In ‘Good Time’, the Safdie brothers use their characteristic scrapyard DIY to bring Robert Pattinson into the ‘warped moment.’
«We wanted it to feel like lightning,» Josh Safdie said of his new film in an interview with No Film School.
And it does. Good Time is electrifying: every turbocharged moment of the bungled heist film has a lightning rod’s power to transform or destroy. Co-directors Josh and Benny Safdie, brothers who are known for their gritty, homemade movies, put the audience through its paces. Their film teems with manic energy, breathless performances, neon and strobe lights, and a pulsing synth soundtrack from Daniel Lopatin that underscores the film’s relentless experience.
In fact, watching Good Time is like riding the Coney Island Cyclone: it’s a genre film, or a «pulp movie,» as the brothers describe it—a thrill ride old as time. Its rickety structure threatens to collapse at every turn, and you emerge from the theater with whiplash.
«Once the movie starts, you have no option but to just accept it as, ‘I’m in the crazy story and I’m experiencing it.'» — Josh Safdie
After HBO sadly canceled Togetherness, they ordered another series from filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass. Their upcoming anthology series, Room 104, is set entirely in one hotel room. Each episode follows a new guest. Some of these guests are played Amy Landecker, James Van Der Beek, Orlando Jones, Mae Whitman, and Philip Baker Hall. Starting next month, you can watch them check into Room 104.
Below, watch the Room 104 trailer.
The Duplass brothers have described the series as “finding some magic in the seemingly mundane.” After years of going in and out of hotels and motels, they were left curious by what had gone on in some of their rooms, most notably at the hotels by the airport. Some of the stories they’re telling involve a cult priest (Orlando Jones), a housekeeper (Dendrie Taylor) and her younger self, two Mormon missionaries, and more.
After Togetherness, whatever HBO and the Duplass brothers do next should be high up on anyone’s watch list. The cable network lets the brothers’ voices ring loud and clear in their collaborations. They didn’t direct any Room 104 episodes, but Mark Duplass wrote seven out of the 10 episodes. HBO has released synopsises for every episode, one of which is directed by the filmmakers behind Half Nelson, the great Mississippi Grind, and Marvel’s Captain Marvel, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Here’s the full episode list:
Episode #1: “Ralphie” Debut: FRIDAY, JULY 28 (11:30 p.m.-midnight ET/PT) Things go horribly awry when a babysitter (Melonie Diaz) arrives at Room 104 to watch an unusual boy named Ralph (Ethan Kent). Ross Partridge also stars. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Sarah Adina Smith.
Episode #2: “Pizza Boy” Debut: FRIDAY, AUG. 4 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) A pizza delivery boy gets caught up in a couple’s twisted games. James Van Der Beek and Davie-Blue star. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Patrick Brice.
Episode #3: “The Knockadoo” Debut: FRIDAY, AUG. 11 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) A woman (Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris) seeking salvation is visited by a cult priest (Orlando Jones) promising to help her transcend the ordinary world for another realm. Written by Carson Mell; directed by Sarah Adina Smith.
Episode #4: “I Knew You Weren’t Dead” Debut: FRIDAY, AUG. 18 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) A visitor (Jay Duplass) in Room 104 seeks advice about his marital troubles from a long-lost friend. Will Tranfo and Frank Ashmore also star.
Episode #5: “The Internet” Debut: FRIDAY, AUG. 25 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) In 1997, a son (Karan Soni) must teach his mother (Poorna Jagannathan) how to use the Internet over the phone after leaving behind an important document on his laptop. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Doug Emmett.
Episode #6: “Voyeurs” Debut: FRIDAY, SEPT. 1 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) The past and present come face to face when a housekeeper (Dendrie Taylor) reconnects with her younger self (Sarah Hay). Written by Dayna Hanson; directed by Dayna Hanson.
Episode #7: “The Missionaries” Debut: FRIDAY, SEPT. 8 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) Two young Mormon missionaries (Adam Foster, Nat Wolff) test the boundaries of their faith. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Megan Griffiths.
Episode #8: “Phoenix” Debut: FRIDAY, SEPT. 15 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) In 1969, the sole survivor (Amy Landecker) of a plane crash is faced with a decision: go back to the life she had or seize the opportunity to start anew. Mae Whitman also stars. Story by Xan Aranda and Ross Partridge; teleplay by Ross Partridge; directed by Ross Partridge.
Episode #9: “Boris” Debut: FRIDAY, SEPT. 22 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) When an aging Croatian tennis player (Konstantin Lavysh) reveals memories of his tortured past to a housekeeper (Veronica Falcon), an unlikely bond is formed. Biff Wiff also stars. Written by Ross Partridge; directed by Chad Hartigan.
Episode #10: “Red Tent” Debut: FRIDAY, SEPT. 29 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) Two young men (Keir Gilchrist, Brian Hostenske) plotting to disrupt a political convention are interrupted by nerves… and an AC repairman (Hugo Armstrong). Written by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck; directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
Episode #11: “The Fight” Debut: FRIDAY, OCT. 6 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) Two female Mixed Martial Arts fighters (Natalie Morgan, Keta Meggett) work together to score a bigger payday in an upcoming bout. Stephen Rannazzisi also stars. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Megan Griffiths.
Episode #12: “My Love” Debut: FRIDAY, OCT. 13 (11:30 p.m.-midnight) An octogenarian couple (Philip Baker Hall, Ellen Geer) returns to Room 104 to relive their first night together. Jacqueline Wright also stars. Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Marta Cunningham.
Here’s a look at various filming locations for Tuesday, June 27: Filming in British Columbia TV Series: Riverdale Stars: K.J. Apa Location: Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam (Note: this is private property) Filming in California TV Series: American Horror Story Stars: Billie Lourd Location: on location in Orange TV Series: Ray Donovan Stars: Liev Schreiber Location: SONY Studio, Los Angeles TV Series: Property Brothers at Home Stars: Jonathan and Drew Scott Location: 266 S Irving Blvd, Los Angeles (7:00 AM — 10:00 PM) Filming in Florida Movie: Killroy Was Here Director: Kevin Smith Location: Ringling College of Art and Design Filming in Georgia Movie: Avengers: Infinity War Stars: Robert Downey, Jr. Location: Walton St, Atlanta Filming in Illinois Movies: Widows Stars: Liam Neeson Location: 6350 S Calumet Ave, Chicago Filming in New York TV Series: Red Oaks Stars: Craig Roberts Location:Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison Movie: Untitled Steven Spielberg Project (The Papers) Stars: Tom Hanks Location: N Broadway and Hamilton Ave White Plains TV Series: The Sinner Stars: Jessica Biel Location: Eagle Valley Rd, Sloatsburg Movie: Summertime Directed By: Ed Burns Location: still around Beach 121 St, Queens (Rockaway) TV Series: Shades of Blue Stars: Jennifer Lopez Location: Tiffany St and Oak Point Avenue, Bronx TV..
I have two favorite contemporary filmmakers. In terms of mainstream commercial films, there is Pixar. For independent movies, there are the Coen brothers. Both are hugely successful in what they do, commercially and critically.
In this 1-week online course, we will analyze most of the movies the Coen brothers have written and directed including such memorable films as Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit.
Through extensive analysis and discussion, we will dig into six narrative dynamics that appear throughout Coen brothers movies, and enable you to use them to workshop your own original story.
Let’s face it: The Coen brothers have created some of the most distinctive, entertaining movies in the last two decades. They return to certain themes, tropes, memes and talismans like this one: The Howling Fat Man.
We will look at that minutia because… well, it’s just fun. However our focus will be on larger principles that are more applicable to our own writing.
Here is the lecture schedule [all written by me]:
Lecture 1: The Coen Brothers’ Narrative Legacy Lecture 2: Ordinary Character / Extraordinary Circumstance Lecture 3: The Long Shadow of Authority Figures Lecture 4: The Shiny Hope of Grand Schemes Lecture 5: The Dynamism of Violence Lecture 6: Morally Complicated Universe Lecture 7: Unresolved Endings
Plus I will share 6 practical storytelling tips gleaned from Coen brothers movies.
The class includes:
Seven lectures written by Scott Myers Six Coen brothers inspired storytelling tips Daily forum Q&As Workshop writing exercises with feedback A 75-minute live teleconference between instructor and class members
Movies written by Joel and Ethan Coen have been nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 4 times, and nominated for the Cannes Film Festival Palm D’Or 7 times, winning once.
Like Pixar, the Coen brothers have carved their own path and have proven themselves to be master storytellers.
I am excited to share storytelling insights I have learned from studying Coen brothers movies in this exciting 1-week online class providing insights you can use to elevate your own writing.
Consider joining me beginning Monday, May 22 for Coen Brothers and the Craft of Storytelling, a great way to learn principles, dynamics and techniques apparent in the movies of these fine filmmakers to upgrade your own story-crafting abilities.
As the Dude might say, “That’s fuckin’ ingenious, if I understand it correctly. It’s a Swiss fuckin’ watch.”
«This is what we got. It’s a bank job, and everybody’s gunna be going in on this one.» A trailer has arrived for a film titled The Mason Brothers, the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Keith Sutliff originally hailing from Tampa, Florida. The crime thriller is about a group of brothers + bank robbers who try to pull off a clean heist, but things go wrong. Starring Brandon Pearson, Matthew Webb, Michael Whelan, Julien Cesario, Chris Park, and Nazo Brava. It’s clear this is an homage to Tarantino and to Reservoir Dogs specifically, but it also seems to be inspired by Christopher Nolan’s films, too. Doesn’t look that good. ›››
Actress Cate Blanchett was originally going to make her feature directorial debut with The Dinner. Back in 2013, she signed on to direct screenwriter Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy) adaptation of Herman Koch‘s novel, “The Dinner.” Blanchett has directed in the theater, but never a film. She ultimately left the director’s chair, which then went to Moverman, who’s made some passionate dramas over the past couple of years, including Rampart and The Messenger.
Below, watch The Dinner trailer.
Richard Gere and Moverman worked together on the 2014 film, Time Out of Mind. They reunited for this adaptation, which also stars Steve Coogan (Philomena), Laura Linney (Nocturnal Animals), and Rebecca Hall (Christine) as a family having one intense dinner. Gere’s character, Stan Lohman, is running for Governor and has learned his and his brother’s sons have committed a terrible crime.
He wants to reveal the truth at a press conference, which will likely ruin his career. His brother and his wife (Linney), on the other hand, don’t want to see their son’s life ruined. Moverman describes the story as an “extraordinarily provocative, conscience-bending ride that takes on culturally relevant issues and turns them into an intricate menu of human passions and primal fears.”
Moverman’s films are commonly stacked with talent in front of the camera, and he typically gets great performances. These four actors at a dinner table, playing characters debating their lives and their sons’ lives and what happened, looks potentially thrilling. With that concept, these actors, and Moverman behind the camera, The Dinner has potential. The director’s stories often live in the gray. He can write challenging characters and scenarios, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say with Koch’s story about family and truth.
Here’s the synopsis:
Paul has no desire to go out to dinner with his brother Stan, a well-known politician, and his sister-in-law Barbara. But his wife Claire insists on him accompanying her. The couples meet at a hip restaurant but, in between each exquisite course, dark family secrets are brought out onto the table. The couples’ sons are responsible for a terrible crime — as yet undiscovered — and their parents must now decide how to deal with the situation. An argument soon ensues, since public disclosure would change the lives of each of them forever.
Everyone loves Super Bowl ads, but cinephiles are going to love them even more this year.
As of right now, the Patriots and the Falcons are still battling toward victory in Super Bowl LI, but if you’re like me, you’re much more interested in checking out the commercials. And this year is a good year for film fans, seeing as the Coen Brothers directed an ad for Mercedes-Benz that pays homage (or maybe spoofs) Dennis Hopper’s indie road movie, Easy Rider—the ad even stars Peter Fonda!
Check it out below:
The Coen’s ad, which features the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, has all the hallmarks of Hopper’s 1969 film, including Peter Fonda, who played Wyatt in the film, the Steppenwolf song «Born to be Wild,» choppers, and plenty of rough and tumble bikers.
Coen Brothers and Annapurna team on Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Annapurna Television is partnering with the Coen Brothers on a project called The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, a Western anthology. Annapurna intends to pursue an innovative television and theatrical integrated approach. Joel and Ethen Coen wrote the script and will direct the project.
The Coens will produce the project through their Mike Zoss Productions label. Ellison and Annapurna Television’s President of Television, Sue Naegle, will serve as Executive Producers.
“We are very excited to be working with Megan and Sue on this project,” commented Joel and Ethan Coen.
Cameron Beyl is a writer, director, and producer. One of his projects I’ve been tracking is his excellent “The Director Series: The Coen Brothers” and he just wrapped up the 7 part Vimeo series. Here are all of the videos:
Part 1: Murder & Mania
Part 2: The Postmodern Pictures
Part 3: The Break Out Classics
Part 4: An Odyssey Into Style
Part 5: The Screwball Scoundrels
Part 6: A Prestigious Pinnacle
Part 7: The Art of Commerce
Beyl goes through the Coen brothers’ entire opus of movies they have written and directed, so it’s comprehensive. It’s also quite insightful and comes from a storyteller’s perspective.