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#21 Christian

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:25 PM

This and Out of Sight: Does Albert Brooks know how to pick films in this genre or what?

He is great here, and I'm rooting for him to get a supporting-actor nomination. I'd say I'm rooting for him to win outright, but the supporting categories often are full of interesting performances, making it hard for me put all my chips in one basket. We'll see how the rest of the year unfolds.

Two things bothered me during this film:

1. Gosling's jacket. Is that mattress-pad design still the fashion? I'm hopeless with these things. The larger sunglasses these days annoy me, too, but I've grown used to them over the past couple of years. Still, I thought that type of jacket, that style, was outdated before the sunglasses started to grow to Elton-John-like proportions (circa 1975) 5 or 6 six years ago. Maybe everything "old' is new again?

2. Speaking of which, the music. Is it contemporary European pop, meaning now, or is it from the early 1980s? Reminded me of Vangelis, but with a beat. It bothered me even as I found it effective at creating a certain mood for the film. But I sat there wondering if the music was supposed to be a throwback. I even thought at one point that the film might be set in the 1980s, although I don't think we're given information to suggest it's set at any time other than the present, are we?

Glad you liked it, Jeffrey. I wasn't sure how you might react to some of the turns in the second half of the story, which surprised me in a good way. Even though I was liking the first half of the film a good deal, the second half really takes things to another level.

Edited by Christian, 16 September 2011 - 06:31 PM.


#22 Overstreet

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:44 PM

Shut up. That jacket deserves an Oscar.

Edited by Overstreet, 01 September 2011 - 06:44 PM.


#23 Darrel Manson

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:47 PM

The one thing that bothered me was the scene in the garage when Irene has brought the car in and Benicio is watching him work on the car up on the rack. He keeps ratcheting and ratcheting and what ever he's tightening never seems to get tight. Yeah, it's minor, but it got my attention - not a good thing.

#24 Overstreet

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 06:56 PM

I have some friends who work at a garage like that, and I wondered what they'd think of that scene. I'll bet they say the same thing you do.

I love love love that
Spoiler
Because he knows that it will probably never be possible after what happens next.

#25 Christian

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:05 PM

The one thing that bothered me was the scene in the garage when Irene has brought the car in and Benicio is watching him work on the car up on the rack. He keeps ratcheting and ratcheting and what ever he's tightening never seems to get tight. Yeah, it's minor, but it got my attention - not a good thing.

That's funny now that you mention it. Didn't occur to me at the time. I was too distracted by the jacket, the sunglasses, that music.

#26 Ryan H.

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 08:35 PM

2. Speaking of which, the music. Is it contemporary European pop, meaning now, or is it from the early 1980s? Reminded me of Vangelis, but with a beat. It bothered me even as I found it effective at creating a certain mood for the film. But I sat there wondering if the music was supposed to be a throwback. I even thought at one point that the film might be set in the 1980s, although I don't think we're given information to suggest it's set at any time other than the present, are we?

The score is new material, but according to the composer it's meant to evoke the 1980s, ala Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. Apparently director Nicolas Winding Refn is obsessed with the music of the 1980s.

#27 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:12 PM

Glenn Kenny hasn't reviewed the film yet, but his most recent blog post begins:

I'm decidedly mixed on Drive, for reasons I articulate in my upcoming review for MSN Movies, and as such I'm a little more impatient than I'd normally be with the utterly breathless and increasingly relentless unwarranted dribbling over the film and its admittedly talented director Nicolas Winding Refn. I hit a bit of a Twitter wall with it earlier today when one Industry Tweeter™ chimed in "Drive Director Refn Talks Scouting Gritty Los Angeles Locations." Ooooh, I thought. Refn went to gritty places to scout. No other director does that. . . .

Further down in the comments, Kenny adds: "Refn's a capable and occasionally inspired filmmaker, but I don't even rate him that far above a smart genre technician like Neil Marshall. You want the guy, you're welcome to him. But I'm not bowing." Oh, and then there's this:

It's not just the hype itself but the thinking, such as it is, that informs it; the self-congratulation of the droolers who "get" all of the film's various references, as if their ability to parse each aspect of the film's pastiche elements is sufficient to prove the film's greatness. I also thought it was pretty funny to see critics who, having missed about a third of the content of "Tree of Life," pronounced the Malick film pretentious, and then fell over each other dribbling over a movie that portentuosly and uselessly rehashes "Scorpion and Frog," for God's sake.

Colour me intrigued. Never mind the people who see the film because their favorite critics like it; I've gotta see this one to see why Kenny DOESN'T like it (or doesn't like it That Much, at any rate).

#28 Ryan H.

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:19 PM

Maybe I haven't been reading the right reviews of DRIVE, but I haven't encountered any hype on the level of what Kenny describes.

#29 Darrel Manson

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:04 PM

Glenn Kenny hasn't reviewed the film yet, but his most recent blog post [includes]:

I hit a bit of a Twitter wall with it earlier today when one Industry Tweeter™ chimed in "Drive Director Refn Talks Scouting Gritty Los Angeles Locations." Ooooh, I thought. Refn went to gritty places to scout. No other director does that. . . .

Locations. On the way to Hollywood yesterday we were in traffic on the 101 east of downtown when I looked over and saw the coffee shop Irene worked at. Recognized the location because of the elevated road that goes by it and is in the shot out the window as she and the Driver talk. It wasn't that gritty. One of the old empty restaurants that serve as film sets. Echo Park? not that gritty.

#30 Overstreet

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:38 PM

Speaking as one who gets none of the references that allegedly have critics raving, I enjoyed the movie more than almost everything else I've seen this year, and that's unusual for me considering the genre to which it belongs. For the record. If I liked movies because my favorite critics like movies, I'd be singing Secret Sunshine's praises.

#31 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:57 PM

Ryan H. wrote:
: Maybe I haven't been reading the right reviews of DRIVE, but I haven't encountered any hype on the level of what Kenny describes.

Given the nature of Kenny's response, I imagine he's reacting to what he's seen on Twitter more than anything else right now.

#32 Nick Olson

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:09 AM

How does Kenny mean his criticism of some Tree of Life critics? That they didn't understand a 1/3 of the film's content (e.g. references)? Or that Malick only gave us a 1/3 of what seems to be a 6 hour extended cut? I'm assuming he means the former?

#33 Ryan H.

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:13 AM

How does Kenny mean his criticism of some Tree of Life critics? That they didn't understand a 1/3 of the film's content (e.g. references)? Or that Malick only gave us a 1/3 of what seems to be a 6 hour extended cut? I'm assuming he means the former?

I'm pretty sure it's the former. And again, I'm not sure his complaint is accurate.

#34 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:08 AM

And now for Kenny's actual review (which begins by quoting an exchange from Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy):

"Drive," not quite the U.S. filmmaking debut from Danish directorial sensation Nicolas Winding Refn (he fumbled big with the John Turturro-starring "Fear X" in 2003), caused quite a sensation at this year's Cannes Film Festival, from which many critics hailed it as a refreshing jolt of genre adrenaline in a gloomy sea of challenging art cinema. So imagine this viewer's surprise at finding the film to be about two-thirds' worth of a pretty good to quite good action picture and one-third worth of affected, highfalutin, practically insufferably portentous, pretentious "Hey, folks, here's the punch line" malarkey. . . .

One ironically irritating thing about "Drive" is that it feels very European in ways that Refn's actually European films did not. Not just European. Yurrupean. . . .

Now, heroes with no name are not really a problem with genre films; one of this picture's direct precursors, Walter Hill's wonderful 1978 film "The Driver" features just such a hero. Only "The Driver" doesn't nudge you in the ribs every five minutes to remind you that its hero doesn't have a name. The thing that makes action-packed but intriguingly enigmatic action films such as that or "Bullitt" so seductive is that they don't spend too much time telling you how terse and elliptical they are; they just are terse and elliptical. . . .

And a little bit after that, in case we missed the significance of the image of the scorpion sewn into the driver's jacket, the driver himself relates to villain Bernie (Albert Brooks, whose effectiveness as a slimeball should be no surprise to anyone who's seen "Out of Sight," and I guess a lot of folks who saw this at Cannes never saw "Out of Sight") the story of the scorpion and the frog. Which was told to brilliant effect in Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin," then to telling effect in Neil Jordan's "The Crying Game," and third time the director's trying way too hard. And after that point, the film really starts to sink under the weight of its own affectations. . . .



#35 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:09 AM

I love this line from Hoberman's INSANELY SPOILER-FILLED review:

Compared to Gosling's near-catatonic driver, Mulligan's shiny-eyed pixie is all manic overemotionalizing, as if one of the androids in Blade Runner had been retooled for perk appeal.


Edited by Overstreet, 16 September 2011 - 01:12 AM.


#36 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:25 PM

Brett McCracken on Drive.

Drive isn't a perfect film...


Aaaaaand DRINK!!

Beneath the façade of blood, guts, and synth is a somewhat redeeming message about trying to right past wrongs and escape the cycle of crime and violence. Not to mention the classic noir message: "crime doesn't pay."


Somehow I just can't get excited about examining this film as a film with a "redeeming message." First of all, it's as recognizable as a Formula One racecar in its, well, formulaic elements. So of *course* it's about a bad guy trying to do some good before it's too late. But the film is so steeped in fantasies... the fantasies of the characters, and the lens of fantasy through which the story is told, that I think the movie asks us to join the joke of its own rather ludicrous fantasy... the idea that a bad guy can solve things by applying his destructive powers to the right cause.

The thing that separates this film from Machine Gun Preacher is that it winks at us as the bad boy "reforms" into somebody who turns heroic by learning to channel his volcanic rage into a form of "redemptive" violence. And so, as much as it plays out the formula brilliantly, it also does so with its tongue firmly in cheek. Preacher, on the other hand, seems to accept that story in the end as a good one.

If I see anything "redemptive" about this film, it's that it knows these stories can't be told seriously anymore. So it's self-conscious all the way through, right down to the theme song that wraps up the "message" with such a neat, shiny bow at more than one point in the film.

The thing is, that stance shouldn't have worked for me. But it really, really did. I can't wait to see it again.

Edited by Overstreet, 16 September 2011 - 01:32 PM.


#37 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:36 PM

So what you're saying is, it's a Tarantino film, basically.

#38 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:10 PM

Yeah, pretty much.

Although I'm tempted to review it as a compare/contrast with Tangled.

Something like this:

A crook, in the midst of his criminal activities, encounters a damsel in distress with a plucky, cute-as-a-button sidekick. He endeavors to help her, and begins taking baby-steps toward a fuller life... one in which he's applying his skills in service of someone else, in the name of love. His heroics are heavily dependent on his "vehicles"... and thus transportation kind of steals the show. The hero has a few practiced facial expressions on which he depends as much as Derek Zoolander to impress people around him.

The soundtrack almost becomes the film's reason for being. The action, when it happens, is crazy. And the primary bad guy and the two other sub-villains are surprisingly engaging considering how formulaic everything is. At times, the film is stunningly beautiful to look at. Oh, and the heroine looks really, really adorable with short hair.

The "moral of the story"? Well, I suppose you could identify one, but it's pretty silly. This movie isn't really about morals anyway... this movie is really about nostalgia for another era of moviemaking, but it fulfills the standards of that formula so fully that it instantly achieves a sort of "classic" status. As a fusion of fairy tales and fantasies, it feels fresh.

You'll walk away with the preachy but peppy theme song in your head, even though the story was, in essence, just an excuse for style and a winking self-awareness.

There. I've just reviewed both Tangled and Drive.

It's just that, well... you don't want to take the kids to Drive. Trust me on that.

Edited by Overstreet, 16 September 2011 - 03:24 PM.


#39 Jason Panella

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:36 PM

It's just that, well... you don't want to take the kids to Drive. Trust me on that.


As excited as I am to see this movie, there is one particular scene that is sort of scaring me away. I've gotten pretty squeamish over the past few years for certain violent acts, especially anything involving heads and stomping. This also made a scene from The Proposition linger in my head much, much longer than I wanted.

Edited by Jason Panella, 16 September 2011 - 03:36 PM.


#40 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:45 PM

Well, I'll just say you have a very serious reason to be concerned about this movie, then. I mean... yikes. YIKES.