Monthly Archives: September 2011

Drive review

Throughout Drive, the camera focuses again and again on the giant gold scorpion emblazoned on the back of the jacket of Ryan Gosling’s character aptly named Driver. Turns out Ryan Gosling is a scorpio (we share the same birthday). According to Astrology.com scorpios, “are the strong, silent type, and [they] have a magnetic aura” but they also, “need overkill to feel really alive.” We begin the film with Driver at his most quiet, his most mysterious and yes, his most magnetic. Towards the end of the film though we see his necessity to kill and kill and kill again.

Drive is a stylish film, one of the most stylish to come out in the last few years. The film begins with Gosling in all his neo-James Dean/ Steve McQueen cool in a beautiful chase scene through the dark streets of L.A all to the tune of “Nightcall” by Kavinsky (featuring Lovefoxxx). From the moment we see Driver we understand that he is cool. He plays the role of the guy every girl wants to be with and the guy every other guy wants to be. Driver is a Hollywood stunt man who meets a modest yet beautiful woman, Irene (Carey Mulligan) who lives in his apartment building. He gets to know her and her son and learns that her husband, Standard, is in prison for some gang related activity. When he is released from prison we see that he is decent man who wants to change his life but it turns out he still owes his gang some money. Standard is hopelessly forced back into his criminal lifestyle.

Driver of course believes in justice and decides to defend Standard from this violent, greedy gang. He agrees to partake in a heist to raise money for Standard. This is the turning point of the film. The first half of the film is a piece of dark moody magic, the second half is a blood soaked story of madness. Just when I began to think that Gosling had finally chosen to play the stereotypical hero role he surprised me by turning Driver into a much darker force. Yes, Driver is cool but he also embodies the sick sadism that we are all capable of. I was quite surprised by the amount of and level of violence in this film. There are at least 5 moments of truly shocking violence. At a couple moments the violence borders on Kill Bill style hilarity and improbability but there is one scene at gunpoint I found more unsettling than any in recent memory because of its unabashed honesty.

Drive is not a film for the squeamish and perhaps not one for viewers looking for a highly logical or original plot. Though I enjoyed the film I am still not sure what it is about. It is very, very stylish but I am not sure how much substance is there. The cinematography is wonderful, the atmosphere is spectacularly moody, the soundtrack is fresh and the performances across the board are strong. Nevertheless the film did not impact me as I hoped it would. What this film did show me though is that Ryan Gosling is one of the best young actors we have who also seamlessly has become one of the only true movie stars of his generation. In addition, its director Nicolas Winding Refn is an exciting new voice in cinema, his style is one that I am excited to see more of and to see develop.

Here is Nightcall by Kavinsky (featuring Lovefoxxx)

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MOST EPIC MOVIE SEASON EVER

After a long and hot summer movie season filled with an onslaught of underwhelming and downright stupid films I can go to sleep happy knowing there are many great-looking films coming our way as the season changes. That being said, there certainly were some intelligent and thrilling films that came out this summer, namely The Tree of Life, The Help, X-Men: First Class, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Harry Potter and from what I hear Midnight in Paris, Another Earth, Super 8 and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

All of this pales in comparison though to this upcoming fall and winter movie season. This one might be one for the record books. Never before have I seen a film season packing this much of a Hollywood punch. Many of the biggest directors are releasing films and many of the most prominent and talented actors of our time have films coming out. There is the very real potential that this year’s Oscar telecast will be the most star-studded in recent memory. Everyone from Meryl Streep to Brad Pitt to Tilda Swinton to Ryan Gosling to Kate Winslet to Leonardo DiCaprio to Sandra Bullock to Viggo Mortenson have a chance of being nominated. Without further pause here are the films I am most excited to see between now and the new year.

Contagion – 9/9

Steven Soderbergh is a hit or miss director but he is mostly a hit. Even his films that don’t completely hit the mark are enjoyable. Combine his direction with an interesting plot and a dream cast (Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburn, Marion Cotillard) and this could be a success.

Drive – 9/16

Nicolas Winding Refn won the award for Best Director at Cannes this year for Drive. Combine that with three of the best new and young actors of today (Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Christina Hendricks) and this should be as explosive as its trailer makes it look.

Restless – 9/16

The trailer alone looks lovely. Also Gus Van Sant directed it. Need I say more?

Moneyball – 9/23

Looks compelling. I love underdog movies.

50/50 – 9/30

One young man’s battle against cancer. Looks funny, not to mention sweet.

The Ides of March – 10/7

George Clooney directs and stars in this political thriller. The cast includes a few of my favorites, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei and Paul Giamatti.

The Skin I Live In – 10/14

Spanish auteur Pedro Almodov√°r tackles plastic surgery and our obsession with beauty in his signature bizarre and unique style.

The Rum Diary – 10/28

Johnny Depp stars in this adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel. Seems like a perfect fit.

Anonymous – 10/28

Did Shakespeare actually write all of his plays? Anonymous asks that question. Vanessa Redgrave stars as Queen Elizabeth in this gorgeous looking period piece.

My Week With Marilyn – 11/4

Michelle Williams stars as Marilyn Monroe during the production of  The Prince and the Showgirl. Williams has proven her acting abilities before and I have high hopes for her portrayal of Monroe.

My Week with Marilyn Poster

J. Edgar – 11/9

Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in a film about the man’s personal and public lives.

J. Edgar poster

Melancholia – 11/9

Controversial German director Lars Von Trier brings us a story that The Daily Telegraph announced is “a tragi-comic opera about the end of the world”, and that “The apocalypse, when it comes, is so beautifully rendered that the film cements the quality of fairy tale that its palatial setting suggests.”


Hugo – 11/23

Martin Scorsese directs a children’s story. You read that correctly.

The Descendants – 11/23

Alexander Payne (Sideways) directs George Clooney as a single father living in Hawaii.

A Dangerous Method – 11/23

Carl Jung. Sigmund Freud. Viggo Mortenson. Michael Fassbender. Keira Knightly. David Cronenberg. The Oscars were made for movies like this.

The Artist – 11/23

The Artist is a silent black and white film being released in 2011. You will be hearing a lot about this film in the months to come.

We Need to Talk About Kevin -12/2

Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly star as parents dealing with their teenage son who goes on a killing spree.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – 12/9

A Cold War thriller staring Colin Firth and Gary Oldman.

Young Adult – 12/9

Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody (the team behind Juno) reunite to tell the story of a fiction writer returning to her small hometown. Charlize Theron stars.

The Iron Lady – 12/16

Meryl Streep is the one to beat this year in her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, the infamous former prime minister of the U.K.

Carnage – 12/16

Roman Polanski directs an all-star cast in a film adaptation of the God of Carnage, the Tony award winning play.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 12/23

One of my favorite directors David Fincher adapts the best selling Swedish novel for American audiences. Judging from the trailer alone it looks like he has done the novel justice.

The Adventures of Tintin – 12/23

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson bring Tintin to cinematic life.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – 12/25

Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis star in this adaptation of the best selling novel set in a post 9/11 world.

extremely-loud-incredibly-close-movie-image-tom-hanks-slice-01

In The Land of Blood and Honey – 12/25

First time writer and director Angelina Jolie brings us a love story set during the Bosnian War.

War Horse – 12/30

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Tony award winning play. The trailer alone is stunning.

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