Les Girls Encore: Movie Reviews of The Handmaiden, Certain Women, Aquarius, Denial and Christine by Howard CasnerPosted: November 4, 2016 | Author: Donald | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Andrew Scott, Antonio Campos, Aquarius, Certain Women, Chan-wok Park, Christine, Craig Shilowich, David Hare, Deborah Lipstadt, Denial, James Le Gros, Jared Harris, Jin-woong Jo, John Cullum, Jung-woo Ha, Kelly Reinhardt, Kim Tae-ri, Kleber Mendoza Filho, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Lily Gladstone, Michael C. Hall, Michelle Williams, Min-hee Kim, Rachel Weiss, Rebecca Hall, Rene Auberjonois, Sonia Braga, Soto-Kyung Chung, The Handmaiden, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson, Tracy Letts | 1 Comment »
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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
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In 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. Read the rest of this entry »
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
The title of these reviews is called Last But Not Least because Big Eyes and Selma are the final two movies I’m going to include under my 2014 reviews. After this, all films will fall under my 2015 reviews, no matter whether they were released in 2014 or not.
So off we go.
The strongest aspect of Big Eyes, the new bio-com written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and directed by Tim Burton, is the art direction and production design.
Beginning in the 1950’s, the sets, the costumes, the look, the colors all have a poodle skirt playfulness about them that gives the movie some much needed energy.
This should probably be of no surprise since Burton has always had one of the more striking visual eyes in movies today, from Edward Scissorhands to Ed Wood to Alice in Wonderland. If nothing else, his films can be fun to watch.
But outside of that, there is almost nothing that works in this movie. Nothing, and almost amazingly so. Read the rest of this entry »
PEOPLE COME, PEOPLE GO. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS: Movie Review of The Grand Budapest Hotel by Howard CasnerPosted: March 20, 2014 | Author: Donald | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Adrian Brody, Alexandre Desplate, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Hugo Guinness, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Ralph Feinnes, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Tom Wilkinson, Tony Revolori, Wes Anderson | 4,523 Comments »
The Grand Budapest Hotel, the new demi-farce written by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness and directed by Anderson, is like a box of chocolates. The outside is lovely to look at, even entrancing, and when you open it up, the chocolate itself gleams with droolful anticipation.
And then you bite into one and sometimes you get the deep, rich double chocolate you have always dreamed of, and sometimes you get the sour cherry cream (or whatever ingredient you consider to be the one you grimace at and throw back in the box after taking one quick bite). Read the rest of this entry »
In the movie Gandhi, the titular character was asked “You don’t think we’re just going to walk out of India” and Gandhi replied, “Yes, in the end, you will walk out”. And the British did. But now, according to the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the British are walking back in. And perhaps now India will get its comeuppance for having the temerity to ask their empire builders to leave in the first place.
There is something kind of cute when it comes to the core idea of …Marigold Hotel. Our jobs have been outsourced. Now we’re going to get revenge for it: we’re going to outsource one of our biggest and most unpleasant industries: our old people. In this pleasant and entertaining, but little more, comedy from writer Ol Parker and director John, Shakespeare in Love, Madden, a group of England’s most respected thespians pack their bags and leave the country and foist themselves upon the unsuspecting Indians when they fall for the equivalent of swamp land in Florida: a photo shopped hotel that has been opened by that refugee from Skins and Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel, to especially cater to their specialized needs. And with no takesy backsies.
But this outsourcing isn’t even the biggest irony here. No. When the British were asked to leave, the Indians claimed they’d be able to take care of themselves and would be responsible for their own problems. But nearly seventy years later, according to Parker, they are now no better off than when the English were there. So it is left to this group of patronizing patrons to teach the local yokels how to manage their love lives; stand up to their parents; treat the disenfranchised; and run a hotel. Yes, the British are not only back, their back in their old roles of telling the people they once ruled how to rule their country.
Okay, I’m taking a film that is not all that serious a bit too seriously. Because in the end, …Marigold Hotel is a fun movie. Not because it is about a group of people discovering the wonders of India and how it brings new meaning to their lives (which I don’t think the movie remotely does), but because it gives us the great honor of watching a group of incredibly talented actors strut their stuff. And do they strut it. There’s nary a false note here. Everyone–Tom Wilkinson as a gay judge; Judi Dench, as a widow who has never had to take care of herself; Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton (together again as husband and wife from Shawn of the Dead) as a couple whose relationship is on its last legs; and Ronald Pickup (an appropriate name for his role) and Celia Imrie as two birds of a feather, people looking for sex, love and/or money in a relationship, not necessarily in that order—are first rate here. But it has to be said that as good as everyone is, it’s Maggie Smith, as a racist cockney housekeeper/nanny, who is magnificent. No, I mean, she is really magnificent. I mean, did I happen to mention how magnificent she was? Well, if I didn’t, I have to say it, Maggie Smith is magnificent.
Perhaps Hollywood actors need to take a lesson from the story here. England had no use for these senior citizens, so they gladly shipped them off to the Far East (out of sight, out of mind). Older actors have found that L.A. has no use for them, so maybe they should start outsourcing themselves to England where maybe they could get work doing such movies as Harry Potter (I mean, you had to be a pretty poor actor not to get a part in those films somewhere along the line), Downton Abbey and the recently released Quartet (which would make more than a suitable companion piece to …Marigold Hotel). The parts they’d get certainly couldn’t get any worse than The Bucket List.