POP ART: Episode 17, Face/Off/Mulholland Drive


“Lies, deceit, mixed messages… this is turning into a real marriage”. Not quite feeling yourself these days?  Do you suspect you might not be who you think you are? Maybe that you might even be…someone else? Just in time for Episode 17 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I select a film from the more art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. This time, my guest, filmmaker and screenwriter AJ Bermudez, chose Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo’s over the top action thriller Face/Off while I have chosen David Lynch’s surrealistic neo-noir Mulholland Drive, both with characters who are not exactly themselves for most of the story. And here we answer such questions as: What happened to John Woo in America? What the hell is going on in Mulholland Drive? Is John Travolta better at playing Nicholas Cage, or Cage better at playing Travolta? What are the best scenes in each movie? What do I and David Lynch have in common and what do the French have to do with it? What is the weakest scene in Face/Off? Who or what is Harve Presnell and would you want to be one? In the meantime, listen to, like, comment on and follow other episodes ON ITUNES AND PODOMATIC. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pop-art/id1511098925 and https://hcasner65579.podomatic.com/, as well as iheartradio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-pop-art-65365716/, Sticher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pop-art Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5jX4noVGArDJdmcFtmrQcGm , Anchor: https://anchor.fm/howard-casner, Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8xZWI4N2NmYy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw , Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/pop-art, Pocketcasts: https://pca.st/vfjqj6j6, Radiopublic: https://radiopublic.com/pop-art-GExxNb

Previous episodes: Raiders of the Lost Ark/The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; Goldfinger/The Spy Who Came in From the Cold; Monty Python and the Holy Grail/The Seventh Seal; The Great Escape/A Man Escaped; Best in Show/Series 7: The Contenders; Robocop/THX 1138; Singin’ in the Rain/Irma Vep; Star Wars/The Hidden Fortress; The Omen/Village of the Damned; Aliens/Attack the Block; Adaptation/Sunset Boulevard; Die Hard/District B13; American Psycho/Repulsion; Dumb and Dumber/Too Late For Tears; Get Out/Upstream Color; Galaxy Quest/The Seven Samurai.

 

Check out my Script Consultation Services at http://ow.ly/HPxKE. I offer several types of service. Testimonials can be found at the blog entry.

Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay?  Check out the second edition of my screenwriting book, More Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader published on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GD1XP9Y

Finally, I have published a collection of three of my plays, 3 Plays, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08478DBXF as well as two collections of short stories, The Starving Artists and other stories, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FS91CKJ and The Five Corporations and the One True Church and other stories, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY5Z3CF.

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE: Movie Reviews of Demolition and The Jungle Book by Howard Casner


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 1For the first third of the new drama Demolition, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Davis,  a man whose wife recently died in a traumatic car crash, one which he witnessed (he was in the passenger seat beside her).
After the accident, he starts acting, well, somewhat odd.  He doesn’t seem to show any emotion or even grieve in any way.  He returns to work earlier than expected.  He distances himself from a scholarship his father-in-law wants to create in his daughter’s name.
But most important, at least in terms of the story, after a candy machine refuses to give him his order, he starts writing to the customer service department of the manufacturer.  However, he doesn’t just air his grievance, he also spills his real feelings about his wife and what is happening to him. Continue reading

GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO: While We’re Young and Cupcakes


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
while were youngThere is much to like in writer/ director Noah Baumbach’s musing on growing older, though not necessarily wiser, in his new film While We’re Young.
It’s almost never less than entertaining. And it’s a technically solid piece of work. Baumbach, as a director, feels fully in control of the how the movie looks. As a writer, the characters are often very well drawn and the dialog has a nice rhythmic feel to it, a sort of stylized realism of people from an intellectual background.
At the same time, I’m not sure the movie really comes together as a whole in a fully satisfactory manner. For me, the story itself seemed to flounder at times as it was trying to figure out just what is was supposed to be about.
Overall, my feelings were often those of puzzlement. Is While We’re Young a modern day version of All About Eve that constantly gets off subject, or is it a generation gap morality tale that Baumbach had difficulty finding a strong structure for and sorta, kinda tried to fit it into that of the great film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz? Continue reading

THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT: Horns and St. Vincent


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
hornsHorns, the new supernatural, fantasy, horror, neo-noir written by Keith Bunin and directed by Alexandre Aja, has a clever, if not neat, little concept.
A young man, Ig Perrish, universally hated in the small town he lives in (for good reason, in many ways, since he’s accused of killing his long time girlfriend Merrin), grows a pair of devil’s horns which causes everyone he meets to confess their deepest desires and even fulfill them, no matter how awful they may be, if the young man gives them permission.
And there are some clever scenes here and there as these normal on the outside, white picket fence, Sunday go to meeting citizens suddenly revel in their cravings to carry out their secret, if often perverse, yearnings.
But in the end, the movie never really comes together and gets bogged down in what may seem an extraneous through line concerning the rape and murder of said girlfriend.
I’m not sure why everyone felt the need to make the story a murder mystery. It’s that way in the novel by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), so I can’t really blame Bunin and Aja. But this aspect of the story only seems to get in the way of what really works here, this look into the hearts of darkness of people you originally thought were just a few steps up from pod people. Continue reading

MAN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


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
birdmanMichael Keaton’s career has been what I would call somewhat unusual. He hit his stride early with the movie Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober and then was cast as Batman (and today is still many people’s favorite wing man). He looked like an actor on the rise.
Then after that? Well, I’m not sure how to describe it, but he seemed to do whatever he could to not go the way of fellow thespians like Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler, constantly required to star in the same kind of over the top, often obnoxious comedies that made fortunes at the box office (at least for a time) while trying to make more “meaningful” films on the side.
Instead, Keaton seemed to flee iconic roles and try to define himself as a more serious performer. But in the years since those early parts, it felt more like he was trying to find characters to play that would define him as an actor, rather than succeeding in actually reinventing himself. Continue reading