LIFE’S A BEACH: Dunkirk


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Warning: SPOILERS
Is Dunkirk, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s version of one of the biggest military disasters of all time that, somehow, near miraculously, became a symbol of one of the biggest military triumphs of all time, any good?
Or does that matter and the movie, at least at this moment in time, is somewhat beyond criticism?
The film is certainly a monumental achievement, but ironically its due to Nolan’s minimalist approach to drama, with little dialog, no backstory and vistas of groups of soldiers lined up along the beach as if they were waiting for a bus.

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ASHES TO ASHES: Cinderella


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
cinderellaThere is one absolutely lovely and magical moment in the new live action, non-musical Disney version of the animated, fully musicalized Disney version of the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale Cinderella.
Our titular character, frustrated and defeated by the cruel treatment at the hands of her step-mother and step-sisters, takes to horse and rides off into a distant woods where she stops the Prince from hunting down a stag.
What’s wonderful about this scene is that the previously optimistic (and rather annoyingly Pollyanish at times) Cinderella is finally the person she really is, beaten down, sad, furious at the circumstances she has found herself in, while the Prince, in turn, is finally the person he isn’t: here he pretends to be a mere apprentice and not royalty.
Who’d have thought something this sophisticated, clever and witty would have come from a carefully fine-tuned and micromanaged to the nth degree movie from the Disney studios, but the screenwriter Chris Weitz (who has given us such fun bon bons as Antz and About a Boy) pulled off something of a coup in this particular scene.
Other than that, for my money, Cinderella is something of a mixed bag when it comes to success. I know it’s been socking it away at the box office, but I’m afraid that it only intermittently works for me. Continue reading

WHACKED: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT


JACK-RYANFor those who don’t think that there is something incredibly whacked when it comes to the values of Hollywood, submitted for your consideration (cause, yeah, it does seem kind of Twilight Zonish at times):
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a movie in which Keira Knightley, the marvelous purse-lipped actress of Pride and Prejudice (for which she received an Oscar nomination), Atonement and Never Let Me Go (as well as the mega-franchise pirate movie Pirates of the Caribbean, et al.) is made to play second fiddle as the long suffering girlfriend to…Chris Pine.  Chris Pine. Continue reading