To Live and Write in LA

‘Wolf Mother’ and ‘I Live For You’

There seems to be a new meme in indie film: scary ladies. “Danger: Crazy Lady Ahead” award goes to a pair of films shown at the Dances With Films Festival.

‘High-Rise’ Takes You to the Roof and Throws You Off with Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons

When you become aware of a car crash on the side of the road, you don’t want to look, but you do and then you can’t turn away from the horror you are seeing. That’s how I began to feel as I became immersed in the world of High-Rise. Not a perfect film, but seductive, beautiful, and an intriguing social allegory.

‘Rififi’ – Film-noir Heist Flick All Filmmakers and Everyone Else Should Watch

(Originally published on The 1955 film Rififi should be seen and studied by every screenwriter and filmmaker. It is a near-perfect example of a heist flick, and a master class in how to structure a story Hollywood style. Ironically, the movie was created by filmmaker Jules Dassin, a man exiled from Hollywood. The film has been remastered […]

LA Film Fest: ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

Originally published on Writer/director David Lowery has what seems like a cliché story.  In 1970s Texas, an outlaw escapes from prison to find the wife and the daughter he’s never met. But Lowery paints this story with a different, intimate, film-noir brush. Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints opened at the LA Film Festival Saturday, June 15. He is aided in […]

‘Mental’ – As in the Slang Term for Crazy

(First published on The latest from movie maker P.J. Hogan is a directing tour de force, with some excellent acting from an impressive, award-winning cast, but not all that enjoyable. This is partly because thetrailer for the movie is so misleading, suggesting Mental is a whacky family comedy. It begins, after all, with the mom of the family, played by Rebecca […]

‘Emperor’ – The War After the War

(First published on Hey, screenwriters and filmmakers, here’s a challenge for you. Make a movie about WWII, but with no battles. Make it a mystery, but assume the audience knows how it turns out. Make it a love story, but tell it completely in flashbacks. Make it a film about soldiers, but no gutsy infantryman […]

Good Neighbors

(Originally published on Take three freaky characters with tenuous grips on reality and stick them into an aging apartment building in a rundown neighborhood of Montreal and what do you have? Good Neighbors. You also have a film noir mystery which rivals anything the Coen brothers (Blood Simple, Fargo, No Country for Old Men) have ever done. […]

‘The Perfect Host’ – Dinner Party as Dying Art

(Originally published on Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” So, too, is The Perfect Host, a Sundance 2010 selection by filmmaker Nick Tommay which premieres on video-on-demand on May 27 and opens in theaters July 1, 2011. On the surface, the story in this psychological thriller is straight […]

An exploration of film and filmmaking