Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007's coolest-looking flicks

Looking at the rest of 2007, there's some good shit coming. My must-sees are:

No Country For Old Men - Coen Bros. Nice-looking trailer, has a nice feel to it. I think it'll rock, and look for nominations for Tommy Lee Jones & Javier Bardem.

There Will Be Blood - Killer trailer. Reminds me of the better parts of Days Of Heaven. Daniel Day Lewis looks amazing already.

The Darjeeling Limited - Wes Anderson directs Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman & Owen Wilson. I'm so there.

Margot At The Wedding - Sounds like a chick flick, and it sorta looks like one, but it's directed by Noah Baumbach, who I've loved since Kicking & Screaming (not Will Ferrell's) from way back, although I didn't love The Squid & The Whale so much.

I Am Legend - The trailer is promising, and as long as Will Smith doesn't yell "Oh, hell, no!" I think it'll be a good sci-fi/horror epic.

The Ten - A 10 commandments comedy, with Paul Rudd, from the creators of Wet Hot American Summer. Seek out the trailer. Funny as hell.

Rescue Dawn - Werner Herzog's POW epic, nice buzz for Steve Zahn and Christian Bale.

Sunshine - Looks wonderful. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Weeks Later) usually delivers, and even his "misfires" like A Life Less Ordinary are at least worth watching.

30 Days Of Night - Vampires. Alaska.
What do you guys wanna see?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tow Truck Driver Wisdom

I met a neat character for a script: Mike, The Tow Truck Driver. I met him this morning when he took me from Middle Village, NY to South NJ - Don't ask. I was a long freakin' drive.....

Some kernels of his wisdom included:

1. He's "no fag."
2. Wishes his wife died during the childbirth of any of his 5 children.
3. When his wife was in a car accident, he prayed to God.....That God would take her.
4. His wife left him (why?) and ran off to Puerto Rico to file for a divorce. No matter to him, he's glad to be rid of her and can buy any woman he wants.
5. At the baby shower I was supposed to attend, tell the baby:
A. If it's a baby boy: "Stay clear of women - they're bitches."
B. If it's a baby girl: "You're a fucking bitch."
6. He cried during The Notebook.
7. On 9/11, the plane that hit the Pentagon was hit by a missle before it crashed. On a related note, if a plane carrying his mother was headed for the Pentagon, he'd shoot it down "in a heartbeat" to protect "his president, his government."
8. The Edge (starring Alec Baldwin & Anthony Hopkins) is a great movie....I'd actually somewhat agree on this, it wasn't a half-bad adventure flick.
9. If I was opposed to his smoking, I was allowed to crack my window.
10. And get this, by the end of our journey together, he said if he went back in time to the place where he met his wife, he'd still ask her out, marry her, etc. Because after all the "bullshit" it was worth it for the good times. Perhaps an arc for the Tow Truck Driver?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sweet - A COUPLE OF JOES Feedback

A Couple Of Joes has been named a quarter-finalist in the Writers On The Storm screenwriting contest. Got some great feedback, too, which is included with EVERY entry (it was a $30 entry with my movie-bytes discount, can't beat it!). Here it is:

Recommendation: Consider With Reservations

Strengths/Weaknesses: This is a unique, engaging concept. The story of a boy running his grandfather for governor of New Jersey has lots of comic potential - as well as a good emotional core. The structure is good. There are three identifiable acts. The writer's style is engaging and the script was an easy read. The pacing was good. The ending was satisfying and the journey along the way was fun. The problem with the script is that the stakes for the boy need to be clearer and higher. What will happen if he fail at getting his grandfather elected? What will happen if he fails his class? Why is this a critical moment in Joe's life? Also, there are some believability issues. Grandpa Joe's first speech in the square was not remarkable enough to garner attention. Also, his appearance on the talk show was bland. What makes him so remarkable? Why do people get behind him? Look at the movie "Being There" and we see how an ordinary man can capture the imagination and ignite the hopes and dreams of average people. What is it about grandpa that makes people want to vote for him? Right now, it seems implausible that he would be able to run and implausible that the kids would be able to get him so many high-profile media appreances. There also needs to be more conflict in the script. The beginning is a bit slow... there needs to be conflict on every page of the script to keep a reader/audience fully engaged. But, the writer did a very good job. This is an entertaining script. The premise is good, the writing style is good, but the execution just isn't there quite yet. One more rewrite and it'll be good to go. Good work!

Reader suggestions: What sells scripts in Hollywood these days is... emotions. Plot is important, but getting the audience fully invested in the characters is paramount. The relationship between Joe and Grandpa Joe is the core of this story - and so this relationship has to be developed much more. Perhaps younger Joe disliked his grandfather before and now, through the campaigan, he is drawn closer to him and understands him more. The author has this in the end, but it needs to be brought out much more. In the first act, we need to get more invested in the characters - on an emotional level. It feels too superficial right now. The end of the first act needs to come sooner (it happens on p. 38 right now). They decided to run Grandpa for governor. Great. Now, we are off and running. The second act needs a stronger tension. Make things more difficult for the Joes along the way. Give the protagonist more obstacles, more challenges. The third act is a bit weak - feels like an epilogue. There needs to be a strong narrative drive to the third act. It seems like young Joe wants to find Grandpa, but he does so right away and then we are back to Grandpa running for Governor. It's a bit predictable (and implausible) that Grandpa Joe would win the election - particularly based on what he says as a candidate in this story. Make it stronger, more real. Make him a real candidate - someone that people would vote for. Allison subplot is good. Brenda subplot doesn't do much - thought it's nice for Dudley. EVERY scene in a script needs to 1) move the story forward and 2) expand our understanding of the characters. If the scene does not accomplish BOTH of these things, it has to be reworked or cut. The script needs more original action and more clever methods that younger Joe uses to help get Grandpa elected. And raise the stakes, for younger Joe. Why MUST he do this? What happens if he doesn't? Title is too vague. Titles are important - make it a strong one. I enjoyed the script and the writer did a fine job - just focus the story and dig deeper into the characters. Good luck!


Overall, pretty nice feedback. Actually useful for me as I'll certainly keep some of those notes in mind when I take another pass at it soon. I'm waiting to hear if I made the semi-finals.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Week In Review - 6/15/07

The more I think on it, maybe Tony didn't get killed. I don't know. I mean, all of his immediate threats were either killed or had a truce.

Although that long black screen at the end has to mean something.

But one theory is that he's always going to be living in fear, and I don't think that's true either. If he wasn't killed, then I think Chase was saying that the Soprano clan will pull through, and could even survive parallel parking.

Hit YOUTUBE and check out a trailer for P.T. Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Wow.

Also, floating around on Yahoo are cool trailers for The Ten and 3:10 To Yuma.

Box Office looks like this:
Fantastic 4 - 57 million

Nancy Drew - 8 million (by the way, the most negative thing I hear about this movie is Emma Roberts blah-performance). That'll make her feel good about herself!!!

Ocean's 13 is losing about half its audience, while Knocked Up (Awesome flick, go see it) is only losing about 26%. Nice! Oh, Hostel 2 is down 71% from its opening weekend. Ouch!

Found a mix-tape I made a few years ago. Killer stuff on it! When In Rome, Ocean Blue, Blur, Depeche Mode (or Depressed Mood as my friend used to call them), and some older u2 (is there a more amazing sone than The Unforgettable Fire?).

The US says about 60% of Iraq is not under control. Again, thanks George W.

Phils only 2 games back! Nice win over the Tigers. Look out, Mets!

And I'll end with this:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Soprano Finale

1st of all, no, they aren't setting up a movie. James Gandolfini is pretty much done with Tony, as he's stated for a long time now - although he might be thinking differently in 2 years depending on his career status. I loved him in Get Shorty, but beyond that he hasn't done much except for Surviving Christmas & The Last Castle. And for some reason, Lonely Hearts (starring James plus Travolta, Jared Leto & Salma Hayek) when straight to AOL (?!?!?!?!?!?).

Overall, my feeling was that it was good. I didn't mind the ending, but I wish people would stop calling it a "fade" to black. That was no fade!

My main problem with it is the same problem I've always had with the series - it's choppy as hell. Not sure if it's the writing, editing or both. Scenes just seem to be piled on after the other, and it's always been like that.

Do I think Chase was giving the audience the finger? Nah, I just think he was doing it his own way, not really caring. So, what happened? I don't buy the argument that Tony S. will always be looking behind his back, that much we've known for years.

He was killed. To me, there's no other option. And the last thing he saw was Meadow coming in the door. Because there's simply no other reason for the long stretch of black after it ended. as was discussed earlier in the season, that's what happens when you get whacked.

Bam, then nothing.

How would I have done it? Well, not like that - Using the same set-up I'd have everyone killed (off-screen, while Meadow struggles with parallel parking) and she walks in to chaos & the aftermath.

But maybe Chase's works better. I don't freakin' know. I love the tension in that end scene, but since not too much went on in the episode, and we were all expecting him to get killed, it was pretty easy to create tension there. Still, it was well done.

On a scale from 1 to 10 I'd give it a 7.

Your thoughts? The time is yours...........

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Week In Review - June 7

I'm gonna try to do a sorta "week in review" called "week in review" that will have silly writing updates, entertainment news, etc. Here goes:

I writing again! Been a while since I got much done in one sitting, but am currently working on 2 kick-ass comedies. Yay!

Paris Hilton - She's still an asshole. Oh, and she might have to go back to "jail." It's to be determined. Aw, poor thing, after all she did serve almost 5 days of her 23 day sentence, but was released to her mansion because of a medical problem. What could it have been? Crotch rot? Da clap?She's a fucking idiot, and she'll be back on (or off) the roads until she drives over some old man on a bike. A seriously useless person. Paris, that is. Not the old man. He's probably somebody's Grandpa and they love him so.

Lohan - Another asshole. This one is worse because she's actually shown that she has talent, but continues to vomit it away on her ridiculous drinking binges. Total fuck-up. Aw, poor beeyotch has some family issues? Join the rest of the fucking world, idiot.

JERICHO is returning! CBS uncancelled it. Good show, I'm happy about that. Can't wait until Big Love & Weeds, plus the next season of Entourage looks good.

Sean Connery out of Indy 4. I heard he'll be replaced by John Hurt. Hmm. Hurt's a good actor and all, but my 4 year old could put a beat-down on him. He's pretty frail-looking. John Hurt that is, not my son. My son will kick all your asses!

Not too much in music. Just go by Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and Travis' The Boy With No Name. Great stuff.

We just cleared 3,500 US dead in Iraq. This is a message for people who voted for Bush (AGAIN). You are idiots.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Knocked Up - A "Crowning" Acheivement

Fantastic movie, one of the funniest I've seen in years.

Congrats to Judd Apatow for creating this movie, and also to Seth Rogen Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Katherine Heigl, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonal Hill, etc, etc, etc, for their awesome work here.

Now, it's certainly not just some raunchy comedy, although there is plenty of raunch involved. But mostly, this movie is real. And not just with the pregnancy stuff, but with issues like marriage, kids, work, stress, all that stuff.

And it's fucking brilliant at times. Because you know people like this. You are people like this. The writing is sharp as hell, and the actors certainly own these characters in & out. Also, there are dozens of inside movie jokes that made me almost cry with laughter. I won't mention them here.

Just go see it.