This Weekend At The Movies (Sept. 16-18)

DRIVE

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn.  Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks and Bryan Cranston.

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 neighbor Irene, a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard.  After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals. But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they’re coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

I’m really excited for this film.  I’ve never seen anything from Nicholas Winding Refn but I’ve heard some pretty good things about him as a filmmaker.  Ryan Gosling actually handpicked Refn to direct this film.  One of Refn’s recent films, Bronson, starring Tom Hardy, created a lot of buzz when it came out and I have yet to see it but will probably be doing so before or after I see Drive.  This film just looks really interesting and looks to provide a lot of character nuance with, hopefully, some cool driving sequences.  I recommend that you definitely check this out.

STRAW DOGS

Written and directed by Rod Lurie.  Starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, Dominic Purcell and James Woods.

David and Amy Sumner, a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife, return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father’s death.  Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, including Amy’s ex-boyfriend Charlie, leading to a violent confrontation.

This is a remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah directed film starring Dustin Hoffman.  The original is pretty widely renowned for being a great film and containing one of Dustin Hoffman’s best performances, so I’m sure there is some some backlash from the film purists who don’t want to see the original tarnished.  But as I’ve come to realize, remakes don’t ever hurt the original films.  If anything, people may see a remake and then seek out the original to compare it to and that can help give our “beloved” originals new audiences.  I, for one, am actually pretty interested in seeing how this new version plays out.  It’s all about what it takes to push us over the edge and find something darker in ourselves when we are forced to survive against a violent threat.  I think that if the film focuses on the characterization as the driving force behind the character’s action and not simply to move the plot along, then the film should be pretty successful in what it is setting out to portray.  My opinions of the cast is a bit mixed, I am really looking forward to seeing how James Marsden fares in his role.  Kate Bosworth is a pretty capable actress, but more often that not, she doesn’t really entice me as an actress.  Alexander Skarsgard doesn’t really come off as menacing to me but I’m open to seeing if he can pull off something more interesting than his performances on True Blood.  Unless the reviews for this film are just dire, I will be going to see the film at some point.

I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT

Directed by Douglas McGrath.  Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Seth Meyers, Busy Phillips, Sarah Shahi, Olivia Munn and Kelsey Grammer.

A comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy, a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids.

Kate Reddy devotes her days to her job with a financial management firm.  At night she goes home to her adoring, recently-downsized architect husband Richard and their two young children.  It’s a non-stop balancing act, the same one that Kate’s best friend performs on a daily basis.  When Kate gets handed a major new account that will require frequent trips to New York, her husband wins the new job he’s been hoping for – and both will be spreading themselves even thinner.  Complicating matters is Kate’s charming new business associate, who begins to prove an unexpected source of temptation.

I really do not know what to say about this movie without sounding insensitive or disparaging.  The title implies that this is about how women must do a balancing act in their grown up lives to get everything they are responsible for taken care of.  But instead of coming across as an affirmation of what women (and men) must do in their adult lives, this comes off as a bit petty and shallow.  When I read the synopsis, I was confused by the fact that it sounded like the main character’s battle to juggle all aspects of her life, with her adoring husband by her side, was complicated by her tempting new business associate?  So she’s thinking of adding cheating on her spouse to the list of things she must handle?  Color me confused.  Perhaps it’s just that I have a strong dislike for these formulaic movies or that I generally avoid Sarah Jessica Parker in movies, but I’m going to be skipping this film.  If you are are a fan of Parker, by all means, check out the film and if you find my pre-emptive reactions to be at fault after seeing the movie, feel free to let me know.

THE LION KING 3D

(Limited Engagement – 2 Weeks Only)

Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff.  Featuring the voices of Matthew Broderick, Jim Cummings, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson and Cheech Marin.

Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.

Disney is putting out The Lion King in 3D for two weeks to promote the blu-ray release of the film on October 4th.  I don’t think there needs to be much examination of the film as it was released back in 1994 and most people have seen it already.  I remember enjoying it as a kid but my interest in the film has dwindled as I’ve grown older.  The film is obviously a post-converted 3D film but my bet is that this wasn’t a rush job and that the conversion should be a pretty good one.  This is an easy recommendation if a family outing with the youngsters is in the cards this weekend.

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2 Comments on “This Weekend At The Movies (Sept. 16-18)”

  1. Ben McBride June 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Yea it’s the kind of movie that gets under your skin, in a good way.

  2. NICK June 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I know we chatted about this on Twitter, but I can’t get DRIVE out of my head! 5 stars! Absolutely loved it. May have to write about it myself!

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