“25th Hour” Still Shines, “Drive’s” Gosling Switches Gears



By KATIE LOCKHART, Arts & Culture Co-Editor

“25th Hour”
Spike Lee’s post-9/11 film is a love letter to New York when the city needs it most. In the wake of the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, the film has seen restored interest with the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s decision to screen it on the anniversary of the attacks.

The film focuses on Montgomery Brogan’s (Edward Norton) final day before he goes to jail for seven years after being busted for a kilo of heroin. He spends his final hours saying goodbye to his father, his dog and partying in a DUMBO warehouse with childhood friends Jacob Elinsky (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a teacher at their alma mater, Frank Slaughtery (Barry Pepper), a broker on Wall Street, and Brogan’s girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson).

This film is haunting, depressing, breathtaking and funny all in one. Norton gives a stunning performance, as usual, and Hoffman and Pepper add much needed humor to an otherwise dark story.

Although this film is not directly about Sept. 11, the tragedy and the mood of the city can be seen throughout. The most powerful and controversial scene that exemplifies this sentiment is when Brogan looks into a mirror with “fuck you” written at the bottom, which spurs a monologue of fuck you’s directed toward the people of New York from “the Sikhs and the Pakistanis bombing down the avenues in decrepit cabs” to “the Chelsea boys with their waxed chests and pumped up biceps.”

This film hasn’t received as much notoriety or awards as some of Lee’s other productions, but it certainly should have. It’s a heartbreaking story with an unbelievable director and cast that gives New York and Sept. 11 a proper tribute. The film is available on DVD now.

“Shut Up, Little Man!  An Audio Misadventure”
This docudrama/comedy written and directed by Matthew Bate is a sad and extremely boring look into the life of two grumpy old men named Raymond and Peter. Why should you care about these two men or this movie? You shouldn’t.

There is a little more to it than two depressing old men screaming, “Shut the fuck up little man.” It opens with the story of Mitch and Eddie, two college graduates who rent a grimy apartment in San Francisco next to Raymond and Peter, their loud neighbors. The fights that erupt during all hours of the night start to keep Eddie up so they decide to record them without Raymond and Peter’s consent and soon become obsessed with this hobby.

They create hundreds of tapes and pass them around to friends who in turn pass them around to other friends and Ray and Pete soon become a sensation. There are comic books, CD’s, T-shirts, plays and a movie made about their sad arguments. Possibly the only interesting fact about these two men is that they were a large part of the spread of cultural media before the invention of mass media like YouTube were created.

Besides the small cultural effect and the question of personal privacy, the premise of the movie is that these two men’s fights are funny, but they actually aren’t. Their fights often become violent, they threaten to kill each other and the disturbing insults are endless. These two men should be on “Intervention” instead. It would probably be more interesting. “Shut Up, Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” opens at the IFC Center Sept. 16.

By CLINT HOLLOWAY, Contributing Writer

With the dismaying amount of sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots being unleashed into theaters, it’s refreshing when a movie takes what you have seen before and executes it with genuine panache. While it may appear to be your run-of-the-mill action film, “Drive” takes many overused cinematic clichés—fast cars, devious mobsters, a deal gone wrong—and uses them in a daring and original way.

Ryan Gosling plays the film’s unnamed protagonist, a car mechanic/stunt man who secretly moonlights as a getaway driver for heists and robberies. He lives an isolated existence until meeting Irene, his disarmingly sweet neighbor. When Irene’s husband is released from prison, he is forced into doing a crime job to clear his name and guarantee his family’s safety. Gosling agrees to help him with the ordeal for Irene and her son’s sake. Needless to say, it all goes horribly wrong, leaving Gosling with a suitcase full of money and gangsters on his tail.

Viewers going in to “Drive” expecting a routine action film or thriller will be sorely disappointed. The director, acclaimed Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn, makes the film as sumptuous and atmospheric as it is shockingly violent, in a way that a Hollywood hack never could. The film’s retro neon pink opening credits and moody electronic score further distance it from contemporary films, putting it more in line with flicks of the 1980s. It makes for a satisfyingly strange and exhilaratingly visceral ride.