Tag Archives: single mother

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.

 

Advertisements

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: My Father’s Take

Finally, here’s the long awaited post from my Dad for his Father’s Day present. Enjoy!

On the surface, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, released in 1977, is a story of how three individuals’ lives become intertwined when some possible alien ship encounters are experienced. Roy, an electric company engineer in Indiana, has a growing need to understand if he is crazy or if he has really received a message from the aliens. Jillian, a single mother from the same area of Indiana and her three-year-old son have received the message too and the aliens have apparently taken a particular liking to the little boy. The final character is Frenchman Claude Lacombe who is part of an international team both reaching out to the aliens and investigating the people the aliens have affected.

It would be easy to say I like Close Encounters because it is a Steven Spielberg movie. He both wrote and directed the film, and it was early on in his career when I feel he had a great child-like sense of wonder in his storytelling (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire of the Sun). I also think he was enjoying his time saying, “I really get a big budget and get paid for having fun?” I could say I like the movie for the gifted John Williams score. I could discuss the symbolism of communication like languages (French, Spanish, Indian, English), physical interaction (radar, toys, sign), and art (music, painting, sculpture) to show that even humans have a hard time so why do we think the aliens could easily get their message across. I could say I like the 70s costumes – which weren’t costumes at the time but who would have put Teri Garr in a short yellow nighty and robe with earthy clogs – brilliant!! And I do think the special effects are good with the alien ships, the clouds, the lighting, the sandstorms, etc. I guess the problem I have is with the aliens. Why are there three different kinds of aliens so vastly different from each other?

My favorite part of the movie is the hero portrayed by the everyman who has been tapped for an adventure – Roy Neary. Despite his obstacles – like his beautifully portrayed dysfunctional family, like everyone thinking he is crazy, like his own belief that he is on the edge of sanity – he faces his fears, does the right thing, and is rewarded in the end. Richard Dreyfuss, who had been acting at this point for over 10 years but hadn’t had a great deal of recognition except for his role of Curt in American Graffiti and Hooper in Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws, is fantastic in this role. He shows anger, wonder, insanity, happiness, and despair. He gets to be in the action sequences – driving in the chase, driving cross country, climbing the mountain; being interrogated by the “bad guys;” saving the girl. He deals with the mundane – his son’s math homework, kids that want to stay up late (watch for a great quote – “I told them they could only watch five commandments), a boss who doesn’t want to talk to him, and a wife who cares for him but can only take so much. And he does it all while trying to figure out his purpose in life. He gets the Oscar nod from me!

So do yourself a favor, when you don’t feel the need for extreme action or extreme thought but want to play with your mashed potatoes, play in the dirt, and watch a great actor having a great time with a great script, get lost in the wonder of Close Encounters. It is better than Goofy Golf or Pinocchio. I give it a 9.9 out of 10!


The Lost Boys: Classic.

I’m a huge fan of the Coreys and vampire movies. So why wouldn’t I watch The Lost Boys for kicks? This amazingly 80’s film explores every young boys fantasy of being the next Van Helsing, and lookin’ classy with quaffed hair. The featheryness makes me laugh to no end, and there’s even a classic saxophone player with spandex and a mullet. What could be better about the original Lost Boys?

In reference to Peter Pan’s own Lost Boys, this movie highlights a few adorable 80’s

Some 80’s flair.

hearthrobs entering into their later teen years (or around those parts). Throw in a bit of fantasy horror and you got yourself a cult classic. But you wouldn’t expect anything less from Batman Forever and Batman & Robin creator, Joel Schumacher. I’ve seen The Lost Boys: The Tribe, and let me tell you, Joel Schumacher was needed on the set of that one. It didn’t have a tenth of the flair this one did.

Catch me in Speed 2!

Michael (Jason Patric, star of failed sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control, but still a very hunky 80’s dude) is moving with his single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and younger brother Sam (Corey Haim, classic.) to a fictional town in California based on Santa Cruz, where it was filmed. Moving in with their farty and cantankerous old fool of a grandpa (Barnard Hughes), they find the night life of the boardwalk to be too enticing. There are some other characters who find the boardwalk just as… delicious.

David (Kiefer Sutherland) is the leader of a gang of vampires who patrol the boardwalk, looking for recruits and meals alike. Drawing in Michael with the use of a female counterpart named Star (Jami Gertz), Michael is tricked into drinking vampire blood and participating in their 80’s hoodlum outings. Sam recruits the help of the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison

Classy Edward Hermann.

Newlander) in order to classically fend off and kill a whole den of the bloodsuckers of the night.

This movie is just too classic to even consider talking smack about. It’s a cult classic, it’s renowned for its classic scenes and 80’s cast of the who’s who of actors. It has both the Coreys. What more do you want? All you need is Corey Haim and the Feldog, don’t you?

Can I talk a little more about the Coreys? I think this clip from Robot Chicken can sum up my adoration for the Lost Boys.

You see what I mean? Nothing could be better. Lost Boys Style.

A bit bug-eyed, eh?

This movie sticks to the classic ideas about vampires and all that jazz. Stakes, garlic (not really though), sunlight (but it only bothers them if they’re being transformed), batlike appearance at times, sucking blood, invite into the house, etc. But it’s more about the 80’s. There is a man, Tim Cappello, who plays the saxophone in this movie so provocatively and strangley that it stands out. You know why?

 

 

 

That’s why. Sexy Sax Man Sergio Flores. The best. Tim Cappello in this movie inspired this prank video. Far reaching, right?

What more is there to talk about? The acting is fine, and the cast, well, it’s phenomenal. Dianne Wiest of my favorite Hallmark Channel original, The Tenth Kingdom? She was a frightening Queen Witch in that shizz. The Coreys, enough said (Goonies, Stand By Me, etc. etc.) Jami Gertz from Still Standing the TV show? Keifer Sutherland, the badass of 24 making

Bill the Biker.

Lost Boys Style!

one of his first films other than Stand By Me? That’s a wonderful little beginning right there. Alex Winter, the infamous Bill of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey? He’s even in with The Red Hot Chili Peppers (i.e. directed a music video!). And classic Edward Hermann providing the voice of documentaries and TV specials for years. Standout cast right there.

So just watch this. You know you want to. Anytime you feel down, this movie will pick you right up, just like any good 80’s movie does. No question, 10 out of 10. Gotta love the Feldman’s deep and froggy voice in this one. Superb.