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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 20th 2024

“Rebel in the Rye”

“Rebel in the Rye”(2017)

*** out of five

Black Label Media, Biography/Drama

What is more joyful for a writer than to have his or her essay or novel published? Probably the reward of making a living at it or, at least, attaining some award for the efforts. In the world of J.D. Salinger (like many famous writers) success will not come easy, only great persistence pushes forward to that goal of being published. As for the young J.D.

Salinger (Nicholas Hoult, “ About a Boy” [2002], “A Single Man” [2009], “X-Man: Days of Future Past” [2014], “X-Man: Apocalypse” [2016]) he almost sinks his own ambitions as a writer after being did-missed from NYU (New York University) and a few other universities before being accepted at Columbia. At Columbia, he has an extroverted professor Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey) who sees a terrific talent below the young man”'s stubbornness.

Burnett becomes Salinger”'s mentor and promoter as the latter is faced with his father Sol Salinger”'s (Victor Garber) objections about his son making writing a career. It”'s not long before Burnett and the upcoming writer begin to have disagreements over content and more. But what emerges out of Jerry”'s (J.D. Salinger) great imagination is the main character for his early writings and in his future great novel “Catcher In the Rye”, is Holden Caulfield.

Jerry goes off to fight in World War II only to come home in  1945 a completely different man. Gone are the days when he liked attending dances to swing music; gone are the days when spent time with friends. What he sees during the war such as his good friend dying before his eyes, his attack on Utah beach on D-Day and aiding survivors from a Nazi concentration camp are too much to bear. In a psychological mess, to an extent, he goes on to write his masterpiece, “Catcher In the Rye”, published in 1951. First time director Danny Strong explores Salinger”'s slide into reclusion.

What I draw from this biopic is it at times unduly superficial such as wartime scenes scant and a better movie would have explored more on the portrayal of Mr. Salinger. Nicholas Hoult gives a decent performance in spite of a mediocre voiceover.

“Catcher In the Rye” has been (and still is) tens of millions of people and translated into over 30 languages. (PG-13) Running time: 106 minutes. Director: Danny Strong. Cast: Sahah Paulson (Dorothy Olding), Nicholas Hoult (J.D. Salinger), Kevin Spacey (Whit Burnett), Victor Garber (Sol Salinger), Eric Bogosian (Harold Ross).

“Good Time”(2017) 

**** and 1/2 out of five stars

Rhea Films, Elara Pictures

“Good Time” is about as ironic a title for a thriller as possible in cinema. To say “Good Time” is just another conventional thriller is an overstatement. But it”'s not an overstatement to say Robert Pattinson, the principal actor (or one of two actors) has transformed himself completely from his role as “sweet” vampire in the “ Twilight Trilogy” (2010), to The Lost City of Z” (2017),”Queen of the Desert”(2017) to “Good Time”.

Connie (Robert Pattinson) and his brother Nick Benny Safdie) Nikas try to rob a bank but botch it up. The police pursue the robbers and are able to catch Nick (the mentally handicapped one) while Connie escapes. Nick is sent to Rickes Island and is under the care of a psychiatrist (Peter Verby). “Good Time” remains me of Sidney Lumet”'s” Dog Day Afternoon” (1975) where Al Pacino”'s character becomes obsessed with achieving his goal–rightly or wrongly.

Connie attempts to yank his brother from the hospital only to grab the wrong man, Ray (Buddy Duress). The two men wander into Adventureland and other places, places they haven”'t been before. Cast: Robert Pattinson (Connie Nikas), Benny Safdie (Nick Nikas), Jennifer Jason Lee (Corey Ellman), Peter Verrby (Psychiatrist), Barkhad Abdi (Dash Security Guard). Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie. Running time: 101 minutes.

Howard McQuitter II is a Loring Park Neighborhood Resident

CORRECTION: Robert Mitchum Tribute in The Alley Newspaper Sept 2017 Page 10 was written by Howard McQuitter II.

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