THE ROAD TO PYONGPANG: The Interview


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Warning: SPOILERS
interviewAbout a third of the way through the new, and unexpectedly controversial comedy, The Interview, I had this odd feeling of déjà vu, as if there was something strangely familiar about the movie.
And then I realized what it was: The Interview, the movie about a celebrity interviewer (with a wicked, fun moment when Eminem comes out of the closet) and his producer who get a chance to go mano a mano with the leader of North Korea, is basically a Road movie.
And by that, I don’t mean one of those sub-genres about two people who get in a car and keep driving and driving encountering various eccentrics along the way until you’re begging for a lobotomy.
No, this is basically a modern day version of a group of movies made famous by Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (The Road to Singapore, The Road to Zanzibar, The Road to Utopia, et al.), in which two contrasting characters have a bromance as they make their way through a series of ridiculous adventures. Continue reading

FANTASY ISLANDS: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Into the Woods


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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
hobbit battleThe latest entry of The Hobbit franchise is called The Battle of the Five Armies, and I guess I have to first say that I found the title a tad puzzling because I only counted four…armies, that is. There were elves, dwarves, man and orcs.
I guess the fifth comes about if you divide those orcky things into two different factions, but, I don’t know, that sorta felt like cheating to me.
At any rate, I think the story of J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings could be used as a metaphor for filmmaker Peter Jackson and his production of this final installment of the adventures of a little person called Bilbo Baggins. Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE an interview with writer/producer Amir Ohebsion


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

 

This is the third 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.

Let me know what you think. Any feedback or suggestions for the sort of information you might like to know will be appreciated.

AFF 2014 Awards LuncheonNext up: writer/producer Amir Ohebsion

Amir Ohebsion is a writer and producer based in Los Angeles. His first feature screenplay, The Apology, won the grand prize at Slamdance and is currently in development. Most recently, Amir’s feature film “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero” won the Comedy Vanguard Feature Jury Award as well as the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival. “Jimmy” playfully skewers American preconceptions of the Middle East and breaks new ground through its depiction of the first hero of Middle-Eastern descent in an American comedy. In addition to writing and producing for the screen, Amir has staged several theatrical plays to consistent sell-out audiences including Death, A Very Serious Comedy and The Belind Date both of which premiered in LA at the prestigious 1200-seater, Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Continue reading

THERE WILL BE WEED or THE GRASSTER: Inherent Vice


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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
inherent viceI’m afraid that when it comes to me, myself and writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, the honeymoon may, at last and alack, be over.
I mean, this was no one night stand.
When I first met Anderson, he took me with his Hard Eight. And we then spent many Boogie Nights together. I did think that with Magnolia we didn’t quite come together as we once did. Still, though it may not have totally worked, it was far, far…far more stimulating than many films that did. And with Punch Drunk Love he just, well, punched, drunked and loved me.
I was delirious.
But time marches on and, like so many relationships, people change, circumstances change, conflicts emerge until the relationship starts hitting some rough shoals. Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE an interview with writer, actor, producer, director Donald McKinney


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

 

This is the second 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.
Let me know what you think. Any feedback or suggestions for the sort of information you might like to know will be appreciated.
 
And check out the first interview with Michelle Ehlen: http://ow.ly/G3DFO
 
donaldNext up: Writer, actor, producer, director Donald McKinney

 

Founder of Rumblespoon Productions, Donald Mckinney was born and raised in the woods of Ohio, only to move to the Urban Jungle of Los Angeles. With a BA in Acting and a PHD in BS he’s been able to slowly work his way up the food chain from Restaurants and theaters to short films and web series. As writer/director/actor/producer, some of his short films include Succubus and The Birth and he is in the third season of The Blue Beetle, a web series about a hapless super hero. As an actor, he can be seen as the title role in The Blue Beetle and such films as What We Can’t Have and the upcoming Alpha -1 and Creatures of Habit.

 

  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced?
My First screenplay produced was a short film called Succubus. It was an ultra-short script about a female hellspawn, and her “control” over the tales she tells, and the men she can control.

 

Continue reading

THE MOORE THE MERRIER: My take on the movies Still Alice and Maps to the Stars and why Julianne Moore will win the Oscar this year


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
Warning: SPOILERS
still alice twoJulianne Moore is destined to win the Best Actress award at the 2014 Academy Awards. It’s written in the stars (pun intended) as much as any plot in a drama by Aeschylus or Shakespeare. Far and wide it has been announced that it is Ms. Moore’s year. And who am I to argue with the stars, metaphorical or not?
Now, the question that remains is, “why”? What confluence of events, both within and without anyone’s control, has lead Moore to this momentous precipice?
I’m glad you asked. I shall try and enumerate the reasons.
First, there’s an old saying in Hollywood (though I may have actually made it up, I don’t remember) that just about everyone who deserves an Oscar gets one, but not for the movie they deserve it for. Continue reading

POLITICAL THEATER: Diplomacy, Viva la Liberta and Citizenfour


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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
diplomacyDid General von Choltitz, the Nazi governor of Paris during its final days of occupation, and Raul Nording, the Swedish counsul-general, really meet cute the night before von Choltitz was to blow up the major cultural buildings of Paris and cause the Seine to overflow and kill millions of people? And did Nording actually talk him out of doing so?
Some people say “yes”, some say “no”.
Of course, petty details like that have never stopped dramatists before (see Schiller having Mary, Queen of Scots confront Queen Elizabeth I). And either way, it’s hard not to see the potential for a fascinating confrontation and battle of minds.
So who cares if it really happened or not. Continue reading

AND THINGS THAT GO BABADOOK IN THE NIGHT: The Babadook and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night


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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
babadookTwo movies have opened lately that fall into the horror genre and have much in common. They both have female central characters and both have been directed by women. They are both first features, filmed on a low budget, show a formidable amount of talent and have more style than a Coco Chanel fashion shoot.
And though I’m not quite convinced that either really rise above what they are, they have so much going for them that I think both are more than worth the look.
In The Babadook from Australia, written and directed by Jennifer Kent (based on a short film of hers called Monster), a pregnant woman, Amelia, loses her husband in a car crash as he is taking her to the hospital to deliver their child. Six years later, Amelia is a single, working mom trying to raise her only son.
But something is wrong. Said son Samuel can’t sleep at night for fear of monsters under the bed and in the closet. This means Amelia is not getting any sleep and is having more and more trouble holding it all together. Continue reading

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Wild Tales, Human Capital and Leviathan and a finger wagging at finger waggers of the Oscar foreign language film category


UntitledFirst, 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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
wild tales oneI’ve been saying in a few of my reviews lately that it’s November (well, now it’s December, but the principle’s the same), meaning that it’s that time of the year again, meaning it’s awards season, meaning that such a circumstance in some way determines what movies are being released and subsequently what movies I have been covering for my blog.
Well, still I say it’s still that time of the year again, which means it’s award season, which means that a large number of movies from other countries are making their appearance in some way since both the Oscars and The Golden Globes have foreign language film categories, which means…well, here we are.
I saw the films Wild Tales, Leviathan and Human Capital at AFI. They are all their respective countries (Argentina, Russia and Italy) entries in the foreign language film category.
But before I begin, I would like to take a few paragraphs to grouse about people who grouse about how this particular Oscar category is handled. Continue reading