My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/2-10/9/2015
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. 10/2-10/9/2015
man on wireON NETFLIX: With the opening of the movie The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, perhaps it’s time to revisit the documentary about the original incident: Man on Wire. In 1974, a daring French tightrope walker illegally strung a wire across the Twin Tower of the New York’s World Trade Center and made it across to become a world hero. The winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Documentary, it’s an exciting and breathtaking movie.
modern timesON HULU: Made after silent films were a thing of the past, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is not a sound film, but it’s not a silent one either (he uses titles for dialog and to keep the action going, but he has recorded sound effects and there is one spoken line), this comedy about the exploitation of workers was released in 1936, five years after his previous film, City Lights. It was a huge hit and helped make a star of Paulette Goddard who plays the female lead. As usually for Chaplin, it is hysterical, sentimental and brilliant.
martianFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Walk, Freeheld, The Martian, Mississippi Grind, Labyrinth of Lies, Sicario, 99 Homes, Pawn Sacrifice, A Brilliant Young Mind, Coming Home

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FUHGEDDABOUDIT: Coming Home and Black Mass


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
In 1942, Ronald Colman played a character so shell shocked by the trenches of World War I that he walked out of the hospital where he was recovering, having no idea who he was.
He was taken in by a singer in a vaudeville house (Greer Garson), fell in love and the two married. Then years later, he suddenly, out of nowhere, remembered who he really was, but totally forget that his wife existed. He discovers he’s the scion of a wealthy family and eventually runs for political office, not knowing that his secretary is actually his wife.
This movie is Random Harvest and is perhaps the most romantic and delirious use of amnesia in film. But amnesia has always been a useful tool of storytelling, whether romantic (here and in Law of Desire) or in thrillers (Mr. Budwing and Mirage) or comedy (The Hangover and 50 First Dates).
coming homeComing Home, written by Jingzhi Zou and directed by Yimou Zhang, falls into the more melodramatic end of the spectrum like Random Harvest. It’s unabashedly sentimental and relishes in a sort of 1930’s studio romanticism tone and style, though the grittiness makes it more Warner Brothers than MGM. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 9/25-10/2/2015


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. 9/25-10/2/2015
zathuraON NETFLIX: Zathura: A Space Adventure is one of, if not perhaps, the best movie Jon Favreau has directed (and, yes, I know he directed Iron Man). Written by David Koepp (whose first film Apartment Zero seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth for some unclear reason) and John Kamps (he also acted in Keopp’s first film Apartment Zero which seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth for some unclear reason), from a book by Chris Van Allsburg, it’s a clever and exciting story about an older and younger who play a mysterious game in which their moves come to life. Starring Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson as the brothers; Dax Shepard as the Astronaut; and Kristen Stewart in an early role as the annoying sister. A fun time in the theater for young and old.
themON HULU: Written and directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, Them is a very creepy and scary thriller about a husband and wife who are renovating their new home in the country. Slowly they realize something is in the house, but is it supernatural or deadly real? Based on a true story.
under the sunSPECIAL SHOWINGS: Laemmle’s Royal is having a Maurice Pialat, the controversial and influential French director who died in 2003. Included are Graduate First, Van Gogh, Loulou, The Mouth Agape and his Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Under the Sun of Satan.
sicarioFIRST RUN and OPENING: Sicario, 99 Homes, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Wildlike, Stonewall, Black Mass, Sleeping With Other People, Pawn Sacrifice, The New Girlfriend, A Brilliant Young Mind, Breathe, Goodnight Mommy, Coming Home, The Second Mother, Grandma

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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 9/18-9/25/2015


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. 9/18-9/25/2015
hackersON NETFLIX: Let’s go retro this Friday by recommending Rafael Moreu and Iain Softley’s 1995 Hackers, a thriller that pits a group of overaged teens who are experts at computers against a super villain. The film introduced many of us to Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie and also includes a very, very funny Matthew Lillard. A neat little film that was underrated at the time and deserves a second look.
tokyo twilightON HULU: Kogo Noda and Yasujio Ozu’s 1957 Tokyo Twilight is perhaps Ozu’s most melodramatic and tragic film and was, as I understand it, a critical and box office failure. Well, mistakes happen. A little long, but still a deeply moving film about two sisters who are having relationship problems; one has left her husband because he drinks too much and can’t get his life together and the other is pregnant by her boyfriend who she has a hard time finding. Beautiful and touching, it stars two of Ozu’s stalwarts, Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara.
reunion 1A Reunion, Hernando Bansuelo, Michael Lovan and Josh Watson’s story of two estranged friends traveling to their college reunion, opens for a one week run at the Laemmle Music Box. I did an interview with Bansuelo and Watson for my Hey! We All Had To Start Somewhere series and can be found at http://ow.ly/SoCyd.
black massFIRST RUN and OPENING: Black Mass, Sicario, Sleeping With Other People, Pawn Sacrifice, The New Girlfriend, A Brilliant Young Mind, Breathe, Goodnight Mommy, Coming Home, The Visit, Grandma, Straight Outta Compton, Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Second Mother Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 9/11-9/18/2015


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. 9/11-9/18/2015
dear white peopleON NETFLIX: Writer/director Justin Simien’s Dear White People is a funny, witty, tongue in cheek, but not really, look at racism in a “post-racist” society. Four black students, one gay, navigate the difficulty of a majority white Ivy League college and what happens when some white students throw a black face party. Taylor James Williams, Everybody Hates Chris’ Chris; Tessa Thompson; Kyle Gallner; Teyonah Parris; and Brandon P. Bell help make up the first rate ensemble cast. One of the best films of 2014.
carnivalON HULU: Jaques Feyder and Bernard Zimmer’s 1935 comedy Carnival in Flanders is an absolutely delightful and incredibly beautiful film set in 1616 Flanders when a Spanish Duke and his army decide to spend the night in a small Flemish town. Terrified the village will be pillaged, the woman raped and the men killed, the menfolk panic and the mayor pretends to be dead, leaving it to the women of the village, led by the mayor’s wife, to take over and save the day, using their feminine wiles. With breathtaking cinematography inspired by the great Flemish painters and incredibly sumptuous costumes and sets (built in a suburb of Paris), plus a cast of thousands, including Francoise Rosay as the mayor’s wife (she was married to Feyder and was in a number of his films). Wonderful.
goodnight mommy 2FIRST RUN and OPENING: Goodnight Mommy, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Coming Home, The Visit, Dope, Grandma, Straight Outta Compton, Mistress America, Diary of a Teenage Girl, The Second Mother Continue reading