PULL UP THE WELCOME MAT: A Bigger Splash and The Ones Below


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
rev 3 Two movies have opened recently that have as its premise what happens when you welcome guests into one’s home. The basic moral of both is that, well, maybe it’s best not to.
In I Am Love, an earlier film directed by Luca Guadagnino, Tilda Swinton played the wife of a wealthy businessman who finds herself falling in love with the friend of her son. The movie had a small story and in many ways, very little happened plotwise. Still, every scene was filled with tension and suspense that at times was almost unbearable.
In A Bigger Splash, Guadagnino’s new film with Miss Swinton (not to be confused with the 1973 documentary about David Hockney), the plot seems to careen from scene to scene at high speed where a lot seems to happen, but ironically, with almost no sense of tension or suspense.
In the end, it’s a thriller desperately trying to find some thrills, but almost always coming up short. Continue reading

MIXED DOUBLES: The Trust and The Nice Guys


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
rev 3The Trust, the new semi-caper film from writers Benjamin Brewer and Adam Hirsch and directed by Alex and Benjamin Brewer, starts out somewhat as a shaggy dog story. Which works rather well since the two central characters, both Las Vegas PD police officers (Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood), look and act like mutts one might find at an animal shelter, desperate to be adopted before they end up in the incinerator.
The two decide to rob a convenience store after they notice that said store receives regular deliveries, large bags, which disappear inside the premises. In return, nothing comes out; nada; zip; not a thing. So what exactly are the owners hiding inside in that new, state of the art, almost impossible to get into, concrete and steel freezer that is just simply too high end for a mom and pop operation such as it is?
The two decide to go after a pig in a poke and break in and take whatever they can find. And though each have their own personal motivations (Wood’s character Waters is bored and burnt out, and Cage’s character Stone has ideas for the force that go underappreciated), in many ways they really do it for the best of all reasons—they can. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/27-6/3/2016


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

 

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

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

 

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/27-6/3/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  This week a television series: Occupied, created by Karianne Lund, Jo Nesbø, Erik Skjoldbjærg, takes place in the near future when Norway decides to stop producing oil and instead produce the more environmentally friendly element thorium. Russia, backed by the EU, has a velvet glove takeover of the nation. A tense and engrossing series and a must see. Russia was not happy with it, to say the least.
ff 2ON HULU:  Based on a true story, Memories of Murder, written by Sung-bo Shim and my favorite Korean director Joon-ho Bong (in spite of Snowpiercer, which I refuse to mention…oops), is about the first recorded Korean serial killer. A strong procedural as well as strong character study of the city mouse (a Seoul police detective) who comes to the country mouse (a local detective) and they join forces to find the murderer before he strikes again.
ff 3OF SPECIAL NOTE: Laemmle’s Royal is showing a new restoration of Carol Reed and Graham Greene’s movie The Fallen Idol. Highly recommended.
ff 4FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Idol, Presenting Princess Shaw, Australia’s Lost Gold, The One’s Below, The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, A Bigger Splash, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster Continue reading

APARTMENT COMPLEXITY: High-Rise


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

 

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

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
rev 1The first third of High-Rise, the new movie based on the J.G. Ballard novel (he also gave us the autobiographical Empire of the Sun and the unautobiographical, we hope, Crash—no, not that Crash, Ballard gave us the one where people get turned on by auto accidents), has a nice quirky, what-the-hell sort of quality to its writing (Amy Jump, of Kill List and Sightseers) and directing (Ben Wheatley of ditto); they both seem to be having a great deal of fun, if nothing else.
Laing, a 30-something who likes to fall asleep on his balcony in the nude, moves into one of five of a set of state of the art apartment complexes that reach to the skies like the fingers of a hand. As he interacts with his neighbors, the conversation is realistic, yet off just a little. The actions of the characters are also realistic, yet off just a little. It almost feels like a kitchen sink version of a Monty Python sketch.
I more than suspect the whole thing is supposed to be allegorical with the high-rise an encapsulation of all the classes in England. Well, not quite, perhaps. The middle class live on the lower floors and the upper class live much higher, but the lower class seems restricted to a single building superintendent. While such dystopian allegories as Metropolis and Snowpiercer have no apparent middle class, High-Rise seems strangely void of a lower one. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/20–27/2016


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/20=27/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  To Catch A Thief, written by John Michael Hayes and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is not top drawer Hitchcock, but it’s still pretty good. A retired cat burglar must come out of retirement when someone starts using his MO to steal jewels. This leads to Grace Kelly using double entendres over a picnic to woo Cary Grant. Fun.
ff 2ON HULU:  The Demon, written by Masato Ide from a story by Seicho Matsumoto and directed by the Japanese Alfred Hitchcock, is a brutal and riveting tale of what happens when a man’s mistress drops his three children with him and his unsuspecting wife. As pressure mounts, the lives of the children become at stake.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Angry Birds, Love and Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Weiner, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, A Bigger Splash, The Measure of a Man, A Monster With A Thousand Heads, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016 http://ow.ly/4ntIr8


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

 

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016
rev 2ON NETFLIX:  In 1845, a group of pioneers take a shortcut at their guide’s behest in order to get over the Cascade Mountains. They get lost as writer Jonathan Raymond and director Kelly Reichart take them all down a road of existentialism. Are they really lost, and if they are, what do they do? An intriguing small western starring Michelle Williams.
ff 1ON HULU:  This time round, I am going to recommend a television series, the anarchic and almost nihilistic, but very darkly funny animated Rick and Morty. The premise is difficult to explain clearly, but it’s about an alcoholic scientist who takes his often clueless nephew on a series of outrageous adventures.
jimmy vestwoodA SPECIAL SHOUT OUT FOR: Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, written by Amir Ohebsion and its star Maz Jobrani, and directed by Jonathan Kesselman, “A wannabe private investigator wins the Green Card lottery and moves to America to pursue his dream only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy to start the next world war.”  It plays at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 and the Town Center Five
ff 4OF SPECIAL NOTE: Jean Luc Godard’s great film Band of Outsiders plays at   (It’s the one where our heroes run across the Louvre)

 

rev 1FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Lobster, Money Monster, Highrise, Last Days in the Desert, Captain America: Civil War, A Bigger Splash, The Dark Horse, Elstree 1976, Sing Street, The Meddler Continue reading

LONG DIVISION: Captain America: Civil War


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

I am now offering a new consultation service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

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

 

rev 1It takes a while for the new superhero movie Captain America: Civil War to reach the scene that everyone has paid their hard earned bucks to see: a knock down drag out between the two sides of the Avengers, one headed by Iron Man and one headed by the titular hero.

 

But when it gets there, it proves to be more than worth the wait.

 

Let’s just say, it ain’t your parents’ Sharks versus the Jets.

 

In fact it’s one of the wittiest and smartest over the top superhero fight scenes we are likely to see for some time.  It’s not just the dialog that is clever and earns its laughs, it’s also the way the fight plays out, which character gets pitted against which and how their superpower works against each other. There’s such a slick smoothness here, as if the planning of it was completely effortless; everything just fits together so well. Continue reading