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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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Tuesday
Aug302016

Credit Where It's Due: A Silly Title Card Showdown

by Nathaniel R

An intermittent off center obsession I miraculously don't believe we've discussed after years of blabbering at TFE: title cards, especially as they relate to actors. My personal favorite is when the name in question aligns with the actor's face on screen (quite rare all told since the order is contractual and title card placement feels like that rare piece of cinema construction that no director has ever bothered to worry about - "just put 'em wherever!".

Sometimes they're agonizingly placed (remember when several of the goddess actress names were superimposed over shots of tertiary character John C Reilly at the beginning of The Hours). Just for kicks with the Smackdown but 24 hours away, which Best Supporting Actress nominee wins the battle of 1984 title cards? Let's take them from worst to best after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug302016

Doc Corner: The Cinematic Surprise of 'The Royal Road'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

One of the many benefits of doing this weekly column is not just talking about the sort of documentaries that we may be discussing throughout award season, but also being able to highlight those that deserve haven’t a hope that nonetheless deserve the attention. Such is the case with Jenni Olsen’s The Royal Road, an essay film that trades in experimental and avant-garde traditions as a means to explore deeply personal topics.

Using dry yet curiously hypnotic narration, Olsen swerves between discussing Californian history, a long-distance relationship with a woman named Juliet, classic Hollywood movies, and the effects of nostalgia (the latter of which even features a voice cameo by Tony Kuschner). Her film a progression of beautifully captured California vistas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, filmed on 16mm by cinematographer Sophia Constantinou whose perfectly composed 4:3 ratio images recall the works of James Benning and offer a striking visual component that elevates the film to the status of true art. By using real film and embracing all of the dots and speckles that come with it, Constantinou’s work adopts the history of the worlds she is filming while also embracing Olson’s edict that nostalgia can be good.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug302016

Team Experience's Most Anticipated Fall Festival Films

Oscar season is upon the horizon, dear readers. And the (un)official starting siren for the race ahead is the fall festivals. Venice kicks off tomorrow, overlapping with Telluride and Toronto in September, the comes New York and Chicago before the AFI Fest in November.

Our host Nathaniel will be heading out to Toronto in a few short days, so expect to see his responses during those days. While we can't all take in the glut of a major film festival, the fun of watching from home is hearing how the films on your radar are being received. So to let you know what we'll be waiting for, Team Experience has rallied our:

Top 15 Most Anticipated Films of the Fall Festivals

 

Films narrowly missing the list included Una, Voyage of Time, Loving, American Pastoral, and The Salesman. On our list you'll find five films directed by women and nine from non-US directors. We weren't at Cannes or Sundance, so not everything on our list is a world premiere (and we know you're still looking forward to those as well). Let's just say our #1 made like Katie Ledecky at the Olympics or Mo'Nique at the Oscars, but the list is still bursting with enticements. You can see previous posts on the festival lineups here and here. Chicago is just beginning to announce and Telluride doesn't announce their lineup until the start of the festival.

See what made our list and the festivals they will play after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug292016

RIP Gene Wilder (1933 - 2016)

Comedy legend Gene Wilder has passed away, after complications with Alzheimer's disease. He served as Mel Brooks's leading player, producing such classics as Blazing Saddles, The Producers and Young Frankenstein. After those films, he also frequently starred opposite Richard Pryor. But to many he will always be remembered for the hilarious sly cruelty of his Willy Wonka, a performance that seen from a childhood gaze is awe-inspiring and warm only to become more delectably rotten in adulthood.

After the passing of his wife Gilda Radner (Wilder also had his own battle with cancer), he mostly stepped out of the spotlight, leaving those mentioned behemoths to speak for his legacy. For me, his Frederic Frankensteen is the one that sticks - all barking neuroses and feigned composure while lampooning the heightened acting styles of Universal horror classics. The performance is so physical and modulated to extremes that his comedy becomes like a set piece, a spectacle worth coming back to again and again.

What are your favorite Gene Wilder memories?

Monday
Aug292016

Beauty vs Beast: Ice & Ivy

Jason from MNPP here on the occasion of Joel Schumacher's 77th birthday wondering if I'm the only one who feels like his 1997 superhero flop Batman & Robin ought to be a camp classic as revered as Showgirls... or at least Valley of the Dolls. I think the fact that the movie is actively trying to be camp, but failing, throws people off... but it only makes me love it more. It's so... queer. In all the senses. Maybe it's just that Zack Snyder's endless reign of self-seriousness has made this goofy trainwreck seem more endearing, but I manage to quote this movie far more than might be sane, and if it's ever on TV I get sucked into its dopey dreadfulness every time. The same will never be true of Batman v Superman, I'm afraid. (Unless it's Holly Hunter's scenes we're talking about, of course.)

PREVIOUSLY True Story: I was at a wedding this past weekend and they gave out Jordan Almonds! Anyway last week we forced you to take sides in the Bridesmaids battle of the Century, and I am so so proud of y'all that you went with Kristen Wiig's Annie (who'd never let a Jordan Almond get her down) to the tune of 54% -- that's meant as no knock on the brilliantly funny Rose Byrne but, well, I'll let Suzanne explain:

"I know people love Rose Byrne, but Annie is such a great character. It felt like a revolutionary political act in 2011 to make a film that focused on a female protagonist who was depressed because her business failed and she was broke."

Monday
Aug292016

August. It's Nearly a Wrap

The eighth month of the year is -- we've reached the final third of 2016 already? That was quick. Fall film season here we come. Summer was dreadful for movies unless you were smart and caught platform releases like Little Men, The Fits, Captain Fantastic, Morris From America, Disorder instead of the big budget spectacles. In fact, 2016 is shaping up to be a very rough year for mainstream cinema which could make the Oscars disastrous if they don't get creative and look further afield than they're usually prone to. We shall see.

This past month we've been celebrating 1984 for the Smackdown (coming your way Wednesday) but here are some other highlights in case you missed any.

8 Favorites
The Art of Disavowing Your Film No, Jared Leto, no. 
The Lobster's Phony Flowers another great episode of The Furniture
Beauty vs Beast Bridesmaids Wiig or Byrne. Tough choice, right?
That time Oscar loved Tarzan Revisiting the grand Greystoke
Judy by the Numbers Judgement at Nuremberg -a different kind of singing
Florence Foster Jenkins off-tune fuss & fun 
• Q&A Gender and the Oscars Plus Streep
Sausage Party buns, dogs, filth, and stereotypes

8 That Spurred the Most Conversation
Cast This: Clue Yes, they're making another movie from the game
1984, Year of the Heroic Farm Wives Sissy & Jessica & Sally
Posterized: Woody Allen How many have you seen?
Posterized: Natalie Portman How many of her films have you seen?
Best Films of the 21st Century? That BBC List
Monty (RIP) The Film Experience's beloved cat pundit has passed away
198 Oscar Performaces Ranking the Nominees (2000-2009) 
• 120 Oscar Performances Ranking the Nominees (2010-2015)

Coming in September
• Festival Season! Nathaniel leaves for Toronto real soon
• Emmy Awards
• 1963 is Our "Year of the Month": Tom Jones, The Sword in the Stone, Lilies of the Field, I Could Go On Singing, and more...
• BluRay: A Bigger Splash, The Conjuring 2, and Civil War revisits coming your way
• New Releases: Bridget Jones's Baby, Sully, Miss Peregrine, The Queen of Katwe, The Dressmaker, Magnificent Seven, and many more

ANY REQUESTS?

Monday
Aug292016

The Furniture: Wiener-Dog's Sickly Green Cages

by Daniel Walber

Wiener-Dog is a deceptive movie. It is technically a sequel to Todd Solondz’s cult classic Welcome to the Dollhouse, but only for about a quarter of its running time. It’s actually an anthology, built around the often tragic life of an adorable, stoic dachshund. Each stop is totally separate from the last, each new character a slightly different riff on solitude and bitterness.

Yet even this structural diversity is deceptive. For while the film contains a variety of stories and locations, it is essentially one long expansion of a single set. The opening credits play over an anonymous animal shelter, where Wiener-Dog patiently waits to be adopted. One side has bars, the other a clear panel. The bright light highlights the sickly green walls, like the antiseptic glow of a dystopian hospital.

Wiener-Dog makes it out, but the cage lingers...

Click to read more ...