • Stranger Things, Season One, (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Click to read more ...

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? 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar062017

Saturn Award Nominations: Rogue One... and Hidden Figures?

The Saturn Awards were created over 40 years go to honor the then generally dishonored genres of sci-fi fantasy and horror. Whether they're still needed in a pop culture climate that veritably worships these things is up for debate. But even if they are -- and its certainly true that genre shows and films are still considered poor cousins to more respectable "drama" and "biopics" when it comes to mainstream awards --  are the Saturn Awards the ones to do it?

Now in their 43rd year, they seem to have lost the thread a little. They have so many categories it feels like they're eager to displace the Grammys, Satellites, or BFCA for "MOST!" and in addition to the ridiculous amounts of categories, they have 6 to 8 nominees per category which negates the need to have much in the way of discernment as to what constitutes "best". The problem in a nutshell: It's great to have an awards group that can say "Captain America: Civil War is superb" with a straight face, but when they also hold up Batman v Superman for the same honor, it kind of kills the impact.

Rogue One leads the nominees with 11 nominations. All 41 categories and more commentary after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan122017

Interview: Denis Villeneuve on "Arrival" and his Future with Sci-Fi

by Nathaniel R

Though awards season is a roller coaster of emotion each year, one of its purely happiest annual trends is the sudden recognition of talent that have been doing consistently fine work all along. This year's "it's about time!" contender is surely 49 year old French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. A famous director at home with six wins at Canada's own Oscars, "the Genies," people are still learning his name in Hollywood and beyond. His international breakthrough was Incendies (2010) about twin siblings journeying to the war torn Middle East. It was nominated for the BAFTA and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. Since that breakthrough his profile in Hollywood has steadily risen and he's shown a gift for directing movie stars, versatility with genre, and a particularly refined skill at building and maintaining tension at feature length which has provided thrilling moments in all of his recent films from Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), Sicario (2015), and on to his current biggest hit yet  Arrival (2016).

Today he received a DGA nomination for Best Director, the surest awards season sign that a movie will be a Best Picture contender at the Oscars. Our conversation follows...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan022017

2016's Box Office Scorecard. Big & Minor Hits (Some Flops due to Budget)

Each day for the past two weeks we've been looking back on the year that was from different angles. Today, the biggest hits of 2016 in two different categories (franchise vs original).

It will surprise no one that the year's biggest hits continue to prove Hollywood right (sigh) in pursuing nothing but animated and superhero pictures and franchisable intellectual property and neglecting the nurturing of movies for adults. On the bright side quality pictures do occassionally break through audience resistance to original concepts and voices, often with the help of awards at year's end. So next time you hear people complain about awards season, remind them that we might never get movies made for adults if there weren't shiny gold statues to chase.

How many of these 35 pictures have you seen and which will you hit next? 

Click to read more ...