Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rated D - Drive

Still a little slow on the new films front, but alas, I've still got a couple of reviews bouncing around in that area of my brain that I've dubbed "The Useless Knowledge Section!"

That being said...

Welcome back to another underwelming edition of Rated D! Bonus Features Included!

A couple of months ago, Erika warily accompanied me to a movie called "Drive". SPOILER ALERT: A quiet mechanic/stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver gets caught between the mob and a sociopathic movie producer after a job goes wrong.

NOTE: Gene Shalit is a critic known for his cartoonish appearance which includes an oversize handlebar mustache and colorful bowties who is best known for his ridiculous use of puns.

I will try to steer clear of those puns while I navigate through this review of "Drive". A movie like this is hard to be neutral about. With its unique style and 80s Pop soundtrack, this movie could easily send an audience member into reverse quickly, but it hooked me from the start with a great opening hiest. Most movies about getaways choose the stereotypical fast-paced, mind blowing actionfest to kickstart the story, but this movie goes for something a little more low-octane with such a tense and unique chase that you almost feel like you're sitting in the backseat. You buckle up and strap yourself in for the ride, but it might not be the one you were expecting to take. The unnamed wheelman known only as The Driver, played by Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, Murder By Numbers), is definitely one of the most interesting characters of the year, possibly of the past five years. He is a calm, quiet, intimidating presence but Gosling somehow brings out the gentle giant within him. Though from the second the film begins we are introduced to him as a criminal introvert who enjoys death-defying stunts in his spare time, we never fear for the innocent people in his life. This includes his epitome-of-innocence neighbor, Irene, played by Carey Mulligan (Public Enemies, Brothers), whose petit size and mousy beauty only add to her damsel in distress quality. However, the movie is punctuated with long stretches of silence and half-smirk smiles from Gosling which speak volumes to us as audience members but might beg the question in regards to other characters such as "why would you invite this guy into your home?" or "why would you leave him alone with your child?" The movie doesn't let you linger there too long though and focuses on his good-natured boss, Shannon, played by Bryan Cranston (The Lincoln Lawyer, TV's Breaking Bad) and a sociopathic former movie producer played by Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo, The Scout), who delivers an especially great and equally disturbing performance. After a simple pawn shop knockover goes horribly wrong, The Driver gets caught up in a fight for his life while he trying to protect Irene and her son from goons who don't like to leave loose ends. All in all, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie but I definitely think its an acquired taste. There are quite a few quick, but shockingly gruesome death scenes that virtually come out of nowhere and you won't receive a whole lot of back-story on The Driver, but still there's something about "Drive" that keeps your eyes on the road and stops you from hitting the brakes.

To Tie It Back to Health & Fitness...

"Road Rage" can affect anyone behind the wheel but its important to remember that even though it has a catchy almost comical name, it can have serious effects on our health. According to some health educators and counselors, those who experience road rage can also face any number of stress-related health risks, not to mention the damage that particularly enraged drivers can inflict on one another and their vehicles. Breathing exercises and music can help to counter stress and relax drivers. Even planning ahead and leaving yourself time to reach your destination can squash the added stress of arriving on time that add to road rage.

"If I drive for you, you give me a time and a place. I give you a five-minute window, anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours no matter what. I don't sit in while you're running it down; I don't carry a gun... I drive." - Ryan Gosling as Driver

Technically Speaking...

The 80's style definitely stands out a lot through things like the soundtrack and bright pink font used in the credits, but there were other neat stylistic flairs that were outside of that realm and still pretty great. For instance, there's a fantastic scene in an elevator where time virtually stops while Irene and The Driver share a romantic moment literally behind a hitman's back and some great camera angles that are somewhat untraditional during the car chases or standoffs. Little things like this can be artsy sure, but the word "artsy" doesn't always need to have the connotation of "pretentious" or "elitist".

REVIEW - I give it 3.5 out of 5 Scorpion Jackets


This Week's List... What's Your Name?

Characters without a Name

1. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 - Uma Thurman as... The Bride. You'll eventually learn her name in the second one, but as far as this one goes, she's just The Bride. If you're a fan of Tarentino... I don't know how you missed this one. What happened...? Have you been in a coma since you were gunned down and left for dead on your wedding day! Uh... its an inside joke.

2. Waterworld - Kevin Costner as... The Mariner. This movie gets so much flack: in part because it cost so much to make and in part because people just love to be hatin' on K - Cost. For as strange as this action flick is, I actually think its a whole lot of fun. Great action sequences and Dennis Hopper (Speed, Flashback) in one of his best bad guy roles.

3. Once - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova as... Guy & Girl. Its a modern day musical fairytale that follows two musicians trying to make a longshot dream come true. It's not as musical as a musical and not as upbeat as a fairytale, but it does have a lot of sweetness and spirit. The original song "Falling Slowly" also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006.

4. Fight Club - Edward Norton as... The Narrator. Some say his name is Jack for his reference to the children's book, some say it's Rupert for his alias at support groups, and some say its Tyler Durden, his alter ego played by Brad Pitt (Ocean's 11, Mr. and Mrs. Smith). Either way, the movie's great so who cares?

5. That Thing You Do - Ethan Embry as... T.B. Player. Ethan Embry (Dutch, Can't Hardly Wait) plays the awkward bass player in the 60's pop band The Wonders... or The O-Needers depending on what part of the movie you're at. I wonder if he didn't have a name at all in the script or if some one realized that nobody ever says it and dubbed him T.B. Player for The Bass Player...?

Still Haven't Seen It?

Cowboys & Aliens - A man with no memory and a feared Cattle Driver must save a small, southwest town from Alien invaders in the late 1800s. The title might make you laugh a bit but its not a comedy and its not a spoof. Its your run-of-the-mill genre mash-up of western meets alien invasion. In fact, it takes itself very seriously. I think it could've beneifitted a little from some more comedy or maybe this would've worked better as TV series, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. Rent at your own risk.

Next Time on Rated D -

Who knows! Big movies are busting out all over!

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows - Liked the first one...

Young Adult - Charlize Theron with an off-color Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer's Body) script...

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - Liked the first, hated the second, loved the third...

The Descendants - Heard only good things...

We'll see!

-Gorilla Man

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