My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/13-11/20/15


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. 11/13-20/16
allenON NETFLIX: Woody Allen: A Documentary is an engrossing and exciting study written and directed by Richard B. Weide, who also produced Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s one the finest of the documentaries made for the PBS’ series American Masters.
MON HULU: Based on a real person, M, written by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang, who also directed, is a powerful and often frightening film about a child molester/murderer. Starring Peter Lorre in one of his greatest performances.
33FIRST RUN and OPENING: The 33, By The Sea, Miss You Already, Room, Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Trumbo, The Martian Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 11/6-11/13/15


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. 11/6-13/16

high noonON NETFLIX: High Noon, written by Carl Foreman and directed by Fred Zinnemann, is one of the greatest westerns ever made with Gary Cooper’s performance one of the best in American film. Playing Marshall Will Kane, he is about to leave on his honeymoon, but instead remains in town to take out a group of gunmen bent on revenge, though no one in town will help him. Tensely directed (the movie takes place within the real time of the events) and just as tensely written, it’s a must see for anyone interested in movies. Often seen as a metaphor for the McCarthy era in Hollywood.

man escapedON HULU: A Man Escaped is one of writer/director Robert Bresson’s best and most accessible film. Tense and fascinating, it is made in the distinct Bresson style, non-actors in the roles and underplaying the emotional aspect of the scenes. During WWII, a French resistance fighter is arrested and put in a Nazi prison. His only hope to escape a death sentence is to escape the prison.

afiSPECIAL NOTE: The AFI Film Festival plays Oct. 5-12. This is a great festival, especially since all the tickets are free.

spotlightFIRST RUN and OPENING: Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Trumbo, Welcome to Leith, Miss You Already, Heart of a Dog, Love, Room, The Martian

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: AFI Fest

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Love, 11/6-8; Billy Liar, The Night Porter, 11/11

LACMA: This Gun for Hire, 11/10

NEW BEVERLY: Mad Max: Fury Road, 11/6-9; Mikey and Nicky, Machine Gun McCain, 11/11-12

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Remorques, L’etrange Monsieur Victor, 11/6; Paths of Glory, 11/7

 

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My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/30-11/6/15


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. 10/30-11/6/16
suburraON NETFLIX: Suburra (translated as Samurai) is about an Italian mobster trying to bring together various factions in order to turn a seaside resort into an Atlantic City. To do so requires corruption at all levels of society, from the government to the Vatican. But in the days counting down to an important Senate vote on a new budget Suburra needs and the stepping down of Pope Benedict XVI, a Senator central to the project has an assignation with two prostitutes. When one of them, underaged, dies from a drug overdose, it leads to a series of events that threatens Suburra’s goal. The screenplay by Giancarlo De Cataldo, Carlo Bonini, Sandro Petaglio and the director Stefano Sollima creates a first rate crime thriller of an almost epic nature.
theatre of bloodON HULU: Just in time for Halloween, Theatre of Blood is not a good movie. In fact, it’s probably a pretty terrible one, but it’s one of those terrible ones that is great fun to watch over and over again. A ham Shakespearian actor commits suicide after terrible reviews of his latest season. But when the critics are being killed off one by one in ways parallel to the final sets of plays the actor starred in, one wonders whether he really is dead. With Vincent Price (of course) as the actor, Diana Rigg as his daughter, and a host of familiar British faces as the victims. Directed by Douglas Hickox and written by Anthony Greville-Bell.
afiSPECIAL NOTE: The AFI Film Festival box office opens Monday, October 2. This is a great festival, especially since all the tickets are free.
tab hunterFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Wonders, The Russian Woodpecker, Tab Hunter Confidential, Bridge of Spies, Room, The Final Girls, The Martian Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/16-10/23/2015


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. 10/16-10/23/2015
with a friendON NETFLIX: With A Friend Like Harry… is an odd little thriller written by Gilles Marchand (who also worked on Bon Voyage and Lemming) and written and directed by Dominik Moll (who also wrote and directed Lemming). It’s about a family traveling for a vacation who run into a man who claims to be an old school friend of the husband’s, but the husband can’t quite remember him. But the stranger makes himself part of the vacation and things get a little dark after that. With the wonderful Sergi Lopez (Pan’s Labyrinth) as the friend.
bedroom windowON HULU: The Bedroom Window is another thriller, but not as odd. Written and directed by Curtis Hanson (who also wrote the clever Silent Partner, but is probably best known for co-writing and directing L.A. Confidential), it’s about a shlub who brings home the boss’ wife for some hanky panky. While he’s in the bathroom, she sees a mugging outside the window and can identify the perp. But not wanting to let people know she was cheating on her husband, she has the shlub claim to have seen him. It starts Steve Guttenerg (okay, it’s not perfect) as the schlub, Elizabeth McGovern as the victim, Isabelle Huppert as the wife, Wallace Shawn in a great cameo as a defense attorney, and Brad Greenquist who has only one line and delivers it brilliantly.
we are youngSPECIAL SHOWINGS: The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian starts off the win with New Spanish Cinema. Then on Thursday, the 22nd, they kick off New German Cinema with We Are Young, We Are Strong.
taxi tehranFIRST RUN and OPENING: Bridge of Spies Crimson Peak, Room, Truth, Meadowland, The Assassin, Experimenter, The Final Girls, Taxi Tehran, Victoria, The Martian Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/9-10/16/2015


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. 10/9-16/2015
lauraON NETFLIX: Laura, the classic film noir based on the book by Vera Caspary and directed by Otto Preminger, is one of the most enjoyable thrillers from that period. A woman is murdered and the detective involved falls in love with her through her portrait and her history as told to him by a vicious gossip columnist who was her mentor and who loved her as well. Though Gene Tierney as the title character and Dana Andrews as the investigating officer can’t quite make the romance convincing (they were never the greatest of actors), the supporting cast, Clifton Webb (nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) as the Wenchell like columnist; Vincent Price (in what I think is his best performance) as a gigolo; and Judith Anderson as a wealthy matron more than willing to pay for his services, make the movie as a triumvirate of some of the nastiest characters in film. And the screenplay gives them the wit to do it.
life of crimeON HULU: Based on a book by Elmore Leonard, Life of Crime is a fun, if perhaps minor, comic thriller about a kidnapping that doesn’t go according to plan. Written and directed by Daniel Schechter, it stars John Hawkes as the head of the gang; Jennifer Anniston as the one abducted; and Tim Robbins as the husband who doesn’t care if he gets his wife back or not.
final girlsFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Final Girls, Taxi Tehran, Victoria, The Martian, Labyrinth of Lies, Pawn Sacrifice Continue reading

HUMANITY AT ITS BEST AND WORST: Sicario and The Martian


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
sicarioSicario, the new thriller about the drug war written by Taylor Sheridan (a first film) and directed by French Canadian flavor of the month Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoner, Enemies), is, in many ways, two movies for the price of one.
The first is an action/adventure film full of car chases and gun battles and plot twists (many of which, if truth be told, I found just a tad tenuous at best) of the action/adventure variety.
The second is a treatise on the drug war.
The first film is often quite successful and impressive. The second is, at least from my perspective, quite shallow and unconvincing.
This means that for much of the time, Sicario is definitely and highly entertaining. Sheridan and Villeneuve, along with the incredibly soaring cinematography of Roger Deakins (one of our finest today), the film editing of Joe Walker, and the heart throbbing music of Johan Johannson, have crafted an edge of your seat story that never really stops and never really lets you stop watching. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/2-10/9/2015
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. 10/2-10/9/2015
man on wireON NETFLIX: With the opening of the movie The Walk, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, perhaps it’s time to revisit the documentary about the original incident: Man on Wire. In 1974, a daring French tightrope walker illegally strung a wire across the Twin Tower of the New York’s World Trade Center and made it across to become a world hero. The winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Documentary, it’s an exciting and breathtaking movie.
modern timesON HULU: Made after silent films were a thing of the past, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is not a sound film, but it’s not a silent one either (he uses titles for dialog and to keep the action going, but he has recorded sound effects and there is one spoken line), this comedy about the exploitation of workers was released in 1936, five years after his previous film, City Lights. It was a huge hit and helped make a star of Paulette Goddard who plays the female lead. As usually for Chaplin, it is hysterical, sentimental and brilliant.
martianFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Walk, Freeheld, The Martian, Mississippi Grind, Labyrinth of Lies, Sicario, 99 Homes, Pawn Sacrifice, A Brilliant Young Mind, Coming Home

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