Transcendence (or perhaps more aptly titled Trance-enduscence), the new sci-fi thriller written by Jack Paglen and directed by Wally Pfister (a first feature for both, though Pfister was the cinematographer on many Christopher Nolan films), is about a scientist, Will Caster, who tries to turn the world into a dystopian Eden when his brain is uploaded into a computer.
The basic structure is as familiar as any standard piece of Victorian literature, the period when Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein, a horror story about an egotistical scientist who tries to play God by creating a man out of a bunch of miscellaneous parts from dead bodies. Continue reading
It looks like my screenplay The Last Tree Standing Motel has made quarterfinalists in the All Access Screenplay Competition.
My latest screenplay recommendation:
“Howard is true to his word, he judges a screenplay on the merits of the story it wants to tell. I would recommend for anyone who wants to write films that risk going beyond the Hollywood three-act structure.”
Zero Bucks a Night
The family of Jiale, a young boy growing up in Singapore in the 1990’s, is, shall we say, not having the best of times.
His mother Hwee Leng is, well, quite pregnant, to say the least, and works for a company where she types the dismissal notices for a mass layoff; her job seems secure, but no one else around her is so confident. The father, Teck, works as a salesman for a company that makes shoddy protective glass and he soon finds himself out of a job (though he doesn’t tell the family). And Jiale, well, Jiale is simply a terror, a combination of Damien Thorn and Rhoda Penmark. Continue reading
I feel I should start this review with full disclosure. I do not like the movies of Lars von Trier, I do not like them, Sam I Am. I find them preposterous, ridiculous, over the top, impossible to connect with emotionally, and, most importantly, just plain boring the vast majority of the time. I only keep seeing them because of the critical reception his movies receive and the reputation he has within the film community; so I realize that attention must be paid.
But I’m sorry, he just doesn’t work for me. Continue reading
There is one profoundly profound bit of dialog in Noah, the new “Biblical” (I put that in quotes because, well, there have been some complaints about just how Biblical it really is, so, you know, don’t want to make the Big Guy upstairs angry cause, let’s face it, after seeing this movie, one thing is clear, when he gets mad, he gets pissed, know what I mean?…anyway), the new “Biblical” epic from writers Ari Handel and Darren Aronofsky, the latter of whom also directed.
At one point, Noah seems to really lose it and starts planning some rather terrifying and somewhat shocking actions that most people would suggest are not of the most Godly kind, to say the least. His middle son, Ham, states that he thought God chose Noah because Noah was good. Noah’s response is, no, God chose him because he could get the job done. Continue reading
In the 2012 drama, Compliance, Pat Healy played a sociopath pretending to be a police officer who manipulates the workers at a fast food restaurant into do some pretty disgusting things (and I don’t mean to the food, though from what I understand, fast food workers wouldn’t need much manipulation for that in the first place).
In his newest movie, Cheap Thrills, he’s on the opposite side of the fence, playing a poor schnook being manipulated into doing disgusting things by a pair of sociopaths. Continue reading
The next in my series of five greats, this time, the five greatest male performances in American and British films (lead):