PROLOGUE TO GLORY: Southside With You and Sully


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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
rev-1Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
                                                            Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare
When Pauline Kael reviewed Abel Gance’s Napoleon, she talked, somewhat negatively, of Gance’s approach to the future emperor. She said something to the affect that when Napoleon is an adult, Gance treats him as a man of destiny; when the subject is young and in school, he’s presented as a child of destiny.
This isn’t an unusual way to approach biopics of famous people; treating them as archetypes, rather than human beings like anyone else one might meet on the street, an approach closer to what George Bernard Shaw tried to do in such works as Caeser and Cleopatra and St. Joan.
But even Shaw’s plays seem more like the Fast and Furious franchise when compared to Southside With You, the chronicling of an early and ordinary day in the life of two people who later became two of the most powerful people in the world. Continue reading

MOMMIES DEAREST: Mia Madre and The Light Between Oceans


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
rev-3In many ways, Margherita is having a year of Job.
Her mother is dying and she and her brother spend much of their time with their parent in the hospital. She’s directing a socially conscience film that is not going well; it seems fake and she’s not sure she can make the project work, and small things keep going wrong. She has recently broken up with her latest lover because she can’t leave her work at home. She is having trouble relating to her daughter. And she is having difficulty getting a performance from the American actor flown in for the lead of the film (he has a condition that makes it difficult for him to remember lines, made worse in that they are in Italian).
The film, Mia Madre, is co-written by the director Nanni Moretti (along with Valia Santelli and Francesco Piccolo) and is inspired by the time in his life when his mother was dying while he was filming We Have a Pope. Continue reading

NO COUNTRY FOR BLIND MEN: Hell or High Water and Don’t Breathe


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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
rev-2At one point in Hell or High Water, the new bank robbery movie that takes place in Texas, as younger brother Toby (Chris Pine) goes into a convenience store, his older brother, Tanner (Ben Foster), requests a Dr. Pepper. Toby returns with a Mr. Pibbs, to the consternation of the aforementioned sibling.
I’m not sure if the screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is from the Lone Star State, but I do have a feeling that only a native son would understand the egregious wrong that has been committed here.
In a recent review, I mentioned that we have George Lucas to thank for utilizing a bad guy that everyone can hate with no political incorrectness: Nazis. But as this movie quickly indicates, there is one bastion of evil that comes a close second: banks. Continue reading

THE NAZIS ARE COMING, THE NAZIS ARE COMING: Imperium, Anthropoid and The People v. Fritz Bauer


For more information, contact: hcasnef@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
rev 1In the 1970’s Hollywood on, people were having trouble coming up with an acceptable background for villains. Critics and audiences were becoming more and more resistant to the idea that the bad guys had to be a member of a minority group.
What was a filmmaker who liked to use shorthand to create characters rather than create in-depth individual to do?
Well, George Romero gave us the living dead. Steven Spielberg gave us a shark (which is only fair since he soon took away aliens as bad guys with E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, not to return space creatures to their evil glory until War of the Worlds).
But perhaps the filmmaker we should be most grateful to is George Lucas who gave us the most villainous of all villains, the Nazi, in the Indiana Jones franchise.
After all, other than Trump supporters, who likes Nazis? Continue reading

NEW YORK STORIES: Florence Foster Jenkins and Little Men


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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
rev 1Tourist: How do I get to Carnegie Hall?
Taxi Driver: Practice, son, practice.
Or you can go the way of Florence Foster Jenkins and have enough money to rent the hall oneself.
In the 1960’s, a Margaret Dumontenesque like singer going by the name of Mrs. Miller become a flavor of the month sensation by singing pop songs like Downtown in an operatic off key shrill. I have a memory of Mrs. Miller from my youth. I did wonder at the time whether she knew she was being laughed at, not with. Apparently she had some idea, but that didn’t stop her from recording.
Such a character appears in pop culture every once in a while (anyone have a painting of a poor orphaned waif with saucer eyes?). And now a new movie has been made about a similar creature who shared her voice during the days leading up to World War II.
The main difference is that Florence Foster Jenkins made Mrs. Miller sound like Leontyne Price. Continue reading

GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO: Don’t Think Twice and Indignation


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
rev 1Don’t Think Twice, the new movie about improvers from writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia (his second feature after Sleepwalk With Me, also about comedians), has one of the best analyses of Saturday Night Live (called Weekend Live here) I’ve come across, encapsulating what has gone wrong with the show for who knows how many years now. The main characters have gathered together to watch one of their group who has been cast in the series. The skit is terrible, as so many SNL skits are. They scrunch up their faces and basically say: you can tell it’s supposed to be funny, you can understand why it’s supposed to be funny, but it just isn’t funny.
The basic through line of Don’t Think Twice is, in many ways, very universal. It’s happened to all of us. We’re progressing when suddenly we find ourselves in a rut, but we don’t realize it. We know we need to do something to achieve our longtime goals, but we’ve grown comfortable, without realizing that’s how we feel, and so we drift along the way we are.
Then something happens that forces us to do something to change the status quo. We actually think this event is, in many ways, the apocalypse, but in working through it, we actually realize it’s the best thing that could have happened, because we were forced to do something, anything, to make us so uncomfortable that we had to start reaching for that goal again (or redefine it).

Continue reading

THE EAST IS EAST AND THE WEST IS WEST: Woody Allen’s Café Society


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
Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1In Woody Allen’s most recent attempt at making himself forget that he will have to die one day, or as it’s called in the state of the art, his latest film, Café Society, about a young man, Bobby (Allen stand in Jessie Eisenberg), who goes out to the West Coast to see if he wants to make a future there, the camera often glides around a scene with all the grace of Sonja Henri, even at times so smoothly it left me a little dizzy. I can’t remember the last time I saw Allen’s camera flow as much as it does here. Often of late, his camera feels as if it were following the old saying, what you see is what you get.
Its appearance was so refreshing at the beginning of the film, it had me hoping for something more than a typical 21st Century Woody Allen movie. But alas, though not a terrible night at the cinema, Café Society is only intermittently successful. Continue reading