By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 16, 2011 at 3:41AM
No "black films" opening this weekend, but film festivals abound... notably the Urbanworld Film Festival which opened yesterday and runs through Sunday; although screenings take place just today and tomorrow. Sunday is reserved for awards.
So if you live in the NYC area, be sure to check out a film or two, or three; I've seen most of them already, but there are a couple that I haven't, and plan to check out and review.
I suppose you could also catch up any films already in release that you haven't seen yet, and that we've discussed ad naseam like Colombiana and The Help, which are both still in theaters.
But if I may make a non-"black film" suggestion... if none of the above mentions suits you, and you must see one new film opening this weekend, see Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive, which stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, and others.
I attended a screening of it at least 2 weeks ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Call it an art-house crime/thriller if you must classify it, given that there's this natural audience inclination to "box-up" films. But I couldn't readily do so with this one, which was a good thing actually. It kept me engaged; had this otherworldly quality about it. I think one critic called it an "existential heist movie," which is kind of reductive, but I understand what he/she meant by that.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD: Given what I knew of the film leading up to the screening, I wasn't at all expecting the graphically violent scenes, though they were only a few; Not that I had a problem with them at all. I Just had no idea that the film had these sudden unexpected bursts of violence, especially after a good hour or so establishing relationships, and setting things up for the final intense 40 minutes. But you can't help but remember heads being crushed, or chunks of bodies being blown off with shotguns. When the violence happens, it's quick and intense, while much of the rest of the film plays like a dream; kind of ethereal; and that's partly due to its soundtrack, which I loved and now own, featuring the work of Cliff Martinez, who scored a number of Steven Soderbergh's movies.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I'd see it again. I watched an interview in which Refn (or maybe it was Gosling) said that the pitch for the film in selling it to financiers was (paraphrasing): what if you added violence to a John Hughes film. I laughed at that analogy, but, having seen the film, I can see what he meant.
So, see Drive if it's playing in your neck of the woods. Or if nothing here, and none of the other movies opening this weekend appeal to you, stay home and watch Citizen Kane on blu-ray, which was finally released this week.
Watch a trailer for Drive below: