Lady Bird (2017)

★★★★★

I find it difficult to think that I will discover a film this year that I will love more than Lady Bird. How it came at the right time in my life, wanting to break away from my home after college; applying to universities in cities that just really want to live in. It was almost as if Greta Gerwig was tapping into my own psyche while writing this movie.

Other than just the more personal connection I felt to the story. You don’t have to be a senior in High School worrying about your future to enjoy this movie. If you like coming-of-age movies and comedies, Lady Bird will not disappoint. The opening scene immediately grabs you in (not spoiling anything though), making you pay attention and laugh at the fiery and rebellious nature that Cynthia “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) emits. Her journey through the last year of high school is one trek that most of us will or have made at some point in our lives.

As far as Gerwig’s direction went, at some points of the movie I was getting a bit of a Wes Anderson vibe from certain shots. Which is not an insult but, I found it as an interesting stylistic decision on her part. I think Noah Baumbach, gave her helpful lessons on directing and she utilized them in a movie that shot-wise has no problems.

Lady Bird is one of the strongest directorial debuts I have seen in this decade. It makes me look forward to what Gerwig’s directing future will have to offer. With her Husband, Noah Baumbach being a great director as well, I look forward to seeing how they will both inspire each other through their separate directing careers.

 

It Comes at Night (2017)

★★★½

After watching Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes at Night I would recommend watching something to boost your spirits as well as trust in the human race. Because It Comes at Night is the most disturbing film I have seen all year.

It Comes at Night is a horror film but not in the traditional sense of the genre. Shults makes sure to not give any exposition on the universe surrounding the movie because it does not need to be stated. Instead, we need to figure out what is going on for ourselves. Shults sets the world with great camerawork and very well let scenes.

As far as acting, Joel Edgerton is the best of the small cast of characters. Riley Keough was not as good as she was in other films, like Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and American Honey (2016) and Will (Christopher Abbot) had a rocky start at the beginning but his acting improved by the end of the film.

As far as pacing is concerned, the film is paced incredibly well until the end of the film where everything unravels so unbelievably quickly. (This could have been the purpose of the film however, so when re-watched this gripe could be laid to rest). The beginning opens slowly as it has to setup what is going on without confusing the viewer. But it really does not take long for things to start picking up.

It Comes at Night is hard to write about because it is an experience that I would not want to ruin by giving too much information away. It is an excellent movie that feels almost like a short film turned into a full-length picture.

Free Fire (2017)

★★★★

What makes Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire so damn good is the use of sound in the movie. I knew exactly what angle the bullets were coming from in the theater. What we also get is a gritty, violent, action flick based in 1970s Boston.

While the conflict begins to arise quite quickly it never feels poorly paced. It is actually quite the opposite. The 90 minute run-time is the perfect amount for the plot to keep you interested while confined in one place for the whole movie. It is gripping to watch the characters slowly move from cover to cover while in the lengthy shootout and that is a hard thing to achieve for over one hour.

The soundtrack of Free Fire is the beautiful sound of bullets being fired from all directions. The lack of music in many scenes improves the movie all for the better and the addition of John Denver at some points makes it even better, as well as a funky saxophone.

What’s odd is that Brie Larson has now been in two movies released back to back that take place in the 70s. The other film I am talking about it of course Kong: Skull Island (2017). Both have good period set designs but Free Fire would remind most of the aesthetic and color palette of 2016’s The Nice Guys. Another film set in the same decade as the latter two. The combination of yellow and brown just seems to fit the era well.

Free Fire is another great addition to A24’s ever-growing plethora of great films to choose from. What other film has numerous actors wear fake facial hair as well as polyester suits and makes you want to listen to John Denver on your car ride back from the cinema?