Advertisement
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment Du Jour
RuPaul Episode 9

"Ru looked as frustrated as I feel. She seems done with Nina, rooting for Valentina and forced to kick her out." -Steve

"I saw it with a large (mostly drunk) crowd, and the gasps and anger were loud and strong" -Aaron

 

 

Interviews

James Ivory (Maurice) 4K Restoraton!
Betty Buckley (Split)

Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500 Patron Saints!

IF YOU READ THE SITE DAILY, PLEASE BE ONE BY DONATING. 
Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

Subscribe

Entries in Albert Brooks (2)

Monday
Mar202017

Beauty vs Beast: Make News Not War

Jason from MNPP here - I didn't take my lead on this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" from Nathaniel's "On This Day" post earlier but it's not a surprise that we'd both want to mark the 67th birthday of William Hurt with an acknowledgment of Broadcast News, because I think any sane person will snatch the chance to talk about Broadcast News when it's offered. I did actually contemplate a couple other of Hurt's performances for a minute - maybe Body Heat or The Accidental Tourist? But he's made a career of making the women across from him shine and I knew Kathleen Turner & Geena Davis would dominate those conversations...

... as would Holly Hunter, which is also why we're keeping her out of this even though it's Holly's birthday today too. Sorry, Holly! You'd win way too hard.

But does Hurt stand a chance against Albert Brooks' sweaty sidekick Aaron? The film's clearly on Aaron's side, no matter how kind it does try to be to Hurt's pretty boy destined for the anchor's chair. (Can you say Fake News?) Still it's some of Hurt's best work and Brooks, right-sided though he might be, sure can be a bit much, so I ask you...

PREVIOUSLY We were still riding high on Buffy fumes last week and so we had you face off the show's two best Big Bads, but you should never bet against a Valley Girl God with a taste for the shinier things - Glory stomped that puny human mayor with 60% of your vote. Said Matt St Clair:

"No contest. Glory. She is the best Big Bad of the series and had all the best lines.

"Did anybody order an apocalypse?"

"There's ice cream and puppy dogs in it for you if you start singing."

"So this is where the Slayer eats, sleeps, and...combs her hair."

Sunday
Sep182011

Review: The Self Possession of "Drive"

There's 100,000 streets. You don't need to know the route."

The Driver is alone in a hotel room. Looking out over the city at night, negotiating on a cel phone he'll abandon immediately. We never learn his name. We don't need to know it.

His face is Ryan Gosling's, but even so it's a less familiar landscape than you'd think. With Drive, the actor erases any doubts (were there any?) that he's the most exciting young movie star on this side of the Atlantic. For the driver, his face has taken on a new mask-like stillness which twice in Nicolas Winding Refn's brilliant new movie, is covered (redundantly) by an actual mask. There is no knowing this driver; if we were given his name we'd forget it anyway or doubt its authenticity. Even the underscore, a brilliantly retro synth score, that memorably features Kavinksy's "Nightcall" just as we're being introduced keeps us at a certain remove, a hypnotized female voice singing "There's something inside you. It's hard to explain." Indeed.

To summarize the plot of Drive would immediately reduce it to a standard nihilistic noir or crime drama. If you must know -- though I hope you've already seen it because it's best seen cold without knowing the following details -- the driver is a stunt driver for the movies and also a mechanic and also quite willing to be your getaway for crimes. He won't ask questions and you shouldn't either. He just drives. His mechanic boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston, excellent) and his quiet neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, excellent) and her child Benico (Kaden Leos, also excellent... you'll be sensing a trend here) are the three people in his life that he seems to care for, despite his dangerously self-possessed aura. In the course of Drive, this walking loner archetype is gradually humanized whether through narrative emotional connections or performance choices. Both the neighbor and the boss have troubled histories including people who are Trouble and the driver's very tight social circle is soon forcibly opened by crowbars, shotguns and handshakes. The cast expands to include a wealthy investor/criminal Bernie (Albert Brooks... seeking Oscar), his mouthy colleague Nino (Ron Perlman, delighted to show off) a lesser criminal Cook (James Biberi) and his associate Blanche (Christina Hendricks, memorably put-out in stilettos), and Irene's ex-con husband with the perfect name of "Standard" (Oscar Isaac, just terrific). Needless to say, shit goes down both in and out of cars. Very violent, exquisitely directed shit goes down. 

To Refn and Gosling's credit, the unknowable driver doesn't stay a mere Embodiment of Something (like, say, Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men) which helps the movie immeasurably. The few times the driver's humanity peaks through, his voice trembling, a flash of fear across his face, or even a moment of tenderness are genuinely unnerving; the untouchable man is touched. Even the stoic loner, who loves only driving and barely speaks, can't escape the violent messy pull of humanity. His choice to dehumanize again, donning the mask a second time, is a genuinely frightening image that I haven't been able to shake since seeing the movie. 

Drive is one of those movies. It makes you think in and of its images. I generally take notes when I watch films though I can't always understand them afterwards, the danger of scribbling in the dark. My notes for Drive... are strange. The standard illegible chicken scratches appear but there are also crude images scribbled in, attempts to capture the movies indelibe compositions, use of color and general mise-en-scene. (I've recreated two of them here for you since my scanner is broken).

I'm not sure why i wrote red all over this one. Stills show that it's more orange.

Drive is just one of those movies, the kind that unfold with such individuality and confidence and sense of possibility that you can almost imagine the celluloid standing up and strutting right past you, knowing full well you're going to turn and look. Yeah, I'm hot shit, it might say, if it weren't so emphatically the strong and silent type. One could argue, as I did with myself on second viewing, that the movie does boast about its own coolness in just this way and too often. If there's something to be said against Drive beyond its nasty nihilism (the extent of the violence is... uneccessary) it's just that. The movie stops in its track a few times and whether or not you're hypnotized (I was absolutely) it's clearly showing off. Let's just say that Nicolas Winding Refn is the most exciting Mad Dane to arrive in the movies since Lars von Trier... and knows it, too.

Though Drive's initial retro impression with the synth score, glistening cityscapes and practically neon hot pink titles immediately is that it's paying homage to the 1980s and Michael Mann, Drive very quickly becomes only its own memorable self. But because it's so emphatically a movie, so possessed by the motion in its pictures  --even its frozen tableaus are alive with suggested movement, promised ugly futures you fear you'll lunge towards without warning -- it can't help but recall the great tradition of cinema's coolest movies.  Leaving the movie the first time (I've already seen it twice) I thought most of Pulp Fiction. Not Pulp Fiction as we know it now -- annoyingly replicated never duplicated -- but Pulp Fiction back when it first took the world by storm; they aren't much alike but for that blast of intoxicating fresh air in the theater. A/A-

Recommended Further Reading
The Film Experience - "People Will Love It Ten Years From Now"
Nick's Flick Picks - a coiled python
Serious Film -"atmosphere. neon glow and moments that hang in the air..."
My New Plaid Pants "Chrissy Hendricks, Stiletto Wobbler
In Contention "the finest layer of B-movie grime that time and money can buy

Have you seen Drive? If so do sound off in the comments.