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September 12, 2011


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"The thing that makes action-packed but intriguingly enigmatic action films such as that or 'Bullitt' so seductive is that they don't spend too much time telling you how terse and elliptical they are; they just are terse and elliptical."



Word, indeed. I am really amped to see this, strangely moreso now than before I read this review. Reading about that centerpiece...boy howdy. I'm in. I'll take the hit on the rest, the bad stuff (if indeed I think it's bad, too) if that one bit is as good as you say.

Michael Adams

I watched the Bullitt Blu-ray recently and was surprised at how much its terseness and ellipticalness (ellipitude?) reminded me of Melville's films. I had seen the film 8-10 times before, but it was never as compelling as seeing it in this context.

James Keepnews

Been reading alot about Mr. Gosling's elliptical terseness, Ms. Mulligan's slumming and Mr. Brooks' contagious delight in having dirty hands but next to nothing about Mr. Perlman, very much one of my favorite character actors who's been killing lately in pretty unlikely contexts, e.g. SOA, channeling Gunnar Björnstrand in SEASON OF THE WITCH, &c., &c. How's Hellboy in this?

Glenn Kenny

Wasted, I'd say. It's a nothing role and Winding Refn is content to frame him in Mount-Rushmore-esque closeups, to signify how intense and awesome he is.

David Ehrenstein

Saw it last night Quelle Frommage!

Whodathunk Albert Brooks would get cast as the key killer in a slasher flick.

James Keepnews

Lackaday, though grant Nick his appreciation of the Beast's intense awesomeness (& vice versa), to say nothing of his capacity to fill the frame monumentally. That's one graven cat, where not straight-up pre-hominid. Add his gravelly line readings, delivered so far behind the beat he's like Ginger on more smack than usual, and if I were more of an academic film studiesist, I'd suggest Mr. Perlman's a festival of the absolute, or some such shit. Yes. I'm a fan.


Not seeing DRIVE till Friday, but I'm also weary with movies that are so self-conscious about how hard-boiled or edgy they are (haven't run into the self-consciously elliptical ones yet). Although it's not the only thing, again, that separates POINT BLANK from PAYBACK, for example, the latter constantly telling you how hard-boiled it is stands in sharp contrast to the former, which just is hard-boiled, and for me, all the better because of that.

Phil Freeman

I'm with bill upthread - seeing this one for sure this coming weekend, and I'll sit through the bad stuff to get to the gold, like any genre fan does pretty much every time they head to the theater.

Oliver Bloch

This movie is so hetero it's homo.

David Ehrenstein

In its dream, Mr. Bloch.

There isn't a frame of this thing that doesn't scream "Oh I'm SO HIP aren't I?"

I like Ryan Gosling enormously, but he's not Lee Marvin, and the film's attempt at passing him off as Lee Marvin is pathetic.

Oliver Bloch

Come on, David. Ryan Gosling cut his teeth singing ditties for Disney; Lee Marvin fought in the Pacific Theatre of Dubya-Dubya-Too, killing Japanamen with his bare hands. I'd say they are both equals in the taciturn badassery dept. I mean, the eyes don't lie, and Mr. Gosling has black coal burning behind those peepers. I can only imagine the horror he has seen.


It's called acting.

And can all you Amateur Hour Michael Madsens get over the whole "so-and-so isn't a REAL BADASS like Lee Marvin"/"They don't make 'em like they used to!" thing; For a group of guys that loathes Big Hollywood type macho pronouncements, movie geeks sure are quick to fall back on the "Leo/Matt/Ryan/Jake's a candy-ass, viva The Duke!" sensibility. It really is vaguely annoying how new male leads have to earn their "macho" stripes with male movie geeks-- every time a new Cooper, Timberlake, Gosling, Gyllenhaal type comes along, they're subjected to this infantile/protesting-too-much bullying from male online geeks (truly a macho bunch if ever there was one) that's akin to the 11th grade running back fuming over his sister's Teen Beat centerfolds.

It's also basically the same argument as any chick clamoring for "MORE REAL WOMEN INSTEAD OF STICK FIGURES!" in discussing beautiful actresses, or some slob guy bemoaning how no one in movies looks like Abe Vigoda or Vic Tayback anymore. It's a lost cause, just give it up...

Next thing you know, you guys'll be asking for a return of pubic hair.

Stephen Bowie

SONS OF ANARCHY has not yet reached the kind of cultural status whereby it can referred to recognizably by only an acronym, and I certainly hope it never will. Has nobody yet noticed that Ron Perlman can't act, that there's nothing much going on beneath that cartoon face? I'd call him the modern-day Rondo Hatton, except that Perlman's persona (apart from the face) is sort of soft and new-agey, so there's even a disconnect there.

And yes, Lex, some of us do belong to the Feech La Manna school on the subject of pubic hair. Deal with it.

David Ehrenstein

Public hair has never gone out of style, Lex. At least as far as I'm concerned.

Bradley Cooper and Justin Timberlake do nothing for me, Lex. Whereas I'm all over Ryan and Jake like a cheap suit.

Neither, however, is as smokin' hot as Louis Garrel.


There's a word for females with no pubic hair (and miniscule labia): "children"

Glenn Kenny

All right, that'll be enough of THAT, thank you.

James Keepnews

Oooo, I'll take that bait! In fact, I think if you look at RP's work in THE NAME OF THE ROSE, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, THE LAST SUPPER, ENEMY AT THE GATES and I SELL THE DEAD alone, those are five distinct, accomplished performances -- I'd really like to discover how someone who can't act pulled them off. That certainly doesn't include his iconic Del Toro work or SOA which, Mr. Bowie's dearest hopes notwithstanding, had its most watched episode for the season premiere last week. The latter is absolutely my favorite soap opera on television, just as MELROSE PLACE was some two decades ago and for much the same reason -- it's ridiculously campy, albeit with slightly more bloodshed. Slightly.

Oliver Bloch


Since you're the guy who has spent the last couple of years proclaiming your impotence across the Interwebtrix, I think that disqualifies you from discussing anything having to do with masculinity and who's faking it and who's not. Of course a tulip like Bradley Cooper seems manly to you.


Gosling doesn't seem that tough to me (his name alone is just so damn adorable), but I think that he's no wussier than Ryan O'Neal--a.k.a. the original "Driver."


Long as I'm working the room:

Christina Hendricks isn't hot at all. Carey Mulligan is WAY sexier because she's more girly and DEMURE and NON-THREATENING.

Plus redheads kinda suck.


Piss off. JANE ASHER!

Stephen Bowie

James, I'll concede some camp value to SONS OF ANARCHY ... it's the people who take it seriously who scare (or just disappoint) me.

Enver Erdogan

Great, now we have to deal with Lex's schtick on this site, too. Get a new piece, bro. Your gimmick isn't that deep. You should be able to expand it pretty easily.


"Great, now we have to deal with Lex's schtick on this site, too."

Wow, gee, sorry you're so put out. But I'd wager it's more effort for me to un-see your INCREDIBLY STUPID name than it would be for you to skim over anything I say. Also don't call me "bro," bro.

But have no fears, "ENVER," I don't usually post here, as I'm keenly aware that I annoy Glenn and his readership. I just wanted to talk about "Drive," and since Showtune Poland has me banned, and the unsettling cabal of Criterion Bullet Belt Nazis on Wells have sworn to unveil my drag-queen girlfriend and Blue Magic empire to the world should I ever post on HE again, seemed as good a place as any.

Didn't realize this blog for Some Came Humorless. Like, how do you guys watch all those old movies with comedy in them, yet have NO sense of humor whatsoever?

James Keepnews

Stephen, a good, way non-cinephilic pal of mine who is as largely unenthused with SONS as you are made invidious comparisons between it and GLEE, which provided something of an epiphany for me and drove the point home where my not-entirely rational love of the show is concerned. And Ron be damned, but Katey Sagal rules the universe, or an immodestly huge proportion of the cable dial, on it.

Lex, you're nuts -- Ms. Hendricks' hotness approaches the brutal and I'm completely hysterical. But, great goodness gosh, post away, sir. Never can understand the hostility you engender here -- did you hurt Jeffrey Wells' feelings, or something? The Criterion Collection's, maybe?

Glenn Kenny

Well, senses of humor differ.

But seriously, Lex, I got your back. Up to a point. I know from experience that rocking an "internet persona" can be pretty amusing, but every now and then you wanna kick back and get real a bit and just talk movies in earnest, and then you find you're carrying this baggage with you that just sets off this reflexive hostility in people and you haven't even SAID anything. Or anything THAT BAD.

For what it's worth, I don't think the fault with "Drive" lies with any of the actors or their work, with the exception of Mulligan who, as Robert Christgau once said of that Steely Dan singer who WASN'T Donald Fagen, fits in like a cheerleader at a crap game. And I like Ron Perlman, and think he's a fine performer, but as I said before, he's mostly used just for presence here.

As for Gosling, it's funny. For some reason part of me keeps waiting to just hate him in something. And I never, ever do. The kid's very good. That's all there is to it.


FWIW, big fan of "Sons of Anarchy" here, though S3 represented a pretty huge drop-off with that endless Ireland plot... Perlman and Hunnam are solid gold, as is the Rich Man's Michael Fassbender known as the mighty Kim Coates... Sometimes you can kind of see the acting limitations and catch some awkward false moments when some of the supporting casts steps outside the diligent HEY BROTHER posturing, but I never have that problem with Perlman on the show...

But... I know Kurt Sutter's a bad-ass and probably NO ONE on that show or FX wants to tell him anything other than how great it is he's carved this primo role for his wife Katey Sagal... but it's her stuff that DOES border into ludicrous camp. Peg Bundy vamping in her apparent one black outfit camping around town with scaffolded hair making mugging faces while talking smack to tough guys left and right... Between her and Ally Walker (or Polly Walker, whatever it is) Sutter's trying to go for this Tough Dames hard-ass mode, but it comes off as the Real Housewives of Charming, and puts the show into Bravo network camp mode.

Enver Erdogan

Lex: I'm Turkish. My name might sound silly to you, but I'm sorry about that. My parents are from Turkey. My grandfather's name was Enver. And I do have a sense of humor. However, you're not funny, so why I should laugh at what you say doesn't make any sense. You are loud, though. I will give you that. You have managed to figure out a way to be heard over the din, and you should pat yourself on the back for such an accomplishment. You are very loud. Congratulations.

Troy K.

Is Armond White posting under the pseudonym Lex now?

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