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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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the design of THE LOVE WITCH

 

"The look of the film is really fantastic, but the script begins to run out of steam after the first quarter." -Rob

"Great write-up. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in 35mm." -Roger

 

Interviews

Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Tuesday
Mar212017

Doc Corner: The Confined Spaces of 'Solitary'

by Glenn Dunks

Solitary could have gone in many different directions. Filmed over a year inside the supermax solitary confinement prison of Red Onion, Virginia, all sorts of independent narratives that are weaved throughout could have made for their own captivating feature. There are the guards, disturbed by what they see, and the death of the region’s prime coal mining industry that brought them to this line of work. There are the crimes of the prisoners, most of them violent, some of them not so. And then there is, like Ava DuVernay’s (broader, superior) Oscar-nominated 13th, the system itself that is obviously damaged and flawed at its very core.

It's nice, but also a little frustrating, then that director Kristi Jacobson (known best for 2012’s A Place at the Table) chose something far less sensational by focusing on the concept of nature versus nurture. Nice because that feels rare in film, but frustrating because it doesn't make the most of its unique access while doing so...

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Tuesday
Mar212017

Thoughts I Had... "The Dark Tower" Poster

Chris here. With the long (lonnnnnnnnng) road to production, reshuffling of realease dates, and confusing messages on a spin off series, I can't blame you if you've lost track of Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower. The franchise hopeful has tradeed hands from Ron Howard to A Royal Affair's Nikolaj Arcel, and lost a few potential stars along the way. But with a looming summer release, it's about time to start seeing some of the goods (even if those set photos of a leather-clad Idris Elba should have kept this at the top of our minds). At long last here is the first poster, with some thoughts after the jump...

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Tuesday
Mar212017

Shakespeare in Love > Saving Private Ryan (your periodic reminder)

On this day in movie history...

1617 Though the exact date of her death is unknown, Pocahontas's funeral was held on this day. She died on a ship with husband John Rolfe (played by Christian Bale in The New World but he wasn't a character in Disney's Pocahontas because that woulda been hella depressing). She was only 21 or 22
1880
"Bronco Billy" Anderson, the original movie cowboy star (he made hundreds of silent shorts) is born
1941 The Sea Wolf starring Edward G Robinson and Ida Lupino is released. Director Michael Curtiz is warming up for his rather incredible peak decade (Captain of the Clouds, Yankee Doodle Dandy, CasablancaMildred Pierce and more are next)
1949
Slavoj Zizek of The Perverts Guide to Cinema (2006) is born
1956
The 1955 Oscars. Marty becomes both the shortest film to ever win Best Picture and the first indie to do so.
1958 Gary Oldman is born...

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Monday
Mar202017

Feud: Bette and Joan. "Mommie Dearest"

Previously
Ch. 1 "Pilot"
Ch. 2 "The Other Woman" 

Feud's writing team is nothing if not devoted to playing to a single theme per episode. All but a couple of scenes in chapter 3 of Feud are devoted to the notion of mothering (though Victor Buono's more generous notion of "legacy" might have been a smarter move for retroactive potency). Or at least the show spends this hour playing with our pre-conceptions of the mothering skills of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. That's evident in the way it pulls the episode title from the infamous Christina Crawford memoir that damned Joan forever in the public eye as a psychopath and child abuser. In one of the earliest scenes we even get a potent reminder of this memoir as Joan pretends she's not going to send Christina a card congratulating her on the opening of a play until she reads reviews, but then signs the card "Mommie Dearest," as soon as two of her other children are out of sight.

I know what you think of my mothering...

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Monday
Mar202017

The Furniture: Thoroughly Modern Millie

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Thoroughly Modern Millie opened 50 years ago this week, in the spring between San Francisco’s Human Be-In and the Summer of Love. None of 1967’s Best Picture nominees, immortalized as the birth of the New Hollywood in Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution, had yet opened, but there was already something in the air.

Director George Roy Hill capitalized on this countercultural moment with an extravagant show of concentrated nostalgia. Thoroughly Modern Millie leaps back to the Roaring 20s, America’s last moment of liberated sexuality and conspicuous consumption before the Great Depression. Its flamboyant, frenetic ode to the flappers and their world was a big hit, making more than $34 million and landing 10th at the yearly box office. The film was nominated for seven Oscars including Art Direction-Set Decoration.

Yet its portrayal is not without contradictions...

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Monday
Mar202017

Beauty vs Beast: Make News Not War

Jason from MNPP here - I didn't take my lead on this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" from Nathaniel's "On This Day" post earlier but it's not a surprise that we'd both want to mark the 67th birthday of William Hurt with an acknowledgment of Broadcast News, because I think any sane person will snatch the chance to talk about Broadcast News when it's offered. I did actually contemplate a couple other of Hurt's performances for a minute - maybe Body Heat or The Accidental Tourist? But he's made a career of making the women across from him shine and I knew Kathleen Turner & Geena Davis would dominate those conversations...

... as would Holly Hunter, which is also why we're keeping her out of this even though it's Holly's birthday today too. Sorry, Holly! You'd win way too hard.

But does Hurt stand a chance against Albert Brooks' sweaty sidekick Aaron? The film's clearly on Aaron's side, no matter how kind it does try to be to Hurt's pretty boy destined for the anchor's chair. (Can you say Fake News?) Still it's some of Hurt's best work and Brooks, right-sided though he might be, sure can be a bit much, so I ask you...

PREVIOUSLY We were still riding high on Buffy fumes last week and so we had you face off the show's two best Big Bads, but you should never bet against a Valley Girl God with a taste for the shinier things - Glory stomped that puny human mayor with 60% of your vote. Said Matt St Clair:

"No contest. Glory. She is the best Big Bad of the series and had all the best lines.

"Did anybody order an apocalypse?"

"There's ice cream and puppy dogs in it for you if you start singing."

"So this is where the Slayer eats, sleeps, and...combs her hair."

Monday
Mar202017

Review: The Sense of an Ending

by Lynn Lee 

Elliptical and enigmatic, The Sense of an Ending has the quality of a mystery, but one that raises more questions than it answers.  That is, without a doubt, fully intentional.  It’s a film that’s designed to make you go “hmm,” not “aha,” and there’s something admirable about how studiously it avoids going for an obvious narrative or emotional knockout punch.  But by the same token, there’s something a little unsatisfying about it, too.

Based on the Booker Prize-winning novella by Julian Barnes, the film centers on an aging Londoner, Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), who, upon being notified of an unexpected legacy, finds himself revisiting his memories of an incident from his youth and eventually coming to grips with the fact that he’s never fully acknowledged or even recognized the truth of what really happened...

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