THE 2015 Howies


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

lobster poster
2015 was an oddly structured year when it came to the quality of movie releases. At the same time, I’m beginning to suspect that this might just become the status quo for a while.
The first few months, until the beginning of the release of the inevitable tentpole films (around the time of Mad Max making its appearance), the theaters tended to be filled with either the previous year’s Oscar movies (which I had seen) or movies that were being dumped because their producers had lost faith in them.
carol posterIt’s not that there wasn’t some gold here and there. Movies like Predestination and What We Do In the Shadows made their presence known. But overall, it was like pulling teeth to find a decent film to go to.
Then the blockbusters hit and with a vengeance. As usual, most weren’t very good, mediocre if we were lucky. At the same time, the quality was, on average, a bit better than usual with Mad Max, Spy and The Martian leading the pack.
spy posterThen fall hit, also with a vengeance, and all the distributors inundated the movie houses with their prestige pictures, and suddenly it was safe to go back to the theater again. Not that all of these lived up to their hype (cough, Steve Jobs, cough), but overall, the year ended with a nice selection of films to choose from for a best of list.
Let me know what you think.
So here are the 2015 Howies: Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 12/18-25/15


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 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. 12/18-25/15

tangerine oneON NETFLIX: Tangerine, written by Chris Bergoch and the director Sean Baker, is a marvelous independent film about a transgendered woman and working girl who spends her Christmas Even hunting down her pimp when she finds out he cheated on her while she was in prison. Funny, moving and marvelous acted, this is one of the best films of 2015. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor are wonderful as the two best friends at the center of the story.

cadillac

ON HULU: Underappreciated at the time of its release, Cadillac Man is one of Robin Williams’ best performances. In this manic comedy written by Ken Friedman and directed by Roger Donaldson, Williams is a used car salesman whose boss has put an impossible quota on those who work for him. But interrupting the day is a relative early Tim Robbins who crashes the sale and holds everyone at gunpoint because his girlfriend is sleeping with someone at the lot. Hysterical.

saul twoFIRST RUN and OPENING: Son of Saul, Star Wars: the Force Awakens, He Never Died, Dreams Rewired, (T)ERROR, The Big Short, Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, Chi-Raq, Theeb, Youth, Creed, Brooklyn, Carol Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 12/11-12/18/15


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 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. 12/11-18/15

beasts ON NETFLIX: Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (based on a novel by Uzodinma Iweala), Beasts of No Nation is not an easy movie to always sit through. The plot revolves around Agu, a pre-teen who, during a civil war, is abducted by some guerillas and forced/manipulated into becoming a warrior for their side. The ending is possibly a bit too hopeful for the subject matter; it’s unclear that the story has really earned it. But it’s a very well done, well written and powerful story about the situation in some unstable countries in Africa.

blind chance_kieslowski (31)ON HULU: Blind Chance is one of writer/ director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s finest films, as well as one of his most influential. A young man drops out of medical school and runs to catch a train. His story is played out three ways: if he makes the train; if he doesn’t make the train with no repercussions; if he doesn’t make the train and gets in trouble with the authorities. A haunting, beautiful film with one of the most shocking endings in film.

bit shortFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Big Short, Bleeding Heart, Boy and the World, Christmas Again, In Jackson Heights, Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, Chi-Raq, Janis: Little Girl Blues, Theeb, Hitchcock/Truffaut, Youth, Creed, Brooklyn, Carol Continue reading

PERIOD PIECE: 1950’s America, Brooklyn and Trumbo


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

brooklyn 2I’m not sure what it is about America in the 1950’s, but it has become very popular as of late in film. Three movies this year that took place during the Eisenhower era have captured the fervent imagination of the audience: Carol (which I’ve already reviewed), and now Brooklyn and Trumbo.

Hm. It seems that that time period also has a penchant for titles with only two syllables as well.

The reason for this mini-Renaissance may all be due to the success of TV’s Madmen, which dramatized America’s transition from the 1950’s to the 1960’s.

Or maybe instead, “transition” is more the key word here. The 1950’s is one of the great transitional periods in our nation’s history, slowly trying to grow away from the conservation way of life of the Depression and World War II, struggling to break free so it can surge into the Summer of Love.

And it all happened under a Republican president no less. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 12/4-12/11/15


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 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. 11/27-12/4/15

from here to eternityON NETFLIX: Adapted by Daniel Taradesh from James Jones’ novel and directed by Fred Zinneman, From Here to Eternity was one of the new adult movies (even though it was watered down from the book) that Hollywood started making in response to the new freedom in foreign films and an audience that was looking for more grit in their films after going through World War II. It follows various characters around a naval base in Hawaii in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, especially the story of a private (Montgomery Clift) who refuses join the boxing team and is persecuted for it. And all start cast including Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Ernest Borgnine, Donna Reed (as a bar hostess because she couldn’t be a prostitute), and Frank Sinatra (in the role that supposedly a horse’s head got for him). It showed all these actors in a new light and won Oscars for Sinatra and Reed. Thirteen Oscar nominations (including five for acting) and the winner of eight.

betty blueON HULU: Betty Blue is Jean-Jacques Beineix’s follow up to his breathtaking film debut Diva, coming after the incredibly disappointing misstep of Moon in the Gutter. A study of two young people in love, often sexually frank. Zorg is a handyman who one day finds Betty, a wild and free spirit. But as their relationship goes on, Betty spirals more and more out of control as her mental state becomes more and more unstable; can Zorg’s love for her save her and their relationship. From a novel by Philippe Djian.

chi raqFIRST RUN and OPENING: Chi-Raq, Janis: Little Girl Blues, Night Owls, Theeb, Hitchcock/Truffaut, Youth, Creed, The Good Dinosaur, Brooklyn, Carol, James White, Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Room, Spotlight, Trumbo Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/20-11/27/15


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 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. 11/20-27/15
piegeonON NETFLIX: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is basically Kaurismaki meets Monty Python. Written and directed by Roy Andersson, the movie is basically a series of skits with deadpan actors in often absurd situations. It’s Norwegian, but is Sweden’s entry in the Foreign Language Film Category for the Academy Awards.
american grafittiON HULU: Written by Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck and director George Lucas, American Graffiti was just about an instant classic the way it effected the audience at the time with its knowing nostalgia even though it took place in the year of its release. It follows a group of high school teens as they take one last cruise down their small town memory lane as they make decisions about their future as summer ends.
army of shadowsSPECIAL ENGAGEMENT: A restored print of The Army of Shadows will be playing this week. Adapted from a novel by Joseph Kessel by writer/director Jean-Pierre Melville, it follows a group of resistance fighters during WWII. What makes the film so powerful is the difficult moral questions that the characters must decide on in a distinctly amoral situation. Perhaps Melville’s greatest film and he did Le Cercle Rouge, Bob la Flambeur and Le Samourai. Not to be missed.
carolFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Night Before, Brooklyn, Carol, James White, Legend, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2, Meditterenea, Room, Spotlight, Trumbo Continue reading