Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049

Jay and Brad sit down to review the 30+ years in the making sequel, ‘Blade Runner 2049.’ Starring Ryan Gosling as K, a Blade Runner who is tasked to “retire” old replicants is suddenly thrown into a new case that might just destroy the fabric of the modern society.

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Review: The Nice Guys

THENICEGUYS-660x330 Director Shane Black’s latest is a comedic whodunit starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, and Angourie Rice that takes place in the captivating 1970s L.A. scene. In the style of his previous career rejuvenating Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Black is able to take two actors known for more action and heavy drama roles and place them in an environment that in a way seems more fitting for them. The Nice Guys is simply one of the best movies of the year so far. From start to finish it sets up and delivers on everything it promises beat for comedic beat.

Private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) can’t catch a break no matter how hard he tries. With a winning personality he charms old ladies out of extra money for cases he’s hired on, he fumbles around L.A. making the occasional discovery but mostly wasting his and everyone else's time. Holland eventually gets a visit from Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to “encourage” Hollard to drop the current case he is working. Jackson is a low level enforcer who spends his days using brass knuckles to deliver brutal messages to would-be pedophiles and other nuisances like Holland. Eventually things come together as Holland and Jackson are forced to join forces to find the location of a missing girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). Their team up takes them on an exploration of the nightlife of 1970s L.A., from pornstar parties to exclusive car shows and everything in between. The atmosphere of the film is one of its greatest assets. Director Shane Black is able to recreate the magic of that time and place with great costuming, excellent location shooting, and a stellar needle drop soundtrack.

During their search for Amelia, the two men run into other mob enforcers, contract killers, and enough alcohol to drown Holland’s sorrows in all the while making their seemingly simple job that much more interesting. The two are then joined by Holland's daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice), a precocious 14 year old that keeps Holland on his toes and settles Jackson’s more violent nature. There are so many wonderful performances in this film but the three leads are able to stand out without any problems. Russell Crowe’s Jackson Healy is one part lovable rogue, one part-terrifying thug. He balances so well against the fumbling Ryan Gosling, who in my opinion steals damn near every scene he’s in. You really do identify with Holland March as the audience going through this insane shoot-em-up journey and laughing all the way. Last but certainly not least is Angourie Rice. Even though she is only 14 years old, she is just as smart, funny, crass, and irreverent as her other co-stars. She certainly has a bright future ahead of her. This year has been filled to the brim with super heroics and CGI fests. It’s nice to get a small break from that and watch a film that is simple in nature but delivers on a grand scale.

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Review: Drive

As I sit and listen to the soundtrack to Nicholas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive, I can’t help but to think how many cool points I just accrued. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Carry Mulligan as star-crossed lovers in the modern age. Gosling’s character who is only known as the driver is a character for the ages. This generation’s Steve McQueen. Refn’s ability to make Gosling into, what can only be described as, a genuine action star is nothing short of amazing. Much like Refn’s previous films (Bronson and Valhalla Rising specifically) the hero is damaged in ways that are not readily apparent to the audience. When we first meet the driver he is playing the getaway driver to a robbery. The nature of the robbery is unimportant, what is important is the calmness that is exuded from Gosling while panic and uncertainty are all around him. As the film goes along we get small but significant glimpses into what makes the driver who he is and why we should care about him as the audience. The first 30 minutes of the film we are given a look at how Gosling and Mulligan establish their obviously doomed relationship. The chemistry between them is less in dialogue but rather in glances and slight smiles. This method of unfolding their attraction gives the audience a chance to put themselves in the situation and guesstimate what Mulligan and Gosling are really thinking. Like a duck on the surface of a lake all the fury and intense happenings are just below the surface. That intensity drives the duck and this film forward, seamlessly.

After Oscar Issac, who plays Mulligan’s husband, returns from jail the more obvious tension sequences begin to take shape. When a robbery goes wrong and Issac’s character is killed the white knight that we have grown fond of changes and becomes more like us than we would care to admit. The mob, the villain, the mad man. Ever the hero, the driver sacrifices his chance with Mulligan to be the better man. The scene in which Gosling morphs from the sweet, yet slightly creepy guy, to the needed mad man is beautiful. Refn’s control over the soon to be infamous elevator scene shows his real skill as a director. The violence is incredibly visceral and hard to watch at times. If you have seen Refn’s aforementioned previous films this will come as little to no surprise.

Refn’s film ends with our hero doing what he has to do and that is what makes the movie really work. Tons of movies address the revenge themes, but few make you feel like you could bring yourself to do what you see done on film. However, in Drive, you feel like you could do it, but you would hate yourself for it. Gosling is able to pull off something that just isn’t common anymore. You want him to win, but more importantly, you want to be him. That is why in the end you have a sigh of relief because its over for the protagonist and for you. Go see Drive.