Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ryan Gosling DVD Roundup: Drive and The Ides of March

It's been a while since I actually got a good chance to watch a few movies on DVD.  So I'm pleased this will be the first of a few DVD Roundups so I can catch up on what I've seen.  If you listen to Reel Insight (and why don't you?) you might have heard me talk about a few of these, hopefully this will add something to it.  2011 was definitely the year of Ryan Gosling.  There were probably other actors who made 3 movies last year, but no one else did this good a job.
The Ides of March, directed by and co-starring George Clooney, follows a young campaign staffer, Stephen (Gosling) on Gov. Mike Morris' (Clooney) campaign.  We see him being wooed by the opposition (Paul Giamatti), but trying to explain to his own boss (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) that he doesn't want to leave.  However, even the whisper of a high level staffer wanting to leave a campaign has political ramifications that come back to bite you in the ass.  There isn't a lot to say about the movie specifically because the concept has been done before - corrupt politicians who can't keep it in their pants actually win races, much to the dismay of their ideologically minded staffers.  However, the style and finesse of this movie make it worth watching - probably several times.  The direction is very Clooney (it's kind of nice to see a style emerge because he's done enough films) with the shadows always mattering to every scene.  The cast can't be surpassed - with all the guys bringing their A-game and being self aware enough to know their position in the film and their physical attributes embody every politician you've ever seen, from staffers up to the governors.  3.5 of 5 stars/lambs
Drive couldn't be more different, and I actually liked it much more than Ides.  Gosling plays The Driver, a getaway driver for hire who works days as a stunt driver for movies.  We never learn anything more about his past, but that doesn't mean we don't learn a lot about him.  He lives next door to Carey Mulligan and her son (whose dad is in prison).  He starts falling for her, but in a strangely unromantic way.  He wants to be with her, help her son, and ultimately help her husband, Standard, when he gets out of prison.  His relationship with her family was one of my favorite things about this movie.  Sadly, Standard still has criminal connections and needs help with a job to pay back some bad people.  The driver agrees to help him, and along with Christina Hendricks, they steal a TON of money.  However, things of course don't go well.  It turns out they stole money from the mob (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) and they want it back.  The movie has moments of real violence, but the story is focused and the car scenes are pretty awesome.  I enjoyed it a lot 4 of 5 stars/lambs


David Bishop said...

Drive is a movie I really want to see, but everybody close to me, who knows my violence threshold for a movie, tells me to stay far far away. Is it really that bad?

Jess said...

David - my threshold resembles yours so no. It's not that bad. The violent moments are quite contained and are easy to either fast forward or look away from. They not torture or prolonged dialogue moments. I had no trouble and I'm very sensitive.

Yumi said...

I have to say I wanted to like Ides better than I ultimately did- I agreed that the execution of the movie (acting, directing style, pacing) was all good, but I am the only one who hated the way the whole plot hinged on an unrealistic and sketchily written character? ERW can do a lot more than that!!

Haven't seen Drive yet, but am now wanting to even more than before. Thanks for the review!! xoxo