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Does ‘Cocaine Bear’ live up to the promise of its title?


Hello! I’m Mark Olsen. Welcome to another edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies.

Bruce Lee Tribute. The UCLA Film and Television Archive will screen on Saturday “The Way of the Intercepting Fist”, a 1971 television show (featuring the original commercials!) that was an important showcase for actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. Also on the program for the evening is a 35mm Technicolor print of ‘Enter The Dragon’, Lee’s last completed film before his death in July 1973. Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee will be on hand for a Q&A between screenings.

Paul Mescal and ‘Aftersun.’ One of my favorite movies from last year was the heartbreaking “Aftersun,” the feature debut of writer-director Charlotte Wells. (It was so nice to have her with us Envelope board this year.) One of the film’s co-stars, Oscar nominee Paul Mescal, will be seen on the Aero Theater of the American Cinematheque on Tuesday, February 28 for a post-movie Q&A moderated by Vanity Fair’s David Canfield. The event is sold out, but there should be a standby line if you’re feeling adventurous.

Alison Willmore of Vulture wrote a beautiful overview of Mescal’s career, from his breakthrough role in ‘Normal People’ and noting, ‘What sets him apart isn’t so much his looks as the intoxicating combination of those looks with a touch of sensitivity that can’t be counted on in the men he plays actually wear. He’s got a knack for playing one of the boys while challenging you to believe he’s more than that. Other heartthrobs may exude swagger or sex, but Mescal exudes something even more devastating: the irresistible promise of eventual disappointment.

Mescal recently spoke to Daniel Vaillancourt for The Envelope, in an interview that took place barely an hour after Mescal stepped offstage at a London production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The 27-year-old actor said he’s trying to enjoy his first Oscar nomination as much as possible: “Because I highly doubt I’m going to win it.”

Mescal also posed for this truly beautiful portrait.

Paul Mescal at the A24 offices in West Hollywood.

(JJ Geiger / For The Times)

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‘Cocaine Bear’

Directed by Elizabeth Banks from a screenplay by Jimmy Warden (starring Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, among others), the title of “Cocaine Bear” pretty much sells itself. You either participate or you don’t. Loosely based on a 1985 incident where a wild bear ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine in the woods, the film centers on a drug dealer (Ray Liotta), his son (Alden Ehrenreich) and a missing bag of cocaine, ingested by said bear on a rampage. hit. The cast includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Matthew Rhys and Brooklynn Prince. The film is now playing in cinemas.

For The Times, Justin Chang wrote: “What if, instead of simply putting on pounds (as in 1985), the bear had embarked on a murderous, coke-fuelled rampage, driven by a hunger for not just sinewy human flesh (although there is enough of it), but for another whiff of that sugary, sweet powder? Nasty, brutish, and sniffling, ‘Cocaine Bear’ delivers an extremely gory and amusingly speculative response. …Whether or not audiences form rules for ‘Cocaine Bear’ , it’s hard to completely dismiss a mainstream horror comedy that offers a nice array of sharp and creepy, at least until it takes a disappointing turn for soft and cuddly You’ve seen worse new movies in February, maybe even February .”

For the New York Times, Jason Zinoman wrote: “At its best, ‘Cocaine Bear’ has the feel of an inside joke. It consistently invites you to laugh about it. The producers are clearly intent on catching the lightning in a bottle that capped “M3gan” earlier this year, another all-purpose horror comedy whose slick special effects elevated the B-movie’s conceit. …As fun (‘Cocaine Bear’) can be – an ambulance chase scene makes up for a few memorized scares – there are often hints of a better one in it. The best version is raw, borderline comedy, the kind they supposedly don’t make anymore. Banks seems to get away with some dizzying, dangerous moments, like a scene where two young teens try to use cocaine. It gets a few laughs, but leaves many more on the table.

For the Hollywood reporter, Lovia Gyarkye wrote: “Elizabeth Banks’ highly anticipated adventure ‘Cocaine Bear’ deals with the ‘what if’ of the case. What if the bear encountered humans before it died? What if there were witnesses to his bloodthirsty addiction? What if it was a mother, and a symbol of humanity’s idiotic hubris in the natural world? Don’t be put off by that last question – as intoxicating and philosophical as it may seem – because the movie doesn’t dwell on it for too long: ‘Cocaine Bear’ isn’t about sacrificing antics for a greater cause. It strives for maximum entertainment, reveling in farces and grisly murders to create an experience that will keep you on your toes, even if the details become murky on closer inspection.

For the Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “The Cocaine Bear from ‘Cocaine Bear’ obviously doesn’t die within 20 minutes of ‘Cocaine Bear’. Screenwriter Jimmy Warden has instead found a way to milk the joke without necessarily disrespecting the real animal at the center of the story. Here the bear is transformed into nature’s avenging angel, tearing people apart the way someone drunk would demolish a McNuggets Sharebox after a night out. Cocaine Bear, who is a Mrs. Cocaine Bear here, really is the heroine of our story. She’s Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo for the age of internet memes. … There is a delicate but largely invisible balancing act at work in ‘Cocaine Bear’. For every daring joke there is a touch of sincerity.”

a bear

A scene from ‘Cocaine Bear’.

(Universal images)

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Written and directed by Matthew J. Saville in his feature film debut, “Juniper Berry” Set in 1990s New Zealand, 17-year-old Sam (George Ferrier) finds himself forced to help care for his ailing grandmother Ruth (Charlotte Rampling), a former war photographer, as the two begin to appreciate each other. . The film is now playing in cinemas.

For The Times, Gary Goldstein wrote: “The well-acted, well-meaning family drama ‘Juniper’ is inspired by the true experiences of Matthew J. Saville, the first feature writer and director. So why doesn’t it feel richer and more lived-in? … The film, strikingly shot by Marty Williams, comes together in a more sentimental, mainstream fashion than most of what precedes the crowd-pleasing conclusion. The result, while not an unsatisfying way to knock us out, doesn’t feel adequately deserved.

For the New York Times, Beatrice Loayza wrote: “Matthew J. Saville’s feature debut is half coming of age, half swan song, anchored in a process of intergenerational bonding. … Ruth and Sam never really spent time together – and the first few days are particularly rough, filled with barbs and shattered glasses. As might be expected, their relationship softens, but the film nevertheless retains some of its prickly charm, in no small part due to the feisty Rampling, whose Ice Queen persona here straddles bone-dry humor and scathing tragedy.

For the Guardian, Cath Clarke wrote: “You can see exactly where this is going from the start. Ruth and Sam – each enraged at the world – creep towards friendship and a sense of peace. While new feature director Matthew J Saville won’t win any awards for originality, he’s made an emotionally satisfying film. It’s beautifully acted with insightful things to say about how alcoholism and dysfunction echo unhappily through the generations.

a man, on the left, watches an elderly woman as they sit in a car

George Ferrier and Charlotte Rampling in the movie ‘Juniper’.

(Greenwich Entertainment)

‘Cinema Sabaya’

Written and directed by Orit Fouks Rotem, “Cinema Sabaya” was Israel’s entry for the Oscar for International Feature Film, although it was not nominated, and won five awards at the Israeli Ophir Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. In the film, a group of Arab and Jewish women attend a video workshop taught by a young filmmaker (Dana Ivgy) and may soon discover that their differences are not as stark as they thought. The film is now playing in cinemas.

For The Times, Robert Abele wrote: “As creation and conversation enable women to move beyond recognized differences – about divorce, sexuality, raising children, even what language to speak (mainly Hebrew, with Arabic interspersed throughout) – and to friendship , the teacher’s dream is also bared. It leads to the film’s final, refreshingly necessary, ethical conversation: When it comes to art, storytelling, and empowerment, how do you reconcile private and public?”

For the New York Times, Beatrice Loayza wrote: “The elephant in the room is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its prejudices, which come to the fore during a heated session in which the effervescent Eti (Orit Samuel), a middle-aged Jewish woman, confesses her fear of Islamic terrorists. The workshop is ultimately a unity exercise, based on the banal axiom that conversation breeds compassion. It’s not an unwelcome reminder, and Rotem’s organic approach remains far from icky idealism, but the conclusions feel worn out nonetheless. Talking helps, of course, but getting people in the same room is too often fiction.”

For Variety, Alissa Simon wrote, “Without any context, some viewers may think the film is a documentary because it feels so organic and naturalistic, with complex, well-rounded characters. Rotem got extra authenticity by rewriting her characters when she found her cast. In some cases she even incorporated elements from the actors’ life stories. In addition, she did not insist that the performers (some of whom are pros) speak her dialogue verbatim, but let them interpret the intent behind the lines and say it in their own words. Give me these women who talk about Sarah Polley’s every day.

a bunch of women stand behind cameras behind a projector in a room with linoleum floors

A scene from ‘Cinema Sabaya’

(Kino Lorber)

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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