Watched The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

This feels like a film out of its time. True it’s set in the early 1980’s. But it’s more to do with the way the story unfolds. Anne Hathaway’s character is strong and wilful in the first half, but ends up being strangely passive in the second. There’s a righteous political expose in there somewhere, waiting to take down some corruption, but it gets lost in the poetry of its point of view.

Finished reading the screenplay for Molly’s Game (2017) by Aaron Sorkin

This screenplay feels like a transcript of the film. What’s on the page is so what’s on the screen, it feels like Sorkin made the movie before he wrote it. It’s clear, precise, and most of all readable, in a way some writers don’t manage, and some screenplays aren’t. It flows on the page the way people tell their stories. It jumps around. There are digressions but only to clarify something else. His use of voiceover is a marvel. Best of all it doesn’t feel at odds with the story. It is the story, Molly Bloom’s story, told in her voice. I have long considered voiceover a literary affectation. Screenwriters use it when they want to get the writing of a book, and the voice of the original author, into a film. It’s used as a framing device to make the film feel like a book. Sorkin goes beyond that. In his hands it’s a structural element that holds together the multiple strands of the story. A must read for anyone interested in screenwriting.

Watched Little Joe (2019)

This is a stylish piece of cinema, that walks a line somewhere between Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Upstream Colour (2013). Bioengineers develop a houseplant that’s able to make you happy by secreting a chemical in its scent. There’s a real menace in the idea. But this isn’t told as some fast paced adventure story. Instead it’s a considered, contemplative piece that haunts your thoughts. Very interesting.

Finished reading the screenplay for Eastern Promises (2007) by Steven Knight

Knight’s writing is dense. His descriptions weighty, full of intention. The dialogue follows the same template, functional and to the point. There’s one plot element that has always bothered me. The revelation that Nikolai is an undercover policeman. If we were made aware of this fact earlier in the story it would provided another level of jeopardy to Nikolai’s story. As it stands it comes as explanation. The reason why he helps Anna. I understand this might’ve changed the emphasis of the story. But it could’ve made him more active. Just a thought.

Watched Attraction (2017)

An alien spaceship crashes just outside Moscow. Destroying many buildings and killing hundreds. As is usual the military takes charge, while trying to establish the alien’s intentions, and “protect” the local population. Then a rebellious teenager rescues, protects, and falls in love with the handsome alien. Teaching him the value of humanity in the process. But her jilted lover lets his jealousy get the better of him, ignites a sort of nationalist frenzy in the locals, and sets about reclaiming his planet from the alien threat. It’s a high octane action film that wouldn’t be out of place at your local multiplex. Not sure if the audience here would tolerate the Russian, or more accurately the subtitles. Who knows, anything’s possible.