Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Road Warrior

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Road Warrior

Article excerpt

'Drive' ***1/2

Ryan Gosling stars as a loner and L.A. transplant known simply as Driver who splits his time between working as a movie stuntman and a getaway driver for criminals. He doesn't carry a gun or participate in the heists. He just drives.

Ultimately, director Nicolas Winding Refn's adaptation of James Sallis' 2005 neo-noir novel is about deception, double-crosses and how no good deed goes unpunished. Already on the wrong side of the law by sitting behind the wheel, the getaway driver will be pushed over the edge like a race car slammed into the wall.

Mr. Gosling, with the face of an overgrown choir boy and a voice lacking natural malice, explodes as if flooring the pedal as he slaps a woman for withholding information and kicks and stomps a man until you hear bones crack.

In almost every case, the director goes for the unusual -- casting Carey Mulligan as the wife of a convict and mother of a young son, Bryan Cranston as a mechanic, and Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks as criminals, one hot-tempered and one cool-headed but both ruthless.

Although the violence grows brutal and bloody, the pleasure comes in the look at unpredictable life on the far fringe of Hollywood, the choice of music such as "Under Your Spell" by Desire and "Oh My Love" by Riz Ortolani featuring Katyna Ranieri, and the unlikely casting.

In a way, this is the kind of mysterious and minimalist film that speaks for itself, and doesn't require a whole lot of analysis or hype. There are, however, several featurettes that include all but the film's two biggest stars, Mr. Gosling and Mr. Brooks. One focuses on the stunt driving, another on translating the brief book to the screen. There is also a commentary with Mr. Refn.

-- Post-Gazette

'THE THING' **1/2

In Dr. Seuss parlance, this is Thing Three, arriving six decades after Thing One and nearly three decades after Thing Two.

It's a prequel to John Carpenter's "The Thing," itself a 1982 remake of the landmark 1951 movie "The Thing From Another World. …

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