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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WE ARE FAMILY: Toni Erdmann, Fences, 20th Century Women, Julieta


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
I am now offering a new consultation 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?  FosCheck 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
rev-2Several movies have opened of late that revolve around parent/child relationships, especially a single-parent household. I don’t know if this is part of a zeitgeist or whether award season tends to topics that comic book movies normally don’t cover. But whatever the reason, it is what it is.
In Toni Erdmann, the German entry in the foreign language category at the Oscars, and the one expected to win, is about a retired father who decides to look up his consultant daughter who lives in another city. She’s in the middle of a major deal and really doesn’t have time for him (and the suggestion is that he’s never really had time for her), but instead of taking the hint and leaving, he sticks around, dons a wig and false teeth and pretends to be a life coach called Toni Erdmann, insinuating himself into his daughter’s life.
The odd turn here is that the daughter seems to decide to call his bluff and pretend that he is the person he is claiming to be.
The movie is overflowing with charm and has a certain quirky atmosphere to it. I can understand why it’s a crowd pleaser in many ways. And I can’t say I left disappointed. Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT STYLE: De Palma and The Neon Demon


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
I am now offering a new consultation 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
rev 1Two movies have opened recently that revolve around style. One is a documentary about a filmmaker who is known for his, the other is a film by a director who has it.
How one reacts to De Palma, the new doc by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow about the director, first name Brian, who really made his mark in movies with the horror film Carrie, may depend on how you feel about the filmmaker’s films in general. For me, De Palma, who is the only talking head here, it’s his show all the way, is only as interesting as his movies, which means that once we get to Blow Out, it’s all down here from there.
His earliest films tended to be of the independent sort, made on a shoestring budget, if that. They may not have always looked as professional as a Roger Corman production, but they had a fresh hipness to them and gave us such actors as Robert DeNiro and Jill Clayburgh. Continue reading

SHE DID IT FOR SOME GUY…SOME GUY: Angelina Jolie and Maleficent


Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks of 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
maleficentIn one episode of Daria, the MTV animated series about a loner misfit at a new high school, the title character goes out with her best friend’s brother (someone she has a crush on) to buy her friend a birthday present, and ends up getting her belly button pierced. All because of said crush on said brother.
When she shows her friends, they all tell her it’s neat, as long as she didn’t do it for some guy. At first she doth protest too much, but then realizes, very embarrassed and ashamed, that she did indeed do it for some guy. SOME GUY.
I thought of that episode while watching Maleficent, the new post modern cinematic take with an attempt at modern sensibilities on the old Charles Perrault fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. Continue reading