PULL UP THE WELCOME MAT: A Bigger Splash and The Ones Below


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 3 Two movies have opened recently that have as its premise what happens when you welcome guests into one’s home. The basic moral of both is that, well, maybe it’s best not to.
In I Am Love, an earlier film directed by Luca Guadagnino, Tilda Swinton played the wife of a wealthy businessman who finds herself falling in love with the friend of her son. The movie had a small story and in many ways, very little happened plotwise. Still, every scene was filled with tension and suspense that at times was almost unbearable.
In A Bigger Splash, Guadagnino’s new film with Miss Swinton (not to be confused with the 1973 documentary about David Hockney), the plot seems to careen from scene to scene at high speed where a lot seems to happen, but ironically, with almost no sense of tension or suspense.
In the end, it’s a thriller desperately trying to find some thrills, but almost always coming up short. Continue reading

I’M READY FOR MY CLOSEUP, MR. DEMILLE: Hail, Caesar!


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

 

rev 3Hail, Caesar!, the latest comic satire from Joel and Ethan Coen, is one of those films that has so much that is right with it, plus a bit more that is brilliant, that it makes it all the more disappointing that it doesn’t quite come together.
The basic premise has as its center piece one Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), head of production at the fictional Hollywood studio Capital Pictures (the same studio that the Brothers used in Barton Fink). Over the course of one or two days, he has a difficult decision to make: should he remain at Capitol where he’s constantly having to put out fires both large and small and is constantly confronted by the insane antics of his stars, or will he take a position as head of Lockheed, a safe position with a guaranteed future (this is the 1950’s after all, and TV is more than making its presence known), fewer hours and less stress on the nerves?
Well, so far so good. Continue reading

GIRLS GONE WILD or THE TWO AMY’S: Amy and Trainwreck


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
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
Warning: SPOILERS
amyHow you feel about the new documentary on the short life of jazz singer Amy Winehouse, Amy, will probably to some degree depend on how you feel about Ms. Winehouse herself.
For me, she has an amazing voice that will pierce your soul. She is quite a mesmerizing singer.
At the same time, I have to be honest and say that I was not all that impressed by her as a lyricist (Cole Porter, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins she ain’t) and the hooks to her songs never really took me in as I wished they might have.
But if you disagree, and I expect a huge number of people will do just that, then that might help you overlook other issues I think the movie has.
Winehouse led a momentary and unhappy existence. She was one of those singer/songwriters whose every musical creation was a personal revelation about herself and her life. And she was very brave in not holding anything back. Continue reading

CUT THE CRAP: Snowpiercer


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
snowpiercerThere is one clever and rather effective scene in Snowpiercer, the new movie about a train containing all the survivors of a global warming apocalyptic event that travels the world and can never stop.
Just as a battle royale is about to erupt, everyone is ordered to stop and wait while some of the participants count down from ten as the train passes over a certain bridge, a bridge the train passes over only once annually, meaning that it’s, wait for it…yes, New Years.
Once the countdown is over, it’s back to the bloodshed.
But outside of that, I’m sorry, but I have to say…no, you know what? I’m not sorry.
Snowpiercer is crap.
  Continue reading

GOOD HELP IS HARD TO FIND: Ilo Ilo, Joe and Only Lovers Left Alive


ilo-iloThe family of Jiale, a young boy growing up in Singapore in the 1990’s, is, shall we say, not having the best of times.
His mother Hwee Leng is, well, quite pregnant, to say the least, and works for a company where she types the dismissal notices for a mass layoff; her job seems secure, but no one else around her is so confident. The father, Teck, works as a salesman for a company that makes shoddy protective glass and he soon finds himself out of a job (though he doesn’t tell the family). And Jiale, well, Jiale is simply a terror, a combination of Damien Thorn and Rhoda Penmark. Continue reading