PERFORMANCE ANXIETY: Green Room and Viva


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
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 1Green Room, the new thriller from writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (the follow up to his well-received indie film Blue Ruin, but no, he’s not doing a series of titles with color in them), has a marvelous set up. 
A group of head banger musicians take a last minute job to play at a remote white supremacist bar (does it bother anyone else in the audience that neo-Nazis and Washington DC millennials like the same type of music) because, well, their last gig got cancelled and they’re desperate for money (Saulnier does a clever thing here—as the first number the band plays, they assert their artistic integrity by singing an anti-Nazi song; it serves to help give them sympathy from the audience for taking the job in the first place). 
After the show, they accidentally walk in on a murder and are then trapped in the titular location and must figure a way out of the mess they’re now in.
I mean, it’s a really neat little first act.  It’s certainly gets one empathizing with their situation, wondering what you could possibly due in the same situation. 
At the same time, this is also where the movie, for me, stopped fulfilling its initial promise.  Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 5/6-13/2016


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. 5/6-13/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  I’m not saying that Robinson Crusoe on Mars, written by John C. Higgins and Ib Melchior and directed by Byron Haskin (loosely adapted from the novel by Daniel Defoe) is a good movie, but it’s a fun one, with all the cheesiness included.  Paul Mantee plays an astronaut stranded on Mars (long before Matt Damon) and Victor Lundin is a slave that escapes from a group of aliens who mine on Mars.  Adam (Batman) West is also around, at least for awhile.
ff 2ON HULU:  Stakeout, written by Shinobu Hashimoto (he worked on a number of Kurosawa films) and directed by Yoshitaro Nomura (Zero Focus, Castle of Sand), is a film noir as if Ozu had directed it.  Two police detectives go to a town in the South of Japan because they believe a man who killed a pawnbroker may visit his old girlfriend.  Methodical with its own pacing, it’s rich in character study with a story that slowly, but certainly, draws you in.  A Japanese filmmaker who isn’t as well known in the U.S. as he should be.
ff 3OF SPECIAL NOTE: Dragon Inn (1967) is playing at the Nuart
ff 4OF SPECIAL NOTE: Jean Luc Godard’s great film Band of Outsiders plays at Cinefamily at The Silent Movie Theater 5/6-8, 10-12 (It’s the one where our heroes run across the Louvre)
rev 5FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Captain America: Civil War, A Bigger Splash, The Family Fang, Dheepan, The Dark Horse, Being Charlie, Elstree 1976, The Invitation, Viva, Sing Street, The Meddler, Hockney, The Wait Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 4/29-5/6/2016


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. 4/29-5/6/2016
ff 1ON NETFLIX:  Look Who’s Back is very difficult to describe.  With screenplay by Marco Kreauzpaintner and Johannes Boss and direction by David Wnendt, its basic premise is that Hitler has somehow materialized in modern day Germany.  A TV journalist, trying to get his job back, finds him and promotes him as a kind of joke, not realizing he’s the real thing.  As a result, Hitler becomes a huge TV star.  Part scripted, part Borat, it’s a rather vicious look at modern German attitudes, suggesting that Hitler would not be so out of place in today’s world.
ff 2ON HULU:  As written by Yevgeni Zamyatin, Jacques Companees, Charles Spaak and the director Jean Renoir, Maxim Gorky’s Russian play about the lowest of the low, The Lower Depths, gets a definite Gallic spin, part film noir, part existential romanticism, and not as downbeat as the original source.  It’s not as good as Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation, which is closer to the source material.  But it has its moments, especially in Louis Jouvet as a Baron who loses everything, but accepts it all as his destiny.  
ff 5Of Special Note: The TCM Film Festival begins 4/28/16 www.tcm.com
ff 3Of Special Note: Prince’s Purple Rain will be showing at various locations in the city
ff 4FIRST RUN and OPENING:  Viva, Keanu, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Invitation, Green Room, The Meddler, Sworn Virgin, Sing Street, Dough, Hockney Continue reading