Week 3 and 4
The third week of this fine month brings us another healthy dose of Ryan Gosling (as if any helping could be unhealthy). Baby Goose first popped up this year in the underappreciated Crazy, Stupid, Love as an incredibly successful lothario who knows how and when to deliver a punch. He’ll hit the big screen again in October for George Clooney’s political mystery The Ides of March as a scheming analyst with his heart in the right place. Combine the punching and the scheming and you may end up with Driver, Gosling’s curt character name in the much-anticipated (by me) crime drama Drive.
Yes, the trailer promises plenty of high-speed chases and more than a few violent collisions (not necessarily with cars), but don’t be fooled into thinking this is the indie actor’s sellout action picture. Director Nicolas Winding Refn won Best Director at this year’s Cannes film festival and Drive was nominated for the Palme d’Or. The film lost to The Tree of Life, but Refn beat out the esteemed Terrence Malick. That right there should be enough to get everyone not already sold by Gosling into their seats come the 16th.
Yes, two pseudo-preposterous action flicks crash into cineplexes on this date. Killer Elite is the less laughable of the two and a film I plan to see because of my new found Jason Statham fandom—I believe it began when The Expendables rocked my socks off last August. Machine Gun Preacher is the other, lesser release and looks as absurd a movie as the idea Gerard Butler can actually act.
But skip these two in favor of an actor who hasn’t let us down since Babel (and if you were drunk enough to find the film meaningful, you have to go all the way back to Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas to find a flop). Brad Pitt’s passion project, Moneyball, lands on what I’m guessing will be mostly empty theaters this month. The film is impossible to market to anyone unfamiliar with the best-selling book it recreates because it’s about two things no one finds interesting anymore: baseball and math.
The latest TV spots wisely focus on the star power of Pitt (look at that smile, people!) and co-star Jonah Hill who brings the funny (I hope). Yet even with Phillip Seymour Hoffman adding credence, I can’t see how this movie makes any money, especially after Pitt lost some fans when he disappeared from The Tree of Life for 40 minutes of Malick’s must-be-drug-induced-hallucinations on the creation of the universe.
So help it out. I can’t promise it will be better than Malick’s near-masterpiece (those hallucinations were so pretty!), but it can’t be nearly as boring (for those, including Sean Penn, who thought it was).