Nicholas Winding Refn

bfi southbank

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, reader Nik Mortimer highlights one of the best cinemas in the UK. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Name: BFI Southbank Location: Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT Opened: “1951, as the National Film Theatre before re-branding as the BFI Southbank in 2007.” No. of screens: 4

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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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In one of the best panels in recent memory, Guillermo del Toro and Nicholas Winding Refn chose to combine their allotted time in Hall H (for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Drive respectively). What resulted was a rare conversation from two unique filmmakers who transcended the normal marketing mechanism of Comic-Con to deliver some insight and information about their processes. There were many different facets to it, and they talked about their movies some of course, but ultimately it became a master class in making films. So here’s a little bit of free film school from two visionaries.

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With little sleep and almost zero vegetables eaten during the day, Robert Fure, Cole Abaius and Jack Giroux gathered in their hotel room overlooking the San Diego Convention Center and a giant cargo freighter loading container after container of bananas to discuss what their favorite moments were. After a quiet start to a roaring event, the day was filled with fantastic little moments that made us all wish you were right here in the hotel room with us. Each and every one of you. In one room. While we’ll be calling dibs on the bed, check out the 8 best things about Comic-Con‘s opening day.

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I know Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn for his stylish, ridiculously entertaining look at a very unique criminal mind Bronson. I know Ryan Gosling from about a million of the best indie movies that have come out over the last decade. The two recently teamed up to make Drive, a film about a stuntman turned wheelman that got some big buzz going at Cannes and recently blew people away at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Once my Twitter feed lit up with LA people coming out of Drive gushing, I got super jealous and started looking forward to my own chance to see the film. But that’s not all there is to look forward to concerning these talents. When talking to 24 Frames, Refn spilled some beans about another film the actor and director hope to collaborate on in the future. The two are already set to put together a remake of the 1976 dystopian film Logan’s Run, but in addition to that Refn says, “We’re doing a comedy, and Albert Brooks promised he’d write the screenplay. Well, that’s not exactly true. But print it and we’ll make it true.” Could this be wishful thinking on Refn’s part? Brooks doesn’t do much writing work these days. The last writing credit he has was on 2005’s Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, and before that he hadn’t written a film since 1999’s The Muse. Will making something for talents like Refn and Gosling be enough to get him scribbling? It […]

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Wouldn’t you bloody well know it. Before the festival was tarnished by the Von Trier/Nazi scandal, all anyone seemed interested in talking about was the way Terrence Malick‘s latest had split the audiences in attendance almost straight down the middle. Not only that, The Tree of Life also inspired a rejuvenated debate over the nature of film, and the sometimes opposing ideals of entertainment and art. I ended my review stating that your reception of the film would depend entirely on what you valued more in your film-making experience, and it seems we now know that the Jury values the art of something over its entertainment value. Neither approach is necessarily right or wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the film was already chosen before even the first minutes of footage rolled. Held up to the light, The Tree of Life looks exactly like a Cannes film, something eccentric enough, with grand enough aspirations and some sort of importance that extends beyond what we can actually see. And that troubles me somewhat: should a film win because it fits the artistic manifesto of the festival, or should it win on quality? Robert DeNiro‘s comment after the decision answers precisely that: It seemed to have the size, the importance, the tension to fit the prize. Not, “it was fantastic,” not “it moved me,” but it fit the bill.

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As the films come to a close, patterns tend to emerge. This year, for instance, there has been a definite focus on the cinema of abuse, of nostalgia and on auteur-driven films, but the most engaging and intriguing mini-pattern for me is the cinema of misdirection, i.e. films that suggest they are one thing and ultimately offer something entirely different by their end. Unlike Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and The Skin I Live In and even to a lesser extent Hara-Kiri, Drive‘s directional swerve is a tonal one, rather than a thematic or material one. What at the outset looks like an indie love story, with background driving sub-plots, swerves wildly onto a more ragged road. Ryan Gosling (Cannes’ new darling after this and last year’s mesmerizing Blue Valentine) stars as a stunt-driver/mechanic by day, who moonlights as a getaway driver who is as solitary as Leon, and as effortlessly cool and detached as Bullitt. This driver’s world is flipped when he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, who looks stunning), and is immediately floored by her (and her son Benicio). Problem is, Irene has an ex-con husband (Standard, played by Oscar Isaac) who they discover has been granted early release, and doesn’t take too kindly to the driver muscling in on his family. When the driver discovers Standard beaten and bloody in the car park, he offers his services to pull off the one last job that will see the ex-criminal able to get out and go straight. Only things […]

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ff-Bronson

Bronson is a truly unique and ambitious, occasionally impenetrable piece of filmmaking carefully calculated in its execution and matched by Tom Hardy’s magnificent, career-defining lead performance.

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keanureevesjekyll

Sarcasm aside, Universal thinks it’s a great idea to place the actor in the iconic role of complete and total evil. On the plus side, Justin Haythe is writing and Nicholas Winding Refn might direct.

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