DEAD MAN FARTING: Swiss Army Man and Carnage Park


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 2Perhaps the best way to describe Swiss Army Man, the new indie comedy from writer/directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, their first feature film, is that it is an odd duck of a movie. Of course, it’s no insult to say that it’s not quite as odd a duck as The Lobster, but if it quacks like one, etc. You get my drift anyway.
Those of you who watch the previews of coming attractions at their local bijou, or even those who don’t, probably know what the basic premise is. Paul Dano plays Hank, a depressed loner who gets stranded on an island after a boat he rented got lost.
As he is about to do himself in, he sees a dead body washed up on shore. This non-character is played by former Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, a role I bet never required him to pass wind.
Hank soon discovers that Manny has certain, shall we say, uses. He can fart with the power of an SST and he gets an erection that always tells Hank which way to go to get back to civilization.
And that’s just the beginning of the odd duckiness here. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/24-7/1/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/24-7/1/2016
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff 1ON HULU: Mommy is French-Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s latest film and his best since his début with I Killed My Mother. A mother removes her son from a mental institution. But her son’s emotional difficulties promise to send him back until a new neighbor helps. But is that help going to be enough? Wonderful acting by the three leads, some interesting directorial flourishes, and a deeply moving ending.
ff 2ON NETFLIX: As an actor, Tab Hunter was never a great one, maybe not even a particularly good one, and he was only a box office star for a relatively short period of time, so it may be hard to conceive that a documentary about him would be anything but fluff. But Tab Hunter Confidential, directed by Jeffrey Schwartz, is a fascinating look at the Hollywood acting machine, what is was like to be closeted in the U.S. at the time, and how Hunter came to terms with his life and found peace. Hunter, who is interviewed for most of the movie, is very candid about his life. A fascinating portrait.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Swiss Army Man, The Shallows, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Neon Demon, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Seoul People, Les Cowboys, My Love, Don’t Cross That River, Finding Dory, Tickled, The Witness, De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Wailing, The Nice Guys, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/17-24/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/17-24/201
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff 1ON AMAZON: 1945’s And Then There Were None is quite possibly the best adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic novel (I have yet to see Acorn Channel’s new version) in which a group of people are invited and then trapped in a remote location whereupon they are killed off one by one in accordance to a nursery rhyme. Directed by Rene Clair (probably his best American film) and wittily written by Dudley Nichols, one of Hollywood’s best screenwriters. It also boasts a fun cast of some our best character actors including Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald, Roland Young, C. Aubrey Smith, Mischa Auer, Richard Haydn and Judith Anderson.
ff 2ON NETFLIX: Carlos is a television mini-series about the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez ‘Carlos’¸who eventually earned the nickname The Jackal after the man who tried to assassinate De Gaulle. Directed by one of France’s best director Olivier Assayas and written by Assayas, Dan Franke and Daniel Laconte, it’s a first rate political thriller in which Carlos is often portrayed as leading a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. And with a compelling performance by Edgar Ramirez in the title role.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Finding Dory, Tickled, The Keeper of Lost Causes, From Afar, Bang Gang, Genius, The Witness, De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Fits, The Wailing, The Nice Guys, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster

Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/10-6/17/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 6/10-6/17/201
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff1ON NETFLIX: Cold in July, written by Nick Dimici and the director Jim Mickle, is a very clever and effective neo noir with great performances by Sam Shepard and especially Don Johnson, who steals the show. A mild mannered family man shoots an intruder and it turns out he was wanted for other crimes. But the family man discovers this might not be true. One of the best films of its year.
ff 2ON HULU:  Night on Earth is a portmanteau film from writer/director Jim Jarmusch. It dramatizes five different cab rides in five different locations on earth. The stand out is probably Roberto Benigni who picks up a priest late one night in Rome.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  De Palma, King Jack, Diary of a Chambermaid, The Fits, Therapy for a Vampire, The Conjuring 2, The Wailing, Chevalier, The Idol, The Nice Guys, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 6/3-6/10/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/27-6/3/201
A change here. I now also have HBONOW and Amazon, as well as Netflix and Hulu, so I will be rotating these from now on.
ff 1ON HBONOW: Citizen X is about the search for a serial killer in 1980’s Soviet Russia hampered by the idea held by many at that time that there are no serial killers under Communism since it was only the product of the decadent Capitalistic west. Fascinating, with strong performances by Stephen Rea as the forensics expert put in charge of the case and Donald Sutherland seeming to have a great time as his superior officer. With a cameo of Max von Shadow as something unusual for Soviet Russia, a psychiatrist.
ff 2ON AMAZON:  Lady of Burlesque is a nice, fun noir based on the book The G-String Murders. Made in 1943, it was hampered a bit by censorship (there’s not a lot of strip and even less of tease), but Barbara Stanwyck is great in the title role, trying to solve a series of murders before it gets to her. Screenplay by James Gunn and directing by William A. Wellman.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Wailing, Chevalier, The Idol, The Nice Guys, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/27-6/3/2016


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

 

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/27-6/3/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  This week a television series: Occupied, created by Karianne Lund, Jo Nesbø, Erik Skjoldbjærg, takes place in the near future when Norway decides to stop producing oil and instead produce the more environmentally friendly element thorium. Russia, backed by the EU, has a velvet glove takeover of the nation. A tense and engrossing series and a must see. Russia was not happy with it, to say the least.
ff 2ON HULU:  Based on a true story, Memories of Murder, written by Sung-bo Shim and my favorite Korean director Joon-ho Bong (in spite of Snowpiercer, which I refuse to mention…oops), is about the first recorded Korean serial killer. A strong procedural as well as strong character study of the city mouse (a Seoul police detective) who comes to the country mouse (a local detective) and they join forces to find the murderer before he strikes again.
ff 3OF SPECIAL NOTE: Laemmle’s Royal is showing a new restoration of Carol Reed and Graham Greene’s movie The Fallen Idol. Highly recommended.
ff 4FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Idol, Presenting Princess Shaw, Australia’s Lost Gold, The One’s Below, The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Love and Friendship, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, A Bigger Splash, The Measure of a Man, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/20–27/2016


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/20=27/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  To Catch A Thief, written by John Michael Hayes and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is not top drawer Hitchcock, but it’s still pretty good. A retired cat burglar must come out of retirement when someone starts using his MO to steal jewels. This leads to Grace Kelly using double entendres over a picnic to woo Cary Grant. Fun.
ff 2ON HULU:  The Demon, written by Masato Ide from a story by Seicho Matsumoto and directed by the Japanese Alfred Hitchcock, is a brutal and riveting tale of what happens when a man’s mistress drops his three children with him and his unsuspecting wife. As pressure mounts, the lives of the children become at stake.
ff 3FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Nice Guys, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Angry Birds, Love and Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Weiner, Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, A Bigger Splash, The Measure of a Man, A Monster With A Thousand Heads, The Lobster Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016 http://ow.ly/4ntIr8


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
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/13-20/2016
rev 2ON NETFLIX:  In 1845, a group of pioneers take a shortcut at their guide’s behest in order to get over the Cascade Mountains. They get lost as writer Jonathan Raymond and director Kelly Reichart take them all down a road of existentialism. Are they really lost, and if they are, what do they do? An intriguing small western starring Michelle Williams.
ff 1ON HULU:  This time round, I am going to recommend a television series, the anarchic and almost nihilistic, but very darkly funny animated Rick and Morty. The premise is difficult to explain clearly, but it’s about an alcoholic scientist who takes his often clueless nephew on a series of outrageous adventures.
jimmy vestwoodA SPECIAL SHOUT OUT FOR: Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, written by Amir Ohebsion and its star Maz Jobrani, and directed by Jonathan Kesselman, “A wannabe private investigator wins the Green Card lottery and moves to America to pursue his dream only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy to start the next world war.”  It plays at the Laemmle Music Hall 3 and the Town Center Five
ff 4OF SPECIAL NOTE: Jean Luc Godard’s great film Band of Outsiders plays at   (It’s the one where our heroes run across the Louvre)

 

rev 1FIRST RUN and OPENING:  The Lobster, Money Monster, Highrise, Last Days in the Desert, Captain America: Civil War, A Bigger Splash, The Dark Horse, Elstree 1976, Sing Street, The Meddler Continue reading

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