THE ART OF THE MATTER – Part Two: The Square, The Disaster Artist


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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
After watching The Square, the new film from writer/director Robert Ostlund (he previously gave us the cheeky Force Majeure), I have to say I’m not exactly sure what point he was trying to make. At the same time, it was so entertaining and involving, I guess I’m not exactly sure I cared.
The story revolves around a man named Christian (I doubt Ostlund randomly drew the name out of a hat), the curator for a modern art museum in Sweden. The museum’s newest installation is, well, a square. That’s it, a square, with some wording about what the square means (though after hearing the words a few times, I’m not sure I knew exactly what that was).
I think it has something to do with the idea that whoever is in the square is supposed to be treated as equal to anyone else, a safe place where they are protected from harm. Continue reading
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GAY BY GAY: Moonlight, Closet Monster and King Cobra


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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-1For new screenwriters, the niche marketplace is important because it’s not unusual for that to be a stepping stone for up and comers to bigger budgets and more ambitious projects.
For gays and lesbians, it’s doubly important because it gives us a series of films where the central character dying at the end isn’t a requirement for the acceptance of the story (although that can make it more difficult for an actor to get an Oscar nom-#oscarssowhite just loves a nice helping of #oscarsgayssodead).
There have been three movies of late (well, four, but I reviewed The Handmaiden in another post) that are niche films that have a special appeal to the LGBTQ community. Two are what are called coming out films. The other is decidedly not. Continue reading

IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX: Ex Machina and True Story


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
ex machinaA critic once said that when you get down to it, there aren’t that many plotlines; after all, Frankenstein and Pygmalion are basically the same story.
This came to mind as I was watching Ex Machina, the new sci-fi drama written and directed by Alex Garland (who also wrote the very involving Never Let Me Go and the highly successful 28 Days Later…). For my money, what he’s done is basically combined both Mary Shelley and George Bernard Shaw’s seminal works into one narrative.
It’s intriguing. But for me, I also found it a bit slow, unfocused at times and, well, to be ruthlessly honest, more than a bit creepy in ways that may not have been intended.
The last is because the more I think about Ex Machina, the more it seems to me that what the movie is about is not what the movie is about. And what the movie is really about made me very uncomfortable. Continue reading

THE ROAD TO PYONGPANG: The Interview


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

 

Warning: SPOILERS
interviewAbout a third of the way through the new, and unexpectedly controversial comedy, The Interview, I had this odd feeling of déjà vu, as if there was something strangely familiar about the movie.
And then I realized what it was: The Interview, the movie about a celebrity interviewer (with a wicked, fun moment when Eminem comes out of the closet) and his producer who get a chance to go mano a mano with the leader of North Korea, is basically a Road movie.
And by that, I don’t mean one of those sub-genres about two people who get in a car and keep driving and driving encountering various eccentrics along the way until you’re begging for a lobotomy.
No, this is basically a modern day version of a group of movies made famous by Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (The Road to Singapore, The Road to Zanzibar, The Road to Utopia, et al.), in which two contrasting characters have a bromance as they make their way through a series of ridiculous adventures. Continue reading

TEENANGSTERS AND DOPPLEANGSTERS: Palo Alto and The Double


Palo-AltoPalo Alto is about teenage angst and existential ennui, just like the Twilight series, but without the werewolves and vampires, though almost as painful to get through (sorry, but it’s true).
The story revolves around three teens: April (Emma Roberts), Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and Fred (Nat Wolf) who are going through the throes of finding themselves. Unfortunately, the throes they are going through are pretty much the same throes that millions of other movie teens have pretty much gone through in millions of other movies before this and dramatized in pretty much the same way as those millions of others that came before as well. Continue reading