Tag Archives: classic

#17 ‘Drive’ (2011)

No smartarse caption necessary


* Ryan Gosling

* Carey Mulligan

* Albert Brooks

* Bryan Cranston

* Ron Perlman

Director:- Nicolas Winding Refn

Danish director Winding Refn, a film maker I was totally unaware of til now, has restored my faith in filmmaking – an absolute beast of a feat. Drive has undoubtedly become my favourite film this year to date – bringing to light that this is still an art form to behold and praise. It’s made me excited and eager to watch movies again – reminding of an era of cinema long forgotten, trampled and shit on by the onslaught of mindless, dumbing pieces of work that belong in the bottom of the ocean. In the wake of its release, Drive caused a great divide among film fans and some critics alike – Whether it’s the ‘misleading’ trailer, or the ‘misleading’ title – I am one that struggles to comprehend why so many people I’ve conversed with regarding the film are so indifferent about it.

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling (to 17-23 year old girls – ‘That guy from The Notebook’) portrays the unnamed ‘Driver’, works as a mechanic and part-time on movie stunt sets by day, while taking night work as a getaway driver for criminals for a bit of extra coinage. But after meeting neighbour Irene (the adorable Carey Mulligan) and former Hollywood movie producer Bernie; he is subsequently thrown into a whirlwind of organised crime and retribution through the goodwill nature of his actions.

Set in L.A, ‘Drive’ delivers a totally contrasted vision of what we would usually see of a modern depiction of Los Angeles. During night scenes particularly, it’s the least of all a spot for celebs or high-profile personnel – instead a seedy, dim and dangerous backdrop where organised crime is apparently King. Though it is an extremely strong attribute to the atmosphere and tone of the film’s narrative and characters alike. With an instantaneously noticeable inspiration from 80’s cinema, b-movie eras and specific works based around Vice crime and noir-style features in particular. Never thought I’d make such a comparison… Saying that, it will certainly separate the opinion of some viewers as to what the film is trying to achieve, or to who it’s trying to reach out to. Best description I could make is that it’s a love letter to some of Winding Refn’s most treasured films. Nods aplenty to Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Bullitt’ and also 90’s heist smasher ‘Heat’. The balance of Drive’s intertwining forms of retro style and technique is so sweet, so precisely formed – that it’s almost effortless and you would struggle to make an assumption otherwise.

The dialogue throughout is considerably minimal, especially on the part of Gosling – who becomes most vocal during some of the film’s more violent, or his suitably ‘assertive’ sequences. Particularly one involving a hammer, a bullet, a phone call and the eye of a crook. It’s the film’s most impacting scene – showing us the lengths that The Driver will go to. In regards to Gosling’s diminutive input, it’s something that will be more understandable towards the film’s climax. The character himself I have voiced a great deal of admiration for. Noting his way to incorporate such a compassionate and heroic nature about him, while masking a sinister, psychopathic, vulnerable soul that is unleashed on those that stand in his path of avenging the innocent and hard done by.

The support cast is headed by the previously mentioned Carey Mulligan, who portrays a single mother living across the hall from Gosling’s Driver. Her part seems to be the humanization of Driver – to show that he is skin and bones, and has a heart and a need to be wanted and cherished. There is a subtle spark between the two – most apparent in shots of the two smiling coyly at each other – Behind an honest and genuine longing for each other, though they know it could never really be. Ron Perlman, man of the moment Bryan Cranston and Taxi Driver stalwart Albert Brooks are inspired castings from Refn – Cranston again showing why he is one of the most in-demand actor’s today with a touching performance as Gosling’s mentor and friend, and Brooks carving out that niche role that only he can. With Perlman portraying a smug, self-assured mob underling attempting to make his way by stealing from his ‘Family’ – actually impressing me more than I anticipated as the film’s more prominent antagonist.

If there is one thing that gives Drive its ‘drive’, it is most certainly the musical score. Composed by Cliff Martinez, and including tracks from College and Kavinsky, the scoring is a seething mix of electro pop and 80’s themed synthesizer jams – creating an almost dreamlike state in conjunction with the aforementioned setting. Certain numbers are played to evoke certain emotions to come into play, and some also to give the audience a glimpse to understand the relationships between certain characters within the film.

I will point out, for those that haven’t seen it. This is a drama film, with a hint of action – This is not a ‘driving’ movie. The title, if I am correct, refers to The Driver character, not what he does but what he is as a person. What motivates him inside, what makes him tick, why does do what he does for such high risk? Unfortunately, it’s never really answered. The Driver has, in my opinion, become a modern-day classic movie character – they’ll be talking about this one for decades, I’m tellin’ ya.

Overall, I can not really say enough that will do this film justice. I have sat down and prepped for a review on this film for two weeks, and it’s an extremely difficult feature to review with an unbiased mind. There is a real, genuine feeling when watching that we’ve experienced something special. I implore you, to see this film with a fresh, uninterrupted and broadened mind. A picture of great depth, heart, passion and guts. What a film.





My All-Time Favourite Robert De Niro Quotes

More than just a man....Legend


1. “You learned the two greatest things in life. Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.” – Goodfellas

2. “Someday a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets.” – Taxi Driver

3.  “My father’s name was Antonio Andolini… and this is for you.” – The Godfather Part II

4. “You see, I borrow money all over this neighborhood, left and right from everybody, I never pay them back. So I can’t borrow no money from nobody no more, right? So, who would that leave me to borrow money from but you? I borrow money from you, because you’re the only jerk off around here who I can borrow money from without paying back, right? You know, ’cause that’s what you are, that’s what I think of you – a jerk off.” – Mean Streets

5. “I make him an offer he don’t refuse. Don’t worry.” – The Godfather Part II

6. “Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man.” – Taxi Driver

7. ” What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? ‘Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate – not for a second.” – Heat

8. “I understand, I’m not your type, too many tattoos. Thing is, there isn’t much to do in prison except desecrate your flesh.” – Cape Fear

9. “D’you fuck my wife?” – Raging Bull

10. “You talkin’ to me?” – Taxi Driver 

‘Not What We Deserve… But What We Need’

So the announcement was made earlier today (4th March 2011) by Warner Bros that the sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, will become another casualty of great films…. A god damn franchise of sequels, threequels, prequels and more quels than you can shake a lightsaber at.

He definitely shoots first in this one, George...

Now, the dark times really begin…

Directed by Alien and Gladiator helmer, Ridley Scott. Blade Runner, released in 1982, starred Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer as leads Rick Deckard and Roy Batty (a special forces cop and genetically engineered humanoid respectively),  and was and still is consistently heralded for its story, direction and production. Truly paving the way for many science fiction films, television shows and computer games to this day.

From my personal viewpoint, it’s most probably the richest and boldest sci-fi film in history. And my all-time favourite of the genre. A film with depth, pure dramatic brilliance from start to end, and an amazing interpretation of a future dystopian society shadowed in a noir-inspired landscape and architecture. There’s a massive sense of gravitas throughout, although it seems that it plays out as an action film. In addition, the intricate complexities that riddle Blade Runner have made it a favourite for many cult followers and movie-goers for decades.

Blade Runner’s continued popularity today may indeed hold the key to why it has been ‘drafted’ into the forever growing sequel territory. However that’s from a financial standpoint. Which, of course I have no quarrel with. Cinema is all about the bucks, and don’t we know it. But, on the other hand – There is a line, and it’s a big one. A line that draws between one film, and another.

Today, filmmaking is not what it used to be. Not in the context of production, or acting. But more in the general ‘feel’ of the movie, what it is trying to convey, what it is trying to emote and say to us, the viewer. There is no way I can see an array of sequels or prequels bettering or even equalling to the bar Blade Runner raised. Ever. But there are franchises that it can work with, and it has. Bryan Singer’s Superman reboot back in 2006 channelled just enough of Richard Donner’s stellar and pioneering Superman films that it almost felt like we was continuing on a legacy and not just whoring it out in a dirty back alley. And JJ Abrams Star Trek reimagining totally reinvigorated the franchise and gained a legion of new fans. The likes of Carlito’s Way, Halloween, and cult teen classic The Karate Kid have been among those subjected to shoddy remakes/sequels with lacklustre stories, and little to no acknowledgement of the cannon set by their predecessors. It’s what I call the great bitchslap of the all mighty dollar. 

There are lines. And they need to be drawn.

The problems are abundant, this will never go away I fear. I’m starting to feel a great disdain toward Hollywood’s big guns. One moment I get a sense of excitement and anticipation, the next I’m holding my head in my hands. It’s such a quick transition I hardly can tell when it happens.

If production companies are interested in resurrecting a popular franchise/movie – then look no further for a lesson learned than George Lucas. A guy, who amongst his millions and millions of dollars – has alienated millions and millions of loyal fans that he essentially turned his back on. With a constant backlashing against his work from the last decade, it’s almost against all odds that converting those abominations into 3D will earn him any retribution.

This Will Happen To Warner.

With almost no original thought left in the world of cinema today, I fear only the worst is yet to come. A complete, and utter extinction of true, honest filmmaking. And an uprising of misguided and selfish oafs that will cause a mass degeneration of the one thing I hope could last forever – Real art.

The people can stop this. WE need to take OUR films back, into our hands as their rightful owner and proprietor. WE have to stop these films, that have shaped and made us into who we are today, from being casualties of greed and gluttony – All in the name of a quick buck.

This must happen now

#7 ‘An American Tail’ (1986)

Mousel tov!


*Phillip Glasser

*Dom DeLuise

Director:- Don Bluth


Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Don Bluth was the shit.

From ‘The Land Before Time’ to ‘The Secret of NIMH’ all the way to his work on the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ game franchise – He was undoubtedly my favourite filmmaker. Though I didn’t know who he was in all honesty. But hell, the movies – were awesome! Emotional, hard-hitting, gritty and realistic. All that, with some inspiring and beautiful animation that still stand the test of time today against the likes of Pixar.

An American Tail – set in 1895 – is a story of survival. It also plays out as an ‘all’s not lost if you have hope’ piece of narrative, which is probably some of the best, of this particular nature, that I’ve seen.

 The film’s lead, is a young Russian-Jewish mouse, Fievel, voiced by Phillip Glasser. Who, after being forced to leave their shack under a family home in Russia with his Father, Mother and two siblings – is swept away during a frightening sea storm en route to New York City – Their potential new home. Fievel is washed up ashore in New York, and is befriended by a French pidgeon, Henri. Who, willingly gives him a bubble bath in the near-constructed Statue of Liberty (the scene is crushingly funny and so heart-warming at the same time it almost seems impossible), and encourages him to look for his family – Who believe that their son perished during the storm.

Now, watching this almost 20 years after I last had the VHS tape, it’s really a completely different movie altogether. As a kid, I’d often pick up more on the ‘humour’ and the songs (Especially ‘Somewhere Out There’ – that one is a killer). But maturity and age allowed me to broaden those horizons and read between the pages – to find that this film is truly a classic piece of animated cinema.

In places – it does get rather depressing, Fievel is taunted constantly by the loss of his family – though with companions at his side throughout, he’s never truly alone. But there are constant reminders and teases that his family are closer than he thinks. It actually becomes excruciating to see how often it happens – all for Fievel just to wind up disappointed.

To be fair, it’s pretty heartbreaking. But Bluth’s knack for delivering such human emotion and characterisation to rodents(?) is quite the feat. There’s laughs, there are tears, joy, sorrow, anger, resentment – All thrown in this little bag. The negatives, in this respect, outweigh the positives, however the conclusion is very endearing and totally worth the anticipation.

An American Tail is probably not your average kids flick. It’s abundant with adult-overtones. Such as war, immigration, cruelty, mass genocide and a host of others. I did find a lot of similarity between this and Christian Bale’s plight in ‘Empire of The Sun’. Obviously his character’s situation was in the middle of full-scale war, however both himself and Fievel’s vulnerability and innocence are the heart of the two films. It’s what keeps you transfixed on the events to come, and encourages you to encourage THEM to get back to where they need to be.

There’s an amazing charm to Fievel, as well as his family. His oversized red jumper, his dopey tongue expressions, his dancing to his father’s violin-playing – Effective and simple. There’s not that much around these days. Where are you, Bluth? There’s a lot of support characters in the film, the villainous ‘Warren T. Rat’, which is an amazing villain name. And ‘Honest John’, a reliable but often inebriated mouse politician living in the New York, to name a few. But it’s Dom DeLuise as ‘Tiger’, the vegan cat – who steals the show in his few minutes on-screen. Channelling The Cowardly Lion character from The Wizard of Oz, DeLuise delivers some wise-cracking wit as the cat who befriends Fievel during his search. Capped off with a lovely bit of toe-tapping duet stylings from Glasser and DeLuise.

In closing – it’s definitive animated excellence – However some wishing to show it to children will find the content of the film slightly over the mark.

Very slightly.


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