Tag Archive: ryan gosling

only god forgives

I knew this had poor reviews, but what I’d heard about it made me think it would at least be interesting — if not good, then at least the kind of bad that would be entertaining in its own way.

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Dir. John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
(2011, PG-13, 118 min)

Crazy Stupid Love is a breezy, charming 90-minute romantic comedy uncomfortably stretched to two hours. It opens with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore as a couple married for twenty-five years, and at a nice restaurant one evening she unexpectedly blurts out that she wants a divorce. She has been having an affair with her co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), who for the purposes of the screenplay could as easily be called David Funnylastname. So begins a long and winding road towards an inevitable happy ending.

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Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
(2011, R, 100 min)

Drive does not star Vin Diesel or Paul Walker or gratuitous bikini models dancing in party scenes, as at least one viewer was disappointed to discover. The ads for the film were a bit misleading, suggesting a high-octane chase movie in order to get people into the theater – a similar marketing tactic rankled many viewers of George Clooney‘s The American last year – but having now seen the film, I don’t think the ads were patently dishonest; if this film represents an outrage for not being The Fast and the Furious, I think it says more about the viewer than the film.

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Dir. George Clooney
(2011, R, 101 min)

The Ides of March is a mostly effective political drama with something missing, and it was hard at first to put my finger on exactly what that is. Director George Clooney made a terrific directing debut in 2005 with Good Night, and Good Luck, another politically driven film, that one about Senator Joe McCarthy and his communist witch hunt. This film is not as taut; it’s intelligently written (Clooney wrote the screenplay with his Good Night collaborator Grant Heslov, along with Beau Willimon, based on Willimon’s play Farragut North), but scenes don’t build with quite enough tension or energy. The Social Network was another recent film that consisted mostly of people sitting in rooms talking, and by contrast this film shows how well David Fincher orchestrated his scenes.

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Dir. Derek Cianfrance
(2010, R, 112 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

Blue Valentine tells a story about a young couple that’s really two stories: one about falling in love, and the other about falling out of love. In a way, it’s a fitting companion to Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, which considered with comic exaggeration what Blue Valentine considers with gritty emotional realism: how to understand the course of love, its ebbs and flows, its stops and starts. In one scene, Cindy (Michelle Williams) asks her grandmother how one can rely on feelings when feelings can change so unpredictably; she’s thinking especially of her parents, who she assumes loved each other once upon a time, but all she remembers is distance and yelling. Her grandmother doesn’t presume to have a definite answer, and neither does the film. You can’t know if love is forever. You just have to feel it and take it from there.

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