Wednesday, December 19, 2012

These Films Are Treasures

Every year the United States National Film Registry selects 25 films of artistic merit, and this year DIRTY HARRY made the cut along with THE MATRIX. These films have been judged as important works of cinematic art, and will be preserved for future generations. Here are this year's 25 GREAT films...

* "3:10 to Yuma" (1957)

* "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959)

* "The Augustas" (1930s-1950s)

* "Born Yesterday" (1950)

* "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961)

* "A Christmas Story" (1983)

* "The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight" (1897)

* "Dirty Harry" (1971)

* "Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2" (1980-82)

* "The Kidnappers Foil" (1930s-1950s)

* "Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests" (1922)

* "A League of Their Own" (1992)

* "The Matrix" (1999)

* "The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair" (1939)

* "One Survivor Remembers" (1995)

* "Parable" (1964)

* "Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia" (1990)

* "Slacker" (1991)

* "Sons of the Desert" (1933)

* "The Spook Who Sat by the Door" (1937)

* "They Call It Pro Football" (1967)

* "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984)

* "Two-Lane Blacktop" (1971)

* "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1914)

* "The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England" (1914)

If  you have not seen the original 3:10 TO YUMA or TWO-LANE BLACKTOP or ANATOMY OF A MURDER, check them out... in fact, check out all of the titles on the list!

- Bill

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

- in Los Angeles!

HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG is coming to Los Angeles for one night only!

Wednesday, January 09, 7:30pm - 9:44pm
in North Hollywood, CA at Laemmle's Noho 7


My RAINDANCE review...

The best film I’ve seen so far at Raindance. A combination indie film and big musical that reminded me of the old Warner Bros musicals from the 40s with Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler about struggling musicians trying to make it on Broadway. I don’t know whether the title gets in the way or becomes a novelty - but the film actually stars Joe Schermann as a struggling composer who dreams of writing big Broadway shows...  But is stuck teaching music, playing piano for auditions, and doing anything else music related to pay his half of the rent. Evey (Christina Rose) is his girlfriend, a struggling actress who also dreams of being on Broadway, but makes a living doing Princess Parties for bratty kids and any other crappy job to pay her half of the rent. All they need is a break, and as their mutual friend Gunther (Mark DiConzo) says, it only takes one person to change your life... one person to discover you and champion you and give you that boost that makes your dreams come true.

What is great about this film is that each character is in some way that one person to some other character.

As the couple struggles and hopes to meet that one person, Gunther lands a casting job for an Off Broadway Show in need of a composer and recommends Joe... but Joe doesn't want to write music for others, he wants to write his own music - and that causes some problems. The other problem - Joe meets an actress at an audition (Summer, played by Debbie Williams) and becomes infatuated with her... she is his new muse, and must hide this from Evey. When the Off Broadway Show gets closer to casting, Joe tells *Summer* that he will recommend her and tells Evey that she’s just not right for the role. Classic love triangle - but with great songs and all of the gritty real bits usually left out in Hollywood films. At times the film seems like Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL in the way it looks at relationships in a very real (and complicated way). The film manages to be both a big fun musical and an Indie film where things don’t always end happily ever after.

The songs and dance numbers are amazing - and part of the story rather than tacked on as some afterthought, plus the acting is better than most Hollywood films, the production value is *amazing* for a film shot for next to nothing and financed through a Kickstarter campaign. And this film made me cry *twice* - one great scene where Joe wants to quit the Off Broadway job because they want him to mainstream his music, and Gunther talks about how he was a dancer on his way up until his knee injury and now his job is to audition *other* dancers who are doing what he loves... what he wishes he could still do. What would Joe do if he lost his hands and could no longer play the piano or write music? A *heartbreaker* of a scene, and so raw and real I dare you not to cry. The other scene that opened my tear ducts was when Evey storms out of their apartment after finding out about Summer and goes to Gunther’s apartment to cry on his shoulder... and we find out that Gunther is in love with her and has always been in love with her but she’s his best friend’s girl. This wasn't the Hollywood version of this scene, this was the messy real version.  In addition to those scenes there are dozens of great scenes that didn't make me cry, but did make feel big time. The film is an emotional rollercoaster that will have you under its spell days after you leave the cinema.

Oh, and plenty of great musical numbers that rival anything Hollywood has done. Songs that stick in your head and will have you humming them later. Every performance, every song, every dance number, every dramatic scene, every *shot* in this film is great. When we come to the big show stopper end song that cuts from character to character wherever they are in New York and then splits the screen to create duets - it’s just amazing. At the Q&A afterwards the director Gary King and star Christina Rose and producer Susie King said that their favorite musical movie was WEST SIDE STORY - and that’s what the last number reminded me of. This film was fantastic.

PS: And the winner is... HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG won Best Feature Film Of The Festival! What was amusing is that Gary, Susie and Christina didn't even know they were nominated (the nominations weren't announced until a day before) and just happened to be in the audience... so they could accept their award. Gary joked that he would have dressed for the occasion. I loved this film, and these guys are the next big thing! Do you hear that, Hollywood?

- Bill

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hit List & Black List

It's that time of year again! Those lists of Best Screenplays.

We already have the Hit List - HIT LIST 2012 - and congratulations to two people I know personally (not just online) Dan and Emily!

The Black List is trying to frustrate the heck out of us, by releasing the list one script title at a time every hour Today on Twitter. THE BLACK LIST 2012.

- Bill

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lancelot Link: Free Screenplay Episode

Lancelot Link Thursday! It's Oscar Season and the For Your Consideration screenplays are starting to hit the internet! Here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...

Because I screwed up and forgot to write a new entry - here's last week's with all of the screenplays.

Here are eight cool links plus this week's car chase...

1) Storyboards for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN!

2) Eric Heisserer on why you can't judge a script by its movie.

3) For Your Consideration: Universal Screenplays!

4) For Your Consideration: Weinstein Company Screenplays!

5) For Your Consideration: Focus Films Screenplays!

6) For Your Consideration: Lionsgate Screenplays!

7) For Your Consideration: Sony Screenplays!

8) For Your Consideration: Warner Bros (there was no link to screenplays when I posted this - they may show up later.)

Car chase of the week - oh the weather outside is frightful...

- Bill





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