Oscar History

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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Months of Meryl: Adaptation 

"This film is in my all time great top 10. I love everything about it. The acting, the plot, the crazyness of life itself." - Sonja

"I'm not wild about the film - but Cooper is super and I'd be inclined to put this in Streep's top 5, maybe top 3, performances. It's so unexpected, and works perfectly. For a few years this was often the performance I first thought of when I thought of her." - Scott C

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Entries in Doc Corner (109)


Doc Corner: Kimberly Reed Returns with 'Dark Money'

by Glenn Dunks

Talk about a sharp turn. Director Kimberly Reed is best known for her 2008 feature Prodigal Sons, an autobiographical documentary about Reed’s journey as a transgender woman returning home to her small town high school reunion where she not only must confront the people who knew her as a football quarterback when living as a male, but also the strange story of her adopted brother’s newly discovered heritage to Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth and his declining mental health. It was an astonishing film and one that The Film Experience loved and covered at the time.

In the time since, Reed brought her story to audiences once more in the opera As One (which I also covered in 2014) as well as produced Paul Goodman Changed My Life and last year’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson for Netflix. It was a great surprise to me then to discover Reed’s latest film – her first as director for a decade – was a swerve away from themes of identity, gender, sexuality and family, but was instead a piece of investigative political journalism imbued with the narrative thrust of a court-room thriller.

Dark Money examines the various threads that make up the confusing and alarming world of American election campaign financing...

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Doc Corner: The Dandy Glam of 'Love, Cecil'

by Glenn Dunks

Cecil Beaton was a dandy. He was an elegant fop, an aesthete, a bright young thing, a (mostly) homosexual. These are all words used to describe him in Love, Cecil, a charming bio-doc from director Lisa Immordino Vreeland. They are words not used in malice, but in reverence to a man whose singular attitudes flew in the face of what men were ‘supposed’ to be. Cecil Beaton had about him an air of posh aristocracy that belied his place in society, but which would ultimately allow him to become ingratiated into the inner-sanctum of Britain’s upper-class (including right up the Queen herself), the world of celebrity, and even the Academy as the Oscar-winning designer behind Gigi and My Fair Lady. He also just happens to be one of the great photographers of the 21st century

Love, Cecil is Vreeland’s most accomplished film to date...

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Doc Corner: 'Three Identical Strangers'

by Glenn Dunks

“Truth is stranger than fiction”, nudge, wink, geddit? It’s fairly common that that old chestnut of a phrase makes its way into writings about documentaries as more and more filmakers uncover strange but true stories that then make their way into cinemas and onto streaming services. Crazy! Amazing! Insane! Shook! Whatever. Sometimes it's justified (Hi Tickled!) and then there’s Three Identical Strangers. A film that would almost certainly be a farce if invented in the mind of a screenwriter. There’s no way such a story could play as straight drama. It’s just too nutty. It is crazy and amazing and insane and I was shook.

Three Identical Strangers starts the way somebody telling this story might. Have you heard of the one of three brothers, identical triplets, who were separated at birth? That's where we begin...

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Doc Corner: In the Shadow of Kubrick with 'Filmworker'

by Glenn Dunks

Sometimes you really can tell a book by its cover. Or in this case, a movie by its poster. The artwork for Tony Zierra’s Filmworker shows a photograph of Stanley Kubrick on set with his long-time yet little-known collaborator Leon Vitali hovering behind him. Kubrick, normally the focus of these sort of non-fiction works, is unusually blurred. Our eye naturally focuses on Vitali despite Kubrick’s appearance that can’t be entirely obscured no matter how hard they try.

It’s fitting for Filmworker, a documentary about Vitaly not Kubrick. Although, as was probably always inevitable about a film about the people around one of cinema’s most commanding and famous names, Kubrick remains a constant presence who is too hard to ignore...

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Doc Corner: 'Nanette' Will Be a Defining Work of 2018

Rarely do stand-up comedy sets gain the sort of immediate notoriety that has greeted Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. The comedian, writer and some-time actor who is probably best known to American audiences for Please Like Me (at least the few who actually watched it) has become a rare Australian exclusive for Netflix who are releasing Nanette alongside an ever-growing roster of stand-up comedy. It would be easy for this one to slide between the cracks of the streaming service’s much larger names. Who is Gadsby to non-Australian audiences anyway and why should they watch her? What about Nanette means it deserves to cut through the chaos especially when she comes across as so hostile towards the medium itself?

Well, for starters, to call Nanette a mere stand-up comedy special would be to do it a great disservice. As funny as it is, it isn’t the sort of work that neatly sits alongside Ali Wong, Chris Rock or John Mulaney. No, because Nanette is much more: it’s a manifesto, a doctrine, a philosophy. It’s a work of such searing potency that it deserves the attention of every man and woman with a Netflix account – and those who do not. It deserves to be hailed a landmark by LGBTQI audiencs, too. If you are wanting something to stake a claim to the most essential of-the-moment work of filmed entertainment for 2018, then Nanette is probably it.

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Doc Corner: Dances with Films Festival

by Glenn Dunks

The spectre of films past linger over two documentaries at the Dances with Films independent film festival (June 7th-17th at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Los Angeles). Their ability to bring an audience back to something more innocent is perhaps one of the strongest elements of this festival that prizes the atmosphere of a summer camp rather than a crazed film festival in the snowy mountains or on the sunny beaches.

The more obvious of the two that I was able to sample is Alexander Monelli's At the Drive-In, a film that you could glimpse at a pass and suspect you have already seen a dozen times at other festivals. Film festival audiences are, after all, more naturally disposed to watch a documentary about a venue like a drive-in or a classic movie palace or a dying/dead/forgotten part of the filmgoing experience. The inherent nostalgia and cinematic reverence of these topics make them solid programming on any festival’s behalf...

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