THE ART OF THE MATTER – Part One: The Meyorwitz Stories (Both New and Old), Rebel in the Rye, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold


For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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
The Meyerwitz Stories (Both Old and New) opened both on the Netflix streaming platform and in the theaters at the same time. The goal, as I surmise it, it to have a qualifying run for the Oscar race (and screeners have been sent) while giving it as little theatrical distribution as possible.
Sort of like having your cake and eating it to.
It’s hard to say, but I’m not sure they have that strong a chance. Many voters might feel like this is cheating (and Cannes refused to show any Netflix product).
But The Meyerwitz Stories…, written and directed by the intelligent and erudite Noah Baumbach, is quite good, even quite marvelous and definitely deserves an audience. Continue reading

YOU’VE GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT STYLE: De Palma and The Neon Demon


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 recently that revolve around style. One is a documentary about a filmmaker who is known for his, the other is a film by a director who has it.
How one reacts to De Palma, the new doc by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow about the director, first name Brian, who really made his mark in movies with the horror film Carrie, may depend on how you feel about the filmmaker’s films in general. For me, De Palma, who is the only talking head here, it’s his show all the way, is only as interesting as his movies, which means that once we get to Blow Out, it’s all down here from there.
His earliest films tended to be of the independent sort, made on a shoestring budget, if that. They may not have always looked as professional as a Roger Corman production, but they had a fresh hipness to them and gave us such actors as Robert DeNiro and Jill Clayburgh. Continue reading

YOU’VE EITHER GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT STYLE: Mistress America and Queen of Earth


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
mistress 2In Mistress America, the new comedy of manners directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and the actor playing the title role, Greta Gerwig, Tracy, a freshman in college who wants to be a writer, has trouble fitting in. She can’t get invited to a party. The snobbish college lit magazine rejects her story. The only person who has warmed up to her, fellow writer Tony, whom she hopes to date, suddenly shows up with another woman on his arm.
Desperate to find a way out of her slough of despair (to use a literary allusion), she finally does what her mother suggests: contact Brooke, the daughter of her mother’s future husband, who lives in New York. And when she does, Brooke takes Tracy under her wing and expands her horizons.
But Brooke is, well, quite a character, should we say. Which is good since, in many ways, Mistress America is a character study.
It’s also a very studied character study.
Critics have said that Mistress America is very quotable. And in many ways, they are right. Just like a play by Oscar Wilde, I could see almost every line possibly ending up in a Barlett’s.
But everything in the movie feels like it’s in quotation marks. The acting, the characters, the story, the mis en scene. It’s like a Restoration comedy that’s been produced within an inch of its life.
That sounds like I’m saying something negative about the movie. But I’m not really. Yes, everything in Mistress America seems punctuated, but still, it’s a thorough joy to watch. It is a rollicking good time. 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