3 WOMEN: The Unknown Girl, Battle of the Sexes, Mother!


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Warning: SPOILERS

 

There have been many examples of siblings sharing writing, directing and even producing credits from the Maysles to the Tavianis to the Wachowskis. Perhaps the most successful pairs artistically are the Coens and the Dardennes.
However, though the Coen brothers output is often quite breathtaking with wonderful highs (Fargo, True Grit, No Country for Old Men), they are far more erratic in quality of output (Hail, Caesar!, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers).
Few filmmakers, however, have had the consistency of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, Belgium brothers that first made their name in the U.S. with their Cannes winning film Rosetta, about a young women desperate to get employment, and they cemented their reputation with such triumphs as La Promesse, The Son, L’enfant and most recently Two Days, One Night.
Now we have The Unknown Girl, one of the finer films so far this year. Continue reading

ROGUE ONE, PASSENGERS ZERO: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Passengers


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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
rev-1In film, Sci-Fi has often been divided into two categories: adult science fiction, stories that capture the mind and are more philosophical and questioning in nature; and pop culture Sci-Fi, stories that are more escapist and less challenging where the grey cells are concerned.
Perhaps no better year can define this dichotomy than 1977 when the original Star Wars was released the same year as Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Critics often claim, or have a prejudice, that adult sci-fi is inherently superior or preferably to pop culture sci-fi. And I do have to admit, if truth be forceably told, I tend to prefer the former to the latter. But there is never a guarantee that one is going to be better than the other. In fact, in the end, the one that is better is simply the one that is better, and the reason why it is better is because, when all is said and done, it’s the, well… better one. Continue reading

HEAD CASES: Joy and Concussion


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
joy 1 The movie Joy, the new sorta, kinda, maybe bio-pic of Joy Magano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, starts out with text on the screen: “Inspired by the true stories of daring women. One in particular”.
I don’t know. Somehow on seeing those words up there in front of me, there was something so…condescending and patronizing about it all. It’s as if the filmmakers David O. Russell (who wrote the screenplay and directed) and Annie Mumolo (who worked on Bridesmaids and gets co-story credit here) were doing women a favor by making the movie at all and that somehow women should be thankful that someone actually created a film that instructs them how they should be leading their lives, since, being women, apparently, they don’t really know how to be daring and independent themselves.  
I’m sure I’m overreacting and I’m sure few others felt the same way, but there was just something about it that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Once this intro was over, we then spend the first third of the movie with Joy being victimized by her family (both extended and not) as it falls to her to take care of everyone else’s problems while she puts hers on hold. Continue reading

NO MORE FUN AND HUNGER GAMES: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2


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

 

and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE

 

Warning: SPOILERS

hg 1At the end of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, I was left with one burning question: was Alma Coin, leader of the revolution, trying to bring freedom to the land, or was she only seeking power?

Well, I have now seen The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and I have my answer.

And no, I’m not going to tell you because it leads to one of the most satisfying climactic scenes in movies for a while.

Of course, I should start off by saying that there is no way I will admit that The Hunger Games is great filmmaking. It certainly has a myriad of faults.

At the same time, I have found this franchise to be more intellectually intriguing, even fascinating, than others like it. There has always been something about the stories that stayed with me, something buried (a bit too much, I believe, at times) at the core of it. For me, The Hunger Games has always been a complex study of how a revolution begins, builds and bursts forth upon the land combined with the crowd pleasing wrappings of a commercial aesthetic.

It’s certainly no Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Yet, I find it more rewarding than Harry Potter if for no other reason than half the time I never quite new where the story was going when it came to Hogwarts and environs (especially in the last entry which, in spite of being split into two films, I’m not convinced it ultimately made a lot of sense). Continue reading

NO MORE FUN AND HUNGER GAMES or THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED: My take on the movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I


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
mockingjay 1Okay.
How to start.
Well, there’s really no point in putting it off.
At the risk of losing what little reputation I have (if I even have one); at the risk of inviting ridicule, derision, mockery and scorn from those who read my reviews who don’t already hold me in ridicule, derision, mockery and scorn; and at the risk of being reviled by serious filmgoers far and wide…
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I is not nearly as bad as the critics claim it is and is by far the best entry in the franchise to date, far better than the first two films. Continue reading

OF GODS AND MONSTERS: Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past


Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks of 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
godzilla-2014-movie-screenshot-old-monsterAll the while, while watching Godzilla, the mega monster movie epic written by Max Borenstein from a story by Dave Callaham and directed by Gareth Edwards, all I could think is “where is Mystery Science Theater 3000 when you need them?”
(I remember this one moment, see, and this female MOTU, okay, she like passes over the central character, Ford Brody, and you can like see its testicular like sac carrying its eggs and everything, and, and I so wanted Crow, Tom Servo or Gypsy to call out, “Please don’t teabag me, please don’t teabag me”). Continue reading