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

TV OR NOT TV: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Star Trek Beyond


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 3In the olden days (those are the days when most of you weren’t even a gleam in your father’s eyes yet), when the movies went to television for subject matter, we got Marty, Judgment at Nuremberg, Charlie and The Days of Wine and Roses. Today we have The Beverly Hillbillies, Charlie’s Angels, Dark Shadows and The Addams Family (okay, The Addams Family was pretty neat, especially Addams Family Values, but you get my drift).
And now, opening the same week, we have two more: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (or Ab Fab, as those in my tribe refer to it) and Star Trek Beyond (or STB as I will refer to it).
Shoot me before they reach Gilligan’s Island.
Both movies, in spite of being in entirely different genres, do have two things in common. One: both are from television series that succeeded because they found the humanity at the core of their concepts. Second, and perhaps ironically: the human connection is almost totally cut off from both of the films (with Ab Fab: The Movie being so disconnected from reality, it might as well also have sci-fi in common with Star Trek). Continue reading

BETTER LATE THAN CRAP: The Innocents, Wiener-Dog and Hunt for the Wilderpeople


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 2I know I’m a little late with reviews of the above titled films. I got behind in work and I wasn’t sure when I was ever going to get back to blogging and even thought of bypassing these movies since some of them have passed from the theaters.
But last week two major tentpole type films opened the same weekend, Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie and Star Trek Beyond, and both are crap. No, they are worse than that. They are crappity crap crap crap.
So I thought I owed it to the other movies to share my views. I mean, how can I justify passing up these three movies when I’m going to eventually review crap?
So, let’s begin.
In the early sixties Poland had, what was termed in the biz, a new wave, a group of emerging filmmakers who had something unique and fresh to say (or at least tried, the country was still a Russian satellite at the time). Directors and writers like Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieslowski burst on the scene with an exciting outpouring of new work like Knife in the Water, Ashes and Diamonds, The Contract and Camera Buff. Continue reading

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