Nicolas Winding Refn’s & Hossein Amini’s Drive

Drive is about perfection. Which is to say PERFECTION is what Drive IS DOING. Ryan Gosling for example has no pores. Pores for him would be a marker of defeat. There is no defeat in Ryan Gosling’s complexion. His complexion is a flawless ecosystem of radiance and coincidental lubrications. Ryan Gosling’s face is in fact an epiphyte. An epiphyte collecting its radiance from the moisture and nutrients in the air and rain and other coincidental detritus.

There is something perfect about watching a cat chase a mouse. Especially when the cat is deranged Albert Brooks armed with many shivs and abalone-encrusted razorblades.

People who saw Anton Corbijn’s The American know it was not perfect. The American did not contain Ryan Gosling for one thing. Well, Ryan Gosling could never be CONTAINED. But The American did not make an attempt to touch Ryan Gosling, did not attempt to CORRAL him, which was its primary mistake. In other ways The American was allowed to share some characteristics of Drive’s perfection. Its sparseness. Its assiduous attention to the movement and pacing of THE SCENE. Its desire to connect lonely souls for momentary alleviations of sufferings. Its desire to tear loved ones apart so as to intensify the sensation of longing. Its longing. Its willingness to produce longing. A longing to break from unsalvageable situations.

Sofia Coppola should sue Drive. For one thing Drive has stolen HER MOVIE from her. They have stolen HER MOVIE and made it better than she could have made it. That is the most painful form of stealing. As when a thief steals your lemons and makes his lemonade. As when a thief steals your girlfriend and puts her on a diet. Drive gives the illusion the narrative is meandering when the opposite is true. Each deviation adds up to the tightly-wound contraption of their narrative.

No Country for Old Men was perfect but not because of Javier Bardem’s haircut. Or was it? Maybe aesthetic perfection can be achieved by making a handsome man very, very ugly.

Oscar Isaac does something ingenious with his role. He saves his role from being easily forgettable. He is his own savior. That is sort of like being Jesus Christ if Jesus only saved one person. And that person was a role in a movie.

Violence – too much? A lot of spurting involved. A lot of spurting and Ryan Gosling stomping his boot through skulls. Skulls are like pumpkins to this guy.

Music. David Lynch thinks music should be very intrusive upon the spell the movie is making. David Lynch also thinks the Transcendental Meditation technique is going to help him levitate. The soundtrack of Drive does seem to levitate and speak above our conscious desires. When I put the Drive soundtrack in my own car I did think I was levitating for a moment, but it turned out I was only driving very slowly up a hill. Then I felt disappointed in the car I was driving. Conversely my car felt even more disappointed I was not Ryan Gosling.

Carey Mulligan is looking good as a blonde.

Slow motion. No one uses slow motion anymore. That is because nothing is perfect anymore except for brevity. But Drive is not afraid of slow motion. So as to prolong brevity. So as to prolong the only scrap of perfection that is offered to us.

Best movie out right now . . . $11

If you heart Drive:

Recommendations by Day Gun Sho
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Wild at Heart
Punch-Drunk Love

Real Steel

Shawn Levy wants to fornicate with Ron Howard. Or maybe just his Oscar.  Or maybe try to procreate a baby Oscar from his fornication with Ron Howard that will be the baby half-brother to Ron Howard’s existing Oscar. You see, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Real Steel, is a Hugh Jackmanification of John Nash, without the economics, plus a dash of Iron Man.  The over-the-topness and Hollywoodishness oozes like cheese whiz through every bolt and every joint of the poor abused robot Atom.  I shall elaborate about how Shawn Levy wants Ron Howard through providing a good deal of evidence that shows, at the very least that Shawn Levy is trying to get you to ooze with cheese like his idol does.  This is his vain attempt to replace Ron Howard in the eyes of the US media consumer.  I say don’t fall for it!  Shawn Levy is only about 70% of the heavy handed cheesiness of Ron Howard, so don’t give in!  Ron Howard may be bald but he is far from dead!  Plus Levy doesn’t have a porcupine-shaped sidekick like Brian Grazier, so not even a competition.  I mean the dude doesn’t even use classical orchestra to definitely hammer in his give-away standing ovation moments….

Evidence ONE – The plot: The movie draws you in with promises of cool effects with ultimate fighting, rampant injury (and possibly death!) and  machines and robots from the future, but REALLY it’s a manipulative plot to get grown men into the theaters to see the tale of an estranged father re-connecting with his emotionally retarded son and emasculate them into puddles of tears.  Yes, you will cry.  Unless you have a heart of steel like mine and laugh in the face of the cheesiness.

Evidence TWO – The kid’s name is Dakota: Ok so, not Dakota Fanning, but similar in the sense that the kid is  freckly fresh faced little boy named Dakota Goyo with a spunky attitude and you quickly get the point of his role.  To get at your heartstrings.  HA! Only if you are a pathetic sucker

Evidence THREE – The robot looks like WALL-E:  Now who is the most beloved robot of all (with a possible exception of Rosie from the Jetsons, Vicki from Small Wonder, oh and R2D2 and C3PO of course, and I also really do love my Roomba, but yeah, you get the idea)?  WALL-E!  the cutest mute robot in the whole darn universe.  Not only does Atom look like WALL-E, but it even has this slightly eerie smile…slightly eerie potentially cuz it’s always there…

Evidence FOUR and possibly the most compelling evidence – The dialogue: I don’t have all the dialogue with me here, since I don’t have the script but the ones I remember are the following (BTW Charlie Kenton is Hugh Jackman and Max Kenton is the kid, Dakota Goyo):

Charlie: I know I’ve done all kinds of wrong by this kid. I’d just like to do one thing right.

Charlie Kenton: What do you want from me?
Max  Kenton: I want you to fight for me.  That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Max Kenton: I need you to teach him to box.
Charlie Kenton: Are you kiddin’ me?
Max Kenton: You know this fight game inside and out. He needs your moves, your commands!
Charlie Kenton: I can…I can’t!
Max Kenton: Yes, you can!

I hope you will see, ladies and gentlemen, that this is clearly an attempt to be and be with Ron Howard.  I say NO! Don’t let it happen.  No one can replace Richie Cunningham in our hearts and minds….rest easy Ron, I’ll stand by you.

And does anyone complain about robot-abuse in this movie?  All the poor robots, beating up on each other like a page from Michael Vick’s private playhouse but do I hear any complaints?  NO!  and why?  oh the infamy….$4

If you heart Real Steel:

Recommendations from Bernard Liptenstein LLC:
Iron Man
A Beautiful Mind
Apollo 13

Crazy, Stupid, Love

For a star studded cast, Crazy, Stupid, Love fell a little bit short of expectations. There was too much hype and too much expectation before I saw the movie. And while watching the film, I began to doubt whether I really liked movies starring Steve Carell as the main lead and the disappointment mirrored my experience when watching Date Night, except substitute Mila Kunis with Ryan Gosling as the resident hottie.

The biggest excitement of the film hands down is Ryan Gosling…I mean the only reaction you can possibly have whether you’re a guy, girl, single or not, straight, gay is HOT DAMN when you see those artfully crafted chiseled fucken abs. It was refreshing to see Ryan Gosling in a film where his function was to be just a hot piece of meat. I feel like I haven’t seen that in awhile…he’s either wooing his lady fans as the tragically lovesick lead in rom coms like The Notebook or beautifully tragic and dejected lead in Blue Valentine. It was quite cheesy the way they milk his hotness down to the Dirty Dancing “homage,” but you know nobody cares. It was actually funny to see and hear the reaction of the audience as they squirm in their seats in excitement.

Here, he plays a womanizer who volunteers his services to help Steve Carell rediscover his manhood with a makeover (one that I was not seeing significant transformation, but whatevers). Steve Carell plays the same used up role as in his other films. Frankly, it hasn’t really worked since The 40 Year Old Virgin. I will give this character more credit as it has a little more depth as he struggles between holding onto the love of his life and regaining his dignity.

The women in this film certainly took a back seat to the budding bromance of Steve and Ryan. The only thing I would say is that they didn’t really add or detract from the film. I don’t think Julianne Moore or Emma Stone was particularly great. I didn’t find their chemistry with their respective pairings particularly convincing, but I also don’t expect much of that from this sort of romcoms. Marisa Tomei was funny. Overall, the movie was entertaining, but fell a little flat. Definitely, not the best comedy of its class of the year as some might claim. The key is to watch with no expectation and you’ll walk out pleased. $6

If you heart Crazy, Stupid, Love:

Recommendations from Lil D:
Date Night
The Hangover

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