Tag Archives: robbery

Drive: New and Interesting Filmmaking

I had heard good things about Drive from my film major friends in college before I found this on Netflix. I was hesitant at first, (most kids at my college in the film department have very particular ideas of what good films are. I like what is considered not so good of a film.) but gave it a shot. My girlfriend fell asleep about 20 minutes in (she was tired from work) but I sat up enraptured in what unfolded before me in this film. In a whole new way, Nicolas Winding Refn created a film you wouldn’t normally see ever.

So there’s Ryan Gosling playing The Driver, a quiet and modest stunt driver who has grown up in L.A. on cars. (This is based on James Sallis’ novel, Drive.) Securing Hollywood stunt driver jobs through his friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad), we see a film about Hollywood within L.A.’s

A reserved driver with pimpin gloves.

Hollywood. Directed by a Danish director, we gain this insight from a foreigner’s perspective in a unique way of directing and cinematography. But, more importantly, this film has got some major production value on it with all the researching and immersed creation that came with it between Refn and Gosling. I was impressed.

A tragically beautiful mother.

So The Driver meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) a tragic and beautiful single mother with a husband in jail. They have a solemn and quiet love affair (no sex or anything like that, Refn didn’t want to waste film time on showing anything related to love… I think…) the two connect. The Driver wants to protect Irene and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). And then her husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) comes back. Getting involved with the wrong people, gangsters on all sides, The Driver has to navigate a world he’s only seen in the movies. And, being a stunt actor in a movie, he’s prepared to make the leap. With a car.

I really liked all the characters in this movie. Plain and simple. I loved Oscar Isaac’s small role in the film. He comes off as this dangerous and irritated character that has a sneaking suspicion at all times. (He reminded me of his twisted

Gotta love Oscar Isaac.

performance in Sucker Punch.) Bryan Cranston played a great broken man in this film who’s trying to look out for others but becomes collateral damage. Ron Perlman was finally given a chance to do a spectacular movie that gave him great lines and a menacing character in this one as well. Looks like Hellboy’s becoming more devilish… And

All of the violence.

one of the standout performances, other than Ryan Gosling, comes from Albert Brooks, voice of Nemo’s dad in Finding Nemo. To hear that voice on such a wicked character was chilling.

But there were a lot of interesting elements in the creation of this movie. The script is about 80 pages, but most of it must have been camera direction and actions, because I would say there’s less than 5 to 10 typed pages of dialogue in the whole film. Ryan Gosling plays such a reserved and quiet character that he never really needs to speak, only act (just like a hired driver would). The first sequence in the film when Gosling is driving the two robbers to their destination was well planned out and quite poetic in its feel and delivery. No dialogue, no need for speech, only action.

Without much dialogue, the film had this feel of tension throughout. You feel tension in the relationships, in the way the business is conducted. And then you get the gunshots. Every once in a while in the film the action builds to this ridiculously tense crescendo where something has to happen. Almost like a jumpy

Spectacular.

scene in a horror movie. And wow, after that first gunshot in the movie, this film really pops off (pun intended). But then it returns to a tension filled lull (still not much dialogue) and you’re just waiting for the next powder keg laden with the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s agonizing at the same time that it’s so damn interesting!

You get great performances with a great premise delivered more with action than with speech. It’s a unique style you never really see, and I’m glad this did well at film festivals. This reminds me, and I don’t know why, but it makes me wanna watch Refn’s other work, most notably Val Halla Rising, which is now on Netflix. Next review here I come! But Drive is a wonderful film. Superb in all its unusual aspects. 9.5 out of 10.

 

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Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels

I gotta tell ya, if you didn’t already know this about me, I love British films. I’ve watched the casts in British T.V., films, and American movies alike, starring alongside other big name actors. They crush their lines with timing and precision, they hold an air of Shakespearean flair, and

The Lock and Stock gang (not actual name).

they got the whole suave, posh thing goin’ on. I gotta hand it to Jason Statham, he’s a godawful muscle man stunt actor in American films, but he fits right in when the rest of the cast is from the U.K. And Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is this perfect case when it comes to that. A flavorful British cast with a renowned British director in one of his first film debuts, Guy Ritchie. Let the guns fly and the villains die.

Always out for a pint.

That’s basically what this movie is. Although there’s not really any big hero vs. villain gun fights or anything (you can’t tell the heroes from the villains anyway. Why would you want to?) you love the situation and the feel of the movie. It seems like everyone in the film has got a mouth on them, and they all speak the crime lingo. Everyone’s out for themselves with the big payday, and this movie has a big payday indeed.

The movie starts out with Bacon (Jason Statham) a two-bit swindler who speaks easy and cons you out of your money. Selling less than par jewelry, he and Eddy the Card Shark (Nick Moran) run through the streets of London after they’ve been had. Meanwhile, Tom (Jason

Talk about your smoking barrels…

Flemyng) is finishing his last deal with Nick “The Greek” (Stephen Marcus). He’s the brash leader of the group. Then there’s Soap (Dexter Fletcher), the straight walking saucier chef of the bunch. They all bring together 100,000 pounds for Eddy to play with versus Harry “The Hatchet” (P.H. Moriarty). After being forced into a loan and some shady dealings with some cameras and Morse code, Eddy loses and all four of the guys have to pay back 500,000 pounds. Oh no.

Cage match. For keeps.

With no means of being able to pay Harry back, the gang decides to drop in on a fellow gang’s robbery idea, stealing from the thieves. With a domino effect of a plot ensuing, you’ll never see the ending coming (or will you?). I personally was very satisfied with this film. Considered one of those “classic films” you should probably see before you die, I do agree. It is. It has a witty cast and a great vibe to it that just reeks of British gangster (as it should. They’re pretty ballin’.)

I want to spend a bit more time on that ballin’ cast I was talkin’ about. I already said Jason Statham, familiar with his feet set on the other side of the pond (not in America, obviously). There’s Nick Moran, who is someone I’ve seen occasionally in small roles, but after seeing this, I think he is destined for bigger and better things.

You bald buffoon.

Jason Flemyng is one of those actors I love seeing (besides his classic role and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in The League of Extraordinary Gentelmen), and I can’t get enough of his versatility. It was nice to see Dexter Fletcher without gray hair (he plays Nathan’s dad in the British T.V. show, Misfits) and his character is worth a few laughs. And I have to admit that I found P.H. Moriarty to be a pretty nefarious gang boss in this one. He played Gurney Halleck in the Dune series movies for cryin’ out loud! And there’s Vinnie Jones, the former club soccer player in England. Ever since he did this movie, he’s been poppin’ up all over the place. More power to him.

I’m the Juggernaut, female dog.

I loved the plot of this film. I don’t know if I can speak highly enough of it. It has at least 6 moving parties in the film (even some bumbling idiots you wouldn’t expect to do much), and everyone gets in a whole lotta shenanigans by the end. It’s not very often you see such complicated plots like this with such a great amount of dialogue that is pulled off so well. Leave it to the British to do that.

Combine all this with a solid soundtrack, colorful references and

Let’s get it poppin’.

language and a dialect all its own, and you have a crime film that defines the late 1990’s (even into the 2000’s). I’m just sorry I hadn’t seen this earlier. It kicked my ass, and left me wanting to see some other crime flicks. Looks like Revolver and RocknRolla are up now on my list of things to watch. 8.8 out of 10.


Hobo With a Shotgun…

Okay, let’s try to tackle this cacophony of a train wreck with scene after scene making me yell out loud, “WHAT.” How do I even approach this? I think a good review of this would be to analyze the plot to really dig into the absurdity that is Hobo With a Shotgun.

Shot in the style of Grindhouse/Pulp Fiction/all of Quentin Tarantino’s crap, I really wish Jason Eisener had gone for a more original approach to this film. But hey, it’s a style people like that pisses me off, but that’s cool… I guess…

Anyways, plot. Hobo w/ a Shotgun (Rutger Hauer) rolls into a dead end town with no real goal other than to buy a mower. I know, you’re already wondering, “What the freakin’ Hell?” Suspend your disbelief, please. Hauer ain’t gotta have a purpose to buy a lawn mower. Anyways, first thing Hobo encounters, Drake

Why does this movie exist?

(Brian Downey) and his sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) have taken some dude and hung him by a manhole cover like a noose. Legs all hanging in the gutter and the manhole cover cheesily bending to allow him to move, they attach a barb wire noose around his neck and use Drake’s car to decapitate the dude. I thought, “Okay, I can roll with this.”

Rutger Hauer, you unbelievable bastard...

Then, Hobo gets pissed when his can cart gets picked off by Drake’s car. And Drake owns this town.  So you can be sure the final confrontation will be between Rutger Hauer, one of the strangest men in Hollywood, and Brian Downey, a no name actor. And for shame, former Disney Channel star Gregory Smith, you deserve to get your penis shotgunned off.

Drake, you sneaky old cod.

So Hobo roams around this shithole town, knowing that justice needs to be delivered. Who’s gonna do it? It’ll be him, but we have to wait 45 MINUTES FOR THIS. Crap. Slick takes this hoe (Molly Dunsworth)  back to his arcade full of cocaine and Hobo rescues her in the nick of time with his hobo prodding stick. After turning Slick into the police and expecting justice, Slick and Ivan screw his life up a bit more and toss him into the trash. (Insert retarded cheesy line here.) Being found by the prostitute who never makes a buck the entire movie (she was currently being talked to by a cop who wants to hurt himself more than have sex), she takes him back to her decent house with an empty picture frame and gets lectured about the majesty of bears.

I must be dreaming this scene can't be real...

Hobo goes to buy his lawn mower after recuperating and eating glass and witnesses a robbery at the pawn shop. So what does he do? Buys a shotgun and shoots every following bad guy in the stomach. Classy. Rutger Hauer mumbles the entire film and you’re supposed to understand his mindless ramblings. Didn’t get a damn word. Not a one.

There are some more lines about skate rape, a bus full of burn victim children, a town lynching of hobos, and then a final confrontation between these two

The useless prostitute, Abby.

juggernauts in full armor and prostitute with soldering iron skills. The town gangs together to rally the Hobo, the prostitute runs train on the juggernauts, and Hobo gives a touching speech to a hospital room full of frightened babies. People die, Hobo kills Drake, police gun down Hobo, credits roll in the blood. Moral of this waste of time story? Don’t let Hobos near any run down cities. Don’t let them buy lawn

Rutger Hauer. Scaring babies for far too long.

mowers or cart around tipsy shopping carts. Or even be in movies. (Other than Japanese ones.) I gotta say it, but despite the ridiculous antics of this film, I didn’t once laugh. I was distressed and felt like I was on a bad acid trip. Complete 0 out of 10. This truly was a skate rape.