The Orange County Screenwriters Association
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    Mark Sevi

    Mark Sevi

    rush"Rush" (not the movie or the other TV series) is like any doctor show you can imagine - on steroids.  And I wouldn't doubt it if the main character wasn't actually on steroids - he ingests everything else.  Everything.  Ev-ery-thing.

    Let me see if I can encapsulate my feelings about the pilot episode:

    • Love it.
    • Hate it.
    • Love it again.
    • Hate it again.
    • Like it enough to continue watching.

    Rinse and repeat.

    The main character, William P. Rush as played by Wales actor Tom Ellis is a hard partying doctor who will do just about 1) anyone, 2) any drug or 3) anything for a buck - or, er, actually lots of bucks because usually his clients want to remain "off the grid" for whatever medical procedure they're calling him for and they pay handsomely.

    Bank.  Moola.  Cashola - he thrives on it.  

    What can I say about Comicon that hasn't already been said?  Not much.  It's too big. over-crowded, hot, noisy, messy, difficult and just about every negative thing you can imagine at a convention.  It's also weird, wonderful, unique, mind-numbing and mind-blowing and just the hardest fun you'll ever have.

    I'm a geek, admittedly, who enjoys historical, science-based fiction (like "Halt and Catch Fire") so I'm predisposed to like dramas like this. If it's well-done, I should add.

    "Manhattan" doesn't disappoint.

    WGN produces the show. I watched "Manhattan" on the WGN channel and Wikipedia lists WGN as:

    snowpiercerI didn't love "Snowpiercer." But it is a solid action story (once you get past the unbelievable parts) with great production values and good acting.

    The storyline:  In the year 2014, global warming has created a horrifying situation for the human race.  To combat it, we seed the clouds (I guess) with a chemical that will cool the planet down.  This isn't all entirely clear but the result is the Earth freezes solid and kills off humanity except for those lucky enough to board a train with an eternal engine that continually circumnavigates the globe.  Yeah.  Uh huh.  That could happen.

    Not a huge Guillermo del Toro fan.  I respect his work and his unique visions but most of his stuff is just meh for me. Probably because "Hellboy" isn't my cuppa and I haven't seen "Pacific Rim" at this point - which I hear is great.  In-between are various likes and dislikes.  I do like some of his work - just don't love it like say, Ridley Scott.  Yet.  He is most definitely, for me, an acquired taste.  But this new series has me appreciating him more and more.

    The first time I saw a personal computer it felt like that moment in a romantic comedy when the hero/heroine sees the man or woman of their dreams.  I swear I stopped breathing for a period of time.  My heart raced.  I was gobsmacked and moonstruck.  So, yeah, when I say I'm a geek trust that I am.

    regency lido theatre
    As part of our ongoing school outreach program, we asked two outstanding high school students to attend the closing night of the wonderful Newport Beach Film Festival and report back on their experiences.  This is the first of two reports by Derek and Pauline.  Derek reports here.  (editor)

    Closing Night at the Newport Beach Film Festival 

    The 15th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival was a cinephile’s heaven.  
    The renowned Lido Theatre served as the venue for the night. As I walked to the theatre, I quickly realized that its fame is well deserved. The theatre exudes a classic aura with its clean 1930’s architecture. I felt like I had travelled back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, with staples like the “Grand Marquee” in the front and the classic movie art ranging from films “Gone with the Wind” and “Casablanca”.
    As part of our ongoing school outreach program, we asked two outstanding Corona Del Mar High School students to attend the closing night of the wonderful Newport Beach Film Festival and report back on their experiences.  This is the first of two reports by Pauline and Derek.  Pauline reports here.  (editor)
    Chef, a fun and mouthwatering film directed and starred by Jon Favreau is in every sense of the word, a feel-good movie. 
    I had the absolute pleasure of viewing this film at the Newport Beach Film Festival on its closing night this year and was able to see Jon Favreau himself introduce the film to the audience. I had high expectations and the film delivered.   
    The event itself was a wonderful experience. The theater was packed and you had to arrive very early if you wanted good seats. The Lido theater, which was the venue for the evening, was 
    stunning in its quaint and historic feel. The theater even featured balcony seating.  
    The after party commenced as the film ended and featured a great sampling of food from the sponsors and food trucks which was only fitting as we had just viewed a very tasty film. The atmosphere was lively with a live DJ and lights strewn about the plaza surrounding the theater.  
    But onto the movie itself. 

    Because of a film project I'm currently involved in I was unable to attend the opening of the Newport Beach Film Festival.  I was doing story meetings with a producer who had flown in from North Carolina and we worked from Friday to Sunday.  The reason I mention this at all is because of some things that happened Saturday night, when I did attend, that involved him.  More on that later.

    My first impressions of the festival this year, its 15th year, are overwhelmingly positive even at this early point.  There's something different about this year. It's the same basic NBFF but there's more energy, excitement.  The volunteers have always been the best part of the festival - enthusiastic, personable, wonderful people who spend a great part of their lives giving to this event to make it fun and easy to attend.  But beyond that, there's just such a tremendous sense of professionalism in every facet that hasn't always been a part of this great event.

    augustus gladstoneThe Immortal Augustus Gladstone 

    Augustus Gladstone wears a spit-curled wig, lives in a condemned apartment building in Portland, and uploads videos to Youtube about his views on modern life. He may or may not be an immortal vampire.

    In The Immortal Augustus Gladstone—a fake documentary written by, directed by, and starring Robyn Miller in the titular role—a film crew arranges an extended interview with a vampire to learn more about his claims and the people in his life. It’s a fun idea that mixes the fantastic and the mundane in some unexpected ways, but it has no focus. It’s quirky, but not sharply so, and maybe too interested in itself to make an attempt to draw viewers in. It feels like some very talented graphic designers, set designers, and camera operators got together to make a movie based on a few plot beats scribbled on a napkin. If any story was intended, it’s lost in a dry slog through endless interviews.

    Much like Augustus' claim of being a vampire, it’s all words, words, words, without much to back any of it up. There is too little attention put towards capturing moments as they happen, so not much happens at all. Emblematic of the film as a whole, Augustus’ trip to the doctor—which feels like a major setpiece with so little else happening—ends with a non-diagnosis. A medical professional attests vaguely that there is something seriously wrong with Augustus, which we already knew.

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