Is it just me or do I see a similarity between Derek Cianfrance and Sam Mendes’ CVs? Both directors like sledgehammering the family as an institution, and I’m not saying that as an insult.
For sake of argument, let’s say that Cianfrance’s first movie, Brother Tied, isn’t his début. Has any of you even seen that? With this in mind, Blue Valentine is Cianfrance’s prettier version of American Beauty (the former, of course, has less braying), both movies being about families with slacker husbands (Ryan Gosling and Kevin Spacey), an ambitious but trapped wife (Michelle Williams and Annette Bening), and a daughter (Faith Wladyka and Thora Birch).
The Place Beyond the Pines, then, is Cianfrance’s Road to Perdition, both being literary (like) epics about criminal fathers (Ryan Gosling and Tom Hanks) and their ambivalent sons (Tyler Hoechlin and Dane DeHaan).
I shouldn’t share my crackpots fantasies but this is the Internet and I can do whatever I want. These similarities make me wonder what’s next for Cianfrance. I kind of want to see him tackle a war movie, an action movie, an Ian McEwan adaptation. Or theatre. We always like it when movie directors have their hand in theatre, right?
Anyway, read what else I’ve written on The Place Beyond the Pines here and there’s another link below.
- The Place Beyond the Pines Review (Paolo Kagaoan) (entertainmentmaven.com)
When I say that Dane DeHaan is cute, it doesn’t make sense since people who don’t go to film festivals might only know him from In Treatment (pardon the elitism). But I first saw him in Amigo, with his wide-blue eyes and blonde hair and as a young man, this time named Andrew, who still doesn’t know how to talk to girls. John Hughes would have made a star out of him, although it’s arguable whether Hughes has done that for anyone.
He stars in Josh Trank’s Chronicle, which I saw in two sittings. It’s better than The Craft by the way, as it gambles by depicting teenage boys who – higher stakes here – have magical powers. How to depict these phenomena? Well, they do so by making baseballs and Lego pieces and cameras float in the air. These seem like antics that any group of teenage boys would do if they had powers. And so I could have reacted like an old person watching juvenile activity or actually enjoy myself and be like one of the them. I reacted like the latter, having the same fun as if I was up in the clouds with my new friends. The movie definitely taps into that sense of relatable boyhood that I never had but wanted to have. Even the handheld cam and the CGI as conceits don’t hinder me from liking the second childhood that he and his two Seattle-area friends are genuinely experiencing. In a deeper sense we’re also watching adolescents, trying to figure out their bodies and abilities. Andrew’s even tells his friends how to make things float the same way we pretend to be armchair experts on any new physical activity we’re watching or doing. But of course, the metaphor of physical rediscovery is that the three get magical – no, telekinesis through some glowing rocks underground a stone’s throw away from a rave they all just went to. There’s also an effortless yet dangerous poetry to the camera movements, no matter how self-aware they are, as the depict the push and pull of Andrew’s sad and happy moments.
The second sitting was a month later, starting at the fifty minute mark when I turned off the movie. The scenes steer towards a direction more certain than the movie’s first half. We’re sure that Andrew’s going to be a more destructive character, not abiding by the rules that his friends have given him. The conflicts are as high as a rollercoaster and need the CGI to depict them, and thus the jump between the quiet moments and the louder fight scenes are widely distracting. The lightfootedness of the magical moments of the first half are replaced by something I’m not necessarily comfortable with. It makes me realize how much I’m watching too much TV. I expected a movie and its scenes to be as parceled as TV is, and some movies from the past two years are adapting to the same impressionistic approach. You can call this movie impressionistic but only within the few moments when it’s lulling before its valley-like arcs. It’s always wanted to be big and tried to to use the smaller moments to ease us into its ambitions, which it does achieve, although not without flaw.
Just saying that Lawless reminds me of “Xena the Warrior Princess” and Paul Gross although yes, the new title is tone-setting and concise. The Wettest County, the movie’s previous title sounds like something bucolic.
I first got wind of this new title change from The Playlist, who also posted a photo and general information about the movie’s casting, implying that Jessica Chastain will no longer share the screen with Take Shelter star, Michael Shannon. The movie is set in Franklin County, Virginia during the Great Depression and centres around three moonshining brothers played by Tom Hardy, Shia Labeouf and Jason Clarke, providing great man candy for viewers like us. Also starring in the movie are Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Dane DeHaan, the latter of whom you might know from Chronicle (still haven’t seen it, unfortunately) but I know from the period-indie foreign drama Amigo. I’m also hoping that Chastain’s role is enough to get her an Oscar nomination. Lawless’ release date is on August the 31st which means it will definitely not première at the Toronto International Film Festival, but any sign of a decent movie before fall is good enough for me.
I really need to start Entertainment Weekly more.