Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Gosling’

Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling

Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling

“THE NICE GUYS” My rating: C116 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Moviegoers recognize that trailers are basically a form of publicly sanctioned lying. Filmmakers will do just about anything to make their next release come off as a gotta-see-it necessity.

Given this tendency toward fudging the facts, the trailer for “The Nice Guys” is brutally honest.

It makes the film look like a loser.  Which is exactly what it is.

Directed and co-written by Shane Black (with a writing assist from Anthony Bagarozzi), this action comedy wants to emulate the violent/comic nexus exemplified by the old Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy pair-up “48 Hrs.”

With stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling and a late 1970s disco-drenched atmosphere, “The Nice Guys” seems promising. But its thrills and laughs are modest at best.

Cop-turned-private eye Holland March (Gosling) meets muscle Jackson Healy (Crowe) when the latter is hired to break the former’s arm. Nothing personal — someone wants Holland to give up his search for a missing deb named Amelia (Margaret Qualley of HBO’s “The Leftovers”).

Despite this not-promising initial encounter, Holland and Jackson find themselves teaming up to locate the missing girl and uncover a vast criminal conspiracy.

They’re odd bedfellows. Jackson is a human fireplug with a slow burn and a calculating style. Holland is a boozy jerkoff who succeeds more by luck than perseverance.

Rounding out the team is Holland’s young daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), a fearless young soul who provides the two grown men with a moral compass.


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Ryan Gosling...kicking Wall Street's Ass

Ryan Gosling…kicking Wall Street’s Ass

“THE BIG SHORT”  My rating: B+ 

130 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Everybody loves to see the little guy take on a giant.

But what if in rooting for the little guy we’re also advocating our own destruction?

In Adam McKay’s “The Big Short”  a handful of high-finance outsiders and weirdos smell something fishy in the pre-2008 sub prime housing market. They decide to beat the corrupt financial establishment at its own game.

Viewers of McKay’s ‘s grimly amusing comedy (he’s best known for lightweight Will Ferrell vehicles) will find themselves in a dilemma. For the story’s heroes to emerge triumphant the American and world economies will have to tank. Millions will lose their homes, their savings and their jobs.

But, hey, that’s capitalism. Somebody always wins. Somebody always loses. And making money off the other guy’s misery is the American way.

The screenplay by McKay and Charles Randolph (adapting Michael Lewis nonfiction best seller The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine) begins in 2005 with Michael Burry (Christian Bale), the oddball manager of a California-based hedge fund.  Possessor of a medical degree and virtually no people skills, Burry prefers to hold his conversations with numbers.

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

Burry pads around the office barefoot and in cutoffs and has one glass eye — but he sees enough to recognize that the sub-prime housing market is destined to collapse. Banks have been giving home loans to people who shouldn’t qualify and are destined to default; those bad loans are then bundled and resold, building “worth” where there is no value.

So Burry offers the big Wall Street firms a deal they can’t refuse.  He has them create for him a financial instrument — the credit default swap — that will pay off only if the market collapses. The heavy players are only too happy to oblige…they can’t imagine the bubble bursting.

Burry is considered a madman by most, but to a handful of fund managers he makes real sense.  One is Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), who is as slick and gung ho as Burry is dweebish (think Matthew McConaughey in “The Wolf of Wall Street” ).  But numbers don’t lie and Vennett gets on board.

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“THE IDES OF MARCH” My rating: B+ (Opening wide on Oct. 7)

101 minutes | MPAA rating: R

George Clooney, viewed by many as a liberal white knight who really ought to run for office, sends an answer of sorts with “The Ides of March.”

In this political thriller — directed and co-written by Clooney — the charismatic movie star plays a charismatic state governor who has thrown himself into Ohio’s presidential primary in a bid for the Democratic nomination.

Watching Clooney’s Mike Morris gracefully glide through debates, press conferences and stump speeches is a bit weird…it’s like a preview of what a genuine Clooney candidacy would be like. The Morris campaign even has a poster depicting the candidate in the same pop art/street graffiti visual language of that famous Obama image from ’08. Lefties will be swooning.

But this candy apple has a razor blade hidden inside.


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Ryan Gosling as The Driver

“DRIVE”  My rating: B- (Opens wide on Sept. 16)

100 minutes | MPAA rating: R

There are parts of “Drive” that I absolutely loved.

There were others that made me shake my head in disbelief.

Talk about leaving a film with mixed feelings!

“Drive” cements my suspicion that Ryan Gosling is an absolutely great actor.

And it introduces to mainstream American audiences Nicolas Winding Refn, a Danish filmmaker of tremendous talent.


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“CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE” My rating: B- (Opens wide on July 29)

118 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13 

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” isn’t just about cheating. It IS  a cheat.

But if you can buy its improbable premise, its jarring and sudden shifts in tone and its desperate desire to be all things to all people, you may find moments of real substance here.

It helps that this romantic comedy from directors Glenn Ficarra and John  Requa (“I Love You Phillip Morris”) features an astonishingly strong cast with several breakout performances.

Suburban husband/dad Cal (Steve Carell) is blindsided when Emily (Julianne Moore), his wife of 24 years, announces she’s been having an affair with a co-worker and wants a divorce.

Sad sack Cal finds himself sitting night after night in a bar bemoaning his fate and watching other people score. An expert in that pursuit is the suave, slick, self-assured Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who goes home every night with a different woman. (more…)

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