Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn had his biggest hit with Drive. The film may have angered some viewers enough to file a lawsuit, but it also inspired a generation of young hipsters to empower themselves by donning The Driver’s scorpion-spangled jacket. Whether that’s a good thing is up for debate, but to make someone feel inspired enough to wear the jacket of a violent criminal is no small feat. After audiences see Refn’s followup film Only God Forgives no one is going to want mimic these characters. The poppy soundtrack, stoic lead, and fairy tale romance from his previous Gosling-starring flick is nowhere to be found in this Bangkok-set crime picture. The Bronson director could have gone on to make a spiritual sequel to Drive, in terms of trying to recapture that success, but instead he has made a movie that appeals to an almost entirely different sensibility. Refn never even considered exploring the same territory. “I was going to make this movie before Drive, so there wasn’t any thought of doing that,” he explains. Basically, there was no time for thought, either. Refn is one fast worker, and according to him, it shows onscreen. “I did Bronson and Valhalla Rising back-to-back, and I did the same with Drive and Only God Forgives. I’m sure they have effects on the extremes of both movies.”

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nicolas-winding-refn-directs-ryan-gosling-in-drive

While doing press for Valhalla Rising, Danish American filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn announced that the film marked a new stage in his career. After the manic, Brechtian anti-biopic Bronson; the sprawling Pusher trilogy that’s more Gaspar Noe than Gaspar Noe; and the little-seen Fear X, Refn began a series of films about quiet, enigmatic supermen. He continued this focus with Drive, his commercial breakthrough, and has now followed it up with Only God Forgives, which sees a VOD and limited theatrical release this Friday. While Bronson and the first Pusher film were justifiably celebrated, it’s this current stage of his career that has, for many, defined what “a Nicolas Winding Refn film” means: atmospheric, ultra-violent, deliberately paced, heavy on style. Refn is one of the strangest young auteurs working today, in terms of both his esoteric films and his occasionally bizarre interviews. And his career is only going to get more interesting: his vast slate of possible subsequent projects that include a Logan’s Run remake, a Wonder Woman movie, an adaptation of the comic Button Man, a prequel to the 80s midnight flick Maniac Cop, and an erotic horror film titled I Walk With the Dead. So while he’s on the up and up, here’s some free advice (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the man responsible for Mads Mikkelsen’s one eye, Tom Hardy’s curly mustache, and “The Gosling Stare.”

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Biscuit Rig

Robert Nagle was still racing cars professionally when he saw Ronin for the first time. The Euro-set chases in the 1998 Robert De Niro thriller were a massive undertaking that involved over 300 stunt professionals and would go on to become lionized as the best of all time. Like most, Bullitt was a favorite from his childhood, but Nagle was awed by what the Ronin team accomplished with a few Peugeots and the tunnels of Paris. “It’s the most realistic. They really sold the speed, had some really great drivers doing those pieces, and just the way they shot it, it came out spectacular. I walked away going, ‘How did they do that?’. I needed to figure out how they did some of those pieces because they were done so well.” Many of us had the same connection — a sense of wonder at the raw ability of the sequences to pummel adrenal glands marked by that natural, amateur illusionist curiosity of how the filmmakers pulled it off. Soon after Ronin‘s release, Nagle would transition into the industry himself with Michael Mann’s The Insider, officially becoming a part of the machine that made him simultaneously pump his fist and scratch his head. In a little over a decade, Nagle has amassed an impressive amount of movies under his seat belt, and throughout his stunt driving career, he’s worked with a large magician’s wand called The Biscuit Rig. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ll recognize its work, because for many action movies made this century, […]

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Turbo

What’s this? A movie about racing featuring the same pulse-pounding synth soundtrack as Drive, complete with a voiceover from a sultry leading man talking about the dangers of living life in the fast lane? Is this the animated sequel to Drive that we never knew we wanted? Nope. This is a movie about a snail. The first trailer for Turbo, the new Dreamworks Animation project from the creative teams behind Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, doesn’t exactly tell us what the film is about. But it is fun, nonetheless. The movie, as it turns out, is about a garden snail who dreams of becoming the fastest snail in the world, only to find himself the victim of a freak accident that might just grant him his wish. Ryan Reynolds leads a voice cast that includes the likes of Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Richard Jenkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Rudolph and Snoop Dogg. In the end, it’s a movie about a snail. Pretty harmless.

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Aural Fixation - Large

We may stand in line to get our hands on the latest technology and watch as record stores close their doors as more and more music fans turn to iTunes and digital downloads instead of physical CDs, but there is still something about vinyl records that keep people coming back for more. While digital files are crisp and polished, it is almost impossible for a studio to duplicate the richness that comes from vinyl – plus those little imperfections and pops that come from listening to a record can sometimes be the best part. Even though CDs may seem like they are becoming a way of the past, there is a new trend coming forward and one that seems to be popping up more and more with soundtrack releases – the option to get these compilations on vintage vinyl. While he is known for creating electric scores for films such as Traffic and Contagion, Cliff Martinez’s work is also layered making it a prime choice to take a spin on the ol’ record player. This year Martinez’s work got the vinyl treatment twice with Milan Records releasing his dark and seductive score for Arbitrage and Mondo releasing his iconic score for Drive as a double vinyl album and enlisting artist Tyler Stout to create the album cover and package design. While the large cover that house these records allow artists more room for creative expressive and memorable images, it is the records themselves that give these scores added depth, providing […]

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We love television, but we love movies more. And we love movies a lot more than awards for television. So, why would we watch the 2012 Emmy Awards when we can just watch any number of this year’s nominees in their great film works, a lot of which are streaming on Netflix. Classics that you’ll find from the Watch Instantly service featuring Emmy nominees include Platoon, Fatal Attraction, Reservoir Dogs, Black Hawk Down, The Terminator and plenty others. But I noticed a bunch of recommended titles with the special circumstance of involving two or more Emmy-nominated talents, including a few from the contending directors. Speaking of which, I could have counted Louis C.K.‘s Pootie Tang, but I still haven’t seen it. Maybe that’s what I’ll be watching this evening. Check out the list and links after the jump.

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Heat Movie Michael Mann

I’ve been taking my family on a tour of Michael Mann’s filmography recently, and every minute has been fantastic. Mann has a great eye for cinematography, writes and/or directs characters who are refreshingly competent and layered, and has a way of getting great mileage out of a topic he enjoys (crime and those who commit and prevent it) by changing the level of its presentation. He has done pieces both epic (Heat) and intimate (Collateral). He has ventured into the past, where his favorite subject varies in presence from “extant, but not important compared to other events” (The Last of the Mohicans) to “the point of the entire film” (Public Enemies). He brought Hannibal Lector to the screen for the first time as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter, which I must admit remains my primary source exposure to everyone’s favorite cannibal. All of these traits make Mann a director whose work should be followed, but what absolutely drives me wild about him is his use of music in his pictures’ key scenes. Mann’s soundtracks are usually a mix of contemporary rock, house music, a slow and/or seductive piece for particularly romantic moments and several compositions written specifically for the film by his composer. At least once in every one of his films that I have had a chance to see, Mann takes a piece from his soundtrack and sets it to a climactic or character defining scene and the resulting moment never fails to astound. Dialogue is usually sparse to nonexistent […]

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Culture Warrior

A few weeks ago, as the indie group Here We Go Magic traveled through Ohio, they encountered a tall, skinny hitchhiker who they quickly recognized to be the inimitable filmmaker/public personality/pencil-thin mustache enthusiast John Waters. The band members took pictures of themselves with Waters and sent them out to the twittersphere. John Waters’s presence in their van did not transform into a difficult-to-believe apocryphal story between friends over drinks, nor did it grow into the stuff of urban legend, but instead became a certified true web event simultaneous to the band’s immediate experience of it. For any fan of the ever-captivating and unique Waters, this unlikely scenario which was still somehow consistent with Waters’s personality was truly bizarre, interesting, funny, and perhaps even enviable. But Mr. Waters’s is simply the most recent in a string of out-of-the-ordinary celebrity encounters. Celebrity has changed greatly over the past few decades. Whereas stars of film, television, and popular music formerly dominated the imaginations of their public through their creative output and carefully orchestrated public personae (through interviews, red carpet appearances, etc.), today’s celebrities are characterized more by their public personae than any output to warrant it. The Kardashians, the Hiltons, and the VH1 reality stars of the world are simply famous for being famous (or, more accurately, for being born into incredible wealth). There is no longer a sense that one earns fame through creating something or contributing to culture.

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Seeing as stills are starting to come out for Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest project, Only God Forgives, one can only assume that work on that film is moving along swimmingly and it’s probably time to start wondering about what he’s going to do next. If the 24-hour news cycle is good for anything, it’s promoting constant speculation. This time, however, the speculation has the benefit of not being completely unfounded. Deadline Køge is reporting that Refn is currently in negotiations with Dreamworks to helm Button Man, an adaptation of a graphic novel called “Button Man: The Killing Game” that was written by Judge Dredd creator John Wagner. The comic book follows the misadventures of professional killer Harry Exton, who is hired to take part in a game where millionaires have trained assassins battle each other to the death for their amusement. It’s like The Hunger Games, only better because the people trying to kill each other are actually good at it and don’t have to resort to sicking bees on each other and tricking each other into eating berries. Of course, there’s a wrinkle in the story, and it comes when Exton decides that he doesn’t want to be a gladiator anymore and has to find a way to get himself out of the games.

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And just when you thought awards season was over! In continued proof that MTV doesn’t give a sweet biscuit about anything like music or television, the network has today announced their nominees for the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. As ever, the kids are still going for the big franchises (like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight), but even they’re not immune to the awards push for The Help (kids liked The Help?). Yet, this year, the MTV Movie Awards appear to have done right by at least one film that got snubbed by the big dogs during the traditional awards season – Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Drive. Despite massive critical acclaim (and, let’s face it, a metric ton of cool points), Drive was only nominated for one Oscar – Best Achievement in Sound Editing, better known as the “Sorry, Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling Snubb-o Award.” The MTV Movie Awards nominated the film for Best Male Performance (Ryan Gosling), Best Gut-Wrenching Performance (also Gosling), and Best Music for “A Real Hero” by College with Electric Youth (though the song will inevitably lose to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” because, you know, kids these days). As totally bitching as that all is, let’s take a moment to question just how all those MTV-consuming kiddos got into Drive in the first place. And were they texting the entire time they were watching the film? Of course, it’s still the MTV Movie Awards, and they still feature categories like “Best Kiss,” “Best Gut-Wrenching Performance” (which includes a nod […]

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Mondo

Tomorrow will see the grand opening of Mondo’s new gallery space in Austin, Texas. Mondo, the art boutique offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse, has been creating t-shirts, posters, and other movie-related items for several years now. In light of the new gallery opening, it seems as good a time as any to take a look back over their illustrious career. Many current poster hounds may not realize that the Mondo legacy goes back as far as it does, but old school fans will remember the phone booth-sized storefront Mondo enjoyed at the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado. No bigger than a postage stamp, the Mondo room was packed to the gills with t-shirts and posters. Mondo recently put up an online archive of all of their prints dating back to 1998, which frankly made this article much easier to put together. But it also serves as a window into their fantastic past, showcasing many prints you probably missed and will now furiously try to track down. Speaking of tracking down prints, here’s the top 13 on our radar.

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The Art of Ralph McQuarrie

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links, movie news, happy things and sad things. Tonight we begin with something sad, because it’s easily the biggest story of the night. We begin this evening on a sad note. Over the weekend, Ralph McQuarrie passed away. Some of you may not know the name, but you’ve seen his work. In fact, his work may have defined a lot of what you consider to be the iconography of your childhood. He’s the man who helped George Lucas craft the look of a little project called Star Wars, among other things. Better men than I have written excellent obituaries. I found Drew McWeeney on Ralph McQuarrie and AICN’s Eric Vespe on Ralph McQuarrie to be the best of them. Also, Geek Tyrant has a great gallery of Ralph McQuarrie art.

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Barnabas Collins by Tim Burton

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news, stories, articles, happenings and thingamajigs that is not interested in your excuses, just your unwavering loyalty. We begin tonight with a new look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere’s ability to scan a page of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. It’s quite retro, somewhat chic, a lot emo and… oh, those bangs. Depp truly does have a bit of a Nosferatu thing going on, which is refreshing. At least he doesn’t sparkle.

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Baking Bread

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s coming off of a really great weekend. Live-blogging the Oscars with no pants on is the best decision it has made in a long time. Well, since last February, at the very least. Because last week was such a serious week — what with the Oscars and all — we begin this week with abject silliness and two gritty dudes Baking Bread. This would make an excellent spin-off of Breaking Bad, but only if the bread was baked with some sort of intoxicant that allowed Jesse and Walter to dive deep into the dangerous world of narcotic baked goods. Quick, someone fuel up the RV and the Easy Bake Oven!

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Boiling Point

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone: let the bitching begin! As someone who is more of a genre fan than anything, I’ve never really cared too much about the Oscars, but that sure as hell doesn’t prevent me from complaining about them. Granted, over the years, some great films have won. I’m a big fan of Unforgiven and I dug Shakespeare In Love. I just think far too many good films are ignored in favor of “Oscar movies.” I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with any of the films nominated this year, but there were a few categories were I feel like the little golden man statue when to the wrong film. Luckily, the internet exists and I can complain about it!

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Beastie!

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s candy-colored hearts, bright-blooming flowers, lovable links, rainbows just doing whatever the hell it is rainbows do, heartwarming stories, woods-dwelling beasties, and pink-frosted movie news with a woman’s touch. At least, that’s what it is tonight. Leading off with some greats news, congratulations are in order for the Internet’s own Alison Willmore, as IndieWire has just announced that they have hired the very talented writer to head up their expanded television coverage as their brand new TV Editor. Between her scribblings over at Movieline, the AV Club, and Time Out New York, and of course her new podcast with constant collaborator Matt Singer, Filmspotting: SVU, I’m not entirely sure when Willmore will be sleeping, but it does mean the rest of us will be treated to still more of her brilliant insights into entertainment. As someone who struggles to love television as much as I love film, I suspect Willmore’s new work might finally get me invested in the small screen. It’s not often that you can mark the precise moment a feature film grabs your interest, but tonight I’m able to pinpoint the second that Snow White and the Huntsman finally spoke to me. At The Playlist, they’ve posted some new photos from the film’s Facebook page, including that one up top, with Kristen Stewart going eye-to-eye with some kind of beastie. The picture’s caption teases “friend or foe?” I don’t care which one it is, I’m just excited that one of the […]

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Movie News After Dark: Katy Perry

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie collection of links, posters, videos, and other newsworthy mediums that mostly have to do with movies. Sometimes we mix in a bit of television. Other times we’re talking about something completely different. Call us unfocused if you must, but don’t you ever call us boring. Leading with a photo of Katy Perry, not my finest moment. Rest assured, though, as there is some actual movie news associated with the buxom pop singer picture above. Paramount Pictures — the studio that brought you the box office cow Justin Bieber: Never Say Never — is planning a Katy Perry 3D movie documentary concert film thing. Squee!

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is back with another big week of releases. This is the time of year when a lot of great fall releases, Oscar contenders new and old, and even a few summer blockbusters going for the double-dip get their more impressive debuts on the mother of all HD formats. This week we get to explore my personal favorite film of 2011, as well as some fantastic re-releases of classic films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Malcolm X. There will also be a discussion of The Thing (2011), albeit a brief one. Drive In recent interviews, director Nicolas Winding Refn has promised fans that a fully loaded edition of Drive would eventually make its way to Blu-ray, with plenty of extras, interviews and other special features. While I, like you, find that to be a nice idea, it’s also hard to overlook the urgency of getting 2011’s best film into my collection as soon as possible. And much to my surprise, this Blu-ray release is solid. Ryan Gosling is still Driver, he’s still driving fast and fighting for the girl, and he’s still punching out Christina Hendricks and stomping dudes flat in elevators in between driving scenes backed by the pulsing score of Cliff Martinez. There’s also some special treats. No, not a toothpick. Although I’d take it. This release comes complete with four featurettes, all worthy of your time, and a documentary-length interview with the film’s director. It’s an efficient package that, like the film to which it’s […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Another week another ton of DVDs hitting shelves both real and virtual, and while there are several worth renting and avoiding there are only two worth buying. One is visible immediately below, and the other? One of last year’s best films. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense (UK) A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision goes. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly dose of awesome movie news, with a side of other stuff you’ll probably want to read in between all the movie news. We begin tonight with an image of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg pondering The World’s End, the supposed third film in their “Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy” that began with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It’s about damned time, as they say. From Scott Pilgrim to Star Trek, the pair have done plenty of great things apart, but now we’ll hopefully see them wrap this thing up. Unless Marvel calls Edgar about that Ant-Man movie…

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published: 12.22.2014
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