Albert Brooks, the best part of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive

Just because I wasn’t totally crazy about it, doesn’t mean Drive can’t be the LiC pick of the week… and so it is.

  • Drive (***). Ryan Gosling is a mechanic/stunt driver by day and a getaway driver for hire by night. When one of his capers goes bad, he finds himself in possession of a whole lot of someone else’s money and in a whole lot of trouble. It’s not the best thing since God invented the orgasm as the many highly positive reviews suggest, but there’s definitely more to like about Drive than not. While director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Pusher) falls short of turning a car chase picture into an art film, the attempt looks good, has a couple of terrific action sequences and finds a wonderfully dangerous performance in the great Albert Brooks. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Bryan Cranston (TV’s Breaking Bad) both shine in small parts, but Carey Mulligan (An Education) is little more than a place holder as Gosling’s inevitable love interest. (Wide) (Review)

  • Restless. Based upon Jason Lew’s play Of Winter and Water Birds, Gus Van Sant’s Restless stars Mia Wasikowska as a terminally ill cancer patient who falls for a young man whose best friend happens to be the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. Short term love ensues. I’m sorry, you lost me at “terminal cancer patient” so don’t even get me started on the kamikaze ghost.  (NY, LA)
  • Happy, Happy. Norway’s submission for next year’s Oscars and the winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance in January, Happy, Happy tells the story of a woman who has come to terms with her imperfect life until the perfect couple moves in next door. (NY, LA)
  • Straw Dogs. Rod Lurie remakes Sam Peckinpah’s controversial adaptation of Gordon Williams’ The Siege of Trencher’s Farm with James Marsden and Kate Bosworth filling in for Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. A screenwriter returns with his wife to her small Southern hometown where his passivity is challenged by a group of local thugs.  (Wide)
  • I Don’t Know How She Does It. Who cares why she does it? The question is why people pay money to watch her doing it. Sarah Jessica Parker plays a woman juggling marriage, children and job and were’s supposed to act like she deserves a goddamn medal. My mom just did it without crying about it. (Wide)
  • 3. In Tom (Run Lola, Run) Tykwer’s latest a husband and wife unknowingly fall for the same man. I’m pretty sure nothing good can come of that. (NY, LA)
  • Jane’s Journey. Animal behavior expert Jane Goodall – you know, the English chimpanzee lady – gets the documentary treatment.  (Limited)
  • My Afternoon’s with Marguerite. Gerard Depardieu stars as an illiterate man who befriends an old woman in a park who reads aloud to him and I have no doubt both of their lives are transformed. (Limited)
  • Stay Cool. Here’s the official blurb: “Henry McCarthy (Mark Polish), the 30-something author of the popular 80s-themed novel How Lionel Got Me Laid, returns to his suburban hometown of Sacramento to deliver the commencement speech at his former high school. Despite his success as an author Henry’s return home has sparked all of the youthful dreams, desires and particularly disappointments he’s never quite gotten over, specifically his unrequited affection for the girl who is now the local pharmacist: the elusive Scarlet Smith (Winona Ryder). Between run-ins with the outcast friends he left behind Big Girl (Sean Astin) and Wino (Josh Holloway), the school principal (Chevy Chase) and a seductive senior, Shasta O’Neil (Hilary Duff) who clearly has the hots for him, Henry is sent spinning through a time warp that incites all the old emotions and challenges of the world he grew up in.” Ted Smith directs from a script by Michael Polish and Mark Polish. (Limited)
  • The Weird World of Blowfly. Documentary about songwriter Clarence Reid, perhaps better known as his alter-ego Blowfly, the performer behind such sex-themed song parodies as Rapp Dirty, Electronic Pussy Sucker and Butt Pirate Luv. Yeah, not a chance in hell. (Limited)
  • The Mill & the Cross. Lech Majewski dramatizes Flemish landscape painter Pieter Bruegel’s interpretation of the crucifixion The Way to Calvary by stepping inside the painting itself with characters including Bruegel himself (Rutger Hauer), his patron (Michael York) and the Virgin Mary (Charlotte Rampling). Rutger Hauer needs to be in more movies at least until the taste of Hobo with a Shotgun is cleansed from my mouth. (NY Wed 9/13)
  • Silent Souls. And another official blurb: “When Miron’s beloved wife Tanya passes away, he asks his best friend Aist to help him say goodbye to her according to the rituals of the Merja culture, an ancient Finno-Ugric tribe from Lake Nero, a picturesque region in West-Central Russia. Although the Merja people assimilated into Russians in the 17th century, their myths and traditions live on in their descendants’ modern life. The two men set out on a road trip thousands of miles across the boundless land, with them, two small birds in a cage. Along the way, as is custom for the Merjans, Miron shares intimate memories of his conjugal life. But as they reach the banks of the sacred lake where they will forever part with the body, he realizes he wasn’t the only one in love with Tanya…” (NY. LA 9/13)
  • Sound It Out. A documentary about the last surviving vinyl record store in Teesside, England.

5 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: Drive, he mumbled”

  1. Well, the moment of truth is upon me as far as DRIVE is concerned, as I am thinking I’ll be seeing it with my wife and friend tomorrow night at the Angelika. In the end I may agree with your more reserved reaction. The Russian film SILENT SOULS seems essential, as does to a slightly lesser degree THE MILL & THE CROSS. The vinyl record store documentary appeals to me too.

  2. I can’t read the title I Don’t Know How She Does It without it being the trailer voiceover guy’s voice in my head. Also, can we be done with Sarah Jessica Parker now? Please?

  3. It appears that ‘Straw Dogs’ is tanking. I was expected a much stronger effort, but I know Rod Lurie is hardly the heir apparent to Sam Peckinpah. If I get a chance I’ll see it over the weekend.

  4. I’m looking forward to Straw Dogs and Drive (even with Craig’s not-too-hyped review). I haven’t seen the original but I’ll rent it over the weekend and soon after watch the remake as well.

    Restless can be good, too.

  5. Looks like I’m going to take another crack at Drive this weekend.

    I’m not in LA at the moment so my choices are limited. Even so, I want to give it another spin.

    Jeanine, oh we’re done with SJP. The nail is in that coffin.

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