Tag: ryan gosling

The Nice Guys

by on Feb.26, 2017, under Movie Reviews

the nice guysSet in 1970s Los Angeles (but shot in Georgia ironically) The Nice Guys pays homage to the detective/buddy cop flicks of the same era. Written and directed by Shane Black and starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling you’d think this would’ve been a sure fire hit but the film fell pretty shy of its $50M budget. Let’s see what happened…

Crowe and Gosling play competing PIs who team up on the same missing person case. Crowe is the heavy who mostly has his shit together where Gosling plays the charmed goofball / comic relief guy who’s also a lousy father and brings his daughter to crime scenes instead of getting a babysitter. The story revolves around the death of a porn star and a missing person on the run who knows too much.

While the setup of the story is pretty good and the film has some solid moments, it suffers from a series of “are you serious?” number of moments. One such moment includes a struggle for a gun that results in a neighbor getting killed and there’s no mention of it after it happens. It’s a really bizarre kind of insert into an action scene. I think it was supposed to be funny the way it was presented but it comes off tragic and dismissive. The film has a strange sense of humor sometimes that don’t seem to really hit the mark. Then there’s the believability of the head of the justice department and her motivations. I don’t’ want to give up any spoilers so you’ll have to see the film to see why I question the validity of her intentions.

The production of the film looks great, the wardrobe, sets, cars, everything hits the 70s on the head. It was fun to look at the various marquees and signs to see the listings of that time. The music is fun and authentic too as were the parties featured in the movie. It’s a shame some of the writing and directing is what ultimately kind of hurts The Nice Guys along with too much presence of Gosling’s daughter’s character. She got kind of annoying after a while.

The cast includes Kim Basinger, Angourie Rice, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, and Gil Gerard.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

Comments Off on The Nice Guys :, , , , more...

The Big Short

by on May.01, 2016, under Movie Reviews

the big shortOscar winner for best adapted screenplay, The Big Short offers the explanation of the stock market / housing bubble crash that wiped out many people’s retirement accounts and forced others into foreclosing their homes. And just as you may have suspected, yep, it was greedy Wall Street pricks that were just trying to line their golden parachutes a little more at the population’s expense.

Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B is one of the forces behind the film and the production looks and feels like one of theirs. You can watch World War Z to see what I’m talking about. Regardless, it’s a quality production with a well written script and strong performances. Speaking of the script, the story in terms of the explanation of the whole mess is actually pretty well explained. This is kind of a miraculous feat as they’ve taken some pretty boring, hard-to-understand material and made it digestible for someone who knows nothing about Wall Street. They even offer different bullet point explanations to help break down details and when they do, they often have a celebrity like Anthony Bourdain help to explain the point which was entertaining to be sure.

I’ll forego the explanation of the storyline; if you were an adult in the last 10 years, I would guess you lost some money during the debacle as most did so I’m sure you can relate from your own experience. Suffice it to say, the film is based on true events and the bottom line is that we all got screwed and our government managed to arrest a total of one person in a colossal display of favoritism for an industry that only cares about the bottom line and not the people who get crushed along the way.

The actors are great, really great. The lineup is impressive and does not fail to deliver. Given the complexity of the script and the fact that most of the material involves finances and investment, it’s pretty hard to make that interesting but luckily the performances convey the concepts in a compelling way. The standouts for me were Christian Bale as the doctor who was the architect for betting against the housing market as well as the neurotic, quirky character portrayed by Steve Carell as one of the heads of Morgan Stanley. The lineup includes Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

If you like a challenging film with great performances involving some intellectual material instead of super heroes, you’ll want to check out why The Big Short won an Oscar.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

Comments Off on The Big Short :, , , , more...

Only God Forgives

by on May.25, 2014, under Movie Reviews

If David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Quentin Tarantino had a baby, and then that baby was raised by the Yakuza, that baby would grow into the person who made this movie…

A twisted tale of revenge between a corrupt police organization and a crime family hell-bent on getting payback for the death of one of its members. There are no winners here, in fact, there aren’t even any likable characters that you want to root for, except for maybe the unfortunate prostitutes stuck in the middle of the whole mess. Ryan Gosling plays the twisted brother of the fallen family member whose even more twisted mother arrives to oversee the vengeance process.

The film is surreal in places and just plain weird in others. Gosling’s character is intense, quiet and disturbed, a set of traits that permeates throughout the film. His mother in the film is beyond twisted and obviously responsible for turning both of her sons into psychotic, broken men. On the flip side, there’s a sadistic police chief who’s methods involve dismemberment and torture along with karaoke on the side for relaxation (not kidding).

Beautifully shot, there’s amazing use of color and shot composition. The story is told in a style of long pauses, meaningful moments and intense bursts of violence that are often shocking but in a way that’s effective. The writing is great and keeps you guessing as the characters are unpredictable in a way that keeps you hoping someone will change and not be so bad only to realize that won’t happen. The acting is tight with Gosling playing the awkward lead who can’t be repaired in a way that’s very convincing and consistent.

The film is quite well directed and produced, a solid film across the board. Don’t expect the film to be the most uplifting thing you’ve ever seen, but if you like dark, disturbing thrillers, I would recommend giving Only God Forgives a viewing.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

Comments Off on Only God Forgives :, , more...

Drive

by on May.24, 2013, under Movie Reviews

Drive revolves around the story of a Hollywood stunt driver who also works as a mechanic and occasionally as a getaway driver during robberies (hey, it’s expensive to live in California!). During the course of his endeavors, he develops a relationship with his neighbor, her son and her ex-con boyfriend who is fresh out of prison.

Conflict ensues when a robbery heist goes bad and the driver (along with his new friends) become the target of some unsavory criminal types…

While this sounds like a story we’ve heard many times before, Driver has a interesting perspective to it that gives it a fresh approach, largely due to the performance of Ryan Gosling as the driver. I had read a lot of rave reviews about his performance here and I can see why, he’s compelling to watch and hits the emotional marks without having to mutter a word.

And while the writing is strong in this film, it was really the performances of the actors that took it to the next level for me. Albert Brooks is especially good as the bad guy kingpin which is surprising since most of his past roles have been more on the light-hearted side. Bryan Cranston is good as the driver’s mentor as is Carey Mulligan as the neighbor/love interest. Christina Hendricks is in here too and shows some of her range outside of her better known role in Mad Men. The film also includes Ron Perlman who turns in another strong performance.

The film is violent but the violence has a reason and while at times surprising, it’s not necessarily glorified in an exploitive way for cheap thrills. The ending is poetic and a fitting conclusion to the ride.

Good story, great cast, definitely worth a viewing.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

Comments Off on Drive :, , , , , , more...

Gangster Squad

by on Feb.08, 2013, under Movie Reviews

Inspired by the story of Mickey Cohen and his quest to become the king of LA’s crime world, Gangster Squad portrays a 1949 Los Angeles caught in a war between Cohen and the LA police department.

While it may not be historically accurate (Cohen went to jail for tax evasion, not murder), this film is still fun to watch. In the movie’s defense, it does pepper the film with fact based moments and characteristics such as Cohen being a former boxer (the real life Cohen even got a shot at the champion). The writing overall is well done with some great dialog (which has some one-liner moments but nothing overtly cheesy). The story centers around a police unit that is formed to bring down Cohen using his own guerilla style tactics – destroy Cohen and leave the badges at home.

Aesthetically, the film is beautiful, some great costumes here from the 40-50s era along with at LA backdrop from that time period to boot. My stepfather is a big car guy and he loved the authenticity of the vehicles in the film. The pacing is good with some great moments of dialog. The action gets pretty intense sometimes, especially the introduction scene with Mickey Cohen ending a rival in his mob organization in a not-to-subtle manner involving 2 cars, the victim and some chains.

The acting is top-notch. Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen is a brilliant casting move. He puts in a intense, calculated performance, primo Sean Penn. Josh Brolin measures up nicely as his arch-nemesis and the leader of the squad sent to destroy him. Ryan Gosling plays the smooth friend of Brolin’s character and turns in a too-cool-for-school kind of guy who has some interesting emotional moments as well. The lineup is rounded out by tight performances from talent that includes Emma Stone, Giovanni Ribisi, Nick Nolte, and Michael Pena.

Worth catching in the theaters if you can, if not definitely catch it on video.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

Comments Off on Gangster Squad :, , , , , , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...