IF ONLY the filmmakers had been half as creative as the poster artist
Good Time is right up my alley — just the kind of movie I can really get into. If only it were any good. Though it did hold my interest throughout, I don’t think that’s enough on its own to recommend a movie. In many ways, Good Time seems like a film school senior project that should have been left in film school.
The entire film is rather pointless. I kept waiting for it to reach some sort of greater level, but it didn’t. And the flaws! SPOILER ALERT!! SPOILERS FOLLOW – SKIP to the next paragraph to avoid. It’s called a dye pack for a reason. It doesn’t just rinse off with water. And handcuffs aren’t so easily foiled.
The many hackneyed sequences, e.g. the search at Adventureland, contribute to the sense of one gaffe after another over-running Good Time. There was a good idea here, but it was half an idea. That is, half as much as necessary for a whole movie. I’m seeing a lot of this with A24 — let’s hope it improves. 5/10
Comparison Notes: recommended: Buffalo ’66; not recommended: Fruitvale Station, Room
Taylor Sheridan wrote the abysmal Sicario, and the very good Hell or High Water — so perhaps it figures that Wind River, his most recent release, falls somewhere in-between. Which is to say that it’s marginally recommended with the normal caveats. I think Sheridan, who also directed, was maybe trying to go for a No Country for Old Men style of unraveling the mystery at hand, and utterly fell short. But the performances were good, and I liked the way the film was resolved.
If you like Elizabeth Olsen — and how could you not — that’ll help. 6/10
PS I’m always questioning my scale: PT Anderson’s The Master is a movie I keep going back to. Perhaps I need to watch it again at some point. It’s hard to recommend Wind River only to recollect that I rendered a thumbs-down for The Master.
War for the Planet of the Apes features lots of great visual sequences, and a sense the filmmaker knows what he’s doing — which is refreshing. A generally well-executed story, if a not particularly original one. (SPOILER:) See Comparison Notes to understand why not particularly original.
War is inferior to the last episode of the franchise, but it’s still good. Note: despite being billed as “the end,” it won’t be. A fourth film is in the works. 7/10
Comparison Notes (recommended): Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Lost in Paris: a bit as if Wes Anderson made a Charlie Chaplin movie. Delightful, charming, and fun, but never enough to thoroughly sink your teeth into. Of note: the French title is Paris pieds nus, which translates most directly as “Paris, feet naked,” or “Barefoot in Paris”. I think a more appropriate title than the one the marketers ended up pandering with. 7/10
Lady Macbeth started and ran strongly for about the first two-thirds, before running into territory that was a bit mishandled, and less than optimal even if handled perfectly. Still though, very good and fully engrossing — and the biggest reason is the film’s star. Adam Graham, The Detroit News:
With quiet menace, [Florence] Pugh chews through director William Oldroyd’s handsomely composed period thriller like a rat gnawing through a wall. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and her nightmare stare lingers longer than any poor sap who dares to get in her way.
Cath Clarke, Time Out London:
This brilliantly feminist British indie film plunges a cold, sharp knife into the back of bonnet dramas.
Indeed. A lot of (evil) fun to be had here. Maybe think of as a companion piece to The Little Hours, which is sticking with me enough that I’m considering bumping it up a notch. Every time I think of it I smile inside. As for Lady Macbeth: 8/10
Comparison Notes (all recommended): Les Amants Criminels, Lars von Trier films, especially Breaking the Waves; Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), The Last Seduction, The Housemaid, Marie Antoinette.