My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/20–27/2016


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/20=27/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  To Catch A Thief, written by John Michael Hayes and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is not top drawer Hitchcock, but it’s still pretty good. A retired cat burglar must come out of retirement when someone starts using his MO to steal jewels. This leads to Grace Kelly using double entendres over a picnic to woo Cary Grant. Fun.
ff 2ON HULU:  The Demon, written by Masato Ide from a story by Seicho Matsumoto and directed by the Japanese Alfred Hitchcock, is a brutal and riveting tale of what happens when a man’s mistress drops his three children with him and his unsuspecting wife. As pressure mounts, the lives of the children become at stake.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Angry Birds, Love and Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Weiner, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, A Bigger Splash, The Measure of a Man, A Monster With A Thousand Heads, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016 http://ow.ly/4ntIr8


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

 

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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016
rev 2ON NETFLIX:  In 1845, a group of pioneers take a shortcut at their guide’s behest in order to get over the Cascade Mountains. They get lost as writer Jonathan Raymond and director Kelly Reichart take them all down a road of existentialism. Are they really lost, and if they are, what do they do? An intriguing small western starring Michelle Williams.
ff 1ON HULU:  This time round, I am going to recommend a television series, the anarchic and almost nihilistic, but very darkly funny animated Rick and Morty. The premise is difficult to explain clearly, but it’s about an alcoholic scientist who takes his often clueless nephew on a series of outrageous adventures.
jimmy vestwoodA SPECIAL SHOUT OUT FOR: Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, written by Amir Ohebsion and its star Maz Jobrani, and directed by Jonathan Kesselman, “A wannabe private investigator wins the Green Card lottery and moves to America to pursue his dream only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy to start the next world war.”  It plays at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 and the Town Center Five
ff 4OF SPECIAL NOTE: Jean Luc Godard’s great film Band of Outsiders plays at   (It’s the one where our heroes run across the Louvre)

 

rev 1FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Lobster, Money Monster, Highrise, Last Days in the Desert, Captain America: Civil War, A Bigger Splash, The Dark Horse, Elstree 1976, Sing Street, The Meddler Continue reading

LONG DIVISION: Captain America: Civil War


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

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 1It takes a while for the new superhero movie Captain America: Civil War to reach the scene that everyone has paid their hard earned bucks to see: a knock down drag out between the two sides of the Avengers, one headed by Iron Man and one headed by the titular hero.

 

But when it gets there, it proves to be more than worth the wait.

 

Let’s just say, it ain’t your parents’ Sharks versus the Jets.

 

In fact it’s one of the wittiest and smartest over the top superhero fight scenes we are likely to see for some time.  It’s not just the dialog that is clever and earns its laughs, it’s also the way the fight plays out, which character gets pitted against which and how their superpower works against each other. There’s such a slick smoothness here, as if the planning of it was completely effortless; everything just fits together so well. Continue reading

PERFORMANCE ANXIETY: Green Room and Viva


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 1Green Room, the new thriller from writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (the follow up to his well-received indie film Blue Ruin, but no, he’s not doing a series of titles with color in them), has a marvelous set up. 
A group of head banger musicians take a last minute job to play at a remote white supremacist bar (does it bother anyone else in the audience that neo-Nazis and Washington DC millennials like the same type of music) because, well, their last gig got cancelled and they’re desperate for money (Saulnier does a clever thing here—as the first number the band plays, they assert their artistic integrity by singing an anti-Nazi song; it serves to help give them sympathy from the audience for taking the job in the first place). 
After the show, they accidentally walk in on a murder and are then trapped in the titular location and must figure a way out of the mess they’re now in.
I mean, it’s a really neat little first act.  It’s certainly gets one empathizing with their situation, wondering what you could possibly due in the same situation. 
At the same time, this is also where the movie, for me, stopped fulfilling its initial promise.  Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/6-13/2016


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 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.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/6-13/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  I’m not saying that Robinson Crusoe on Mars, written by John C. Higgins and Ib Melchior and directed by Byron Haskin (loosely adapted from the novel by Daniel Defoe) is a good movie, but it’s a fun one, with all the cheesiness included.  Paul Mantee plays an astronaut stranded on Mars (long before Matt Damon) and Victor Lundin is a slave that escapes from a group of aliens who mine on Mars.  Adam (Batman) West is also around, at least for awhile.
ff 2ON HULU:  Stakeout, written by Shinobu Hashimoto (he worked on a number of Kurosawa films) and directed by Yoshitaro Nomura (Zero Focus, Castle of Sand), is a film noir as if Ozu had directed it.  Two police detectives go to a town in the South of Japan because they believe a man who killed a pawnbroker may visit his old girlfriend.  Methodical with its own pacing, it’s rich in character study with a story that slowly, but certainly, draws you in.  A Japanese filmmaker who isn’t as well known in the U.S. as he should be.
ff 3OF SPECIAL NOTE: Dragon Inn (1967) is playing at the Nuart
ff 4OF SPECIAL NOTE: Jean Luc Godard’s great film Band of Outsiders plays at Cinefamily at The Silent Movie Theater 5/6-8, 10-12 (It’s the one where our heroes run across the Louvre)
rev 5FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Captain America: Civil War, A Bigger Splash, The Family Fang, Dheepan, The Dark Horse, Being Charlie, Elstree 1976, The Invitation, Viva, Sing Street, The Meddler, Hockney, The Wait Continue reading

NOSTALGIA AIN’T WHAT IT USE TO BE: Everybody Wants Some!! and Sing Street


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 1Two movies have opened recently that take place in the recent past (the 1980’s to be more precise).  Each felt pastelled over with a patina of nostalgia, a painful desire for a sweet past.  But the two couldn’t be more different in their approaches.
Everybody Wants Some!! (with two, count ‘em, two exclamation points) is the most recent effort from writer/director Richard Linklater. Like his previous effort, Boyhood, it doesn’t use a hero’s journey or character arc, nor does it use a plot in which a central character must overcome an obstacle or gain a goal, as the basic structure.
No, rather, like such films as Amarcord and Cleo from 5 to 7, it uses a passage of time to hold its story together. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 4/29-5/6/2016


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 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.  Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/29-5/6/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  Look Who’s Back is very difficult to describe.  With screenplay by Marco Kreauzpaintner and Johannes Boss and direction by David Wnendt, its basic premise is that Hitler has somehow materialized in modern day Germany.  A TV journalist, trying to get his job back, finds him and promotes him as a kind of joke, not realizing he’s the real thing.  As a result, Hitler becomes a huge TV star.  Part scripted, part Borat, it’s a rather vicious look at modern German attitudes, suggesting that Hitler would not be so out of place in today’s world.
ff 2ON HULU:  As written by Yevgeni Zamyatin, Jacques Companees, Charles Spaak and the director Jean Renoir, Maxim Gorky’s Russian play about the lowest of the low, The Lower Depths, gets a definite Gallic spin, part film noir, part existential romanticism, and not as downbeat as the original source.  It’s not as good as Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation, which is closer to the source material.  But it has its moments, especially in Louis Jouvet as a Baron who loses everything, but accepts it all as his destiny.  
ff 5Of Special Note: The TCM Film Festival begins 4/28/16 www.tcm.com
ff 3Of Special Note: Prince’s Purple Rain will be showing at various locations in the city
ff 4FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Viva, Keanu, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Invitation, Green Room, The Meddler, Sworn Virgin, Sing Street, Dough, Hockney Continue reading