SOUL SEARCHING: Knight of Cups and Confirmation


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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1 Knight of Cups, the new film from art house fave writer/director Terence Malick, begins with some excerpts from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, spoken, I believe, in the dulcet tones of Sir John Gielgud.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory about a man who is weighed down by his sin and must seek a path to righteousness, but he finds many dangers, toils and snares along the way. 
I suppose the allegory in that classic is supposed to also be an allegory for Rick, the central character in Malick’s drama, and his journey.  Rick is a screenwriter who basically just drifts from place to place, observing the world he encounters while avoiding screenwriting as much as possible.  It’s sort of like a movie by Federico Fellini, 8 ½ or La Dolce Vita, character studies of a men who are spiritually lost or have writer’s block, set against dwarfing architecture and a somewhat impressionistic view of the local’s lives.
I have to say I liked Knight of Cups, though I also have to say I’m surprised that I did.  In Malick’s last film To The Wonder, the filmmaker told an almost impossible to understand story, made almost impossible to understand because it was not told in chronological order.  And since you were spending so much time just trying to understand what was going on, it was difficult to become emotionally involved in the movie.  And it didn’t help that when you did figure it out, it was a pretty bland and banal story line.

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ASHES TO ASHES: Cinderella


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
cinderellaThere is one absolutely lovely and magical moment in the new live action, non-musical Disney version of the animated, fully musicalized Disney version of the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale Cinderella.
Our titular character, frustrated and defeated by the cruel treatment at the hands of her step-mother and step-sisters, takes to horse and rides off into a distant woods where she stops the Prince from hunting down a stag.
What’s wonderful about this scene is that the previously optimistic (and rather annoyingly Pollyanish at times) Cinderella is finally the person she really is, beaten down, sad, furious at the circumstances she has found herself in, while the Prince, in turn, is finally the person he isn’t: here he pretends to be a mere apprentice and not royalty.
Who’d have thought something this sophisticated, clever and witty would have come from a carefully fine-tuned and micromanaged to the nth degree movie from the Disney studios, but the screenwriter Chris Weitz (who has given us such fun bon bons as Antz and About a Boy) pulled off something of a coup in this particular scene.
Other than that, for my money, Cinderella is something of a mixed bag when it comes to success. I know it’s been socking it away at the box office, but I’m afraid that it only intermittently works for me. Continue reading

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;