YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN: Manchester By The Sea, It’s Only the End of the World and The Commune


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new 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-2You Can’t Go Home Again is, of course, the title of a posthumously published novel by Thomas Wolfe, and a phrase that has entered common discourse since. I’ve seen three movies lately that are about people returning home or using memories of their early years as the basis for their stories.
The basic premise of writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s new film Manchester by the Sea revolves around Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), a janitor living in Boston who is very good at his job, but is a loner with a somewhat self-destructive personality. When he receives word that his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died, he returns to his home city of Manchester by the Sea, a fishing and tourist town. There he is shocked to discover that his brother in his will has requested Lee to become guardian to Joe’s sixteen year old son, Lucas. Joe has provided for Lucas’ expenses in his will and just needs Lee to return to Manchester to live.
Why Lee can’t return and the conflicts over how to handle this request make up the bulk of the movie and much of the heart breaking suspense is waiting to find out what happened that led to Lee’s present situation-you know it has something to do with his three children since they are only shown in flashback. The waiting is painfully unbearable at times. Continue reading

FANTASTIC VOYAGES: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new 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-1I think their might be a competition for the use of the geekiest hero in thrillers these days.
In the movie The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks plays a symbologist who races to uncover a mystery in order to save Christianity and the Catholic Church.
Now we have the film Arrival in which Amy Adams is a linguist who is called in to save the world from a possible alien attack.
What’s next? A philatelist? A trademark attorney?
The basic premise of Arrival revolves around a group of spacecraft that suddenly appear and hover above the earth in twelve different locations. In order to try to communicate with them and discover why they are here and what they want, they bring in Louise Banks (Adams), a college professor, someone who, it seems safe to say, is just a bit out of touch with her fellow man-the day after the craft arrive she comes in to teach her class and seems a little put out that no one else showed up. Continue reading

JUST LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT: Elle, Nocturnal Animals and The Salesman


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-3SPECIAL NOTE: the review of Elle is especially riddled with spoilers, but I don’t know really how else to talk about it.
There has been a lot written of late when it comes to the use of rape as a plot point in movies about women. More and more, for many viewers and critics, the use of such a storyline has turned into a cheap device and exploitive way to get an audience, especially men, to tune in.
It may have even become so polarizing that, to some extent, it has made it difficult to write about a film in which sexual assault is central to the action.
For example, I have seen three movies lately that have employed attacks on women as part of the narrative. Two were explicitly rapes, the other a bit more ambiguous. But in the two that were explicit, I couldn’t tell if the rape felt exploitive because that’s what it was, or that it felt exploitive because the political climate today is such that it doesn’t allow it to be anything but.
Elle, the second film this year starring the great Isabel Huppert (the first is the wonderful Things to Come) opens with the sound of a rape over the titles (or could it be simply rough sex?, it’s difficult to tell). Continue reading

WOMEN WHO WORK: Things to Come and Miss Sloane


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-3Two films at this year’s AFI fest had, as their central characters, women who work outside the home. But the takes on the situation by the respective filmmakers couldn’t be more different.
In Things to Come (not to be confused with the Sci-Fi film from 1936 starring Raymond Massey…I hope), Nathalie Chateaux teaches philosophy in high school. And I don’t mean teaches philosophy, she TEACHES philosophy (and in a way that makes you put on sackcloth and ashes, moaning and bewailing in despair over the U.S. educational system).
Everything in her life seems in perfect equilibrium. She has a loving husband, family, occupation (her only real downside is that her mother is emotionally unstable).
Then she encounters a series of misfortunes. Her husband asks for a divorce; her mother dies; and she is basically fired from her position of overseeing the philosophy texts used in school. Continue reading

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVING, SWEET LOVING: Loving and Yourself and Yours


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-1You can almost hear the people in the marketing meeting breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to titling the new film, the true story of a couple from different races who got married and were arrested for it.
“Oh, my god”, says one. “It’s about this couple who love each other against all odds. And their real names are, wait for it…Loving. It’s like this stuff writes itself.”
Social problem movies, especially those based upon true events, are not my favorite. Films like Gentlemen’s Agreement and Judgment at Nuremberg are often shallow, when they’re not being preachy and on the nose and told with little imagination. And the message sometimes seems a little warped (is the theme of Gentlemen’s Agreement that Jews should not be persecuted, or that people should not pick on Jews because they might be gentiles in disguise). Continue reading

SPIRIT GUIDES: Doctor Strange and Hacksaw Ridge


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-3Two films have opened of late with heroes who tune into spiritual forces for guidance in their lives, forces outside the natural world around us.
The first is Doctor Strange, the latest, for those of you who have moved to Mars, Marvel comic book hero, a Rodney Dangerfield of a character because he never gets any respect from devoted Marvel readers. When they muse over why this movie may not be quite as good as others in the canon, they sigh and tend to say, well, he only appeared in the back of the comic, you know.
And they are to some degree correct in their assessment. Certainly Doctor Strange the film doesn’t come up to the level of the original Iron Man or some of the X-Men movies. But it’s not as bad as they claim either. Continue reading

Podcasts


This is a list of podcasts I have participated in:

Forgotten Films Podcast

The Silent Partner

http://ow.ly/LBFM30o1qcy

The Ritz

http://ow.ly/hwJa30b3BHO

 

Ticklish Business Podcasts

Miracle on 34th Street

http://ow.ly/8TLU30hHqTq

 

LAMBcasts

Little Women

https://www.vulture.com/2018/09/soon-yi-previn-speaks.html

Humphrey Bogart

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/lambcast/episodes/2019-12-03T12_12_58-08_00

The Devils

http://www.largeassmovieblogs.com/2019/09/lambcast-497-the-devils-motm.html

Silverado

http://ow.ly/XWGn30o7XzP

 

2019 Oscar Predictions

http://ow.ly/2GoS30o1qas

The Haunting

http://ow.ly/2qPJ30mje24

A Star is Born

http://ow.ly/OGR930maqpn

Out of the Past

http://ow.ly/1ir030lX6cm

Shawshank Redemption

http://ow.ly/UzWg30ktWnZ

Deadpool 2

http://ow.ly/ILdt30ktW91

Top Movies of 2017

http://ow.ly/f0ue30hHr83

The Dark Tower

http://ow.ly/G4R930eGKyO

Roll Your Own Top 5: South Korean movies. 

http://ow.ly/ppu630eGKD7

What Have You Been Watching Lately: Frenzy

http://ow.ly/yBKm30ddnMG

The Dirty Harry franchise

http://ow.ly/rCkB30b3Che

Bring a Topic

http://ow.ly/pGZY30b3Dyw

The best of 2016

http://ow.ly/pyi730h0bbx

What We’ve Been Watching Lately (I talk about The Big Sleep)

http://ow.ly/H7mz307vtwk

The Western Draft

http://ow.ly/ScmQ30h0b0u

George Romero and the Dead films

http://ow.ly/2oVI30h0b8V

What We’ve Been Watching Lately, Horror Special (I talk about Suspiria)

http://ow.ly/OywC30h0ar0

On the 400th Anniversary Podcast for the LAMB, I discuss Murder on the Orient Express

http://ow.ly/Iuzp30h09w3

The Musical Draft

http://ow.ly/Ae4e30h09TV

The Justice League

http://ow.ly/TcgF30h0aiM

2018 Oscar Predictions

http://ow.ly/f7Bn30iJyda

GAY BY GAY: Moonlight, Closet Monster and King Cobra


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-1For new screenwriters, the niche marketplace is important because it’s not unusual for that to be a stepping stone for up and comers to bigger budgets and more ambitious projects.
For gays and lesbians, it’s doubly important because it gives us a series of films where the central character dying at the end isn’t a requirement for the acceptance of the story (although that can make it more difficult for an actor to get an Oscar nom-#oscarssowhite just loves a nice helping of #oscarsgayssodead).
There have been three movies of late (well, four, but I reviewed The Handmaiden in another post) that are niche films that have a special appeal to the LGBTQ community. Two are what are called coming out films. The other is decidedly not. Continue reading

Les Girls Encore: The Handmaiden, Certain Women, Aquarius, Denial and Christine


 For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
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?  FosCheck 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-1In my last review, I mentioned that a number of films opened with women as the central character. This week, this trend continues with five more. And now that fall is upon us and productions companies and distributors are going to begin release of films to qualify for the Academy Awards, we should see a number more as everyone races for a Best Actress nod.
The lesson I suppose is don’t look for female driven movies from Hollywood and the studios, but from independent and art films and the prestige pictures at year’s end.
The Handmaiden is a new import from South Korea, one of the two countries that, along with Romania, are producing the most interesting films internationally. It is based on Fingersmith, a thriller by Welsh (and lesbian) writer Sarah Waters that in the novel takes place in Victorian era Britain, but has been switch to 1930’s Japanese occupied Korea because, well, little is more universal than murder and other nasty deeds.
To show how pretentious moi can be, The Handmaiden is as if James Cain wrote Victorian pornography using a Rashomon type structure. Continue reading