OF GODS AND MONSTERS: Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past

Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks of 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
godzilla-2014-movie-screenshot-old-monsterAll the while, while watching Godzilla, the mega monster movie epic written by Max Borenstein from a story by Dave Callaham and directed by Gareth Edwards, all I could think is “where is Mystery Science Theater 3000 when you need them?”
(I remember this one moment, see, and this female MOTU, okay, she like passes over the central character, Ford Brody, and you can like see its testicular like sac carrying its eggs and everything, and, and I so wanted Crow, Tom Servo or Gypsy to call out, “Please don’t teabag me, please don’t teabag me”). Continue reading

Latest Screenplay Consultation Testimonial – Joanne Wannan for Honeymoon in Rome

I just received feedback from Howard, and I must say, I was thrilled. He is thorough, honest, and insightful, and supplied 8 pages of detailed and valuable notes. Not only does he pinpoint a problem, he gives suggestions as to ways to solve them, and offers a fresh perspective on the work! I will definitely be using Howard again.


Joanne Wannan

Honeymoon in Rome


Palo-AltoPalo Alto is about teenage angst and existential ennui, just like the Twilight series, but without the werewolves and vampires, though almost as painful to get through (sorry, but it’s true).
The story revolves around three teens: April (Emma Roberts), Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and Fred (Nat Wolf) who are going through the throes of finding themselves. Unfortunately, the throes they are going through are pretty much the same throes that millions of other movie teens have pretty much gone through in millions of other movies before this and dramatized in pretty much the same way as those millions of others that came before as well. Continue reading

THE HALF YEAR OF THE WOMAN: Ida, Young & Beautiful and The Immigrant

young and beautifulI am one of those annoying movie fanatics who tend to make year end lists. You know what I mean: the top ten movies of the year, the best acting, directing, writing, etc. And if that’s not bad enough, like most people who do this, I start building that list early on such that by June, say, I have some strong possibilities as to who might make it out of the Darwinian survival of the fittest mire and who might not.
But there is something interesting happening this time round. While I already could easily have a top five or more list when it comes to female actors, I don’t have anyone I feel that strongly about for their male counterparts. So far this year, roles for women have been more interesting, more complex and more exciting than roles for men. Continue reading


Neighbors-Movie-Review-Image-6I remember seeing the semi-classic frat comedy Animal House when it opened some thirty-six years ago (god, thirty-six years, excuse me while I go shoot myself). I can still recall Bluto, played by John Belushi, screaming, “Christ. Seven years of college down the drain”.
I don’t think that I will have any such memory of the new frat comedy Neighbors.
Yes, that’s right, dear readers. I did not care for this film. That officially makes me, I suppose, the fuddy duddy party pooper Mr. Wilson who has lost all sense of humor and does nothing but scream at little kids to get off his lawn. But it’s true. Neighbors never remotely worked for me. Continue reading

O, WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

the-amazing-spider-man-2-paul-giamatti1The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of those movies where at one of the climaxes (there are a few here, but the one I’m referring to is a scene where two passenger planes are heading toward each other), the hero has four minutes to resolve the disastrous situation and twenty minutes later there is still thirty seconds left on the clock (the writers must be watching too much football).
Of course, I’m not sure I’m being fair. This is a standard trope for action movies and I’ve enjoyed many a one that, well, let’s say played fast and loose with the space time consortium.   And this one cheats no more than the best or worst of them.
Beyond that, as far as I’m concerned, on a scale of one to ten, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is less painful than Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man 1, but far, far, far more painful than Iron Man 2 and The Dark Knight Rises. Continue reading

LOVE, DEATH and LOVE & DEATH: Fading Gigolo, Blue Ruin and Nymphomaniac: Vol. II

fading gigiloFading Gigolo is about a man, Fioravante, who, without intending to in any way, shape or form, falls into being a gigolo (don’t you just hate it when that happens?).
It’s written by, directed by and stars John Turturro. But it probably should be noted that it co-stars Woody Allen. The reason this is significant is that in many ways, Fading Gigolo is a Woody Allen film that isn’t written by, isn’t directed by, and doesn’t star the famed writer/director himself.
It has the wit of a Woody Allen film. It deals with the Woody Allen themes of love and neuroses. It takes place in New York. Woody Allen is in it.
Hamilton Burger, I rest my case. Continue reading

THE FRENCH THEY ARE A FUNNY RACE: Part Trois, Movies at the Col-Coa Film Festival: Mea Culpa and Turning Tide

mea-culpaAt the end of Mea Culpa, the exhilarating and electrifying slam bang, no thank you ma’am, action thriller written by Fred Cavaye, Guillaume Lemans and Olivier Marchal and directed by Cavaye (all of which, especially when it comes to Cavaye. is probably a pretty redundant statement when it comes down to it), I turned to the person sitting beside me and said, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I am utterly exhausted”.
Mea Culpa is a movie in which every actor must have lost about fifty pounds by the time the shoot was over since half the time all they do is run. They run away from crooks at a bull fight into an deserted marketplace; they run away from crooks at a night club cum brothel (yeah, yeah, cum brothel, I get it); they run after crooks at an ambush at a police headquarters; they run away from crooks on a train (unless they are running to get on the train to stop the crooks).
I mean, these guys really run. A lot. I’m still exhausted just thinking about it. Continue reading

THE FRENCH THEY ARE A FUNNY RACE: Part Duex, Movies at the Col-Coa Film Festival: 9 Month Stretch and Me, Myself and Mum

9-month-stretch-sandrine-kiberlain-albert-dupontel-nicolas-marieAre you sitting down?
You maybe ought to be sitting down for this.
You see, there’s this judge. And she’s female. And she doesn’t like men and thinks they are all cowards because of something her father did to her mother, yadda, yadda, yadda. She is all work and no play, doesn’t drink or have sex. And she’s up for a major promotion.
But then on New Year’s Eve, against her better judgment, she lets her colleagues talk her into joining the party. She gets down and boogies; imbibes a bit too, too; leaves the merrymaking ministry in a haze…and six months later discovers she’s pregnant.  And can’t remember how it happened or with whom.
No, no, that’s still not it. Don’t get up yet. You probably should stay seated. Continue reading