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5 items from 2011

Our five favorite movie wheelmen

15 September 2011 11:15 PM, PDT | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

I don't know how much real world demand there is for wheelmen, but it's a burgeoning field in the movies. It seems like there's someone always in the movies who needs a dangerous package transported or a steady-nerved getaway driver for a heist. That's certainly true this week, thanks to a movie featuring a new, and excellent movie wheelman: Ryan Gosling's Driver from Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive."

In honor of Gosling's hammer-wielding, tire-squealing performance, we decided this was the perfect time to pick our five favorite wheelmen in movie history. Our qualifications for potential candidates were simple. They had to make their living as a driver -- so car thieves were out. They had to be willing to take dirty or illegal jobs -- so professional truckers were gone too. And they couldn't actually participate in the heists themselves. As Gosling's Driver says, "I don't sit in while »

- Matt Singer

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Pyromaniacs: Hollywood’s Bad Boys

15 May 2011 11:05 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

A man who works with his hands is a laborer;

a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman;

but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

Louis Nizer

In his indispensable film study text, Understanding Movies, Louis Gianetti held forth on what separated craftsmanlike directors from those who rise above the norm:

“…what differentiates a great director from one who is merely competent is not so much a matter of what happens, but how things happen…”

In other words, Gianetti continued, the difference was in how effectively the director used form – visual style, composition, editing, mise en scene, and the rest of the directorial toolbox – to “…embody (a film’s) content.”

But with the rise of big budget blockbusters in the 70s and 80s, there came the ascendancy of a breed of director for whom content mattered less than form. »

- Bill Mesce

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Motion Picture Purgatory: Fragment of Fear

16 April 2011 11:19 AM, PDT | DreadCentral.com | See recent Dread Central news »

While it skews a bit more toward mystery/thriller than pure horror, this week's installment of Motion Picture Purgatory, Fragment of Fear, deals with themes of paranoia and alternate reality so well, we figured why not share it with our readers, especially those who may never have heard of this sweet slice of 1970s cinema before.

Directed by Richard C. Sarafian (Vanishing Point) and starring David Hemmings (Blow-Up, Gladiator), Gayle Hunnicutt (The Spiral Staircase, The Legend of Hell House), and Wilfrid Hyde-White (Chamber of Horrors, The Cat and the Canary), Fragment of Fear tells the tale of a young author who is plunged into a nightmare as he tries to solve his aunt's murder. When threats of violence, mysterious notes, and deadly phone calls shatter his life, the police and his girlfriend doubt the story due to his past as a drug addict - even though his life is in danger. »

- The Woman In Black

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Who is Terrence Malick and Will 'Tree of Life' Live Up Its Lofty Expectations?

13 April 2011 10:28 AM, PDT | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

I have a bone to pick with many of today's films critics. Every time a director shows up at a film festival with a slow paced, meandering film critics of all stripes immediately compare that filmmaker to the legendary Terrence Malick, a filmmaker who is perhaps the most misunderstood of the last 50 years.

Sometimes the comparisons are obvious and actually make sense. Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford did seem to be the bastard child of Badlands and Days of Heaven, but most of the time, as with recent efforts by New York filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and this year's Sundance film Little Birds, the Malick reference seems tangential at best. It seems to simply be shorthand for a movie that is meandering in narrative and lugubriously paced.

This makes me wonder which Terrence Malick these critics are referencing. It certainly can't be the »

- Bill Cody

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Review: Nicolas Cage's 'Drive Angry 3D' Drives to Ridiculous Fun

4 March 2011 5:18 AM, PST | firstshowing.net | See recent FirstShowing.net news »

"Like a bat out of Hell" is an appropriate way to describe how Drive Angry 3D, the latest bit of insanity from My Bloody Valentine director/editor Patrick Lussier, plays. It's loud. It's vicious. It knows precisely its place in the world of cinema, and for that alone, it becomes a recommendable piece of trashy and violent film. With Nicolas Cage at the wheel, Drive Angry delivers its entertainment with a Grindhouse mentality, a film that could just as easily have been directed by the likes of Jack Hill or Richard C. Sarafian had it found release in the 70s instead of today. Cage plays Milton, a man who has recently busted his way out of the prison that is Hell. His daughter and her husband have been killed and their baby taken by a cult of Satanists. With the aid of Piper, a tough-as-nails waitress played by Amber Heard, »

- Jeremy Kirk

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5 items from 2011

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