Hello movie fans, and welcome to the ramblings of a madman. I'm your friendly neighborhood Tony, and lately I've been watching dozens of movies, inhaling as many celluloid experiences as I can. Although normally I typically write about horror and exploitation flicks, today I'm just talking about the movies that have recently caused me to flicker out of existence for a couple hours and come out on the other side as a different man than the one who started watching. These are the three most recent movies that made me forget about the peaks and valleys of my own life and plunged me completely into the realm of fiction. Here we go.
#3: Drive (2011)
Of all the films created by Nicolas Winding Refn, I think Drive is his magnum opus. I went into this experience expecting the typical action and suspense of the thrillers we've seen over the last few years, but what I got was a work of art in the fullest sense of the word. From a technical standpoint, the film is gorgeous. The visuals, the framing of each shot, the meticulous attention to detail; these all add up to a film that envelops your body and mind and draws you from the reality you know into a world just slightly beyond the bounds of everyday happenings. Drive tells the story of a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for the mob, and his quest to leave the underworld behind and be with his neighbour and lover. As the tagline will tell you, "There are no clean getaways," and this is especially true in this flick. As the Driver's world crumbled around him, I was enthralled by Ryan Gosling's near-silent performance and the cinematic workings surrounding it. Refn does an excellent job instilling simultaneous feelings of hope, shock, and melancholic near-disbelief with every frame, and I highly recommend this film to anyone who has a situation from which there seems to be no escape. You will find your temporary reprieve here, and you may even find some long-standing solace in its conclusion.
#2: Blue Ruin (2013)
I watched this movie out of desperation; I had found myself struggling to escape a rut in my journey of cinematic discovery, plagued by poor production value, boring plot lines, and the same bare bones ideas wearing slightly updated skin. That is, until I happened upon Blue Ruin, the well-crafted and persuasive tale of the price of vengeance. This movie is a great example of the average man taking on a task which was far beyond the scope of his capabilities, and the consequences of his mission. The way Dwight (played convincingly by Macon Blair) deals with personal loss and tragedy stirred up feelings from my past about righting wrongs and taking things into my own hands, and I absolutely felt for his character as things went from dangerous to impossibly deadly over the course of the tale. The panoramic shots in this movie are excellent, and the distinct lack of an overbearing soundtrack gave the flick a gritty and down-to-Earth feeling which was refreshing in the wake of modern movies which are completely outside the realm of believable events. Over the course of Dwight's decent into murder and violence, I found myself lost in his transformation from mild-mannered vagrant to enraged vigilante. This film packs an emotional punch, and is not to be missed for those who enjoy a good revenge yarn.
#1: (500) Days of Summer (2008)
This damn movie has been making me shed single manly tears since I first saw it. It has been about a year since I watched it last, and so I gave it another shot. I suppose my expectations were that I'd enjoy it slightly less upon repeated viewings, the but reality of the situation is that I was simply more engrossed in the love trouble of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom Hansen. The movie tackles the issue of budding romance and the difficulties that arise when the two subjects of said romance are in different phases of affection. Over time, Tom realizes that he is in a cycle of unrequited love and, through the non-linear timeline presented, we as observers experience a wide range of emotions along the way. The film is built on lighthearted, innocent attraction, and expands on those ideas until we are left with a mosaic of idealistic glee, profound despair, and the forever unanswered question of what would happen if we pursued that which we once had. (500) Days of Summer brings forth all the power and emotion of effective romance films before, but the difference between this and other rom-coms of the modern age is the infusion of familiar situations that actually have meaning in the lives of everyday humans. I can't help but love this movie and the realm of semi-awareness it whisks me away to.
Thanks for reading. What movies transport you away to far-off lands and make you forget about the world? Take care, friends.