GROWING PAINS: Breathe and A Brilliant Young Mind


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Warning: SPOILERS
breatheMelanie Laurent is an artist probably best known in the U.S. for her role as the Jewish girl who escapes the clutches of Christoph Waltz in the opening of the film Inglourious Basterds. But she doesn’t seem to be somebody who is only going to do one thing. Not only does she sing, but she has also branched out into directing and screenwriting.
Her most recent film, Breathe (her second feature), written by her and Julien Lambroschini from a novel by Anne-Sophie Brasme, is a very assured character study of Charlie, a high school teenager who suddenly finds her outer and inner world spiraling out of control.
The cause of this chaos is the arrival at her school of a transfer student, Sarah. At first Sarah seems sweet and good natured (in a rather clever little opening bit on her first appearance) and she quickly and very determinedly ingratiates herself into Charlie’s life.
But it’s not long before the audience sees what Charlie can’t. That Sarah has a darker aspect to her personality. In fact, it almost immediately becomes clear that Sarah is a sociopath. She quickly manipulates Charlie into dropping her present best friend without Charlie realizing she has done so. And it’s not long before the two new friends are inseparable. Continue reading
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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

OF GODS AND MONSTERS: Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past


Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks of 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
godzilla-2014-movie-screenshot-old-monsterAll the while, while watching Godzilla, the mega monster movie epic written by Max Borenstein from a story by Dave Callaham and directed by Gareth Edwards, all I could think is “where is Mystery Science Theater 3000 when you need them?”
(I remember this one moment, see, and this female MOTU, okay, she like passes over the central character, Ford Brody, and you can like see its testicular like sac carrying its eggs and everything, and, and I so wanted Crow, Tom Servo or Gypsy to call out, “Please don’t teabag me, please don’t teabag me”). Continue reading

TEENANGSTERS AND DOPPLEANGSTERS: Palo Alto and The Double


Palo-AltoPalo Alto is about teenage angst and existential ennui, just like the Twilight series, but without the werewolves and vampires, though almost as painful to get through (sorry, but it’s true).
The story revolves around three teens: April (Emma Roberts), Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and Fred (Nat Wolf) who are going through the throes of finding themselves. Unfortunately, the throes they are going through are pretty much the same throes that millions of other movie teens have pretty much gone through in millions of other movies before this and dramatized in pretty much the same way as those millions of others that came before as well. Continue reading