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The back of the truck was empty and unattended. The brothers’ bet is that, if they get enough details right, and create a vivid enough character, we will find this world as engrossing as they do—and maybe as lovable, too. [4] At Boston University, they co-founded the creative collective Red Bucket Films with Alex Kalman, Sam Lisenco, Brett Jutkiewicz, and Zachary Treitz. The true subject of “Good Time” is fraternal love, passionately expressed and imperfectly demonstrated. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. For a few years he tormented the city’s comedy clubs, in character as a fretful failed comedian named Ralph Handel; naturally, the brothers captured these appearances on film. [4] The Safdie brothers are Jewish. But something that really helped me was—they were, like, ‘Yeah, he does selfish shit, but he’s a dreamer. Now, Adam Sandler dons (then un-dons) the gold paint as an unsteady, but likable performer, while Benny plays his antagonistic silver counterpart. He sat there for a long time, his shiny suit illuminated by red and blue police lights; when the driver returned, he asked Benny to stay there longer, so that his boss could see the spectacle. You will receive an email shortly to confirm you subscription. cold!—might even have sounded like an unintentional endorsement.) The real Ilya was by all accounts a volatile figure; he died of an overdose before the film’s première. “The whole point is for people to go home thinking it’s real,” Benny added. “Like you’re kind of dejected.”. (He seems more at home ordering a hot dog with sauerkraut during a break) Benny is a fascinating actor, I could watch his subtle frustration for hours as here, or in full-on frenzy mode, as in the brilliant 2010 film, John's Gone. While we may have to wait for their next feature, they brought Sandler back for an epic short film shot on the streets of New York City. “I was, like, ‘Nah.’ He turned to his wife and said, ‘That was real violence!’ ”. His name is Josh Safdie, and he is thirty-five; he and his brother, Benny Safdie, who is two years younger, have directed a series of movies that have been increasingly ambitious and increasingly popular. In one short film from 2008, which they describe as a “social experiment,” Benny plays a dickish businessman on a city bus, voicing increasing annoyance at a crying baby; eventually a long-haired Good Samaritan pushes him out the rear door, to the delight of fellow-passengers. "Thanks for nothing, Netflix," Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper wrote. But in addition to an eclectic cast that includes Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel and Julia Fox, it also stars pop singer The Weeknd and former NBA great Kevin Garnett playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves. If you’re going to film a love letter to an unlovable character, it helps to have a star whom audiences already adore. The Safdie brothers were raised in New York, the children of Amy and Alberto Safdie. When they began shooting “Uncut Gems,” last year, Josh was annoyed to see that his crew had posted flyers with filming permits on Forty-seventh Street; he was hoping to keep a low profile, in order to capture life in the district. For the Safdies, “Good Time” was a way of showing the film world that they could be trusted to make bigger movies. You’re not allowed to bother the refs, and you can’t bother the players during time-outs.”. “It’s the most perverted art form.” He was talking about how filmmakers manipulate the world around them, using viewers’ voyeurism to trick them into caring about an invented reality. Uncut Gems is one of my favorite movies of the year. Now they were preparing a special mix for the Dolby Atmos system, which allows filmmakers to create the sensation that sounds are emanating from specific places in a room. For me, it's how the Safdies know how to use Sandler. “Good Time” craftily updates the Safdie template: if their early movies sometimes felt improvised, this one had evident narrative momentum, supplied by a main character who is always on the run—and, therefore, constantly improvising. Club, saying the film was still being made but it would no longer be a remake. With Bronstein, the brothers turned her memoir into a movie: “Heaven Knows What,” an astonishingly grim film that Benny Safdie once described as a “nonfiction drama.” Holmes played a version of herself, pretending to use heroin while she was actually using methadone. “But he’s not used to being in jewelry stores.”, As the Safdies were casting “Daddy Longlegs,” Josh noticed two young boys on the street who seemed perfect. The idea was to create a film that felt romantic, without romanticizing the addiction and the violence in it. Partly in self-defense, they started commandeering the camera to make their own films: goofy horror movies, parody documentaries, even an anti-smoking propaganda film, starring Josh as a smoker who suddenly dies. “They loved him,” Sandler recalls. (Stoudemire was not cast, partly because he declined to shave his dreadlocks, which he did not have in his playing years.) Neistat remembers the Safdies as adventurous but cerebral. Here's a recent short, Solid Gold, by the Safdie Brothers. The sound is neoclassical, inspired, at various points, by Haydn’s Symphony No. Each time the player changed, the script needed to change, too. “The whole point is for people to go home thinking it’s real,” Benny added. And yet you need not agree with Scott’s critique in order to acknowledge that he identified something true. “It’s trying to replicate life,” he said. Watch the short above. It’s trying to replicate life.”, Photograph by Gus Powell for The New Yorker, “Hi! For a while, Jonah Hill was attached, but then the brothers decided that he was too young, right around the time Hill decided that he was too busy. The two butt heads, much to the surprise of all the Times Square tourists who have no idea they’re in an A24-adjacent short film. Also check out the trailers for Daddy Longlegs and Pleasure of Being Robbed below below... Sign up to receive our film slate delivered to your inbox bi-weekly. And so, on a recent night, the brothers made a trip to Times Square to film a sequel: now Benny was all in silver, and slightly better at standing still; Sandler, in gold, was the new wobbler. The Safdies have long resisted the idea that filmmaking should be morally instructive, with admirable heroes and clearly identified villains. Bronstein’s performance was widely celebrated: in 2010, he won Breakthrough Actor at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, beating Jennifer Lawrence and Greta Gerwig. Benny Safdie as Goldman in a new short film by the Safdie Brothers. When that didn’t work, they pursued Harvey Keitel; they eventually decided that Howard should be younger, although not before having a convivial Seder with Keitel and his family, at Stoudemire’s house. [15] The film, titled The Pleasure of Being Robbed, had its world premiere at the 2008 South by Southwest. An assistant editor poked his head into the office, wondering whether to take home a copy of “Uncut Gems,” to do more work overnight. [4][5][6][7][8] Their mother is of Russian-Jewish descent. But the brothers were determined to avoid easy sentiment and easily sympathetic characters. Their boyhood favorites had included action movies like “48 Hrs.”; now they were discovering films like “Close-Up,” from 1990, by the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who used both archival footage and reënactment to tell the real story of an obsessive fan who impersonated a celebrated director. To viewers who didn’t know the backstory, “Good Time” might have looked more like a crowning achievement. The brothers are always looking for ways to combine scripted storytelling with scenes from everyday life. “Uncut Gems,” which is distributed by the indie-film powerhouse A24, opens on December 13th. “Just filming something stupid,” Josh Safdie said, when a curious onlooker asked what he was doing. One way of describing the years after “Daddy Longlegs” is to say that the brothers kept getting sidetracked. One scene is a frenzied sprint through the New World Mall, in Flushing; the brothers had permission to shoot there, but they showed up without warning and shot largely with hidden cameras, as if they were still running a guerrilla operation. “I don’t know many people who change—in particular, who change over a short span of time,” Josh Safdie says. Aaron Smith was indeed one of the referees that night, working a pre-season game between the Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans. Scott Rudin, one of the producers, said he was drawn in partly by the “race politics”: Howard is a Jewish man whose clientele is largely African-American, and whose prized possession is a black opal stolen from an Ethiopian mine. They walked to Herald Square, and suddenly they seemed to be filming a different movie: the area was largely deserted, except for a volunteer serving soup to some hungry people who looked as if they didn’t have anywhere to go.

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