Film NoiARRRRR excerpt

Yo Ho

NoiARRRRR, my film noir/pirate/buddy cop mashup film, has hit a snag: I’ve been too busy with this semester to plan out the entire thing, and it needs to be filmed by the end of this month. There’s not much time. It’s looking likely that I’ll have to rewrite the thing into a spoof trailer, rather than an actual film, and try to get that shot.

Regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give you the first scene. Here’s the excerpt.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Film review: The Goonies

goonies

The Goonies surpasses most 80s films to stand as a great example of solid screenwriting. Chris Columbus gives all the characters personality traits that bounce against each other throughout the film, adding to the tight plot, which itself manages to connect a multitude of different elements — pirates, criminals, a misshapen ‘monster,’ a foreclosure, and a random wishing well.

The gang of kids all have their own traits, and all the other kids waste no time pointing them out: Chunk is constantly being told he’s a klutz and too loud — which gives him an entire subplot of being captured — while himself constantly asking for food — which means he’s the one to uncover a dead body in the freezer; Mouth is given disgusted looks for his self-serving, plot-advancing ways, and for his failed attempts at womanizing; Brand is the slightly egotistical but surprisingly nice older brother who tries to bring a sense of adulthood to the gang; the cheerful, inventive Data is there to solve problems as Home Alone incarnate; Andy is the nice-girl love interest; her friend Stef is the snarky pessimist; and Mikey serves to drive the plot towards his end goal of finding One-Eyed Willy and saving the Goon Docks.

In a world where we’re content to have Lone-Ranger-style plots, it’s nice to see a film that bothers to keep itself buzzing along at a proper speed, while still continuing to make sense. The film’s blend of characters and plot is its best feature.

goonies-the-goonies-32874213-420-392

Any thirst for 80s nostalgia can be easily quenched by the hairstyles, fashions, and entertaining dialogue, (“I’m going to punch you so hard, when you wake up your clothes will be out of style!”) even though the film’s plot doesn’t lean on it’s nostalgia to survive, like, well, the majority of eighties films. As far as the actual subject matter, the film revels in being juvenile: the pirate ship, booby traps, and blundering criminals are all clearly ridiculous. If you’re the sort of person who will enjoy the film’s crazy childish nature, you’ll appreciate it’s fantastic writing. If not, go walk a plank.

Making an un-cliched Buddy Cop film

It’s impossible.

I’m currently in the process of writing a 13-minute buddy cop genre mashup that includes film noir and pirate movies. I’m trying to make it as original as possible, but I’ve found that buddy cop films are one of the worst genres to attempt “original” with. They were immensely popular during the 80s and 90s, and they’ve since been through countless iterations — they became more jokey, more self-referential, and started playing around with the genre by creating  the science fiction version, the extreme sports version, the explosions version, and many, many homages. There was even one about buddy cop germs living inside Bill Murray.

osmosis-jones-1024x576

Bill Murray is so awesome, just one of his cells can headline a film.

Continue reading

Film Review: The Lone Ranger

lone-ranger-trailer-the-lone-ranger-33531256-1920-800The Lone Ranger tries. It’s a weird film, which is refreshing, but the poor pacing almost kills it. The story follows greenhorn John Reid as he stumbles through adventures with Tonto, a crazy Native American on a decades-long mission to hunt down a deranged, cannibalistic criminal.

It deconstructs the original story with the aim of getting in as much cynicism as possible: John believes in preserving all lives, even the villians’, not because he’s risen above those who don’t, but because he’s too inexperienced to know better.  The idea of making Tonto crazy works well for Tonto’s personality, in my opinion, since it neatly avoids the stereotype of a mystic, halting-English-speaking Native American, while still providing with one. But the mask, the silver bullet, and the phrase ‘kimosabi’ are all bestowed on Reid by Tonto due to the character’s slightly crazy nature and the fact that the two don’t get along well at first. The source material is spoofed, essentially. The cynicism is a little strong, particularly at the end. Instead of a rousing call for the Lone Ranger’s way, Tonto yells as Rein for trying to use the phrase “Hi-ho, Silver, away!” Even Pirates of the Caribbean ended with Jack singing his pirate song, followed by awesome theme music.

The Lone Ranger surveys his Lone Range.

The Lone Ranger surveys his Lone Range.

The poor pacing is the film’s major problem, though. I could easily forgive cynicism if it were accompanied by a driving plot. Instead, the film meanders through its two and a half hour runtime, setting up an intricate plot that connects Tonto’s back story with both the evil criminal and a railroad magnate. This would be a great plot if it were fun to watch all the time, but too much of it is slow, boring, and attempts to be serious. There’s no point to plenty of it, and it seems like a bunch of set pieces — a brothel, a barn, an indian camp — without enough reason to justify their existence. It’s like all the Pirates sequels, which makes sense, considering it boasts the same writers.

The two big action scenes, both involving trains, were very well-done. Tonto’s antics were the best part of the film to watch, but they were sadly few and far between. Armie Hammer did a great job acting as Reid, too. If only the inevitable sequel(s) were to be written by someone with an eye for a fast-paced, relevant plot and more appreciation for the decency of the heroes, we could have a great film. Buuut that’s never going to happen.