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How ironic that Hollywood loves to depict victims of a system that just doesn’t care. We saw it in 2017’s Ingrid Goes West (an indie thriller about a mistreated social media fanatic) and even superhero movies championed society’s patsies with Birds of Prey and Joker. Who doesn’t love antiheroes? It’s a crazy time! Revenge for the poor, the underpaid, the innocent.

Thankfully, Promising Young Woman is a little better than your typical revenge movie. …

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Bad Boys stands out amongst the other American teen movies of 1983. While this benchmark year presented such classics as The Outsiders, Risky Business, and Rumble Fish, Bad Boys delivers a blow to the gut, a bloody snapshot of teenage delinquency and doomed futures.

Pitched by producer Robert Solo as “a Jimmy Cagney picture set in modern-day reform school,” Sean Penn plays Chicago hoodlum Mickey O’Brien serving a stint in juvenile corrections for killing a kid. That kid’s older brother Paco Moreno seeks justice while, inside, O’Brien teams with brainy Barry Horowitz against top dogs “Viking” Lofgren and “Tweety” Jerome.

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Brandon Cronenberg follows his debut feature, Antiviral, with an out-of-body bloodbath about skilled assassin Taysa Vos who uses brain-implant technology to possess other people’s bodies to commit murder. Ostensibly, these murders secure big corporate buyouts but regress Taysa mentally each time she returns.

She often considers giving it all up for a life with ex Michael and young son Ira. But Girder, her boss, coaxes her back into the role of a slippery assassin. “You’re the best I’ve got,” Girder says, and together they examine nostalgic objects after every kill to verify Taysa’s psychosis isn’t beyond repair.

Taysa fondles the…

I Saw Unhinged, The Personal History of David Copperfield, Tenet, and The New Mutants

Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

I don’t know if movie theaters are open where you are. But in Tucson, Arizona, the indie chain Harkins opened its doors on August 28, Galaxy Theatres on September 3, and Cinemark on September 4.

The last movie I watched in theaters before the pandemic hit was The Hunt on March 16. The first one I saw when our quarantine eased was Unhinged on August 28.

I say ‘eased’ because things haven’t really gotten much better or worse here. Despite what the news will tell you, my friends, family, and I haven’t experienced radical changes in furloughs, government assistance, or…

Advice for the newbie screenwriter navigating strange times.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

It’s 2019…

And your girlfriend or boyfriend just cheated on you, so you decide to write a screenplay about it.

You’re 24. Maybe you’re 30. You went to film school or possibly you didn’t. Save the Cat and Story overlook your how-to shrine like holy bibles.

Soon, you hit the bricks and tell your friends your idea. You watch the movie in your sleep. You pitch the logline to professors and parents and strangers at Starbucks. They don’t get it, but that’s okay.

You work a day job, so you only write at night…

Here’s an unsung gem of a movie. If you’re a noir fan, The Last Seduction probably comes to mind as that 1994 arthouse film that won acclaim on HBO until a brief but memorable stint in cinemas led Roger Ebert to crown it one of the year’s best. If you’re not a fan, the title probably sounds like a softcore porno — something closer to what the original producers, IFC Entertainment, believed they were financing.

Today, The Last Seduction is a forgotten triumph in the land of neo-noir. It was directed by John Dahl, whose previous Red Rock West shook…

It’s nice to revisit older films in the solitude of quarantine (what else is there to do?), and I couldn’t be happier to stumble upon this one on Starz. My knees weaken whenever I encounter a noir film online or witness one wedged between dusty DVDs at a record store, or beautifully packaged in a 4K rerelease. I love film noir and its descendent, neo-noir, and will almost always abandon any activity to watch one, even if it’s bad. I love the cheap crooks and fated antiheroes; the cheesy one-liners and nonsensical narratives; the cynical attitude towards fate, love, and…

Terrence Malick returns to form with A Hidden Life

Last year I saw 97 theatrical releases.

This year I saw only 66. What the hell happened? I don’t know.

Some of what I missed includes The Last Black Man in San Francisco, John Wick 3, 1917, Just Mercy, Dolemite is My Name, and The Two Popes.

But here’s my favorite films of 2019 from what I did see:

10. Avengers: Endgame

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The 2010s will bottom out in less than 48 hours, so to honor the great films that have been released within that time, I’d like to share my ten favorites from the last decade and invite you to share yours.

They are:

10. Hereditary (2018); Director: Ari Aster

Dark Waters is a depressing, murky thriller directed by Todd Haynes and co-produced by star Mark Ruffalo. It depicts the true decades-long legal battle of chemical defense attorney Robert Bilott (Ruffalo) scouring to expose dirty secrets about Teflon — a poisonous man-made substance filtered into household products, air, and water — from billion-dollar corporation DuPont.

The battle, as I understand it, rages on as DuPont has since retracted any evidence the dogged Bilott has collected. Bilot himself supports Ruffalo’s film and has promoted it on all forms of web and television. …

Matthew Potwardowski

I write about movies, screenwriting, and filmmaking experiences.

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