MOTHER’S INFERIOR AND SUPERIOR: Lady Bird, Noviate


First, a word from our sponsors: 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?  FosCheck 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
I think I will begin this review with a personal anecdote. Years ago, I was in the audience for one of the final previews for Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along, a tale told in reverse about three friends who betray the ideals they had when just starting out. It was a disaster. An unmitigated one at that. And it closed, I believe, around two weeks after it opened, if it lasted that long.
It was so terrible, I though the songs, with a couple of exceptions, were not just Sondheim’s worst, they were just bad.
A year later, I was in the cutout section of a record store (remember those?) and I ran across a cast recording for the show. I bought it and listened to it anew and realized the songs were wonderful and that it had been the production that was, well, let us be kind and say…lacking.
Since then, I have seen two productions of it and I realized that it actually is a pretty good show. Continue reading

Les Girls Encore: The Handmaiden, Certain Women, Aquarius, Denial and Christine


 For questions: hcasner@aol.com
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?  FosCheck 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-1In my last review, I mentioned that a number of films opened with women as the central character. This week, this trend continues with five more. And now that fall is upon us and productions companies and distributors are going to begin release of films to qualify for the Academy Awards, we should see a number more as everyone races for a Best Actress nod.
The lesson I suppose is don’t look for female driven movies from Hollywood and the studios, but from independent and art films and the prestige pictures at year’s end.
The Handmaiden is a new import from South Korea, one of the two countries that, along with Romania, are producing the most interesting films internationally. It is based on Fingersmith, a thriller by Welsh (and lesbian) writer Sarah Waters that in the novel takes place in Victorian era Britain, but has been switch to 1930’s Japanese occupied Korea because, well, little is more universal than murder and other nasty deeds.
To show how pretentious moi can be, The Handmaiden is as if James Cain wrote Victorian pornography using a Rashomon type structure. Continue reading

THE NAZIS ARE COMING, THE NAZIS ARE COMING: Imperium, Anthropoid and The People v. Fritz Bauer


For more information, contact: hcasnef@aol.com
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 1In the 1970’s Hollywood on, people were having trouble coming up with an acceptable background for villains. Critics and audiences were becoming more and more resistant to the idea that the bad guys had to be a member of a minority group.
What was a filmmaker who liked to use shorthand to create characters rather than create in-depth individual to do?
Well, George Romero gave us the living dead. Steven Spielberg gave us a shark (which is only fair since he soon took away aliens as bad guys with E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, not to return space creatures to their evil glory until War of the Worlds).
But perhaps the filmmaker we should be most grateful to is George Lucas who gave us the most villainous of all villains, the Nazi, in the Indiana Jones franchise.
After all, other than Trump supporters, who likes Nazis? Continue reading

GROWING UP IS HARD TO DO: Don’t Think Twice and Indignation


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
rev 1Don’t Think Twice, the new movie about improvers from writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia (his second feature after Sleepwalk With Me, also about comedians), has one of the best analyses of Saturday Night Live (called Weekend Live here) I’ve come across, encapsulating what has gone wrong with the show for who knows how many years now. The main characters have gathered together to watch one of their group who has been cast in the series. The skit is terrible, as so many SNL skits are. They scrunch up their faces and basically say: you can tell it’s supposed to be funny, you can understand why it’s supposed to be funny, but it just isn’t funny.
The basic through line of Don’t Think Twice is, in many ways, very universal. It’s happened to all of us. We’re progressing when suddenly we find ourselves in a rut, but we don’t realize it. We know we need to do something to achieve our longtime goals, but we’ve grown comfortable, without realizing that’s how we feel, and so we drift along the way we are.
Then something happens that forces us to do something to change the status quo. We actually think this event is, in many ways, the apocalypse, but in working through it, we actually realize it’s the best thing that could have happened, because we were forced to do something, anything, to make us so uncomfortable that we had to start reaching for that goal again (or redefine it).

Continue reading

BETTER LATE THAN CRAP: The Innocents, Wiener-Dog and Hunt for the Wilderpeople


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 2I know I’m a little late with reviews of the above titled films. I got behind in work and I wasn’t sure when I was ever going to get back to blogging and even thought of bypassing these movies since some of them have passed from the theaters.
But last week two major tentpole type films opened the same weekend, Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie and Star Trek Beyond, and both are crap. No, they are worse than that. They are crappity crap crap crap.
So I thought I owed it to the other movies to share my views. I mean, how can I justify passing up these three movies when I’m going to eventually review crap?
So, let’s begin.
In the early sixties Poland had, what was termed in the biz, a new wave, a group of emerging filmmakers who had something unique and fresh to say (or at least tried, the country was still a Russian satellite at the time). Directors and writers like Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieslowski burst on the scene with an exciting outpouring of new work like Knife in the Water, Ashes and Diamonds, The Contract and Camera Buff. Continue reading