(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Make all the sparkly vampire jokes you want, but Robert Pattinson has accomplished quite a bit to prove he’s more than just a YA heartthrob. He’s worked with David Cronenberg, Anton Corbijn, and David Michôd, among others, racking up an eclectic variety of roles in the process. Recently, he’s appeared in critically acclaimed titles like The Childhood of a Leader and The Lost City of Z.
This week, Pattinson adds another impressive feature to his resume in Good Time, a Certified Fresh drama from Ben and Josh Safdie about a New York City criminal who spends an increasingly dangerous night attempting to free his younger brother from jail. Pattinson spoke to RT about his Five Favorite Films, initially focusing on characters on the run until we opened it up a bit more, but we also reflected back on the last time we interviewed him, just prior to the release of the first Twilight movie back in 2008.
There’s this movie called Le Souffle. It was called Deep Breath. It’s a f—ing amazing movie. It’s about a teenage boy who is kind of expelled from school, and he has to live with his uncle, I think, in the French countryside. I remember watching it when I was maybe 18 or 19, and I just loved the performances in it so much, and I think it’s kind of like a kid who’s on the run from himself in a way. I think it’s kind of quite related to Good Time as well. It’s just incredibly, beautifully shot. Yeah, that’s one of them.
Did you ever see Arizona Dream? Johnny Depp and Vincent Gallo? I love that movie. Johnny Depp’s character is technically on some kind of run. It’s just very funny, and I love Vincent Gallo in it so much. It was also another early influence. I love Gallo’s performance when he’s talking about how all the greatest actors have New York accents, and he’s demonstrating to Johnny Depp’s character how to order drinks as a true New Yorker. It’s funny.
Julia, the Tilda Swinton movie. Also, I think [the director’s] name is Erick Zonca. I think that’s one of the great performances, and it’s kind of criminally underseen. Is underseen even a word?
What was the other one? The Beat That My Heart Skipped, the Jacques Audiard movie. I remember watching that at 20 or 21 or something. Actually, no, I must’ve been younger because I watched that the first time I came to New York, and Romain Duris in that — watching his performance was kind of… Like, “That is a performance which I would love to get anywhere close to.”
Did you ever see this movie Headhunters? It’s an insane chase movie that goes very, very, very dark. I just love one of the central driving forces behind the main character is just that he thinks he’s too short. [laughs] I love it when a story, when you really break down someone’s essence, and that is their fatal flaw. It’s just so simple.
RT: Just for the fun of it, I want to tell you what you picked last time. In 2008, you picked One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Exorcist, the Godard film Prénom Carmen, Corky Romano, and then you picked Ivans XTC, the Danny Huston film.
Robert Pattinson: I mean, to be honest, that’s probably still pretty close to what my five favorite films would be. I was just watching Corky Romano again. [laughs]
RT: And actually, when you talked about Godard last time, you also mentioned Arizona Dream, and you specifically talked about ordering drinks the way Vincent Gallo does as well. It’s clearly something that stuck with you.
Pattinson: [laughs] That’s how little I’ve developed in 10 years. I’m exactly the same.
Good Time opens in limited release this Friday, August 11.
This week, get your Miley Cyrus fix with Hannah Montana’s feature-length trip to the big screen (Hannah Montana The Movie), or do a complete 180-degree turn with the latest Hollywood horror remake (Last House on the Left). Director James Toback goes the documentary route with boxing’s Iron Mike (Tyson), while David Lynch’s daughter Jennifer continues the family legacy for eccentric thrills (Surveillance, starring Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman). Actress Lori Petty makes her directorial debut with a personal indie drama (The Poker House) while Tilda Swinton turns in a powerhouse performance as an alcoholic kidnapper (Julia). An ’80s sci-fi gaming classic makes its way to Blu-ray (The Last Starfighter) and we take a look at a trio of Toho reissues and new TV on DVD inside!
The power of Hannah Montana cannot be denied. After a solid critical reaction to her ‘tween-fueled Best of Both Worlds Concert movie, Disney star Miley Cyrus brought her onscreen alter ego into theaters again, this time in a feature-length film. Cyrus stars as Miley Stewart, a Tennessee teenager who moonlights as the uber-popular pop singer, Hannah Montana; when her increasing celebrity threatens to take over Miley’s ego, her country music singing dad (played by Cyrus’s real-life country music singing dad, Billy “Achy Breaky Heart” Ray — stay with us here) takes her back to the homestead to get back to her roots. Teen sitcom clichés and plenty of Disney pop tunes ensue, making this a guaranteed hit among the young Hannah Montana faithful — if not among older audiences and critics. A generous menu of special features include bloopers, deleted scenes, director commentary, and more, and even the stodgiest of detractors can’t resist the disc’s piece de resistance, which you can watch exclusively here on Rotten Tomatoes: a how-to lesson on doing the Hoedown Throwdown Dance (“Pop it, lock it, polka dot it…”)!
Next: File under improbable –Ingmar Bergman gets the torture porn treatment?
While nobody was really clamoring for a remake of Wes Craven‘s marginally-celebrated 1972 exploitation horror pic — the original Last House on the Left only earned 65 percent on the Tomatometer — Hollywood served up the revenge story yet again, making good use of the recent boom in torture porn sensibilities for which modern audiences seem to have an appetite. (Interestingly, many argue that Craven’s first LHOTL is far more gruesome.) Garret Dillahunt stars as the ringleader of a vicious band of criminals; Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn are the parents of his victim who decide to turn the tables. Critics were in part repulsed by the remake’s brutality and lack of intelligence, resulting in a hard-to-watch attack-vengeance tale ultimately not worth the ordeal. For the same story done better, check out Ingmar Bergman‘s Oscar-winning 1960 film, The Virgin Spring (94%), the medieval rape-and-revenge pic that inspired the first Last House.
Next: Carradine’s posthumous sea dog period comedy comes to DVD
A “horrid piece of filmed dinner theater” — (Scott Foundas, LA Weekly). An “arthritic romantic comedy” — (Ronnie Scheib, Variety). The raves keep comin’ for this misbegotten adaptation of a 1904 novel by Joseph Lincoln, which posits three grumpy old men — David Carradine, Bruce Dern, and Rip Torn — as a trio of septuagenarian sea captains looking for a house wife in Cape Cod, circa 1905. An abundance of turn of the century mariner slang and Mariel Hemingway‘s performance as the object of the Boys’ domestic desires might help keep things interesting, but you’ll likely wonder why this adaptation was made at all.
Next: James Toback gets up close and personal with Iron Mike in Tyson
Director James Toback (Fingers, Bugsy) detours into documentary film with this well-received portrait of infamous boxer Mike Tyson. Iron Mike himself provides much of the film’s commentary in intimate interviews that reveal the complex psyche of the man who became the undisputed heavyweight champion at age 20, served time in jail for rape, had his own 8-bit video game, and mounted a career comeback before biting off part of his opponent’s ear in 1997 on live television. Premiere footage and a commentary by Toback highlight the special features.
Next: Is director Jennifer Lynch (Surveillance) as twisted as her father?
Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman star as Feds investigating a roadside killing in this Rashomon-esque thriller, directed by Jennifer Lynch. To preface, take a look at Lynch’s pedigree (her father is David) and her past work (she won a Razzie for her debut, Boxing Helena — a movie in which a woman has her limbs amputated by a lover). Critics say Surveillance is appropriately perverse, gory, and twisted, which you might find either good or bad, depending on taste; they also say a last-act twist threatens to undermine the whole affair. Decide for yourself which side of the Fresh/Rotten divide it belongs on.
Next: Tilda Swinton’s tour de force turn in Julia
Tilda Swinton‘s performance as a struggling alcoholic takes center stage in Erick Zonca‘s Julia, a kidnapping thriller and character study that lets the usually-buttoned up Oscar winner let loose. Julia is addicted to partying and substance abuse, trapped in a downward spiral that leads her to accept a neighbor’s proposition to kidnap a young boy from his cushy home in Mexico, until a series of unfortunate events throw everything into chaos. Swinton fans should jump at the chance to watch the actress play out-of-control — a woman under the influence, as it were — in a film that has drawn comparisons to a Cassavetes flick on a rager.
Next: See, something good did come of In the Army Now…
Years after meeting In Living Color‘s David Alan Grier (presumably when they both starred in the Pauly Shore vehicle In the Army Now), actress Lori Petty teamed up with her old friend to script this semi-autobiographical story based on her own childhood, which also marks Petty’s debut as a director. The familiar realm of indie dramas about abused and/or neglected kids toughing it out amidst unsavory adult types gets a jolt thanks to a trio of young actresses (Jennifer Lawrence, Sophia Bairley, and Chloe Grace Moretz) who, critics say, carry the picture with strength and nuance. Lawrence in particular shines as the 14-year-old protagonist Agnes, who is left to care for her younger siblings when their drug-addicted prostitute mother (Selma Blair) and dubious father figure (Bokeem Woodbine) fail them, and worse. Petty herself provides a commentary track.
Next: The Last Starfighter lands on Blu-ray!
There are those who champion The Last Starfighter as an unassuming landmark of ’80s science fiction, significant even while overshadowed by bigger, flashier, more memorable flicks of its kind. We think you guys just love it because (along with TRON and our sentimental fave, The Wizard) it legitimized those hours of obsessive video gaming as essential training, inevitably to come in handy when called upon by a higher power. Director Nick Castle (who would go on to direct the live-action Dennis the Menace movie, Major Payne, and script August Rush) employed impressive-for-the-era special effects in the tale of a trailer park teenager named Alex (Lance Guest) whose hobby of playing the Starfighter arcade game pays off when an alien from the planet Rylos reveals that the game was a test, and that Alex is to be the next “starfighter” in an intergalactic war. Looking back on The Last Starfighter now, the ’80s stylings are charming (to put it kindly), but even though it doesn’t quite hold up 25 years later, it’s a fun blast from the past on Blu-ray. Tons of retrospective features, a filmmaker commentary, and image galleries make for a comprehensive collection of bonus features.
Next: A Toho Studios trifecta!
Gojira fans, take note: the Japanese monster known stateside as Godzilla wasn’t the only camp-tastic science fiction hero to come out of the wacky world of Japanese cinema, circa 1960. Serving up three newly remastered genre classics from the makers (director Ishiro Honda and special effects pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya) and home (Toho Tokyo Studios) of such kaiju classics as Godzilla, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing The Icons of Sci-Fi: Toho Collection. In The H-Man (1958), radioactive bomb testing turns people into oozing, infectious slimy blobs; in Battle in Outer Space (1959), a sinister alien race use enhanced weapons and mind control to attack Earth. Finally, in Mothra (1962), the famous psychic, moth-like God and frequent Godzilla opponent is introduced, defending her island of worshippers from their capitalist kidnappers. While the collection is woefully short on bonus features, the films have been meticulously restored and offer multiple subtitle options.
Next: Gossip Girl, Sons of Anarchy, Swayze’s Beast and more TV on DVD
It’s a huge week for new TV on DVD releases, so we’ve collected them all here for your one-stop perusal. For starters, check out Season 1 of Patrick Swayze‘s recently cancelled show, The Beast, in which he plays an FBI agent of dubious methodology (A&E cancelled the show after one season due to Swayze’s declining health). The 2000-2001 exploits of Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie Simpson also hit DVD, though beyond a guest starring spot from boy band *NSYNC, we’re hard pressed to recall any of that season’s specifics (The Simpsons Season 12). Fresher in our minds is the explosive debut season of Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy (Season One), FX’s Hamlet-with-bikers starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Sutter’s wife, Katey Sagal. We’d also recommend picking up Season 3 of Dexter, in which Dex battles a frenemy and contemplates marriage. For lighter fare, there’s Season 3 of the campus dramedy Greek, along with the most OMG-inducing show of all: Gossip Girl Season 2, which includes the flashback episode leading to the would-be spin-off, Valley Girls.
Until next week, happy renting!
One of the most diverse and celebrated talents of her generation, the directors on Tilda Swinton‘s CV represent a veritable who’s who of independent cinema and include David Fincher, Spike Jonze, Cameron Crowe, the Coen Brothers and Jim Jarmusch. Few who’ve seen Sally Potter‘s adaptation of Orlando, with Swinton in the title role, will forget the power of her performance, a power she brings to every role she tackles, from Constantine to Burn After Reading. Her supporting role in Michael Clayton earned her an Oscar, but her performance in Julia, out now on DVD, went largely unnoticed despite its impact on those who saw it. Out now on DVD, Swinton sits down with RT to talk about the film.
Tilda Swinton: She reminds me of so many of the great drunks I have known and loved in my life, who have always felt so unlike the kind of loser character often put forward in cinema portrayals.
TS: It certainly does one good to notice how extreme ‘unrelenting realness’ very often is; how far from any concept of good taste or subtlety. When we were developing this film, we went out of our way to be clear with ourselves just how far we needed to go. People like Kate del Castillo‘s character really are that unhinged, desperate people with guns and insanely ferocious dogs do shout that loud, people like Julia do drink that much and that often, the effort to appear sober the morning after drinking as much as she does does involve that much overacting, look that forced and feel that wierd to be around.
Tilda Swinton in Julia
TS:The responsibility of going far enough. The resistence to stopping short of the mark for the sake of modesty.
TS: Exhilarating. Multilingual. Random. Addictive. He has to be the least cerebral filmmaker I have ever worked with; he directs outside of any formal or literary concerns whatsoever. He directs energy – nothing less – and is not interested in anything except the authentic. His constant request is for ‘something of different’, ‘something of fantasy’ and, of me in particular, ‘more ugly, Tilda, make more ugly faces’. His allergy to generica and his passion are truly infectious and a tonic to be around. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat.
Continue onto the next page as Tilda Swinton talks about working with children and on location and tells us more about her upcoming reteaming with Jim Jarmusch.
TS: I can only think of joys. That they know the proper value of play. That they are up for the practical artifice of pretend; I’ve yet to meet a child of nine burdened with any concept of a method, or the pressure of taking their character home with them or all that displacement stuff. That they are in touch with the fun of making things up. That they are in no screwed-up battle with their dignity all the while. Altogether, in combination with the need for children to work restricted hours, it’s grace.
TS: Possibly. It makes for a completely different texture to what you actually shoot, let’s face it, and in the land of realness, or semi-realness, as in Julia, there is a kind of ease that comes with walking into real places surrounded by energies other than that of the film. Real walls, real pavement, real sky all help hold down the make believe and pin it into place.
Tilda Swinton in Julia
TS: Pretty much nothing, I’m afraid. Isaach de Bankole wears sensational shiny suits. I wear a white wig and cowboy hat. Paz de la Huerta wears – mainly – not a stitch. We are all in Spain. Isaach meets us there, on an unexplained mission, as he does Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Youki Kudoh and others. We hand him cryptic messages in matchboxes and expound on art, music, science, hallucinogenics and sex. My subject is cinema. Isaach keeps moving. It’s a mystery story with a protagonist so calm, so opaque, that we can rest in his company – go along for the ride in blissful ignorance, perhaps even give up on impatience in the beauty of this landscape, under the umberella of this soundtrack. Credit crunch, eco-friendly, existential travel for the price of a cinema seat and minimal carbon footprint.
Julia is on DVD now.
This week at the movies, we’ve got a brand new Enterprise (Star Trek, starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) and a failed delivery (Next Day Air, starring Donald Faison and Mike Epps). What do the critics have to say?
It boldly goes where no Trek has gone before. This new Trek will live long and prosper. No matter what clichés they may use, there’s no getting around the critics’ main point: JJ Abrams‘ Star Trek is stirring mainstream entertainment, and breathes new life into the moribund franchise. It’s an origin story, one that tells the tale of how Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) became, well, Kirk and Spock. The pundits say Abrams’ action-packed, visually remarkable take on such venerable material will reward both fans and newcomers alike, and sets an impressive new course for one of pop culture’s most enduring series. Not only is Star Trek Certified Fresh, it’s the best-reviewed wide release of the year. To top it all off, it’s the best-reviewed entry in the Star Trek franchise to date. (Be sure to check out Starfleet Command, RT’s one-stop shop for all things Trek. Also, see this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down all the previous Trek films by Tomatometer.)
Caper comedies walk a fine line; if you get too bogged down in the crime itself, the laughs can suffer. Such is the case with Next Day Air, which critics say has some moments of madcap intensity but falters from a lack of discipline. The movie stars Donald Faison as an inept deliveryman who unwittingly drops a large shipment of cocaine at the apartment of two incompetent bank robbers; pretty soon, in Tarantino-esque fashion, a number of colorful characters intersect with wacky results. Or not, say pundits, who find the film’s tonal shift from slapstick to surprisingly cold-hearted violence unpleasant.
Also opening this week in limited release: