Drive – Memorable Story, Great Soundtrack

OK.  Yet another Gosling movie.  This one is good.  Much darker than I have expected.  It is an artistic movie that captivates.  In this movie, Gosling drives cars and works in a garage.  He seldom talks.  In fact, a good chunk of the movie contains no dialogues.  As an audience, in most part, I would hold tight onto the arms of the chair (or rather one hand holding onto Cynthia’s), hold my breath, and eagerly await for what is to come.

Carey Mulligan has left a good impression in “An Education“.  And I was looking forward to seeing how she acts in “Drive”.  Is there a chemistry between Mulligan and Gosling?  There certainly is.  And I enjoy the subtle build up between a man with no past and a married woman with baggage from the past.  What makes Gosling a good driver (in the movie of course) is his fearlessness and his precision in timing.  The filmmakers manage to bring out this essence of his and apply to the remaining plot.

There is a fair amount of blood and gore in this film.  Be warned.  I begin to see that Gosling – besides looking quite good – can be quite a good actor.  I seldom give credits to movie soundtrack.  From the first song to the last, the music has wrapped the entire film in such darkness.  It gives a vintage and classic feel to “Drive”.  Two thumbs up.

This pretty much concludes how we celebrated 11.11.11.  I cannot recall what I was doing at 11.11 pm.  I could well be answering a work-related overseas call from US.  What about you?  What did you do on 11.11.11 11.11?

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – A Worthy Sequel

Thanks to Omy.sg, we have received a pair of tickets to watch the world premiere of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” at our favorite cinema in town – The Cathay.  I can’t remember when I watched the original film “Wall Street (1987)” on rental (I am really not that old) as my memory on the plot was fuzzy.  It would be a good idea to grab a copy and refresh your mind before September 23, when the sequel is opened in theaters.  You may get more kicks from this sequel.

Michael Douglas has won an Oscar for his role in “Wall Street (1987)”.  His return on this sequel as Gordon Gekko comes with great expectation.  I was fully engrossed by his performance throughout the movie.  That fire in his eyes, that emotion.  Some scenes moved me.  British actress Carey Mulligan plays the role of Gordon’s daughter, Winnie.  I love her performance in the award winning movie “An Education“.  And she is a worthy supporting actress for Michael Douglas in this movie – father and daughter in an estranged relationship.  In “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, Josh Brolin picks up the role as the villain – a hedge fund managing partner.  For some strange reason, I think he has played the role well because his character reminds me of some real life people whom I know and are of that caliber or social status.  In comparison, Shia LaBeouf’s performance as the trader, Jake, may not be as memorable.  But as a whole, the movie has a strong casting.

The beauty of this movie, to me, is the background of the story.  Set during the financial crisis in 2008, the story begins with the collapse of a financial institute that reminds me as part Bear Stearns and part Lehman Brothers, the government’s bail out process, and then the sub-prime crisis that leads to a wider collapse of the banking system.  As someone who is working in this industry and have friends and colleagues who were affected by the financial crisis, this movie captures the sentiment and the background well – the free fall of stock prices, the painful nationalization process.  It relived my memory.  When we now talk about sub-prime, it seems so far away.  But that was only two years ago.

I don’t think that “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” is positioned as a movie primarily to entertain – solid acting aside (although I must say that I was excited by the crisis in the movie while Cynthia didn’t quite feel the same).  And the financial aspect of the story may be challenging for some to follow.  The movie to me is reflective in nature.  For example, through the three main characters – Gordon, Winnie, and Jake – the movie has explored the different aspects of “money does not matter (then what does?)”.  We seem to have a different definition of what money is for.  And there is this concept of moral hazard when no one is responsible in managing money.  The movie also prompts us to reflect upon the economic bubbles that we have created time and time again dated all the way back to the days of tulips (?!).  The movie even attempts to predict what the next bubble would be (wouldn’t it be funny if that turns out to be true?).  The most memorable part of this 133 minutes long movie?  The very dialog that gives forth its title.  For those of you who are going to watch to show, please pay attention to the beginning and ending narration and drop me a comment here on what you think of it for I don’t fully get what the narrator is trying to say.  Thanks in advance!

An Education – A Beautifully Made British Production, Witty And Humorous

The main reason of I picking the film “An Education” was to relive the memory of the university that I studied in.  Of course, having an aggregated score as high as “Avatar” is a pleasant bonus.  A screenplay written by Nick Hornby is also a pleasant surprise.  It is a story based on the true memoir of a British journalist Lynn Barber who has studied English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford.

Set in the 1960s, 16 years old Jenny – played by the talented Carey Mulligan – has set her goal to study in Oxford, supported by her school and her family.  Along comes David, a charming and much older man, who is more than willing to show Jenny a different kind of education – one that is as real as life itself.  As Jenny confronts the contrast of the vividness of real life and the boredom of school and university – which I am certain all of us do at some points in our lives – and asks what the point of studying is and what the point of the education system is, Jenny is ready to throw her goal of Oxford away and to walk into the life of David.

Nick Hornby is known for his wit and humor.  I have always enjoy reading the dialogues of his novels.  Under his script, the character Jenny has come alive as someone who is intelligent, innocent, and yet have the bravery of facing the reality.  “An Education” is filled with music – a common trademark of Nick Nornby’s works.  The cinematography of the 1960s UK and Paris is beautiful.  I enjoy every bit of the film.