Film

My film Career

I’ve had some success in film, though certainly not enough to suit me.  One of my scripts (and I have written over a dozen feature-length spec scripts, most of which have won at least one award), was recently produced under the title of “Illusions of Cyn”.  (https://www.facebook.com/IllusionsofCyn) 

Almost everyone involved is from Houston or thereabouts, and they are all independent film folks.  Sure Robert Redford is an independent film producer, and, while no one is as famous as him, all of these people have done this before, know what they’re doing, and come with serious credits and accomplishments.

The Director arranged for a Cast & Crew Showing in mid-December, and it’s very well done.  I’m looking forward to seeing it again at a theater near me.


Film Reviews

Red Sparrow

I had originally intended to skip this movie, due to its "mixed reviews from critics, who called it 'more style than substance', criticizing the film's length and over-reliance on graphic violence and sex", but changed my mind, predicated on an interview with a spy on NPR who spoke in favor of the emotional turmoil of always pretending to be other than who you really are at heart.  

OK, it was a little long; and there was some "graphic violence and sex", but it fit the story and didn't seem at all out of place or titillating. In fact, it's kind of a sexy version of a film made from a John LeCarre novel.  So, don't listen to the critics, at least not this time.

While I reserve the right to change my mind, right now this is the very best thing I've seen in a very long time. Surprise, surprise, I especially liked the point made in the story that, even though the Iron Curtain has fallen, it's still business-as-usual in Putin's Russia. Although his name was never uttered.  

Probably those critics who panned the film were Deep Cover Sleeper Agents of the former(?) Soviet Union, aka Moles, Dupes or Stooges.  Also known as Republicans.

“7 Days in Entebbe"

“Entebbe” (“7 Days in Entebbe” in the US) was not favorably reviewed (“Rotten Tomatoes” concluded that "’7 Days in Entebbe’ has a worthy story to tell, but loses sight of its most compelling elements in a dull dramatization of riveting real-life events."[), but we went anyway, and. is sometimes the case enjoyed it much more than expected.

There’s politics involves here in that elder brother of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the raid, was not the hero (perhaps because he was killed early on in the fire fight?) that the PM and others portrayed him to be.  One critic held that the film had an anti-Israeli bias and presented “the terrorists in a sympathetic and even heroic light, while at the same time taking an unfavorable, fault-finding stance towards the Israeli leaders and rescue effort.” Another, describing it as “competent but pointless”, said, "When all the dust settles, we’re left right where we started, and with nothing to show for it but a fleeting reminder that peace is impossible without negotiation. It’s a lesson that history has failed to teach us, filtered through a movie that doesn’t understand why."

We did not see the same movie, or at least none of that was my takeaway.  Mine was that this story is about two European radicals, who embraced the Palestinian cause with sufficient zeal to take up arms in favor of that cause, only to be cast aside by those who had more skin in the game.  One was a naïve true-believer who became disillusioned, but only when it was too late to do much about it; and the other kept her focus and commitment to a cause that was not hers through massive dosages of drugs and lack of sleep.  Such people, even under the best of circumstances and conditions (and these were not the best of circumstances and conditions) are a threat to any possible reconciliation, no matter how remote.  The films critics did not see the two Germans as central characters, but for me they were the story.  Dangerous innocents abroad, people to be avoided at all costs.  And guess what?  In the film, they were among the first to be killed.

From that point of view, this is a film worth seeing, is very well done, and entertaining.  For those looking for insights into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, the critics are right; this movie’s not for you.  But if you want to see just how badly things can go wrong and how much harm can be done when don’t know what you are doing, and yet still stick your nose into someone else’s business (a lesson worthy of the periodical reminder), then this might work for you.