Movie – The Place Beyond the Pines: A

place beyond the pinesA
Certainly stylish, and wonderfully thought-provoking. Gosling’s performances are getting familiar, but Bradley Cooper shines here. I suppose this film made me realize I’m a fan of his. It experiments with an ambitious, and a little awkward, structure. But once the third act started and I realized where the themes were taking me, I became a fan of this film as well.

Movie – Gangster Squad: B-

gangster squadB-
Nothing unique really, but not incompetent. I liked that they used a couple of the long continuous shots that gangster films like to use, but that also showed how the movie was just the sum of many mafia film tropes. The final shootout was a little forced and obviously unrealistic as a result. Emma Stone isn’t quite ready to transition to more “serious” roles. The characters were oddly racially accepting considering the time period, with a token black guy and Hispanic on the team, though they weren’t really any more of a caricature than the others.

Movie – Ides of March: A-

Though not a lot happened per se, the expert plot progression engaged me throughout. Gosling played his familiar emotionless protagonist, but played it well. Clooney’s character’s political positions were distractingly exaggerated to a cartoonish level. Hoffman and Giamatti excelled.

Movie – Drive: C-

Why would a movie called Drive a)have only one lack-luster car chase, and b) not explain any justification for what motivates (i.e. drives) its characters? Staring at another person does not convey emotion. It conveys boredom. The “realistic” approach was unraveled by the excessive gore that begins in the second half of the film.

Movie – Crazy Stupid Love: C

I’m not sure who the target audience was, since it was essentially a romantic comedy and a quirky midlife crisis mashed together. Romantic films are known for their ridiculous coincidences, but this one had too many to take. The genre-aware scenes (such as Steven Carrel commenting “what a cliche” when it starts raining on him after a fight) were funny at first, but if you’re going to point out your own cliches, it makes all the others that aren’t jokes even more glaring. Somewhat slow, but mildly touching.