Sunday, March 4, 2012

PCP on DVD - Ryan Gosling 3 pack

Hi everyone, thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA.  Today I'll be doing reviews of 3 movies starring Ryan Gosling that I recently had the pleasure of watching on DVD:  The Ides of March, Drive, & Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Gosling is one of my favorite actors working today.  He first came to my attention in an incredible independent film called The Believer.  If you haven't seen that, you have to, his performance in that movie is scary good.  In The Believer, he plays a neo-Nazi who is really a secret self-loathing Orthodox Jew.  It’s really an incredible performance.  He disappears in to his roles like a true chameleon.  In the 3 movies I’ll be reviewing today, he plays 3 wildly different characters and each was a joy to watch.  He’s definitely my favorite 30 something actor working today.  It’s hard to believe he got his start in the same class of talent on the Mickey Mouse Club as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, & Christina Aguilera, but he was on that show with the 3 of them.  I wonder if they’re still friends?  But anyways, on with the reviews!

Crazy, Stupid, Love – 2011, Rated PG-13.  118 minutes.  Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell; Emma Stone; Julianne Moore; Kevin Bacon, & Marisa Tomei.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is an interesting film.  It’s part romantic comedy, part black comedy, part drama, but all entertaining.  Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are parents whose longtime marriage has hit the skids, and Moore is asking for a divorce.  Carell moves out and drowns his sorrows at the local bar, where ladies man and total player Ryan Gosling takes pity on him and teaches him the ways of the force.  Gosling turns Carell into a player himself, and it leads to Carell hooking up with Marisa Tomei, while Moore is shacking up with Kevin Bacon.  In the meantime, Gosling has fallen hard for a girl (Emma Stone) and is giving up his player ways in an attempt to actually build a relationship.

There are a few additional plot twists and links that I am leaving out of the film description, because I do not want to give away any spoilers, but the film in a nutshell is very entertaining.  Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have great chemistry together, and Gosling is great as the ladies man, playing a character completely against his normal type when he is in romantic roles.  Carell is subdued as a character, very subtle and not over the top like his boss on The Office.  Marisa Tomei is also great in her supporting role, her second scene in the film is hilarious.  Near the end of the movie you get hit with a nice twist that changes a lot for the main characters (and that I didn’t see coming because I wasn’t looking for any twists, but in hindsight it was subtly obvious) and it was that surprise at the twist that I think sold this movie for me, that plus the solid performances.  The film overall works rather well and it is pretty entertaining.  Definitely one of the better romantic dramedys I’ve seen in awhile.

Read the rest of the reviews after the jump!

Drive – 2011, Rated R.  100 minutes.  Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, & Ron Perlman.  My rating:  9 out of 10.

Drive is a short movie at only 100 minutes, but it doesn’t feel that way.  It consists of long, slow scenes filled with long takes and panning shots that fill up the majority of the movie, interspersed with outbursts of violence that are so sudden and brutal that they completely change the tone of the film in an instant.  Ryan Gosling stars as Driver, as he’s never named in the film.  He is an extremely quiet man, who by day is a stunt driver for Hollywood films, and by night is a wheelman for criminals.  He is an extremely talented wheelman as evidenced by his opening getaway sequence at the start of the film.  Unfortunately for viewers expecting a lot of car chase sequences, based on the title of the film, that is only one of two car chases that really feature a lot of action in the whole movie.  

That doesn't mean the movie is bad however, it just means that the marketing campaign for the film was misleading.  All of the performances in this film are outstanding.  I especially liked Albert Brooks as a slimy gangster, playing against his usual type.  He got a Golden Globe nomination for his performance but didn't get any love from the Oscars.  Overall this is a great film, it's just a lot slower of a flow for the story than I was expecting.  When the film does bring the action and violence however, it comes very powerfully for a few brief moments, including amongst other scenes a head stomping that makes the scene in American History X look tame.  That scene almost makes you squeamish, and the look of horror on a bystander character who I won't name to avoid spoilers is priceless.

The Ides of March - 2011, Rated R.  101 minutes.  Starring:  Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, & Evan Rachel Wood.  My rating:  9 out of 10.

The Ides of March is a political thriller with a stellar cast, and George Clooney pulls double duty as both a character and the director of the film.  In the movie, Clooney is a candidate for President in the Democratic primary, and he has on his staff Philip Seymour Hoffman as his senior campaign manager, Gosling as his junior campaign manager, and Evan Rachel Wood as a politically connected intern working on the campaign (her dad is head of the DNC).  The film follows Gosling primarily as the main character of the film, showing his progression from a naive idealist working for Clooney, to becoming bitter and jaded by the ins and outs of the political process as well as the shortcomings of other people including his beloved candidate.

Given the cast, it is no surprise that the acting across the board is phenomenal and the movie is a joy to watch as these actors at the height of their game interact with each other.  Clooney is great as the candidate, being the type of candidate that the Democrats only wish they could field (at least in the beginning) in real life, while Gosling's slow descent into political apathy is very interesting to watch unfold.  His journey through this film is very interesting to watch.  I think of the 3 films he did in 2011 this one has his best performance.  The nuance he shows as he changes from the naive youth to bitter, hardened, jaded political operative in only a few weeks is a masterful performance, and it is a shame he didn't get any recognition from the awards this year.  If you like movies that are about politics, or just enjoy watching outstanding acting, then go see this movie right away.

So that's all today folk here at CRAPOLA.  Thanks for dropping by!

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