Film Review: OUTRAGE (USA 1950) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

outrage.jpgA young woman who has just become engaged has her life completely shattered when she is raped while on her way home from work.

Director: Ida Lupino
Writers: Collier Young (written for the screen by), Malvin Wald (written for the screen by)
Stars: Mala Powers, Tod Andrews, Robert Clarke

 Though dated as the film may seem, OUTRAGE was controversial at the time of release being only the second film dealing with the subject of rape – thigh the word was never used and the rape implied and never spoken of in detail. The first film was JOHNNY BELINDA that earned Jane Wyman the Best Actress Oscar.

OUTRAGE deals with a single young lady, Ann (Mala Powers) about to be married. But when she is raped one night by a man with a scar on his neck, Anne leaves home, totally traumatized and unable to function properly in a social setting. She meets a sympathetic Rev. Bruce Ferguson (Tod Andrews) who helps her recover. At a party, she almost kills a man who make advances towards her, she imagining him to be her attacker.

Lupino’s film clearly has a strong feminine presence as observed in many scenes, the story and characters. Ann’s office is made up of a larger female than male staff. The males often perform more tedious tasks compared to the females, perhaps Lupino’s preferred take on an alternative universe. For example, Ann’s male colleague neighbour is given the arduous monotonous job of stamping a pile of pages, one after another non-stop. Ann’s father is a Geometry teacher, bogged down by a boring teaching job teaching what is widely well known as a boring subject – Mathematics, and down to an even more boring branch of it, Geometry. Ann’s mother is the more sympathetic one and shown to be the stronger of the two parents n terms of making in impact on Ann’s happiness.

Lupino, who co-wrote the script with two other writers is a simple enough story that traces the traumatic effects of a night assault on an innocent young woman, how her life is affected by it, and how she slowly but finally recovers with the help of kind human beings. No mention of the details of the assault are given, the nastiness just put aside, leaving the audience to imagine the worst, as observed by Ann’s after-attack behaviour.

Lupino builds up suspense and audience anticipation whenever she can. The scar of the coffee seller is shown on camera close-up early in the film, implying the man to be of questionable character. He is later revealed to be Ann’s attacker. Ann agrees to work late one night, which prompts the audience to fear for her.
Ann’s after assault behaviour is drastically different undergoing changes such as visions of her attacker, denial of her engagement and paranoia that everyone around her is looking at her and judging her. This is drastic behavioural change that almost results in Ann killing a man at a party who has made advances towards her. Lupino shows the aftermath of a sexual assault in all its fury and unpleasantness.

OUTRAGE ends with the attacker getting caught as informed casually to Anne, though nothing is shown of the incident.

OUTRAGE is an ok film, solid for its time, but a bit dated considering how films have progressed since with censorship now relaxed.

OUTRAGE will be screened on August 24th at the Bell Lightbox in its 35mm archive print as part of the TIFF Cinematheque Retrospective on Ida Lupino entitled INDEPENDENT WOMEN that runs from August 4, 2017. Watch for the Lupino article that will include capsule reviews of selected films from this retrospective.

Film Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBzfd0yqFY4

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Film Review: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (France 2017) ****

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

 valerian.jpgA dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Pierre Christin (comic book), Jean-Claude Mézières (comic book)
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen

Review by Gilbert Seah

 
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is the new widely anticipated French science fiction action film written and directed by Luc Besson best known for THE FIFTH ELEMENT and LUCY. The film, based on the French science fiction comics series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières is to date the most expensive French film ever made at a price rage of $197 million euros. To break-even it has to make $350 million worldwide. It is a big a risk as James Cameron’s AVATAR but the film is stunning in its visuals and imagination and comes highly recommended for Besson’s vision and delivery of this space opus to the big screen. It be best seen in 3D and on the biggest screen possible.

The film opens with an alien species on a distant planet. They speak a different language and lead a different lifestyle, in tune with nature giving their planet back what they receive from it. This is reminiscent of the blue AVATAR creatures in the James Cameron’s film. An apocalypse happens and their planet is destroyed. On the other side of the Universe, a dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. Nothing makes much sense in the film’s first half, but writer/director Besson keeps the audience’s curiosity strong. It is during the second half that the story comes together, becoming more of a conventional film with the fight between good and evil, with Valerian and Laureline being the space fighters and peace keepers working for ‘the government’.

But it is not the story that will astonish the audiences. The visionary action sequences consisting of computer generated landscapes and creatures of all shapes and sizes will mesmerize. The best of these are three information selling beaked liked creatures who speak both simultaneously but separately forming sentences that are hilarious and brilliant. The capture of the jellyfish on the mammoth sea creature providing some genuine action and thrills and the butterfly bait fishing are inspirational set pieces. Another memorable scene has Laureine wearing a huge hat with the top of her head exposed only to find her brains about to be eaten by an Alien Emperor, the way Chinese used eat monkey brains as a delicacy before the practice was banned.

Much negative reviews have been posted of the lead actor’s Dane DeHaan’s performance as Major Valerian. DeHaan is a young 31-year old American actor with some Dutch background, hence his Dutch surname, who has proven himself able to carry a lead role in the recent but badly received A CURE FOR WELLNESS. In that film DeHaan demonstrated a different kind of hero, a vulnerable one, as in this one, full of character flaws like impulsive decision making, unlike other space action heroes like hans Solo or Luke Skywalker. His partner, co-fighter for good against evil and love interest, Lareline is played by Cara Delevingne who emits sexiness and charisma. They do exhibit good chemistry on screen, and her speech on love at the film’s end though cliched, works. Supporting performances by Clive Owen as the villain and Ethan Hawke are also impressive.
Rihanna plays an alien dancer who performs a Sally Bowles in CABARET type dance forms one of the film’s best musical dance numbers – amazing and unforgettable combined with special computer effects. Music is by Alexandre Desplat.

For all its flaws, Besson’s brilliantly conceived film still scores top marks as a futuristic space action adventure. Much better than THE FIFTH ELEMENT and the new STAR WARS film series.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XawbuBCj-Fo
 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

Inside the Chaos: Cinema writing 101- 5 Things About Overwriting

Festival Reviews

overwriting.jpgEveryone who has ever put fingers to keys on a computer with the attempt to write a cinematic piece has probably had to deal with overwriting. Everyone has overwritten something and it’s nothing to be ashamed about- as long as you know how to correct it.  But in this reviewer’s’ time as a script coverage provider, it is surprising how much, (and how easily) overwriting happens. Below are five things about overwriting you might want to refresh on for your next revision.

  • YOU DON’T DIRECT YOUR STORY

 

Writing is often considered to be playing God to a very tiny universe. In novels, this is certainly true. Collaboration pieces, where many hands touch the work before it is seen by the eyes of the masses, such as stage plays or screenplays, have a slightly different approach. Specifically for Screen writing, the script provides dialogue, setting and action- the combination of…

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Inside the Chaos: Cinema writing 101- 5 Things About Overwriting

overwriting.jpg
Everyone who has ever put fingers to keys on a computer with the attempt to write a cinematic piece has probably had to deal with overwriting. Everyone has overwritten something and it’s nothing to be ashamed about- as long as you know how to correct it.  But in this reviewer’s’ time as a script coverage provider, it is surprising how much, (and how easily) overwriting happens. Below are five things about overwriting you might want to refresh on for your next revision.

  • YOU DON’T DIRECT YOUR STORY

 

Writing is often considered to be playing God to a very tiny universe. In novels, this is certainly true. Collaboration pieces, where many hands touch the work before it is seen by the eyes of the masses, such as stage plays or screenplays, have a slightly different approach. Specifically for Screen writing, the script provides dialogue, setting and action- the combination of which creates story. But it is important to understand the parameters of that confine: you don’t direct the piece.

BASIC RULE: In cinematic writing, you want to avoid overt descriptions of the way a character moves, delivers or reacts to their lines, their micro expressions or mannerisms, or excessive details of their minute actions.

 

EXAMPLE: It is established that Character X always rings their hands when they lie. They are lying in this scene and Character Y needs to find out. Then you can write “Character X rings their hands. Character Y sees.”

 

EXCEPTION: If a scene or line is otherwise ambiguous and clarity can only be reached with a direction, or that direction is crucial to understanding the context of the scene.

 WSB1.jpg

  1.  DON’T TELL US WHAT WE DO NOT NEED TO KNOW

Sixteen years earlier the mother of Character A and the Father of Character B had an affair, but no one knows or will ever find out and it’s all water under the bridge now. Characters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are staying at the Bed and Breakfast once owned by character 3’s great-great-grandmother whose husband fought in the war.  The details that make your characters rich, robust histories might be incredibly satisfying to read about in a novel, where we have hundreds of pages to bring out full deep back stories and elaborate web. But Cinema has time constraints. Constraints on the reader, and constraints on the audience. Stick to the story that is relevant.

 

BASIC RULE: If it’s not going to show up directly in the story, then we don’t need to know.

 

EXAMPLE: If it’s important, have a character make reference to it. If it’s not important enough to waste a line of dialogue on, or if the plot is not directly entangled in it, don’t bother putting it in.

 

EXCEPTION: Historical pieces, where details about characters’ based on real life people may, in fact, be needed. Consider adding them into a director’s’ note at the end of the piece instead of building them into a scene.

 

  1. BE CONCISE WITH YOUR ACTION

It is absolutely okay to reference that action in your scene, but you must say it plainly and to the point. Elongating the piece by over explaining the work only hurt the piece in the long run.

 

BASIC RULE: The Best Cinematic writing will create the clearest and most vivid images necessary, with as few words as possible.

 

EXAMPLE: Character X punches Character A in the face. Character A falls hits the floor. Their nose is broken and bleeds profusely. OR: Character X punches Character A. A crashes to the floor, smashed nose bleeding, instantly plastering in blood.

 

EXCEPTION: It is not unheard of to see the occasional flowery sentence in the scene description. Use the greatest discretion with these; one per page is often enough. If you use a more flowery or poetic line in your work, make sure it draws together the scene clearly and purposefully.
showdonttell.jpg

  1. SHOW, DON’T TELL, and TRUST YOUR AUDIENCE

Anyone who has ever had to write an essay gets caught up in over explaining ourselves in order to make ourselves perfectly clear…and fill up those huge required word counts. But you want to disregard that training in cinematic writing. Utilize the power of suggestion and trust your audience is smart enough to pick up the clues. Don’t have Character 1 tell his buddies he’s going out on the town to cheat on his wife. SHOW Character 1 ignoring his wife’s calls, removing his wedding band and offering to buy a girl at a bar a drink.

 

BASIC RULE: Consider how’d you get this information across visually- then describe exactly what you see.

 

EXAMPLE: (After slug line establishes Character is at the Bar) Character 1 removes his wedding band, puts it in his pocket. Gestures for two drinks from the bar tender. Sees a call from his wife. Ignores it.

 

EXCEPTION: “On-the-nose” Lines, or lines that are overtly obvious, can be very impactful and incredibly useful WHEN USED SPARINGLY. Like, once an entire piece kind of sparingly. For an example, check out TV shows like BOJACK HORSEMAN. This show employs excellent and tactful use of on-the-nose lines. They are always emotionally compelling because they are done strategically and with exceptional care.

trust.jpg

  1. REMEMBER- OVERWRITING HURTS YOUR PIECE

 

Overwriting can hurt your work. Excessive or unnecessary details can weigh down the action of your script, making your piece read heavy and slow. The quicker your story starts into the action and more fluidly (and clearly) that action moves, the stronger your piece will read.

 

BASIC RULE: Be clear, quick and efficient. Show, don’t tell.

 

EXAMPLE: *Taken from Graeme Manson’s Pilot script of Orphan Black.

Shower running.  Sarah undresses.  Beneath the clothes, bruises hint at a rough exit from her life with Vic.

 

EXCEPTION:  Historical, fantasy and Science-Fiction may require a slightly full description to establish world building.

 

Writing is a craft, and art and an on-going process. First drafts will always be rough and ideas will always need polishing. The clearer and quicker you can be, the better your work will read.

 

TIFF Cinematheque Presents – The Films of Kathryn Bigelow

Festival Reviews

kathryn bigelow.jpgThe TIFF Cinematheque first retrospective on Kathryn Bigelow entitled KATHRYN BIGELOW: ON THE EDGE begins July 21.

Bigelow’s first film was the low-budget debut THE LOVELESS (an arty, hipster spin on ’50s biker movies, co-directed with Monty Montgomery and starring Willem Dafoe)  Following that, she  made her critical (but commercial unsuccessful) breakthrough with NEAR DARK, a grimy yet wickedly stylish tale of a pack of vampires traversing the American Southwest.  This was followed by a slew of films including POINT BREAK, STRANGE DAYS and others culminating with her glorious Oscar winner THE HURT LOCKER.  The retrospective arrives in time with the release of her new film DETROIT.

Bigelow was married to and divorced from director James Cameron.  Their collaboration can be seen in his script of STRANGE DAYS which Bigelow directed.

Bigelow’s best films are NEAR DARK, BLUE STEEL and STRANGE DAYS, all three of…

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TIFF Cinematheque Presents – The Films of Kathryn Bigelow

kathryn bigelow.jpgThe TIFF Cinematheque first retrospective on Kathryn Bigelow entitled KATHRYN BIGELOW: ON THE EDGE begins July 21.

Bigelow’s first film was the low-budget debut THE LOVELESS (an arty, hipster spin on ’50s biker movies, co-directed with Monty Montgomery and starring Willem Dafoe)  Following that, she  made her critical (but commercial unsuccessful) breakthrough with NEAR DARK, a grimy yet wickedly stylish tale of a pack of vampires traversing the American Southwest.  This was followed by a slew of films including POINT BREAK, STRANGE DAYS and others culminating with her glorious Oscar winner THE HURT LOCKER.  The retrospective arrives in time with the release of her new film DETROIT.

Bigelow was married to and divorced from director James Cameron.  Their collaboration can be seen in his script of STRANGE DAYS which Bigelow directed.

Bigelow’s best films are NEAR DARK, BLUE STEEL and STRANGE DAYS, all three of which oddly enough, did not do well at the box-office.

In April 2010, Bigelow was named to the Time 100 list of most influential people of the year.

For the complete program of the retrospective with screening dates and times, please check the TIFF website at:

CAPSULE REVIEWS OF SELECTED FILMS:

BLUE STEEL (USA 1990) ****
Directed by Kathryn Boggle

BLUE STEEL is yet a another really awesome Bigelow film that flopped at the box-office.  She wrote this film with Eric Red after their collaboration NEAR DARK and marks another very human emotional script with a female cop character.  Just as Bigelow functions as a female action director BLUE STEEL is set in a man’s world.  Jamie Lee Curtis plays a rookie cop who foils a grocery store hold-hp shooting the robber (Tom Sizemore) who pulls a gun on her.  But she does not notice the robber’s gun stolen by a customer, who turns out to be a psychopath (Ron Silver) who uses the gun on a killing spree around NYC.  Detective Turner (Curtis) engages in a cat-and-mouse game with the killer that consists of a series of actions set-pieces.  The only problem is the sudden appearance of the killer shooting at Turner in a subway station for no reason except to provide the climax for the movie.  Still, this is Bigelow at her exciting best, and BLUE STEEL is an absorbing watch from start to end.  Ron Silver is the creepiest villain I have seen for a long time in a movie.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJTOmShc9E0

NEAR DARK (USA 1987) ***** Top 10
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

NEAR DARK is Kathryn Bigelow’s second and arguably BEST movie feature that mixes the western and vampire horror genres based on a script written by Bigelow and Eric Red.  The story follows a young man, Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasdar) in a small midwestern town who becomes involved with a family of nomadic American vampires.  It all starts one night, when Caleb meets an attractive young drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright).  Just before sunrise, she bites him on the neck and runs off.  The rising sun causes Caleb’s flesh to smoke and burn.  Mae arrives with a group of roaming vampires in an RV and takes him away.  The film plays like a male victim basically in a female victim role which makes sense since Bigelow is a female action director.  NEAR DARK is one action set piece after another, the top two being the bar segment where the vampires terrorize a local biker bar, killing everyone before burning it down followed by a police takedown at a motel.  The only problem with the film is Bigelow’s Hollywood ending where Mae, the vampire becomes human again with the couple living happily ever after.

Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiYSirEHS5E

ZERO DARK THIRTY (USA 2012) ***1/2

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

ZERO DARK THIRTY (referring to the period of time 30 minutes past midnight) is the story of perhaps the greatest American manhunt in history – the search and capture of Osama Bin Laden.  The story centres on the character of naïve CIA agent who goes by the name of Maya (Jessica Chastain) who supposedly masterminded the discovery of the whereabouts of OBL.  The navy seals were called in to attack the fort with the result of him being killed.  But not after Maya has given out all that she has got.  The script has her undergo the typical coming-of-age growing up to maturity as she accomplishes her goal.  Initially, shocked but accepting the torture by the American military, she gradually grows from soft to hardened in order to get the job done.  Maya finally reaches her angry peak when she confidently says to the Navy Seals, “You go and kill Bin Laden for me,” as if it is her own private vendetta.  The script and director keeps the film moving fast from start to finish keeping the audience’s attention.  The climatic segment of the raid on the fort in the dark of night is brilliantly executed.   

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxC_JNz5Vbg

WILDsound Performer Mena Massoud gets lead role in Aladdin live action film (as Aladdin)

WILDsound Writing and Film Festival Review

Congrats to WILDsound Performer Mena Massoud for grabbing the lead role in the live action film of ALADDIN. The film also stars Will Smith as the Genie.

Mena performed in various scripts for the festival, including the lead role in WEECHO.

Watch the screenplay reading here: 

WEECHO – 1st scene script winning reading
Written by Kevin Gebhard
Rye, New York

CLICK HERE and read the entire winning screenplay

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Marta Legrady
WEECHO – Mena Massoud
CROTTY – Dan Goldberg
LYNCH – Rob Stone
WOMAN – Natalie Gallard
COP – Jimmy Makris

SYNOPSIS:

Photographer Weecho Marti’s shots of a fiery crash reveal a conspiracy murder he is haunted to avenge for the beautiful victim. In his quest to track down the murderous antagonist, he crosses paths with a spymaster who becomes his mentor. Together they navigate an espionage and smuggling labyrinth to bring Weecho face to face with…

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