NO COUNTRY FOR BLIND MEN: Hell or High Water and Don’t Breathe


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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
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
rev-2At one point in Hell or High Water, the new bank robbery movie that takes place in Texas, as younger brother Toby (Chris Pine) goes into a convenience store, his older brother, Tanner (Ben Foster), requests a Dr. Pepper. Toby returns with a Mr. Pibbs, to the consternation of the aforementioned sibling.
I’m not sure if the screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is from the Lone Star State, but I do have a feeling that only a native son would understand the egregious wrong that has been committed here.
In a recent review, I mentioned that we have George Lucas to thank for utilizing a bad guy that everyone can hate with no political incorrectness: Nazis. But as this movie quickly indicates, there is one bastion of evil that comes a close second: banks. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/8/2015-5/15/2015


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. 5/8-5/15/2015
winter sleepON NETFLIX: Winter Sleep, by writers Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (who also directed), is about a hotel keeper in Turkey and his difficult relationship with his wife and sister, as well as his own ennui. Inspired by plays and stories of Anton Chekov, it’s leisurely and methodical, but also a fascinating character study about a man at an existential crossroads in life. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/24/2015-5/1/2015


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. 4/24-5/1/2015
babadookON NETFLIX: The Babadook, Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature, a very scary horror film about a widow and her six year old son and what happens a mysterious book shows up at their house about a monster called The Babadook. Very well directed and truly creepy with a wonderful performance by Essie Davis as the mother.
amarcordON HULU: Amarcord is Frederico Fellini’s tone poem about the year in the life of a young boy and his small town as fascism is arriving.   Semi-autobiographical and without a real plot, it’s a series of scenes, at time very impressionistic, it’s a rapturous movie and one of Fellini’s finest. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/17/2015-4/24/2015


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. 4/17-4/24/2015
united 93ON NETFLIX: United 93, my favorite film of 2006. Written and directed by one of the finest filmmakers working today, Paul Greengrass, it’s the story of how the passengers on United Flight 93 tried to stop their hijackers on 9/11. Not an easy movie to sit through due to the intense subject matter, it’s a powerful and emotional film.
earringsON HULU: The Earrings of Madame de, directed by Max Ophuls, is one of the great romantic dramas of all times. When the wife of a general secretly sells a pair of earrings her husband gave her and lies about it, it sets off a series of events that leads to tragedy. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/10/2015-4/17/2015


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. 4/10-4/17/2015
boundON NETFLIX: Bound, a superb thriller neo noir, the first film (and probably the best) directed and written by the Wachowski siblings. Jennifer Tilley and Gina Gershon as Violet and Corky start a love affair and conspire to rob Violet’s boyfriend of millions of dollars of mob cash. First rate.

 

hidden fortressON HULU: The Hidden Fortress, one of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film and one of his most fun. A general and a princess in disguise must make it through enemy lines to some allies, the two carrying gold so they can rebuild their clan. A movie that served as inspiration for Star Wars, especially with a plot revolving around the saving of a princess and two bickering peasants who are obviously models for R2D2 and C3PO. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/3-4/10/2015


dead zoneON NETFLIX: The Dead Zone is one of the better adaptations of Stephen King. It stars Christopher Walken as a man who ends up in a coma, but when he awakens can see the future if he touches someone. It’s well acted with Walken, Brooke Adams and Martin Sheen in the leads. A clever and satisfying screenplay Jeffrey Boam and solid direction by David Cronenberg.
magicianON HULU: Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician stars Max Von Sydow as a magician who may or may not have supernatural powers. Also with Bergman regulars Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Anderson and Erland Josephson. A metaphor for how the filmmaker was being treated in Sweden at the time.
film noirSPECIAL NOTE: Starting Friday, 4/3/2015, American Cinemateque at the Egyptian begins their annual Film Noir festival. This is one of the best things that the Egyptian does (especially since the programming at this location has really been going downhill the last couple of years). This is a must check out and the full schedule can be found at http://ow.ly/L9mGU Continue reading

OR DOES IT?: It Follows and 3 Hearts


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
it followsTeen sexuality in movies has changed quite a bit over time, of course. In the 1930’s and ‘40’s, teens were seen as innocents who got caught up in chaste, but ridiculous romantic misfires (like Andy Hardy).
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, it became a social issue with fears of juvenile delinquency (Rebel Without a Cause), unwanted pregnancy (Blue Denim) and if you’re Natalie Wood, a trip to the loony bin (Splendor in the Grass). And we haven’t even got to those luridly bad, but fun movies they showed in high school about STD’s.
Then finally, with the arrival of such films as Friday the 13th, Halloween and Carrie, teen sexuality became associated with death, with all the bad boys and girls getting theirs after having done the deed and only the virgins managing to survive.
And today, we have yet another version of when teens have sex with writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s new horror film It Follows. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/27/2015-4/3/2015


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. 3/27-4/3/2015

charlieON NETFLIX: Charlie, Victor, Romeo takes a group of actors who basically act out the black box flight recordings of various airplane disasters. Yeah, it’s one of the oddest bases for a film you’ll come across. Even odder, it’s based on a stage play. It’s also very effective and incredibly riveting. It’s in 3D, though that doesn’t seem to add anything to it.

devilON HULU: The Devil and Daniel Webster is a 1941 adaptation of the old story about a farmer selling his soul to the devil and when the soul comes due, the farmer is defended by the great title role statesman. Wonderfully shot, a smart screenplay by Dan Totheroh and Stephen Vincent Benet based on Benet’s short story, a great Oscar nominated performance by Walter Huston as Scratch, directed by William Dieterle, and music by the greatest of the great, Bernard Hermann.

wild tales oneFIRST RUN and OPENING: ’71, Wild Tales, While We’re Young, Wolf at the Door, Backcountry, Man From Reno, Jauja, Danny Collins, Going Clear, Run All Night, What We Do In the Shadows, It Follows, Goodbye to Language, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: TCM Classic Film Festival starts 3/26

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Heavy Traffic, American Pop, 3/27; La Strada, Lust for Life, 4/3

NEW BEVERLY: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, 3/27-28; Heat, 3/29-30; Red Rock West, Run, Lola, Run, 4/1-2; Boogie Nights, Trainspotting, 4/3-4

LACMA: Jules and Jim, 3/31

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: The Tales of Hoffman, 3/27-4/2

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: The Long Voyage Home, 3/30

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/20/2015-3/27/2015


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. 3/20-27/2015

 

force majeureON NETFLIX: Force Majeure, writer/director Ruben Ostlund’s comedy, was Sweden’s entry in the Oscar foreign language film category. While on a skiing vacation, a family is having lunch outside when the resort causes a forced avalanche. When it looks as if the avalanche is about to hit the terrace where everyone is having lunch, the father leaves the family behind, grabbing his phone before running to safety.

 

 

fanny and alexanderON HULU: I have started watching the full televised series Fanny and Alexander, writer/director Ingmar Bergman’s study of what happens to two children leading an idealistic life when their father dies and their mother marries an austere clergyman. I only saw the original theatrical release, but the first two episodes are pretty wonderful.

 

 

 

tales of hoffmanOF SPECIAL NOTE: The Tales of Hoffman, a new print, is still showing at Cinefamily at The Silent Movie Theater, 3/20-26

 

 

 

 

it followsFIRST RUN and OPENING: ’71, Danny Collins, Going Clear, It Follows, Run All Night, What We Do In the Shadows, Amour Fou, Dreamcatcher, Spring, Wild Tales, It Follows, Goodbye to Language, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, 3 Hearts

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: The Flying Camera, Drone Filmmaking, 3/20; The Long Hair of Death, The Pit and the Pendulum (with Barbara Steele in person), 3/21; 1941, 3/22; TCM Classic Film Festival starts 3/26

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Long Goodbye, 3/20; Nashville, 3/21; McCabe and Mrs. Miller, 3/22; The Godfather, 3/26; Heavy Traffic, American Pop, 3/27

NEW BEVERLY: Unforgiven, The Silence of the Lambs, 3/25-26; Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, 3/27-28

LACMA: Love on the Run, 3/24

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Island of Lost Souls (1932), 3/20; The Color of Pomegranates, 3/20-21