I meant to write up my review for Drive last week when I had the film fresh on my mind, but I needed some time to mull it over and decide how I felt about it. You see, I’m a little fickle when it comes to car chase movies or movies in which automotive mastery is an integral part of the story. Films like The Fast and The Furious and its sequels don’t really do much for me, nor do films like Gone in 60 Seconds or Torque. They rely primarily on “high octane” action, which is not much more than fast, chaotic editing coupled with loud music to generate excitement. Drive, the latest film from Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Valhala Rising), eschews that and in turn ranks as my number two film for 2011 on Flickchart. Read the rest of this entry »
His career as a director spanned seven decades, starting in the Forties with a small job on an early religious program and ending in 2000 with the action-mystery Reindeer Games. With such meager and lifeless bookends, one might question the abilities of director John Frankenheimer, who passed away shortly after his final film at the age of 93. But as poet laureate for Generation Z Miley Cyrus so eloquently sings, “It’s the climb,” and Frankenheimer’s climb was one populated with a tense body of expertly crafted films that brought action and suspense to breathless new heights. His last great work paired him with a tight script and three brilliant actors for some of the most dizzying and fun car chases this side of The French Connection. But in this week’s Reel Rumbles, Ronin has some fierce competition out of Michael Mann, another talented director, with a film that many consider to be his finest hour. A loose remake of his previous made-for-TV effort L.A. Takedown (1989), Heat won the praise of critics and audiences alike, and built a bridge between an overlooked cadre of masterpieces and a prominent career for the director that continues today. Study the blueprints, sync your watches, and get ready for the big score. It’s time for Heat vs. Ronin.