Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Let’s put it this way, BABY DRIVER is the only movie that I have seen (in theaters) twice this year. Edgar Wright’s newest, BABY (see what I did there?), is a high-speed joyride with a soundtrack that’s sure to keep you cruising well after the end credits have peeled out. Wright’s script is killer and his command is top-notch serving us first-class car chases that got me more hype than any Fast & Furious film ever has.

Ansel Elgort is magnetic as Baby, a getaway driver with tinnitus who drowns out the humming with a pair of earbuds, an ipod, and a playlist that moves our hero and the entire film. For those older than say 35, you might not be familiar with Elgort who has previously starred in a slew of young adult features (The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent series). Well, consider yourself introduced. Ansel, this is the world. The world, this is Ansel. I think Baby Driver has certainly created a new star, beyond the realm of YA.

The supporting cast ain’t half bad, either. One of my personal favorites, Kevin Spacey, plays heist leader/mastermind Doc with a perfected deadpan delivery. Baby is the only constant in Doc’s rotating roster of robbers due to a hefty debt for a past transgression. Having successfully completed so many jobs, Doc’s of the mind that Baby is his lucky charm and has no intention of granting him freedom. Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal, and Jamie Foxx round out the rest of the deliciously devious crew. Foxx gives a particularly memorable performance as Bats, a dangerous criminal with a thirst for money AND blood. Lily James is sweet as Debora, Baby’s love interest and his main motivation for leaving this life of crime in the dust.

BABY DRIVER has something for everyone. Fast cars, hot tracks, romance, guns, girls, guys, and more. I know it’s cliche, but THIS REALLY IS THE MOST FUN YOU’LL HAVE AT THE MOVIES THIS SUMMER. It’s a cinematic dream and one that puts you right in the drivers seat. Go see this movie in theaters right now.

Film: Baby Driver
Runtime: 113 mins
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Director: Edgar Wright
Rating: R
Ry View: Highly RYcommended

The Beguiled

It’s no surprise that Sofia Coppola took home the Best Director prize at this years Cannes Film Festival. Everyone is framed beautifully, like old paintings of life in the Antebellum south. And every ensemble scene is staged as if Annie Leibovits herself were there to shoot the cast for a Vanity Fair cover spread.

THE BEGUILED is based on the book of the same name and the retelling of the 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer. It’s a southern gothic tale of an injured Union soldier named John (Colin Farrell) being taken in by the women of The Miss Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. The school is run by Martha Farnworth (Nicole Kidman) and houses five female students and one other teacher.  John’s arrival is the match to these candles awaiting a spark. He’s charming, handsome, and the most exciting thing that’s happened to this school since before the start of the Civil War three years prior. A quiet competition for John’s favor begins between the girls; and we all know what happens when there isn’t enough Colin Farrell to go around!

The always wonderful Nicole Kidman brings a sturdiness to her performance as the clear and controlled Miss Farnsworth. Every breathy line she speaks is with purpose. Kidman has a way of making even the silliest lines like “Bon appetite” so delicious you’ll be savoring them. Kirsten Dunst is a complacent school teacher who has been with the girls for too long and with no end in sight. Dunst is great at playing up the sad, lonely Edwina who tries to hide her peaked interest in their house guest. But she has some competition from one of her students, the pretty Alicia (Elle Fanning). Colin Farrell wears the shoes previously filled by Clint Eastwood and seems to be having a marvelous time as John the wounded soldier (then again who wouldn’t love a sponge bath from Nicole Kidman).

I found THE BEGUILED to be a lot funnier than expected. I went in with thoughts of a beautiful, dark period drama, but left the theatre having given a couple of the heartiest belly laughs I have had in a while. This film is definitely not the show stopping summer event that we become accustomed to between May and September. THE BEGUILED’s magic lies within the mood set by Sofia Coppola and shot by Philippe Le Sourd. The performances are set to simmer and it’s all topped off with a score of swishing dresses, chirping crickets, and creaking floorboards that put us right in the action…er story.

Film: The Beguiled
Runtime: 93 mins
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning
Director: Sofia Coppola
Rating: R
Ry View: RYcommended

It Comes at Night

IT COMES AT NIGHT isn’t right for all audiences, but for the right audience it’s perfect. If you’re a fan of the kind of unnerving horror that emerges from a fear of the unknown, this one is for you. Director Trey Edward Shults is a master at making the audience feel simply uncomfortable. Although, this fear Shults evokes is simple I would not say it is easy or without complexity. A skilled storyteller is required.

The movie opens in a post-apocalyptic world where an epidemic is wiping out the population, clean food and water are at a minimum, and it’s every family for themselves. Paul, his wife Sarah, their son Travis, and Stanley the family pet have just had their own health and safety called into question when Bud, the eldest (Sarah’s father) has contracted the deadly virus. The family does what is necessary. They move forward with life inside an old farm home they have secured into a safe haven from the sickness lurking beyond the woods they inhabit. When a desperate young man arrives in the middle of night, in search of water and protection for his own family, Paul and co. are faced with a tough decision. Will they be stronger together? Or will paranoia and fear tear them apart?

The fantastic cast is headlined by Joel Edgerton, who gives another masterfully restrained performance as Paul. In fact, restraint seems to be this films greatest asset. Shults focuses in on a smaller slice of a potentially larger story and it’s affects on the everyman. It’s a welcomed veering-off from the crowded zombie genre or tales of the fearless saving the world. I look forward to more from this filmmaker.

Runtime: 94 mins
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott
Dir.: Trey Edward Shults
Rating: R
Ry View: RYcommended