‘Good Time’ stars Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, and Jenifer Jason Leigh and is also directed by Benny Safdie and his brother Josh. This is an indie film that is produced by the critically acclaimed company A24 and is about a bank robber (Robert Pattinson) spends a night trying to free his mentally ill brother (Benny Safdie) from being sent to Riker’s Island prison after a heist goes wrong. This is a film that was released in limited amounts of theaters in the late summer and was just released on VOD. I was hearing a lot of great things about this film. It got a lot of buzz coming out of the Cannes film festival and I decided to check it out and I am SO glad that I did. This film is dark, disturbing and INTENSE. This might be one of the best thrillers I have seen in quite a while. There are a ton of positives that I found in this film. First off, if you thought Robert Pattinson was just ‘okay’ as an actor, WATCH THIS MOVIE. Robert Pattinson is incredible in this film. Don’t be surprised if he just nominated for an Oscar for this film this year. The thing that makes his performance so amazing is that the character that Pattinson plays in this movie is a complete ASSHOLE. There is NOTHING redeemable about him other than he loves his brother and the fact that we are rooting for this guy is remarkable. And the reason we do is Pattinson is electrifying to watch. I was so blown away by his performance because I hate the Twilight movies and I haven’t been blown away in his other roles. This is his best work by far because if his performance isn’t as good as it is, this movie would not work. Next, the direction in this film is really cool. This film’s cinematography highlights the neon-drenched, dark, gross, side of New York City, in a kind of beautiful way. The Safdie brothers injected some high-quality intensity in this. The first thirty minutes of the film are pretty much perfect. It’s an incredible set up for the characters and it’s extremely intense. But what I like most about this film is its kind of unconventional. There are not a lot of films that I can think of that make the audience root for a complete ASSHOLE as a protagonist. And when the film ends, it adds a whole other layer to the film that makes this film more than just a really intense real-time thriller. Last positive, I LOVED the soundtrack! It’s such a cool electronic score, in the vein of the film ‘Drive’. As for negatives, there is a point in the film in the second act where the film drags a little bit, and then it picks up again but just that 15-minute segment in the middle I thought wasn’t as strong as the rest of the film. But other than that, I think if you like THRILLERS and want to see a great electrifying performance I would highly recommend this film and will probably be in my top ten films of the year list.
This is gonna be hard to review. ‘mother!’ stars Jennifer Lawrence as the lead character. “mother” who is married to Javier Bardem who is a writer with severe writer’s block. They live in a house out in the middle of nowhere, to hopefully help get Javier Bardem’s creativity back. And when uninvited guests come to their house, interrupting their tranquility, things….get nuts. What I just explained, is just the setup of the film. It’s really not the plot or the meat of the film. I can’t explain that because that would be a spoiler. This film was marketed with a lot of secrecy. This film is directed by one of my favorite filmmakers working today, Darren Aronofsky. He’s behind such masterpieces as Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan. And ‘mother!’ I feel is another great film added to his belt. BUT….this film is not for everyone. This film is extremely metaphorical and artsy. Basically, the whole film is a metaphor and there are many interpretations of this movie. I had to think about this film for a couple of days, processing what I watched and I think now I have a grasp on what this film is about and the many different themes that this film is trying to convey. This film is weird, guys. And you might not be into it. But I think if you like Darren’s other work and know that this film is an art film, I think you would get something out of it. Like most of Darren’s work, this is going to induce a reaction. It might be a strong positive reaction (like me) or a strong negative reaction by the end of the film. Either way, it is going to be a strong reaction. And I love that about this film. Darren crafted a film that I feel that people are going to talk about of years. While I feel that the message is nothing…..groundbreaking, the way he crafted the film to convey that message was really compelling to me and interesting. This film is extremely intense, disturbing, and thought-provoking. I have to stress that this film is DISTURBING. I watch a lot of films and I usually don’t get really affected by the disturbing imagery of horror. There is a scene in this film that…..honestly is one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever scene in a film. I don’t usually look away in movies and during that scene, I really couldn’t watch it. Jennifer Lawerence is FANTASTIC in this movie. I really admire her for doing a movie like this. She has to do some really, really, risky things in this movie that I don’t think another actress with her talent and A-list fame would do. She really gave it her all and I really respected her for that. You could tell that all the actors in this film really trusted Darren and his vision and was willing to do anything for him to achieve it. For me, I was really impressed by this film. It begs to be figured out. I was thinking for days about this film, and I’m still thinking about it. If you dig art cinema, I think you really shouldn’t miss this. As for negatives, I do feel that this film is too long and I do feel that some scenes went a little too far. Also I couldn’t help but think that the message he was conveying, would’ve have been better told in a 20-minute short film instead of a 2-hour film. But that’s not too much of a negative because I was entertained throughout this film. And if you’ve seen this film, I’d love to hear your theories. This is a film that I love discussing with people.
Short review: This movie scared me. A lot. Long Review: Stephen King has A LOT of novels and short stories. Many of them have been turned into films and TV shows. ‘IT’ being one of Stephen King’s most beloved books, it was bound for a studio to make an adaptation of this one. We had a two-part mini-series on TV back in 1990 that starred Tim Curry as Pennywise. I have never seen the mini-series nor read the book so I will not be comparing those to this movie. I will be judging the movie just on its own merits. And I’m happy to say that this is a damn good horror movie. I was pretty excited to see this because, like most people, I saw the trailer and was genuinely freaked out by it. I don’t do well with clowns at all. I was really scared of them as a kid. Still am. So as you can probably tell, this movie frighten me quite a bit. If you don’t know what this movie is about, the plot is a group of bullied kids, known as the “Losers Club”, band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children. The thing that I loved this movie for and what I think most people will get out of this is that this movie is a fantastic blend of two genres: Coming of age and horror. This movie is actually an extremely sweet, funny, and emotional coming of age film, expertly fused with a R-rated horror film. And a SCARY one at that. Some of the images in this film I know will stick with me. My favorite thing about this movie by far is the “Losers Club”. All the kids, every single one of them, is fantastic. They each have a distinct character trait and background and they all have amazing chemistry with one another. My favorites were Richie and Eddie. But they’re all great, seriously. All these kids have bright futures in front of them as actors. I can see people having conversations arguing who their favorite is. Director Andy Musechietti constructs these scares in a unique way. The jump scares are really fun and sometimes very unexpected. Not gonna lie I jumped a few times. Now let’s discuss what everyone wants to know. How was Pennywise the clown? I thought Bill Skarsgard was excellent in this role. He was really charismatic and inviting, so you were drawn to him every time he was on-screen. He had many voice inflections and body movements that really creeped me out. One thing that I loved about Pennywise too was the effects on him. They used some CGI and practical effects on him and I was impressed how seamless it was. There were a couple of shots where it was noticeable but for the most part it looked really good. Another thing that was great about this film was the way it looked. It was shot beautifully and had a nice color palette to it. My last positive is this film takes some risks with its story. It does things with the kids that I wasn’t expecting them to do and I applauded them for doing that. They really pulled no punches with these scenes. For example the opening scene. If you’ve seen the movie…..you know what I’m talking about. I do have a couple of negatives though. In my opinion there were a couple of cheesy things that happen towards the end of the movie that I felt were really unnecessary. Also, all the adults in this movie are horrible people. It seemed to be a theme in the film, I just wish that theme was a little clearer of why all the adults in the movie were so horrible. And like most horror movies, I could telegraph some of the scares. But other than that, I think this is an awesome and fun horror film. I loved both the horror aspects of this film as well as the sweet coming of age elements. I love all these kids and was having a blast the whole movie and honestly didn’t really want the movie to end. I honestly believe that this version of Pennywise is going to go down in history as one of the best horror movie villains of all time. Up there with Freddy Kruger and Jason.
‘Wind River’ stars Jeremy Renner and Elisabeth Olson and is about a FBI agent (Olson) and the town’s veteran game hunter (Renner) who team up to investigate a murder in the Wind River reservation. This film comes from writer/director Taylor Sheridan who is responsible for writing Sicario in 2015 and Hell or High Water (both oscar nominees). So I was interested in this film just based on the fact this was Sheridan’s directorial debut and I loved both Sicario and Hell or High Water. I really think Sheridan is one of the best writers working today. And this movie proves that without a doubt. This film knocked me flat. When the credits started to roll I sat in silence for a few minutes. This is a powerful, incredibly acted, intense, and chilling film. Themes of grief and how living in a place (in this case Wind River, Wyoming) that you are forced to live in can dictate how you view the world are shown in this movie in excruciating detail. Jeremy Renner gives by far his best performance he’s ever given. His character has a sad past and has a connection with the other locals of Wind River and there are a lot of great scenes between Renner and Gil Birmingham, who plays the Native American father of the girl who was murdered. Renner is very understated and subtle in his performance but it’s as powerful as it could ever been. Elisabeth Olson is great in the film too and I was really happy about her character. In the beginning when she showed up I was hoping that she was not going to be a damsel in distress or anything like that but she was anything but that. Sheridan’s direction is fantastic with the cinematography being excellent as well. His dialogue as well can only be describes as honest. Sheridan has his characters say it like it is and I loved the dialogue for that. Like movies like Se7en, the town of Wind River feels like a character because of the way it’s shot and it incorporation in one of the themes of the film. One thing that surprised the hell out of my was the BRUTAL action scenes in this movie. I was really not expecting them but they are very very satisfying. Like Sicario and Hell or High Water, ‘Wind River’ has a punch in the gut finale that is truly….cathartic. Lastly, what makes this movie one of the best of the year for me is just how emotional it is and how Taylor Sheridan treated the subject matter. By some end text that appears at the end of the film it will be sure to knock you flat. It reveals another layer to the film and what it truly is about, which is heartbreaking. I think this is a film that you are probably going to hear a lot about come Oscar season and will definitely be in my top ten at the end of the year.