IF ONLY: Silence


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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-1Silence, the new film written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, who also directed, is adapted from a 1966 Japanese novel by Shusako Endo. The basic premise revolves around two Portuguese priests, Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe, who go to Japan to find out whether an earlier missionary, Father Ferreira, had buckled under the persecution of the government there, a government that had outlawed Christianity, and renounced his faith.
When the two fathers reach Japan, they see a cruel world in which the slightest hint of Christianity leads to savage torture. They do what they can for the underground faith while searching for Ferreira, but are eventually caught and tortured themselves.
I have to be honest. I don’t really know how I’m supposed to react to what I see on the screen. Scorsese is definitely sincere in trying to explore the meaning of faith. But for me, I think this is quite possibly the worst film made in some time by a great filmmaker. Continue reading

SOUL SEARCHING: Knight of Cups and Confirmation


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
rev 1 Knight of Cups, the new film from art house fave writer/director Terence Malick, begins with some excerpts from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, spoken, I believe, in the dulcet tones of Sir John Gielgud.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory about a man who is weighed down by his sin and must seek a path to righteousness, but he finds many dangers, toils and snares along the way. 
I suppose the allegory in that classic is supposed to also be an allegory for Rick, the central character in Malick’s drama, and his journey.  Rick is a screenwriter who basically just drifts from place to place, observing the world he encounters while avoiding screenwriting as much as possible.  It’s sort of like a movie by Federico Fellini, 8 ½ or La Dolce Vita, character studies of a men who are spiritually lost or have writer’s block, set against dwarfing architecture and a somewhat impressionistic view of the local’s lives.
I have to say I liked Knight of Cups, though I also have to say I’m surprised that I did.  In Malick’s last film To The Wonder, the filmmaker told an almost impossible to understand story, made almost impossible to understand because it was not told in chronological order.  And since you were spending so much time just trying to understand what was going on, it was difficult to become emotionally involved in the movie.  And it didn’t help that when you did figure it out, it was a pretty bland and banal story line.

Continue reading

OVERSTUFFED: Ted 2


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

 

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Warning: SPOILERS
ted 2 threeIn 2012, Family Guy’s Seth McFarlane gave us Ted, a comedy about a teddy bear that came to life. It was actually a pretty good metaphor for the Peter Pan syndrome that the central character, John, suffered from.
It’s 2015, and now we have Ted 2. The bear’s still alive, but it’s a whole new metaphor: Ted wants to get married and adopt a child, but is he human enough to do so? Does he deserve equal rights?
Okay, you can see where this is going. And again, it’s not a half bad metaphor. One can almost see Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham posting on their blogs or talking about it on their shows as proof of the slippery slope that will result from legalizing same sex marriage: if a man can marry a man or a woman a woman, what’s to stop someone from marrying a…stuffed animal.
Oh, the humanity. Continue reading

OLD AGE AIN’T NO PLACE FOR SISSIES: Run All Night and Faults


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
Two movies have opened recently in which the central character use to be top of his game, but time and their past deeds have caught up to them, leaving a ruin in his place.
run all nightLiam Neeson has recently suggested that he is retiring from the action genre that gave new life to his career with the unexpected, but very effective, success of that modern day version of John Wayne’s The Searchers, Taken. After that, it was movies like The Grey and A Walk Among the Tombstones as well as others whose title seem to suggest just where this through line was going.
Now, he’s playing, Jimmy, aka The Gravedigger, an over the hill hit man, someone who has seen better days but now falls asleep drunk in a bar and farts while out, only to awaken in order to humiliate himself by asking for money from Danny, the son of his old boss and best friend, Shawn. In order to earn the money, he has to play Santa.
Things take a bad turn when Jimmy’s estranged son Mike sees Danny kill someone in a drug deal gone bad. Things take an even worse turn when Jimmy kills Danny in order to stop him from killing Mike. And then things take an even worse turn when Shawn has all his men focused on killing Mike and then killing Jimmy once he knows his son is dead. Continue reading

BOYS AND THEIR TOYS: THE LEGO MOVIE and IN SECRET


the_lego_movie_2014-wideIn a perfect world, if someone went to the bigger of the big shots, the higher of the higher ups, the muckier of the mucky-mucks, at a studio and pitched them the idea of making a movie based on Lego blocks, he would have been hung, strung and quartered in such a way as to be sure that he could never have progeny so such a suggestion could never be made again (I  mean, just think how much pain and suffering we would have avoided if they had done that for Battleship).  But alas and alac, this is not a perfect world. Continue reading