DEAD MAN FARTING: Swiss Army Man and Carnage Park


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 2Perhaps the best way to describe Swiss Army Man, the new indie comedy from writer/directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, their first feature film, is that it is an odd duck of a movie. Of course, it’s no insult to say that it’s not quite as odd a duck as The Lobster, but if it quacks like one, etc. You get my drift anyway.
Those of you who watch the previews of coming attractions at their local bijou, or even those who don’t, probably know what the basic premise is. Paul Dano plays Hank, a depressed loner who gets stranded on an island after a boat he rented got lost.
As he is about to do himself in, he sees a dead body washed up on shore. This non-character is played by former Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, a role I bet never required him to pass wind.
Hank soon discovers that Manny has certain, shall we say, uses. He can fart with the power of an SST and he gets an erection that always tells Hank which way to go to get back to civilization.
And that’s just the beginning of the odd duckiness here. Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT STYLE: De Palma and The Neon Demon


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 1Two movies have opened recently that revolve around style. One is a documentary about a filmmaker who is known for his, the other is a film by a director who has it.
How one reacts to De Palma, the new doc by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow about the director, first name Brian, who really made his mark in movies with the horror film Carrie, may depend on how you feel about the filmmaker’s films in general. For me, De Palma, who is the only talking head here, it’s his show all the way, is only as interesting as his movies, which means that once we get to Blow Out, it’s all down here from there.
His earliest films tended to be of the independent sort, made on a shoestring budget, if that. They may not have always looked as professional as a Roger Corman production, but they had a fresh hipness to them and gave us such actors as Robert DeNiro and Jill Clayburgh. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/24-7/1/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/24-7/1/2016
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff 1ON HULU: Mommy is French-Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s latest film and his best since his début with I Killed My Mother. A mother removes her son from a mental institution. But her son’s emotional difficulties promise to send him back until a new neighbor helps. But is that help going to be enough? Wonderful acting by the three leads, some interesting directorial flourishes, and a deeply moving ending.
ff 2ON NETFLIX: As an actor, Tab Hunter was never a great one, maybe not even a particularly good one, and he was only a box office star for a relatively short period of time, so it may be hard to conceive that a documentary about him would be anything but fluff. But Tab Hunter Confidential, directed by Jeffrey Schwartz, is a fascinating look at the Hollywood acting machine, what is was like to be closeted in the U.S. at the time, and how Hunter came to terms with his life and found peace. Hunter, who is interviewed for most of the movie, is very candid about his life. A fascinating portrait.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Swiss Army Man, The Shallows, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Neon Demon, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Seoul People, Les Cowboys, My Love, Don’t Cross That River, Finding Dory, Tickled, The Witness, De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Wailing, The Nice Guys, The Lobster Continue reading

THE PAST AIN’T WHAT IT USE TO BE: Genius and Finding Dory


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 1Two movies have opened that deal with the past in some way. One takes place in it, and one has a character trying to find it.
Genius is the based on a true story film about the editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) and his nurturing of the somewhat difficult, to say the least, writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and the publication of Wolfe’s two books, Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River.
It was certainly a tumultuous relationship as artist/mentor relationships go. Perkins, though responsible for the publishing of such authors as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, was a Puritan at heart. Wolfe was larger than life, obnoxious, rude, an egotist and near sociopath, who lived life as if it were a last meal to be devoured.
One might very well ask, then, how a drama revolving around two such men could be, well, if truth be told and the devil shamed, tedious and almost never gripping? Continue reading

POSSESSION IS 9/10ths OF THE LAW: The Wailing and The Conjuring 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?  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 5Two movies have opened of late that revolve around children being taken over by supernatural forces beyond their control. I’m sure many of you might ask, “But how can you be sure it’s not just puberty?” Well, see the films and decide for yourself.
In the last number of years, the most interesting movies have been making their way over here from two unlikely sources: the Romanian and South Korean new waves. One might suggest that one is the result of having recently thrown off the cloak of Communism and the other from living under the specter of the same. But that’s little more than speculation.
However, there is a difference in the two. While the movies we get from Romania tend to be more political and social critiques (4 Months, 3Weeks, 2Days, Police: Adjective, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu), the ones from South Korea tend to be more genre focused (The Host, Thirst, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance).
Writer/director Hong-jin Han is one of the more interesting of the new set of Korean filmmakers. He started out with a psychological thriller (The Chaser, about a serial killer targeting prostitutes), and followed it up with a political thriller (Yellow Sea, about a man set up as a fall guy for an assassination, in a style worthy of Alfred Hitchcock).

Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/17-24/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/17-24/201
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff 1ON AMAZON: 1945’s And Then There Were None is quite possibly the best adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic novel (I have yet to see Acorn Channel’s new version) in which a group of people are invited and then trapped in a remote location whereupon they are killed off one by one in accordance to a nursery rhyme. Directed by Rene Clair (probably his best American film) and wittily written by Dudley Nichols, one of Hollywood’s best screenwriters. It also boasts a fun cast of some our best character actors including Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald, Roland Young, C. Aubrey Smith, Mischa Auer, Richard Haydn and Judith Anderson.
ff 2ON NETFLIX: Carlos is a television mini-series about the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez ‘Carlos’¸who eventually earned the nickname The Jackal after the man who tried to assassinate De Gaulle. Directed by one of France’s best director Olivier Assayas and written by Assayas, Dan Franke and Daniel Laconte, it’s a first rate political thriller in which Carlos is often portrayed as leading a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. And with a compelling performance by Edgar Ramirez in the title role.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Finding Dory, Tickled, The Keeper of Lost Causes, From Afar, Bang Gang, Genius, The Witness, De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Fits, The Wailing, The Nice Guys, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster

Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/10-6/17/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/10-6/17/201
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff1ON NETFLIX: Cold in July, written by Nick Dimici and the director Jim Mickle, is a very clever and effective neo noir with great performances by Sam Shepard and especially Don Johnson, who steals the show. A mild mannered family man shoots an intruder and it turns out he was wanted for other crimes. But the family man discovers this might not be true. One of the best films of its year.
ff 2ON HULU:  Night on Earth is a portmanteau film from writer/director Jim Jarmusch. It dramatizes five different cab rides in five different locations on earth. The stand out is probably Roberto Benigni who picks up a priest late one night in Rome.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Fits, Therapy for a Vampire, The Conjuring 2, The Wailing, Chevalier, The Idol, The Nice Guys, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster Continue reading