Movie Review: Aloha

Based on the people involved, the writer and director Cameron Crowe. The actors, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, Emma Stone I was expecting a great movie and this movie fell way short of even being a good movie.

As a screenwriter, you learn about “On the nose dialog” and using what is called “subtext” instead which is a way of writing dialog the way people really talk in real life. Well, in a movie you can way overuse this subtext idea to the point where you have no idea what people are saying or what is going on, or why. This is the case with Aloha. In many parts of the story, you really have no idea what is going on, or what people were referring to, mainly because of the overuse of subtext. There was one point in the movie where the Bradley Cooper character explained to Rachel McAdams that her husband was saying things to him, just by using his eyes and his posture and his menacing physique. This was referred to again at the end of the movie where McAdam’s husband and Cooper had a conversation with each other and they said absolutely nothing to each other. They just hugged, and looked into each others eyes and the movie explained what they were saying by using subtitles. It was one of the stupidest moments I have ever seen in a movie. Nobody in the audience laughed and the moment didn’t work the first time so to do this even in a much more dramatic way a second time was absurd.

Its very obvious that Cameron Crowe has a great deal of clout in Hollywood, which is why when he writes a bad script all these great and famous people show up to make his movie. Just because a person has written a great screenplay in the past, does not mean that they will all be good by default. This movie was boring and you just didn’t care enough or understand enough about the plot to want to sit there for 2 hours and try and understand why this movie was even made.

I do not recommend this movie.

Writing Subtext

Movie Review: San Andreas

Quite simply, the special effects are unbelievable in this movie. You just have to admire the realism and the accuracy of buildings collapsing, a tsunami, the Hoover Damn being destroyed by an earthquake. The computer generated effects actually make you believe that you are actually there in the worst disaster in world or American History. God forbid something like this ever happens in this country because the economic damage to this country would be beyond repair and the loss of life would be staggering.

As far as the story for this movie, there really isn’t one, but that is not the point of a movie like this. This movie is about special effects and I recommend this movie based on the special effects only.

Special Effects in Movies

Movie Review: Far from the Madding Crowd

The first thing I had to do before I saw this movie was look up the meaning of the word “Madding”, which I was not familiar with. The definition of this word is “In a state of frenzy or frenzied”. After seeing this 2 hour movie I didn’t fully realize the correlation between this word and the story, but when you consider that this movie has to do with a woman going through the trials and tribulations of 3 relationships, I guess you can say that something like this can be considered frenzied.

The acting in this movie was good and so was the countryside and the visuals of old English Farm country and mansions. This movie will remind you of movies from the 30’s or 40’s and even though the story line is something we have all seen before, overall because of the ending, the story and the acting, I do recommend this movie.

Screenwriting mistakes

Movie Review: Poltergiest

The reason why I went to see this remake of the 1982 movie, which was directed by Steven Spielberg is because I thought that in 33 years the special effects would be so much more advanced and interesting. I was wrong. The 1982 version had by far better action scenes and special effects and was by far a better acted and well written movie. Why make this movie again after 33 years just to make money if the remake is going to be a very pale comparison to the original? It will be interesting to see how much money this movie makes. My vote is that it will not be much because word of mouth will all be the same. Go and see the original 1982 version, its a far better movie.

This is also my advice. See the original version, its far better.

Screenwriting Practice


Movie Review: Tomorrowland

This was a good movie as far as the idea and the special effects, but the story overall was hard to follow and annoying in how confusing and all over the place it was at times.

I liked the overall concept here but for a Disney movie it could be considered way too violent for kids and the ending was not very satisfying and they even killed off a child in an explosion (even though the child was a Robot) and that is not something they should show in any Disney movie.

I recommend this movie for the special effects but not for the story.

Screenwriting Thoughts.

Movie Review: Mad Max Fury Road

This movie was about a chase scene from one end of a desert to another end of a desert. The movie is set in the distant future after a world ending nuclear war. Why a group of people are being chased from one end of the desert to another, is never explained because there is no story at all. Not even the smallest sign of any story here. The producers spent millions of dollars to create props and beaten up and rusted old vehicles to wreck and explode and forgot that somewhere along the line, something has to make some sense.

This movie is more or less the same kind of an idea as the other Mad Max films of 20 and 30 years ago. No story, just some mutant people from the future, killing and chasing each other for no reason.

Do yourself a favor and miss this very bad movie.

Screenwriting Tips

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 2

This was a good sequel, trying to be as good as the first movie but it failed to be as good as the first movie. It failed mainly because the musical numbers were not as good as the first movie and overall i was very disappointed in the ending competition which was the big payoff contest between the Bella group and the German group in the world group singing competition.  The musical numbers where mostly not only as good as the first, but not long enough, especially in the end.

I thought that the comedy in this movie was as good as the first movie and this part of this sequel was successful.  I am sure that there will be another sequel to this franchise and I hope that the quality goes a bit back up to match the the first movie, especially as far as the musical numbers.

What I don’t like with most sequels is that very rarely do you see a new or original idea which was again the case of this movie. If they make the 3rd version of this franchise and follow the same formula again, this idea will get very old very quickly.

Despite this movie’s flaws, overall I do recommend it.

The Hollywood Sequel Formula



Movie Review: D-Train

While watching this movie I was asking myself 2 questions. Why was this bad movie made? What was the point. The movie is a ridiculous story about a man who wants to get some glory he never had in high school by getting a former student he went to high school with, who he know thinks is a famous actor to go to their 20 year high school reuinion. While attempting to talk this actor into attending the ruinion he has a gay experience with them, and that basically is the entire plot of this horrible movie.

How can a movie this bad, with this bad of a story be made? Can Jack Black’s career survive a movie this bad? I hope so because Jack Black has some talent and can be funny, but he would be far better off taking off a few years and making no movies rather than ever risk making another movie this bad.

Not only is this movie very bad, but there is a great deal of smoking in many scenes during the agonizing 2 hours this movie was playing. I think this was suppose to be a comedy, but there is nothing funny here, most especially the depressing and very bad story. THe only question here is why is this movie called D-Train. Maybe I fell asleep when they explained that part of the story.

Avoid this movie at all costs.

Screenwriting tips

Movie Review: Hot Pursuit

I assumed going into this movie that it was suppose to be a comedy.  Nobody laughed in the audience, not even once for the entire almost 2 hours of one very bad and pathetic movie.  There were attempts at humor that completely failed in every instance.  One pathetic scene had Reese Witherspoon dressed like Justin Beiber and once again, nobody laughed.  Considering how difficult it is to write and then get a script even read by anyone in Hollywood I am continually amazed that a movie this bad could even be made. This movie was a disaster right from the start.

Do yourself a favor and miss this bad move.

What makes a bad movie

What makes a good movie

Movie Review: Ex Machina

This was a highly unsual movie which takes place entirely within a research facility specializing in building robots and artificial intelligence.  Early on, there was something called the “Turing Test” where an employee of a Google like company was chosen to interview a robot to see if the robot could pass a test that prove that it thought like a human being, and was in fact “fully aware” with its programmed AI intelligence.

The movie had some interesting turns and surprises and the end was rather disappointing, but how to you really end a movie like this?  Could there be something in the future where a robot could have the intelligence and emotions of a human being?  Perhaps one day many hundreds of years from now.  Considering this important question a movie goer can not help but hope that there was a better point made somewhere during the two hours of this movie.

The female lead in this movie, Alicia Vikander was excellent and has a very beautiful face. Its very obvious that she has a great future in the movie business.

I recommend this movie.

A Writers Life