Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

DRIVE – The Review

Nicolas Winding Refn’s DRIVE is simply perfect. Not since Michael Mann’s 1981 crime drama THIEF, has a film of this type had such an impact, and dare I say DRIVE is even better? Yes, I do. Every woman’s newest sweetheart, Ryan Gosling (CRAZY STUPID LOVE) is Driver, a nameless Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver. He lives simply, adhering to a strict set of rules, which keeps him at the top of his game, out of prison… and alive. On the surface, he’s a pretty boy with a quiet disposition, but hidden within is a strong, efficient survivor with the capacity to be brutal when necessary.

Working as a mechanic for Shannon, played by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, the two men hold a partnership that handles the criminal side jobs. When Shannon approaches former motion picture producer turned organized crime boss Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) about a loan to get his driver behind the wheel of a stock car to race professionally, it marks the beginning of a downward spiral for both men. Shortly thereafter, the driver meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). This is the moment everything changes for the driver.

DRIVE is adapted from James Sallis’ book by Hossein Amini (THE FOUR FEATHERS, KILLSHOT) and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, a young auteur whose previous films (BRANSON, VALHALLA RISING) have cemented him on my radar of filmmakers to watch like a hawk. The story takes place in the ‘90s, an era not generally known for any memorable, defining nostalgia. Despite this, Refn somehow creates his own nostalgia in which to place the driver, a loner but likable anti-hero. Sporting a pearling white windbreaker with a golden scorpion embroidered on the back, the driver walks with a subtle, unassuming confidence, seemingly invisible to the public eye.

This apparent invisibility is not a chance occurrence. Whatever his training, whatever his life experience up to now, the driver is clearly in control of every aspect of his life, until he meets Irene. Falling almost instantly for her, and bonding as quickly to her son Benicio, the driver takes on a role of responsibility for them. This becomes undeniably crucial when Irene’s past returns to throw everything in jeopardy. Jeopardy is another name for two men; Bernie Rose and Nino, played by veteran character actor Ron Perlman (HELLBOY). One of my personal favorites, Perlman delivers precisely the level of creepy charisma I’ve come to expect, and it works marvelously.

The truly astounding performance in DRIVE however, is Albert Brooks (THE MUSE, DEFENDING YOUR LIFE). Refn has managed to work with Brooks to take every ounce of what makes him such a unique comical character and flips him, fully converted to the dark side. Intelligent, witty and sharp-tongued, Brooks finds that elusive something that equates to a memorably unnerving villain, a bad guy the audience has difficulty disliking. Hands down, Brooks delivers one of the best performances from any supporting actor of 2011.

Ryan Gosling, an actor on the fast lane to greatness, has given audiences stellar work in HALF-NELSON, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, and BLUE VALENTINE. Unfortunately, he’s probably best known for the lesser quality films he’s done, but has still managed to stand out as the beacon amidst foggier films. Gosling’s performance is quiet, solemn and meticulously paced, much like the film itself. DRIVE is a slowly building roller coaster of tension, the type that takes 90% of its time gradually ratcheting the audience up to the tip top of the incline, before finally letting loose for the final 10% sending the audience into a sudden free-fall, landing firmly within a cushion of existential epiphany.

Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION, NEVER LET ME GO) is almost too cute and adorable to imagine in such a film, has offered audiences far more defining performances. For the role of Irene, she succeeds at being a means to an end for the driver’s character development, remaining just within his shadow, but giving us more than enough reason to believe she is the catalyst for the driver’s shift in purpose. In the first act of DRIVE, Gosling and Mulligan build a fascinating chemistry with barely enough dialogue to fill a single page of script.

This silence is a multifaceted thematic element that runs throughout the film. The atmospheric score from Cliff Martinez (THE LINCOLN LAWYER, CONTAGION) is alluring and gentle, but with an edge, occasionally rising to the surface just enough to grab the viewer by the throat as if to squeeze gently, reminding us of the pending danger the driver willing chooses to face head on for the sake of a woman he barely knows. Newton Thomas Sigel provides the cinematography, but is clearly channeling Refn’s visual flair. DRIVE is filled with softly contoured contrast and deep, saturated color woven seamlessly into the shadows to the point of being a subconscious afterthought.

The palette of DRIVE is not unlike that of BRONSON, but inverted from the hyper-intense into more of an ultra-mellow version of itself. More importantly, Refn continues to play with the visual canvas as a storytelling medium, relying less with each film on the traditional dialogue-driven approach, constructing shots and scenes that may have made Hitchcock raise an eyebrow. The care given to composition of frame, to every moment and measure of camera movement, allows Refn to strengthen the impact of his story on the viewer without exposing his presence. This is particularly true in the final moments of the final act, when the driver confronts his villain. Refn creatively conceals details, forcing the audience to inch up to the very edge of their seats, patiently but anxiously.

DRIVE offers all this, but still engages the viewer in the dirty underbelly of the criminal world. Without being overly flashy, Refn incorporates some of the best car chase sequences in recent years. The kind of high speed, articulate stunt driving that has the crowd in awe. As for myself, I had to fight the urge to replicate the driving as I left the theater. It’s that infectious. Likewise, Refn does not hold back on the violence, displaying key moments of passionate brutality, but only when the driver is cornered, like an angry badger defending its young. DRIVE is an R-rated film at heart, but only in the sense that it’s a mature, honest portrayal of a side of society most of us never experience outside of cinema. DRIVE has a few subdued moments of humor, most of which are presented by Albert Brooks, but ultimately proves to be an exemplary achievement as a film from a director as comfortable with style as he is with the actors, resulting in what I consider to be the best film of 2011.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

With his breakthrough performance as "Eames" in Christopher Nolan 2010 science fiction thriller, Inception (2010), English actor Tom Hardy has been brought to the attention of mainstream audiences worldwide. But the versatile actor has been steadily working on both stage and screen since his television debut in the 2001 miniseries "Band of Brothers" (2001).

After being cast in the WWII drama, Hardy left his studies at the prestigious Drama Centre in London and was subsequently cast in Ridley Scott Black Hawk Down (2001) and as the villain "Shinzon" in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

He began his studies at the prestigious Drama Centre, but left early for a part in the award-winning HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. He made his feature film debut in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, with Josh Hartnett. He then appeared with Paul Bettany in The Reckoning, a British film based on the novel Morality Play.

Watch the trailer:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The director of the critically-acclaimed film “Warrior,” which achieved a top box office ranking during its $5.6 million opening weekend, has provided CNA with an exclusive look at the spiritual friendship that motivated the movie.

“My friend Charles 'Mask' Lewis died last year just as I was preparing to go into production on my film 'Warrior,' for which he was an indispensable help and supporter,” Director Gavin O'Connor recalls in the Sept. 12 column. “I dedicated 'Warrior' to Charles and wanted to mark the occasion of its release by sharing the story of our brief but magnificent friendship.”

Lewis founded the popular “Tapout” clothing line, which gave popular exposure to the world of mixed martial arts in which “Warrior” takes place. He also offered O'Connor, who comes from a Catholic background, with a faithful perspective that shaped the film's story of conflict and redemption.

“We drove to Vegas together one weekend and I was surprised to see Bibles strewn all over the back of his car,” the director remembers. “He was on a path and it inspired me. He spoke about his Christian faith in a way that touched my heart and rekindled the embers of my own Christian upbringing.”

“This big dude, this larger-than-life personality who often wore face paint, was brimming with the love of Christ and it was infectious.”

After Lewis' death in a car accident, O'Connor said he still felt an “almost palpable sense of his spiritual presence” on the film set.

“Having Charles come along in my life was a great blessing for which I’ll always be grateful,” he wrote.

Warrior release on 16th September 2011 in India

Catch up the trailer:

Source: CatholicNewsAgency

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 discuss how they approached key scenes in the film, from the tense walk down the aisle to the pillow-shredding honeymoon, to the bloody, ghastly climax.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's 'Fall Movie Preview'!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

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Anne Hathaway's first major role came in the short-lived television series "Get Real" (1999).

Establishing her strong screen presence with breakout roles in family fare "The Princess Diaries" (2001) and "Ella Enchanted" (2004), while many of her peers were getting far more attention for their rehab and party antics. But the well-grounded, well-educated Hathaway held focus on her career, evolving into impressively three-dimensional adult roles in widely heralded films "Nicholas Nickelby" (2002), "Brokeback Mountain" (2005) and the role which proved she could more than hold her own against the greatest talents, as well as carry a film herself - "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006).

Anne plays a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

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The Blueberry Hunt unfolds in a lush green deserted estate bordering the forest on the high altitudes of Vagamon, Kerala.
The film centers on a recluse known locally as "Colonel" - played by Naseeruddin Shah, living with his large German Shepherd.

The story focuses on the final five days when Colonel's plantation of a high potency variant of marijuana - Blueberry Skunk - gets ready for harvest.

Releasing on 16th September 2011