My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/3-4/10/2015


dead zoneON NETFLIX: The Dead Zone is one of the better adaptations of Stephen King. It stars Christopher Walken as a man who ends up in a coma, but when he awakens can see the future if he touches someone. It’s well acted with Walken, Brooke Adams and Martin Sheen in the leads. A clever and satisfying screenplay Jeffrey Boam and solid direction by David Cronenberg.
magicianON HULU: Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician stars Max Von Sydow as a magician who may or may not have supernatural powers. Also with Bergman regulars Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Anderson and Erland Josephson. A metaphor for how the filmmaker was being treated in Sweden at the time.
film noirSPECIAL NOTE: Starting Friday, 4/3/2015, American Cinemateque at the Egyptian begins their annual Film Noir festival. This is one of the best things that the Egyptian does (especially since the programming at this location has really been going downhill the last couple of years). This is a must check out and the full schedule can be found at http://ow.ly/L9mGU Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/27/2015-4/3/2015


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. 3/27-4/3/2015

charlieON NETFLIX: Charlie, Victor, Romeo takes a group of actors who basically act out the black box flight recordings of various airplane disasters. Yeah, it’s one of the oddest bases for a film you’ll come across. Even odder, it’s based on a stage play. It’s also very effective and incredibly riveting. It’s in 3D, though that doesn’t seem to add anything to it.

devilON HULU: The Devil and Daniel Webster is a 1941 adaptation of the old story about a farmer selling his soul to the devil and when the soul comes due, the farmer is defended by the great title role statesman. Wonderfully shot, a smart screenplay by Dan Totheroh and Stephen Vincent Benet based on Benet’s short story, a great Oscar nominated performance by Walter Huston as Scratch, directed by William Dieterle, and music by the greatest of the great, Bernard Hermann.

wild tales oneFIRST RUN and OPENING: ’71, Wild Tales, While We’re Young, Wolf at the Door, Backcountry, Man From Reno, Jauja, Danny Collins, Going Clear, Run All Night, What We Do In the Shadows, It Follows, Goodbye to Language, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: TCM Classic Film Festival starts 3/26

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Heavy Traffic, American Pop, 3/27; La Strada, Lust for Life, 4/3

NEW BEVERLY: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, 3/27-28; Heat, 3/29-30; Red Rock West, Run, Lola, Run, 4/1-2; Boogie Nights, Trainspotting, 4/3-4

LACMA: Jules and Jim, 3/31

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: The Tales of Hoffman, 3/27-4/2

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: The Long Voyage Home, 3/30

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/13/2015-3/20/2015


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. 3/13-20/2015

 

gpbON NETFLIX: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, written by Charles Lederer, based on the musical comedy by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos, and directed by Howard Hawks, is a fun little cross-Atlantic boat ride as two alpha females try to decide what sort of man they want to be involved with. It stars Marilyn Monroe in one of her best roles (and she does a marvelous Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, George Chakiris can be seen in the all male chorus) and Jane Russell, who can’t quite keep up with Monroe but works very hard. It also has Charles Coburn as a slithery millionaire and the very young George Winslow as a frog voiced child millionaire. “Isn’t there anyone here for fun?”

 

 

revancheON HULU: Writer/director Götz Spielman’s film Revanche was Austria’s entry for the 2009 Academy Awards and received one of the five nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. An ex-con wants to start a new life with a prostitute, so he decides to rob a bank. But the prostitute is killed by some policeman who are coincidentally at the bank. The robber hides out in the country, but then finds out that the policeman is nearby and considers revenge. And exciting and moving thriller.

 

tales of hoffmanOF SPECIAL NOTE: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater is presenting a restored print of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffman

 

 

 

 

71FIRST RUN and OPENING: Faults, ’71, Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Cinderella, Going Clear, It Follows, Run All Night

 

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Fusion: LGBT People of Color Film Festival, 3/13; Hiroshima, Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad, 3/15; Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, 3/19; The Flying Camera, Drone Filmmaking, 3/20

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Navigator, Seven Chances, 3/13; Sherlock, Jr., The Cameraman, 3/14; Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, 3/15;

NEW BEVERLY: Dazed and Confused, Swingers, 3/13-14; Ed Wood, In the Soup, 3/15-16; The Killer, Once a Thief, 3/17

LACMA: Bed and Board, 3/17;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater:  The Color of Pomegranates, 3/20; Island of Lost Souls (1932), 3/20

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Private Property, 3/13;

 

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/6/2015-3/13/2015


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. 3/6-13/2015

 

serpicoON NETFLIX: Serpico, written by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler and directed of Sidney Lumet, one of a series of first rate performances by Al Pacino at the time (Dog Day Afternoon, Panic in Needle Park, The Godfather). The story, based on a real character, revolves around idealistic police officer Serpico, who finds himself at odds with everyone around him when he refused to go dirty. With a wonderful score by Mikis Theodorakis.

 

 

mrs dallowayON HULU: Mrs. Dalloway, adapted by Eileen Atkins from Virginia’s Woolf’s great novel, and directed by Marleen Gorris, this is one of Vanessa Redgrave’s greatest performance. As the wife of a government official prepares for a party, she starts going over her past and what led her to make the decisions she did. Meantime, a shell shocked war veteran finds his own recent past taking control of his life.

 

 

71FIRST RUN and OPENING: ’71, Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Timbukto, Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem, Two Men In Town

 

 

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Battle Royale, 3/6; Dr. Zhivago, 3/8; Taxi Driver, Bringing Out the Dead, 3/12;

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Children of Paradise, 3/6; A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, 3/7; Once Upon a Time in America, 3/8; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, White Heat, 3/12; The Navigator, Seven Chances, 3/13

NEW BEVERLY: The Matrix, Fight Club, 3/6-7; Magnolia, 3/8-9; Dazed and Confused, Swingers, 3/13-14

LACMA: Stolen Kisses, 3/10;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s “Island of Dr. Moreau”, 3/9-12

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, 3/6; Way out West, The Music Box, 3/8

 

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

 

 

 

THE HOWIES or THE BEST IN FILM 2014


legoWell, it’s that time of the year again, when lists must be made to give meaning to all the time spent going to movies the year before rather than doing things like joining Doctors Without Borders or trying to find a cure for cancer or sharing memes of kittens on facebook.
No matter what anyone tells you, this is the endgame of film watching, to create order out of chaos, to reach conclusions from randomness, to give deeper meaning to something that in many ways has little meaning except the attending in the first place.
But we’re human and it’s what we do.
However, before getting to the nitty-gritty, I would like to first make a few observations about the state of cinema these days based on the films I saw last year. Continue reading

JACK OF ALL TRADES: Jack O’Connell, ’71 and Unbroken


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
starred upI think I’m glad I wasn’t at Jack O’Connell’s home for the holidays this season.
What an amazing year he’s had. He first became well known in the U.S. for his stirring and starring role as the juvenile who is sent to an adult correctional facility in the prison drama Starred Up.
He followed this with the thriller ’71, about a British soldier who gets left behind by his troupe after a riot in Belfast during the Troubles and has to make his way back to safety.
And now he stars in Unbroken, the based on the true story of Louis Zamperini biopic, an Olympic medalist who was imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp during WWII and was treated particularly cruelly by the commanding officer.
It’s an astonishing series of performances to have so close together. Continue reading