Screenwriters Unite!—The New Mexico Screenwriter's Speaker Series is about to present its very first quarterly event. This Saturday, July 23, the Speaker Series welcomes noted script consultant Jim Mercurio. Mercurio is a regular columnist in Creative Screenwriting magazine and runs some of the most popular classes at the annual Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles. In this intensive, all-day class, Mercurio will discuss screenwriting topics such as story, structure, scenes, dilemma and subplots. He will also incorporate elements from one of his most popular classes at the Screenwriting Expo, “Killer Endings.” Mercurio will also talk a bit about the practical and business side of screenwriting. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers. According to the NMSSS, this class is perfect for the beginning screenwriter looking for a solid foundation from which to approach a story idea, the screenwriter looking to vet those ideas for dramatic possibilities and the screenwriter looking to put a solid polish on a completed work. The $125 fee for this workshop includes lunch and all handouts. Student and teacher discounts are available, but seating is very limited. Those wanting to attend are encouraged to sign up online (nmscreenwriters.com) as soon as possible. For more information on Mercurio, you can log on to jamespmercurio.com. Mercurio's class will take place at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bombastic Michael Bay's new baby is just a clone of movies past
Over the years, director Michael Bay has become synonymous with loud, mind-numbing and narratively pointless summer action films (Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor). This summer isn't exactly an exception to this pattern. But, with The Island, you can see Bay trying very hard to stretch his meager talent into a marginally smarter new genre. Bless his adrenaline-addled little heart, he just doesn't have it in him.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Tim Burton's remake revels in candy-coated fun
In today's remake-filled world, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at least has the distinction of being a remake of Roald Dahl's classic kids' novel and not the arguably brilliant 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. That hasn't stopped some fans from casting their vehemently negative votes for the film before it even hit theaters. Given my druthers, I'd rather see energy spent on new ideas rather than old ones; but, viewed on its own merits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a blissfully fun confection and the perfect guilt-free treat during a summer of guilty pleasures.
“The Closer” on TNT
Cops are people too
You can't shoot a chrome-plated, pearl-handled .45 at your television set these days without hitting some show involving a cop, a lawyer or a doctor. So, when a new show involving one of those three crops up, it's pretty hard to work up much enthusiasm. Last month, TNT premiered its new cop series “The Closer.” The show is a well-crafted affair, both behind and in front of the camera, and deserves a closer look from crime-o-philes jaded by one too many “CSI” spin offs.
The Week in Sloth
“Prowling Sharks in the Mediterranean” (Discovery 8 p.m.) Hey, if you're gonna be one of the world's top predators, you might as well stake out some prime real estate.
“Firefly” (Sci-Fi 5 p.m.) Joss Whedon's short-lived, much-mourned sci-fi series returns to the airwaves, courtesy of (who else?) Sci-Fi Channel. Sci-Fi is airing the complete series, including the episodes left unaired by FOX. Good timing, too: The feature film spin off Serenity hits movie theaters on Sept. 30