CHARACTERSCURA: The Hero and Moscow Never Sleeps


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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
Sam Elliott, the go to guy to cast as a love interest for older women, has a somewhat limited acting range. His technique, generally speaking, is of him taking a stance, cocking his head a bit, and delivering a line with a twinkle his eye. And there often seems to be very little variation on this approach.
But you know what?
I don’t care. I just love seeing him on the screen. Maybe it’s his mellifluous voice that could calm a tornado (somewhat satirized here in the opening and closing as he does a voice over for a BBQ ad). Maybe it’s his sincerity. Maybe it’s just his ability to be on the screen with seemingly little effort.
I just like him. Continue reading

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER: Beatriz at Dinner and It Comes at Night


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
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
Beatriz at Dinner is writer Michael White and director Miguel Arteta’s third film collaboration after Chuck and Buck (an interesting character study of a gay man wanting to take up a former relationship with his best friend who is now married and apparently no longer gay) and The Good Girl (a modern day somewhat clever take on Madame Bovary).
Together they have made a very solid series of films. Nothing perhaps to light up the sky, but still, quite respectable and entertaining.
Beatriz at Dinner is probably their most ambitious. At the same time, however intriguing and entertaining it often is, it is probably their weakest. I think this may be because they set up an intriguing premise, but failed to, or didn’t know how to, really resolve it all in a rich and satisfying way. Continue reading

AMAZON WOMEN ON THE EARTH: Wonder Woman


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
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
When the film Logan opened, I told all my friends I didn’t want any shit anymore about how depressing Manchester by the Sea is.
But that was just the beginning. It seems the world of comic book as escapist fare in film may be seeing its dying days as the genre seems to be getting darker and darker and ideas of right and wrong seem to be getting more and more ambiguous.
In many ways this began perhaps with The Dark Knight Rises, which is not your mother’s Batman or a generation’s raised on the over the top camp (if that’s not redundant) of the Adam West TV take on Gotham’s guardian.
But as of late, we’ve had Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in which a group of people, almost all of whom die at the end, use morally ambiguous means to prop up a Menachian religion. And then the emotionally devastating Logan in which a group of people, almost all of whom die, don’t worry about morality as they fight off a great evil. Continue reading

ART ISN’T EASY: Afterimage and Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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
Andrzej Wajda is one of the great Polish filmmakers of our time. He gained international recognition starting in 1955 with the films A Generation, Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds, a trilogy that take place after WWII and Russia has become the occupying force.
We now have his final film Afterimage, co-written with Andrzeg Mularczyk (they also collaborated on Wajda’s penultimate film Katyn). It’s the story of an artist in 1950’s Poland who is the country’s most famous practitioner of abstract art, Wladyslaw Strzeminski. He’s also the most popular art teacher in his college-he’s the kind of lecturer that is also attended by non-students and tends to be standing room only.
But the times are not on his side. Communism has declared that non-representational art is decadent, Capitalistic propaganda, and only social realism is acceptable.

Continue reading

THE MARRIAGE GO ROUND: The Wedding Plan, The Lovers and The Dinner


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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
Just some quick reviews to get caught up on my movie going which has been curtailed to some degree due to health issues, but now I feel closer to my old self. Now if I could only feel closer to my old self of thirty years ago, everything would be wonderful. But, ‘tis not to be.
One subgenre of film I usually detest is the romance where the female central character has no other goal in life than to find a husband and who believes that her life will always be incomplete without a man in it.
Usually when confronted by such a personage, I always want to yell “get a life” at the screen.
However, I also always say that there are always exceptions and so it goes that Michal, the focus of writer/director Rama Burstein’s new film The Wedding Plan, is just such an exception.

Continue reading

OEDIPUS WRECKS or DADDY DEAREST: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is superior to the fun and frolicsome first entry in the franchise if, for no other reason, than the casting of Kurt Russell, former Disney waif turned cult actor, who has managed, somehow, to bridge the cinematic generation gap (previously by appearing in Furious 7, now by becoming a Marvel supervillain) and, like Donald Sutherland in The Hunger Games, become relevant again.
And Quentin Tarantino certainly hasn’t hurt his career any.
And it’s also interesting that it is happening just as his significant other seems to be doing the same by co-starring in the more successful than expected Amy Schumacher vehicle, Snatched.
I’m always ready to spread out the welcome mat for Russell and here he seems to be having the time of his life playing a maniacal psychopath with a God complex (appropriately named Ego no less) and the powers to back it up. Continue reading

I OBJECTIVE: HOW TO OBTAIN CRITICAL TASTE IN FILM


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.

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

In the course of my writings, I have oft repeated a couple of mantras that I think are important for screenwriters to have.

One is: there is nothing wrong with liking a bad film, but there is something wrong with thinking a film is good for no other reason than you liked it.

Second is: I firmly believe every screenwriter needs to develop critical taste and that in the same way you can teach your palate to differentiate between good wine and bad, you can do the same with film. Continue reading