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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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Review: QUEEN OF KATWE

"LOVED this move. If the Academy could be convinced to see this, I could absolutely see it sneaking into BP." -Eurocheese

"I would love to see 'Oscar winning director, Mira Nair' written somewhere someday" -Choog

 

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Entries in The Film Experience (152)

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).

Saturday
Apr302016

Best of April Watching ICYMI

We're mixing up the month-end ICYMI post to hopefully make it more enticing/interesting with random awards and different categories like so...

5 Most Discussed Posts
Current Stars Who Deserve an Oscar Nod - they've earned momentum
Q&A -Animals & late 80s/early 90s films
Posterized: Tom Hiddleston - where to post-Loki?
Posterized: Melissa McCarthy - she's having quite a career
Pfeiffer & Aronofsky - yup, they'll be working together 

5 Favorite Posts
Bob's Burgers & The Birds - Hitchcock references for the win 
The Furniture: The Force Awakens - that myth-making forest! 
Witness - So pleasurable to revisit this for the Best Shot roundup
Please Switch Off Your Phone - the actresses are actressing, for chrissakes 
April Showers Blue Valentine - oh I need to see this again

Best of Nathaniel's Random April Watching
Best Old Thing: Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957)
Best New Thing: The Fits (2016)
Best Actor: Ben Whishaw in The Crucible on Broadway
Best Actress: Geraldine Page in The Beguiled (1971)
Best Supporting Actor: Idris Elba in The Jungle Book 
Best Supporting Actress: Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt S2
Best Miniature Thing: Katya Zamolodchikova's I'm Not A Doctor
Best TV Episode: Drag Race S8.E8 "RuPaul Book Ball" (with Untucked)
Best Cameo: Scott Gill's penis in John Barrowman's live chat 
Cutest: Keanu in all the commercials for Keanu
Sexiest: Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise (runner up: Tyler Hoechlin, Everybody Wants Some !!)
Funniest: Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt S2
Spookiest: Lady Asaji Washizu and The Silent Chamber in Throne of Blood

Congratulations are in Order!
Jose was quoted in the ads for the fashion documentary The First Monday in May after his interview here! How about that?

 

Getting your first big pull quote on your birthday week = priceless #criticslife #thefirstmondayinmay #annawintour

A photo posted by Jose Solis (@josesolismayen) on Apr 13, 2016 at 4:31pm PDT

 

Ongoing conversations
Tribeca - Manuel & Jason celebrated the highs / warned us of the lows
Actor Month -Viggo, Willem, Matthias, Andrew, and many more
April Showers - Gone Girl, Sicario, Margaret, Law of Desire, Carrie, Pee Wee's Big Holiday

April Downers
If we hadn't lost Chus Lampreave, and Ronit Elkabetz and had to say Farewell to Prince it would have been much much better month. But sometimes it snows in April. (Runners Up: The steep steep quality decline for "The Flash" of late which is so much mopier and with the slowest storyline --Zoom & Earth 2-- imaginable for a show about super-speedsters. And, of course, that Snatch Game episode of RPDR.)

How was your April?

P.S. Yes, yes, I'm finishing up the April Foolish charts today. Only the acting categories remain.