A CAMPING WE WILL GO: Mad Max: Fury Road and In the Name of My Daughter


First, a word from our sponsors. 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
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Warning: SPOILERS
mad max fury roadI’m sorry. I didn’t get it. I just didn’t.
I know, I know. Everybody and their mother loves the new movie tribute to stunt performers and second unit directors, Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s received 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and has made a fortune at the box office.
But I just didn’t get it.
As far as I can tell, the plot of the movie revolves around The Man With No Name who helps an Amazon with one arm rescue a bunch of Playboy playmates from Bane and his army of albino soldiers who all have great six packs in a post-apocalyptic world of little water, and worse, little gas.
In other words, we’re in the land of pure camp, but I’m not sure it’s of the high variety. Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Jane Rosemont, writer/director/producer of the award winning documentary short Pie Lady of Pie Town


This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
First, a word from our sponsors. 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
 
 
Next up: an interview with Jane Rosemont, writer/director/producer of the award winning documentary short Pie Lady of Pie Town
 
jane rosemontJane Rosemont was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of eight happy children. She was told she had three choices in life: to become a nun, a nurse, or a secretary. In typical fashion, she didn’t pay attention. In 1981 when she met an Olympus OM2 that gave her the focus she lacked. Rosemont’s photographic work has shown in galleries and museums throughout the U.S.A. and has appeared in numerous publications.
In 1996, she published Saving Faces, an award winning book of black and white portraits including a courageous self-portrait taken after her mastectomy. Shortly afterward, she discovered darkroom chemicals were adversely affecting her health. She turned to painting, collage and mixed media, but when digital photography began meeting the demands of serious photographers, Rosemont eagerly returned to her first love.  Her dedicated fine art photography website is www.janerosemontphoto.com Continue reading

WIIGING OUT: Welcome to Me and About Elly


First, a word from our sponsors. 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
welcome to meWhen Welcome to Me, the new comedy written by Eliot Laurence and directed by Shira Piven, began, I instantly became a bit wary. The central character, Alice Kleig (played by the quite funny Kristen Wiig) is bipolar and has just gone off her meds. I felt in these opening scenes the filmmakers were exploiting her condition for laughs and I became a bit uncomfortable.
But then something intriguing happens. We stop seeing Alice through the eyes of the director and writer, but through the eyes of her friends, who love her very much, as well as her therapist, who is very concerned for her and also likes her very much, and suddenly all those things she does (like starting any explanation by whipping out a piece of paper and saying, “I have a prepared statement”) now seem charmingly eccentric.
We like Alice and have affection for her and her foibles and are concerned for her because her friends have affection for her and are concerned. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/15/2015-5/22/2015


First, a word from our sponsors. 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. 5/15-22/2015

 

internal affairsON NETFLIX: Internal Affairs, written by Henry Bean and directed by Mike Figgis, it’s one of Richard Gere’s finest performances (and one of the first roles that suggested he was more than just a pretty face). He plays a sociopathic police officer being investigated by Andy Garcia’s IA officer. Intense and edge of your seat.

 

rules of the gameON HULU: The Rules of the Game, written by Carl Koch and director Jean Renoir, is one of the greatest films ever made and perhaps Renoir’s finest. It’s an ensemble piece, a dark comedy about a group of people, aristocrats and servants, who gather at a country estate for a weekend of amorality that leads to tragedy. Made on the eve of World War II, it was banned in France for being too critical of their citizens in such an intense political atmosphere.

 

mad max fury roadFIRST RUN and OPENING: Mad Max: Fury Road, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Good Kill, Slow West, In the Name of My Daughter, The Connection, Time Lapse, Furious Seven

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Stop Making Sense, Big Time, 4/15; Barry Lyndon, 4/16;

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: a 3-night series of Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsaio-Hsien, 5/15-17; Rebel Without a Cause, The Ugly American, 5/22

 

The CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Paris is Burning, 5/22-24, 27

 

NEW BEVERLY: The Great Escape, 5/13-16; The Imitation Game, Soldier of Orange, 5/20-21; Something Wild, Married to the Mob, 5/22-23

 

LACMA: Double Indemnity, 5/19

 

ACADEMY, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: To Catch a Thief, Artists and Models, 5/15; Shoot the Piano Player, Lola, 5/21; Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

 

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Todd Niemi writer/producer Backgammon


This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
First, a word from our sponsors. 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
 
Next up: an interview with Todd Niemi writer/producer of Backgammon
 
ToddNiemiTodd Niemi was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and, other than a few years spent on a farm in Ferrum, Virginia, was raised there. He developed an interest in screenwriting while in college, and though he made several attempts to write a screenplay after graduating, it wasn’t until he lost his technical writing job in 2009 that he completed one. That first script, The Captive, which was based on Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity narrative, was finished in the fall of 2009 and optioned several months later. Unfortunately, due to the poor state of the economy at the time, the producer was unable to raise enough money to fund the project, so the film was never shot.

 

  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced?
Backgammon is my first produced screenplay. It’s based on the novella “Bloody Baudelaire” by Raymond Russell. Ray and I collaborated on the script. Backgammon had its world premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival on April 17.

Continue reading

AVENGERS ONE, SMALL DEFENSELESS EASTERN EUROPEAN TOWN, ZERO: Avengers: Age of Ultron


First, a word from our sponsors. 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
avengers ultron 1It seems that after razing New York City to the earth more than a few times, the makers of movies from Marvel comics have now decided to turn their eyes on a smaller, more defenseless municipality in the fictional Easter European nation of Sokovia, smashing it to smithereens in the new tentpole film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
And one really has to feel for this poor little town. Not only has it survived World War I, World War II and the Holocaust, the Cold War occupation (under Stalin, even) and the difficult adjustment after the fall of the USSR, it once again is going to be ravaged, this time by a man made robot with sentience.
I mean, I don’t know what this city did to piss off writer/director Joss Whedon, but it must have been really something. It really gets the shit kicked out of it.
The basic premise of …Ultron is that age old trope of this is what happens when man tries to play god. In this variation on the theme, Tony Stark creates an AI to protect humankind from dangers of all kinds. But in true Colossus: The Forbin Project fashion, Ultron, the AI, very quickly, and probably very wisely and logically, realizes that humankind is most in danger from, well, itself and decides to take over to save us from us. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/8/2015-5/15/2015


First, a word from our sponsors. 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. 5/8-5/15/2015
winter sleepON NETFLIX: Winter Sleep, by writers Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (who also directed), is about a hotel keeper in Turkey and his difficult relationship with his wife and sister, as well as his own ennui. Inspired by plays and stories of Anton Chekov, it’s leisurely and methodical, but also a fascinating character study about a man at an existential crossroads in life. Continue reading