Robert Pattinson roundup

2 05 2017

I recently penned a piece over at Film School Rejects entitled “Robert Pattinson: From Behead to Bushy Beard,” where I ran through the actor’s career and found some pretty surprising things. I began coming around on Pattinson with “The Rover” back in 2014, but I discovered that his acting chops didn’t just magically grow once he excited the “Twilight” world. He refined them over time, though the raw talent was there.

I watched (almost) all of his filmography to write the essay, and rather than write individual reviews of them all, I’ve decided to do a little round-up here for those. It’s a little more manageable than trying to pen three separate posts.

“Little Ashes”

Robert Pattinson’s Salvador Dalí in “Little Ashes” undergoes a similar arc as Daniel Radcliffe’s Allen Ginsberg in “Kill Your Darlings.” These films find ways to intertwine the coming-of-age story with the artist biopic. Both are future groundbreaking artists in the making, but when we meet them, they are young men curious to explore their intellectual and sexual boundaries in a collegiate atmosphere.

The differentiator between the two (admittedly an unfair comparison since “Kill Your Darlings” came out five years later) is that in “Little Ashes,” Pattinson has much more of a public persona into which he must play. We know Dalí as a quirky eccentric, and that’s where Pattinson goes off the rails in the film. He’s better as an actor of small gestures and concealed emotions, not painting in a craze with a shaved head or tucking his genitals in front of a mirror. Dalí’s political awakening by way of his peer Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán) at a puppet show is a far better showcase for Pattinson’s gifts. We can observe the slow radicalization of his ideas through the gradual lighting up of his face.

And as a story of could-be lovers and artistic rivals, “Little Ashes” hardly fairs better. Director Paul Morrison never really determines the film’s identity, and the whole work suffers for it. C+

“Remember Me”

If you have some conception of Robert Pattinson as a disinterested, dispassionate slacker with chronic bedhead, chances are it comes a lot from “Remember Me.” It’s the film that best bottles up the essence of his late ’00s/early ’10s stardom, one that fits itself around his persona.

Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, an NYU student in fall 2001 dealing with daddy issues while romantically pursuing the daughter of the cop who recently gave him grief. (But don’t worry, he’s still a genuine sweetheart to his grade-school aged younger sister.) There’s constant tension in the film about how little both Pattinson and Tyler seem to care about what’s going on around them and the deep pain in his heart stemming from the suicide of his older brother Michael.

Allen Coulter’s film is what it is – a sappy, emotions-on-its-sleeves young adult romance – and I give it some credit for not aiming for much more. I’m still a little on the fence about the film’s ending, which milks tragedy in an arguably exploitative way. But as a by-the-books melodrama, it’s serviceable. C+

“The Childhood of a Leader”

Admittedly, including Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader” in a roundup of Robert Pattinson movies feels a little wrong. The actor only makes a brief appearance at the tail ends of the film. At the outset, he’s a French professorial chap giving pre-Hannah Arendt musings on the banality of evil in the immediate wake of World War I’s devastation. In the ending, he’s … someone different. (Sorry, spoilers.)

The main focus of the film is Tom Sweet’s Prescott, a young child who forms his understanding of the world against the backdrop of the fragile peace. The film runs nearly two hours, a time in which little happens but Corbet establishes heavy atmosphere and deep foreboding. He only releases the built-up tension in the aforementioned finale.

As a film, “The Childhood of a Leader” is a bit of a strut, more style than substance. But as a debut film, it’s a little something different. This feels like an aesthetic calling card for Brady Corbet, a declaration of intent for many great things to come. He hasn’t made his great movie yet, but I left this one with full confidence that it will arrive one day. “The Childhood of a Leader” is like a feature-length proof of concept for it. B-

What To Look Forward To in … March 2010

12 02 2010

There’s more to March than just the Oscars.  Finally, March arrives and we can stop dwelling on 2009.  In my opinion, March is usually a pretty decent movie month.  This year’s crop looks especially promising with new movies from Tim Burton, Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), and Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”).

March 5

After almost 3 months, “Avatar” will have to cede those illustrious 3-D and IMAX screens to Tim Burton’s twist on “Alice in Wonderland.”  The titular character is played by relative newcomer Mia Wasikowsa, who will look quite a bit older than the Alice you remember from Disney’s 1951 animated classic.  If that’s not a big enough draw for you, surely Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (who will hopefully channel more of his glorious Jack Sparrow than his Jacko-esque Willy Wonka) will suffice.  No?  How about Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts?  Or Anne Hathaway as the White Queen?  Perhaps Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar?  No doubt about it, this is one exciting cast, and I’m sure Tim Burton won’t have any problem distinguishing himself from the numerous “Alice in Wonderland” rip-offs that have sprouted over the past few years.

“Brooklyn’s Finest” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, helmer of “Training Day,” which was enough to get me interested.  However, it really looks to be little more than a mash-up of every cop movie ever made.  But hey, that may be your thing, which would make this your potpourri.

March 12

I’m excited for “Green Zone,” which looks to be a smart political thriller. See my previous post at the release of the trailer for more info.

On the indie side of things, Noah Baumbach looks to return to Oscar form after “Margot at the Wedding” underwhelmed with “Greenberg.”  The movie stars Ben Stiller as Greenberg, the grouchy misanthrope who finds a reason to be pessimistic about everything.  However, a special woman comes along and begins to melt his heart.  I’m looking forward to a double-edged performance from Stiller, one that can show off his dramatic chops but also give us plenty of hearty laughs.

Seth Rogen’s four roommates in “Knocked Up” were equally as funny as he was. Each of them have slowly gotten their “moment”: Jonah Hill in “Superbad,” Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Now, it could be Jay Baruchel’s turn. “She’s Out of My League” pits him similar situation: the uncomely guy getting the smoking hot babe. Hopefully Paramount gives this the push it deserves, maybe making Baruchel a breakout comedic star of 2010.

Could “Remember Me” get Robert Pattinson the Razzie for Worst Actor? After narrowly missing the cut for his two performances as Edward Cullen, this could finally be the one to get him the kind of awards attention he deserves.

Forest Whitaker is an Academy Award winning actor. What on earth is he doing in “Our Family Wedding?” For that matter, America Ferrera has won SAG and Golden Globe awards, and Carlos Mencia was once actually funny! This looks not only insufferable but almost racist. Plus, didn’t I see this movie in 2005 when it was called “Guess Who?”

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