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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 Vin Diesel (5)

Sunday
Aug032014

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

The Marvel Universe movies could have not existed before Right Now. Yet, for all the technological advances and computer wizardry that have made The Avengers and the like possible, the magic still comes from the humanity of the actors. No amount of technical prowess can make you care about Iron Man if a great actor hasn’t sold you on the bravado and change of heart of the man inside the suit. Captain America’s shield and super strength are great but his adventures don’t work if Chris Evans’s star turn isn’t so perfectly pitched to invoke fantasies of the nobility of a bygone American era. Without the humanity it’s just Trans4rmers and nobody wants that. (Shut up. I’m in denial about those billions). With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios has gone Cosmic opening up a whole new movie wing for their ever-expanding universe. As they leave Earth behind, have they found a way to retain the humanity?

Yes and no. But not in the way you might expect.

It helps of course, on a superficial level that the movie begins on Earth and shamelessly pushes collective 80s nostalgia buttons by making Peter Quill, our hero, relentlessly nostalgic about that era. We first meet him as a little boy in 1988 and his most cherished possession twenty some years later when the movie takes place isn’t any of his impressive weapons or starship but a walkman with a cassette tape called “Awesome Mix Tape Volume 1”. It also helps that Quill is played by the endearingly simple Andy from “Parks and Recreation” a.k.a. Chris Pratt. Pratt’s new body may be imposingly hard, with all its cuddly body weight chiseled off, but those years of familiarity have given him a phantom comfy-ness. 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan282014

boy, you should know what you're linking for ♫

AV Club Sad Keanu Doll 
Empire JJ Abrams on the secrecy of his Star Wars sequels
Empire 25 different covers celebrating X-Men: Days of Future Past. I hate the cinematic interpretation of Quicksilver already... but they never do right by my favorite characters (see also Storm). And I didn't realize Sunspot was in this but they cast a Mexican actor to play an African-Brazilian? 
Playbill Brokeback Mountain: The Opera debuts today in Madrid

US Magazine Charlize Theron & Sean Penn holding hands. The rumors are true. So that's a good excuse to relisten to...
That Film Experience Podcast in which we fantasized about same-year Oscar couples
Variety The Great Gatsby sweeps the technical prizes at the first half of the Australian Oscars. They announce the headline categories Thursday
Guardian Johnny Depp receiving an award from the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild 

Post Script Sundance Sales
Ah, Sundance. My wrap up index post is coming late tonight but I enjoyed reading Vulture's takeaways and loved talking up the Sundance favorites with Guy Lodge on the podcast. I was also reading this piece about the non-spectular but steady sales at Sundance and a list of titles from the festival which now have distributors via Sound on Sight and I found both frustrating. I don't know if the latter list is 100% accurate (it's tough to keep track and did they ignore pre-sold films? If you know of a 100% complete list let me know) but it's frustrating. Only 20 deals were made? So naturally the great majority of films didn't sell. Some of them have easily saleable elements -- like oh, Anne Hathaway! --and in some cases are much stronger than some on the films that sold. I'm aware that in this day and age of DIY  distribution, VOD, and [insert latest trend here] not selling to a major distributor is not a death knell, just as being picked up is not always a godsend (some films that have distribution curiously never make it to screens or arrive years later when the buzz has gone ice cold). The three films I most wish had been picked up are:

  • Blind -Norwegian films rarely make a dent at the arthouse but it's so good
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night -Glenn loved it and it sounds like a must-see curio
  • Appropriate Behavior -in the comic subgenre of sexually impulsive twentysomething New York lady in a tailspin it's superior to Obvious Child which did sell.

Exit Music
Here's Vin Diesel dancing to Katy Perry (!) and grabbing his crotch a lot. Two things that are worth doing when one tops
                the dvd charts.

He would be in big trouble if he was asked to "lipsynch for your life"... but wouldn't he be an awesome guest on RuPaul's Drag Race? Make it happen, Ru. 

Sunday
Sep082013

Riddick Beats The Butler. What Did You See This Weekend?

It feels somehow right in early September while the world's film critics, pundits, and bloggers and world class auteurs are all over the Globe at festivals (Telluride, Venice, Toronto) that the mainstream has to reheat ole' hit leftovers for their movie dinner. Riddick, the long awaited ... another sequel to the Pitch Black franchise took the top spot at the box office with a decent $18 million. It'll eventually turn a profit since they kept the budget reasonable (a good lesson for all B franchises... or anything really).

In other news, Lee Daniels' The Butler, which came in second after three weeks at the top, will be Lee Daniels' First 100 Million Hit by this time next week... though I can't help wishing we lived in a world where The Paperboy and Precious also got there on the grounds of "you have to see this madness!" and "can you believe the genius of Mo'Nique/Kidman?" What a wonderful world that would be! 

Also worth noting: Blue Jasmine crossed $25 million (a huge sum for a Woody Allen film though still less than half of Midnight in Paris's eventual domestic gross, and Short Term 12, buoyed by the strength of my awesome Brie Larson interview (kidding... but you should read it), took in another $100,000+. That doesn't sound big given that box office reporting tends to care only about movies with at least two more 0s on that number, you try marketing a movie about troubled foster kids and their supervisors. Well done, Cinedigm! Next week it adds 30 cities or so and if you go see it in droves I promise to quit bugging you about it. Deal? 

What did you see this weekend? Care to share?

Friday
Jun282013

Linky Together

The Awl has a good piece on the metaphorical zombies and in blockbuster cinema
My New Plaid Pants a delightfully unexpected list: 5 tertiary characters from Paul Thomas Anderson movies deserve their own spin-off. I totally forgot about Brad the Bartender with Braces in Magnolia!
Atlantic prompted by all the "legacy" talk of TV after James Gandolfini (RIP) & The Sopranos... "where is the female Tony Soprano?"
HitFix David Chases' full eulogy for James Gandolfini

Coming Soon Sir Ian McKellen has wrapped filming The Hobbit trilogy, never to return to Gandalf the Grey (or White)
In Contention's wondering about Foxcatcher in Sony's Oscar Hopeful slate
Hollywood Vin Diesel meeting with Marvel Studios. Hmmm, I can't really see him as any of the characters mentioned beyond Thanos 
Exploding Actresses on Tumblr. You will cry. Or laugh. Possibly both depending on the movie.
Antagony & Ecstasy has a well thought through piece on Joss Whedon's tossed-off Much Ado About Nothing

Today's Watch
Filmmaker IQ's John Hess on Aspect Ratio in cinema. 18 minutes long but well produced and worth it, if your understanding of Aspect Ratio is, like mine, limited to Almost Squares vs Various Shaped Rectangles and trivia knowledge of gimmicks like "Cinerama." Watch it, it's Edumucational!

The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio from FilmmakerIQ.com on Vimeo.

 

Belated Tony
Filmsploitation Check out this wonderful photo and quote from cinematographer Christopher Doyle about set photography and the making of Wong Kar Wai's Happy Together (1997) which I had just been thinking of for no apparent reason (since I used a different photo for The Film Experience on Facebook... a page you should obviously "like", duh)

And while we're on the subject... Happy (belated) birthday to Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Lust Caution, In the Mood for Love, Hero), our favorite Asian movie star who celebrated his 51st yesterday. His wife Carina Lau posted this picture of him eating cake. 

You missed the thumb Tony. Let me get that for you...

 

Monday
May022011

Box Office: Faster and Furiouser

The Fast & Furious franchise turned the box office into a regular demolition derby destroying its competition with over 60% of the top ten dollars. It seems absurd to make the comparison but maybe it's a Bondian franchise, the kind that only grows with time? Tokyo Drift, the only entry without Paul Walker or Vin Diesel in the driver's seat was its only underperformer. Okay so maybe the Bond comparison is a bad one since that series has easily survived cast changes. (Not that Fast Five didn't benefit from the addition of The Rock.

For Fast & Furious: Sixth Gear I think they should race famous vintage movie cars: The Batmobile, Thelma & Louise's Thunderbird convertiable, Bonnie & Clyde's Death Car.  And while we're on the Ian Fleming franchise subject, maybe throw in a musical dream segment starring Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; lead feet with twinkle toes!

The Box Office (Actuals)

01 FAST FIVE new $86.1
02 RIO $14.7 (cumulative $104)
03 MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY $9.8 (cumulative $40.8)
04 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS $9.3 (cumulative $32.4)
05 PROM new $4.7
06 HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL new $4.1
07 SOUL SURFER $3.3 (cumulative $33.8)
08 INSIDIOUS $2.6 (cumulative $48.3)
09 HOP $2.6 (cumulative $105.4)
10 SOURCE CODE $2.5 (cumulative $48.8)

Points of Interest:

Brandon Routh is "Dylan Dog"

  • HOP proves that when you're holiday-themed, it's really wise to open well before the holiday. (I've never understood this with horror movies that choose to open on Halloween weekend.) Hop did huge box office right up until Easter. Afterwards? A huge 80% drop in attendance despite only losing 10% of its screens. Kill the wabbit kill the wabbit ♪ ♫
  • Dylan Dog: Dead of Night opened wide but still coudn't crack the top ten. Ouch.
  • Best Per Screen Average: Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams. In 3-D!
  • Not every toon opens huge (Hoodwinked!) though it seems the norm (Rio, Rango, etc...)

What did you see this weekend? How many of the Fast & Furious films have you seen?