Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Director Nicholas Winding Refn isn't new to making hit movies. And he was the guy who directed Bronson and gave a big break to Tom Hardy [the actor for Bane, in the forthcoming Batman: The Dark Knight Rises movie]. Refn's latest film slated as his Hollywood debut is called Drive, which almost appears to be like the first action movie in a series like the rather shallow Transporter Trilogy... except Refn's movie actually seems to have a sound plot to carry it's driving premise.

The Drive movie is slated for release later this year on September 16, 2011. It was featured in the Cannes and LA Film Festivals, where it received positive acclaim, praise and rave reviews.
It stars Ryan Gosling [the main character, who is "the driver" and he is shown in the profile pic on the left], Ron Perlman, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Christina Hendricks.

Check out the Trailer and Synopsis below:


The Driver (RYAN GOSLING) is a stunt driver by day and a getaway driver by night. Doesn’t matter what job he does, Driver is most comfortable behind the wheel of a car. Shannon (BRYAN CRANSTON) is part mentor, part manager for Driver. Since he knows what a great talent Driver is behind the wheel, he either peddles him to film and television directors in the entertainment business or thieves who need an accomplished getaway driver, taking a cut for his own pockets. Always looking to make a buck, Shannon’s current plan is funding a stock car that Driver can race on the professional circuit. Since Bernie Rose (ALBERT BROOKS) is the wealthiest guy he knows, even if the sources of his money are questionable, Shannon proposes he be their investor. After seeing Driver in action at the speedway, Bernie Rose insists Nino (RON PERLMAN) partners with them as well. Primarily a loner and ambivalent about the deals Shannon makes for him, Driver’s world changes the day he shares an elevator ride at his apartment building with Irene (CAREY MULLIGAN). When he sees her again at the grocery store with her young son, Benicio (KADEN LEOS), he is transfixed, and willingly offers help when they are stranded in the parking lot because Irene’s car won’t start. Soon Driver settles into a routine of driving Irene to her waitress job and watching Benicio, entangled in their lives while her car is fixed. This interlude in Driver’s life abruptly stops when Standard (OSCAR ISAAC), Irene’s husband, is let out early from prison for good behavior. Even though nothing has happened between Driver and Irene, Standard is threatened by another man’s presence in his family’s life. Driver backs off, respectful of Irene’s desire to keep her family together, but when he finds Standard bloodied and lying in the garage with a scared Benicio standing next to his father, Driver is embroiled even further in Irene’s life. Then trouble begins…

- Drive movie hits theaters on Sept. 16, 2011

You can already tell that the story has some depth to it that pulls you in, making you want to hear more. Plus remember that it is destined to have a host of high-speed chase scenes, which will appeal to adrenaline junkies. Recently, Director Refn was in attendance at the Empire Big Screen gathering for a screening of his upcoming film Drive. While there, he talked at great length about Drive and his future projects, including Logan's Run and hopefully a new Wonder Woman Movie.

I've got the details on the cancelled NBC sponsored TVshow pilot  tied to that same Amazon warrior princess [from the first quarter of 2011], archived over HERE.

Despite that failed Primetime TV show helmed by David E. Kelley, according to Refn, he personally hopes to be given the chance to make a big screen adaptation of Wonder Woman... and guess who he has already highlighted as the actress who will play the role of the sultry amazonian vixen?
--> Ms. Christina "Cheesecake" Hendricks, one of the stars in his forthcoming Drive movie.

Brief Biography of Christina Hendricks:

Hendricks was born in 1975 in Knoxville, Tennessee but grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, until she departed to attend high school. She attended high school in Fairfax, Virgina, where she appeared in several local community theater groups and high school plays. She got her start with acting working on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat working for the product company, Junior Musical Playhouse.

Christina has become a celebrity starring in a lengthy list of TV shows, having major roles as well as guest appearances. Her breakthrough role was as a regular on the series Beggars and Choosers. She also did a single episode of the brief sci fi western series Firefly.

Christina Hendricks married actor Geoffrey Arend in 2009 and she's actually 3 years older than him. but I'm sure he doesn't mind at all...

Her best known actress role is that of Joan Holloway on the award winning AMC TV series Mad Men. Set in the 1960s when women were adored for their busty curves, this show focuses on the booze-filled world of advertising in New York after World War II. In the show, she is the office manager of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Company. And she acts as a mentor to the younger women that work in the same office.

And according to Christina, in her youth she was originally a blonde, not a red head.

There is really no reason to debate on what sort of costume Christina would wear along with a black wig for the super-heroine role, although I'm certain she'd have to work-out quite a bit in order to be physically fit to perform the stunts. So will this Wonder Woman movie actually happen some time in the future?? We will have to wait and see...

BTW, I previously called her Christina "Cheesecake" Hendricks for a reason. Those familiar with this blog will know what that sultry pun is all about.

Christina at a red carpet event on the top left, & all of the classic costume / original Wonder Woman posters are by pro-artist Adam Hughes [aka Mr. AH!].


All right, now that I've seen the Drive movie, I had some detailed comments on it. It was Rated R, as it definitely had a lot of violence & gore.

As stated before, this was film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and it is adapted from James Sallis's 2005 novel of the same name. Ryan Gosling actually chose Nicolas as the director back in 2010, since Ryan was a fan of his work.

Overall, it was more of an action-thriller than an action-movie. Ryan Gosling did a good job. And despite his obscure origins as an "aspiring" Hollywood driver/stuntman, he appeared to have a real dark-side beneath his outwardly calm persona, which made him come across as almost permanently laconic. I called him an aspiring driver because in the movie, he hasn't hit the big leagues yet, although his boss has plans to turn him into an NASCAR / Indy racecar driver, per his impressive driving skills.

Based in an urban area of LA, the movie starts off with a robbery and Ryan is the getaway driver, using a Silver Chevy. With his watch strapped to the steering while, he uses a police radio to help him navigate through the city at night, while trying to escape a helicopter and police cars that are hunting him and two thieves - who are in the back seat of his vehicle. Later out of desperation he has to dump the car at a place like the Staples Arena, where a basketball game is taking place. He hastily parks his car just as the game is over and there is a huge outflow of people in the parking deck. And he leaves the two thieves in the rear of the vehicle and grabs his jacket and a baseball hat, before walking out of the parking deck, right past the policemen that have come to arrest the driver and passengers of the Silver Chevy.
Ryan [who remains unnamed throughout the whole film] acted as if he didn't really give a damn about anything going on around him; and for the first half of the movie he had a toothpick stuffed in his mouth. And he practically spoke in a monotonous manner throughout the whole movie. Yet whenever anyone crossed him, he kicked their ass like a possessed man who had an immense amount of blood-lust and piled-up anger in his soul.

As the story unfolds, he gets involved with a woman named Irene that lives on the same floor in his apartment building. She is played by Carey Mulligan, and she is a waitress/single mother, who has a young 8-year-old son - she gradually flirts with Ryan, while her husband is in jail for assault and robbery. Later the woman's husband named Standard comes back and he displays a slightly jealous vibe towards Ryan, the smooth stuntman driver. But as a driver with an innate strength and a cool outer shell, Ryan shows absolutely no intimidation, and he keeps relating to the woman, Irene. Later Ryan even helps out her husband (played by Oscar Isaac) as a getaway driver, on a daytime heist against a pawn shop. Standard owes people money from his stint in jail, so now he has to do a job for some local thugs - and Ryan actually offers to help him as the driver of a Mustang for the heist.

But that heist goes wrong [Standard is shot about four times in his back by the store owner] and a high-speed chase ensues from that point, although a black bag containing a ton of cash had already been stuffed into the Mustang that Ryan was set to navigate. Christina Hendricks has a small role in this movie and she is an accomplice on this particular heist - she's the one who carries the bag containing the money, transferring it from the robbed pawn shop to the Mustang. The image on the right shows a scene from the movie, as she heads out of the Pawn Shop with the black bag of cash and goes to the awaiting mustang controlled by Ryan, the Driver. Standard comes out of the shop a few moments later and gets shot. Christina doesn't have her seat-belt on during the phenomenal chase that ensues after the shooting, so she keeps screaming from the back seat as the Ryan shows off his incredible driving skills, which cause the fully tinted Chrysler 300 chasing them to get into a wreck.

Later Christina gets blasted in the head with a shotgun, during one of the conflicts in a motel after the chase scene had ended. That actually pissed me off, because she got less than 30 minutes of screen time, although she did an excellent job. Sorry guys, there are absolutely no "Christina boob shots" in this one, even though Ryan literally has her on her back at one point... after he bitch slapped her for lying to him about her involvement with the money owners.

[The bloody mirror in the bathroom is from the window kill-shot that took out Christina... and Ryan avenges her death swiftly]

Turns out that Irene's husband, Standard, had been used as an "ignorant guinea pig" to steal 1$ million dollars from the pawn shop, and the money belongs to the East Coast Mob. Thus Ryan is forced to put his plans to become an Indy racecar driver on hold, as he strives to find out who the funds really belongs to, so that he can return the money. But hitmen are sent against Ryan and his boss - an ambitious employer at a local garage. And this boss gets killed before he can flee.

Later Ryan begins to hunt the two men behind the setup that almost got him killed in the foiled heist. After some personal surveillance/stalking, he kills one of the two devious men [played by Ron Perlman] at night, by the seashore - after sideswiping the guy's limo and causing it to flip off the roadway. And eventually, Ryan meets with the remaining vile man [played by Albert Brooks], who is behind the lethal hits that were placed on him; and this is the same guy who killed his employer and threatened to kill the single mother.

They have a confrontation at a restaurant and head out to a parking lot for the transfer of the money. After Ryan pops the trunk and pulls out the black bag containing the 1 million dollars in cash, Albert rapidly stabs him in the gut... and Ryan angrily stabs him in the neck and kills him. After that point, the movie soon ends.... leaving the audience feeling rather dissatisfied.

In fact, at the end, Ryan [the man with a scorpion logo etched on the back of his jacket] leaves the bag with the $1 million beside the dead body of Albert in the parking lot behind the restaurant, abandoning the corpse in broad daylight. And the bleeding stuntman drives off into the unknown, heading out of the city in search of a new life.

Someone in my theater shouted, "So he's not going to take the money? Aww Hell No!!"

Ryan doesn't give the money to the single mother, so that she can bury her husband and care for her young son. He doesn't use the funds to get medical treatment for his gaping stomach wound. He doesn't use it to fly to an island and start a new life. Instead, he just drives away.... leaving 1 million dollars in cash behind him.

Come on.... WTF??????

In retrospect, there were some funny moments in the movie... but there were far too many dramatic pauses. The soundtrack appeared to be based on the pop music of the 1980s and there seemed to be far too many public scenes in which no one witnessed the ongoing violence in broad daylight. At one point, a man is seen walking about with a bloody jacket in the middle of the afternoon [the Driver] and he heads to a parked trailer on the set of an action movie to procure a prosthetic mask, and no one stops him or asks him what he's doing or where he is going. And when the last villain is killed, there is no one coming to steal the opened bag containing 1 million dollars in cash - in fact, this parking lot behind the restaurant is half-empty, void of heavy human traffic even at a peak business hour; therefore no one witnessed the two men trying to stab each other to death over the bag of loot.

I give this movie a B.... for Blehhh... which is how you'll feel when you watch its anticlimactic ending. The director and writers seem to have tried too hard to give the hardcore hero a conscience.... which is a complete contradiction to the sadistic spark within him - the spark that caused Ryan to endlessly stomp a fallen hitman in his face till his head literally exploded, in an elevator battle scene.


More on the dynamic DSNG Sci Fi Series: HERE

And more sexy pics of Christina Hendricks are posted in this other article HERE