Currently browsing the "Ryan Gosling" tag.

Review: First Man

I love Ryan Gosling (La La Land, Drive, The Notebook). I love space dramas, and true stories, and American heroes. I’m a big fan of director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land). But I just didn’t love First Man – much as I really, really wanted to. It’s a solid flick, for sure, with some great visual effects and a moving narrative about the risks and sacrifices astronaut Neil Armstrong (and many others) took in one way or another to advance our exploration of space. I was a mere toddler when Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969, but I can assure you I was plopped in front of the TV along with half the planet to watch history unfold. No #FakeNews here! President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge, and we sent a man to the moon. How awesome is that? This is the stuff of movies! Which brings me back to… First Man.

Review: Blade Runner 2049

Thirty-five years after the original Blade Runner comes a sequel. Wow! It is a continuation of the original story 30 years on, and it is amazingly faithful to the world of the former while incredibly innovative. I LOVED the first one, and the only thing I miss this time around is Rutger Hauer. But fortunately in the new one, the replicant longing to be human is played by the talented Mr. Ryan Gosling. And it is his story that takes center stage. This is a hard one to review because the story has several twists that you don’t want to know going in. Or I wouldn’t, so here’s the gist: LAPD Officer K (Gosling) is out doing his Blade Runner job, hunting down and eliminating old replicants, when he stumbles upon an impossible secret that could change the world. And to get to the truth he has to track down former Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford), which puts them both in the cross-hairs of some extremely powerful people.

La La Land

Believe the buzz. La La Land IS the best movie of 2016. It’s certainly my top pick for top honors in the Oscar pool. But here’s the twist. I had to see it twice to fully appreciate the story and the spectacle. The first time I saw it was at the Middleburg Film Festival in October, in cramped seats in a hotel ballroom. About a month later, I saw it again – on a big screen, in a real theater, with a good sound system. And I was hooked. It doesn’t fit neatly into any particular genre. It’s part musical, part drama, part comedy, part fantasy, part romance… all packaged together in a unique, thought-provoking, entertaining and bittersweet film about dreams, relationships, and the paths taken – or not taken – in life.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: The Angry Birds Movie; The Nice Guys; Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; Love & Friendship; Sunset Song

The Angry Birds Movie – As one adult commented after watching this flick, “It was lamer than I expected. Awful. Though my 6-year-old daughter thought it was great.” There you have it in a nutshell. The Angry Birds Movie is the “origin story” of the birds that are propelled into all sorts of stuff in the once-popular Angry Birds mobile app, including the pigs, bombs, TNT, slingshots, etc. that appear in the addictive game that became a mindless timesuck for millions of smartphone users. The animated ‘action’ takes place on an island populated almost entirely by happy, flightless birds. One exception is the angry outcast Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who becomes sort of an accidental hero when he uncovers a nefarious plot by visiting green pigs who aim to steal all the birds’ eggs. The movie has some clever lines and puns and plenty of decent vocal talent. But the story doesn’t add up to much and is likely to bore most anyone over the age of eight. Regardless, the 90-minute, 3D, PG-rated Birds far out-flew the competition at the box office in its opening weekend. So if the kids rule the roost where movies are concerned, don’t be angry if they demand (or ask nicely) to see it.

The Big Short

I’m behind on my Oscar nominees viewing, but I finally caught this one. I’d expected it to be more like Margin Call, but thankfully, though its subject matter is kind of similar, it is by turns funny and horrifying. Adapted from Michael Lewis’s non-fiction bestseller “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” it tells the story of how a small group of money men saw what was happening in the housing market in 2005 and set about shorting the market and making a killing. Along the way, they tried to wake banking regulators and the wider market to their realization that it was all about to go bust, but were totally ignored by those who were making money hand over fist on bad loans. It is a morality tale, very well told.

The Place Beyond the Pines

I really like Ryan Gosling. And I really like Bradley Cooper. But I just did not like this movie, which actually felt more like three movies. I kept waiting to see how all the pieces would fit into place. But by the time they did (140 minutes later), I really didn’t care anymore – about the plot or the characters. The ‘first’ movie features Ryan Gosling as Luke, a heavily-tattooed, chain smokin’ motorcycle stunt rider who has a brief fling with a waitress (a bra-less Eva Mendes) while passing through Schenectady, in upstate New York. A year later, Luke discovers that she’s had his son. He decides to give up the road to try his hand at fatherhood, and ends up becoming a professional bank robber in order to support his kid. It doesn’t end well.

The Ides of March

The Ides of March is a decent adult drama, but it’s also a depressing commentary on the state of our political system. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a republican, democrat, independent or ‘other’ – the movie is likely to leave you with the impression that we’re all pawns in a political game that’s essentially run by a select group of strategists who will do whatever is necessary to achieve victory for their candidate du jour.

Drive

What happens when a Hollywood action flick collides with an artsy indie? You get Drive, a movie that will either crash and burn at the box office or earn a cult following, particularly among fans of Pulp Fiction or maybe The Sopranos.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Unlike the recently-reviewed Sarah’s Key, which still resonated a few weeks after I saw it, Crazy, Stupid, Love. vanished from memory within hours. It wasn’t bad, by any means; it just wasn’t nearly as good as I expected – or hoped it would be.