WHITE MEN’S BURDENS: Movie Reviews of Suburbicon, Victoria and Abdul and Brad’s Status by Howard Casner

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?  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

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Suburbicon, the new postmodern, neo-noir written by Joel and Ethan Cohen, Grant Heslov, and the film’s director George Clooney (perhaps two writers too many), is probably best described as if the Cohen brothers had adapted a James Cain novel with a bit of A Raison in the Sun tossed in for good measure.

The basic premise is that seemingly mild mannered middle class family man Gardner (Matt Damon) has paid some thugs to break into his house pretending to rob it, but in reality they have been hired to kill Gardner’s wheelchair bound wife (Julianne Moore) for the insurance money and so he can marry his sister-in-law (Julianne Moore redux), who has a set of perfectly good legs thank you very much. Read the rest of this entry »


NO VACANCY: Movie reviews of 78/52 and The Florida Project by Howard Casner

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First, a word iefrom 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

Writer/director Alexander O. Philippe’s 78/52 is not only everything you wanted to know about the infamous scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal film Psycho that did for showers what Jaws would later do for Fourth of July swimming in the seas, but everything you didn’t know you wanted to know (the name derives from the set piece requiring 78 camera set ups and 52 shots).

There has always been something perverse, not just about all of Hitchcock’s oeuvre, but especially in Psycho.

It’s not just that the movie is horrifying and scares the shit out of you.

It’s not just that it’s somewhat mean spirited (not just to the audience, but to the characters on screen).

It’s just that you can tell Hitchcock is having fun killing someone in such a way that both terrifies the audience while making them enjoy it and then feel guilty about it.

Read the rest of this entry »


3 WOMEN: The Unknown Girl, Battle of the Sexes, Mother!

For questions: hcasner@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

There have been many examples of siblings sharing writing, directing and even producing credits from the Maysles to the Tavianis to the Wachowskis. Perhaps the most successful pairs artistically are the Coens and the Dardennes.

However, though the Coen brothers output is often quite breathtaking with wonderful highs (Fargo, True Grit, No Country for Old Men), they are far more erratic in quality of output (Hail, Caesar!, Burn After Reading, The Ladykillers).

Few filmmakers, however, have had the consistency of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, Belgium brothers that first made their name in the U.S. with their Cannes winning film Rosetta, about a young women desperate to get employment, and they cemented their reputation with such triumphs as La Promesse, The Son, L’enfant and most recently Two Days, One Night.

Now we have The Unknown Girl, one of the finer films so far this year. Read the rest of this entry »


STRANGERER THINGS: Movie Review of It by Howard Casner

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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

It, the new film adaptation of Steven King’s horror novel which exploits childhood fears of clowns, opened in September setting records with many critics saying it may actually prove the salvation of a lackluster, to say the least, summer box office.

It reached 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and based on anecdotal evidence of my Facebook page, most everyone I know swears by it, heralding it as the emperor in a new golden age of horror movies.

But for me, it’s the emperor’s new clothes and one of the worst films of the year. Read the rest of this entry »


IS IT REAL OR IS IT MEMOREX: Movie Reviews of Brigsby Bear and Marjorie Prime by Howard Casner

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

Brigsby Bear is basically the same story as Room (but not The Room), but though a comedy, is cleverer, deeper, better written, more original and more profound than the earlier critically acclaimed drama, which for my taste had a strong first half and then became a bit too predictable and formulaic in the second.

The film, a first feature for director Dave McCary and writers Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney (Mooney also plays the lead role), is about James Pope, now 29, but who was abducted by a couple, April and Ted Mitchum, when he was five. Since then he has been kept in an underground bunker with his faux parents telling him he can’t go outside because the world out there is a apocalyptic wasteland and leaving the bunker means certain death. Read the rest of this entry »


CRIME DOES PAY: Movie Reviews of Logan Lucky and The Nile Hilton Incident by Howard Casner

For questions: hcasner@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

Everyone in the US seems to agree that the working class is under siege. And it’s still unclear whether there is any real relief in sight.

I’m not sure whether this is the reason filmmakers have been creating stories that focus on the more downtrodden in our society (zeitgeists are almost impossible to recognize until we are out of them), but last year we had Hell or High Water, and more recently we’ve had Patti Cake$, Beach Rats and the topic of this review, Logan Lucky.

All the films have fallen into various genres and niches. Hell or High Water is a modern western/crime film; Patti Cake$ is a musical; Beach Rats is a coming out story; and Logan Lucky is a heist film.

All have, as their central characters, people struggling just to make ends meet or who are lost in a world that seems to have no future for them.

Read the rest of this entry »


MIRROR, MIRROR: Patti Cake$ and Beach Rats

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?  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

Two movies have opened recently in which the central characters occasionally gaze at themselves in the mirror, not for narcissistic reasons, but as if trying to figure out who they really are.

Patti Cake$ is a somewhat zaftig, working class, twenty something, white female who has dreams of being a rap singer. At first glance this might seem a preposterous idea, until she opens her mouth and recites one of her hundreds of poems she writes every waking chance she gets.

Then she has the power of Maria Callas, a vengeful angel laying waste to her multitude of distracters. Read the rest of this entry »


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, A HELL OF A TOWN: Movie Reviews of the The Dark Tower and Good Time by Howard Casner

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?  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

The Dark Tower is proof of an observation I’ve made of Hollywood at its worst. They take a filmmaker, often foreign, who has gained attention, often with a body of impressive work. Then, as punishment for this sin, they bring the filmmaker to the U.S. and give him any old crap to film.

The filmmaker referenced here is Denmark’s Nicolaj Arcel, who has either written or directed, or both, such noteworthy fare as the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair, and the Department Q trilogy.

The crap he’s been entrusted with has already been mentioned.

All right, that’s not exactly accurate. The Dark Tower is not crap. It’s not really anything. It’s just kind of there…like limbo. Read the rest of this entry »


MURDER MOST FOUL: Movie Reviews of Wind River, Lady Macbeth and Harmonium by Howard Casner

For questions: hcasner@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

Wind River is Taylor Sheridan’s third screenplay, but the first of his that he directed himself. It revolves around the discovery of the body of a female Native American, 18 years old, found dead in the snow, barefoot, having run who knows how many miles. So what happened to her and how did she end up there?

That’s certainly a good start for a who done it. And overall, Wind River is entertaining enough. It’s not really boring.

But I’m not convinced it really comes together that satisfactorily. Read the rest of this entry »


BURN, BABY, BURN: Movie Review of Detroit by Howard Casner

For questions: hcasner@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

Two movies have opened within two weeks of each other, both by recognized filmmakers and both based on actual events.

However, apart from the fact that their titles are single words of two syllables each beginning with the letter “D”, the two couldn’t be more different in approach, tone and style.

One is writer/director Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and the second, more recently, is writer Mark Boal’s and director Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit.

And though Nolan’s movie is a masterful piece of filmmaking, impressive and even ultimately quite moving, it is ferociously put to shame by Boal and Bigelow’s Detroit. Read the rest of this entry »