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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 | instagram | letterboxd 

 

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COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in The Film Experience (118)

Tuesday
Jun302015

June. It's a Wrap

We're about to start a week long "halfway mark" review of 2015. But first let's wrap up June itself. My birthday month is over *sniffle* so if you've been offline and out in the sun this summer, here are a baker's dozen highlights from the month that was, in case you missed 'em.

Kate, Corseted - Winslet's best period piece performances
The Many Tears of Pixar - Inside Out is here to remind us that the great studio loves to make us cry
The Red Shoes - A theatrically audacious masterpiece
Bold Giddy Pop Art - Dick Tracy's 25th Anniversary
The Gleaners and I - Anne Marie looked back at one of the greatest and most personal films of Agnes Varda's fascinating career. I hope you all will seek it out.
'Gobbledygook' - Michael had words for Cameron Crowe's ill conceived Aloha. Loved this bit:

Bradley Cooper is escorted on his mission by Emma Stone. The pairing generates all the romantic sparks of a guy babysitting his rambunctious younger cousin on a weekend road trip.


1979 Discussion - Discussing the most hand-wringing battle of the sexes movie year
Gia - Revisiting Angelina Jolie's white hot HBO breakthrough
Sense8 - Tim reviewed this odd Wachowski Siblings experiment in global trans sci-fi psychic cluster connection
Best of TV in 2015 (Series) - We shared our favorites and discussed well over a dozen series 
Sing Along - Best movie songs of the 1990s - this list got you talking!
Rising Like a Phoenix - Glenn checked out the recently reedited and reonfigured flop '54 and found it a much better film 17 tears later (I concur. I was able to see it recently and it's so much more focused and enjoyable than it was back then with studio-mandated reshoots lopped off and original material reinserted.)

P.S. And one more round of applause for this month's very special in-house guests!
Cara Seymour talked The Knick, American Psycho and her favorite films 
Ann Dowd talked The Leftovers and how she fell for acting  

COMING IN JULY
Tangerine, Trainwreck, Ant-Man, the films of Kathryn Bigelow in Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures", and looks back at Angels in America and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Reminder: 1995 is our "year of the month" as we prep for another Smackdown on July 26th.

Friday
Jun122015

ICYMI: Cara Seymour and More and More

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves into Halfway Mark Festivities and Emmy Nomination Balloting Week (that's next week!) I want to take this time to thank Cara Seymour ("The Knick") for her guest-blogging. She shared a great portrait her acclaimed photographer husband shot of her on the set of An Education, she let us into her research process on one of her most indelible characters yet (Sister Harriett on "The Knick"), shared a few movie and music recommendations, and she even interviewed her American Psycho director Mary Harron! Thanks again to a wildly underrated actress for taking a small break between filming The Knick's second season and a new movie, to visit us.

Other June Highlights...
Tony Award Fashions bold colors + giddy showoffs
1979 Smackdown Kramer vs Kramer holds up beautifully but how about Breaking Away and Manhattan?
Best Original Songs of the 1990s - a movie list whim 
Silence / Silencio - two new movies from top auteurs
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama - your most competitive Emmy race 
MacBeth - the new trailer

Coming in the Second Half of June
Kate Winslet Corseted, Pixar's Inside Out, A 1948 Retrospective including Hamlet, Key Largo, I Remember Mama, The Red Shoes and the next Supporting Smackdown, the Halfway Mark "Best of" 2015 (thus far) lists, and Oscar Chart Updates...

And our next Fabulous Actress Guest!

The awesomely gifted Ann Dowd (Compliance, Garden State, Masters of Sex, True Detective) who malevolently stared Justin Theroux down so memorably as The Guilty Remnant's leader on The Leftovers this past year. She'll be taking over the reins of The Film Experience for one day next week - one day only! It'll be Tuesday or Wednesday so don't miss it. 

Saturday
Jun062015

Are you playing along at home?

Look at this cute portrait a reader made for me. You know him as "Seisgrados" in the comments!It's my birthday and I don't ask for much from y'all. Only that you obsess over actresses with us and constantly readjust your instant watch and DVD queues to play along with our many series! To maximize your enjoyment this week make sure to catch Spy (2015), "The Knick" Season 1 (2015), Oscar favorite Amadeus (1984), Agnes Varda's highly watchable masterpiece Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), The Tony Awards, seminal miniseries "And the Band Played On" (HBO, 1993), and any film starring Cara Seymour!

Today's Reader Assignments

1. ASK NATHANIEL (right now) ~ he needs questions for this Wednesday night's Q&A column

2. COMMENT
- It's like blog fuel for the writers - pick any article

3. DONATE THROUGH SUBSCRIPTION-
This blog is a full time commitment (as you can imagine) and it's been going forever to try and entertain you and it's always tough financially. If you subscribe for a small monthly donation ($2.50 or, you know, a cup of coffee) it helps a lot -- if only a few hundred more of you would do so it would make an enormous difference in stability.

I ♥ The Film Experience

 

4. OR MAKE A ONE TIME DONATION for either your favorite series or something like "here's 5 bucks for each year I've been reading" If you specify why you're making the donation that would help. Let's say you want to support Anne Marie's "Women's Pictures" or Manuel's "HBO LGBT" project or whatever then I would know to pass your donation along to the writer responsible rather than keeping it for expenses.

KTHNXBYE

HAPPY UNBIRTHDAY TO ALL OF YOU!
Unless you share my birthday and then happy day, Gemini Twins!

Monday
Jun012015

'Any Mike, Dick, or Wolfgang... Any Mike, Wolfgang or Dick ♪ ♫ '

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT RETURNS WEDNESDAY NIGHT. Our cinematography-loving series, returns from hiatus on June 3rd. Here are your first three movies so get to watchin' em! Spread the word, rent the pictures, pick a shot and join our more-the-merrier visual party.

DICK TRACY (1990)
Wednesday, June 3rd

Before live action takes on illustrated fiction were regular, and definitely before they were respectable, Warren Beatty brought his terrific eye to this pop colored live-action conjuring of the classic syndicated detective comic with outlandish looking villains and femme fatales. (Like Sin City minus the gruesome machismo and way more color / fun.) Nominated for 7 Oscars including Cinematography (Vittorio Storaro), the all time best haul for a comic adaptation outside of The Dark Knight. and still the record holder for most wins (3). [Netflix  | iTunes | Amazon]

AMADEUS (1984)
Wednesday, June 10th

Right before this leaves Netflix Instant Watch let's dive deep into arguably the best biopic ever made, Milos Forman's lush battle of wills and talent between Salieri (F Murray Abraham) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Thomas Hulce) the last film ever nominated for two Best Actor Oscars (before category fraud campaigning rendered those a thing of the past). Nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Cinematography (Miroslav Ondrícek) though it lost that one despite 8 wins elsewhere. [Netflix | Amazon

MAGIC MIKE (2012)
Wednesday June 17th

Before the XXL sequel hits theaters for the 4th of July holiday, let's stuff some dollar bills into Channing Tatum's G string in Steven Soderbergh's overachieving male stripper drama. Soderbergh's love of yellow filters (he does his own cinematography as "Peter Andrews") can grate, but this movie is worth drooling at, excuse me looking at again. Nominated for Zero Oscars because... it's a male stripper drama. But obviously this is the one Matthew McConaughey should've won his Oscar for. [Netflix | iTunes | Amazon]

Friday
May292015

May. It's a Wrap

Summertime is here. May done flew by. Okay okay. There's technically two days left but I was eager to share my latest photoshop frenzy. Isn't it a sad beauty?

So May departs leaving us with excessive anticipation for Cannes titles, summer blockbuster excitement at its peak (that tiny window before the supersizing fatigue hits sometime around July 4th), but let's take a quick look back at the Month that was...

Most Popular Articles:
Gold: The New Best Actress Field (& all things Carol)
Silver: Revenge of the 80s: Now With More 10s Sexism
Bronze (+ Most Discussed): Yes No Maybe So: Ricki and the Flash

Important Singular Events ICYMI
David Dastmalchian Guest Blog -What he learned from Paul Rudd & more...
Cannes Closing Ceremony - Who won, what the jury said going in
Mad Men Finale - "Person to Person" 
Orson Welles Centennial - a special 'best shot' episode  

Other Highlights:  
Dubbing Movies for Foreign Markets - Yuck!
Best Action Acting Ever? Besides Sigourney in Aliens... Hmmm? 
George Miller's Triptych Career - Talking Animals + Susan Sarandon + Mad Max 
Bette Davis, Mother's and Tell-Alls - Now Voyager discussed 
The Bening - announced her sure-to-be triumphant return 
The Podcast -we really dug into Ex Machina 
"It's For People" - have a cup of joe with David Lynch 

Series
As ever we love a good theme / project. Manuel began his HBO LGBT series, Anne Marie looked at the work of Sofia Coppola, and the team looked at 1979 as well as a few sex scenes.  

Reviews - Catch Up!
Fury Road (A), Carol (A), Age of Ultron (B), Far From the Madding Crowd (B), Welcome to Me (B-), Pitch Perfect 2 (C+), Tomorrowland (C+), Irrational Man (C+), Maggie (C+), Hot Pursuit (C), Chocolate City (D+) 

COMING IN JUNE: Cara Seymour (American Psycho, The Knick, An Education) will guest blog!; 'Best Shot' returns with Dick Tracy, Amadeus, and Magic Mike; Anne Marie's "women's pictures" looks back at the career of Agnes Varda, mother of the French New Wave; we'll surely talk dinosaurs and emotions with Jurassic World and Inside Out arriving; Two big Smackdowns headed your way as we finally get to 1979 next weekend and 1948 at the end of the month; and Team Experience sounds off with some FYCs for Emmy Voters since they'll be turning in their nomination ballots in June

... Any requests?

Saturday
May232015

Stage Door: "Little Wars" 

If I were a blurb whore I might start this article with:

"If you liked... 

Julia (1977), The Children's Hour (1961), The Little Foxes (1941), Corey Stoll & Kathy Bates as Ernest Hemingway & Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (2011), and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle

...than you'll love Little Wars"

But I am not a blurb whore. At least not most of the time. But I do think you'll love Little Wars

Here's a beautiful problem with theater (and smallish movies, too): there's more good stuff than anyone can possibly see. And also, sometimes, depending on promotional budgets and media pedigree or lack thereof in both cases, more good stuff that we sometimes ever hear about. I refuse to be a part of that problem so I blog from the missionary zeal of great entertainments. One of the reasons The Film Experience takes detours to theater and TV and books is that all of the storytelling playgrounds inform and cross-pollinate.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas are the focus of "Little Wars"Which brings us to "Little Wars," one of five works by a very promising young playwright Steven Carl McCasland who I hadn't even heard of until last week. (The five plays run in repertory through May 31st so there's only 4 more chances to see this one). I bring it to your attention because it's entirely affordable ($18 a ticket) and it's an actressexual's delight.

Little Wars riffs on iconic people and though that device can sometimes prove gimmicky (consider that wobbly first season of Penny Dreadful or any number of tacky riffs on "public domain" characters), it's also responsible for great works of art (case in point: The Hours, fictional but inspired by Virginia Woolf's 'whole life in a single day' work on Mrs. Dalloway). McCasland's play happily falls much closer towards the latter pile of fictions. It imagines a 1940 evening inside the Parisian salon of Gertrude Stein (Polly McKie) & Alice B Toklas (Penny Lynn White), then "radical lesbians" -- radical because they were out -- who've invited "The Great Agatha Christie" (Kim Rogers) to dinner... liquid dinner nat'ch. Things don't go as planned since there's an unexpected visitor who goes by "Mary" (Kristen Gehling), a secretive housemaid (Samantha Hoefer) and Christie really disrupts the plans by bringing along Dorothy Parker (Dorothy Weems) and playwright Lillian Hellman (Kimberly Faye Greenberg). Initially just hearing these famous accomplished characters (who did know each other in real life though the play is fictional) verbally spar, boast, and drink like fish is entertaining enough but as the play progresses, organic drama emerges involving differences of opinion about art, the Nazi threat, marriages (gay and straight), and survival through wars large and small.

McKie and White anchor the play with fairly miraculous specificity as the odd (lifelong) couple at its center but most of the women are given at least one shining moment or two in McCasland's generous ensemble writing. I wanted a clearer picture of Dorothy Parker's famous wit, she mostly seems sad and drunk, but there was more than enough to compensate elsewhere. Familiarity with their collective works or previous biopics will undoubtedly aid your enjoyment -- especially if you've seen The Children's Hour (1961) and Oscar favorite Julia (1977) -- but the play is strong enough to stand on its own as a fascinating and unexpectedly moving collision of voices at a pivotal moment in history. 

Kim Rogers as Agatha Christie in "Little Wars" © Samantha Mercado Tudda

P.S. an 'it's a small-world' bonus for readers of The Film Experience. The actress playing Agatha Christie, Kim Rogers (no relation), is a longtime fan of The Film Experience -- we'd never previously met but we talked after the show.