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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, or by a member of our amazing team as noted.

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"While there was imagination to Swiss Army Man, I am on the hate side of it." -Chris

 "I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane on a long flight Tuesday. It felt like a cross between Misery, Room and an end-of-the-world sci-fi horror B movie. I liked it." -Paul

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Entries in The Film Experience (148)

Monday
Jul112016

156 Days Until SAG Nominations !

Premature you say? Well, they just sent out a press release. The Awards Season Calendar just keeps filling in. It currently looks like so:

2016
Aug 31st-Sept 10th Venice Film Festival
Sept 2nd-5th Telluride Film Festival
Sept 8th-18th Toronto International Film Festival
Sept 18th -The 68th Annual Emmy Awards
Sep 30th-Oct 16th New York Film Festival
Nov 10th-17th AFI Festival
Nov 12th Governor's Awards (Honorary Oscars)
Nov 17th-Dec 11th SAG Nomination Balloting
Nov 25th-Dec 9th Golden Glob Nomination Balloting Begins
Dec 12th Golden Globe Nominations
Dec 14th SAG Nominations

Dec 19th-Jan 27th Final SAG Voting

2017
Jan 5th-13th Oscar Nomination Balloting
Jan 8th -The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Jan 24th -Oscar Nominations
Jan 29th -The 23rd Annual SAG Awards
Feb 4th -The 69th Annual DGA Awards
Feb 6th Oscar Nominee Luncheon
Feb 11th Sci-Tech Oscars
Feb 12th - The 59th Annual Grammy Awards
Feb 13th-21st Final Oscar Voting
Feb 26th -The 89th Annual Academy Awards

YES, THIS MEANS I NEED TO START THOSE FREQUENT OSCAR CHART UPDATES. SOON DEAR ONES, VERY SOON.

Friday
Jul082016

Good Morning from Rita and Me. 

I'm not as peppy as Rita Hayworth here* -- yesterday was so disheartening on so many levels -- but the coffee is helping. While I struggle to get my day going with a smile, tell us about yours -- any big movie plans this weekend?

*Coffee cup via Alejandro Mogolla's shop. He's a great illustrator and also a reader of The Film Experience! 

Monday
Jun062016

Happy Birthday to Me - Give us a $20.

It's my birthday! Do Nathaniel's birthday right by watching a good movie today, meditating on the talents of your favorite actress, and donating to the site.

The Film Experience has been around so long it's a web institution but it is always in need of funds which help with boring things like rent, necessary things like expenses, exciting things like film festival travel and possible site revamping (depending on access to funds), and happy things like giving bonuses to columnists. In fact, if you have a particular favorite series, completed or ongoing, and you'd like to give your donation specifically to that, leave a note with your donation and we'll make sure the right writer gets your "tip."

So whether you love the Oscar coverage, actress-obsessing, special theme weeks, star/film retrospectives, contemporary reviews, random silliness, or any of our weekly series show your love. There are two ways to donate, subscription (which is wonderful as its steady and something we can count on) or a one time donation. 

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

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation.

Tuesday
May312016

While You Were Away...

If you're just getting back from a long holiday weekend, catch up!

 

We looked back at Dorothy Dandridge in bondage in Tarzan's Peril...
Talked about the open director's chair for the 007 franchise...
Delivered not one but two new podcasts...
Investigated that cursed farm in The Witch in the latest "The Furniture"...
Reviewed the new X-Men film and looked at the career of Tye Sheridan thus far...

...and shared highlights of the month of May including Thelma & Louise, Oscar's Best Bad Girls, Sing Street, and more. If you've been away, there's lots to read.

P.S. And the Best Shot Episode starring Marlene Dietrich with Morocco (1930) and Blonde Venus (1932). 

Saturday
May282016

Best of May ICYMI

It's that time again to look back on the month that was. We're doing a little early to pretend that May is already over. T'was a difficult month for your host with writer's block that wouldn't quit (which is not a common malady at TFE HQ) but we thank you for your enthusiasms about all we do here. Here's a look back on key posts this month in case you missed any...

6 Personal Favs
Buster Crabbe's Loincloth on Tarzan the Fearless (1933)
Podcast: Truth or Dare a seminal text on celebrity culture. And...
Interview Jose's chat with the dancers from that same Madonna doc
Thelma & Louise relay revisit of one of the all time best flicks
10 Bad Girl Oscar Winners  -Kieran's list from Marylee Hadley to Nurse Ratched
Maddening Matte Painting - Daniel on Black Narcissus (1947) 

7 That Sparked Most Conversation
Best Actress an overdue narrative or fresh blood this year? 
The Tony Nominations Hamilton + Other Stuff
1994 Favorites Pulp Fiction, Three Colors: Red, Interview with a Vampire, and more
First Teaser Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk 
First Teaser Beauty & The Beast 
Q&A Everybody Wants Some Drop Dead Gorgeous Editing
Cannes Actress - Sonia Braga & Kristen Stewart are buzzing 

Best of Nathaniel's Random Screenings, any type (with post links)
Best New Movie: Sing Street (2016)
Best Miniature Thing: "The Trolley Song"
Best Cameo: Spider-Man in Civil War
Sexiest: (tie) A Bigger Splash and Queen Margot
Funniest: Bobby's family in Café Society
Spookiest: Ryan Murphy's Feud could go so wrong

Congratulations are in Order!
Glenn has a new book about Cannes available to purchase - so do that. And Manuel completed his year long HBO LGBT series documenting all the ways that HBO has dramatized the LGBT lives, loves, and civil rights battles over the past few decades. He also got married this month!  

How was your May?

Coming in June:  New Movies: Finding Dory, The Fits, The Neon Demon, Genius, Swiss Army Man, Warcraft, and The Conjuring 2. Plus the Tony Awards and Emmy Award FYCs; Anniversaries to celebrate: Olivia de Havilland is about to turn 100, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 50, and The Devil Wears Prada 10 years old.

Any requests?  

Saturday
May142016

"Best Shot" Schedule for May

'Here's what's coming up the rest of this month on Best Shot if you'd like to join us. It's easy. You...

1) watch the movie
2) pick a shot, post it and say why you love it
3) let us know you did via twitter, email or comments and we link up 

May 24th Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
We pushed this back a month since it wasn't yet available to rent but it's time to revisit future jedi Rey as she takes on the patriarchy the resurgent Empire and evil Emo brat Kylo Ren with her newfound gifts (and swooning sidekicks Poe & Finn.)

May 31st Dietrich Double!
Morocco (1930) and/or Blonde Venus (1932) 

The Film Experience obviously loves Old Hollywood sirens so why have we given Dietrich so little attention? Let's rectify that weird gap and close our "Girls Gone Wild" month (yup, that's the theme for May) with either or both (your choice if playing) of these Von Sternberg classics as Marlene Dietrich breaks through from singing foreign curiousity to Hollywood superstar by way of androgynous seduction and chain smoking.

Wednesday
May112016

HBO’s LGBT History: The End

It's the final episode as Manuel has worked his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions

I began this project because, after watching and recapping Looking here, I became fascinated with the idea that, with that Andrew Haigh show, the cable network had somehow reached peak gay TV even as it also managed to alienate the very viewers it was trying to coax. I wanted to, in a way, put Looking in context by watching everything HBO had produced and aired that had tackled LGBT issues.

This required a lot of scavenging—despite their shiny HBOGo and HBO Now ventures, a lot of the network’s older and more obscure TV movies and shows remain unattainable. And so I reached back and watched a lot of not so great TV movies from the early 80s, caught up with key “very special episodes” of their most well-known dramas and comedies, and later got to re-watch some of their most recent entries into this, as it turned out, rather extensive canon.

We began with Harvey Fierstein’s Tidy Endings which a year later looks as perfect an intro to the HBO brand of LGBT representation as I could have envisioned: here was a character-driven drama adapted from a well-received property (Fierstein’s one-act play) that got a prestige boost with some grade-A casting (Stockard Channing) that treated its characters with dignity and complexity. That it was also an AIDS drama (in 1988!) also told me a lot about how button-pushing and social justice-minded the network was and remains. In fact, for the first handful of entries this column might as well have been called “HBO’s AIDS films.”

What surprised me most in this journey was both the diversity of stories being told and also the homogeneity of them at the same time. Taken individually, And the Band Played On, The Normal Heart, Vito, In The Gloaming, Angels in America and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt are all urgent and necessary projects that build out the narrative of the AIDS crisis; but seen as a collective, you cannot help but see the very narrow racial and socio-economic stories being told here. Angels is a near-perfect play/miniseries but I do often wish Belize’s world and personal life had been offered to us in equal measure with his fellow characters. Similarly, while gay men were amply represented, I found myself dismayed (though not surprised) at the lack of lesbian stories.

These are, of course, issues that are larger and more systematic but they’re worth keeping in mind even as I still stand by the belief that HBO has championed LGBT representation like no other television network in history (though ABC and ABC Family/Freeform on the one hand and Netflix on the other might be giving them a run for their money right now).

Rather than offer an exhaustive index of everything I covered—22 television shows, 18 feature films, 16 documentaries, and 2 miniseries—I figured I’d offer a sampling, with three Top 5 lists. 

Manuel’s Favorites: Top 5 Discoveries

Part of the fun of this project was the chance to watch films that I'd never seen before and there 5 may not be the "best" but they are certainly the ones I'm most glad I got to catch and write about. Bonus: even in a gay male saturated canon, I got to talk about Michelle Williams, Vanessa Redgrave, Yolonda Ross, and Jessica Lange.

If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
Stranger Inside (2001)
Normal (2003)
Nightingale (2015)
Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures (2016)

Manuel’s Favorites: Top 5 TV

These were not only fun to write (I really could spend endless posts on my love for Andrew Rannells in Girls and the actressing work on that Mormon family drama Big Love) but also great exercises in focusing on the parts rather than the whole (say, Dane DeHaan's great turn, Rodrigo García's capable direction).

Six Feet Under, “A Private Life” (2001)
Big Love (2006-2011)
In Treatment (2008-2010)
Girls (2012-)
Sex in TV

Fan Favorites: Top 5 Most Commented

Auteurs, Sarah Jessica Parker & co., and Glenn Close drove the most spirited discussions this past year which, when you think about it, seems just about right. 

Elephant (2003)
Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Sex and the City (2008, 2010)
1998, The Year in TV
In the Gloaming (1997)

There's plenty more for you to dig through if you wanted to revisit the entire series, but for now we'll bid goodbye to the series which was challenging, exhiliarating, and exhausting, but never nothing short of rewarding. Thank you to Nathaniel, to all who commented, who shared in the experience, and who made it feel like I wasn't alone this past year. There may be another column in the future but for now, we rest (and patiently wait for Haigh's Looking film which will premiere at Frameline this June).