NOT YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T: Eye in the Sky


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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 3When air warfare and the ability to drop bombs on the enemy became standard methods of battle, pilots often had a different feeling, even a disconnect, from the grunts on the ground.  It was easier to kill the enemy combatants because the pilot didn’t engage with their foe face to face.  However, that’s not where the disconnect stopped.  It was also much easier to kill those who were not combatants, but who are, as we say today, collateral damage.
However, a new method of air warfare has somehow combined both the disconnected pilots in the air as well as the more engaged privates on parade.  This new method of mass killing, drones, enable a pilot to drop bombs on the enemy from a safe distance; but because the drones come with cameras, one also tends to see everything almost first hand, as if the ones with their hands on the trigger are there, even seeing some of the victims close up before launching a missile.
That is one of the dilemmas that is at the heart of the new drama Eye in the Sky, a story about a group of people trying  decide whether to lodge a missile at a house that not only contains terrorists high up on the most wanted list, but terrorists who are planning two suicide bombings.  The problem: right outside the house is a little girl, blithely unaware, selling bread.  So is the attack worth the death of the little girl? Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/5/2015-6/12/2015


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 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. 6/5-12/2015

 

something wildON NETFLIX: Something Wild, written by E. Max Frye (Foxcatcher) and directed by Jonathan Demme (Howard and Melvin, Stop Making Sense), is about a secret rebel (Jeff Daniels in one of his best performances) meets a secret conformist (an excellent Melanie Griffith) who go on a road trip that is interrupted by the woman’s ex, a sociopathic ex-con (Ray Liotta in one of his first films and one of his best performances). A funny, tense and solid bit of moviemaking that is quite entertaining.

 

all about my motherON HULU: Writer/director Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother was something of a comeback after a few missteps since making one of his greatest films, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. A young boy dies in a car accident and his mother searches for his transgendered father to tell him about the son he never knew. With the wonderful Cecilia Roth as the mother.

 

pather pachaliOF SPECIAL NOTE: Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito, The World of Apu and Pather Panchali have moved to the Pasadena Playhouse

 

spyFIRST RUN and OPENING: Spy, Love and Mercy, Testament of Youth, Results, The Farewell Party, Tomorrowland, Mad Max: Fury Road, Good Kill, I’ll See You In My Dreams, The Connection,

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Starting 6/3, the Greek Film Festival; Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, 6/10; The ‘burbs, Matinee, 6/12

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: From Mayerling to Sarejavo, Letter to an Unknown Woman, 6/5; Yojimbo, Harikari, 6/6; Curly Top, Heidi, 6/7; 3D Rarities, The Bubble, 6/11; House of Wax, The Mad Magician, 6/12

 

NEW BEVERLY: Family Plot, Torn Curtain, 6/5-6; Winter Kills, Hopscotch, 6/7-8

 

LACMA: Ladies in Retirement, 6/9

 

ACADEMY: The Vikings, 6/5; Kwaidan, 6/11; Grand Prix, 6/12

 

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: The Story of G.I.Joe, 6/6; Flight of the Red Balloon, 6/12

 

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE INTENSE: Good Kill and Tomorrowland


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
good killI have recently seen a movie that, for my money, is more intense, suspenseful and edge of your seat than Mad Max: Fury Road, Furious 7, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tomorrowland put together.
But it’s also a much smaller film than any of those; smaller in budget, in size, in CGI.
It’s more than all of those adverbs, I suspect, because it is about a real person put into a real situation, a situation of profound psychological and moral conflict. In the above movies, all the characters had to worry about was the end of their existence.
In the movie I am referring to, Good Kill, our central character has something far greater at stake: the end of his soul.
The basic story line revolves around one Major Thomas Egan, just about the best drone pilot there is. And his job, day in, day out, is to locate the bad guys in the Middle East and blow them up from thousands of miles away. His bliss is basically the same as Chris Kyle in American Sniper, but he gets to do it from the comfort of a chair in an air conditioned unit on a base in Nevada, not far from the R&R resort of Las Vegas. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/15/2015-5/22/2015


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 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. 5/15-22/2015

 

internal affairsON NETFLIX: Internal Affairs, written by Henry Bean and directed by Mike Figgis, it’s one of Richard Gere’s finest performances (and one of the first roles that suggested he was more than just a pretty face). He plays a sociopathic police officer being investigated by Andy Garcia’s IA officer. Intense and edge of your seat.

 

rules of the gameON HULU: The Rules of the Game, written by Carl Koch and director Jean Renoir, is one of the greatest films ever made and perhaps Renoir’s finest. It’s an ensemble piece, a dark comedy about a group of people, aristocrats and servants, who gather at a country estate for a weekend of amorality that leads to tragedy. Made on the eve of World War II, it was banned in France for being too critical of their citizens in such an intense political atmosphere.

 

mad max fury roadFIRST RUN and OPENING: Mad Max: Fury Road, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Good Kill, Slow West, In the Name of My Daughter, The Connection, Time Lapse, Furious Seven

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Stop Making Sense, Big Time, 4/15; Barry Lyndon, 4/16;

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: a 3-night series of Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsaio-Hsien, 5/15-17; Rebel Without a Cause, The Ugly American, 5/22

 

The CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Paris is Burning, 5/22-24, 27

 

NEW BEVERLY: The Great Escape, 5/13-16; The Imitation Game, Soldier of Orange, 5/20-21; Something Wild, Married to the Mob, 5/22-23

 

LACMA: Double Indemnity, 5/19

 

ACADEMY, Samuel Goldwyn Theater: To Catch a Thief, Artists and Models, 5/15; Shoot the Piano Player, Lola, 5/21; Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt