By: Henry J. Fromage –
Only three movies watched this week, as I worked every other minute of every day. It’s been fun. Good thing two of these flicks might rank among the best of the year! I’ll let you guess the ugly duckling here.
188. Wind River
Taylor Sheridan established himself as one of the most exciting voices in American cinema with his scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water, and now takes the reins of director with Wind River, which he also wrote. The influence of the previous directors he’s worked with are apparently, from Denis Villeneuve’s heart-stopping and stark sound design to David Mackenzie’s ability to help his actors locate the humanity in even the darkest scenes as realistically as possible. Unfortunately, Kurt Sutter’s almost comically heavy hand with bullshit macho-sensitive soundtrack cuts also factors in, but hopefully Sheridan grows out of that and nevertheless, Wind River‘s examination of the beauty and despair of Wyoming’s Indian Reservations and small rural towns is every bit the story that his previous two films were, and just about as much a film- which is really saying something.
189. Good Time
This fever nightmare has been compared to Martin Scorcese’s early portraits of a scuzzy, seedy, dangerous 1970s New York City. The Safdie Brothers seem to have made a career out of demonstrating that there’s still plenty of scuzzy, seedy, dangerous qualities to the Big Apple, and their latest character study shot in painful close-up focuses on the remarkably porous visage of one Robert Pattinson, making the final leap here to Great Actor status. Expect him to be in the Oscar conversation as it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him as he attempts to shuck, jive, and scramble his way to freeing his mentally challenged brother (played by Benny Safdie himself) after a bank robbery gone awry. The entrancing synth score by Oneohtrix Point Never and particular the credits song they wrote performed by Iggy Pop (“The Pure and the Damned”) deserve mention as well. If that song doesn’t at least get nominated for an Oscar, it’ll be a travesty.
What a great and terrible year to be Dane DeHaan. He’s been all over major releases this year, but all have been bombs to greater or lesser degrees (see: A Cure for Wellness and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets). Now for two weeks running he has films that have been shelved so long they’re basically already punchlines hitting at least moderately wide release- and I get to review them both! The things I do for love (of MovieBoozer). While the wtf release strategy of Tulip Fever has been getting its share of attention, probably not even DeHaan himself remembers making Leap!, released in most international markets as Ballerina over a year ago. Good thing, because it’s a prime example of cliche and pratfall-ridden Eurotrash animation that gets a release in the States when it’s been too long since the last animated film to sate the young’uns came out, with its only distinction being they found some very talented background animators to work behind the typically grotesque and cut-rate character animation.