Apr 102012

Drive posterDrive, which I saw way too late, stole the best movie of 2011 mantle from Super 8.

Drive had gone from strength to strength, from a rave review to award after award.

And it was worth the accolades.

Drive is a very good film, and heavily recommended.

Ryan Gosling’s take on the nameless protagonist is as cool as a film character has the right to be. A silent outsider who gets in too deep on account of common courtesy (and slightly deficient self-control). A recipe that never failed in westerns, and certainly works well in Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie as well.

The hero of the film is a doubly professional driver – a stuntdriver by day, a getaway driver by night. Suddenly the twin lives collide, and push a detached take on life out of the window.

Escalating crime leads to ultraviolence, and that, as we all know, leads to an endless spiral of vengeance and bloodshed.

The violence is indeed ugly – Drive doesn’t skimp on details, but neither is it an example of torture porn. In this film violence is sudden, harmful and with permanent consequences.

This is a very worthy update of William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. The city itself is ubiquitous, though seen in uncommon angles in addition to the expected concrete and glass. And the music, the music feels like a tribute to the eighties: dark, moody synthesizer steps in heavy on the soundtrack.

Acting is top-notch across the board. Ryan Gosling is indeed Shane-cool in his role, distributing violence without emotion when necessary. Carey Mulligan is fragile and vulnerable, whereas Ron Perlman’s mafioso oozes menace from his very first appearance on screen.

Why not the five stars?

On account of three reasons.

First, for a film named “Drive”, there isn’t that much driving – but the few scenes are beautiful indeed. I was expecting city-spanning chases in Bullitt-style and other more or less realistic car acrobatics.

Second, Drive failed to engage me fully. Even as a neo-noir movie, I somehow failed to care enough towards the end.

Third, the amount of coincidence in the plot is on the lavish side.

Small potatoes. Small enough to be possibly eradicated on a second round. But meaningful enough to nibble away half a star from the film.

Apr 062012

Fingerporilainen, the second step in my continuing campaign for world domination, is now available in Ovi Store for Harmattan devices (which is to say that it works on N9 and N950).

It is a very simple application that provides easy access to the six-strips-a-week content published by Helsingin Sanomat.


And yeah, before you ask, I’ve written similar apps for Viivi & Wagner and Wulff-Morgenthaler as well.

Apr 032012

Didn’t watch that much television last year.

And good new shows were few and far between.

  • Game of Thrones was by far the biggest event on the small screen. HBO quality, with great actors (Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage as top men). The story has barely started, and the reception across the world has been positive, a second season was purchased around the time the pilot was broadcast.
  • Was very late to the new doctor party of Doctor Who. Though Matt Smith initially seemed to be a huge letdown after David Tennant, he grew on me. The season finished with an appropriately scaled finale, and left high expectations for the sixth.
  • True Blood‘s third season was more or less OK, though the sleepy town of Bon Temps is a bit too much of an occult hotspot for watchers with too strained suspenders of disbelief.
  • Abandoned fifth season of House, MD in mid-flight (mainly on account of a recording mishap). Picked the dvd up on the cheap, but haven’t yet gone back to Princeton.
  • Pasila upped the ante after a weaker preceding season. Plots were longer, not just collections of very loosely connected scenes.
  • The remake of Hawaii 5-0 had the dubious honour of being dropped by the channel after half a dozen episodes. Didn’t miss it.
  • Event was a bad combination of 24 and X-Files marred by an overly busy plot and terrible acting.
  • Detroit 187, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise, a slow-paced police procedural with interesting plots (and starring Michael Imperioli).
  • The second season of Burn Notice was pleasantly surprise-packed. Tight plotting, with a season-long arc (that’ll have repercussions beyond).
  • Castle‘s second season was broadcast without much of a warning, and ended up missing a good chunk of the series. Watched it off p2ptv and continued to be impressed. Nathan Fillion and the crew play their parts well, the plots do not bore often and all in all it continues to retain the crown of the best mainstream show.