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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 10/9-16/2015
ON NETFLIX: Laura, the classic film noir based on the book by Vera Caspary and directed by Otto Preminger, is one of the most enjoyable thrillers from that period. A woman is murdered and the detective involved falls in love with her through her portrait and her history as told to him by a vicious gossip columnist who was her mentor and who loved her as well. Though Gene Tierney as the title character and Dana Andrews as the investigating officer can’t quite make the romance convincing (they were never the greatest of actors), the supporting cast, Clifton Webb (nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) as the Wenchell like columnist; Vincent Price (in what I think is his best performance) as a gigolo; and Judith Anderson as a wealthy matron more than willing to pay for his services, make the movie as a triumvirate of some of the nastiest characters in film. And the screenplay gives them the wit to do it.
ON HULU: Based on a book by Elmore Leonard, Life of Crime is a fun, if perhaps minor, comic thriller about a kidnapping that doesn’t go according to plan. Written and directed by Daniel Schechter, it stars John Hawkes as the head of the gang; Jennifer Anniston as the one abducted; and Tim Robbins as the husband who doesn’t care if he gets his wife back or not.
FIRST RUN and OPENING: The Final Girls, Taxi Tehran, Victoria, The Martian, Labyrinth of Lies, Pawn Sacrifice Continue reading →
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
If it is true, as people say, that films influence how we act, then I’m not sure why people are still in the kidnapping biz. I mean, if there is one thing movies have taught us, from Fargo to High and Low to Taken to Misery, that kidnapping thingy just never works out well for those who take to it.
And now we have Life of Crime, written and directed by Daniel Schechter (based on a novel by the immensely popular as well as well respected author Elmore Leonard titled The Switch), the latest variation on the O’Henry short story, The Ransom of Red Chief, in which someone is kidnapped whom the one being extorted the ransom would be just as happy if they were never returned. Continue reading →