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October 2008 Archives

October 18, 2008

The Go-Getter (2007)

What follows is essentially The Catcher in the Rye redux, a storyline that plenty of indie filmmakers have pilfered (Igby Goes Down, Charlie Bartlett) with moderate success. Writer-director Martin Hynes makes the movie work by introducing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy in Mercer’s mind… And then the actual Kate shows up, forcing Mercer to reconcile his fantasy with reality. It adds an interesting layer to both characters and allows Hynes to have his cake and eat it, too.

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Film Monthly, Reviews

October 26, 2008

No More Heroes (or Fringe)

Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) — Not their strongest effort. Not bad, but they didn’t sell me on the powerful effect this teacher had on Chris. I wouldn’t nitpick that so much if Adult Chris hadn’t called her the best…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

October 5, 2008

Diminishing Returns

Everyone, I have some shocking news: ratings are down. In a trend blamed largely on the writers’ strike, second-year shows are especially down, but all television shows are down overall. Networks want to blame the strike, citing the apparent no-brain…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

October 19, 2008

Must-Miss TV

Baseball playoffs have preempted about half the Fox shows I usually cover; in their place, I offer longer, less coherent rants about old favorites Heroes, Fringe and Pushing Daisies! Everybody Hates Chris (The CW) — I admired this episode’s attention…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

October 12, 2008

Heroes & Villains

Bones (Fox) — This week, the writers redeemed last week’s lackluster effort — just in time to go off the air for a month! This week, Bones tries to tackle religion and faith through the prism of its characters. They’ve done shows…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Reviews, Idiot Boxing

October 3, 2008

Not the Bradys XXX

In eager anticipation of X-Play/Hustler Video’s latest classic-sitcom spoofs — Not Bewitched, This Ain’t the Munsters and Not the Bradys 2 — I’ve decided to take a closer look at 2007’s highly popular, award-winning erotic comedy, Not the Bradys. Although it’s a mixed bag, I admit that it entertained and aroused me. Can I ask for more than that? Yes. Will I get it? In this case, no.

The trio of Will Ryder (director), Jeff Mullen (writer, producer, composer, art director) and Scott David (producer, art director) have crafted a loving parody of Sherwood Schwartz’s hokey sitcom, The Brady Bunch (1969-1974). References abound (Cindy’s Kitty Carry-All doll!), although Mullen misses opportunities to go deeper here. More puzzling, it includes some odd moments that I assume were intended as references, but they don’t quite pan out.

At one point, Greg begs Sam the Butcher (played with bizarre spunk by Ron Jeremy) for a job, but Sam grumbles that he already gave that job to Bobby. I think they were trying to reference 1972’s classic “Big Little Man,” in which parallel stories feature Bobby trying to overcompensate for his diminutive stature while Greg gets the job at Sam’s. When Greg and Bobby both get locked in the freezer, Bobby’s size actually saves them — he can squeeze through the freezer door’s window, which Greg couldn’t have managed. It taught us all a valuable lesson about finding strength in who we are, no matter what our perceived shortcomings. But at no time in the episode does Bobby get the job or attempt to steal the job out from under Greg. Perhaps if they had boned up on their Bunch trivia (or engaged me as a consultant — I’m happy to help out, pro bono), such absurd mistakes wouldn’t exist.

Read "Not the Bradys XXX (2007)" »

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Sexual Velvet, Reviews

October 10, 2008

SEXth Element

I’ve come to expect very little from Private. Their pandering to bizarre Eastern European fetishes in films like Top 40 DPs and Without Limits gets worse with each film, but I had some hope for SEXth Element. A big-budget sci-fi film driven by special effects, the film could have been a genre masterpiece. Instead, its disappointing, incomprehensible storyline sinks it, making this a late entry in the competition for “Most Disappointing Film.”

I guess I should have known better than to expect anything from writer/director Andrew Curtis and executive producer Milk; they’re in too deep with the Private aesthetic. Still, I didn’t expect a film so confusing and dramatically inert that I could only say, “What?” when it faded to black. That’s the bottom line: SEXth Element has a story that makes no sense. Apparently, Curtis and Milk assume the effects will dazzle us into believing we’ve watched a Star Wars-like epic. This plunges even lower into the depths of badness than Star Whores: The Phantom Anus.

Read "SEXth Element (2008)" »

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:00 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Sexual Velvet, Reviews

October 1, 2008

Warrior

Author: Gavin O’Connor and A.M. Tambakis & Cliff Dorfman Genre: Sports/Action Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 6 Characterization: 5 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:Estranged brothers train to fight each other at a mixed martial arts tournament. Synopsis:In a…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:52 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 18, 2008

Conan

Author: Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood Genre: Action/Fantasy Storyline: 6 Dialogue: 6 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 6 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:A warrior in some sort of fantastical world seeks vengeance against the man who…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 1:35 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 20, 2008

Bim Bam Baby

Author: Jeremy Catalino Genre: Comedy Storyline: 3 Dialogue: 3 Characterization: 3 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:An unemployed loser’s life is turned upside-down when the husband of a woman he slept with moves into his apartment. Synopsis:STENSLAND,…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:57 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 21, 2008

The Zone

Author: Mike Gray & Ian Masters Genre: Political Thriller Storyline: 4 Dialogue: 4 Characterization: 4 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:An ex-CIA agent, a Panamanian ambassador, and a Russian attempt to negotiate with Chechen terrorists threatening to…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:47 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

The Way Back

Author: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash Genre: Comedy Storyline: 8 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:An awkward, depressed teenager takes a job at a waterpark to escape his obnoxious step-family. Synopsis:DUNCAN, 15, stares…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 4:58 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 22, 2008

Pelican Blood

Author: Cris Cole Genre: Comedy/Drama Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 8 Writer’s Potential: 8 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:A depressed bird-watcher reconnects with his ex-girlfriend. Synopsis:CAMERON and BISH, both in their mid-20s, wait in a parked car for NIKKO…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 10:38 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 17, 2008

A Single Man

Author: Tom Ford and David Scearce Genre: Drama Storyline: 3 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 5 Writer’s Potential: 5 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:In 1962 Los Angeles, a gay college professor has a hard time moving past the death of his…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 3:41 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Sweet Baby Jesus

Author: Steve Blair Genre: Comedy Storyline: 1 Dialogue: 3 Characterization: 2 Writer’s Potential: 2 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:Christmas, 1969. When a pregnant hippie returns to her hometown of Bethlehem, MD, an innkeeper mistakes the baby for the second…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:46 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 3, 2008

Jack vs. Future Jack

Author: Christopher Leone Genre: Comedy/Sci-Fi Storyline: 4 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 3 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:Commitment-phobic Jack receives a visit from himself, from five years in the future, urging him to marry his longtime girlfriend. Synopsis:JACK,…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 11:17 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 4, 2008

Clive Barker’s Dread

Author: Anthony DiBlasi Genre: Horror Storyline: 6 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 6 Writer’s Potential: 5 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:A disturbed philosophy student convinces two filmmakers to document dread, but they have to fight back when he takes things too…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 1:29 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 11, 2008

Who Is Doris Payne?

Author: Eunetta T. Boone Genre: Biograhy/Drama/Crime Storyline: 4 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 6 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:A chronicle of Doris Payne, who spent her life as a jewel thief. Synopsis:2005. A WOMAN, obscured from the security…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:22 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 15, 2008

Mother’s Day (a.k.a., Wichita)

Author: Scott Milam Genre: Thriller Storyline: 1 Dialogue: 3 Characterization: 2 Writer’s Potential: 2 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:Thieves torture guests at a Christmas party. Synopsis:DANIEL SOHAPPY, a Native American in his 30s, receives a phone call from someone…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 11:14 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Skellig

Author: Irena Brignull Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Family Storyline: 8 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 8 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:Upon moving into a new house, a boy finds a strange creature living in the shed. Synopsis:MICHAEL, 11 and small for…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 4:25 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 3, 2008

Heroes & Villains

Author: Michael A. M. Lerner Genre: Biography/Drama Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 8 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:After suffering a nervous breakdown, pop star Brian Wilson undergoes a radical psychotherapy treatment. Synopsis:A montage introduces us to…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 5:47 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 16, 2008

The Wake Wood

Author: David Keating & Brendan McCarthy Genre: Horror/Suspense Storyline: 9 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 8 Writer’s Potential: 9 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:Grieving parents discover that they can bring their daughter back for three days, but it comes at a…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 7:17 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 15, 2008

High School

Author: Josh Stalberg, Jr. & Stephen Susco Genre: Comedy Storyline: 8 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 8 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:To avoid failing a mandatory school-wide drug test, a nerd partners with a stoner to rig the…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 7:16 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 31, 2008

Ironclad

Author: Erick Kastel & Jonathan English Genre: Historical/Action Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:After forcing the King of England to sign the Magna Carta, a disparate group must fight to prevent…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 10:42 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 29, 2008

Frozen

Author: Adam Green Genre: Comedy/Drama Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:Three friends are driven to extreme measures when they find themselves stuck on a ski lift after it closes for the…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 5:45 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Mortis Rex

Author: Peter Briggs Genre: Action/Horror/Historical Storyline: 5 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 2 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:In 122 A.D., Roman soldiers and a druid tribe must fight an enormous monster in the wild of Northern England. Synopsis:In…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:20 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 28, 2008

Spy vs. Stu

Author: Allie Dvorin & Keith Mitchell Genre: Comedy/Thriller Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 5 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:On vacation to propose to his wife, an ordinary man finds himself competing with an international spy for…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 4:59 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

King of Fighters

Author: Rita M. Augustine Genre: Action/Fantasy Storyline: 3 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 4 Writer’s Potential: 5 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:A mysterious group of fighters, vying for the “King of Fighters” title, have to band together when they discover one…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 12:54 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 27, 2008

How to Make Love Like an Englishman

Author: Matthew Newman Genre: Comedy Storyline: 6 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 6 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:An alcoholic English playboy trying to raise a son in America needs to get his life together in order to stay…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 5:55 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Burst

Author: Gary Dauberman Genre: Horror Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 6 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:A disparate group of strangers find themselves stranded in a remote hotel during a bitter snowstorm — along with a dead body. Synopsis:In…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 5:47 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 29, 2008

King Lear

Author: Joshua Michael Stern/William Shakespeare Genre: Drama/Historical Storyline: 9 Dialogue: 9 Characterization: 9 Writer’s Potential: 8 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:When the daughter of an aged king refuses to suck up in order to gain land, she is cast…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 11:20 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 24, 2008

The Adventures of Santa Claus

Author: Mark Edens & John Crye & Tom Tataranowicz Genre: Family/Fantasy/Animated Storyline: 4 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 5 Writer’s Potential: 4 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:Growing up in the magical Forest of Burzee, Santa Claus must stop the evil An-Garr…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:41 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

The Cold Light of Day

Author: Scott Wiper & John Petro Genre: Action/Thriller Storyline: 9 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 9 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:While on vacation in Spain, a high-strung businessman discovers his father was an American spy and is fored…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 2:35 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (1) | Professional Script Coverage

Tormented

Author: Stephen Prentice Genre: Horror Storyline: 5 Dialogue: 5 Characterization: 3 Writer’s Potential: 5 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:One by one, popular kids at a local high school are getting killed — could the killer be the ghost of a kid…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 10:23 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 23, 2008

Saint Vincent

Author: Cameron Young Genre: Drama/Crime Storyline: 6 Dialogue: 7 Characterization: 6 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:A mobster trying to carry out a hit is mistaken for a priest by his intended target. Synopsis:Early 1960s. Manhattan. Mobster…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:53 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Taking Woodstock

Author: James Schamus Genre: Comedy Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 8 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:A son schemes to save his family’s failing Catskills motel by bringing the Woodstock music festival to the little hamlet of…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 2:49 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

Kane and Lynch

Author: Kyle Ward Genre: Action Storyline: 4 Dialogue: 1 Characterization: 3 Writer’s Potential: 2 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Pass Logline:An ex-CIA operative and a schizophrenic scientist are forced to work together to unravel the plans of corrupt government officials. Synopsis:A…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 9:13 AM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 22, 2008

The Book of Eli

Author: Gary Whitta and Anthony Peckham Genre: Sci-Fi/Western/Action Storyline: 8 Dialogue: 9 Characterization: 8 Writer’s Potential: 9 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:In a grim, post-Apocalyptic world, a corrupt slave-driver fights to obtain a true source of power — the Bible. Synopsis:In…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:29 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 21, 2008

The House on Sorority Row

Author: Josh Stolberg & Pete Goldfinger Genre: Horror/Slasher Storyline: 7 Dialogue: 8 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Recommend Logline:A year after accidentally killing one of their sorority sisters, a group of girls find themselves hunted by…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 5:54 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage

October 31, 2008

Ivanwood (a.k.a., Cotton; a.k.a., The Last Exorcism)

Author: Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland Genre: Horror Storyline: 8 Dialogue: 6 Characterization: 7 Writer’s Potential: 7 Jump to: [Synopsis] [Comments] Recommendation?Consider Logline:A fraudulent evangelical preacher investigates a supposed demonic possession in Missouri, and what he finds forces him to…

Posted by D. B. Bates at 6:40 PM | Print-Friendly | Comments (0) | Professional Script Coverage