THE 2015 Howies


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

lobster poster
2015 was an oddly structured year when it came to the quality of movie releases. At the same time, I’m beginning to suspect that this might just become the status quo for a while.
The first few months, until the beginning of the release of the inevitable tentpole films (around the time of Mad Max making its appearance), the theaters tended to be filled with either the previous year’s Oscar movies (which I had seen) or movies that were being dumped because their producers had lost faith in them.
carol posterIt’s not that there wasn’t some gold here and there. Movies like Predestination and What We Do In the Shadows made their presence known. But overall, it was like pulling teeth to find a decent film to go to.
Then the blockbusters hit and with a vengeance. As usual, most weren’t very good, mediocre if we were lucky. At the same time, the quality was, on average, a bit better than usual with Mad Max, Spy and The Martian leading the pack.
spy posterThen fall hit, also with a vengeance, and all the distributors inundated the movie houses with their prestige pictures, and suddenly it was safe to go back to the theater again. Not that all of these lived up to their hype (cough, Steve Jobs, cough), but overall, the year ended with a nice selection of films to choose from for a best of list.
Let me know what you think.
So here are the 2015 Howies: Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 12/18-25/15


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 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. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,

 

And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE

 

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 12/18-25/15

tangerine oneON NETFLIX: Tangerine, written by Chris Bergoch and the director Sean Baker, is a marvelous independent film about a transgendered woman and working girl who spends her Christmas Even hunting down her pimp when she finds out he cheated on her while she was in prison. Funny, moving and marvelous acted, this is one of the best films of 2015. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor are wonderful as the two best friends at the center of the story.

cadillac

ON HULU: Underappreciated at the time of its release, Cadillac Man is one of Robin Williams’ best performances. In this manic comedy written by Ken Friedman and directed by Roger Donaldson, Williams is a used car salesman whose boss has put an impossible quota on those who work for him. But interrupting the day is a relative early Tim Robbins who crashes the sale and holds everyone at gunpoint because his girlfriend is sleeping with someone at the lot. Hysterical.

saul twoFIRST RUN and OPENING: Son of Saul, Star Wars: the Force Awakens, He Never Died, Dreams Rewired, (T)ERROR, The Big Short, Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, Chi-Raq, Theeb, Youth, Creed, Brooklyn, Carol Continue reading

MEAN STREETS and TRAINWRECK: Tangerine and The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet


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
tangerine oneGuerilla filmmaking is nothing new to the world of cinema. It’s probably existed since the first motion picture camera was invented. But perhaps the most famous and influential one is Rome: Open City in which the action is often filmed on the streets of a newly un-Nazi occupied Rome with a mixture of amateur and pro actors.
It’s never not gone out of style since (Sam Fuller uses it during the opening scenes of The Crimson Kimono, for example), but bulky cameras and sound gear made it very difficult. Now with smaller, cheaper and easier to use film equipment, it has been on the rise.
Most notably and recently we had Escape from Tomorrow, much of it secretly shot at Disneyland and Disneyworld (and often impressively so). But that film lacked a strong and focused narrative until it felt like the writer and director ultimately lost control of it all and the final third never came together in a satisfying way.
And now we have Tangerine, shot not just on the streets of Los Angeles (mainly on Santa Monica between Vermont and Highland, though it does extend to West Hollywood at one point), but also on busses, motels and in fast food restaurants, especially a donut shop manned by a very beleaguered clerk. Continue reading