Monthly Archives: July 2017

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear is an eccentric, sweet-natured film that succeeds largely because of a winning performance by Kyle Mooney. This is a promising debut for director McCary and star Mooney (who also co-wrote with Kevin Costello). Although you may have seen elements of this film before, it is not likely you have seen them combined in quite this way.

When we meet James (Mooney), he is watching his favorite TV show, Brigsby Bear. The main character, a giant teddy bear, mouths platitudes like, “Curiosity is an unnatural emotion.” Afterward, he rushes to his distinctly vintage computer and posts to online forums about the show. His parents (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams) gently remind him to do his chores and homework.

Everything appears perfectly normal, except that James is never allowed to go outside. The logic behind this parental decision becomes clear when FBI agents show up and arrest his “parents”, who kidnapped James as a baby. The agents return James to his birth parents.

Adjusting to a brand-new set of parents plus a sister is difficult for James. It becomes even harder when he learns Brigsby Bear was not an actual television show but an invention of his “kidnapper dad”. James fantasizes about a movie based on Brigsby Bear and finally decides to make one himself.

Although James’ character is the most developed, there are also standouts in the supporting cast. Chief among these are Ryan Simpkins as James’ blasé sister, Greg Kinnear as the police detective with an acting yen, and Claire Danes as James’ patient though bemused counselor.

The art department, along with everyone who worked on visual and special effects, deserve special credit. Their work on the enclosure where James was held is outstanding. The Brigsby Bear videos are uncannily authentic.

Theme: Alternative Reality

Related Posts: Film Appreciation: The Truman Show  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/film-appreciation-the-truman-show/

Alternative Reality: List For Week Ending July 23.2017  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/alternative-reality-list-for-week-ending-july-23-2017/

Film Appreciation: The Truman Show

Film Appreciation: The Truman Show

It is sometimes said that a great film makes news and goes on making news. Certainly, that is the case with Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman Story. This is a deceptively gentle satire on corporate behavior and mass media that may require more than one viewing to register fully. The basic story is aContinue Reading

Landline

Landline

Gillian Robespierre made a successful directorial debut with 2014’s Obvious Child, which mixed rom-com elements with the decidedly unfunny subject of abortion. Her new comedy, Landline, tackles the relationship between two sisters and how it is affected by their father’s infidelity. For reasons best known to Robespierre and co-writer Elisabeth Holm, the story takes placeContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: The Squid And The Whale

Film Appreciation: The Squid And The Whale

Director Noah Baumbach was born into a high-powered artistic family. His father, Jonathan, is an English professor as well as an acclaimed novelist and film critic. Georgia Brown, his mother, is a now-retired film critic for the Village Voice. Under these circumstances, you might wonder about pressure on Baumbach and his younger brother for academicContinue Reading

Marital Discord Affects Siblings: List For Week Ending July 16, 2017

Marital Discord Affects Siblings: List For Week Ending July 16, 2017

Our films this week deal with siblings affected by their parents’ marital problems. Not all these siblings are chlldren; Jenny Slate’s Landline character is in her twenties. This is not intended as an all-inclusive list. Reader suggestions are welcome. If you know an addition to this list, please write using the comments below. Landline (2017)Continue Reading

Destructive Passion: List For Week Ending July 9, 2017

Destructive Passion: List For Week Ending July 9, 2017

Characters in this week’s films are involved in relationships they can’t resist but live to regret. This is not intended as an all-inclusive list. Reader suggestions are welcome. If you know an addition to this list, please write using the comments below. Lady Macbeth (2016) (Reviewed In Thinking Cinema 7/7/17)  http://www.thinkingcinema.com/film-review-lady-macbeth/ Wuthering Heights (1939) (ArticleContinue Reading

Film Review: Lady Macbeth

Film Review: Lady Macbeth

William Oldroyd’s film Lady Macbeth has nothing to do with the Shakespeare play. The film adapts Nikolai Leskov’s nineteenth-century novel, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, and moves it to northeast England. It is a stark jewel of a film with one whale of a performance from Florence Pugh in the title role. Leskov’s novel was publishedContinue Reading

Film Appreciation: Wuthering Heights

Film Appreciation: Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë’s novel vs William Wyler’s film William Wyler’s 1939 film of Wuthering Heights was not the first adaptation, but it remains the best-known version. Gregg Toland’s deep focus cinematography and Alfred Newman’s lush music transport the audience to another world. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon portray the tragically mismatched lovers, Heathcliff and Catherine. ItContinue Reading