BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEGUILEDED: The Beguiled and The Big Sick


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Warning: SPOILERS
The original film The Beguiled was directed by Don Siegel and starred Clint Eastwood, from a novel by Thomas Cullinan. It was an attempt by Eastwood to do something more interesting than the man with no name and Dirty Harry. And there is something fascinating about it. Whether one likes it or not, one can’t quite look away.
The basic premise is that a wounded Northern soldier ends up being taken in by the remaining inhabitants of an all girl’s boarding school located in the South during the Civil War. The longer he stays, the more he arouses the repressed sexuality of the women, which simmers and simmers until all sorts of conflicts break out of the Southern Gothic variety.
The main reason for what success the original movie had is the somewhat ridiculous, yet effectively hothouse approach to the story. It was over the top, but took itself quite seriously, while having the advantage of Geraldine Page in one of the lead roles. As like so many films at the time, there was something of a drive-in movie feel to it, but with larger aspirations. Continue reading
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GIRLS GONE WILD or THE TWO AMY’S: Amy and Trainwreck


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
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
Warning: SPOILERS
amyHow you feel about the new documentary on the short life of jazz singer Amy Winehouse, Amy, will probably to some degree depend on how you feel about Ms. Winehouse herself.
For me, she has an amazing voice that will pierce your soul. She is quite a mesmerizing singer.
At the same time, I have to be honest and say that I was not all that impressed by her as a lyricist (Cole Porter, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins she ain’t) and the hooks to her songs never really took me in as I wished they might have.
But if you disagree, and I expect a huge number of people will do just that, then that might help you overlook other issues I think the movie has.
Winehouse led a momentary and unhappy existence. She was one of those singer/songwriters whose every musical creation was a personal revelation about herself and her life. And she was very brave in not holding anything back. Continue reading

WOMEN GONE WILD: The Homesman, Wild and Miss Julie


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
homesmanIt’s November, which means it’s that time of year: Oscar season is officially open. Ducks are now safe, but theater goers? Not so much maybe.
The season is especially serious for actresses since it is generally agreed that this has been one of those incredibly weak years for female leads in movies—or at least the types of leads that could receive a statuette—in America (overseas, the number of quality roles for women is still going strong, or at least much stronger than stateside).
I have recently seen three movies with actresses who have all been mentioned as possibilities for this year’s highest middle-brow prize in thespianic activity.
I was not particularly impressed, sorry to say.

Continue reading