Movies

Everything That’s Wrong With Film Critics

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The release of Batman V Superman this past weekend has caused many to wonder whether film critics have any weight on the viewer’s decisions. It’s probably not a new topic of debate, but it gives me the chance of making a brief reflection on the role of the critic.

First things first, let it be known that I bought a ticket for the Zack Snyder movie and went and watched it. I didn’t like it, mainly because I thought it was stupid. But that’s the full extent of my opinion, and whatever else I might have to say about it will be delivered to friends over beers. (I also made a mean tweet about it, but if you don’t want any spoilers, you shouldn’t look at it—no matter how silly the spoiler in question may seem—.)

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Screenwriting

The Best (Available) Scripts of 2015

2015

The last few years have been great for readers of scripts, and 2015 was not going to be less so. Although a comprehensive library of scripts made public by studios —”free and legal”— can be found at GITS, here’s a selection of the ones I’ve found most interesting, or I look forward to reading most.

In other news, the Black List 2015 and Hit List 2015 have been also recently published: you can check out the chosen scripts, their authors, and loglines in the PDF files linked above.

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Screenwriting

Script Reads from 2014

some best scripts 2014

Since recently, production companies and studios have begun to put up on the Internet the scripts of their already-released films as one more way to create awards buzz. This is fairly new, and also a great advantage for us young writers. Much like last year’s post,  below you’ll find some of the most interesting scripts of 2014, legally available for download.

Click at will. For your consideration, enjoyment, and education.

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Entertainment Industry

The Casablanca Experiment

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All film buffs and cinephiles have seen the wonderful Casablanca, and an overwhelming majority consider it a masterpiece. The same goes for many other classics we consider to be true, lasting works of art.

And yet, if we ask ourselves, “Would this movie be made today?” Would it get past the never ending layers of filters —readers, creative execs, big-time execs, financiers, studio analysts, whatnot— that today’s Hollywood puts up to minimize commercial risk? I understand the question is not fair, because what was made at a certain time and place doesn’t necessarily have to made at a different time and place… But, since we all agree it is such a powerful film, I’ll take the liberty of posing the question.

Would Casablanca get green-lit in present-day Hollywood?

And I will answer with a real-life experiment, cited from Bill Mesce‘s book,  Overkill: The Rise And Fall of The Thriller Cinema (McFarland: 2007.)

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Movies

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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After I finished watching Wes Anderson’s latest delicacy, I made the following note. It came back to my mind afterwards, and I retrieve it here hoping to learn whether others felt the same way about it.

I believe the deeper meaning of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL hides in the tribute to those stories that mean everything for those who were their protagonists and then passed on to others, and disfigured and diluted over time, as if obscured by layers and layers of dust, [faded] until they became only endearing anecdotes to those who heard or read them. Enchanting, but meaningless. 

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Footnote: I thought Moonrise Kingdom superior to The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I still enjoyed the latter immensely.

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Entertainment Industry

Broken Toys

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Toys are objects of wonder, full of potential, containers of endless possibilities. Kids oftentimes take their new toys and observe them first in awe, taking in every angle and mechanism, before milking infinite worlds and tales out of them. But sometimes, all that wonder ends abruptly when the toy is stepped on by a careless adult; or when its gears —not infrequently flawed by poor manufacturing— get tired and give out.

But other times —most of the times, maybe— toys break because kids put them to the wrong use. Wingless action figures take a shot at flying, RC cars attempt audacious submarine journeys, and all kinds of innocent objects transform into blunt force weapons. 

Yesterday Robin Williams was found dead in his home. Early reports have told us about a possible suicide. We know about his troubles with drug addiction. And we have also heard about his depression. We all mourn his loss, as someone who, through his many memorable performances on the screen, became part of our lives.

But like many other times, this kind of news makes me think. They always make me think there is something wrong with the deaths of so many vibrant, wonder-filled, awe-inspiring, well achieved public figures. They make me think about broken toys.

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Last month, making some extra time (where it didn’t seem there was any between dissertation work and script-writing,) I helped write and produce a little short film about a very current topic: cell phones and human relationships. We are presenting it to a couple of competitions, and we’ll see how far it can get. (UPDATE: Well… we won the first prize at Kerygma Awards!) In the meantime, here it is for your enjoyment. Please watch, and don’t hesitate to share!