WIIGING OUT: Welcome to Me and About Elly


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Warning: SPOILERS
welcome to meWhen Welcome to Me, the new comedy written by Eliot Laurence and directed by Shira Piven, began, I instantly became a bit wary. The central character, Alice Kleig (played by the quite funny Kristen Wiig) is bipolar and has just gone off her meds. I felt in these opening scenes the filmmakers were exploiting her condition for laughs and I became a bit uncomfortable.
But then something intriguing happens. We stop seeing Alice through the eyes of the director and writer, but through the eyes of her friends, who love her very much, as well as her therapist, who is very concerned for her and also likes her very much, and suddenly all those things she does (like starting any explanation by whipping out a piece of paper and saying, “I have a prepared statement”) now seem charmingly eccentric.
We like Alice and have affection for her and her foibles and are concerned for her because her friends have affection for her and are concerned. Continue reading

A ROOM WITH A VIEW TO KILL: The Loft


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
loft The Loft, a new neo-noir thriller based on a Belgium film of the same name, is about five married friends who go in together and purchase a condo (hence the title) where they can take their mistresses in secret. Things go a tad awry when one of them shows up one morning and finds a dead woman in the bed. Since the five are the only ones that have keys, then one of them must have done the deed.
But who?
This is actually quite an intriguing concept and the main reason to see the movie. No matter however else I may have felt about it, I did find myself sticking around just to find out who dunnit.
Of course, the ne-noir aspects of the movie are like the articles in a Playboy Magazine. They’re the reason why you say you read it, when in all honesty you are engaged in activities that stick the pages together.
Here, one may be going for the thrills and chills, but I suspect deep down in the audience’s heart (of which the vast majority I suspect are mainly men, many married), they are really there to see some hot man on woman action of husbands cheating on their wives.
However, I should warn you that if you are, you might find the movie a bit of a bait and switch. Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENED TO ONE THROUGH FIVE: Big Hero 6 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya


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
big heroI’m sure you’ve heard the old joke, the one about the guy who said, “I’m not going to see Henry V because I haven’t seen the first four yet”?
Well, don’t worry, fair filmgoers, Big Hero 6 is not a sequel (though believe me, to paraphrase Paul Thomas Anderson, there will be sequels). It’s more an origin story of a group of X-Men like super young adults set in a city named San Fransokyo (so called because it’s an alternative future where Japanese immigrants rebuilt the city where I left my heart after the 1906 earthquake).
Big Hero 6 is a fun and satisfying enough animated movie, especially in the first half where it tends to show a bit more heart and emphasizes emotional resonance over the more prevalent action oriented approach of the second half.
True, it’s fairly familiar and almost Disney paint by number. I mean, c’mon, you gotta know that a mother or father or mother figure or father figure to the central character is going to die early on because, well, it’s Disney, and the only thing that studio likes more than making animated movies that rake in a ton of money is trying to traumatize pre-teens in the first fifteen minutes of their films (unless it’s about a dog, then they wait until the last fifteen). Continue reading