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Thread: UNCUT GEMS - not an 'Adam Sandler movie'. A Safdie Brothers Film

  1. #1

    UNCUT GEMS - not an 'Adam Sandler movie'. A Safdie Brothers Film

    UNCUT GEMS (2019). First things first. This is not an "Adam Sandler movie". Yes, he is the star and the focus of the advertising, but, this is very much a "Safdie Brothers film". Emphasis on "film". Benny and Josh Safdie are very much in love with the look and feel of the films of the 70s and 80s, in particular. But, as with GOOD TIME, they are not interested in doing a cutesy wink-wink homage. It's in their bones.
    Sandler plays Howard, New York city jeweler who's also a full-time hustler. His marriage to Dinah (Idina Menzel) is falling apart, his gambling debts are piling up and he is facing health issues. He banks his future on an Ethiopian rock which houses the title valuables. Also involved are a two-bit floozy he's carrying on with (Julia Fox) and Boston Celtics legend Kevin Garnett - playing himself.

    From the get-go, the Safdie Brothers (who also co-wrote with Ronald Bonstein) bring enormous energy and drive to the proceedings. Sandler starts at 11 and goes from there. Similarly, Daniel Lopatin's score is often mixed so high it becomes intrusive at times (the synth music itself isn't bad, sort of a retro blend of Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre). Darius Khondij's 35mm photography is both slick and gritty.

    Director Yorgos Lanthimos (THE FAVOURITE) has remarked that UNCUT GEMS is like "a Robert Altman film that was dipped in acid." Altman's 1974 CALIFORNIA SPLIT certainly fits the time period and some of the themes. Of course, Altman was an original and as many of his admirers have found out over the years, overlapping dialogue and naturalistic atmosphere do not alone make an "Altman film" (Altman himself often enough failed to create the unique mood). UNCUT GEMS works because of the filmmaking brio and Sandler's driven performance. Still, at times, it seems to be trying too hard. It works best in the last act when the Safdies let the drama play out more. It's a good film, even if not quite up to GOOD TIME. But, hey, Celtics fans now know how Boston beat Philadelphia in that 2012 Playoff series!

  2. #2
    MCMLXXX Matt H.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Burlington, ON
    Really excited for this. The fact it's being distributed by A24 gives me hope that it will play in a theater near me.
    Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?

  3. #3
    It was pretty good but I've seen this kind of story before in Bad Lieutenant so it didn't wow me.
    "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

    Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom.

  4. #4
    Senior Member The Silly Swede's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex K. View Post
    It was pretty good but I've seen this kind of story before in Bad Lieutenant so it didn't wow me.
    My feelings exactly, or rather I am a bit more down on it. I felt it was mediocre at best. Really nothing new here, and the film was quite annoying in its editing and its characters constantly shouting.
    "No presh from the Dresh!"


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