NOW PLAYING

opens friday

in theaters


new on DVD/BluRay


review index

HOT TOPICS



CLASSIC OF THE MOMENT

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

 

Welcome

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

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
CHAOS REIGNS!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SURREAL ANIMAL MOMENTS IN MOVIES?

"The cow on the roof of the house in O Brother Where Art Thou-tombeet

"There is a snake in The Thin Red Line that is both surreal and real. It just suddenly appears on screen, this angry, probably poisonous snake during a battle and jolts you out of the fear of bullets into a fear of nature..........then it's back to bullets." -henry

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in sports (30)

Tuesday
Sep092014

TIFF: Two to see again in "Foxcatcher" & "Song of the Sea"

Nathaniel's adventures at TIFF. Days Whichever.

Here are a two films that I feel I should see again, primarily because they're ambitious works and I wonder if my response would change if I had more familiarity with their visual language. You know how that goes with more complicated art.

FOXCATCHER

Bennett Miller, a remarkably consistent auteurial voice, once again demonstrates great aptitute at exploring masculine intimate true stories and mining them for larger weighty themes, without any of the glazy sentiment that tends to be slathered onto both sports movies and biopics. His best move here is to study the alien body language of wrestlers, like it's a foreign tongue for which close visual track is your only form of subtitles. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo speak this foreign tongue fluently. They play Mark and Dave Schultz, Olympic Gold Medalists in wrestling, "a low sport" (that's Mother DuPont's words as perfectly uttered by Vanessa Redgrave). Into their lives comes a would be patron and "coach" John DuPont, a filthy rich patriotic nutjob who completely takes over and irrevocably and tragically alters their fate.

I was interested the whole time, but unfortunately it never fully engrosses, and moves as if mired in grandiloquent molasses. The line deliveries follow suit with simple sentences feeling as long as paragraphs. The movie improves as it goes, though, ending with a gut punch. I'm not sure why I found it offputting, exactly, despite easily identifiable strengths, but I'm going to chalk it up to its over confidence in its own greatness and the conception and execution of the catalystic figure Steve Carell's John DuPont. It's a very prosthetics and mimicry-based performance of a very difficult role -- to say these words and bring nuance rather than "i'm a dangerous pathetic nutjob!" I can't imagine -- and it's hard to feel the inexorable gravitational pull of any of the great tragedies (which I think this wants to be) when everything is so telegraphed as to its danger and when that gravitational pull towards tragedy is so slow, that any able bodied athlete out to be able to outrun it.

Best in Show: Easily Channing Tatum, who holds his jaw and body so distinctively that you feel, at all times, the monotonous life of this character: the training, the muscle soreness, the lack of any stimulation outside of the physical. He's heartbreatking, really, unable to articulate what meager thoughts are in his easily manipulated mind and body. His body is thick but his skin is thin with easily bruised feelings. Tatum totally understands the character, a manchild who just can't wrestle himself out from under any father figure's shadow.

Honorable Mention: Mark Ruffalo, also excellent throughout, is particularly sensational in one of the movies rare scenes that plays as much for uncomfortable comedy as it does for dramatic arc. He's asked to be a talking head on a documentary and finds his lines thoroughly distasteful. B (but Channing & Mark are total "A"s)

Oscar chances: A threat in all categories but particularly Supporting Actor and maybe Director 

SONG OF THE SEA

This Irish animated film, from the team that brought you The Secret of Kells, is so visually impressive that my eyes were twice their normal size trying to take it all in. I'd need a second pass to focus on the story which might be presented a touch too juvenile, like it's an animated film for very young children when its beauty and imagination are such that it really should be thinking bigger and aim for all ages. It's the tale of a little boy who loses his mother in the birth of his sister, who he then blames for everything for years. Some time later he discovers she's a magical being which means the fairy tales his mother told him in the film's prologue were true. In this world which is our world but filtered through animation that sees everything in glorious watercolor style backdrops, two dimensional lines, bright circles, and dazzling color patterns (my god its beautiful), all the magical beings are slowly being turned to stone. But why and how can he save his sister from the same fate?

Other than the fairies, who I didn't really enjoy, the character designs are compelling, especially for the central family and any animals in the film. The two best characters are the family's giant sheepdog, all bangs and tongue and loyalty and a memorable villain in "The Owl Witch" whose motives and arc are unusually strong and fascinating for this sort of movie. B+

Oscar Chances: it's so unlike any American CG animated film that it will really stand out in the crowd. I'd call it a certain contender for the  Best Animated Feature Oscar - GKids will qualify it this year - but the category sure is getting competitive so who knows.

Also at TIFFA Little ChaosWildThe Gate, Cub, The Farewell Party, BehaviorThe Theory of Everything, Imitation Game1001 Grams, Labyrinth of Lies, Sand DollarsThe Last Five YearsWild Tales, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on ExistenceForce Majeure, Life in a Fishbowl, Out of NatureThe Kingdom of Dreams and MadnessCharlie's Country, and Mommy

Monday
Sep082014

Robert Wise Centenary: Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

For Robert Wise's centennial, we're looking back on a random selection of his films beyond the familiar mega-hits (The Sound of Music & West Side Story) which we are far more prone to talk about. Here's Nathaniel on the Paul Newman boxing drama...

The poster art for Robert Wise's 1956 biopic on Rocky Graziano reminds us that the more things change the more they stay the same. We're still getting taglines like "A girl can lift a fella to the skies!" (see: Theory of Everything) but Pier Angeli's role as Rocky's wife Norma in the Paul Newman boxing pic is actually fairly minor. She straightens him out primarily by giving him something consistent to hold on to in a life that's been previously totally adrift in noncommittal boxing matches for money and petty crimes. Not that his crimes were always petty, mind you, but we'll get to that in a minute. 

Up until Somebody Up There Likes Me Paul Newman had been doing minor TV roles and successful work on the stage. But his film debut in the biblical epic The Silver Chalice (1954) was an embarrassment. He won poor reviews and later stated...

 The moment I walked into that studio I had a feeling of personal disaster..."

Newman's Breakthrough after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May142014

Gridlink

Big Screen
Comics Alliance reviews the new mutant twinkies inspired by X-Men Days of Future Past. No, really
Self Styled Siren Farran's first novel "The Missing Reel" is coming out this year. If you've ever read her site you know this is a big deal since she's a wonderful writer. She promises lots of film references in this romantic comedy set in the 1980s at a NYC revival house. 
The Dissolve Ridley Scott might direct The Martian starring Matt Damon. Mars movies always flop but Hollywood is eternally optimistic 

Why So Sad, Batman makes the only smart use of the first photo of Ben Affleck as Batman 
Out director Bryan Singer profiled, he declines to comment on the legal battles involving sexual assault claims but there's quite a lot of commenting on perceptions of his sexuality
AV Club Wolverine Remixed. 'Snikt' with a dance beat 
The Film Stage See a short film from Godzilla director Gareth Edwards 
Cinema Blend first look at Tom Hanks in another novel adaptation. This one is A Hologram for the King from Tom Tykwer 
Film School Rejects I was going to do a "posterized" on Godzilla but they beat me to it 

Small Screen
Variety love love love these motion posters for Orange is the New Black
My New Plaid Pants 'tell me how to feel about...' the latest development in the Greta Gerwig sitcom story
Vulture ABC Upfronts. Viola Davis's new show has a pretty awesome teaser but I'm still not happy the movie star thing didn't happen. *sniffle* 
Vulture NBC Upfronts. Nothing looks interesting to me here and Jesus that Katharine Heigl show looks derivative - like someone created it with a computer program that randomly mixed up elements of Homeland and Scandal scripts.
Vulture Fox Upfronts.  I'm sorry but this Gotham show looks so dumb. We just don't need this much Batman in the world. Also: Last Man on Earth. Intriguing ballsy teaser but how do you sustain that?


RIP
Reuters brilliant artist H.R. Giger, who gave us Ripley's acid-blooded enemies in the Aliens franchise, has passed away.
The Guardian tragic news. Documentarian Malik Benjelloul has apparently taken his own life, less than two years after winning an Oscar for Searching For Sugar Man (2012) 

Off Screen
Because sometimes you need to take a breather and read about regular life...
The New Yorker "The Woman Who Coined The Term White Privilege." Fascinating interview.
Outsports comments from Michael Sam's NFL-draft  ESPN kiss attached to photos of NFL players on camera with their lady friends. There have been so many fascinating and funny and ridiculous articles and TV talk meltdowns about this. All from a quick closed-lip kiss with a hug. Haha. Which is so... nothing. Standard business when someone hears great news. It never ceases to amaze me how many people can't see double standards from the fog of their hysteria. It is interesting, though, isn't it that very few people seem upset that it's a bi-racial relationship we're looking at? You'd think while people were trotting out their homophobia they'd toss in a little racism, too. Progress!
Time "30 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Horrible"  I know better but I still make some of these mistakes. (sigh)
The New Yorker Lynda Barry, my all time favorite cartoonist, sells all her art in the show "Everything: Part One." 

Whither Cannes Reporting?
As previously noted I've been super ill. There was a moment an hour ago where I felt vaguely human again so tomorrow I will hopefully be back to the mad blogger routine of frequent posting. Until then please enjoy this appropos sand carving on the beach in the south of France...

Monday
May052014

Beauty Vs Beast: King of the Ring

JA from MNPP here, getting ready to rumble with a brand new edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast" for youse guys... we're running up the steps of the Philly Museum of Art and giving a victorious twirl (a very manly twirl, mind you) this week in honor of just having seen Rocky: The Musical.

It wasn't entirely by choice - my mother was in town and I'm always forced to see things I otherwise wouldn't (last visit it was Jersey Boys, which I'm still recovering from), and since she's a huge fan of the Sylvester Stallone's 1976 Oscar winner it seemed only right to hit up the stage version. Especially on the heels of its Tony nomination for Andy Karl as Best Actor in a Musical...

... but since we the people of The Film Experience seem to be cursed right now, Karl was a no-show at our performance. I can't say if the show would've popped more with him up there or not - his nomination makes me think so, but as it was the entire thing seemed reliant less on small things like music and character and more upon its admittedly spectacular staging. Ben Brantley nailed it - you kind of forget how bored you were for the first 3/4s when the boxing-ring rolls into the audience for the last act and shit goes bananas. It's empty calories, sure, but you walk out on a high.

That said what does come across well with the stage-version is the even-handed equinimity that Stallone & Co. treated both the the men-in-gloves with - yeah we're there with Rocky the whole time, but Apollo Creed isn't a stache-twirler. Both men have their faults and their strengths, and that's what's always made the showdown, spectacle or no, one for the ages. Apollo's established so well that by the sequel they become buddies and when evil Ivan Drago shows up in Part IV, well, not a dry eye in the house. And that brings us to today's showdown!

 

Which man will be standing in the end? Place your bets in the comments and prepare yourself for a grueling fifteen rounds over the next seven days of duel - see you back here next Monday when we'll crown the king of the ring.

PREVIOUSLY ON Last week was all about the Mean Girls, what with its ten year anniversary being heralded far and wide across the web and beyond (Tina Fey's ears musta been ringing something fierce) - so which Plastic exerted dominance over all the tables of the cafeteria? Who else? We all gave Cady a big "Boo you whore" and threw her under the bus - long live Regina George. Said Paul Outlaw:

"If Lindsay Lohan hadn't grown up to become an adult version of Regina George, Team Cady would probably be walking away with this. (Team Regina here.)"

Wednesday
Apr302014

Tribeca: "Glass Chin," A Glossy Neo-Noir

Here's Diana with our final Tribeca Film Festival 2014 review

It’s a chilly, damp night in a small urban city. On a nightly jog, a sweatpant-outfitted man and his dog trudge and bound respectively through the empty streets, with rain-drizzled lampposts to light the way and Laura nyro’s “Gonna take a miracle” playing to set the mood (both diegetic and nondiegetic). The pair slow down at a red-lit alleyway and stop at a hole-in-the-wall bakery. After a breather on the song’s bridge “It’s gonna take a miracle, yes, it’s gonna take a miracle,” the man takes out his earbuds to order a pain au chocolat. The shop owner tells him it’s the last one on the house and the jogger assures him that he’ll pay up soon. He is a man on-the-outs, not truly desperate but not nearly satisfied with the cards he was dealt and picked up along the way.

Bud “The Saint” Gordon (Corey Stoll) is a former professional boxer, whose post-retirement restaurant flopped and who didn’t have a Plan C lined up. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb182014

I am link parts, link skin, link heart... ♫

The Wrap Frozen nearing the $1 billion mark globally. Unreal.
Mail Online Matt Damon faxes his buttcheeks to Ben Affleck... for charity. No really. 
The Dissolve on the broken down grace of Bill Murray 
AMPAS you have to see this "moment" from the 68 Oscars with Jane Fonda and costume design!

LAist Spike Jonze in a very uncomfortable interview about Her
Gold Derby will Mickey Mouse finally win an animated short Oscar this year for "Get a Horse"? He's quite a loser in this category
TFE icymi Tim, our animation expert, reviewed that short here. (I loved it, too)
Mental Floss Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure just turned 25 years old. Can you believe I asked my team if anyone wanted to write about it and NO ONE did. sad face. 
Twitter I don't know why I find the 'Jake Gyllenhaal stole Taylor Swift's virginity' gossip so amusing but I do.(Jake used to have such better taste!)
Variety a review of that gay themed Brazilian film The Way He Looks that took a Berlinale prize 
Vanity Fair Katey talks to the Oscar nominated makeup artist on Dallas Buyers Club. the budget she had to work with is shocking.

It's a franchise world. We're just living in it only to consume
Pajiba the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot "shows off her, uh, Amazonian biceps"
The Film Doctor with 13 questions on The LEGO Movie
Den of Geek Star Wars Episode 7 rumors and Indiana Jones 5, too 
Hypeable new stills for Guardians of the Galaxy 
Cinema Blend Steven Price, Oscar-nominated for his Gravity score, will be composing Ant-Man 

Olympic-ness
Slate an interesting share on the extremely rigid rules about figure skating at the Olympics. I knew same sex couples were not allowed but I did not know any of these rules about costuming and I was just wondering aloud the other day why the costumes were so monotonous from year to year apart from color changes and the occassional surprise of where the bejazzlements occur.