MOVIE MURDER MOST FOUL: The Judge and The Blue Room


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
judgeHow can I cliché thee? Let me count the ways.
In the opening scene of The Judge, the new courtroom cum father/son we hate each other so much we love each other drama, defense attorney Hank Palmer (the kind of attorney who’ll defend anybody for anything as long as the price is right) is confronted by the prosecuting attorney Mike Kattan (the type of character that believes in truth, justice and the American way, so the filmmakers chose an actor, David Kromholtz, whose mere appearance would elicit laughter, to play the part next to the Ironman, alpha male, washboard stomach Robert Downey, Jr., who plays Hank) and they have one of those scene thingies where they debate the morality of it all.
At the end of the discussion (accompanied by mature goings on like Hank peeing on Mike’s pants), Hank sums up all the clichés that have taken place in that one encounter (and using the word “cliché” to describe it).
If the writers, Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque, were attempting to get away with the use of overdone platitudes, familiar formula and trite tropes by calling attention to what they were doing—well, okay, in their defense one can at least one can say they knew what they were doing when they were doing it and were trying to do something about it. Continue reading

APEOCALYPSE NOW, OR OF APES BOTH NAKED AND HAIRY: Venus in Fur, Life Itself and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


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
venusThe new movie, Venus in Fur, co-written by bad boy old timer Roman Polanski (who also directed) with relative new comer David Ives, from a play by Ives that was influenced by a book by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (yeah, that Sacher-Masoch—oh, no, don’t even try it, you know very well whom I’m talking about, you can’t fool me), begins during a somewhat impressionistic rain storm on a deserted street in France (so I guess the slight touch of impressionism shouldn’t be a surprise) backed by a music score of sublime slyness.
In fact, the score is so sublime, so sly, so clever, so flippant, so wicked, so…well, just so everything that I found myself being driven crazy because I couldn’t place the composer. And then at the end, during the credits, there it is—the name Alexandre Desplat, and all I could think was, of course, who else could it possibly have been. Continue reading