Entries in Margot Robbie (2)

Monday
Jul292019

DOUBLE TROUBLE // A FILM REVIEW OF "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD"

BY MATEO MORENO

Quentin Tarantino’s film career has spanned several different genres, made old stars new stars again (Hello Travolta, Hello Forster) and made the film soundtrack very cool again. For his 9th (give or take) film, he jumps back into the backlots of Hollywood 1969, right around the Manson murders. But it’s not so much about the murders. It’s really about the way life was around the Manson era. The way Hollywood was a dancing, bright and flashy, violent scene to be in. Tarantino is one of the masters of finding scenarios that have been done over and over and exploring them differently, making them look different through his lenses. And he does exactly that in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, his glorious new ‘ode to Motion Pictures, and the troubles that surround it.

There’s a duel story being told here: one of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCarprio), a famous TV gunslinger whose career is starting to dry up, and his long-time stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick wants to reclaim the feeling of his glory days but doesn’t quite know how to do it. Cliff hasn’t been a full-time stunt double in years, so he’s also become Rick’s driver, and he loves it. Taking him from place to place. Though the two of them are close friends, they are complete opposites. Rick is an emotional roller coaster, drinking his way through his sadness, while nothing at all seems to bother Cliff: he’s cool as a cucumber. Rumors abound the film, especially around Cliff, who is rumored to have killed his wife and got away with it; a flashback scene smartly plays up the moment in question without a resolution.

The film plays with time and a distorted reality, sometimes feeling like a film within a film. Whose reality are we watching? Why is there sometimes narration, and if we see an image of the past, like a scene between Cliff and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), are we to believe it exactly, or is it simply a Point of View memory? Worlds do start to come together, as Rick now finds himself next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Cliff starts seeing Mason girls just wandering around the bus stops. However, the most fascinating part of these moments is that we don’t end up following them to the Ranch. We stay with Cliff and Rick, and only when their paths decide to cross into that world, do we explore it.

The movie bursts with small details of old Hollywood and has long sequences that play out perfectly, not necessarily moving along the plot, but adding a ton of character depth (such is the sequence with Rick and a young child co-star on a film set). Where the film goes, it takes it’s time getting to, and that’s one of the reasons to love this film. It feels just like and nothing like a Tarantino film at the same time. Every shot is there for a reason, and it’s all building to…well, I won’t spoil it in any way. But know that it’s a thrilling, nostalgic ride that only he can do. So, stick out your thumb. Hitch a ride. Take a look. You won’t know what you’re missing unless you take a look.

MATEO'S GRADE: A

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Quentin Tarantino.  STARRING Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Mike Moh, Kurt Russell, Tomothy Olyphant. Now playing in cinemas.

 

Wednesday
May012019

"DREAMLAND" // TRIBECA 2019 FILM FESTIVAL

BY MATEO MORENO

Director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte's new Dustbowl Era Western drama DREAMLAND is now playing at the Tribeca Film Festival and is a dreamy, thrilling nod to all of the Westerns that came before it. We are led into the film by a voice over, performed here by an unseen Lola Kirke, as Phoebe Evans. She's looking back at her life 20 years ago and telling us about the unforgettable drought filled Summer that was also marked by the sudden appearance of a bank robber, fugitive Allison Wells (Margot Robbie). Her half-brother Eugene's (Finn Cole) father disappeared and his mother remarried Phoebe's father. Eugene spends his days messing around town with a friend and stealing dime store Detective Stories, dreaming of placing himself into one someday. Well, that day comes sooner than he though with the appearance of Allison Wells. The Sherriff announces a bounty for anyone who can catch the fugitive, and since his family desperately needs the money, he decides to find her himself. Unbeknownst to him, Allison has hidden herself in his family’s barn and desperately needs some medical attention from a gunshot wound in her leg. He finds her, and she immediately disputes the claim that she's a killer, while fully acknowledging that she did indeed rob that bank. Is she lying to get him to trust her, playing him like a fiddle? Or is she a girl who truly needs someone to hear the truth? Either way, he falls under her spell and they launch into their very own Detective Story.

 

Cinematographer Lyle Vincent shoots the film with a poetic beauty and it truly is a stunning film to behold. The two leads are dynamic throughout, grasping onto a strong chemistry between them. Margot Robbie plays her bank robber with a mysterious grace, never allowing Allison to be a simple cut and dry character. She's a complicated mess and shines every time she's on screen. Finn Cole, fresh from Peaky Blinders, is equally great here, playing Eugene with a striking innocence that is undercut slowly as the film moves along with the burning sensation that his life needs to be more than it is. Darby Camp, as the young version of Phoebe, plays the childlike innocence perfectly and is consistently believable. As the parents, Travis Fimmel is a complex man, full of intensity and rage yet you feel that there's something hiding behind all that anger. And Kerry Condon turns in a strong supporting performance as Eugene's doting and caring Mother.

 

DREAMLAND is a stunning throwback film, one that moves with an intended ease, letting the tension, mystery, and romance sneak in at its own pace. You may not want to live in this town, but you'll be glad that you drove through it.

 

GRADE: A-
WRITTEN BY Nicolaas Zwart DIRECTED BY Miles Joris-Peyrafitte STARRING Margot Robbie, Finn Cole, Travis Fimmel, Kerry Condon, Garrett Hedlund, Darby Camp. Playing as part of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. For more information: http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/dreamland-2019