THE PAST AIN’T WHAT IT USE TO BE: Genius and Finding Dory


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?  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
rev 1Two movies have opened that deal with the past in some way. One takes place in it, and one has a character trying to find it.
Genius is the based on a true story film about the editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) and his nurturing of the somewhat difficult, to say the least, writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and the publication of Wolfe’s two books, Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River.
It was certainly a tumultuous relationship as artist/mentor relationships go. Perkins, though responsible for the publishing of such authors as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, was a Puritan at heart. Wolfe was larger than life, obnoxious, rude, an egotist and near sociopath, who lived life as if it were a last meal to be devoured.
One might very well ask, then, how a drama revolving around two such men could be, well, if truth be told and the devil shamed, tedious and almost never gripping? Continue reading

BIG: Spy and Jurassic World


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
spyAre you having a bad day? Things not going well? Are you a bit down in the dumps?
Well, if you want to feel a bit better about yourself and life in general, I can hardly recommend a more effective drop of medicine than Spy, the new espionage comedy starring Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper, the unprepossessing agent’s assistant with the unprepossessing name who turns into one bad un-unprepossessing ass of a Jane Bond.
What can I say? I came out of the movie theater feeling wonderful, simply wonderful, ready to take on the vicissitudes of life and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune once again.
Now, I do have to be honest. Based on remarks I’ve seen on facebook, how you react to the movie will probably depend on how you feel about Ms. McCarthy. If you don’t like her particular brand of comedy persona, the movie may affect you more like a fallen soufflé.
I happen to think she’s an exploding nova of a comic talent. Continue reading

HERMAN MELVILLE IN A SUB and CHEKHOV IN TURKEY: Black Sea and Winter Sleep


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
black seaAfter WWII, Germany was being fought over by the Western Powers (England, France and the U.S.) and the Russians. They ended up splitting the country in half, in a riff on that Solomon and baby thing.
In Black Sea, a new action film written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Kevin McDonald, cold war politics come back to haunt the characters as a submarine crew made up of equal parts British and Russian go on the hunt for some Nazi gold with the goal of splitting it between the two.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Before I continue, I should reemphasize how I start these reviews: Warning: SPOILERS.
I feel I should do this because there will be spoilers. My god, will there be spoilers, spoilers galore. They will flow like the River Nile and spray the canvas like the drops flung forth from a fighter’s broken nose during a Mixed Martial Arts bout.
They will flow because I found the plot to Black Sea to be one of the most preposterous ones I’ve come across in some time. 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