‘Beaches’ isn’t bad… for a hokey chick flick

[rating=3]Starring: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey, John Heard, Spalding Gray, James Read, Lainie Kazan
Director(s): Garry Marshall
Writer(s): Screenplay by Mary Agnes Donoghue; Based upon the novel by Iris Rainer Dart

John Heard makes a move on childhood friends Bette Midler (2nd from r.) and Barbara Hershey in 'Beaches'
John Heard makes a move on childhood friends Bette Midler (2nd from r.) and Barbara Hershey in ‘Beaches’

I think it’s probably fair to say that of all chick flicks, Beaches is about as chick-flicky as you can get.

And it’s directed by a man!

I’m not sure how Garry Marshall ended up being so good at making films for women, but it sure seems like he’s got the nack for it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but come on. Pretty WomanPrincess Diaries. I mean, I don’t even think he’s really made a film that’s been for men.

Read more‘Beaches’ isn’t bad… for a hokey chick flick

How To Write a Killer Query Letter

The query letter is king!
The query letter is king!

You’ve just finished the best screenplay you’ve ever written. Congratulations. The easy part is over. Now you’re ready to move on to the real challenge, getting someone in power to actually read the damn thing!

In other words, in the if-it’s-not-one-thing-it’s-another category, after having successfully scaled Pike’s Peak, you now find yourself staring up at Mount Everest. Take a deep cleansing breath, and get ready to master yet another deceptively difficult form of writing: the query letter.

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Q&A with Robin Williams

Robin Williams as Pappass in David Duchovny’s 'The House of D'
Robin Williams as Pappass in David Duchovny’s ‘The House of D’

Doing a roundtable interview with Robin Williams is akin to a free show in a small comedy club. That’s the best description I can give of my experience this past weekend as I participated in the press day for House of D in Manhattan.

I’ve always been a fan of his comedy, and to stand by and watch him go live was terrific. What’s hilarious about it is not necessarily his comedy, but how he can switch from calm and sedate to wildly animated and vocal. And there’s intelligence to his riffs that give them meaning, and that’s why I think he’s funny.

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Q&A with David Duchovny

David Duchovny wrote, directed and starred in 'House of D'
David Duchovny wrote, directed and starred in ‘House of D’

This may sound strange, but when David Duchovny first entered the room the first thing I noticed about him was that his eyes were small. Odd, right? But they are. He’s a rather tall fellow, but for some reason my attention settled on his eyes. And they seemed small for the rest of his face.

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Q&A with Téa Leoni

Téa Leoni plays mother in 'House of D'
Téa Leoni plays mother in ‘House

Sometimes interviews can surprise you. When I arrived at the hotel in Manhattan to participate in the series of roundtables designed to promote House of D, the film written and directed by David Duchovny, I wasn’t sure which person was going to come in first.

I have to be honest and say I was very much looking forward to meeting Robin Williams. But when Téa Leoni entered, I was pleasantly surprised. A lovely a woman in person as she is on screen, she speaks with a deep, sultry voice. That, accompanied by her dry wit and piercing eyes, and suddenly I was thinking, “wait, who? We have other people to talk with today?”

And Téa Leoni thankfully had some interesting things to say about House of D and her experience working on it, so it all worked out well for everyone. Now, enough with this drivel, on with the questions.

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‘Steal’ is bad… but still kinda good

[rating=2]Starring: Stephen Dorff, Natasha Henstridge, Bruce Payne, Steven Berkoff
Director(s): Gerard Pires
Writer(s): Mark Ezra

Stephen Dorff (l.) and Natasha Henstridge (2nd from l.) co-star in 'Steal'
Stephen Dorff (l.) and Natasha Henstridge (2nd from l.) co-star in ‘Steal’

Action films are funny things. Even when they’re bad, they can still be enjoyable. The same can’t often be said about comedies or dramas. When they’re bad, they’re just that — bad. But an action film can skirt the edge. That’s the case with Steal, which got a DVD release today.

This actioner, starring Stephen Dorff and Natasha Henstridge, is a stylized bit of action fluff. Replete with over the top action, and even more over the top characters, it’s got all the elements of a fun bad movie.

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‘Elektra’ is disappointing

[rating=2]Starring: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Terence Stamp
Director(s): Rob Bowman
Writer(s): Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman, Raven Metzner

Jennifer Garner headlines as the comic book hero, 'Elektra'
Jennifer Garner headlines as the comic book hero, ‘Elektra’

As I sat down to watch Elektra, I was half hoping that I’d like it and wonder why everyone had been so hard on it. That all the naysayers were just plain wrong.

Sadly, they weren’t. Not completely.

Elektra started off interesting, but soon slowed and eventually derailed. The story doesn’t hold together all that well, and ultimately proves far bigger than the movie could properly contain.

The film picks up a few years after the events of Daredevil, the Ben Affleck action flick from which Elektra was spun off. Elektra, who died in that dark superhero yarn, has been restored to life by an ancient, mystical Asian cult. After being kicked out because of anger problems, she sets about working as an assassin for hire.

Elektra is soon given a high priced assignment: Kill a single father and his teenage daughter. But when she has second thoughts about carrying out her mission, she finds herself dragged into an epic struggle of good versus evil, that will force her to come to terms with her own dark demons.

The first problem with Elektra is that the heavier mystical elements don’t come into the story until about half way through the film. As a result, its takes on a different tone, where the pseudo realism of the beginning gets turned on its head.

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‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is a creepy Korean tale with lots of tasty twists and turns

[rating=3]Starring: Im Sun-yeong, Yeom Jeong-ah, Kim Gab-su, Mun Geun-yeong
Director(s): Kim Jee-Woon
Writer(s): Kim Jee-Woon

Im Sun-yeong and Yeom Jeong-ah are sisters in 'A Tale of Two Sisters'
Im Sun-yeong and Yeom Jeong-ah are sisters in ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’

A Tale of Two Sisters is the second Korean film I’ve had the opportunity to view in the last few weeks, and so far I have to say that some interesting movies are making their way west from that divided nation.

Now, let me first note that normally a review of a horror film would be relegated to our illustrious Horror Guru. However, when I received this DVD for review, I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it. Was it horror? Was it a psychological thriller? Even after watching it, I think it skirts the edge a bit. You could argue that it’s a classic gothic horror, in tone with something like The Others; but at the same time it could be compared to the excellent classic, Gaslight, which is a thriller.

Trying to categorize films can be a challenge sometimes, especially when they appear to have several different elements. If you want a good example, try to tell me whether the television series, Lost, is science fiction or a drama.

Read more‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is a creepy Korean tale with lots of tasty twists and turns