Anyone who saw the British television series "Shoulder to Shoulder" 40 years ago or who has studied British women's history, especially the chapter on the struggle for the vote, will not be surprised by the history detailed in Suffragette. Disturbed, yes, but not surprised. Infuriated, indeed, but not surprised.
Director Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" mines that story with unabashed, joyful indulgence. Because of that earnest emotional embrace, the solid acting of Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, and Charlotte Bruus Christensen's dazzling cinematography, the period piece successfully flaunts its 19th century elegance and melodramatic appeal.
The time: 1961; the setting: smoky, folky bar in New York City. The player: Llewyn Davis, a folk singer with a penchant toward being irresponsible, arrogant and needy. Think of the recent title character of "Francis Ha," and you have Llewyn Davis only 50 years ago and with a guitar.
What filmmakers have never understood is that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is not about the parties. Their hands get all sweaty at the idea of filming those grand, balloon-filled ballrooms. The Great Gatsby is a classic because it’s not just a backdrop brought forward, not just about showering shirts down from a magnificent closet.
In Drive Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn proves his skill at maximizing suspense and jump-starting adrenalin. Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a movie stunt driver and auto mechanic by day and a getaway driver by night. Despite its Danish pedigree, Drive is a very "Hollywood" film, in other words, terrific car chases and robberies punctuate gut-wrenching violence.