I LOVE THE NIGHTLIFE: The Overnight and Eden


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Warning: SPOILERS
scoreFrom the 1960’s through the ‘80’s, the filmmaker Radley Metzger made a series of what was termed at the time soft core films. This was a period in cinematic history when just about anything went, and many of these films, movies like Metzger’s The Lickerish Quartet and The Opening of Misty Beethoven, found a cross over audience in the mainstream cinema.
They weren’t as graphic as adult, or porn, films, but there was plenty of pretend sex and nudity and usually was a celebration of the new morality and an encouragement to the audience to reject old mores.
One of these, Score, was about a couple that liked to swing. On a regular basis, they would bring home couples for a night of whatever comes up. But this time round, they invite a particular married couple not with the purpose of having an orgy, but with the goal of the wife seducing the younger woman and the husband seducing the younger man.
And they succeed.
And it ends with the younger couple running off in joy as they have discovered themselves free to more fully explore their new found sexuality. Continue reading

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Selma and Big Eyes


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

 

The title of these reviews is called Last But Not Least because Big Eyes and Selma are the final two movies I’m going to include under my 2014 reviews. After this, all films will fall under my 2015 reviews, no matter whether they were released in 2014 or not.

 

So off we go.
big eyesThe strongest aspect of Big Eyes, the new bio-com written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and directed by Tim Burton, is the art direction and production design.
Beginning in the 1950’s, the sets, the costumes, the look, the colors all have a poodle skirt playfulness about them that gives the movie some much needed energy.
This should probably be of no surprise since Burton has always had one of the more striking visual eyes in movies today, from Edward Scissorhands to Ed Wood to Alice in Wonderland. If nothing else, his films can be fun to watch.
But outside of that, there is almost nothing that works in this movie. Nothing, and almost amazingly so. Continue reading

HEARTS OF DARKNESS: Nightcrawler, Force Majeure, and Listen Up Philip


 

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
nightcrawlerAfter my friend and I left our screening of Nightcrawler, the new L.A. based neo-noir starring a somewhat gaunt and coyote looking Jake Gyllenhaal, we both commented on how much fun the whole thing was.
And then we wondered, is that really an appropriate reaction to what we just witnessed?
Because Nightcrawler is, well, kind of sick. It’s also dark and edgy and depressing and all the other points of the Scouts’ law and certainly one of the more unflattering looks at humanity that you’ve had the privilege of seeing in some time (everyone has Lady Macbeth hands in this film).
But it’s also kind of exciting and gripping and keeps you grabbing at your armrests.
And yes, indeed, make no mistake about it, it’s also a ton of fun. Continue reading

PEOPLE COME, PEOPLE GO. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS: The Grand Budapest Hotel


grand-budapest_2813768bThe Grand Budapest Hotel, the new demi-farce written by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness and directed by Anderson, is like a box of chocolates.  The outside is lovely to look at, even entrancing, and when you open it up, the chocolate itself gleams with droolful anticipation.
And then you bite into one and sometimes you get the deep, rich double chocolate you have always dreamed of, and sometimes you get the sour cherry cream (or whatever ingredient you consider to be the one you grimace at and throw back in the box after taking one quick bite). Continue reading