THE PAST AIN’T WHAT IT USE TO BE: Genius and Finding Dory


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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
rev 1Two movies have opened that deal with the past in some way. One takes place in it, and one has a character trying to find it.
Genius is the based on a true story film about the editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) and his nurturing of the somewhat difficult, to say the least, writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and the publication of Wolfe’s two books, Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River.
It was certainly a tumultuous relationship as artist/mentor relationships go. Perkins, though responsible for the publishing of such authors as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, was a Puritan at heart. Wolfe was larger than life, obnoxious, rude, an egotist and near sociopath, who lived life as if it were a last meal to be devoured.
One might very well ask, then, how a drama revolving around two such men could be, well, if truth be told and the devil shamed, tedious and almost never gripping? Continue reading

KING, QUEEN AND PAWNS: Kingsman: The Secret Service, Song of the Sea and Timbuktu


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
kingsmanKingsman: The Secret Service, the latest entry in a comic book franchise, this one with an espionage theme, is, in many ways, an impressive and handsomely made movie.
From a technical perspective, it’s incredibly well done with the best costumes, sets, and music money can buy. It doesn’t stint and there is nothing in this film that is an old piece of tat or is cheap as chips.
The acting is also first rate, raiding the cupboards as it does for the actors who are left who managed to not appear in The Lord of the Rings or The Harry Potter series.
And it has some beautifully well staged and directed second unit scenes of carefully, even wittily, choreographed episodes of extreme violence.
In many ways, those who like these sort of studio type tent pole films will probably find it hard to carp at anything they see.
So why did I find the whole thing dispiriting and extremely depressing? Continue reading

NOTHING UP HIS SLEEVE: My take on the Woody Allen film Magic in the Moonlight


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
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God is dead, Nietzsche; Nietzsche is dead, God.
         Bathroom Graffiti

 

Woody Allen, almost a national treasure now as far as I’m concerned, has always been something of a clever parodist.
He can imitate anything, both seriously and satirically, from Bergman (Love & Death, Interiors and Husbands and Wives amongst a ton of others) to Fellini (Stardust Memories) to Kafka and Bertolt Brecht (Shadows and Fog) to documentaries (Take the Money and Run and Zelig) to almost anything else.
Now we have a new set of authors that Allen has mined for a movie. His latest foray into cinematic creativity, Magic in the Moonlight, a story about a magician trying to prove that a psychic is a fraud in the 1920’s south of France, is basically Noel Coward and Somerset Maughm with a lead character that is straight out of Shaw’s Pygmalion as if written by Nietzsche. Continue reading