TONE DEAF: Marguerite and Hello, My Name is Doris


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
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1When Tommy Wiseau released his film The Room, it was so awful that it inadvertently became a cult hit, especially on the late night circuit.  But people often wondered whether the filmmaker knew just how execrable his movie really was.
I thought of that as I watched Marguerite, the new French film from writers Xavier Giannoli (who also directed) and Marcia Romano.  It’s a story about a patroness of the arts who gave recitals in her home to raise money for various charities.  When all the other performers had rendered their absolutely ravishing arias and duets, Marguerite would then conclude the evening by singing herself.  And out of her well meaning mouth came notes so awful, it made fingernails on a blackboard sound like one of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto.
But did she know?  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

Continue reading

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

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: Diary of a Teenage Girl and Grandma


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
diaryI remember back in 1987 when Dirty Dancing came out, I was a little surprised that in all the positive reaction to the film, no one was mentioning the fact that a teenage girl was having an affair with a much older man. In fact, women loved this movie about first love and sexual awaking.
When Lolita was released in 1962, the movie was not so much seen as a dramatization of the horrors of pedophilia, but a tragi-comic character study of a man obsessed with his step-daughter, a step-daughter who did as much of the seducing as did the aging roué.
In 1984’s Blame it on Rio, Michael Caine has sex with his best friend’s daughter and the whole thing is played as a farce. It was even called incest by proxy by some and many found the move tres amusement.
Woody Allen’s films like Manhattan (1979) were probably the main ones the drew some hesitation, but even in his black and white paean to a city filled with morally questionable neurotics, his relationship with the high school nymphet was seen as the most pure and Mariel Hemingway got an Oscar nom.
Even Roman Polanski got the brunt of the sympathy as he fled the country to try and restart his film career in Europe.
But this was an earlier time when sex between older men and teenage girls wasn’t quite held in the same low esteem as it is today.
And oh, my, the times they have been a changing. Back then we had the new morality. Today, we have the new, new morality where sex between an adult and someone below the age of consent is no longer seen as acceptable and even considered damaging to the teen. Legally it’s always been called statutory rape, but until more recently, that term was not used much in terms of these relationships in movies.
The new movie Diary of a Teenage Girl, written and directed by the actor Marielle Heller (she can be seen in such films as A Walk Among the Tombstones and MacGruber), based on the autobiographical novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, falls somewhere in between today and yesterday. Continue reading