RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Rules Don’t Apply and Allied


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Warning: SPOILERS
rev-1Rules Don’t Apply, the latest, and from what I understand, the last film from Warren Beatty who wrote, produced and plays famous recluse Howard Hughes here, has some charming moments in the first half.
The story revolves round Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich, who has the looks, charisma, but a lot more talent than B-movie actor Audie Murphy) who is one of Hughes’s many drivers who escort one of the billionaire’s many starlets around Los Angeles. The starlet assigned to Frank is Marla Mabry (Lily Collins).
Both are quite religious (Hughes chose his drivers from church goers as a guard against them trying to bed his starlets). They say grace before meals, watch The Billy Graham Crusade on television, and attend church every Sunday. And not only do they do this unapologetically when others are around and in the streets where they might scare the horses, Beatty himself presents this spiritual side of the characters just as unapologetically.
And Ehrenreich and Collins have a nice chemistry between them. They don’t exactly set the celluloid on fire, but they make a cute and attractive couple. Continue reading

HEAD CASES: Joy and Concussion


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
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
joy 1 The movie Joy, the new sorta, kinda, maybe bio-pic of Joy Magano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, starts out with text on the screen: “Inspired by the true stories of daring women. One in particular”.
I don’t know. Somehow on seeing those words up there in front of me, there was something so…condescending and patronizing about it all. It’s as if the filmmakers David O. Russell (who wrote the screenplay and directed) and Annie Mumolo (who worked on Bridesmaids and gets co-story credit here) were doing women a favor by making the movie at all and that somehow women should be thankful that someone actually created a film that instructs them how they should be leading their lives, since, being women, apparently, they don’t really know how to be daring and independent themselves.  
I’m sure I’m overreacting and I’m sure few others felt the same way, but there was just something about it that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Once this intro was over, we then spend the first third of the movie with Joy being victimized by her family (both extended and not) as it falls to her to take care of everyone else’s problems while she puts hers on hold. Continue reading

CRUISING: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


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
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
mi 2In watching Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest attempt by Tom Cruise to keep his box office status as superstar and not let his being a Scientologist be held against him, one thing that struck me is that it seemed to be violating a basic law of physics, as least physics as stated by such scientific experts as the writers of shows like Star Trek.
The basic premise of MI – RN is that there is now a mirror version of this secret espionage group that is doing everything it can to cause chaos in the world. Or as described by Ethan Hunt, our fearless leader, an anti-IMF (hold for gasps).
But if that is true, then if one IMF member comes into contact with an anti-IMF member, shouldn’t the universe be destroyed in a huge explosion?
At any rate, growing up I was a big fan of the Mission: Impossible TV series. Every Sunday (or whatever night it was, it was so long ago, I don’t remember) I was there to find out what foreign country the MI bunch were going to covertly go into and destabilize or stabilize, depending on how James Phelps’ never seen but only heard, comforting, middle American accented boss felt about them. Continue reading

Is There Balm in Gilead: Aloha and Love & Mercy


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

 

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Warning: SPOILERS
alohaI’m not sure that I can really add to the general response to the movie Aloha (it’s 20% at rottentomatoes.com and I don’t think the box office is of the more optimistic size), but far be it from me not to join in and kick a man while he’s down.
About three quarters of the way through the new rom com written and directed by Cameron Crowe (who also gave us the very good Almost Famous, Say Anything and Singles, but not much else since except for, well, Jerry “Show me the money” McGuire, but, no, I’ll stick with not much else since, thanks), I turned to my friend Jim and said, “I’m sorry, but I have to be honest: I have no idea what’s going on here”.
Jim laughed and sighed in relief because he had no more of a clue than I did.
The plot eventually does make sense; well, within the context of a not particularly well written movie it makes sense, but overall, as a piece of writing, it really makes little sense at all. Continue reading

THE MOORE THE MERRIER: My take on the movies Still Alice and Maps to the Stars and why Julianne Moore will win the Oscar this year


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
still alice twoJulianne Moore is destined to win the Best Actress award at the 2014 Academy Awards. It’s written in the stars (pun intended) as much as any plot in a drama by Aeschylus or Shakespeare. Far and wide it has been announced that it is Ms. Moore’s year. And who am I to argue with the stars, metaphorical or not?
Now, the question that remains is, “why”? What confluence of events, both within and without anyone’s control, has lead Moore to this momentous precipice?
I’m glad you asked. I shall try and enumerate the reasons.
First, there’s an old saying in Hollywood (though I may have actually made it up, I don’t remember) that just about everyone who deserves an Oscar gets one, but not for the movie they deserve it for. Continue reading