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

POP ART: Episode 13, American Psycho/Republsion


“I have to return some videotapes.” Is the quarantine turning you a bit…crazy? Perfect time to list to the latest episode of Pop Art, my podcast where the guest chooses a movie from pop culture and I select a film from the art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. This time, my guests Tessa Markle and Carolina Alvarez of Femme Regard Productions have chosen the adaptation of bad boy Bret Easton Ellis’s book American Psycho and I have chosen bad boy Roman Polanski’s atmospheric black and white horror film Repulsion, both concerning characters who, let us say, are going off the deep end a bit. And here we answer such questions as: Which is the more feminist film? Does the ending of American Psycho work? What does Gloria Steinem have to do with any of it? What is important about the female orgasm in Repulsion? Don’t forget to LIKE, COMMENT or FOLLOW. Next up: Get Out/Upstream Color.

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.

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.

MIXED DOUBLES: The Trust and The Nice Guys


First, a word from our sponsors: I have just launched the indiegogo campaign for my short film 14 Conversations in 10 Minutes. Check it out http://ow.ly/SblO3005HHu.  Below is a video sample of the short. Think about contributing (the lowest contribution is only $5.00). Please view and share anywhere and everywhere.

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 3The Trust, the new semi-caper film from writers Benjamin Brewer and Adam Hirsch and directed by Alex and Benjamin Brewer, starts out somewhat as a shaggy dog story. Which works rather well since the two central characters, both Las Vegas PD police officers (Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood), look and act like mutts one might find at an animal shelter, desperate to be adopted before they end up in the incinerator.
The two decide to rob a convenience store after they notice that said store receives regular deliveries, large bags, which disappear inside the premises. In return, nothing comes out; nada; zip; not a thing. So what exactly are the owners hiding inside in that new, state of the art, almost impossible to get into, concrete and steel freezer that is just simply too high end for a mom and pop operation such as it is?
The two decide to go after a pig in a poke and break in and take whatever they can find. And though each have their own personal motivations (Wood’s character Waters is bored and burnt out, and Cage’s character Stone has ideas for the force that go underappreciated), in many ways they really do it for the best of all reasons—they can. Continue reading

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: Diary of a Teenage Girl and Grandma


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
diaryI remember back in 1987 when Dirty Dancing came out, I was a little surprised that in all the positive reaction to the film, no one was mentioning the fact that a teenage girl was having an affair with a much older man. In fact, women loved this movie about first love and sexual awaking.
When Lolita was released in 1962, the movie was not so much seen as a dramatization of the horrors of pedophilia, but a tragi-comic character study of a man obsessed with his step-daughter, a step-daughter who did as much of the seducing as did the aging roué.
In 1984’s Blame it on Rio, Michael Caine has sex with his best friend’s daughter and the whole thing is played as a farce. It was even called incest by proxy by some and many found the move tres amusement.
Woody Allen’s films like Manhattan (1979) were probably the main ones the drew some hesitation, but even in his black and white paean to a city filled with morally questionable neurotics, his relationship with the high school nymphet was seen as the most pure and Mariel Hemingway got an Oscar nom.
Even Roman Polanski got the brunt of the sympathy as he fled the country to try and restart his film career in Europe.
But this was an earlier time when sex between older men and teenage girls wasn’t quite held in the same low esteem as it is today.
And oh, my, the times they have been a changing. Back then we had the new morality. Today, we have the new, new morality where sex between an adult and someone below the age of consent is no longer seen as acceptable and even considered damaging to the teen. Legally it’s always been called statutory rape, but until more recently, that term was not used much in terms of these relationships in movies.
The new movie Diary of a Teenage Girl, written and directed by the actor Marielle Heller (she can be seen in such films as A Walk Among the Tombstones and MacGruber), based on the autobiographical novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, falls somewhere in between today and yesterday. 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