Showing posts from October, 2017

Good Time (LFF)

Directors Josh and Benny Safdie clearly have very little concern for the stress levels of their audience. Their new crime thriller Good Time is an incredibly intense, full on experience that contains some of the most visually impressive action sequences in cinema. It is the breakneck tale of a heist carried out by Connie (Robert Pattinson) and his vulnerable brother Nick (Benny Safdie). When the heist falls apart and the brothers are torn apart, Connie is left to pick up the pieces and try to reach Nick.

Pattinson gives an inspired performance as Connie, one of the more dislikable protagonists I've seen in a long time. Highly explosive, cruelly exploitative and in general just pretty damn scummy, he is the absolute driving force of the film, remaining undeniably fascinating throughout all his awful antics. While I admittedly haven't seen Pattinson in many of his previous roles, though him being the only redeeming part of Cronenberg's turgid Cosmopolis does stand out, he is …

Beach Rats (LFF)

Beach Rats opens with a dark room, lit sporadically by the harsh flash of a camera, by which we see brief glimpses of a naked torso, a flexing arm. This is our introduction to Frankie, a hyper-masculine teen growing up in suburban Brooklyn whose struggles to come to terms with his sexuality prove tortuous for him and forms the central narrative of the film. I say narrative, but the film is more a portrayal of Frankie's life as he struggles with his disintegrating family and meets up with older men online. 

Harris Dickinson is absolutely sensational in the title role, bringing to the forefront Frankie's internal conflict with stunning clarity. His total immersion in and embodiment of the role means he is at once completely cryptic but strikingly readable, his long gazes and often grim-faced expression speaking volumes. It's an incredibly complex performance that reminded me in many ways of Johnny from the recent British film God's Own Country; both are moody and at times…

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a gorgeous creation with stunning visuals, incredible cinematography, great performances, a brilliant score and jaw-dropping effects. Ryan Gosling is excellent as protagonist K and standout supporting roles from Robin Wright and Ana de Armas help to elevate proceedings, while an early appearance from Dave Bautista adds much to the opening of the film. Nearly every component of the Blade Runner sequel, released 35 years on from the original, is perfect. But here's the stinger... I was left underwhelmed and more than a little disappointed. 

For all the stylistic flourishes and gorgeous landscapes revealed throughout the film, it felt like there was very little depth to what was going on. The story, without revealing anything, is rather slim, especially when stretched over a near three hour running time. And this is 2049's biggest problem.  

It is a hugely bloated beast with so much padding in the middle stretch that it had pretty much lost me by the time the c…

Brigsby Bear (London Film Festival)

Brigsby Bear is a film that, at its core, is about child abduction. But wait! It is also one of the most surprising and unexpectedly humorous films you will see all year. Fronted by SNL regular Kyle Mooney and with a very talented team behind the project, it is ultimately an incredibly upbeat and uplifting experience that isn't afraid to tear up the rule book altogether. 

Mooney's excellent work on SNL shines through in his performance as James, providing a wonderfully innocent energy to the film and instantly winning over the audience. He rightfully gets the lion's (or should that be bear's?) share of the best lines, delivering a number of great jokes that I wasn't quite expecting from a film like this. 

The film also packs in a surprising amount of quality supporting performances from Greg Kinnear, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill and a certain ex-Lonely Island member (hint hint). The standout though is Matt Walsh as Greg, providing many of the film's punchy emotional…