This 1970s-style suspenseful thriller offers an exciting electronic score and plot twists, and adds to the lineup of other recent popular films such as “American Sniper” and “Sully” that were screened in perhaps the city’s longest independently owned and operated theater.
Raised in Forest Hills, the young and talented filmmakers and directors Josh and Benny Safdie are brothers who chose to revisit their home borough for “Good Time.” Scenes were shot at American Liberty Bail Bonds in Kew Gardens, Popular Community Bank in Elmhurst, Flushing’s New World Mall, and Adventure Land in Farmingdale.
“The Safdie brothers have made their mark throughout film festivals worldwide, and we feel it is our obligation to honor them in the place that was once their home,” said Cinemart owner Nicolas Nicolaou.
Oscar-worthy actor Robert Pattinson starred in the film alongside Benny. The Safdie brothers’ inspiration stems from early experiences in front of their father’s camera.
Pattinson portrays Constantine Nikas, who is responsible for a bank robbery that lands his younger brother Benny in prison. Despite the risks Nikas hopes to rescue him, and the film narrows in on one night.
“Good Times” was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Cannes Soundtrack Award for its original soundtrack, which was composed by electronic musician Oneohtrix Point Never. The brothers’ prior films include “Daddy Longlegs” (2009) and “Heaven Knows What” (2014).
“I always wanted to produce films and have since I was a teenager, when early non-linear editing software and digital cameras became available,” said co-producer Oscar Boyson. “‘Good Time’ was my best experience yet in working with the people I love, and pushing our collective abilities to make something unique and distinctly New York.”
The screening of the film is a reminder to many patrons of the Cinemart’s progress. In 2015, the community gathered in solidarity and generated record sales for “American Sniper” at the independently owned theater, stopping the venue from closing and sending a message to Hollywood studios that were reluctant to license first-run films to the theater for several years.
“It's wonderful when filmmakers such as the Safdie brothers return to debut their film and show that they do not forget and truly support where they came from,” said Forest Hills resident Heddy Schmidt. “It's fun to have a local theater, and not have to travel to see a great movie. It also makes me proud to know that our community gave birth to so many famous artists.”
For Eric Schreiber of Kew Gardens, the Cinemart represents a magical experience.
“I have great admiration for the owner, who showed his dedication by taking a chance locals would support the theater enough to justify his investment,” he said. “Since it also bears homage to the golden age of cinema with vintage portraits and decor is the icing on the cake.”
Last year, renovations at Cinemart included new motorized recliners and digital projection, sound, and screen upgrades, as well as a new concession stand in the retro-style lobby. Future plans include an interior ticket booth and new waiting area to connect the Theater Café to the lobby.
“The commitment to make the Cinemart once again the best neighborhood movie house is our family’s top priority,” said Nicolaou, referring to 88-year old theater manager Salvatore Parete, his son Harry and daughter Katerina. “Even when the odds are against you, you must fight, and perhaps things will turn around, just like they did for us.”