POP ART: Episode 40, Dead Calm/Knife in the Water


STRANGER DANGER. “I left the cucumbers behind” Our mothers always warned us. Always wear clean underwear. Always finish the food on your plate, there are children starving in other countries. Never pick up strangers. But do we listen to her? Of course, not. And because of that, we have to pay the penalty. Sounds like the perfect time for Episode 40 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. For my listeners, please like, follow or comment. For this episode, I welcome writer/producer/director Robert Brody, who has chosen the Nicole Kidman, San Neill, Billy Zane three-handed thriller Dead Calm, and I have chosen Roman Polanski’s freshman feature, the Polish arthouse classic Knife in the Water, both about a couple who pick up a stranger and find themselves in sexual and physical conflict while on a boat at sea. And in this episode, we answer such questions as: Why do you never ask Billy Zane to go boating? Who dubbed the voice of the hitchhiker in Knife in the Water and why? What are the technical accuracies and inaccuracies of both movies? How and why did they change the ending to Dead Calm? What is significant about Knife in the Water and the Oscars? Why didn’t Polanski remake Knife in the Water in Hollywood?

And be sure and stay tuned to the end where Robert very generously gives me a wonderful recommendation for my coverage service. Thank you, Robert. Continue reading

REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST: Lion and Jackie


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
I am now offering a new consultation 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?  FosCheck 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-4About a third of the way through Lion, the new film from director Garth David (he worked on the TV series Top of the Lake) and screenwriter Luke Davies (Candy), the central character, Saroo, has a Proustian moment when he sees a plate of jelebies, a lusciously bright red sweet popular in India. He suddenly has a memory of being a boy less than six years old, deeply desiring such a confection while out working with his older brother in a remote Indian city.
This has a profound effect on him, because as a child he got separated from his brother and ended up on a train that took him to New Delhi where he ended up in an orphanage, subsequently adopted by an Australian couple.
He hasn’t thought about his early life much at all. He doesn’t even really consider himself Indian. But the rush of memory has a profound existential effect on him and he becomes obsessed with finding his way back to his birth mother and family. Continue reading

THE PAST AIN’T WHAT IT USE TO BE: Genius and Finding Dory


First, a word from our sponsors: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our Indiegogo campaign for 15 Conversations in 10 Minutes. We did very well due to you folks. For those who weren’t able to give, keep us in your thoughts. And if you are able to contribute in the future, contact me and I’ll tell you how. I will even honor the perks on the original campaign.
I am now offering a new consultation 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 1Two movies have opened that deal with the past in some way. One takes place in it, and one has a character trying to find it.
Genius is the based on a true story film about the editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) and his nurturing of the somewhat difficult, to say the least, writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and the publication of Wolfe’s two books, Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River.
It was certainly a tumultuous relationship as artist/mentor relationships go. Perkins, though responsible for the publishing of such authors as Hemingway and Fitzgerald, was a Puritan at heart. Wolfe was larger than life, obnoxious, rude, an egotist and near sociopath, who lived life as if it were a last meal to be devoured.
One might very well ask, then, how a drama revolving around two such men could be, well, if truth be told and the devil shamed, tedious and almost never gripping? Continue reading

THE BEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING: Paddington


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
paddingtonThe opening scenes from Paddington, the new film about the eponymous English toy bear called, well, Paddington, appropriately enough, has some incredibly gorgeous and glorious animation. When a bear first appears, it’s as if every single whisker and individual hair of his fur is alive and moving, gracefully flowing even.
The animated movement of the bear and the intermix of animation of real live actors is just about faultless and the filmmakers have contributed some marvelous bits of magic as well, such as a doll’s house that reveals the house Paddington lives in and shows what is going on in the other rooms when the doors swing open, or a wall with paintings of trees on it with leaves that flutter away when the weather, symbolically, changes inside the house.
The movie, with a screenplay by Hamish McColl and the director Paul King (based on the character created by Michael Bond) is also witty. In fact, it’s often very witty. It’s almost a cliché that English films are going to outwit their American counterparts these days. It just seems to be part of the British character that they can’t escape. Continue reading