Profile for Steve > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Steve
Top Reviewer Ranking: 397,708
Helpful Votes: 75

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Steve "reader" (London)

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!
Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!
by Robert Ben Garant
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The business of writing movies for a living., 3 May 2013
This book is about working and getting paid. That's it. The authors state clearly and categorically that the advice here is about how to behave as a professional writer and very specifically about doing so for Hollywood Studio productions.

It includes information on how the industry works, why things happen the way they do and how to cope with those things when they happen to you. A big part of the book concerns what to say to people, how to say it, and perhaps more importantly, when to say nothing at all.

The content about writing itself is pretty minimal in comparison. It's up to the rest of us to come up with the screenplays, this book aims to help us make the most of them we do. I by that I mean get paid. Repeatedly.

If you're learning to write you will need to look elsewhere for creative advice, but if you want to earn a living from writing, this book is worth your time and money too.


Skyline [Blu-ray]
Skyline [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Eric Balfour
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £4.59

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needed better dialogue., 28 July 2011
This review is from: Skyline [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
There's lots to like about 'Skyline', but lets get the obvious out of the way first; the dialogue is boring. You might think an alien invasion film doesn't need good words for the actors to say, but this movie proves that idea wrong.

The actors are all fine, it's not their acting which is bad, just what they're asked to act. The characters all make sense, they're familiar archetypes for this sort of film, but no-one does anything really out of character.

The VFX are spectacular, with a mix of spaceships, monsters and explosions that fill the screen in exciting ways.

All the other production values are fine, LA looks great, the apartment building is entirely enviable and it's shot with some style.

But the words... there's nothing clever, nothing even that memorable, nothing to quote down the pub with your mates.

What this film needed more than anything else was a sense of humour and the vocabulary to express it. It's a film to watch, not listen too.


Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... & Out of
Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into ... & Out of
by Blake Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good expansion on the first book, 6 Feb 2011
As with the other two 'Save the Cat' books, this is about mainstream, commercial screenplay structure. Although that definition can be extended to include many art house movies, these are not books about the art house. Readers looking for radical departures from the filmmaking establishment should search elsewhere.

The first 'Save the Cat' set out to show the common features in how a lot of successful film are constructed and it did so in an entertaining and clear cut way. 'Save the Cat Goes to the Movies' presented a wider range of film examples in each of Blake's own genre categories.

What 'Save the Cat Strikes Back' does is expand on those sections in the first two books (especially Book 1) that some people felt needed more depth. It has more detail in the way different parts of a story interconnect, how they can mirror each other and reinforce ideas. As with the other books the emphasis here is on structure; the ideas are yours, this is a guide to arrangement and presentation.

As this is Blake's last book, due to his early death in 2009, there is also a poignancy to some examples and anecdotes dealing with life and, in a few cases, death. Blake's central point being that stories are about life and its lessons, including its limits.

Leaving that aside though, I think this is an excellent expansion on the original book and well worth reading if you liked 'Save the Cat'. Of course if you didn't, then you probably aren't reading this review. :)


Salvage [DVD]
Salvage [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shahid Ahmed
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £5.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well made and effective., 11 July 2010
This review is from: Salvage [DVD] (DVD)
Imagine a normal British film, or even a soap opera (it was shot on the old Brookside (TV show) set) with naturalistic lighting and family arguments, all very kitchen sink, then 15 minutes in a group of black-clad SAS/SWAT guys suddenly appear and people start dying mysteriously and bloodily.

It's well shot, very claustrophobic (even at the start) and the cast are very good as they have to be without a lot of FX etc. help them carry the movie.

The advertising sells it as much more of a monster movie that it really is. This is a film about small rooms and fear.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2012 10:31 PM GMT


SNUB [DVD]
SNUB [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gary Mavers
Offered by DaaVeeDee-uk
Price: £17.54

3.0 out of 5 stars Good and Bad, 10 July 2010
This review is from: SNUB [DVD] (DVD)
There are good and bad points to this film.

The GOOD:
The cast are all professional (or appear to be), the location is great, the lighting and mood work well, the digital VFX are solid and the basic idea is a strong one.

The BAD:
The film is a bit confused and all it's problems stem from that. Is it a paranoid survivor film or a (kind of) zombie film? Is it a film about heroic action or pragmatic ruthlessness? It starts as one kind of story and then becomes the other kind towards the end. An ending which is a bit too rushed to be honest.

Also, although most of the film looks good for its (presumably low) cost, the make-up effects seem to have had their budget cut too far. This is sold as a horror film and a few good, gory prosthetics, while expensive, would have given the viewer better value.


Satan Wants Me
Satan Wants Me
by Robert Irwin
Edition: Paperback

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really that funny, 30 Jun 2010
This review is from: Satan Wants Me (Paperback)
The reviews, and the blurb on the book itself, describe the novel as funny, even very funny, but unfortunately I have to disagree.

There is a certain (small) amount of dry humour in here, plus the occasional absurd moment, but the lives of everyone in this story are actually a little too pathetic to really be amusing. The lost, souless (no pun intended) nature of the characters really undercuts any idea that you might want to life at, or even with them.

What could've been an esoteric 'Withnail and I' isn't even on the same planet.

I wish the plot had made up for it, but I was never very gripped, interested or emotionally engaged by what I was reading. There's real tragedy in this story, but when you feel one step removed from it the impact is lost.

I can't recommend this novel unless you're interested in the London Occult scene and, possibly, would get more out of the settings and personalities than I did.


Save the Cat!: The Only Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
Save the Cat!: The Only Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need
by Blake Snyder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.39

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Craft, not the Art, 9 Aug 2009
Some of the reviews are missing the point; this is not a book intended to make anyone an artist. Sadly I don't think such a book could exist; art is within you or it isn't, it cannot be taught.

Blake Snyder was teaching the craft, the nuts and bolts construction of a screenplay. His rules are no more cynical than Joseph Campbell's work on mythic archetypes, they're just presented in a much more accessible way. This is populist writing about populist writing.

So if you want solid guidelines on building the emotional machinery of a screenplay then this book will help. If you want to try to reinvent the cinematic artform, if your gods are Charlie Kaufman and Harmony Korine, then your journey begins elsewhere and probably inside yourself.


I'll Be In My Trailer!: The Creative Wars Between Directors and Actors
I'll Be In My Trailer!: The Creative Wars Between Directors and Actors
by John Badham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful book, 29 Aug 2008
This is a book about directing actors, written by a director, but it's written by a very clear headed and humble director.

The examples given are usually from the director's own films and most of them detail the mistakes he made in misunderstanding the actors in the films.

More than any other book I've read on the subject, this helped me (finally) understand what actors look for in roles and why they seem to be focussing on some strange things in their work? The simple answer is that they're not strange if you see things from their perspective. They're actually very important, even key, details that help the actor create the character.

This book is all about putting yourself in other people's shoes and communicating clearly. In fact the lessons in the book go beyond acting and directing and cover wider management skills too.

It's also a very readable book on Hollywood.

Highly recommended.


Toshiba 37X3030 - 37" Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV - With Freeview
Toshiba 37X3030 - 37" Widescreen 1080P Full HD LCD TV - With Freeview

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Picture and the right size for my flat, 4 Mar 2008
Given a choice, and the money, I'd go for a really big TV but I live in a flat so I went for this and I'm very pleased.

The picture quality is very good with HD, SD and Freeview. You can't escape compression artifacts entirely but that's the signal, not the TV itself. The sound is more than adequate, with decent bass, until I choose a surround sound system to go with it.

Find one in a shop and take a look, but I feel my money was well spent and that it should be on your HD TV shortlist.


Page: 1