Nathan Lee’s Film Comment writeup is the one.
Tag: Ryan Gosling
I’m not convinced there needed to be a Blade Runner sequel, but if commercial concerns demanded one, this was probably as good as it was gonna get. You’ve got action, Harrison Ford, lots of references to the first movie but also new explorations of memory and authenticity, artificial intelligence and humanity.
New replicant-cop-who-is-himself-a-replicant Ryan Gosling, working for Robin Wright (also cool in Wonder Woman this year), kills Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and finds Rachael’s bones. New boss of the new replicant organization is Jared Leto, who sends his enforcer Luv (Dutch Sylvia Hoeks) to steal information from the weak government. Mackenzie Davis (San Junipero) is a prostitute who follows Gosling and tries to seduce him, but unsuccessfully since his true love is a Her-like hologram named Joi (Ana de Armas of Knock Knock). Gosling dives deep within the conspiracy, finds Harrison Ford and leads him to his lost daughter, false-memory-creator Carla Juri. Also appearing: Barkhad Abdi, the security guard in Good Time. Everyone in this is great, except Leto, who acts like a magician. The music sucked, was all bwaaaamp sounds, and Geostorm was playing next door, so when my seat rumbled I could barely tell if it was my own movie or if a geostorm was hitting.
Blade Runner 2048: Nowhere to Run (Luke Scott)
A series of Blade Runner sequel/prequel shorts, introduced by Villeneuve. In this one, Dave Bautista goes to the city to sell some bottled snakes and give a girl a book, utterly destroys a street gang and accidentally attracts police attention.
Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn (Luke Scott)
Magician Jared Leto faces off against government agent Benedict Wong (Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation) in a dimly-lit, delapidated office, displays the suicidal obediance of his new replicants in order to get the laws changed. Luke “son of Ridley” Scott also made the Prometheus shorts, the Alien: Covenant shorts and an episode of The Hunger TV series, and I’m sensing a pattern.
Blade Runner 2022: Black Out (Shinichiro Watanabe)
Anime short from the director of Cowboy Bebop, the one I was looking forward to, and therefore the most disappointing. Prequel shorts that fill in story gaps between major stories are fully unnecessary, and this one’s got some style (and briefly Edward James Olmos) but not enough to redeem the bad dialogue. Kung-fu replicants whup the asses of a Star Wars-helmeted security team, conspiring to cause the blackout mentioned in the sequel film. Lead girl Luci Christian has voiced a million movies and shows, including the Fullmetal Alchemist series.
Cool impressionist war sequence:
A definite step up from Knight of Cups, and it’s the first Malick I’ve been able to see in theaters since Tree of Life, so I was thrillingly overwhelmed with all the big-screen majesty. It’s also less distracted from story and character than usual – the camera sticks with our four leads instead of wandering into the woods looking for sunlight behind leaves.
Carrying on in the shoes of world-weary architect Sean Penn, brooding broken-family-man Ben Affleck, and tortured screenwriter Christian Bale, we’ve got up-and-coming musicians Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara. They’d make a cute couple, but get caught up with wickedly charismatic, morally corrosive industry man Michael Fassbender, end up going on their own journeys around the edges of music festivals, while Fassbender latches onto innocent waitress Natalie Portman, spoils and destroys her.
It’s another universal soul-searching story, not about the music business any more than Knight of Cups was about filmmaking or To The Wonder was about environmental inspection, much to the disappointment of music bloggers who watched it at SXSW hoping for the ultimate music-festival film but getting only brief scenes of Iggy Pop and John Lydon, glimpses of Rooney Mara onstage with a guitar, and a recurring, philosophizing Patti Smith.
Sicinski didn’t love it:
Here we see Malick’s cultural conservatism once again in play, where music is a mere conduit for parsing out Manichean divisions of Good (Ryan Gosling, “creation”) and Evil (Fassbender, “the business”). Mara is presented as the Lost One, who has to go through various stages of Pensive Narration (and some awfully random lesbianism) to find her way to the Good. Her initial desire, to “live from song to song,” must be replaced by broader, more complex (narrative) thinking, a love that moves toward a telos. This is incredibly condescending; we know that Malick has a Woman Problem, and Song to Song pretty much rolls it out for all to see.
I wasn’t thinking of anything when I rewatched Mulholland Dr. the same week we saw La La Land, another movie with great songs in which a girl follows her dreams to Hollywood. Emma Stone’s Mia eventually becomes the star that Betty only dreams of being, after a casting agent sees her one-woman show. Her man Ryan Gosling sets aside his own dreams of running a jazz club to tour with his friend John Legend’s band Jazzhammer. Everyone acts like this is a tragic move on Ryan’s part, but he was broke, so how was he gonna afford his own club without building up cash from those lucrative Jazzhammer tours? Either way, Emma thinks he’s selling out his dreams, and their jobs mean they have to spend months apart, and there’s a fight, and suddenly it’s five years later and Emma and her husband duck into Ryan’s successful new club for a bittersweet Umbrellas of Cherbourg-style ending (noticed a suspicious Parapluies shop on the studio backlot, too), but not before indulging in a (shared?) musical fantasy of how their relationship might have worked out.
Nice to see a strong musical with dancing and singing and Rebel Without a Cause references on the big scope-letterboxed cinema screen. Katy thinks all couples should always end up together at the end of movies, but otherwise she liked it.
If the movieâ€™s opening and closing production numbers are by far the most impressive and powerful, this is because theyâ€™re both responses to realities perceived as unbearable â€” which becomes all the more unbearable in the latter case by being disguised as a phony happy ending … La La Land is far more about the death of cinema and the death of jazz than it is about their rebirth or survival. Itâ€™s about boarded-up movie houses, antiquated analog recordings, and artistic aspirations that can only be fulfilled (as well as fueled) by fantasy.
“Seeds are gonna be the new currency.”
Another Brad Pitt movie explaining the math and business behind the scenes of things, so soon after Moneyball. This one follows separate groups of financial people who realize the banking system is ultimately built on bad loans, so they bet money on its collapse. Along the way, financial concepts are explained to the audience via Anthony Bourdain metaphors and Margot Robbie monologues (and the Polyphonic Spree appears for some reason). And we watch some of the world’s most charismatic male actors not trying to keep the global market from collapsing – that’s not their job – but hoping to profit from its destruction.
Pitt plays a light Ron Swanson type guiding young John Magaro and Finn Wittrock. Steve Carell plays some asshole, Ryan Gosling plays a smooth-talking dude, and Christian Bale gets to be the hard drummin’ socially awkward numbers guy who figures the whole thing out.
Watched this after the great Killing Them Softly. It passed the time – kind of a mismatched buddy cop movie along the lines of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but with half the chemistry and humor of that one – or else I wasn’t in the most receptive mood. Can still appreciate the effort though, a fun, throwback action comedy with more careful work put into the characters and jokes than the twisty conspiracy plot.
During a 1977 smog epidemic, Russell Crowe is hired to break private eye Ryan Gosling’s arm when Gosling has been snooping around on behalf of a client searching for her dead niece. Gosling’s surprisingly capable teenage daughter (Angourie Rice of the next Sofia Coppola movie) tags along, and I think Matt Bomer (Magic Mike) plays a hit man threatening Crowe’s client Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) who is hiding out from her mom Kim Basinger, a sold-out politician whose dirty secrets are hidden in a porn film.
My favorite shot: Gosling fighting with a guy on the roof, one falls into the pool, the other just misses
R. Collin in The Telegraph:
Both leads arenâ€™t playing to type, exactly, so much as types gone halfway to seed. Crowe is 52 years old now, and has warmly embraced the dramatic possibilities of middle-aged spread … Gosling, meanwhile, plays the kind of moustachioed bro who â€” for want of a better way of putting it â€” thinks heâ€™s Ryan Gosling, giving Holland a loose-swaggering confidence that amusingly exceeds his practical abilities.
A few years ago some critics raved that Paul Greengrass’s super-fractured Bourne movies were the exciting new thing, so hyperactively edited that they defied attempts to make sense of the action sequences. I wasn’t a huge fan, so I’m glad that this year critics are raving about Refn’s pared-down slow-motion action film instead.
J. Rosenbaum, listing things he does not like: “extreme violence as a function of specious and hypocritical morality (or, even worse, ‘sensitivity,’ as in Drive).” I haven’t figured out exactly what that means, but Katy disliked the extreme violence as well. For all the slow, cool aspects of the movie, its retro opening titles and theme songs (which I’ve been playing over and over), its straightforward genre story and simple themes of family love and heroism, there sure is some extreme bloody violence, including a thug’s head getting stomped to bits in an elevator, Christina Hendricks getting blasted with a shotgun, and Albert Brooks, in possibly his first death scene since the opening sequence of Twilight Zone: The Movie, getting a razor to the arm.
Ryan Gosling (unfortunately of Lars and the Real Girl) is perfect as the blank no-name Driver (stunt-man, getaway driver, track racer and mechanic – a vehicular all-star) who falls for his married neighbor. T. Stempel: “most of what she gets to do is smile sweetly. Carey Mulligan does that well, but itâ€™s a criminal under-use of her talent.” When we meet her husband Standard, he’s a nice guy, seemingly reformed from prison, so the driver would have a moral dilemma if Standard was not quickly killed by gangsters (led by Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman – great casting). Driver tries to help the girl escape the baddies, but the more baddies you hurt, kill or rip off, the more baddies you attract. So he finally has to kill just about everybody, ends up driving away by himself, mortally wounded, the soundtrack telling us that he has become a real hero. Oh also Bryan Cranston (Julia Roberts’ ex-husband in Larry Crowne) is great as the hard-luck mechanic who gave the driver his day job.
As Katy says, just because it has a comic premise doesn’t mean it’s a comedy. No real jokes or laughs, at least not at our house. Pretty good movie, light entertainment with better acting than anything else (writing, camera work, etc). Blends a mental-illness drama with a small-town feel-good movie. Very little conflict… two times someone makes fun of the “real girl” or tells Lars it’s just a doll, and he pretends not to hear them. Brother and brother’s wife play along, whole town and psychologist play along, finally Lars has the girl get “sick” and “die” and then he meets an actual real girl and they go for a walk.
Producer John Cameron (no Mitchell) has worked on most Coen movies since Fargo, and also Rushmore. Oscar-nom writer Nancy Oliver worked on Six Feet Under. And our director also made the Billy Bob Thornton movie Mr. Woodcock, which I’m starting to suspect is also not a comedy. Cinematographer (also did Capote and Jesus’ Son) gives us basic, uncluttered compositions and moves subtly to handheld camera whenever there’s tension in a scene.
I liked the line when someone gives flowers to “Bianca” and Lars leans over and tells her it’s nice that they’re fake because they’ll never die. But one great line does not a best-writing oscar-nom make.
Lars: Ryan Gosling from the Half-Nelson movie I didn’t see. His brother: Paul Schneider from the Assassination of Jesse James movie I didn’t see. Brother’s wife: Emily Mortimer played Rufus Sewell’s girlfriend in the worst segment of Paris je t’aime (the one at Oscar Wilde’s grave). Lars’s co-worker and living love interest: Kelli Garner from starmaker film Bully, also in The Aviator. And the psychologist: Patricia Clarkson played leads in The Pledge and Station Agent, also in Far From Heaven and Dogville.
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