In Drive, the hypnotic new thriller from Bronson and Valhalla Rising director Nicolas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling remains preternaturally calm even as he stomps a mobster’s flunky to a bloody pulp. Rarely does his voice rise above a whisper, much less betray any emotion. He is the essence of cool, breaking a sweat only when his passions boil over in short, shocking outbursts. We all go a little mad sometimes.
The second Oakland Underground Film Festival kicks off tonight at the historic Grand Lake Theater with South by Southwest Film Festival favorite Thunder Soul, about the charismatic band leader who turned an inner-city Houston high school's jazz band into a powerful funk outfit, and American Grindhouse, a revealing documentary about cheerfully trashy exploitation cinema. Elsewhere:
Happy New Year! As you all know, there is no better way to treat a holiday hangover than with an afternoon matinee. (Actually, that's not true. I recommend water, sports drinks that contain electrolytes, saltine crackers and, if possible, a full-body massage. And don't forget a healthy breakfast. Eating, like reading my columns, is fundamental.)
So once you're back on your feet and ready to venture out into the brave new world of 2010, be sure to check out these fine movies, now playing at an indie theater near you.
1. You, the Living
Where: Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St., 415-668-3994
When: Jan. 3-4
A pair of anti-corporate celebrations of muckraking arrive at the Roxie this week, where The Yes Men Fix the World documents a series of elaborate pranks aimed at exposing hypocrisy and "unmasking global injustice," and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story takes its final bow before exiting theaters. Elsewhere: