Tag Archives: ryan gosling

Gangster Squad by Ruben Fleischer (2013)

There are some films that leave a bitter aftertaste when you get back home from the cinema after the screening. It’s not that there is something wrong with them. But something isn’t right either.

This is a film noir – chapeaux bas to the idea. Well, there is a grain of Tarantino style goriness which was probably what caused a little bit of disgust to my taste.

It is an ensemble cast led by Josh Brolin, who has a good role – in general all is exceptionally well written. The dialogues work. The costumes are obviously spotless, the job of the set designer is indeed amazingly done.

It feels more like a music video than a feature length film. Maybe because too much has been presented in a shallow, simplified way. What in a classic film noir was unsaid and therefore not shown, here is depicted to the tiniest detail. A film noir is a genre where certain rules should be followed and even though Emma Stone does look like a cartoon wife of Roger Rabbit, I am not convinced by her acting.

Even Ryan Gosling’s character is uneven and unconvincing for whatever reason.

Josh Brolin is great and so is Sean Penn. Giovanni Ribisi also deserves a special mention. But overall – this is not a masterpiece.

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Half Nelson by Ryan Fleck

It is a very warm story of a drug addict who at the same time is  a passionate non conformist history/PE teacher at a high school in Brooklyn.

His everyday struggles seem to only affect him outside of the classroom. And the classroom seems to be the only environment where he is in control of everything happening around him. His students love him him being a fair assessor of their knowledge who clearly enjoys working with them as well.

Ryan Gosling is convincing as a complex character and this certainly is one of the most interesting roles in his career so far.

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2011 in cinema – Blondoner’s personal summary

Please note – the expressed opinions are biased as they are personally and subjectively mine.

This summary should have been done on January 1st 2012 or even on December 31st but I was busy with other stuff…

On Jan 1st 2011 I woke up in London. Just like on Jan 1st 2012.

Throughout 2011 I attended two major film festivals in full – as in had a pass and attended as many screenings as I could.

2011 was an amazing year in both the cinema and in my personal life.

I spent April 2011 in Krakow, Poland working for Off Plus Camera, where I have met a great bunch of fantastic people – both filmmakers and festivalmakers.

Having moved to London for permanent stay (as in: at least 2 yrs dating from May 2011), I have attended the fantastic Raindance in the hit record of heatwave at that time of year.

I have seen a massive amount of good films, great films and masterpieces. They can all be found on my blog given I have written at least a few sentences on every single one I have watched.

It was a great honour and pleasure to have met Terry McMahon – who did the incredible; wrote and made a powerful picture for almost no money. Talking about CHARLIE CASANOVA, which will hit UK screens quite soon.

Another great film was made by Tom Hall – SENSATION, also an Irish point of view on everyday life with a certain twist.

2011 was also filled with films that were either nominated or won the Oscars in 2011. Among them my favourites were: David Fincher’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Sofia Coppola’s SOMEWHERE, Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT and above all Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION. But obviously – they were “so 2010”!

The important films that were actually released in cinemas in 2011 are listed below – please note the order is random as each film belongs to its own special category.

Films of 2011 by BLONDONER:

1. CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE by a pair of directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. In my top 10 for the style, for Ryan Gosling, for the ambience, for the self-irony of dialogues, for costumes, interior design and humour! It is an exquisite comedy of manners with perhaps slightly unfortunate title but definitely worth every penny spent on a trip to the cinema, DVD or a BluRay.

2. THE BEGINNERS by Mike Mills – for an incredibly light and sweet approach to death and farewell paid to one’s life, as well as a message to the world that it is never too late in your life to get out of the closet. And Christopher Plummer’s performance, for which he got an Oscar nomination for best Supporting Role in 2012.

3. 50/50 by Jonathan Levine – for the perfect balance of two genres: comedy and drama, perfect balance of tears and laughter and impressive Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

4. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS by Woody Allen – for the wittiest ever intellectual game put on by the master of cinema: Mr Woody Allen. Honestly, I do not care about his private life. He is a genius. And Owen Wilson playing Woody Allen is astonishingly good! Nominated for the original script for the Oscar in 2012.

5. DRIVE by Nicolas Winding Refn – for the lighting, for set design, for music, for costumes and for Christina Hendricks!!!

6. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY – for the cold nordic grading, for costumes, for Gary Oldman!

7. TREACLE JR. by Jamie Thraves – for great indie spirit and a bitter sweet view at one man’s mid life crisis.

8. HORRIBLE BOSSES by Seth Gordon – for humour in good taste and for Kevin Spacey.

9. A SEPARATION by Ashghar Farhadi – for reminding us Europocentric egoists that there is life outside of our borders, which at the bottom is not that much different! Nominated in the foreign film category for the Oscar in 2012.

10. SUBMARINE by Richard Ayoade – for the crafty technique playing with different cameras, colour, play with genres and conventions, self criticism and self-consciousness, also for Paddy Considine!

To summarise briefly – the year was filled with Ryan Gosling who is undergoing a considerable boom on his persona.

I am aware of the fact that I should probably make a ‘bottom’ list of 2011.

That is only one really – my total misunderstanding with so many others, who loved this film. I’m sorry: BRIDESMAIDS by Paul Feig. Sorry, not my taste. Sorry. Oh, one more: THE GUARD by Martin McDonagh’s brother. I did not get that one either. Sorry.

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The Ides of March by George Clooney

The title. Before going to watch the film I thought it was obvious what the title was referring to. But, as it turns out, not everyone is aware of the term that marks the day of Julius Caesar’s death and betrayal by his closest friend Brutus back in 44 BC. So thought I’d clarify that. It’s March 15th, the day of god Mars, when the Romans organised festivities for their army.

The film offers political fiction – one of my favourite genres. Being a devoted fan of The West Wing, expected something similar to that. The pace is not as fast, and there does not seem to be that much actual politics. What is present to a much bigger extent is office politcs rather than grand politics. This is not necessarily a flaw because it may actually be a little easier to follow the plot.

Cinematography. There is one great scene where the camera looks through three glass walls and we follow action as it moves from the last of the rooms into the first, hearing the dialogue from the back office, then the middle one and finally the first one. Interesting!

The budget. Even before I checked its budget on imdb, there are dollars dripping down every setting, drape, location.

Binary oppositions. A nice touch when juxtaposing politics with consultancy, brains with balls and friends with bosses.

Similarities to Taxi Driver. The place where the governor’s campaign headquarters are based bears an appealing resemblance to the place where Cybill Shepherd’s character works.

And there is something for the ladies too. George Clooney. And something for the younger ladies. Ryan Gosling (meow).

It’s a good film. A strong 7 but not a 10. I expected much more mind games. The only one that happens is good, but I’d like more.

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Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn (2011)

It’s a tribute to the art of cinema, cinematography, soundtrack, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, The Godfather and Los Angeles, California. A gem displaying the amazing attention to detail of the director and an incredible mastery of the cinematic tools.

Ryan Gosling plays a character who brings to mind a naive puppy who is unaware of its physical strength and wags its tail at any nice gesture from the outside world. Up to a point.

Slow motion, very long and slow introduction to the character’s world builds up to an unbearable suspense. This film has many good aspects. One of them is that despite a quite predictable genre, very few elements are easily predictable. Quite a few come up as a surprise.

The cast is carefully selected and has a surprisingly good chemistry. Notice the Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.

Somebody said that this is the new Tarantino. It’s not. It is a brand new trademark of a brand new persona in Hollywood. Ladies and Gentlemen – remember this name: Nicolas Winding Refn.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa

It’s funny. It’s self conscious. It’s got good pace (until the second turning point where I felt it was getting too long). All set in LA, shot in California at few locations.

The opening sequence accompanied by the music sets the expectations in a great way and leads the audiences into the style and world witnessed.

There is a lot of heavy dialogues fantastically written and amazingly played where characters all talk at the same time which rarely works on screen – more often on stage in theatre if at all. It works here!

A great satire on a certain type of macho and on a certain type of husband species. Full blown comedy!

The young Emma Stone reminds me of the young Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, but her voice reminds me of Janis Joplin.

Ryan Gosling’s got talent (and a sixpack)…

It’s a good laugh and definitely not a waste of time – perfect for a Sunday afternoon like today… and hey! I bet you will not have guessed the biggest surprise of the film!

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