Little did anyone realize that when Simon and Garfunkel released the LP “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in January of 1970 that it would be responsible for inspiring film titles in the year 2023. So far that includes Baby Driver, which includes the S&G song of the same name over the end credit roll, and now The Only Living Boy in New York.
On a side note, I will anxiously await upcoming movies entitled Why Don’t You Write Me and Keep the Customer Satisfied.
TOLBINY will find a audience appreciative of its mix of comedy and drama along with a little bit of sexual intrigue and a twist ending that pays off in huge emotional dividends. The film could also be called Vision of Johanna, as that Dylan song is heard with the same alacrity as the Simon and Garfunkel titular tune.
A young man, Tom (upcoming actor Callum Turner who reminds of American Gigolo era Richard Gere), struggles with his upper middle class Manhattan existence by getting an apartment on the lower East Side. One of his oddball neighbors is published author W. F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), who it turns out is slumming while writing his new novel.
Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon are Tom’s parents, who host exclusive parties in their townhome that cater to the publishing elite. When Tom inadvertently sees his father on a date with Kate Beckinsale, it throws his life into confusion. Tom’s already in a perplexing relationship with a femme who wants to just be friends. Together they start to spy on Beckinsale, which results in even more bewildering plot turns.
Director Marc Webb went from the indie darling helmer of 500 Days of Summer to directing the two Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man films. The Only Living Boy in New York finds Webb going full cycle and back to making compelling indie style films. Earlier this year, Webb’s Gifted also made a critical splash. Bridges walks away with the most accolades as his performance ties into Webb’s esthetic of weaving a furtive story that only makes real sense in the last minutes.
The Only Living Boy in New York opens at area theaters this weekend.
The Trip to Spain is the trilogy for art house mavens.
Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden return, essentially playing themselves as a bickering kind of traveling couple who constantly do spot-on imitations of other actors while on assignment for travel/food articles commissioned by prestigious publications. Michael Winterbottom directs.
The Trip series originates as six-episode BBC seasons that are edited down for domestic release. While the movies are on a slope of discovery, and by that I specifically mean that they are not as purposely funny as the first one, they excel at the continual development of the Coogan-Bryden shtick.
Bryden continues to bask in the glow of his limited but devoted celebrity admirers while Coogan constantly gets shot down by the system. At one point Coogan, Oscar® nominated for writing Philomena, is told over the phone that his latest script is getting a re-write by an “up and comer.” Undeterred, Coogan yells into the phone “I’ve already up and come.”
The duo add some new celebrity imitations not previously performed such as Mick Jagger, John Hurt and Ian McKellen, while also mining such repeat faves as Michael Caine and Woody Allen.
Taking a ferry from England to Northern Spain, they constantly mix minced words with gourmet meals. The sight of grilled jalapeños and shrimp at a stop in Bilbao had me salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs, which I feel is part of the attraction of the entire affair. Another restaurant, farm to fire, offers for a mere 176 Euros a nightly multi-course meal, and it rated in the top ten restaurants in the world by actual publications whose task it is to determine such austere ratings.
The Trip to Spain unwinds exclusively at the River Oaks Theatre starting this weekend.
One has to admire Robert Pattinson, using whatever clout he gained as the male star of the Twilight series, for using his said fame to seek out varied and interesting roles. Pattinson’s career certainly benefits from association with filmmakers like David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis) and James Gray (The Lost City of Z). Now Pattinson has recruited the Safdie Brothers, Benny and Josh, to bring the concept of a desperate crime film to audiences.
Good Times had a bit too much of a Scorsese Mean Streets vibe to be considered breakthrough filmmaking, yet the film plays like an above average thriller told in an on-the-run manner.
Pattinson, along with Benny Safdie, play brothers who have more balls than brains. A botched bank robbery ends in disaster with one incarcerated and one eluding arrest.
When Pattinson breaks his brother out of protective custody in a hospital, he eventually finds out that the unconscious and head-bandaged prisoner isn’t even his brother.
The Safdies keep the action in perpetual motion although it’s almost like a horror film where you want to yell at the characters on the screen to “get out now.”
Good Times opens in area theaters this weekend.