THE ART OF THE MATTER – Part One: The Meyorwitz Stories (Both New and Old), Rebel in the Rye, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
The Meyerwitz Stories (Both Old and New) opened both on the Netflix streaming platform and in the theaters at the same time. The goal, as I surmise it, it to have a qualifying run for the Oscar race (and screeners have been sent) while giving it as little theatrical distribution as possible.
Sort of like having your cake and eating it to.
It’s hard to say, but I’m not sure they have that strong a chance. Many voters might feel like this is cheating (and Cannes refused to show any Netflix product).
But The Meyerwitz Stories…, written and directed by the intelligent and erudite Noah Baumbach, is quite good, even quite marvelous and definitely deserves an audience. Continue reading
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A GAY IN THE COUNTRY – Part One: God’s Own Country and BPM (Beats Per Minute)


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
Though God’s Own Country could be described as England’s Brokeback Mountain, such a quick and superficial comparison should not take away from the startlingly effectiveness of both films.
The British story takes place in Yorkshire, a location as harsh and cold and unforgiving as the title implies (the phrase was first used to describe Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, but has come to be used to describe many locations, including Yorkshire, that are considered favored by God). Continue reading

IF I HAD A HAMMER: Thor: Ragnorak, Justice League


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
When I was young, I tended to not favor DC Comics, but gravitated toward those of the Marvel variety. This is because as a barefoot boy with cheek I never really fit in, was an outsider, so I found the Marvel universe, with its conflicted superheroes and conflicted supervillains, to be more reflective as life as I saw it.
Spiderman was especially someone I could identify with and why Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spidey film because it most closely mirrored what my life at school was like.
This approach, which often drives the movies based on Marvel characters, is why I have usually found these films, even the subpar ones, better than the DC ones, with a couple of exceptions (The Dark Knight Rises).
And now next in line is Thor: Ragnorak, which I think is most economically described as simply a ton of fun and perhaps the second best comic book movie of the year (for those keeping score, it’s Logan, then Thor, followed by Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy). Continue reading

WHITE MEN’S BURDENS: Suburbicon, Victoria and Abdul and Brad’s Status


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
Suburbicon, the new postmodern, neo-noir written by Joel and Ethan Cohen, Grant Heslov, and the film’s director George Clooney (perhaps two writers too many), is probably best described as if the Cohen brothers had adapted a James Cain novel with a bit of A Raison in the Sun tossed in for good measure.
The basic premise is that seemingly mild mannered middle class family man Gardner (Matt Damon) has paid some thugs to break into his house pretending to rob it, but in reality they have been hired to kill Gardner’s wheelchair bound wife (Julianne Moore) for the insurance money and so he can marry his sister-in-law (Julianne Moore redux), who has a set of perfectly good legs thank you very much.

Continue reading

NO VACANCY: 78/52 and The Florida Project


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
Writer/director Alexander O. Philippe’s 78/52 is not only everything you wanted to know about the infamous scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal film Psycho that did for showers what Jaws would later do for Fourth of July swimming in the seas, but everything you didn’t know you wanted to know (the name derives from the set piece requiring 78 camera set ups and 52 shots).
There has always been something perverse, not just about all of Hitchcock’s oeuvre, but especially in Psycho.
It’s not just that the movie is horrifying and scares the shit out of you.
It’s not just that it’s somewhat mean spirited (not just to the audience, but to the characters on screen).
It’s just that you can tell Hitchcock is having fun killing someone in such a way that both terrifies the audience while making them enjoy it and then feel guilty about it. Continue reading

3 WOMEN: The Unknown Girl, Battle of the Sexes, Mother!


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

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Warning: SPOILERS

 

There have been many examples of siblings sharing writing, directing and even producing credits from the Maysles to the Tavianis to the Wachowskis. Perhaps the most successful pairs artistically are the Coens and the Dardennes.
However, though the Coen brothers output is often quite breathtaking with wonderful highs (Fargo, True Grit, No Country for Old Men), they are far more erratic in quality of output (Hail, Caesar!, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers).
Few filmmakers, however, have had the consistency of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, Belgium brothers that first made their name in the U.S. with their Cannes winning film Rosetta, about a young women desperate to get employment, and they cemented their reputation with such triumphs as La Promesse, The Son, L’enfant and most recently Two Days, One Night.
Now we have The Unknown Girl, one of the finer films so far this year. Continue reading

STRANGERER THINGS: It


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
It, the new film adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel which exploits childhood fears of clowns, opened in September setting records with many critics saying it may actually prove the salvation of a lackluster, to say the least, summer box office.
It reached 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and based on anecdotal evidence of my Facebook page, most everyone I know swears by it, heralding it as the emperor in a new golden age of horror movies.
But for me, it’s the emperor’s new clothes and one of the worst films of the year. Continue reading