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Frankly My Dear...

    Frankly My Dear...

    Sunday’s options — “United 93,” Film Slam, “Perfect House” at Aloma Cinema Grill

    Posted: 11 Sep 2011 04:24 AM PDT

    The September 11 off-the-beaten-path movie offerings this year include a benefit showing of “United 93″ this afternoon at Cinematique Daytona. So many films about 9/11, so many worthy ones. This is still the best of the bunch. If you’ve never seen it, enough time has passed that you owe it to yourself.

    Film Slam is this afternoon at 1 at The Enzian. Florida-made short films, shown in competition.

    And this movie I cannot vouch for, “The Perfect House,” will show at 630 tonight at the Aloma Cinema Grill. It’s free, and since that’s just down the street from me, I may duck into that one.  the filmmakers will be doing a Q & A afterward. It’s making its debut online in October. Here’s the trailer.

    Cliff Robertson: An Appreciation

    Posted: 11 Sep 2011 03:51 AM PDT

    Cliff Robertson, who died Saturday a day after his 88th birthday, was an Oscar winner as a leading man (“Charly,” based on “Flowers for Algernon”), handsome, properly heroic when the need arose. He achieved his greatest success as John F. Kennedy, convincingly playing the young, WWII era JFK — at 39-40, in “P.T. 109.”

    Of course, he was entirely too old to be in a “Gidget” movie, doing that in his mid-30s. But he was still an amusing surfer, the original “Big Kahuna.

    He was terrific as the slow-to-wise-up candidate in the chilling political back-room dealing thriller “The Best Man.”

    A great favorite of mine is his father-son bonding/barnstorming dramedy “Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies,” made at the tail end of his leading man career in the early 70s.

    But like a lot of leading men — William Holden, his “Picnic” and “Devil’s Brigade” co-star, for instance — Robertson didn’t become truly interesting until he aged into character roles. He was a decent Cole Younger in the early ’70s James Gang picture “The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid,” showing a seriously dark side.

    He was a marvelous Watergate era CIA villain in “Three Days of the Condor.” He was so thoroughly oily as Hugh Hefner you could smell him on the screen in “Star 80.” The sentimental “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” was another highlight of these later years, but he was always on form — as a rich yachtsman/America’s up backer in “Wind,”

    His last memorable work was as a very sympathetic and noble Uncle Ben to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man.

    Robertson is remembered in Hollywood as the guy who complained about funny business with his checks, something that brought down David Begelman’s whole house of cards at United Artists. But as always, what endures are the performances. A long career, a lot of performances on film and TV  (a memorable “Twilight Zone” among them), he made interesting choices, did good work and had the sort of career most actors would envy.

    Today’s screening: Dolphin Tale

    Posted: 10 Sep 2011 07:18 AM PDT

    They filmed this kid-friendly movie in Clearwater and Honeymoon Island last fall. It’s a fictionalized version of how Winter the dolphin, star attraction at Clearwater’s aquarium, came to have an artificial tale. Morgan Freeman plays the guy who designed it. Harry Connick Jr. is the father of one of the kids who finds it (The actual story didn’t have kids, but fishermen, find Winter).

    And since this Sept. 23  release is kid-friendly, I’m rounding up kids to take to it. Charles Martin Smith directed, and I hope it’s good.

    EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Gosling on cars, Kissimmee and ‘Drive’

    Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:38 AM PDT

    Ryan Gosling wants to assure you, that if you have it in mind to talk cars and car movies in light of his electric turn as a stuntman-mechanic-getaway car driver in "Drive," "you're going to find me not much of a sparring partner."

    He's never been into cars, he says. "More into motorcycles."

    He drives "a hybrid," he says, "though I did keep the '73 Malibu I helped build and drove in the movie."

    He learned to drive "In Kissimmee, Florida," when he was in the "Mickey Mouse Club" that filmed in Central Florida. He was all of twelve years old.

    "Golf carts, is what I drove," he jokes. "All over Disney World."

    As he closes in on his 31st birthday, Gosling is still adding facets to his screen persona. At home in thrillers ("All Good Things," "Fracture"), romantic dramas ("The Notebook," "Blue Valentine"), quirky romances ("Lars and the Real Girl") and, as of last summer – romantic comedies ("Crazy, Stupid Love").

    "Drive," in theaters Friday (Sept. 16), is "his first action film," notes Hollywood blogger Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood-elsewhere. And about his "hard-guy, Steve McQueen character," Wells uses one word – "Wham!"

    "This is the most fun I've ever had preparing for a role, "Gosling says. "Darrin Prescott, the stunt coordinator, and I would go to this church parking lot. And there would be a new Camaro or Mustang sitting there. We would just ride it to the rims, until it was smoking and wouldn't go anymore. All the rubber's on the road. And then we'd walk away and somebody would tow it and fix it and call us back when it was ready. That's the way to learn that. It was a dream."

    Which is also, he says, a fair way to describe the movie, "a kind of an existential experience. You get in a car, crank it up and go. And when you get out, you don't remember the trip. You put your identity in the passenger seat beside you. You're not being watched, so you don't have to perform. But you still do."

    In "Drive," Gosling plays a young Angelino "in that fantasyland we call Los Angeles," a mechanic who moonlights as a part time stunt driver for the movies, but a guy also lured into the mythology of "the wheelman," the guy who puts on driving gloves and helps robbers escape the cops. Carey Mulligan plays a neighbor The Driver develops a crush on. And when her ex-con husband needs rescuing, The Driver is the guy for the job. Director Nicolas Winding Refn has compared the film to "a John Hughes" sort of youth romance. "A John Hughes movie with crushing skulls, guns and cars," Gosling adds.

    Gosling repeats his oft-told story of being so overwhelmed by "First Blood" as a child that he brought steak knives to the Canadian school he attended, "throwing them at the other kids during recess because I thought I was Rambo" to illustrate his connection to The Driver in "Drive."

    "Movies would cast a kind of spell on me. They affected me that much. So when I read the script for 'Drive,' I recognized the behavior. This guy was acting like a psychopath, promising revenge for this woman who lives on his floor because he held hands with her. That, to me, is a guy who's seen too many movies. He's confused his life for a movie. And has made himself the hero of this action film that has become his life. That's not something you can prepare for. It's more of a feeling you're trying to connect to and evoke."

    With his hair dyed blond for the film and his character's laconic way with a toothpick and lack of dialogue, Gosling was showing his character fell in love with the classic car chase movie "Bullitt," and with Steve McQueen as a screen icon.

    "You don't have to talk as much as they do in the movies," Gosling says. "People can look at you and see how you're feeling. It didn't feel right for The Driver to talk, anyway. We went through a process of eliminating lines.  In spite of the fact that it was a great script, a lot of the dialogue, it turns out, was unnecessary. You could see it. You didn't have to hear me say it."

    But unlike McQueen, he didn't get the car bug from his time behind the wheel in the film. No passion for racing, not even any speeding tickets that he'll mention.

    "I know what I can and can't get away with. And when I can get away with it. But man, it's dangerous knowledge to have because there's nowhere you really can cut loose in a car."