THE WORKING CLASS GOES TO HEAVEN: I, Daniel Blake, Paterson and Neruda


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-3Critics, at least those in the U.S., have at times complained about the dearth of movies that focus on the life of ordinary, often blue collar, workers. It’s not that it never happens. We’ve had our On the Waterfronts and Blue Collars.
But still, it feels that the lunchbox is more than a bit bare.
Great Britain has fared better, especially since the emergence of the angry young man stories and kitchen sink dramas in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.
British director Ken Loach has even made it his focus to create films about those on the lower rungs of society, especially their struggles to get by. He might even be called the cinematic poet of the working class. Continue reading

RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Rules Don’t Apply and Allied


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-1Rules Don’t Apply, the latest, and from what I understand, the last film from Warren Beatty who wrote, produced and plays famous recluse Howard Hughes here, has some charming moments in the first half.
The story revolves round Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich, who has the looks, charisma, but a lot more talent than B-movie actor Audie Murphy) who is one of Hughes’s many drivers who escort one of the billionaire’s many starlets around Los Angeles. The starlet assigned to Frank is Marla Mabry (Lily Collins).
Both are quite religious (Hughes chose his drivers from church goers as a guard against them trying to bed his starlets). They say grace before meals, watch The Billy Graham Crusade on television, and attend church every Sunday. And not only do they do this unapologetically when others are around and in the streets where they might scare the horses, Beatty himself presents this spiritual side of the characters just as unapologetically.
And Ehrenreich and Collins have a nice chemistry between them. They don’t exactly set the celluloid on fire, but they make a cute and attractive couple. Continue reading

YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN: Manchester By The Sea, It’s Only the End of the World and The Commune


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-2You Can’t Go Home Again is, of course, the title of a posthumously published novel by Thomas Wolfe, and a phrase that has entered common discourse since. I’ve seen three movies lately that are about people returning home or using memories of their early years as the basis for their stories.
The basic premise of writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s new film Manchester by the Sea revolves around Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a janitor living in Boston who is very good at his job, but is a loner with a somewhat self-destructive personality. When he receives word that his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died, he returns to his home city of Manchester by the Sea, a fishing and tourist town. There he is shocked to discover that his brother in his will has requested Lee to become guardian to Joe’s sixteen year old son, Lucas. Joe has provided for Lucas’ expenses in his will and just needs Lee to return to Manchester to live.
Why Lee can’t return and the conflicts over how to handle this request make up the bulk of the movie and much of the heart breaking suspense is waiting to find out what happened that led to Lee’s present situation-you know it has something to do with his three children since they are only shown in flashback. The waiting is painfully unbearable at times. Continue reading

FANTASTIC VOYAGES: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana


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-1I think their might be a competition for the use of the geekiest hero in thrillers these days.
In the movie The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks plays a symbologist who races to uncover a mystery in order to save Christianity and the Catholic Church.
Now we have the film Arrival in which Amy Adams is a linguist who is called in to save the world from a possible alien attack.
What’s next? A philatelist? A trademark attorney?
The basic premise of Arrival revolves around a group of spacecraft that suddenly appear and hover above the earth in twelve different locations. In order to try to communicate with them and discover why they are here and what they want, they bring in Louise Banks (Adams), a college professor, someone who, it seems safe to say, is just a bit out of touch with her fellow man-the day after the craft arrive she comes in to teach her class and seems a little put out that no one else showed up. Continue reading

JUST LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT: Elle, Nocturnal Animals and The Salesman


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-3SPECIAL NOTE: the review of Elle is especially riddled with spoilers, but I don’t know really how else to talk about it.
There has been a lot written of late when it comes to the use of rape as a plot point in movies about women. More and more, for many viewers and critics, the use of such a storyline has turned into a cheap device and exploitive way to get an audience, especially men, to tune in.
It may have even become so polarizing that, to some extent, it has made it difficult to write about a film in which sexual assault is central to the action.
For example, I have seen three movies lately that have employed attacks on women as part of the narrative. Two were explicitly rapes, the other a bit more ambiguous. But in the two that were explicit, I couldn’t tell if the rape felt exploitive because that’s what it was, or that it felt exploitive because the political climate today is such that it doesn’t allow it to be anything but.
Elle, the second film this year starring the great Isabel Huppert (the first is the wonderful Things to Come) opens with the sound of a rape over the titles (or could it be simply rough sex?, it’s difficult to tell). Continue reading

WOMEN WHO WORK: Things to Come and Miss Sloane


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-3Two films at this year’s AFI fest had, as their central characters, women who work outside the home. But the takes on the situation by the respective filmmakers couldn’t be more different.
In Things to Come (not to be confused with the Sci-Fi film from 1936 starring Raymond Massey…I hope), Nathalie Chateaux teaches philosophy in high school. And I don’t mean teaches philosophy, she TEACHES philosophy (and in a way that makes you put on sackcloth and ashes, moaning and bewailing in despair over the U.S. educational system).
Everything in her life seems in perfect equilibrium. She has a loving husband, family, occupation (her only real downside is that her mother is emotionally unstable).
Then she encounters a series of misfortunes. Her husband asks for a divorce; her mother dies; and she is basically fired from her position of overseeing the philosophy texts used in school. Continue reading

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVING, SWEET LOVING: Loving and Yourself and Yours


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-1You can almost hear the people in the marketing meeting breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to titling the new film, the true story of a couple from different races who got married and were arrested for it.
“Oh, my god”, says one. “It’s about this couple who love each other against all odds. And their real names are, wait for it…Loving. It’s like this stuff writes itself.”
Social problem movies, especially those based upon true events, are not my favorite. Films like Gentlemen’s Agreement and Judgment at Nuremberg are often shallow, when they’re not being preachy and on the nose and told with little imagination. And the message sometimes seems a little warped (is the theme of Gentlemen’s Agreement that Jews should not be persecuted, or that people should not pick on Jews because they might be gentiles in disguise). Continue reading