Ben is Back reviews

Big Magilla
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Re: Ben is Back reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:24 am

Looking forward to seeing Ben Is Back - it is Is, not is, is being a verb, not a preposition.

Peter Hedges is primarily a writer (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, About a Boy), not a visual artist which could explain why cinematography is not a strong component of the films he has directed, but Dan in Real Life and even The Odd Life of Timothy Green were more visually interesting than Pieces of April which was his first film as a director, a sign that he has learned from his early mistakes.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

The Original BJ
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Re: Ben is Back reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:25 am

After seeing this and Beautiful Boy within a three week period, I've definitely had my fill of films about young drug addicts and their concerned parents for a while. I do think this is a stronger movie than Beautiful Boy, mainly because it has far more narrative drive, and tackles subject matter that feels a bit fresher, mainly the ways in which having an addict in the family can cause all sorts of collateral damage not only within one household, but throughout an entire town. (The fact that it's a film about addiction with barely any actual drug use in it also helps make it feel like not just the same old thing).

I also think it's interesting any time a movie basically shifts genres halfway through, and this one essentially goes from a family drama to a dark-night-of-the-soul thriller at about the midpoint. I can't say I thought this shift was entirely successful -- sometimes the movie seems to be trying to goose the audience with suspense by having characters behave in a not entirely believable manner. But the fact that the narrative is so compact -- the whole film takes place over the course of a day -- allows it to accumulate in power, culminating in a final scene that feels pretty close to perfect. (Visually it's pretty drab, though -- I was actually shocked to see that The Piano's Stuart Dryburgh was credited as the DP -- though I'm reminded that Peter Hedges's earlier film Pieces of April looked pretty hideous.)

Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges make for a strong team, with both getting powerful moments. But overall this feels like the kind of tiny/not-quite-excellent-enough movie that bubbles just under Oscar attention without actually breaking through to get it.

Mister Tee
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Ben is Back reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:12 pm

And when was the last time we discussed Julia Roberts as a best actress candidate? ... 202933725/ ... ew-1141218

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