My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/1/2015-5/8/2015


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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 5/1-5/8/2015
hot fuzzON NETFLIX: HOT FUZZ, written by the star Simon Pegg and the director Edgar Wright, is a satire of both buddy cop movies and a peculiarly British genre, the dirty dealings going on in a small, sleepy country village. Very funny and often inspired (especially the opening). A fun romp.
shootON HULU: SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, written by Marcel Moussy and the director Francois Truffaut (from the novel Down There by David Goodis) is Truffaut’s first feature after his debut The 400 Blows. It’s also his first foray into post noir in this story of a piano player who in a bar who helps his brother who is being pursued by two mobsters. One of Truffaut’s finest films. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/10/2015-4/17/2015


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 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,
 
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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/10-4/17/2015
boundON NETFLIX: Bound, a superb thriller neo noir, the first film (and probably the best) directed and written by the Wachowski siblings. Jennifer Tilley and Gina Gershon as Violet and Corky start a love affair and conspire to rob Violet’s boyfriend of millions of dollars of mob cash. First rate.

 

hidden fortressON HULU: The Hidden Fortress, one of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film and one of his most fun. A general and a princess in disguise must make it through enemy lines to some allies, the two carrying gold so they can rebuild their clan. A movie that served as inspiration for Star Wars, especially with a plot revolving around the saving of a princess and two bickering peasants who are obviously models for R2D2 and C3PO. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 4/3-4/10/2015


dead zoneON NETFLIX: The Dead Zone is one of the better adaptations of Stephen King. It stars Christopher Walken as a man who ends up in a coma, but when he awakens can see the future if he touches someone. It’s well acted with Walken, Brooke Adams and Martin Sheen in the leads. A clever and satisfying screenplay Jeffrey Boam and solid direction by David Cronenberg.
magicianON HULU: Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician stars Max Von Sydow as a magician who may or may not have supernatural powers. Also with Bergman regulars Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Anderson and Erland Josephson. A metaphor for how the filmmaker was being treated in Sweden at the time.
film noirSPECIAL NOTE: Starting Friday, 4/3/2015, American Cinemateque at the Egyptian begins their annual Film Noir festival. This is one of the best things that the Egyptian does (especially since the programming at this location has really been going downhill the last couple of years). This is a must check out and the full schedule can be found at http://ow.ly/L9mGU Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/13/2015-3/20/2015


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 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,

 

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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/13-20/2015

 

gpbON NETFLIX: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, written by Charles Lederer, based on the musical comedy by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos, and directed by Howard Hawks, is a fun little cross-Atlantic boat ride as two alpha females try to decide what sort of man they want to be involved with. It stars Marilyn Monroe in one of her best roles (and she does a marvelous Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, George Chakiris can be seen in the all male chorus) and Jane Russell, who can’t quite keep up with Monroe but works very hard. It also has Charles Coburn as a slithery millionaire and the very young George Winslow as a frog voiced child millionaire. “Isn’t there anyone here for fun?”

 

 

revancheON HULU: Writer/director Götz Spielman’s film Revanche was Austria’s entry for the 2009 Academy Awards and received one of the five nominations for Best Foreign Language Film. An ex-con wants to start a new life with a prostitute, so he decides to rob a bank. But the prostitute is killed by some policeman who are coincidentally at the bank. The robber hides out in the country, but then finds out that the policeman is nearby and considers revenge. And exciting and moving thriller.

 

tales of hoffmanOF SPECIAL NOTE: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater is presenting a restored print of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffman

 

 

 

 

71FIRST RUN and OPENING: Faults, ’71, Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Cinderella, Going Clear, It Follows, Run All Night

 

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Fusion: LGBT People of Color Film Festival, 3/13; Hiroshima, Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad, 3/15; Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, 3/19; The Flying Camera, Drone Filmmaking, 3/20

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Navigator, Seven Chances, 3/13; Sherlock, Jr., The Cameraman, 3/14; Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, 3/15;

NEW BEVERLY: Dazed and Confused, Swingers, 3/13-14; Ed Wood, In the Soup, 3/15-16; The Killer, Once a Thief, 3/17

LACMA: Bed and Board, 3/17;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater:  The Color of Pomegranates, 3/20; Island of Lost Souls (1932), 3/20

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Private Property, 3/13;

 

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 3/6/2015-3/13/2015


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 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. 3/6-13/2015

 

serpicoON NETFLIX: Serpico, written by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler and directed of Sidney Lumet, one of a series of first rate performances by Al Pacino at the time (Dog Day Afternoon, Panic in Needle Park, The Godfather). The story, based on a real character, revolves around idealistic police officer Serpico, who finds himself at odds with everyone around him when he refused to go dirty. With a wonderful score by Mikis Theodorakis.

 

 

mrs dallowayON HULU: Mrs. Dalloway, adapted by Eileen Atkins from Virginia’s Woolf’s great novel, and directed by Marleen Gorris, this is one of Vanessa Redgrave’s greatest performance. As the wife of a government official prepares for a party, she starts going over her past and what led her to make the decisions she did. Meantime, a shell shocked war veteran finds his own recent past taking control of his life.

 

 

71FIRST RUN and OPENING: ’71, Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Timbukto, Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem, Two Men In Town

 

 

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Battle Royale, 3/6; Dr. Zhivago, 3/8; Taxi Driver, Bringing Out the Dead, 3/12;

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: Children of Paradise, 3/6; A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, 3/7; Once Upon a Time in America, 3/8; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, White Heat, 3/12; The Navigator, Seven Chances, 3/13

NEW BEVERLY: The Matrix, Fight Club, 3/6-7; Magnolia, 3/8-9; Dazed and Confused, Swingers, 3/13-14

LACMA: Stolen Kisses, 3/10;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s “Island of Dr. Moreau”, 3/9-12

UCLA ARCHIVES at the Hammer Museum: Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, 3/6; Way out West, The Music Box, 3/8

 

NOT QUITE 20/20: Focus, What We Do in the Shadows and All The Wilderness


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Warning: SPOILERS
focusFocus, the new film written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, comes from a genre with a proud heritage: the rom con game. It’s a genre that was extremely popular in the greatest period in film for romantic comedies, the 30’s, with such movies as Trouble in Paradise and Desire. But it has always had an endearing quality, as in such films as It Takes A Thief, The Pink Panther, The Thomas Crown Affair, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and more recently, Duplicity.
And this latest entry does have some of the qualities of these other films that ingratiate them so much to us: a cool and suave leading man; even cooler cons; and more than a touch of wit.
In addition, there is one marvelous scene of grifting involving an Asian businessman who loves to gamble and who finds himself going nose to nose with the movie’s hero on a series of more and more outrageous bets. You know what’s coming, though when it does, you’re not sure how it could possibly have been pulled it off. And then when it is explained, you marvel at the audacity and chance taking of it.
But this scene also works for reasons that much of the movie doesn’t. In the end, though there are some nice moments here, Focus never really quite rises to the level of many of these other films. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/27/2015-3/6/2015


My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 2/27-3/6/2015

 

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 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

 

nothing sacredON NETFLIX: Nothing Sacred, one of the great, but not as well known, comedies of the 1930’s, written by Ben Hecht and directed by William Wellman. Frederic March plays a disgraced reporter looking for a comeback in the dying Hazel Flagg. He brings her to New York and exploits her tragedy only to discover…she’s not really dying.

 

 

seanceON HULU: Séance on a Wet Afternoon, written and directed by Bryan Forbes, is about a medium who convinces her husband to kidnap a little girl so the medium can find her and become famous. Haunting and beautifully acted by Kim Stanley, who received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

 

 

71OF SPECIAL NOTE: ’71, written by Gregory Burke and directed by Yann Demange, and starring the dynamic Jack O’Connell, is the story of a young British soldier who gets left behind by his fellow soldiers during a riot on the Catholic side of Belfast, and he now has to find a way back. I saw this exciting and riveting movie at AFI last year.

 

 

FIRST RUN and OPENING: Wild Tales, What We Do in the Shadows, Timbukto, Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem, Goodbye to Language, Queen and Country, The Salvation, The Hunting Ground

 

REVIVAL AND ART HOUSES:

 

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Egyptian: Ghost in the Shell, Redline, 2/27; Akira, Steamboy, 2/28; Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, 3/1; The Spoilers, Pittsburgh, 3/5; Battle Royale, 3/6

AMERICAN CINEMATEQUE at The Aero: The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 2/28; That Obscure Object of Desire, The Young and the Damned, 3/1; Children of Paradise, 3/6

NEW BEVERLY: The Thing, Runaway Train, 2/27-28; Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, High Heels, 3/3; The Matrix, Fight Club, 3/6-7

LACMA: Meet Me in St. Louis, West Side Story, 3/28; The 400 Blows, 3/3;

CINEFAMILY at the Silent Movie Theater: My Life Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, 2/27-3/5