Esther McCarthy and Sarina Bellissimo reviews the Disaster Artist, Stronger, Song of Granite and Brigsby Bear
"Brigsby Bear Adventures” is James’(Kyle Mooney) favourite TV show, unbeknownst to him, made for his eyes only. When the adventures come to a sudden end, James life is forever changed. How will he let go of Brigsby and connect to his new life? Can Brigsby, and James’ quest to see how Brigsby’s adventure ends, be the tool that brings everything in his life together?
The start of the theme tune to the fictional TV series “Brigsby Bear Adventure” is the perfect summation of this wonderful film. “There’s magic and wonders and mysteries in store. A hero whose mission is to learn and explore. He’s daring and caring and oh so much more. It’s Brigsby Bear.”
“Brigsby Bear” is such a wonderful heart warming film. It is an adventure in film making, creativity, embracing your passion and being you. Differences can often scare people, but it is these differences which make the world an interesting place and often enrich other people’s lives.
In what has been a lacklustre year at the cinema, it is films like “Brigsby Bear” that remind us what a wonderful place the world of cinema can be. When you let creativity and originality reign supreme – a thing of beauty can arise.
Stronger tells the true story of Jeff Bauman, the man who became the reluctant hero, the symbol of hope and true definition of “Boston Strong” after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Often, exceptional true stories such as this one can fall victim to the Hollywood schmaltzy treatment - not “Stronger”. True to it’s name it is a strong and inspirational film that tells Jeff’s story, warts and all.
It doesn’t shy away from the fact that while Jeff is loveable, he isn’t always reliable. While his life has changed dramatically for him as a result of losing both of his legs, it doesn’t mean he can’t be selfish, ego centric, unreliable and frustrating to be around at times.
It goes without saying that this film is completely reliant on the portrayal of Jeff for it to work. If not done right, it would feel more like a made for TV movie. There is no fear of that when Jake Gyllenhaal is involved. He is outstanding! Can someone give this man an Oscar already?! He does not play the disability, he plays the man - the way his disability has affected him, not defined him.
Gyllenhaal is brilliantly supported by Tatian Maslany, who plays Jeff’s girlfriend Erin Hurley and Miranda Richardson, who is Jeff’s mum, Patty Bauman.
David Gordon Green has done a great job of keeping the focus on Jeff’s road to recovery. Where another director may have been tempted to sensationalise the events and include gratuitous shots of the bombing – he has stayed away from that. Using the events, to tell Jeff’s story not to manipulate the audience’s emotions.
“Stronger” is an inspiring story which will no doubt be represented at the 2018 Academy Awards.
The Disaster Artist
The Disaster Artist (15A) *****
The Stars: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie.
The Story: The true story behind one of the best worst movies ever made.
THE MANIC, unhinged delight that is The Disaster Artist tells the mad story of how a project called The Room became what is often called ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies’. That this film unfolds with the same crazy energy as the story it’s telling is a real joy.
But there's something sweet and heartfelt also about the tale of Tommy Wiseau, a man of unspecified wealth who dared to dream big. Despite claiming to grow up in New Orleans, Tommy has an accent every bit as unconventional as his appearance.
After forming a close alliance with wannabe actor Greg (Dave Franco) - and getting dismissed from one audition too many - the duo decide to finance and make their own film. The result is 2003’s The Room, which is so wonderfully bad it’s become something of a cult classic.
This film charts the project’s troubled development in beautifully funny detail, and there are more belly laughs than in any more mainstream comedy I’ve seen this year.
Full kudos to James Franco, a man who knows all about patchy roles but utterly redeems himself here. He is brilliant as Tommy (wait for the closing credits to see how good) and, as director, has also succeeded in capturing the funny and sweet essence of this most unusual story.
The Verdict: A wacky delight.
Song of Granite
Song of Granite (G) ****
IF YOU see one black and white Irish-language movie about sean-nos music this year, make it director Pat Collins’ stunning looking and evocative new film.
Song of Granite tells the story of Irish sean-nos singer Joe Heaney, who grew up immersed in the culture in Connemara before bringing the singing tradition to America as one of its most revered talents.
Told in Gaelic with subtitles and English, Collins’ drama builds a portrait of a natural talent but also a complex and enigmatic man.
Like his previous film, Silence, it unfolds at an almost deliberately slow pace, but builds in a powerful manner. It’s as much a film about the Irish emigrant story as it is about the music, and is a unique and memorable piece of work.