GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER: Beatriz at Dinner and It Comes at Night


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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
Beatriz at Dinner is writer Michael White and director Miguel Arteta’s third film collaboration after Chuck and Buck (an interesting character study of a gay man wanting to take up a former relationship with his best friend who is now married and apparently no longer gay) and The Good Girl (a modern day somewhat clever take on Madame Bovary).
Together they have made a very solid series of films. Nothing perhaps to light up the sky, but still, quite respectable and entertaining.
Beatriz at Dinner is probably their most ambitious. At the same time, however intriguing and entertaining it often is, it is probably their weakest. I think this may be because they set up an intriguing premise, but failed to, or didn’t know how to, really resolve it all in a rich and satisfying way. Continue reading
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WOMEN WHO WORK: Things to Come and Miss Sloane


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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-3Two films at this year’s AFI fest had, as their central characters, women who work outside the home. But the takes on the situation by the respective filmmakers couldn’t be more different.
In Things to Come (not to be confused with the Sci-Fi film from 1936 starring Raymond Massey…I hope), Nathalie Chateaux teaches philosophy in high school. And I don’t mean teaches philosophy, she TEACHES philosophy (and in a way that makes you put on sackcloth and ashes, moaning and bewailing in despair over the U.S. educational system).
Everything in her life seems in perfect equilibrium. She has a loving husband, family, occupation (her only real downside is that her mother is emotionally unstable).
Then she encounters a series of misfortunes. Her husband asks for a divorce; her mother dies; and she is basically fired from her position of overseeing the philosophy texts used in school. Continue reading

ONE HOSPITABLE PLANET DOWN…8.8 BILLION TO GO: Interstellar


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
interstellarI had a very disturbing thought after watching Interstellar, the new thinking man’s sci-fi blockbuster by the Nolan brothers, Jonathan and Christopher (who also directed).
Earth is on its last legs and our only hope is to find another planet that we can move to. In other words, we’ve destroyed this world, but no worries, we’ll just pack up shop and move to another one and start all over. That is, until we use that one up and have to move again, I suppose. And again. And again.
I guess it’s no big deal. After all, we still have a possible 8.8 billion planets to make our way through. Which means that it’s a problem I won’t have to worry about in my lifetime.
But I’m not sure here. I guess when all was said and done, I didn’t find the ending to the movie to be as glorious a paean to the human spirit as much as I think I was supposed to. Continue reading

WOMEN GONE WILD: The Homesman, Wild and Miss Julie


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
homesmanIt’s November, which means it’s that time of year: Oscar season is officially open. Ducks are now safe, but theater goers? Not so much maybe.
The season is especially serious for actresses since it is generally agreed that this has been one of those incredibly weak years for female leads in movies—or at least the types of leads that could receive a statuette—in America (overseas, the number of quality roles for women is still going strong, or at least much stronger than stateside).
I have recently seen three movies with actresses who have all been mentioned as possibilities for this year’s highest middle-brow prize in thespianic activity.
I was not particularly impressed, sorry to say.

Continue reading

LOVE AND DEATH AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN: To Be Takei, Jealousy and Love is Strange


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
to-be-takei-george-takei-in-star-trekOh, My!
               George Takei
I once worked at a movie theater that was frequented by celebrities of every make and model. For some reason, the bigger the name (Queen Latifah, Colin Farrel) the less the effect they had on me. I’d do my job and they’d go on their way with nary an increase in my pulse or heart rate.
It was often the second tier celebrities (for lack of a better phrase) that got me tongue tied and turned me into a flibbertigibbet.   I’m not sure why.
They may not have been as great an actor as Marlon Brando, but they just always seemed to give me more joy.
Anyway, for what it is, there it is.
And there it was when I was face down at the customer service desk and looked up and there was George Takei…and I froze. He had been such a part of my youth from the first episode of Star Trek, a series of mixed quality in looking back today, of course, but at the time had a palpable impact on me and many of my friends.

Continue reading