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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in sequels (65)

Sunday
Nov232014

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Michael C here with what I suppose is part one of my review of Mockingjay.

“I wish she were dead,” says Finnick Odair at the start of the third entry in the Hunger Games series. “I wish they were all dead and we were too,” he adds to include himself, Katniss, and all the tributes that remain in the clutches of the Capitol after the events of Catching Fire

If that seem like a dispiriting way to start an action blockbuster rest assured it perfectly establishes the tone of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, a grim, disjointed film that is short on thrills and long on misery. Francis Lawrence’s sequel progresses from torture to bombs dropped on hospitals to the wreckage of towns strewn with skulls, all of it scrubbed down to a bloodless PG-13. Our big reward for wading through this suffering is to see our beloved Katniss strangled within an inch of her life. 

I expect fans of the series will like it a lot...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov062014

Your 2014 animated Oscar contenders

Readers, an apology. Here I am, the Film Experience's resident animation expert, and I'm late with news twice over. First, on Tuesday, the Academy annouced the full list of 20 contenders for Best Animated Feature. Nathaniel prepared a post discussing this development, but wasn't able to publish it before traveling to California. Here are his thoughts on the subject:

As expected we will have a full five-wide Best Animated Feature category this year. It only takes 16 contenders to trigger that and we have 20. This branch is definitely not the most predictable when it comes to nominees -- or even, sometimes winners (remember how competitive the Brave year was?) --  often opting for a few little seen critical and foreign darlings. The internet seems to be rooting for The Lego Movie which is by a significant margin the most popular animated film of the year in the US. What's interesting is that it's uniquely American appeal means that internationally the numbers are much different and How To Train Your Dragon 2 is, globally, the biggest cartoon of the year. It's also probably the frontrunner for Gold but you never know. It's not as undeniable as Toy Story 3 (a universally acclaimed capper to a hugely beloved trilogy that wasn't able to be honored with the competitive Oscar until then since the category hadn't existed).

Disney's Big Hero 6, opening this week, I can't personally see winning the category but it's a likely nominee and, what's more, the short before it called Feast, which tells the tale of a human's love life through his hungry puppy, is a strong contender for the short film Oscar. It was love at first sight for me and I'm not even a dog person.

THE ELIGIBLE 20 (plus 10 eligible animated shorts after the jump)...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep052014

Robert Wise Centenary: The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

It's Tim. September marks the centennial of famed director Robert Wise, winner of Oscars for the musicals West Side Story and The Sound of Music among several other classic films, and the members of Team Experience are going to spend the next several days revisiting work from the entire range of his career. And what better place to start than at the very beginning: 1944's The Curse of the Cat People, which was Wise's directorial debut, taking over from Gunther V. Fritsch, when the project fell behind schedule. It's part of the legendary run of movies produced by Val Lewton's horror-oriented B-unit at RKO, a studio where Wise had already logged time as an editor (cutting both Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, no less). But it's not, itself, a horror movie, despite being the sequel to Cat People, one of the canonically great horror films in history. And despite Wise having a terrific hand for horror, as he'd first prove with his third feature, the Lewton-produced The Body Snatcher.

The Curse of the Cat People is, rather, a sort of psychologically realist fairy tale, taking its title (which RKO forced upon Lewton, though giving him the freedom to make any plot he wanted to under that name) to the most symbolic, abstract extreme possible. It involves Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) and his wife Alice (Jane Randolph), the heroes of the earlier film, moved to the New York suburbs with their six-year-old daughter Amy (Ann Carter), who's having a problem separating fantasy from reality lately. And the audience is forced into having much the same problem, when Amy wishes for a friend and gets one in the form of Irena (Simone Simon), whom devotees of Cat People might recall was Oliver's first wife. The one who transformed into a panther when she got sexually aroused, and is dead now.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug252014

Box Office: An Expensive Lesson in Sequel Production

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. Much like last week, the biggest story at the multiplex is the massive failure of a has-been brand. Then, it was the shrinking shoulders of 80s action heroes that could not bear the weight of a changing, modern world. Now, it is Frank Miller’s overly familiar aesthetic and the fading stars of Jessica Alba and crew. This catastrophe is of epic proportions. Budgeted around $70m, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For failed to make even 1/10th of its production costs back and fell behind the aforementioned Expendables 3. Reviews haven’t been kind and any affection for the original film has vanished in the intervening decade. You either have to suffocate the audiences with non-stop sequels and reboots before they know who’s hitting them, or they’ll forget you. That’s the lesson for Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller and one they have had to pay at least $50m dollars to learn.

The best selling wide release was also the weekend’s Film Amir Is Too Old To Watch, a romance starring Chloe Grace Moretz called If I Stay that didn’t have the muscle to take the throne from Guardians or Turtles, making this one of the year’s quieter weekends. 

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
01 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY $17.6 (cum. $251.8)  Review
02 ...NINJA TURTLES $16.8 (cum. $145.6) remember the animated one?
03 IF I STAY $16.2 *new*
04 LET'S BE COPS $11 (cum. $45.2)
05 WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL $9 *new*
06 THE GIVER $6.7 (cum. $24.1) Review
07 THE EXPENDABLES 3 $6.6 (cum. $27.5)  recommended read
08 SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR $6.4 *new*
09 THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY $5.5 (cum. $32.7) 
10 INTO THE STORM $3.8 (cum. $38.3)  
11 LUCY $3.5 (cum. $113.7) Podcast
12 BOYHOOD  $1.8 (cum. $16.5)  Review & Podcast
13 MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT $1.3 (cum. $6.8)  
14 DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $1.1 (cum. $203.9) Podcast & Reviewish
15 GET ON UP  $.9 (cum. $28.7) Review & Viola Davis

On the limited side, brighter news: Ira Sach's Love Is Strange a film The Film Experience adores, did strong business on only 5 screens. Here’s hoping it expands across North America as quickly as possible. The only new release I watched in the past couple of days is Ari Folman’s The Congress, which isn’t actually out until next weekend. Stay tuned for my review! What have you watched this weekend?

Saturday
Jul262014

Live from Comic Con: The Boxtrolls and Sin City's Sequel

Anne Marie here, surviving on pop tarts and coffee and delivering film news live(ish) from SDCC. This next bit covers two very different panels that were placed side-by-side: kid-friendly The Boxtrolls and blood-and-guts comic book noir Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

The Boxtrolls
The latest picture from the studio that brought us Coraline and ParaNorman is another stop-motion animation that made the chattering crowd of Hall H stop and stare. The trailer gave us everything we expect from Laika; a creative world, seamless animation, and humor. But they really got the audience's attention from a preview of a nearly wordless scene featuring the Boxtrolls searching through the garbage and playing with a trashed teddy bear. Have you ever heard 6,000 people "aww" at the same time? It's both loud and cute.

The panel assembled creators Travis Knight, Anthony Stacchi, and Graham Annable, along with voice talent Elle Fanning (bubbling over and wearing yellow eyeshadow), Isaac Hempstead, and Sir Ben Kingsley. The Boxtrolls is based on Here Be Giants, and has been 8 years in the making (as long as Coraline, as the head of Laika informed us). Stop-motion animation is hardcore! Knight and Stacchi described a bit of the time-consuming frame-by-frame process, which puts animators through a physical wringer, burned fingers handling lights, contorted bodies fitting in tiny sets, sliced hands handling puppets. Knight admitted the sets get destroyed too, as the man-sized cameras push through the doll-size set pieces. The sacrifices look worth it, though. The Boxtrolls looks utterly unique. 

Sin City sequel after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul242014

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray ♫

A topic worth thinking carefully over though this stream of consciousness must do for now.

Esquire claims that 1999 was the last Great Year of Movies. Several good points are made but OF COURSE the writer had to throw out that exhausting false equivalent "tv is better than film" argument again that actually has very little to do with the topic at hand. Stop people of the internet. Think before you type. The two art forms are not interchangeable - they have different strengths and weaknesses and the transcendent TV series are but a tiny sliver of the product on TV just as the most magical movies are a tiny sliver of films made. The best TV is not equivalent to cinematic blockbusters, what's equivalent to that if you must have your damn equivalencies are massively watched shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Duck Dynasty and Modern Family and the like and anyone who thinks those shows are better than what's been at movie theaters in 2014 deserves to be slapped. Or at least be strapped to a chair and forced to sit through these pictures plus Boyhood and Love is Strange (which will be here soon).

The problem of abundance and people ignoring and not supporting that abundance is complicated. The truth is people are lazy and windows to home viewing are short which as only rewarded the laziness and people would rather just let stuff come to them. That doesn't in any way mean that "stuff" playing in movie theaters is lesser than it used to be.

Anyway the article is a good read and there are strong points made about just how creatively fertile that period at the movies and how influential versus the depressing sequel fanaticism of the now. And, what's more, we don't know what's going to be influential from the now. Maybe Under the Skin will have descendants. The lack of originality is not fully to be blamed on Hollywood's creativity or filmmakers but on us. We're the ones that pick the hits and the world wants Transf4rmers for some ungodly death-wish reason, you know? "Age of Extinction" is right!

 

But anyway, yes, 1999 was a great year for movies. Still, most of the best ones cited in the article were not enormous hits: Run Lola Run made $7 million; Go made $17 million; Being John Malkovich made $22 million, Fight Club made only $37 and was considered a financial disappointment, etcetera. Time has made these movies enormously celebrated but that time was not 1999.

My very longwinded point is this and it's always this and those citations help underline my point: there are always great movies. You just have to actually look for them because almost never do they fall in your lap on 4000 screens and make $200 million plus in the US. And, finally, to wrap all this up there has been at least one year since 1999 that was phenomenal all over your face - bam! -  and that was 2004 as recently discussed on the podcast.