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Pottersville (2017) Review

Time: 84 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Michael Shannon as Maynard Greiger
Judy Greer as Parker
Ron Perlman as Sheriff Jack
Thomas Lennon as Brock Masterson
Christina Hendricks as Connie Greiger
Ian McShane as Bart
Director: Seth Henrikson

Maynard (Michael Shannon) is a beloved local businessman who is mistaken for the legendary Bigfoot during an inebriated romp through town in a makeshift gorilla costume. The sightings set off an international Bigfoot media spectacle and a windfall of tourism dollars for a simple American town hit by hard times.

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I saw Pottersville out of morbid curiosity when it came onto a Netflix. It seemed to be a movie that would never ever exist, like a Saturday Night Live skit or one of those fake trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder with a cast including Michael Shannon and Ron Perlman in a movie about Bigfoot which happens to be a light hearted comedic film set around Christmas time. Everything from the posters to the trailer seemed completely fake, but it turns out it is real, someone really made this movie. Having seen it, I have to say that it really caught me off guard by how much I had fun with it. Not that it’s a good movie, it’s far from that. But it was such a weird movie to watch and had such bizarre moments that I couldn’t help but enjoy the randomness.

All the plot synopsises may say that Pottersville is about Michael Shannon getting drunk, dressing up like a sasquatch and the town the next morning believes that Bigfoot is a thing. But what they don’t tell you is that in this movie, Michael Shannon gets drunk and dresses up because he found out that his wife played by Christina Hendricks is having an affair with Ron Perlman and they are both furries. And they are in a club of furries in the town. So that’s pretty much the plot. I found myself finding unintentional funny moments more hilarious than the intentionally funny moments. However, to be honest, I’m wondering whether the ‘unintentionally funny’ moments was actually meant to be funny. When you see Ron Perlman say how he’s a furry and how he’s proud of it, it makes you wonder how self aware the people working on the movie were. It’s not like a studio movie, and at times it feels like there was some actual passion put into it, so I honestly can’t tell. Whatever the case, it is rather entertaining. I won’t go into too much of the random moments for your benefit if you choose to watch it. Plotwise this movie isn’t very interesting, outside of some random aspects it’s a fairly generic ‘Christmas movie’ (even though this movie doesn’t really have much to do with Christmas). There are parts, especially in the middle of the movie, where it isn’t very entertaining and it feels like a basic generic family movie, so it’s not consistently entertaining. But looking back on the overall film, I just have this really positive feeling towards it.

This movie has an weirdly big cast, with big names like Michael Shannon, Judy Greer, Ian McShane, Ron Perlman and Christina Hendricks all part of it. As you can probably tell, they don’t do their finest work here, though they aren’t really that bad and are trying to a degree and at the same time they know what movie they are in. Out of all of the main cast I’d say that Christina Hendricks really doesn’t get to do much here, she’s more wasted than the others (not that she’s missing out on much). The standout here is Michael Shannon, because despite him being known for playing crazed, insane, and villainous characters, here he plays a good guy, and it’s weird, adorable or hilarious (or all three). Shannon doesn’t appear to be phoning it in and is trying to an extent. His involvement with the movie just made it more enjoyable.

At times the direction by Seth Henrikson is okay, at other times it is incredibly basic and straight to DVD. There’s nothing to really say about it, the direction is incredibly average but the majority of it isn’t particularly terrible by any means.

I wouldn’t call Pottersville a good movie but I’m questioning myself when I’m calling it a bad movie. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the movie, because I did. It’s such a bizarre movie, made more bizarre by the bizarre plot, the bizarre choices and the bizarre amount of talent involved. It’s not completely unintentionally hilarious, it’s not quite the 2010’s equivalent of The Room, because some elements are okay (or generic) enough instead of being a complete disaster. But I still had a fun time when I watched it ironically. If you are morbidly curious in it, give it a watch when you can, but it might be a good idea to know what you’re in for beforehand.

Knight of Cups (2015) Review

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex scenes, offensive language & nudity.
Cast:
Christian Bale as Rick
Cate Blanchett as Nancy
Natalie Portman as Elizabeth
Brian Dennehy as Joseph
Antonio Banderas as Tonio
Wes Bentley as Barry
Isabel Lucas as Isabel
Teresa Palmer as Karen
Imogen Poots as Della
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Fr. Zeitlinger
Freida Pinto as Helen
Cherry Jones as Ruth
Nick Offerman as Scott
Dane DeHaan as Paul
Thomas Lennon as Tom
Joel Kinnaman as Errol
Jason Clarke as Johnny
Katia Winter as Katia
Nicky Whelan as Nicky
Shea Whigham as Jim
Ryan O’Neal as Ryan
Joe Manganiello as Joe
Michael Wincott as Herb
Kevin Corrigan as Gus
Director: Terrence Malick

A writer (Christian Bale) indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.

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I remember waiting for this movie for a long time. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it as Terrence Malick is a very polarising filmmaker but after watching and liking Tree of Life (which was quite unconventional as a film), I thought that I had a good chance of enjoying it. I recently watched Knight of Cups and… I really don’t know what to think of it. It is beautiful looking and it has a lot of great actors in it but otherwise it really didn’t do anything for me.

Describing the movie is hard. The basic structure of Knight of Cups is split into segments where Bale interacts with particular people. I’ve only seen 3 of Malick’s movies, Tree of Life, Badlands and now Knight of Cups and I liked the last 2. Even Tree of Life, for how unconventional it was I liked it but most of all, I could actually somewhat understand parts of it. I’m not even sure what Knight of Cups is supposed to be about, I couldn’t connect to it. So with that connection to whatever Malick is going for being gone, it takes away so much from the movie. When I’m just watching all these talented actors just internally monologing some deep poetic speech while the camera just follows them and I don’t understand what its supposed to mean, you can see how I would find it frustrating and pretentious. Don’t get me wrong, Terrence Malick no doubt had some idea of what he was filming, he wasn’t just filming nice looking stuff and calling it art. But whatever he was going for, I didn’t get it at all. The film drags consistently and constantly, at times its borderline a parody of a Terrence Malick movie with how self indulgent it is. I find it very difficult to recommend Knight of Cups to anyone, unless you are a die hard Terrence Malick fan.

There’s not really much to say in terms of acting, whereas most of the characters in a film like Tree of Life had some sort of character, from what I can tell all the characters in Knight of Cups represent ideas or something. Christian Bale here is pretty much like Sean Penn in Tree of Life, except he’s the main ‘character’ and appears from start to finish. He doesn’t really at any point become a character and just feels flat, Bale barely gets to do anything to leave an impression. Supporting actors include Cate Blanchett, Wes Bentley, Antonio Banderas, Natalie Portman and Imogen Poots and while they are good in their ‘roles’, they don’t leave too much of an impression either. Some actors involved were straight up cameos with Jason Clarke and Joe Manganiello, and supposedly Dane DeHaan and Joel Kinnamon was in it as well (I have no idea where they were though). The only performance that really stood out to a degree was Cate Blanchett but even then she’s not in the movie that long.

This movie is shot beautifully like all of Terrence Malick’s films. The locations, lighting, colouring, all of that was great and was probably one of the only things I liked in the whole film. That’s honestly is the only thing that I can guarantee you’ll think with Knight of Cups, that it looks great. The film also seemed to have a dream-like feeling to it, and the score by Hanan Townshend also played a part in that.

Having finally seen it, I can see why Knight of Cups was so divisive. I’m not entirely sure I actually like it myself. And it’s not that I don’t like Terrance Malick as a director, I liked Badlands and Tree of Life, and the latter was very unconventional. I guess I just connected a lot more with Tree of Life than Knight of Cups, which is why with KOC, it really didn’t work for me. I guess the movie is beautiful looking and that’s somewhat enough for me to call it somewhat above average but only just. If you flat out don’t like Terrance Malick’s other films, you’d probably hate Knight of Cups. I’m going to try watching Song to Song sometime soon, and I’m just hoping that Knight of Cups was the most Malick film he ever made.