My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/27/2015-3/6/2015


My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/27-3/6/2015

 

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

 

nothing sacredON NETFLIX: Nothing Sacred, one of the great, but not as well known, comedies of the 1930’s, written by Ben Hecht and directed by William Wellman. Frederic March plays a disgraced reporter looking for a comeback in the dying Hazel Flagg. He brings her to New York and exploits her tragedy only to discover…she’s not really dying.

 

 

seanceON HULU: Séance on a Wet Afternoon, written and directed by Bryan Forbes, is about a medium who convinces her husband to kidnap a little girl so the medium can find her and become famous. Haunting and beautifully acted by Kim Stanley, who received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

 

 

71OF SPECIAL NOTE: ’71, written by Gregory Burke and directed by Yann Demange, and starring the dynamic Jack O’Connell, is the story of a young British soldier who gets left behind by his fellow soldiers during a riot on the Catholic side of Belfast, and he now has to find a way back. I saw this exciting and riveting movie at AFI last year.

 

 

FIRST RUN and OPENING: Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Timbukto, Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem, Goodbye to Language, Queen and Country, The Salvation, The Hunting Ground

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Ghost in the Shell, Redline, 2/27; Akira, Steamboy, 2/28; Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, 3/1; The Spoilers, Pittsburgh, 3/5; Battle Royale, 3/6

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 2/28; That Obscure Object of Desire, The Young and the Damned, 3/1; Children of Paradise, 3/6

NEW BEVERLY: The Thing, Runaway Train, 2/27-28; Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, High Heels, 3/3; The Matrix, Fight Club, 3/6-7

LACMA: Meet Me in St. Louis, West Side Story, 3/28; The 400 Blows, 3/3;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: My Life Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, 2/27-3/5

 

 

 

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with producer, director, editor David Au, writer of Eat With Me


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
 
david auNext up: an interview with producer, director, editor David Au, writer of Eat With Me
 
David Au was born and raised in Hong Kong. At age 18, he decided to move to Madison, Wisconsin, where he realized the true meaning of cold. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Journalism and Theatre/Drama, he got a job in advertising at DDB Chicago as a media planner. In 2002, he quit his job and moved out to Los Angeles to study film. That was when he wrote and directed his first short film Fresh Like Strawberries, which later developed into his feature film debut Eat With Me (Premiered at Los Angeles Film Festival in 2014). David is also a video editor by day, editing films, trailers, commercials and music videos. He edited feature narrative films such as The American Dream, August, Eat With Me and documentary feature Body Sex With Betty Dodson. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/20/2015-2/27/2015


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. 2/20-27/2015
yesterdayON NETFLIX: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, directed by Vittorio de Sica and written by several writers, these are three short films starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, gentle satires of Italian morals and mores. The two are both excellent in all three parts. A lot of fun.
state of playON HULU: Instead of a movie, this time I’m recommending binge watching with State of Play, a British thriller revolving around a newspaper reporter. A politician’s research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.
wild tales one
Of Special Note: Wild Tales, the Argentine entry for the Oscar foreign language category has reopened and it is a must see. You must see this film. Continue reading

MY PREDICTIONS FOR THE OSCARS


These are my predictions for the Academy Awards that are coming up this Sunday.  I am now going to make my first change here.  I am going to change my choice for editing from Whiplash to Boyhood.

I don’t expect to do that well this year because there are a few too many unknowns. In fact, I can’t remember the last time there were this many unknowns. So for many of the categories, I’m making some guesses. I’ll try to indicate those.

But the difficult categories (aside from the usual ones of shorts, sound editing, etc.) are best picture, actor, director and foreign film.

Everything else is fairly solid (aside from the usual ones of shorts, sound editing, etc.), though I know there are some disagreements out there.

But here goes:

BEST PICTURE:

Birdman

Yeah, I know, it’s either this or Boyhood, but I think Birdman may pull it off.

BEST ACTOR:

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Yeah, I know, it’s either him or Redmayne or, if they split the votes, Cooper, but I think Keaton has it.

BEST ACTRESS:

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

The Lego…Oh, wait, that’s right, that wasn’t nominated, so…

How to Train Your Dragon 2

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Birdman

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST DIRECTOR:

Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

CitizenFour

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

BEST FILM EDITING:

Boyhood.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

Usually one of the ones that is definite, but not this year, so I’m going with:

Leviathan

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST MUSIC:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST SONG:

Glory from Selma

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

BEST SHORT ANIMATED:

The Dam Keeper

BEST SHORT LIVE ACTION:

The Phone Call

BEST SOUND EDITING:

American Sniper

BEST SOUND MIXING:

Whiplash

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Interstellar

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

The Imitation Game

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

 

KING, QUEEN AND PAWNS: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Song of the Sea and Timbuktu


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
kingsmanKingsman: The Secret Service, the latest entry in a comic book franchise, this one with an espionage theme, is, in many ways, an impressive and handsomely made movie.
From a technical perspective, it’s incredibly well done with the best costumes, sets, and music money can buy. It doesn’t stint and there is nothing in this film that is an old piece of tat or is cheap as chips.
The acting is also first rate, raiding the cupboards as it does for the actors who are left who managed to not appear in The Lord of the Rings or The Harry Potter series.
And it has some beautifully well staged and directed second unit scenes of carefully, even wittily, choreographed episodes of extreme violence.
In many ways, those who like these sort of studio type tent pole films will probably find it hard to carp at anything they see.
So why did I find the whole thing dispiriting and extremely depressing? Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Dwayne Alexander Smith, writer of See Dick Run, Free Fall and the novel 40 Acres


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 Dwayne Alexander Smith, writer of See Dick Run, Free Fall and the novel 40 Acres
 
dwayneWriter/producer/director/novelist Dwayne Alexander Smith decided to make movies after seeing Star Wars. With a Super 8 camera, he made an animated short titled Shoes that won him a scholarship to filmmaking camp. Later he dropped out of college to make movies, first working at a film equipment rental house and then as locations assistant on various feature films.   He started writing screenplays to earn enough money to finish his first feature, Doomsday Stew. The film never got made, but he sold a screenplay, Joe’s Last Chance, and since then has earned a living as a professional screenwriter. He has sold or optioned six spec screenplays and has done numerous rewrites for different studios. Most recently he wrote a novel, Forty Acres, which was published by Atria Books.

 

 

  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced?
Well, the first screenplay I sold was JOE’S LAST CHANCE. It was packaged with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cedric the Entertainer and one million was spent on development. Unfortunately, Arnold decided to run for Governor and the project was put into turn around. My first writing assignment was on a project called KIDNAPPED for Queen Latifah’s company, Flava Unit and Lionsgate. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/13/2015-2/20/2015


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. 2/6-13/2015

 

castleON NETFLIX: The Castle: written and conceived by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy and director Rob Sitch, the film is a gentle comedy about what happens when a man’s house is being taken over by what we would call in the U.S. imminent domain to expand an airport and how he fights back. Quite a low key winner.

 

 

 

 

 

betty blueON HULU: Betty Blue is French writer/director Jean-Jacques Beineix’s second film after he took the world by storm with the thriller Diva (and left the world less than enthralled by his second, almost impossible to sit through, film, Moon in the Gutter. Here, a handyman meets a beautiful and sexually exciting woman and their relationship seems perfect, until after a series of incidents, the woman shows herself to be somewhat unstable. Will true love prevail?

 

 

 

 

FIRST RUN and OPENING: Oscar Nominated Documentary, Animated and Live Action Shorts, Kingsman: The Secret Service, What We Do in the Shadows, Girlhood, Timbukto, Goodbye To Language, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, Citizenfour, Leviathan, Whiplash, Paddington, Red Army, Two Days, One Night and Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at THE EGYPTIAN: Brokeback Mountain, 2/13; Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 2/14; Gone With the Wind, 2/15

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at THE AERO: The Philadelphia Story, 2/13; Casablanca, 2/14; Harold and Maude 2/15; Pina, 2/16; Hope and Glory, Where the Heart Is, 2/17

 

NEW BEVERLY: All That Jazz, Lenny, 2/13-14; The Andromeda Strain, Colossus: The Forbin Project, 2/18-19; In the Realm of the Senses, The Blood Spattered Bride, 2/20-21

 

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: The 47 Ronin (parts 1 and 2), 2/15

 

LACMA: The Goonies, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, 2/13; Blade Runner, 2/14; Fight Club, 2/14; Back to the Future, Return to Oz, 2/20

 

CINEFAMILY at the SILENT MOVIE THEATER: Casablanca, 2/14-15; The Color of Pomegranates, 2/20; The Duke of Burgunday, 2/20