Brigsby Bear opens with footage of a children’s show about a bear who travels around the galaxy fighting evil while preaching life lessons. Through the VHS tracking lines, teachings include advanced mathematics with proverbs like “Curiosity is an unnatural emotion” thrown into the low-budget action. It’s ridiculous and charming. Those are also two primary aims of Brigsby Bear, but it doesn’t push far enough in either direction, never fully embracing weirdness and failing to fully tap into the appeal of its premise.
Taylor Sheridan, writer of Sicaro and Hell or High Water, shifts the desolate setting from the dusty American Southwest to a snowy Wyoming Native American reservation for Wind River, the filmmaker’s first go-round at directing one of his stark screenplays. The frigid, unforgiving landscape fits the search for cold hard truths – not just of the crime at the story’s center, but of its residual effects and the wounds, old and new, that it opens.
Patricia Dumbrowski doesn’t look like the prototypical rapper, but Patti Cake$only poses like a different kind of underdog story. The heart and pluckiness, and credible rapping talent, of its lead only carry the film so far before spirit is replaced by genre demands. This mixtape is full of over-sampled cover tracks that may give goosebumps in the moment before getting lost in convention.