BETTER LATE THAN CRAP: The Innocents, Wiener-Dog and Hunt for the Wilderpeople


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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 2I know I’m a little late with reviews of the above titled films. I got behind in work and I wasn’t sure when I was ever going to get back to blogging and even thought of bypassing these movies since some of them have passed from the theaters.
But last week two major tentpole type films opened the same weekend, Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie and Star Trek Beyond, and both are crap. No, they are worse than that. They are crappity crap crap crap.
So I thought I owed it to the other movies to share my views. I mean, how can I justify passing up these three movies when I’m going to eventually review crap?
So, let’s begin.
In the early sixties Poland had, what was termed in the biz, a new wave, a group of emerging filmmakers who had something unique and fresh to say (or at least tried, the country was still a Russian satellite at the time). Directors and writers like Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieslowski burst on the scene with an exciting outpouring of new work like Knife in the Water, Ashes and Diamonds, The Contract and Camera Buff. Continue reading

NOT QUITE 20/20: Focus, What We Do in the Shadows and All The Wilderness


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
focusFocus, the new film written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, comes from a genre with a proud heritage: the rom con game. It’s a genre that was extremely popular in the greatest period in film for romantic comedies, the 30’s, with such movies as Trouble in Paradise and Desire. But it has always had an endearing quality, as in such films as It Takes A Thief, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and more recently, Duplicity.
And this latest entry does have some of the qualities of these other films that ingratiate them so much to us: a cool and suave leading man; even cooler cons; and more than a touch of wit.
In addition, there is one marvelous scene of grifting involving an Asian businessman who loves to gamble and who finds himself going nose to nose with the movie’s hero on a series of more and more outrageous bets. You know what’s coming, though when it does, you’re not sure how it could possibly have been pulled it off. And then when it is explained, you marvel at the audacity and chance taking of it.
But this scene also works for reasons that much of the movie doesn’t. In the end, though there are some nice moments here, Focus never really quite rises to the level of many of these other films. Continue reading