HEARTS OF DARKNESS: Embrace of the Serpent and A War


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Warning: SPOILERS

rev 2Two movies opened recently that allowed, in a rare instance, the ability for filmgoers (at least if you live in the LA area) to actually see all the foreign language films nominated for an Academy Award before the ceremony. However, taken together, Colombia’s Embrace of the Serpent and Denmark’s A War, are a mixed bag as far as I’m concerned.

Embrace of the Serpent, written by Jacques Toulemonde Vidal and the director Ciro Guerra, is based on the diaries of the two Europeans whose trips up the Amazon are dramatized here: Theodore Koch-Grunberg, who traveled the river at the turn of the 20th century, and Richard Evans Schultes, who did the same about fifty years later.

The conceit is that the same guide, Karamakate, led them both, and both explorers had the same goal, to find a sacred plant that is supposed to be some sort of wonder drug. Continue reading

AND THEN THE ECSTASY KICKED IN, OR WHO’S MIND F*CKING THE STORE?: Borgman, Coherence and The Moment


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
borgman_bedroom__mediumThree movies have opened recently that I call WTF films. You know what I mean, cinema deliriums that after you watch it, you turn to your friend and go WHAT THE…?
Movies like The American Astronaut, Eraserhead, La Mustache, El Topo, Holy Motors, Dogtooth, Mulholland Drive…
Movies that play mind fuck games with your, well…mind.
Movies that are strange and offbeat and abnormal and peculiar and original and unique (well, I could go on, my thesaurus lists a lot of words similar to these, so I think I’ve made my point), but also movies made with a vision and passion and eschew normal rules of screenwriting and filmmaking.
And if there is one thing I like in films, it’s have my fucking mind…fucked. Or blown. Or something else that can have a sex act as its metaphor. Continue reading