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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 zoology (45)

Friday
Oct032014

NYFF: A Tiger and a Princess (or Two) Walk Into a Cafe...

NYFF continues. Here's Nathaniel with brief takes on three films...

Allow me to break a rule of film criticism. Rather than wag fingers at directors/films and call them "pretentious!" (a common and near-useless criticism for films with ambitions) or "opaque" (a beautiful adjective, less judgmental but still descriptive of the "ummm..." effect), I shall simply admit that sometimes I don't get it. I think we all have these cases, whether it be films/genres or even entire filmographies that are headscratchers to us whilst others drool. Most people are loathe to admit it lest they seem dumb but I don't have time to worry about that. Way too busy for that particular insecurity. Especially with all the room in my schedule I make for the other ones.

I'm pairing these three films (Ming of Harlem, The Princess of France, and Hill of Freedom) for that reason and also because they all have "of" in the title. Deep reasons. Here we go...

MING OF HARLEM 
Ming is a tiger. Harlem is Harlem.

This documentary is about a 400 lb tiger that was once living in a Harlem skyrise not too far from where I live. My cat lives with me in a Harlem skyrise, too, but he's only 11 lbs. The film is part of the "Projection" series at NYFF. That's a potentially less offputting title for a swath of moviegoers than "Views from the Avant Garde" which is what it used to be called. Having seen the picture, I'm not sure I understand what's avante garde about it?

Perhaps it's the lack of talking heads projecting emotions on to animals OR explaining the psychology of the man who housed them until he was sent to prison for doing just that. Perhaps it's the very sparse insertion of local and national news footage from the time of the scandal, of which there is surely a lot more. The movie is, in part, more of a meditative look at two animals; the tiger shared his apartment with a full grown alligator albeit not in the same room...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul132014

Tweet of the Capsule of the Dawn of The Planet of the Apes

Of the. of the. of the. Help, stuck in a prepositional loop! I regret to inform that there is no full review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) -- you may have noticed unusually sparse off my game posting -- but I press on with this exhaustively multi-tasking post. It's a list. It's a tweet roundup. It's a review.

I can't go on. I'll go on."
-Samuel Beckett 

Were I to write a traditional review of the surprisingly strong sequel to the surprisingly good Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) it would essentially be some sort of fussy expansion and tangent filled detours of these 10 points:

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul102014

1973 in animation: Disney's Robin Hood

Tim here. We’re celebrating 1973 at the Film Experience all throughout July, and in terms of animation, that can mean one of only two things: the Czech-French allegorical science fiction film Fantastic Planet, a peculiar head trip of a movie made with highly-detailed paper animation, or Disney’s all-animal Robin Hood, a film regarded as one of Disney’s most perfect classics by a small group of people while being largely forgotten by most younger people, making it one of those films that’s simultaneously both over- and under-rated. All my love and respect to politically laden avant-garde Eastern European animation, but our current path seems clear enough: Robin Hood it is.

I will first confess that the film has never been one of my favorites in Disney’s canon; it exemplifies a very particular aesthetic that dominated the studio’s work for just a short while, seven features released between 1961 and 1977. These were the Xerox Years, when the old process of inking individual cels by hand over the animators’ rough pencil drawings had been replaced by simply photocopying the pencils directly onto the clear celluloid. This cut down significantly on the cost and time of putting together a feature film, and it also had the effect of giving the finished animation a much scratchier, hand-hewn look. For many fans of animation, and many animators, the direct one-to-one mapping this results in between what the artist drew and what we see makes it more valuable than the glossier, more polished, and arguably more lifeless work in Disney’s more expensive productions. For myself, all I can see is the cost-cutting.

But let's shelve the technical chatter and move on to the film itself...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul092014

Best Shot: Batman (1966)

Happy 75th Anniversary to the world's favorite f***ed-up orphan billionaire!

Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns on the evening of July 15th with a special free-for-all episode in which you choose whichever Batman feature film you want to look at and post your choice for its Best Shot. We link up. It's our way of celebrating Batman's 75th birthday. I opted to start at the beginning. No, not Tim Burton's high gothic smash but the special feature edition of the 1960's TV series, which was filmed after season 1 wrapped (the props were reused for follow-up seasons)

BATMAN (1966)


Batman (1966) has a ton of sight gags. I'm not claiming that any of them are particularly well-executed but my favorite bar none is Batman's lunatic run holding a lit bomb that he can't find a place to dispose of. It's what would happen if you crossed Batman with a Mr Bean skit. But that joke isn't freeze frameable since it's all in the montage / length. Since this is the only Batman feature that's an intentional comedy (someone will cover Joel Schumacher's movies I'm sure) I had to choose something humorous for my best shot. Nothing is funnier in 60s era Batman than the OCD labelling of everything. It's not enough to have everything shaped like the Bat symbol and called 'Bat-this' and 'Bat-that' but the Bat-name must also be displayed in big letters ON the item in case the hero forgets who he is or what props are (but remembers how to read). Even the four villains (Catwoman, Joker, Riddler and The Penguin) get in on the act with their own labelled shelves in their submarine HQ.  

In the movie's opening maritime rescue setpiece Batman dangles from the Bat-Copter on the Bat-Ladder (yes, there's a label on the last rung) when suddenly he emerges from the water with a shark dangling from his leg nine years before Jaws made that a universal nightmare. Batman tries to go all Lara Croft on its ass, but lacking her mad shark-punching skills many years later, Batman needs Robin to save him (but he's not in a hurry about it since he's Adam West and he likes to make each sentence into 3 sentences.)

Best Shot

Hand.    Me Down.    The Shark Repellent Bat Spray.

Robin climbs down the Bat-Ladder (no one is piloting the Bat-Copter. Just saying). Instead of just handing his Sugar Daddy the Bat Spray Shark Repellent --  it's not like the shark is going to leap legs for Burt Ward's chicken legs when it's already got an Adam West thigh --  the Boy Wonder pauses to be all acrobatic about it and hangs upside down to pass over the spray.

It's super dumb and I love it. 

[Gluttons for punishment can check out a few more shots I loved after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr202014

Happy Easter. The Ten Greatest Bunnies in Cinematic History

Since we already named our favorite Bible movies, it's time to turn the conversation over to the most integral part of Easter celebrations: Bunnies! Rabbits. Hares. Whatever you'd prefer to call the hoppy delights.

You will find neither Winnie the Pooh's "Rabbit" or Alice in Wonderland's "White Rabbit" on this list because, frankly, they're way too annoying. 

10 E. ASTER BUNNYMUND (2012)
Because he sounds just like Hugh Jackman 

<-- 09. WERE-RABBIT (2005)
Because he's the only lagomorph who doesn't answer to "Bugs" to ever win an Oscar

8 more awesome movie bunnies after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr162014

Drag Race: The Sounds of My Fury

Here, in picture form, is why I've been unable to function whenever I tried to write about RuPaul's Drag Race

somehow the blurry screenshot seemed appropriate so i didn't try again

Laganja Estranja's bottomless need for attention coupled with her lack of deserving any but mostly her limitless capacity for meaningless affectation completely broke me. As did the epic 3 hours of episode last week -- 3 hours in one single night. Turns out that's enough glitter, saturated color, and aural assault to even give Baz Luhrmann pause. But mostly it was Laganja. If I could describe in writing the clucking, mouth popping, meaningless "words" issuing from her frosted lips I would but judge Michelle Visage summed it up brilliantly in a weirdly accurate gibberish approximation of Laganja's unprocessed non-integrated robotic regurgitation of every drag vocal affectation that the show has ever produced. <-- Good lord that last sentence was a mouthful. I'm gagging on it.

Now that Laganja has sashayed away, the aural nightmare is over (the blazing fury I felt from the sounds a fictional "reality" tv character can make surprised me). And I am free to write about the show again. "Halleloo!" (er... speaking of meaningless vocal affectations!) So instead of trying to catch up we'll just proceed from the now for the sake of all of you who are watching. Cher's family members (mother Georgia Holt and son Chaz Bono) guest starred in order to be interviewed by the queens and Courtney Act basically summed of all of their reactions to the camera...

 Not that that excitement helped them focus because for the most part, they were terrible at being talk show hosts. Trinity K Bonet, who sashayed away, was the worst. She kept calling Chaz Bono "Chad" which might have been funny if it were shady but it was just basic incompetence.

Courtney, who didn't suck at TV gabbing at all, won the night with a stunning wing span (the runway theme was animals) and in addition to the feathers (Trinity) and fur (Bianca) and lion-like manes (Adore), Darienne killed it with Elephant tusks, and Ben de la Creme made a fab entrance in a fly costume... even if it tilted more Costume Shop than Cronenberg. "Help meeee"

Group Regret: Everyone at my viewing party wished they could have seen what Milk would have dressed as in this particular runway challenge. Rawr. She left too soon.

Belated Confession: I really like Joslyn Fox as a person in the workroom (if not as a competitor) so I feel bad for how roundly I was dissing her in the first couple of posts. She's not as dumb as she came off... or at least she's people smart.

You can watch the episode right here if you missed it

Are your favorites still your favorites? Or are your allegiances shifting as we rapidly approach the finale?

Friday
Mar282014

Animal Pairs I'm Hoping To See in "Noah" This Weekend

I'm off to see Noah. No, I don't know how or why I missed the critics screenings (boo) but don't tell me which animal pairs get screen time or cameos. I love animals muchly and want lots of screen time for them. Except for maybe mice. Mickey and Minnie aside, I never want to see them and am really pissed that God made Noah take them.

I'm hoping to spot the following couples in the massive march, slither, hop, swim (or wait, maybe he didn't have to worry about the swimming animals?), scurry, swing, and run to the ark.

A full gallery at the jump...

Click to read more ...