My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/29/2015-6/5/2015


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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/29-6/5/2015

 

juliaON NETFLIX: Julia, written by Alvin Sargent and directed by Fred Zinneman, is a based on a true story story (though some people doubt the veracity of it) revolving around playwright Lillian Hellman’s long standing friendship with the title character and Hellman’s decision to meet her in Germany during the rise of Nazism. It’s a very entertaining film with fantastic performances from Jane Fonda as Hellman; Jason Robards outstanding as Dashiell Hammett; Maximillian Shell as a member of the anti-Nazi underground; and Vanessa Redgrave in one of her most memorial performances as Julia. All received Oscar nominations with Robards and Redgrave winning and Redgrave getting memorably booed during her acceptance speech. Meryl Streep’s first film.

 

devils eyeON HULU: The Devil’s Eye is a rarity for writer/director Ingmar Bergman; it’s a comedy. The devil has a sty in his eye because a young woman may get married as a virgin. So the devil sends Don Juan to earth to seduce her so she can’t set a bad example for other young women. A delight. With Bibi Anderson.

 

pather pachaliSPECIAL NOTICE: The Nuart Theater is showing new prints of Aparajito and Pather Panchali, Satyajit Ray’s classic films about a young boy Apu and how he grows up in India. Considered one of the great achievements of world cinema.

 

tomorrowlandFIRST RUN and OPENING: Aloha, Tomorrowland, Mad Max: Fury Road, Good Kill, I’ll See You In My Dreams, The Connection,

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Fassbender: To Love Without Demands, Ali, Fear Eats the Soul, 5/29; Skyscraper Souls, 5/30; Veronica Voss, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, 5/30; An American in Paris, 5/31; Starting 6/3, the Greek Film Festival

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Searchers, The Tall T, 5/29; the first three Jurassic Park films, 5/30; Mon Oncle, The 400 Blows, 5/31; La Dolce Vita, 6/4; From Mayerling to Sarejavo, Letter to an Unknown Woman, 6/5

 

The CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: La Collectionneuse, City of Lost Children, 5/29

 

NEW BEVERLY: The Sand Pebbles, 5/29-30; The Big Heat, Undercover Man, 6/3-4; Family Plot, Torn Curtain, 6/5-6

 

LACMA: High Sierra, 6/2

 

ACADEMY, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: Oklahoma, 5/29; A Woman is a Woman, Cruel Story of Youth, 6/4;

 

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Beggars of Life, Wild Boys of the Road, 5/31; The Vikings, 6/5

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE INTENSE: Good Kill and Tomorrowland


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
good killI have recently seen a movie that, for my money, is more intense, suspenseful and edge of your seat than Mad Max: Fury Road, Furious 7, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tomorrowland put together.
But it’s also a much smaller film than any of those; smaller in budget, in size, in CGI.
It’s more than all of those adverbs, I suspect, because it is about a real person put into a real situation, a situation of profound psychological and moral conflict. In the above movies, all the characters had to worry about was the end of their existence.
In the movie I am referring to, Good Kill, our central character has something far greater at stake: the end of his soul.
The basic story line revolves around one Major Thomas Egan, just about the best drone pilot there is. And his job, day in, day out, is to locate the bad guys in the Middle East and blow them up from thousands of miles away. His bliss is basically the same as Chris Kyle in American Sniper, but he gets to do it from the comfort of a chair in an air conditioned unit on a base in Nevada, not far from the R&R resort of Las Vegas. Continue reading

HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with writer/producer Ken Lemm of the award winning short film These Foolish Things


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 writer/producer Ken Lemm of the award winning short film These Foolish Things
ken lemmGrowing up in an Air Force family, Ken Lemm travelled extensively in his youth and developed a love for reading and architecture, prompting him to pursue a career in landscape architecture. After creating a successful design business, Ken was able to pursue his first love, writing. Early in his writing career, placing in a prestigious screenwriting competition afforded confidence and encouragement. In just three years, Ken has completed twelve feature screenplays and had two feature films, three theatrical trailers, and two award-winning short films produced, as well as completing four writer-for-hire assignments. Most recently, Ken was named 2014-2015 Writer of the Year at the Action on Film International Film Festival and is included in the upcoming book “The Top 50 Indy Screenwriters in the World.” Ken’s focus in screenwriting is predominantly in the faith-based, family friendly genre.
  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced?
My first produced screenplay was a dramatic short titled “These Foolish Things.”

Continue reading

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
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
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