The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7429
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:33 pm

Focus picked it up for 2013.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7429
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:11 pm

LS hates.

Toronto Film Festival: 'The Place Beyond the Pines' starring Ryan Gosling: Maybe it's not you, it's me

by Lisa Schwarzbaum
Tags: Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling, Toronto Film Festival
Comments 2Add comment

It’s rare these days to be able to walk into the screening of a new movie knowing little except the most basic information. Settling in for the premiere of The Place Beyond the Pines, all I knew was that the picture reunites director Derek Cianfrance and his Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling. I knew it also stars Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes (and I’m a big fan of all three). I knew the production was shot entirely in upstate New York, because a friend in the area told me she was tickled to catch a glimpse of Cooper during the shoot. Plot outline, genre, even running time? I sat happily ignorant as the theater lights went down.

Then came trouble. Five minutes in, my internal bullpoop detector began setting off a faint alarm. A very long two hours and twenty minutes later — after the fate and legacy of Gosling’s motorcycle stunt-rider-turned-bank-robber linked up fully with the fate and legacy of Cooper’s conflicted cop who ends the robbery spree — the clang of hooey! deafened me with its reverb. I’m just one opinionator; my colleague Dave Karger has already shuffled the performances into his deck of Oscar contenders, and critical praise is arriving from other quarters. But until you click in search of a happier review, I’m going to analyze a few elements of pretention in what looks and sounds to me for all the world exactly like a Sundance movie on Toronto steroids.

–First sign of trouble: tattoos. Art directors and a certain breed of cool younger actors love them, but, seriously guys, they don’t convey toughness; they convey lazy character development and/or actorly affectation. Playing a dead-end drifter named Luke, Gosling sports a dagger-and-tear design under his left eye, spidery writing on his neck, and stupid-ass designs up and down his arms and torso. He also favors bleached-platinum hair, a cigarette perpetually dangling from his lips as he mumbles in a pained-life monotone, a wardrobe of (expertly) distressed tee shirts worn inside out, and a repertory of long, wordless, opaquely placid stares that mask a capacity for psychopathic violence. For those who saw Gosling’s soulful-loner performance in Drive, this riff is a rerun. All decked out in art-directed grunge, Gosling’s Luke remains an arbitrary cypher.

–Second sign of trouble: Luke’s temporary residence is a trailer in the woods. This signifier of low social strata is particularly attractive to indie filmmakers who have never lived in trailers in the woods, and don’t understand that such set-decorated habitats and hideaways have little to do with what life is really like for young dead-enders in these United States.

–Third sign of trouble: Yet another night-shift diner waitress job with which the struggling single mother (Mendes) earns meager money to feed her year-old son. Is there no other job in the movie universe for attractive struggling single mothers? (Wasn’t that Kerry Mulligans gig in Drive?)

–Fourth sign of trouble: Lousy, only-in-the-movies police work. Let’s just say, spoiler free, that unlike Cooper’s cop, a police officer on duty in a squad car would never be traveling without a partner as he chases an obviously dangerous suspect.

–Fifth sign of trouble: Ray Liotta as a cop who’s both rotten and threatening. Really? In this day and age? Yet again?

I could go on, clucking at various directorial moves that draw attention to the direction rather than the material — the opening tracking shot, pretty and meaningless, is one place to start. But I’ll finish up with a ding of the uh-oh bell for the distractions offered by a portentous-sounding score, with its steady bass rumble of subliminal existential unease. At least I think that’s what the rumble is supposed to suggest. A pumped-up exercise in genre and a playground for big acting gestures rather than a a story told with conviction about characters worth caring about, The Place Beyond the Pines represents the kind of inauthentic indie-style American movie that has established itself as “cool” and manly-intimate today.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6528
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:08 pm

This IndieWire review is more representative of the word that was floating around last night. We'll see if the preponderance go this way or the trades/Wells way.

by Eric Kohn
September 8, 2012 2:30 PM
Toronto Review: Derek Cianfrance's 'The Place Beyond the Pines' Is Sad, Powerful and Strengthened By Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper


"The Place Beyond the Pines" Derek Cianfrance's sophomore feature "Blue Valentine" was a tender actors' showcase that played loose with its timeline to explore the ups and down of a relationship. The director's latest effort, "The Place Beyond the Pines," contains a far more ambitious structure that covers four overlapping character arcs over the course of 15 years. That the movie succeeds both as a high-stakes crime thriller as well as a far quieter and empathetic study of angry, solitary men proves that Cianfrance has a penchant for bold storytelling and an eye for performances to carry it through. With "Pines," the gamble pays off.

At first, the movie revolves around the travails of Luke (Ryan Gosling), a tattooed stunt bike rider living on the edge in Schenectady, New York. In an early scene, former lover Romina (Eva Mendes) surfaces to let Luke know he has an infant son. Given something to care about, Luke plunges into a dead-end gig before taking the suggestion of his only close friend Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) and robbing banks. While his acquaintance suggests restricting the robberies to avoid getting capture, some combination of hubris and adrenaline addiction drives Luke to keep at it until the police finally catch up to him. Around the one-hour mark, Cianfrance shifts this nimble heist move into action mode, as cops engage in a high-speed pursuit of Luke through numerous backroads until he's finally cornered and stopped in his tracks. Luke's sudden, violent end arrives like a breach in the movie's initially familiar trajectory; in the wake of his demise, the action shifts to the experiences of the cop who pulled the trigger.

That would be Avery (Bradley Cooper), an earnest police officer with a newborn child of his own. While hailed as a hero, Avery faces the fretful gaze of his wife (Rose Byrne) and inwardly copes with the impact he has had on the life of Luke's child. Drawing out his insecurities, Avery faces the machinations of a corrupt fellow officer (Ray Liotta, naturally), which complicates his capacity to justify his behavior. If he's not working for the good guys, then where should his sympathies lie? After a failed attempt to make amends with Luke's ex-lover, Avery sinks into his private troubles.

With dialogue that's less analytical than implicative, Cianfrance leaves much to the subtleties of the plot to his cast. It's no surprise that Gosling delivers a tough, moody role that's still riddled with pathos. Cooper, however, has never been better, conveying the depth of solitude his character experiences through heretofore untapped restraint.

Nevertheless, there are times when "The Place Beyond the Pines" threatens to become too mopey and self-serious for its own good. The final act finds the director upping the ante one final time with a connection that at first seems too pat: Fifteen years after the earlier events, the teen offspring of the two men from earlier in the movie meet at the local high school and form a peculiar bond. But once again, performances come into play: Emory Cohen is fine as AJ, Avery's thuggish son, but Dane DeHaan delivers a particularly nuanced snapshot of youth alienation as Jason, a young man who has grown up only vaguely aware of his father's misdeeds.

Coming to terms with the shadow cast by those crimes means reckoning with the past while trying to reconcile it with his own burgeoning moral compass. The themes are weighty, but Cianfrance's use of handheld camerawork and gradual pace result in a disquieting style that smartly underplays the drama even as tension slowly builds.

The crime and police genres used to give "Pines" its forward motion are rarely seen with such a remarkable degree of sensitivity. While the similar atmosphere in "Blue Valentine" fit the setting like a glove, the dissonance of events and feeling in "Pines" is exactly what makes it such a fascinating curiosity. The movie finds the gentler struggles beneath life's uglier moments. "If you ride like lightening, you'll crash like thunder," Luke's friend Robin tells him. That's the essence of "Pines."

Criticwire grade: A-

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6528
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:03 pm

Variety

The Place Beyond the Pines
By Peter Debruge

Two half-stories about fathers and sons on opposite sides of the law do not a full movie make in "The Place Beyond the Pines," the overlong and under-conceived reunion between "Blue Valentine" director Derek Cianfrance and lookalike star Ryan Gosling. Divided into three segments tacked one after the other, the film begins with a lean "Drive"-like portrayal of a motorcycle daredevil (Gosling) who takes to robbing banks after learning he has an infant son to support. Then the story takes a hard right turn, effectively starting over with another, less charismatic character. Once word gets out, audiences will evaporate.

Taking its name from the Iroquois meaning of Schenectady, N.Y., where the pic takes place, this gravely serious indie drama treats the city as the capital of compromise, where values turn rancid the instant idealists come into contact with the other deadbeats in town. A brooding ladykiller half-covered in amateur tattoos, "Handsome Luke" (Gosling) rides bikes for a living. Returning to Schenectady as part of a traveling stunt show, Luke runs into Romina (lonely but unyielding Eva Mendes), a former one-night stand, only to find that she's raising his kid. Luke quits on the spot and angles to insert himself into his infant son's life, though Ro resists.

She has good reason to be wary, it turns out, since Luke's idea of providing for the family entails knocking over local banks with no-good mechanic friend Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), a short-term scheme virtually guaranteed to end badly. Spoiler alert: It does. The cops catch up with Luke on his third attempt, shooting him dead on the spot.

There dies any hope Cianfrance had of sustaining audiences' interest, though the helmer tries to keep things going by following Avery Cross (played with considerably less magnetism by Bradley Cooper), the rookie cop whose questionable reaction sabotages what little chance Ro had of raising her son right.

From here on, "Pines" shifts gears, focusing on Cross' shell-shocked reaction to the incident. Rather than finding a creative way for behavior to illuminate the character's state of mind, Cianfrance and co-writers Ben Coccio and Darius Marder present a succession of on-the-nose scenes during which the conflicted Cross visits a police shrink, chats with his service buddies and eventually appeals to his big-shot dad (Harris Yulin) about pulling some strings.

Flash forward 15 years, and the same approach applies to Luke's and Aaron's sons, each of whom is coping with the consequences of his parents' selfish decisions. Whether it was the shooting or his subsequent decisions to follow his dad into politics that ran Aaron's marriage into the ground, he's now struggling to raise teenage AJ (Emory Cohen) on his own and horrified that the youth is getting chummy with Luke's surviving son (Dane DeHaan, a picture of barely contained rage), but nowhere near as upset as the latter is to learn what really happened to his father.

Where "Blue Valentine" succeeded by laying bare elemental human emotions, then scrambling them in a way that felt daring and fresh, "The Place Beyond the Pines" internalizes much of what the characters are feeling while telling their stories in rote, linear fashion. Presented as such, without subplots or any clear sense of forward momentum, the film feels relatively meager in its insights. And yet the solution seems painfully obvious: Remix the three chronological stories, and the fragments might serve to reveal one another, particularly as each follows its own mini-arc.

While that may have been the original intent of Cianfrance and his editors, Jim Helton and Ron Patane, no evidence of any such effort remains, resulting in the same sort of less-interesting treatment one might get by, say, rearranging "Memento" into chronological order.

Dischordant music cues and striking widescreen lensing, a mix of austere frames and woozy handheld, create an uneasy mood upon which the pic only partially capitalizes.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7429
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:48 pm

Jeffrey Wells seems to hate it. He's a mildly ridiculous human being, but he joins the nays.

Place Beyond The Bunk
by Jeffrey Wells

Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines is basically an upstate New York crime story about fathers and sons. It's also about cigarettes and bank hold-ups and motorcycles and travelling carnivals and nobody having enough money and anger and bullheadedness and the general malaise that comes from living in the pure hell and suffocation of Schenectady and those Siberian environs...I've been up there and it's awful so don't tell me.

It's also about men and their lame cock-of-the-walk issues in Cianfranceville, or the Land of the Constant Macho Strut and the Eternally Burning Cigarette, and if you can swallow or suck this in, fine...but I couldn't.

Guys like Movieline's Frank DiGiacomo and Variety's Jeff Sneider were having kittens over this movie last night on Twitter, and I was like "what?"

Boiled down, Pines is about the conflicted, problematic, sociopathic or otherwise questionable tendencies of two fathers (Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper) and how their sons (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen, respectively) are all but doomed to inherit and melodramatically carry on that legacy and that burden, so finally and irrevocably that their mothers (respectively played by Eva Mendes and Rose Byrne) might as well be living-room furniture, and the influence of schools, community values and/or stepfathers matter not.

If you can roll with this world-of-Cianfrance view -- i.e., wives and mothers are good for sex and breeding and cleaning and making meals and running errands and occasional guilt-tripping but when it comes to the issue of a son's character and destiny, it's all about dad -- you might be able to roll with The Place Beyond The Pines. But I wasn't able to. I respect Cianfrance's ambition in telling an epic, three-act, multi-generational tale that spans 15-plus years, but I don't respect or believe what he's selling.

Except for the bank-robbing and road-chase sequences I didn't believe a single moment in this film. I couldn't buy any of it. Okay, I bought some of it but only in fits and starts.

You can't have Gosling play a simple-dick man of few words who entertains audiences with his talent as a motorcycle rider and then turns to bank-robbing on the side -- that's way too close to his stunt-driving, getaway-car character in Drive.

Plus I hate movies about blue-collar knockabouts and greasy low-lifes and teenage louts who constantly smoke cigarettes. The more a character smokes cigarettes the dumber and more doomed and less engaging he or she is -- that's the rule. If you're writing or directing a film and you want the audience to believe that a character is an all-but-completely worthless scoundrel or sociopath whom they should not care shit about, have that character smoke cigarettes in every damn scene.

The principal theme of The Place Beyond The Pines is the following: "Dads Are Everything and Mothers Don't Matter, but Cigarettes Sure Run A Close Second!"

In short, I thought the movie was unreal, oppressive, dramatically forced bullshit, although it receives a shot in the arm from Dane DeHaan (In Treatment), who looks like a mixed reincarnation of Leonardo DiCaprio and Benicio del Toro as they were in the mid '90s, although he's a lot shorter (5'7").

I also felt that Mendes and Byrne are too hot to live in Schenectady. Beauty almost always migrates to the big cities where the power and the security lie, and in my experience the women who reside in blue-collar hell holes like Schenectady are far less attractive as a rule. There's a certain genetic look to the men and women of Upper New York State, and they aren't the kind of people who pose for magazine covers or star in reality shows.

Read this classic paragraph from Indiewire's Kevin Jagernauth: "With The Place Beyond The Pines Derek Cianfrance has now placed himself in the canon of great, contemporary American filmmakers like James Gray, Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen brothers. This is a film that desires to say something about how we relate to each other, and how the often overlooked consequences of our actions can refract down avenues we could never expect. [It's a] brilliant, towering picture [and] a cinematic accomplishment of extraordinary grace and insight." Amazing! Planet Neptune!
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6528
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

The Place Beyond the Pines reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:31 pm

Audience reactions were said to have been hugely enthusiastic, but the Hollywood trades are mixed.

Hollywood Reporter
The Place Beyond the Pines
12:28 PM PDT 9/8/2012 by David Rooney

The Bottom Line
A somber and striking drama that takes some wrong turns but features a charismatic performance from Ryan Gosling in the leanest and best of its three sections.

TORONTO – Its mesmerizing balance of steaminess and melancholy made Blue Valentine one of the most distinctively intense American indies of the past few years. While Derek Cianfrance’s third feature, The Place Beyond the Pines, is far more diffuse and can’t match its predecessor’s extraordinarily raw intimacy, this drama about morality, guilt and the long-range reverberations of the sins of the fathers packs moments of searing power. The film’s somber tone and choppy narrative will make it a challenging entry in the marketplace, but the name cast will help.

The drama unfolds in three movements set over 15 years, with a different male character at the center of each one. Its weakness is that while the events follow in plot terms, they don’t achieve the smoothest flow, making for a film that changes course too radically and strains for thematic cohesion.

Biggest problem in the screenplay by Cianfrance, Ben Coccio and Darius Marder is the central section focusing on Avery Cross. A rookie cop played by Bradley Cooper, he is presented as an honorable man and then conveniently puts his conscience on hold while his story arc follows what seems an inorganic direction. Far better is the gripping opening hour with Ryan Gosling as motorcycle stunt rider Luke, and the concluding section with his 17-year-old son (Dane DeHaan).

Introduced via a tight shot of his celebrated abs and a torso inked with tattoos that suggest a bruising past, Gosling’s Luke is a death-cage rider with a traveling carnival. During a stop in Schenectady, NY, he re-encounters Romina (Eva Mendes), a fling from a couple years earlier. A diner waitress going to college and living with a new partner (Mahershala Ali), Ro attempts to keep her distance despite lingering feelings for him, but Luke soon discovers that she is raising their infant son, Jason.

PHOTOS: Bradley Cooper: A Day in the Life

Compelled to get involved in the boy’s life, Luke quits his carnival job and sticks around, sparking up a friendship with seedy auto mechanic Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). As a means of raising the cash needed to get him in the fatherhood game, Robin suggests that Luke apply his motorcycle skills to bank robbery, which can only spell trouble.

While Gosling is essentially playing the two-wheel version of his Drive speed demon, the actor effectively conveys the pent-up hurt and lurking danger of a damaged man reaching clumsily for something good and pure. The deglamorized Mendes also does soulful work, while Mendelsohn follows his memorable Cannes exposure in the otherwise disappointing Killing Them Softly with another enjoyably offbeat character turn.

Visually, too, the opening act has tremendous texture, with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt using nervy handheld camera to visceral effect in pursuit scenes, and much of the more charged action played out in exciting extended takes.

At almost the one-hour mark Cianfrance abruptly removes his designated protagonist from the film, making the unfair swap of Avery, who intervenes in a robbery getaway attempt. It’s a bold move but one that doesn’t pay off, and despite Cooper’s charismatic presence, the character is inconsistently drawn. Initially conflicted about his actions, Avery’s choices become more distancing as he quits the corrupt police force and follows his well-connected father (Harris Yulin) into public office. This is another movie and a less interesting one.

The final stretch improves, with DeHaan (Lawless) making a strong impression as Jason. When he and Avery’s son AJ (Emory Cohen) meet at school, these two unsettled kids appear to feel an instinctive kinship, but as the connection between their fathers becomes clear, it dissolves into ugliness.

Rose Byrne is given little to do as Avery’s anxious wife, and Ray Liotta’s appearance as a menacing crooked cop is strictly routine. But Cianfrance generally shows again that he knows how to build immersive characterizations with his actors. And while this sorrowful triptych is uneven and perhaps overly ambitious, the director displays a cool mastery of atmospherics and tone, aided by Mike Patton’s haunting score.


Return to “2012”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest