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Good Time: Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Good Time (2017) movie poster Good Time

Theatrical Release: August 11, 2017 / Running Time: 101 Minutes / Rating: R

Directors: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie / Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie

Cast: Robert Pattinson (Connie Nikas), Benny Safdie (Nickolas Nikas), Buddy Duress (Ray), Taliah Lennice Webster (Crystal), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Corey Ellman), Barkhad Abdi (Dash the Park Security Guard), Necro (Caliph), Peter Verby (Peter the Psychiatrist), Saida Mansoor (Agapia Nikas), Gladys Mathon (Annie), Rose Gregorio (Loren Ellman), Eric Paykert (Eric the Bail Bondsman)

Buy Good Time from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD DVD Instant Video

Having an acting career beyond a big role in a big franchise seemed a legitimate challenge for a while. Mark Hamill is the poster child for this plight, having starred in three blockbuster Star Wars movies, then largely vanished until he found a calling in voice acting. He's back this week with his first lead role in over thirty years and it is almost certain to become the biggest film of the year. Nonetheless, that's not really the ideal career path for those associated with franchises.

Daniel Radcliffe has taken some chances to exist beyond Harry Potter. Jennifer Lawrence has shown she's more than Katniss. Taylor Lautner, Jacob Black in the Twilight Saga? Not so much. Lautner's fellow Twilighters are continuing to act and make waves, though. Kristen Stewart has been in celebrated indie films and Robert Pattinson has been going the same route, working with the likes of David Cronenberg to minimal commercial impact but some nice critical marks. Pattinson earned some raves for his performance in Good Time, a small late summer crime drama whose profile he raised. Good Time hails from Benny and Josh Safdie, the directors of Daddy Longlegs and Heaven Knows What. And though you probably have neither heard of those two movies nor seen them, Good Time just might inspire you to go back and check them out.

Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a Queens, New York hustler determined to get his mentally handicapped, hearing impaired brother Nick (Benny Safdie, one of the directors) free from uncomfortable therapy. Connie busts Nick out of a session and then donning masks that make them look like African-Americans, the two brothers rob a bank for thousands of dollars, hoping to get out of this place. While the robbery goes as planned, a paint pack explodes and the brothers run into some trouble that places them on the run.

Needing more money to pail his brother's bail, Connie ends up breaking another incarcerated associate out of a hospital (). The two go on a strange journey that brings them to an amusement park after dark and beyond, as Connie tries to do anything he can to free his brother.

Good Time establishes itself as unusual cinema early and often. The opening scene zooms in on Nick and his ordinary yet taxing psychiatry session. The film's title appears several minutes in, with a copyright notice below like movies of yore. Cast and crew credits do not start appearing until nearly 18 minutes in and continue to do so until past the 22-minute mark. The pulsing score and immersion in a world establishes the Safdies as not wanting to hold the hands of the people watching their movies. The film is raw, exciting, and unpredictable, about as far removed from Pattinson's signature franchise as you can get in America.

For his willingness to work with original filmmakers and not just cash in fame for a big payday, Pattinson led this little movie to a domestic gross of just over $2 million, which is still more than his two Cronenberg films earned combined. Good Time reinforces Pattinson's credibility as an actor, not a heartthrob and the movie drew extremely good reviews on its way to six nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards. The film is too unusual to crash any bigger awards shows, but it deserves a look nonetheless.

VIDEO and AUDIO

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Extras begin with an audio commentary by Robert Pattinson (who is somehow not listed on the case as a selling point!), writer/director Josh Safdie, director/editor/actor Benny Safdie, actors Buddy Duress and Taliah Lennice Webster, and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard. As you can imagine, that group track is full of spirited conversation and the screen-specific chat flows on topics from casting (and recasting, with Eric Roberts originally performing the part of the bail bondsman) to masks to filming in real New York locations to licensing "COPS" and being unable to license a SpongeBob SquarePants comic book. It's a more enjoyable listen than most new commentaries 2017 have supplied.

On the video side, we get "The Pure and the Damned: Good Time" (18:12), a making-of featurette that focuses largely on the casting (like Safdie casting himself to play a character they developed years earlier) and filming in New York.

Finally, there is a music video for "The Pure and the Damned" (4:43) by Oneohtrtix Point Never featuring Iggy Pop. It features a disturbing, crudely-animated CG Iggy Pop singing shirtless outside a house and amidst original clips of Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, and a hyena. It's a bizarre video which would benefit from a commentary but gets no such luxury here.

The menu loops the solemn piano music of "The Pure and the Damned" over all kinds of silent clips from the film.

Trailers repeats the disc-opening full previews for Woodshock, A Ghost Story, The Rover, It Comes at Night, and American Honey.

A Digital HD insert accompanies the full-color disc inside the slipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Good Time is something many will call a "hidden gem" and that's accurate. This distinctive, immersive crime drama is one to see. Lionsgate's Blu-ray earns strong marks for its
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