Well, this might just be the biggest badass week in 2011 cinema. Drive AND Warrior are released this week and they are both outstanding. Before I go through the week in film and give my recommendation (well I already have) I want to give an update Top 10 of 2011 list. This week has resulted in a number of changes (including a swift rise for Drive and a further growth in appreciation for Take Shelter). So, here goes:
9. Martha Marcy May Marlene
8. Midnight in Paris
7. Take Shelter
4. Project Nim
3. The Tree of Life
2. A Separation
With the release of Drive tomorrow that means there are three of my Top 10 currently in cinemas. Throw in Warrior and Contagion and there should be no reason why anyone would have nothing to see this weekend.
Drive - Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can't help falling in love with his beautiful neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac). After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, and when Driver discovers that the serious criminals tailgating him are after Irene and her son, Driver must go on the offensive. This is an homage to 70's/80's American crime thrillers, which were renowned for their pulpy violence, but made with a slick, stylish European arthouse aesthetic. Nicholas Winding Refn won the Best Director award at Cannes and this extraordinary film is expertly shot, edited, scored and acted (especially the man-of-the-moment Gosling). Not to be missed.
Warrior - Haunted by a tragic past, ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) returns home for the first time in fourteen years to enlist the help of his father (Nick Nolte) to train for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all event in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) history. A former wrestling prodigy, Tommy blazes a path towards the championship while his brother, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), an ex-fighter-turned teacher, returns to the ring in a desperate bid to save his family from financial ruin. But when Brendan's unlikely, underdog rise sets him on a collision course with the unstoppable Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront each other and the forces that pulled them apart, facing off in an unforgettable climax. This is a very well constructed film, which hits hard both physically and emotionally. It is a family drama before a fighting film, and the motivations of both fighters are purposeful and believable - as are the performances. Edgerton is great, but it is Hardy and Nolte who are the most impressive. Highly recommended.
In Time - I know absolutely nothing about this, other than the fact that it stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried (who I might have a little bit of a crush on) and Cillian Murphy. When Will Salas (Timberlake) is falsely accused of murder, he must figure out a way to bring down a system where time is money - literally - enabling the wealthy to live forever while the poor, like Will, have to beg, borrow and steal enough minutes to make it through another day. Hmm, that sounds intriguing and problematic. I doubt i'll get around to seeing it.
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer - Awful title matches the potential of this one. The film chronicles Judy Moody's (Jordana Beatty) adventures in which she sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life with the help of her little brother Stink and fun-loving Aunt Opal (Heather Graham). The script, penned by Kathy Waugh and Meaghan McDonald, is based on the characters in McDonald's popular children's book series. Oh, Heather Graham, I remember when you were in Boogie Nights and Bowfinger and were awesome. Now, you're running around with kids, who this is clearly aimed at.
Weekly Recommendation: DRIVE and WARRIOR. Seriously, see both. See them back-to-back for the complete badass experience. Two of the year's best films!
Here is a trailer for In Time, because you should go into Drive knowing as little as possible and the Warrior trailer doesn't really sell the film very well.