All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BRIGSBY BEAR

I know, I know, you probably haven’t heard of this movie either. But I might make you interested after I tell you I loved this movie. And the fact that it is technically a Lonely Island production. Don’t know what Lonely Island is? Sheesh, well okay they are those guys from SNL including Andy Samberg, that made all those Digital Shorts and had those funny songs. They also made the movies Hot Rod ¬†and Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping. Do I have your attention now? Well, as a movie itself, the movie is one of the better PG-13 comedies I have seen in a very long time. The story is a little dark, funny, touching, heartbreaking, all at the same time. I was totally engrossed.

The plot is actually really neat. This 30 year old man, is living with his Mom and Dad in this underground desert bunker. This man watching countless episodes and hours of this television show his parents give him old VHS copies of called Brigsby Bear, a Star Trek like cosmic leaching teaching hourlong tv show that this man is obsessed with. He has been told that there is toxic gas everywhere on Earth and they are the only people left. The FBI then bust in on the compound and reveal the truth. This man was obducted when he was very young from people and this Brigsby Bear television show was just something the father went off and made in this abandoned studio every week, just for this man to succumb to life lessons and stay in the bunker. So now this man, played by Kyle Mooney, is thrust into the lives of his real family, and has to figure life out. He feels completely out of his place, until he realizes that his true purpose it to expose the world to Brigsby Bear and to make his own movie to wrap up all of Brigsby’s adventures.

Sounds kind of fucked up right? Well it is, but the story feels real, it makes sense, is a little dark and sad, but also very funny. I normally don’t really like Kyle Mooney and the weird shit that he has done on SNL but this makes me turn my opinion around. If only he could make this magic on SNL, he’d completely win me over one day. This I think is Mark Hamill’s (he plays the fake dad) only live action performance before The Last Jedi, and man does he make me confident in bringing back Luke Skywalker, because even though he has very little screentime, he is really good here. He is in more the movie than you think, he provides all the voices to the television show, which as we know since he does the animated Joker, is nothing short of magical.

Kyle Mooney’s character trying to adjust to real life and making his Brigsby Bear movie is intriguing and engrossing. He’s funny when he needs to be, dumb when he needs to be, and he also has a couple of heartbreaking scenes where he is a true actor when he needs to be. There are a lot more famous actors in this too. Greg Kinnear plays a detective sympathetic to Mooney’s plight. Claire Danes plays Mooney’s therapist. Samberg has a cameo. And Mickeala Watkins and Matt Walsh play his real parents. And they are all very good. Kyle Mooney mainly tries to make a good relationship with a sister he never knew he has, played by The House’s Ryan Simkin’s, and she is good too and you can really feel their, siblingship per say, blossom.

This movie is really good, and you can see it right now at the Angelika or Cinemark West Plano. Kyle Mooney was actually at the Angelika theater the other night and I believe they had coverage of the event. I’m surprised this isn’t a Netflix original, but maybe it might find its audience there. It is a cult classic movie in the making and will pick it up when it comes out, because I will be a Lonely Island completist, and I really loved this movie a lot. One of the better comedies of the summer and the best PG-13 one in a long time.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

If you are reading this, and around the Dallas area, I think THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK is playing at Cinemark West Plano. But I would highly suggest waiting for Netflix, Redbox, what have you on this one. The only reason why this movie deserves a watch is because it is one of the few movies with a twist that I have never seen coming, and because that twist made the movie better. Without the twist, I don’t think I would’ve recommended this movie. Well, still maybe, because the performances, especially from Jeff Bridges, are top notch, it is just that the movie is really really generic and by the books, until the 2nd half, where everything finally gets interesting. So yeah this is a perfect Netflix rental, and you should check it out, once, whenever it hits a cheaper platform.

If you haven’t heard of this movie, it also stars Kate Beckingsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cythia Nixon, Callum Turner, and Kiersey Clemmons. It is about a young man, obviously, who really likes his best friend Mimi, but she just sees him as a friend. So this new apartment tenant, played by Jeff Bridges, strikes a friendship with the young man, and tells him in order to get her, he has to basically make her believe that he can go on fine without her. He is out one night with his friend when he spies his father, played by Brosnan, basically cheating on his mom with a younger woman, played by Beckinsale. He then confronts Beckinsale, and uh…yeah you can probably see a few things coming.

But not the twist! If you can guess the twist, good job, I commend you! It totally got me, and turned the film that I thought would have a generic, predictable, ending with feelings and acceptance in the rain, turned into another story, one much more satisfying. Critics have been complaining, that the young man, played by Callum Turner, is a jerk and unlikable. I found this to be totally disagreeable. While I find that his was the only performance that was a little stiff, I certainly didn’t find him to be a jerk at all, just confused. The best parts of the movie are him and Jeff Bridges having their life confirming conversations. Mainly because Jeff Bridges is just awesome to listen to anytime or anywhere. Their friendship feels very genuine.

And Kate Beckinsale is hot. I don’t care if it’s the worst Underworld film in the world, I will watch her in anything. She is gorgeous. But this is a review, and that is just my own biased opinion. But yes, Netflix this one, or maybe a dollar theater. You may be sitting through this movie and halfway through wondering what the hell I am talking about, you may be bored and not wondering when everything unexpected kicks in. This is one of the only movies I will say to give it time other than maybe Blade Runner. But don’t spend your hard earned box office bucks. It is a perfect rental for a date night or maybe with the family. For once, the M. Night Shayamalan twist, is actually the redeeming quality for the story, and not the entire story, or a compliment to the story. If you know what I’m even talking about. I’ll just shut up now.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE GLASS CASTLE

I am very torn with THE GLASS CASTLE. Mind you, I have not read the true life novel so I have nothing to compare it to. On the one hand, the acting is incredible, with Brie Larson showing us again why she won that Oscar for room, and we are still scratching our heads why Woody Harrelson has never won an Oscar. On the other hand, going into this with just one theatrical trailer in my head, I felt cheated. I thought that it’s about a woman dealing with her high on life/weird aspects on living parents where she eventually has to accept them for their unconventional ways, but instead I’m treated to two wildly irresponsible parents, one who can’t see the bigger picture and is lazy, and the other drunk and can’t provide for his children. The acting is so good that it made me completely dislike the parents to the point where I don’t think I could’ve forgiven them if they were mine, where the inevitable ending didn’t feel earned at all.

But then on a third invisible hand, I felt that if I read the book, I might like it more, where it might reveal more redeemable acts from the parents and dive deeper into the whole family’s insane journey. Because of this drunk and irresponsible parents aspect, the movie felt generic and I got a little bored. No offense to the real Jeannette Walls, who obviously had to go through this in real life. Like I said, I bet the book is better, and we all know that the book sometimes translates horribly into a motion picture. So thinking that the book is better, this critic right here went to the Internet to read big summaries so I would have something to compare this movie too. After reading these summaries, I know that the book is better, because the movie leaves a lot out, that if put in, could’ve been a more tight and well rounded flick.

I also went in blind with this regarding the reviews. So when I got home from seeing it, I went on Rotten Tomatoes and wasn’t surprised to find it at a low 47% and it says that most critics feel that there was a “fundamentally misguided approach to the material.” Those are the perfect words with how I feel about the movie. This film is great with the acting, but ultimately I can’t recommend it because it didn’t take the right approach with the material provided in the book. Everything felt cliched, generic, with an unearned ending trying to tug at your heart strings empty handed.

Which is a shame, because if they would’ve adapted the book correctly, from what I read, this could’ve completely went and swept up a couple of awards during Oscar season. Jennifer Lawrence was attached to play Jeannette at first, but maybe she realized what was really going on and that is why she dropped out. The direction is fine, some beautiful landscape shots and cinematography, but ultimately it is the script that completely falters the entire product. If you are a huge Brie Larson and/or Woody Harrelson fan, I would recommend just to check this out for the acting. Naomi Watts also does a fine job as well, even though I didn’t like her character. The only acting flub is Max Greenfield, who cannot get out of acting like Schmidt on New Girl to save his life. All I saw was Schmidt instead of a well rounded character.

This is definitely not a Glass Castle, it is more like a glass condo, with a shitload of cracks in it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: GOOD TIME

I have completely forgiven Robert Pattinson for Twilight. In GOOD TIME, he is nearly unrecognizable (personality wise), going deep into a very flawed character with many layers and peeling them back inch by inch. He is completely riveting and if I were part of the Academy I would push him into getting an Oscar nomination at the end of the year. You could study this performance in film classes in college. Masterful. But how is the movie? Thankfully, the movie is just as fantastic, with a breath neck pace story that gets more and more desperate as it goes with a bittersweet ending you wouldn’t expect. Good Time isn’t just one of the best films of the year, it is one I could revisit over and over again. An insane one night ride into depravity and darkness that grabs hold and won’t let you go.

What is so good about this film is that it takes a very unlikable protagonist, where you want him to get caught, but at the same time, hopes that he doesn’t, just so you can see more of the insane journey he goes on. The film is about two brothers, one played by Pattinson, the other played by one of the Safdie brother directors. The Safdie character is a little mentally challenged and Patterson is just trying to take care of him. The brothers rob a bank where the job is botched and Pattinson’s brother is caught and taken to jail while he escapes. Then in one twelve hour night time period, Patterson tries to get his brother out of jail while also trying to keep himself from going to jail as well. I don’t really want to spoil the rest of the journey, because it is unique and sometimes bonkers, but it involves a Sprite bottle filled with acid that belongs to a guy named Ray, an Adventureland setting, a hospital break out, high-rise apartment antics, creepy underage kissing, and mistaken identities.

The Safdie brothers have done another film that I have heard of but never seen, that got rave reviews called Heaven Knows What, and I think I might have to check it out, because this film is stupendous. The direction is flawless, and I love their tight shots on faces to show expression and emotion, completely building their trust in their actors to help build their characters and then thus building the story. Their story and direction takes complete and intense wild ass turns. The bank robbery is simple yet nail biting. The many times that Pattinson is almost caught by the police, I lost count I was so nervous. Everything about this film is mesmerizing and perfect.

And I can’t get away with not mentioning the haunting score by¬†Oneohtrix Point Never. As The Dude would say “It really ties the story together.” Just like in Dunkirk, the score here is a beat by beat race the clock melodramatic masterpiece, rushing when it needs to, and taking its time to let all the events unfolded sink in. I loved Good Time, unfortunately modern audience will have a hard time trying to see it seeing it is a very independent film and might not get a huge wide release. But if you find it in a town, in a theater near you, or even if you have to wait for video, check it out, it is an amazing ride, and a performance by Robert Pattinson I think he might even have a hard time ever beating.