Film Review: Drive (2011)

 

Genre: Crime, Drama

Director: Nicholas Winding Refn

Writers: Hossein Amini, James Sallis

Staring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks

Rating: ★★★★★

Ryan Gosling stars in this crime drama as a Driver, he has no name, no past, no other life. He drives as a stuntman, a wheelman for getaways and he drives to save his neighbours lives. We first see  Driver in LA being used as a wheelman for a getaway. He’s calm, composed and mysterious and in pursuit from the police he uses not only the sheer power, speed and his driving ability but the environment and intelligence to escape. During the day he works as a mechanic and a stuntman, he asks no questions, he just drives.

He is this traditional “hero” and this film fits the 1960’s trend and style, he is a complete mystery but all we can tell is that he’s damaged and whatever damaged him has had a lasting effect on his mental state. He has no family, no friends, no past not even a name making him defined purely by his behaviour and all he does is drive. He has few if any emotions, he doesn’t talk much but we become to be attached and sympathise for him and this is down to a truly amazing soundtrack and score editing.

The Driver befriends his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her son Benecio (Kaden Leos) and within a week becomes very affectionate and close. He takes them home from the supermarket after their car breaks down, he then goes on to drive them around and take them places. This sets up a rather heart warming relationship between the three of them however Irene’s husband and Benecio’s dad called Standard (Oscar Isaac) is due out from prison in a week destroying the relationship. Standard at first is hostile with his new neighbour but then realises that he can use him to pay off his debt in a $1million heist on a local pawn brokers. However when things go wrong it puts his family in danger and being attached Driver decides to take it into his own hands to protect their lives. This fuels the rest of the film as Driver gets involved with ruthless big time mobsters Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks as he takes risks to show unbelievable loyalty and feelings for Irene.

As the plot progresses and the danger and conflict increases we see the damaged Driver show as he displays extreme violence. This however creates us to sympathise for him more rather than making him a villain, it also brings some great entertainment and some thrilling action.

The film is action packed but leaves room for a light hearted romance and a good storyline, for once I think a film has managed to balance this out correctly and effectively. Unlike most other crime-action dramas, Drive is a very realistic film, chases seem realistic and so do stunts. CGI is used as little as possible, Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn respecting the genre and craft of film making. The key element in this film is sound, Cliff Martinez should be very proud of what he’s achieved. Due to the lack of dialogue from the driver the soundtrack speaks for him, telling us everything about him including his feelings. Drive has been credited with many awards for it’s sound editing and well deserved too. This is definitely a film you don’t want to miss and you won’t be disappointed after watching.

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Review: Day Of The Dead (2008)

 

Genre: Horror, Action, Thriller

Director: Steve Miner

Writers: Jeffrey Reddick, George .Romero

Staring: Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon Michael Welch, AnnaLynne McCord

Rating: ★★1/2

After the very much successful remake of George A. Romero’s 1978 Dawn Of The Dead a remake of another classic was obvious, so four years later Romero teamed up with Jeffrey Reddick this time to recreate his Day Of The Dead. However this film doesn’t compare to “Dawn” and is not even on the same level, even the original didn’t but when comparing them as remakes its not even a contest. One of the flaws is that it doesn’t follow the original whatsoever except the use of the original names for a few characters. Okay, so it doesn’t exactly follow the old script and it doesn’t have to, to be a good film, but the storyline is so modern and overused it ruins the original feel to it and dresses it up as an everyday “zombie” film.

The military closes off a small town in Colorado for some “special training” and it just so happens to be at the time most of the neighbourhood has some flu-like virus. However as the local medical centre overruns and the virus begins to develop it becomes clear that this isn’t something that a few aspirin or paracetamol can sort out, the virus starts to turn people into flesh eating raged filled monsters. Whilst limbs are being ripped off and blood splattering every wall and pavement in the town tough female soldier Cpl. Cross (Mena Suvari) back in her hometown must escape with the help of a few colleagues and on the way rescue her recently reunited brother and his girlfriend.

Cpl.Cross is joined by Salazar (Nick Cannon), a soldier who acts likes he’s in a ninja video game and Bud (Stark Stands), a “newbie” who’s a polar opposite being sensitive, kind and a vegetarian. They are trapped in a hospital surrounded by Zombies with a limited supply of weapons. In a inventive and action packed gruesome fashion they fight their way to a hummer to escape. Trapped and hiding in a nearby radio station is her brother Trevor (Michael Welch), a spoilt teenager with a bit of a grudge and attitude, he’s joined by his squeamish girlfriend Nina (AnnaLynne McCord). After being rescued they search for answers in a underground lab, in which they find the truth about how their town has been wiped out but still face the problem of the flesh eating ghouls. The rest of the film gives us unrealistic action, explosions and more blood, jumps and scares in attempt to entertain us.

The film tries to play on the growing and recovering relationship between Cpl.Cross and her brother but in all truth it isn’t one bit touching or heart warming but cheesy and expected. The most enjoyable character in this film for me is Salazar, he brings the action and although unrealistic it provides us with the gore and blood we came to see and wanted. Despite its flaws Day Of The Dead deserves some credit for their faster, smarter and uglier zombies. The zombies show how much has developed since George A. Romero’s original film but furthermore take a new aspect. The zombies tend to remember something from their previous life, whether it be a trait or a memory, this leads to the creation of a smarter and more dangerous zombie that we get to meet in the closing stages of the film. To me the films protagonists somehow remind me of the monsters in I Am Legend (2007) in the way they jump and climb ceilings and walls.

All in all Day Of The Dead isn’t the best but It isn’t quite the worse, many including myself expected far much better but that wasn’t provided. The film doesn’t quite take the full use of George A. Romero’s original and with some shabby acting and some cheesy side plots it lets itself down. Fanboys and Romero worshipers will be bitter after viewing this but if you just want some action, blood and gore you will probably be mildly entertained, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to go and see it.

 

 

 

The Crazies (2010)

Review: The Crazies (2010)

 

 

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Director: Breck Eisner
Writers: Scott Kosar, Ray Wright, George A. Romero (credited for original film)
Staring: Radha Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant, Danielle Panabacker, Joe Anderson
Rating: ★★★½

Although officially this is not a traditional “zombie” film it follows the same narrative of one, creating a lack of innovation however what you expect to get out the film you well and truly do resulting in just over 90 minutes of entertainment. The down-sider to this film is there is far too much dialogue and too little scares and thrills that you would expect from a film of this genre.
The plot surrounds a small town in Iowa who are infected by a toxin that spills into their water supply resulting in a few mysterious deaths that then suddenly leads into a insanity, raged filled plague that wipes out the whole neighbourhood except from a few survivors. The film follows the towns Sheriff, David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) who after a work catches a local baseball game with his deputy, Russell Clank (Joe Anderson). The game is paused as the towns drunk wanders onto the field with a shotgun, racing onto the field David tries negotiating but the shotgun equipped drunk raises his gun leading him to be shot in front of the whole crowd by the Sheriff. A autopsy shows that there was not a drop of alcohol in the system of the now dead armed wanderer causing ever growing suspicions from Sheriff Dutton.
The Sheriff’s wife, the local doctor Judy (Radha Mitchell), starts treating some strange cases in Ogden Marsh and without spoiling the plot, Sheriff Dutton and his deputy discover the cause of the upcoming plague. However a money driven Mayor dismisses the claims and refuses to take emergency actions. After the spread and deaths worsen the town gets quarantined and unfortunately for the infected the cure seems worse than the disease. Judy, Dave and deputy Russell then have to fight their way out of what once was their home town but now is a plagued hell.

When looking at The Crazies you could do far worse but at the same time its just a mix between Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Day Of The Dead  (2005). For its genre it doesn’t offer anything new but that doesn’t mean its a bad film, the acting and special effects were good as you would expect from a modern film, and to add the gore and deaths were exciting with a pitch fork here and an angle grinder there. It sure isn’t an all time great but a apocalyptic film worth watching? Give it a go.