Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Gosling’
Director: Lasse Hallström
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
Katie (Hough) arrives in Southport, North Carolina on a bus traveling from Boston to Atlanta. On the lam from the determined Detective Tierney (Lyons) and sporting a new hairstyle, she decides to live a low profile life in the town. She works at a local restaurant and buys a cabin in the woods, but she catches the attention of Alex (Duhamel), a shop-owning, damaged single dad. Though she resists his charms at first, with some convincing from her friendly neighbor, Jo (Smulders), she stops resisting even as her mysterious past threatens to ruin her new life. Read the rest of this entry »
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Screenwriter: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman (book)
Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes
The year is 1949. East Coast gangster Mickey Cohen’s (Sean Penn) reign of fear and terror has spread to the city of Los Angeles. To combat his growing influence, the Los Angeles Police Department sends no-nonsense Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to form an off-the-books squad to bring down Cohen’s criminal empire, and ultimately drain him of the resources he needs to rule the town.
Director: George Clooney
Length: 1h 41m
Synopsis: Nearing the turning point to a highly contested Democratic Primary election, Pennsylvania Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) and his chief campaign managers Paul (Hoffman) and Stephen (Gosling) are trying desperately to win out against the competing Senator and his crafty press secretary Tom Duffy (Giamatti) for the pivotal state of Ohio. Soon before full support is set to swing in either candidate’s favor, dependent upon the backing of the powerful Senator Thompson (Wright), Stephen, a genuinely fervent devotee of Morris’ politics, accidentally gets entangled in a small scandal when Duffy decides to bid for his defection. Word of the two’s meeting creates friction at the top of the Morris campaign, and from there on the dominos fall in the direction of defeat. Forced to test his loyalties by defending his personal ambitions, Stephen finds a way to play himself back into good professional standing using questionable influences and political chicanery. Although he may have started out rather green, Stephen discovers just how dirty the art of politics can really be.
Although it might be a bit untimely to talk at length about Drive nearly three full weeks after it opened on Sept. 16th, we at Movie-Thoughts thought it to be an even worse idea to not talk about it at all. Our Marisa Carpico did of course write a glowing review of the film, directed by Nicolas Refn (Bronson) and starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, and it appears her sentiments match that of the critical majority (RottenTomatoes rating is 93%), and because of these reasons we thought it was downright necessary to devote more time toward inspecting this refreshingly stylized action thriller. We tried to elaborate more on some of the angles explored in Marisa’s review, and took the opportunity to also bring up topics we felt hadn’t been addressed as often or thoroughly by other critics. We hope you find our discussion intriguing, and we of course encourage you to throw your two cents in at the comments section below. For those of you who have been debating internally about going to see Drive we hope our musings give you the extra incentive you need to give it a go and experience it for yourself. And for those of you who simply don’t wish to see it… well, you’re missing out.
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Synopsis: By day, Driver (Gosling) is a mechanic and stunt driver just trying to get by, but at night he moonlights as a getaway driver, selling his services for five minutes at a time and executing his work with cold confidence. He lives almost entirely behind the wheel of a car—until he encounters his sweet, pretty neighbor Irene (Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Leos). A mutual attraction grows between them, but before they can act on their feelings Irene’s husband, Standard (Isaacs), returns from prison. Suddenly, Driver’s personal and criminal lives collide when he decides to help Standard do a job and pay off his debt to a dangerous group of men. However, when the job goes wrong, Driver must resort to violence in order to protect Irene and Benicio.
Screenwriter: Dan Fogelman
Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Synopsis: Cal Weaver (Carell) is overcome with depression when his wife Emily (Moore) demands a divorce and reveals she slept with a coworker. After listening to Cal drunkenly profess his woes, fast-talking lothario Jacob (Gosling) decides to teach him how to get more women. As Cal regains his self-confidence, Jacob falls in love with Hannah (Stone), a determined young woman who has a specific vision for her future. Meanwhile, Cal’s son Robbie (Bobo) nurses a crush for his babysitter, Jessica (Tipton).
Every few months or so, I get into this strange mood where I think the film industry has become all hype and no substance and I feel nostalgic for the movies I used to love. Typically during these periods, every film I see only seems to confirm that sense and I grow increasingly disappointed until something finally snaps me out of it.
This time last year, I found myself in the midst of one of my film industry doldrums and I walked into Greg Mottola’s coming-of-age film Adventureland expecting yet another gross-out teen comedy like his previous film Superbad. However, what I encountered was a film that restored my faith in the medium.
I remember the moment exactly. Kristen Stewart’s character Em and Jesse Eisenberg’s character James are simply driving in a car as the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” plays on the radio. They have just left a bar after Em’s secret lover and his wife walk in and the couples share an awkward and loaded exchange. Em is clearly thrown by the encounter and the scene that follows basically shows her reaction to it. As she drives, Em’s face goes from sad to angry to disappointed to confused in a matter of seconds, displaying all of the complicated emotions she feels. And it was during that scene that I remembered how much I love film and how powerful film could be. It wasn’t just Stewart’s incredible performance or the music choice or the way Mottola filmed it, it was the combination of all those things. It was the realization that I was seeing a truly extraordinary moment of creation happening on the screen and I had suddenly regained that passion for movies I had experienced as a child.
I’ve recently felt myself moving toward another bout of movie despondency so I popped in my Adventureland DVD and prepared to have my faith restored. On a whim, I watched the previews before the film and one of them happened to be a roundup of Miramax films, the same company that distributed Adventureland.
As the preview rolled, I realized how many Miramax films I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. I mean, this is the production/distribution company that first sparked my love for movies all the way back in 1996 with the release of Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient. I may not have fully understood all the film’s themes at eight years old, but I certainly appreciated the beauty. The passionate yet tragic love story of the central characters and the gorgeous cinematography are the reasons the film remains one of my favorites even today. Miramax was the company that sparked my love of musicals too. Sitting in a half-empty theater in the middle of the day watching Chicago was a positively transformative experience. The sex appeal and the combination of stage performance and cinema that only film could supply was positively incredible. Miramax was even the company that taught me about post-modernist referencing: I delighted in the way Wes Craven’s Scream deconstructed the horror genre and was positively astounded by the endless layers of pop culture reference Quentin Tarantino used in the Kill Bill films. So I began to wonder, what happened to Miramax?
Miramax began some thirty years ago in New York as an independent production and distribution company founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The goal of the company—named for the Weinsteins’ parents Miriam and Max—was to produce and distribute independent films which were often more notable for their artistic value than their potential box office earnings. Between their opening in 1979 and 1993, Miramax distributed such films as Sex, Lies and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs. However, it really began to flourish after the Walt Disney Company bought it in 1993. After the sale, with more financial backing at their disposal, the Weinsteins were able to run the company fairly independently of the rest of the Disney family.
The Weinsteins had always been fairly aggressive in their business practices, from acquiring films to acquiring promising filmmaking talent, and that same style carried over in their Disney period. Nowhere was this aggressive business style more apparent than the company’s Oscar campaigns. Perhaps the best example of a successful Miramax campaign came in 1998 when Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan for a Best Picture Oscar. According to a New York Magazine article from 1995, Miramax spent an estimated $5 million campaigning for the film and its arguable whether it would have been so fortunate without such significant backing. Miramax carried on in this manner with one successful Oscar-winning film after another. And then 2005 rolled around.
The Weinsteins had a tenuous relationship with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner over issues like financing and creative matters and when it came time to renew the brothers’ contracts in 2005, the negotiations went so poorly they ultimately decided to leave to create The Weinstein Company. Miramax continued relatively unchanged under the direction of Daniel Battsek until this past January when Disney closed the its New York and Los Angeles offices and made it a part of the larger Disney infrastructure, thereby reducing the production output to only a handful of films per year. Though companies like Summit Entertainment and even The Weinstein Company have showed interest in purchasing Miramax from Disney, it’s likely the $700 million asking price, as reported by The Deal Magazine, will mean the company will stay in Disney’s possession for years to come. However, the real question in all this madness is what company can audiences expect to take up the creative slack?
Miramax’s most obvious heir is The Weinstein Company. In it’s few short years, it has already made some impressive films like quite a few of this year’s Oscar nominees including Inglourious Basterds, Nine and A Single Man. And it has quite a few promising films in the pipeline including two Sundance Favorites, The Company Men starring Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper and Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. However, another independent company that might give the Weinsteins a run for their money is Summit Entertainment. Former Paramount Vice Chairman Robert G. Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger established Summit in April 2007, but it’s already shown some promise. It produced and distributed this year’s Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker and with the cash cow that is The Twilight Saga as one of its properties, Summit shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon.
Regardless of what the future may hold, I’m sure there will always be films to help remind me why I fell in love with the medium in the firs place. And if not, I can always pick something from the Miramax library for a little reminder.