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Tag Archives: Ryan Gosling

The Place Beyond the Pines

Luke (played by Ryan Gosling) is a bit of a wanderer – his only real talent is riding his motorcycle and he works as a performance stunt rider in a travelling carnival. After a two year absence, his show returns to Schenectady, New York. After a show one evening, he catches up with an old flame, Romina (by Eva Mendes). She is as beautiful as ever and just as he is about to leave town with the show once again, he discovers that since his last visit she’s secretly given birth to his son, now about 2 years old. He quits the show and decides to stay around town to be near his son. Romina has moved on in her life and she and new partner Kofi (by Mahershala Ali) are raising the baby, so there is no place for Luke with her. He’s desperate to provide for his son so he gets a low paying job at a car workshop run by Robin (by Ben Mendelsohn). Soon he wants to earn more to support his son, so Luke turns to crime – he starts to rob banks, carefully at first but then he takes risks for higher returns … but he makes mistakes. A stand-off with an ambitious young police officer, Avery Cross, (by Bradley Cooper) has life-changing consequences for Luke and his baby son. After the incident with Luke, Officer Cross’s profile is raised within the police force and he wants capitalize on this to progress his career, so he makes another significant decision that means things for both Avery’s family and Luke’s will never be quite the same again. Several years later, the actions of Luke and Avery on the day of the stand-off and then the ensuing actions of these families connected by events in history have further serious consequences for everyone involved.

This movie is well made and the story is compelling. The performances of Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes are strong – and Bradley Cooper does well here also. Also excellent is Ben Mendelson as Robin – a very realistic portrayal from him – well done. However, for me the drama loses much of its edge once the first part is over and the two characters of Luke and Avery are no longer the key protagonists in the drama. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but Ryan Gosling’s character primarily features in the first half of the movie – and here is where the strength really lies – Gosling’s fantastic screen presence is intense, his silence, facial expressions and movements are quite enough to display the emotions of his character through the drama. At a point, the story shifts towards Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper’s character) and where is where the drama loses its real edge. In some ways, this movie is trying to be too much – there are several features of the story that are only explored superficially – for example, Ray Liotta’s character is not used to its full potential, he could be a whole lot more than he is here. Also, Rose Byrne is a little redundant in her role as Avery Cross’s long-suffering wife. Because there is so much in this story, the movie is neither one thing nor the other – it fails in some ways as a movie because some dramatic options are not taken – it would perhaps have been better as a television mini-series, giving it the potential to draw more out of some characters and story lines. For me, the ending is a little weak. Overall though, it’s reasonably good.

Made in 2012. Directed by Derek Cianfrance

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Drive

We meet a reticent and deeply intense young man (played by Ryan Gosling) who loves driving – and he’s good at it. He has several jobs … by day, he’s a garage mechanic – and sometimes he’s a Hollywood stunt driver. He sometimes also works evenings – as a getaway car driver. Although he’s good at that – he’s never been caught – he’s getting nervous about this sideline and seems reluctant to get on the wrong side of the law anymore. He has a fascinating and beautiful neighbour, Irene (by Carey Mulligan), and he can’t help his strong feelings towards her. She is involved in a relationship already and she has a child. They form a tentative friendship, but it promises much more. Irene’s partner returns, but he is involved with some shady characters. Our driver cares so much for Irene that he wants to keep her safe so he decides to help her partner rid himself of his problems so she can have a risk-free life. Our driver starts to sort things out, but then things get a little out of control … can he put the brakes on this?

This is a very different movie and Ryan Gosling here is unlike anything I’ve seen him do before. The dialogue is sparse and the director captures much intent in eyes, facial expressions and gestures. That is very well done. Gosling and Mulligan can both do this very well indeed. It’s the kind of movie you are compelled to keep watching – there is some graphic violence, but it is not overdone. The support provided by Albert Brooks and by Bryan Cranston in an unfamiliar role are also very good. It’s different – but good. Well done.

Made in 2011. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Movies

 

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Crazy Stupid Love

Cal Weaver (by Steve Carell) met his sweetheart, Emily (by Julianne Moore) when they were both only 15 years old. They married two years later and have been together ever since. Lately, Emily has been feeling a bit “jaded”, she confesses to Cal that she’s had an affair and they are heartbroken as they face their imminent divorce. Cal leave’s the family home and sets up a home on his own. He is distraught at this new life and drowns his sorrows at a “hip” bar, where he encounters Jacob Palmer (by Ryan Gosling), a handsome “man about town” who advises him in the art of style and dating in today’s world. Presently he learns to pick up women and his social life starts to get a bit busier. He stills pines for Emily and wishes he could see his family so much more.  Meanwhile, Emily is trying to move forward also. She is dealing with a love-struck teenage son, an affectionate work colleague and a group of friends who are supportive but silently judgemental. Suddenly, Jacob becomes hard to contact and Cal discovers that Jacob has succumbed to the very thing he has worked his whole life to avoid … he has fallen in love with Hannah (by Emma Stone).  This might turn the entire world of Cal and Jacob on its head … will Cal ever find happiness again?

This movie is all that … crazy, stupid and … well .. yes … lovely.  Even though it really is a straightforward rom com, it leaves the viewer with quite a warm feeling.  The comedy has a very quirky edge which makes it very entertaining. Steve Carrell brings a “little boy lost” effect to Cal, which could have the potential for utter irritation, but is actually quite endearing. Ryan Gosling is unashamedly there for “eye candy” and he totally delivers. His ‘womanising” character is almost believable actually, but of course we do learn that he is a real guy when he starts to open up to his love interest Hannah.  He and Carell make a great pair – their on screen partnership is effective.  I would like to see more of that. Emma Stone is better here than other performances I’ve seen.  There are great snippets – Marissa Tomei is very strong as one of Cal’s love interests. Kevin Bacon is also very good as Emily’s colleague, David. There is a good twist before the end, which I didn’t see coming.

They are all experienced and it shows. The timing of the comedy is great, it’s a smart and talented effort that only falters slightly at the end with some tedious comedy, but overall vey good and entertaining, well done.

Made in 2011.  Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2012 in Movies

 

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All Good Things

David Marks (played by Ryan Gosling) is the son of Sanford Marks (by Frank Langella), a property and business baron in New York City. Sanford is a strict and cold father so David has grown up being constantly criticised and berated by him. When he was seven years old, David witnessed his mother’s death and he has suffered about this loss ever since. As a youth, David meets and falls in love with Katie (by Kirsten Dunst). She is a beautiful and intelligent girl and David decides to turn his back on the family business to move with Katie to Vermont to set up their own home-grown health food business. They are very happy here until David’s father visits and persuades him to move back to the city to take up work in his organisation. After this, they enjoy a far more affluent lifestyle but Katie is frustrated and much to David’s annoyance she begins studies as a medical student. David’s behaviour becomes irrational, violent and unpredictable and as time goes by Katie finds this more and more difficult to deal with. Then one day Katie just disappears – Ryan is absolved of any involvement in her disappearance and in the absence of a body, she is listed as a missing person. But that is not yet the end of the story ….

This movie is based on the facts of a murder trial held when David Marks was arrested and tried for murder. The drama is well done and the performances are good. Ryan Gosling is commendable in the role of the real life David Marks (although his ‘aged’ make up is not well done). There are strong performances from all the supporting cast, particularly Frank Langella as David’s father and Philip Baker Hall as an associate, Malvern Bump, who David takes up with towards the conclusion of the story.  The truth of Katie’s disappearance does come out and this is an interesting movie.

Made in 2010.  Directed by Andrew Jarecki

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Movies

 

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Fracture

Ted Crawford (played by Anthony Hopkins) is a highly intelligent engineer who discovers his wife is having an affair with policeman Rob Nunally (by Billy Burke), so he shoots her. At the scene, by coincidence Nunally is the investigating officer and he believes the police have an open and shut case as Ted has confessed to the crime, so they take him into custody to await routine sentencing. We meet the ambitious and arrogant young prosecutor Willy Beachum, (by Ryan Gosling) who is about to leave the DA’s office for a high flying job in private practice. His boss, the DA (by David Strathairn) is not impressed at his departure and shows it. As a final gesture, WIlly agrees to handle Crawford’s straightforward case, to wrap up his public career with a success. At first, Willy is fascinated by the curious and seemingly naive Crawford, who conducts his own defence, but he soon surprises Willy and becomes a formidable opponent. Willy also meets and is attracted to his new boss, Nikki Gardner (by Rosamund Pike) which creates some tension during Willy’s resolution of the case and his introduction to the new firm. As the story unfolds, Crawford and Beachum lock wits at every opportunity with each trying to stay one step ahead of the other, with fascinating results.

This is a good courtroom and crime thriller. Anthony Hopkins is wickedly mind-messing in this role and Ryan Gosling is exactly the right person to portray the arrogant Willy Beachum. Both deliver great performances. Rosamund Pike’s character is a bit redundant as the love interest for Willy. David Strathairn is a good DA too, so all in all this is a good thriller.

(Made: 2007)

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Movies

 

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The Ides of March

“The Ides of March” is a political drama, with twists and turns where as each character is revealed, you see they are not quite as they were originally presented.  The story follows the campaign of two competitors in a US Presidential race for nomination – Governor Mike Morris (played by George Clooney) is the candidate. Clooney also wrote, produced and directed this very well made movie, but the film belongs to Ryan Gosling, who plays the campaign’s media manager, Stephen Myers.  Myers is smart, strategic and knows how to get votes.  He deals with media and other campaign participants in a slick and professional manner, to get his way.  The story involves the wheeling-dealing behind the scenes between the two candidates’ camps to secure the Presidential nomination from one state.

The key characters are all very well played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Morris’ Lead Campaign Manager, Paul), Paul Giamatti (the opposing candidate’s campaign Manager, Tom Duffy), young intern Molly (played by Evan Rachel Wood) and Marissa Tomei (playing a leading NY Times political reporter).  The drama delivers betrayal, deception, sex scandal, intrigue, suspense and high drama. 

Many have reviewed this movie with high praise for its story and drama. The movie is excellently made, well directed and cinematography is very effective, but something’s missing for me – I am not sure what it is, perhaps political drama just doesn’t do it for me. However, I would still say that it is worth seeing for the excellent performances of Clooney, Gosling, Seymour-Hoffman and Giamatti.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Movies

 

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Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine” follows the relationship between Dean (played by Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (by Michelle Williams) over a few years.

It starts as current – we see their marriage as quarrels and frustrations, but then we flash back to when they first met. Dean is seen as a likeable guy – a removalist who delivers to the retirement home where Cindy’s grandmother is living. They meet and start their relationship there.

In this movie, both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are fantastic as the totally believable characters in this relationship. It is gritty, realistic and a very good drama. There are ups and downs and this will take you on the journey, but don’t go if you need to see a “feel good” movie.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Movies

 

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