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No New "Black Films" In Theaters This Weekend; So What To See?

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 16, 2011 3:41 AM
6 Comments
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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:

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6 Comments

  • Curtis | September 17, 2011 4:30 AMReply

    I wrote briefly about the violence in the film and how great it is (um, the movie and the violence that is), in my Cannes writeup a few months back.
    http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/archives/where_were_the_black_actors_in_the_64th_cannes_film_festival_films/

    If it wasn't for Urbanworld in NYC and Creatively Speaking in Brooklyn this weekend, I'd go to see DRIVE again. As dope as Ryan Gosling is, I only have two words why you must see this: Albert Brooks

  • BondGirl | September 16, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    You had me at Drive...but lost me at Citizen Kane. Uggh. I tried to watch the whole thing, but couldn't get past 30min.

    Definitely looking fwd to seeing Blue Valentine. I've been a fan of his since the movie he did w/ Sandra Bullock.

  • Mec | September 16, 2011 8:32 AMReply

    @Jug

    You are excited to see i> Logan's Run ?? I personally, hate copy-cat films with singers-turned-actors in starring lead roles but to each his own.

  • Nicole Daris | September 16, 2011 8:02 AMReply

    "CornerStore" is held over for a sixth weekend in Detroit at the AMC Southfield. I've seen it twice and it's funny and moving.

  • Jug | September 16, 2011 5:40 AMReply

    I really like Ryan Gosling, not just his work but when he's in interviews, his views on acting and life in general are great. I personally gravitate to people who are normal outside of the work and not AHKTORRS all the time.

    The trailer for this looks great, makes me excited for it and LOGAN'S RUN. I have BLUE VALENTINE on the Netflix so will check that out too.

  • Vanessa Martinez | September 16, 2011 4:24 AMReply

    can't wait! Ryan Gosling is one of fave actors. I saw him last in "Blue Valentine." What a great movie that was.

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