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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, September 15, 2015 - 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Monday, September15, 2015 - 5A

FOX SEARCHLIGHT
Epic moments in photobombing history.
andolfini's last

"... fully functioning, alive, stimulating adult dudeship."
'Trip to Italy'explores
friendship, sex, Venice

role in 'The

Dennis Lehane's
script and Tom
Hardy impress
By CONRAD FOREMAN
Daily Arts Writer
While adaptation from book
to film has been a cornerstone
of the industry since its incep-
tion, rarely do
the releases B
of said book
and film coin- The Drop
cide. To drop
book and State Theater
film so close- and Quality16
ly together Fox Searchlight
could only be
accomplished
by a film
titled, well, "The Drop."
Many films have depicted
money laundering operations
from the perspective of crime
bosses. "The Drop" explores
the business from the estab-
lishment's point-of-view. Bob
(Tom Hardy, "Inception") and
Marv (James Gandolfini, "Get
Shorty") are cousins who run a
bar together in a rough neigh-
borhood of Brooklyn. Formerly
two of the top players i .the
local crime world, nearly t0
years before they were rubbed
out by bigger fish. Present day,
as Bob befriends a dog-loving
lady, Marv plans his revenge on

the world; a storm of threaten-
ing circumstances culminate
on Super Bowl Sunday, the big-
gest drop of the year.
Though somewhat under
the mainstream radar, "The
Drop" comes from well-prac-
ticed hands: both the novel
and screenplay were writ-
ten by Dennis Lehane, whose
works "Mystic River," "Gone
Baby Gone" and "Shutter
Island" have all been adapted
into successful films; in addi-
tion Lehane also wrote three
episodes of famed HBO series
"The Wire."
In stark contrast to the three
aforementioned adaptations,
directed by Clint Eastwood,
Ben Affleck and Martin Scors-
ese respectively, at the helm of
"The Drop" is Michael R. Ros-
kam, a Belgian director with
only one previous feature film
under his belt. Roskam's style
doesn't leap off the screen, but
his use of motifs, reflection and
a few moments of creative edit-
ing testify to his nascent talent.
The film marks an opportu-
nity for one last go-round with
James Gandolfini, who died in
June 2013. Though certainly
no stranger to the crime genre,
his character'sefatist, atti-
tude and desperate persona
in "The Drop" distinguishes
him from Tony Soprano, the
role for which Gandolfini can't
be forgotten. His last isn't his

Drop'
greatest or most memorable
performance, but he delivers
with raw "go-fuck-yourself-
ness" that perfectly character-
izes the middle-aged tough guy
who's had life step on him a few
too many times.
Despite an abundance of
pitbull puppy cuteness, "The
Drop" drops the ball just
before crossing the thresh-
old of exceptionality. A longer
runtime would create more
depth for the film's meddling-
police-officer-storyline, and
though clearly the filmmakers
wanted to hold back details in
order to illustrate Bob's myste-
rious nature, more meat to his
character's profile would help
engage the audience.
Of course, the most popular
reason one might-see this film
will probably be Tom Hardy,
the leading man. On the map
for hard-hitting roles like an
MMA fighter in "Warrior" and
as Bane in "The Dark Knight
Rises," Hardy's performance
is much subtler in "The Drop,"
though at times even more
ruthless. The stoic Hardy beau-
tifully captures fear and pain
in a person whose toughness
defines his persona. Hardy
uncovers the fine distinction
between cruel and cold, and
toes the line between them,
showing that nice men aren't
always-good men, and bad men
can be righteous.

Coogan and Brydon of humankind: one comprised
of improvisational marathons,
redefine the movie partly to distract from confessing
they truly know shit about gas-
bromance , tronomy. They, especially Bry-
don, seamlessly shift in and out
By ANDREW MCCLURE of Michael Caine/Robert de Niro
Daily Arts Writer impressions like Robin Williams
did - and it's fucking money.
When English film hyphen- - Like any good Western Europe
ate Michael Winterbottom vacation, the trip is not complete
decided to make a sequel to without sex. Not just penetra-
his 2011 suc- tive sex, but the evolving idea of
cess, "The A- sex as a 40+ year old adult male.
Trip," I don't "They just look right through
think he shot The Trip us," Coogan says of the count-
for original- less younger, prettier women
ity but rather to Italy they encounter. But seconds
to continue The Michigan after this depressing moment,
a compelling Theater the two are back to what they
discourse. IFC deem more important than sex:
Sure, like its emoting. As it turns out, conve-
predecessor, niently, their theatrical synergy
"The Trip to Italy" is funda- attracts gorgeous women along
mentally two blokes eating and the way. Even with the foreign
impersonating more-success- ladies, the film doesn't feel like a
ful people, but that's like say- trip at all. It feels like two goof-
ing Kanye just does words over balls unapologetically having
sounds. The film reminds us to more fun than you without seek-
be foolish, to be vulnerable, to be ing validation ... while in Venice.
loud and to be friends. Not unlike It would be dumb to call the
Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha," onscreen duo a performance.
"Italy" makes you want what the That would imply concrete plan-
onscreen friends so effortlessly ning, something they dismiss
share: fun. entirely. Nor is their bond a
Steve Coogan ("Philomena") "bromance" in the Judd Apatow
and Rob Brydon (TV's " Would sense. That would imply empty
I Lie to You?") play themselves dialogue and drugs to crutch
asked to compile restaurant for said empty dialogue. Coogan
reviews in the otherworldly and Brydon share something
beauty of Italy. Business as usual older, more refined, something
at the dinner table for the pair is for which all men should strive:
anything but usual for the rest a fully functioning, alive, stimu-

lating adult dudeship.
Maybe your dad has it,
friend's dad, boss - an intimate
dudeship teeming with opinion,
drama, laughter, melancholy.
There's something unusual and
unusually attractive about the
Coogan-Brydon vulnerability
that I think our generation of
guys have effectively lost. How
many guys can a guy call when
he has a miserable day? Right.
In brief, "Italy" is now official-
ly required viewing for dudes
whose friendships would fizzle
without booze, weed or coke.
Don't get me wrong, Ital-
ian terrain is even more jaw-
dropping when set to fucking
opera music, but any techni-
cal achievement (see: scenic
lensing, montage-like cuts to
the kitchen food preparation)
doesn't trump the mindshare of
the duo's talking. It compels you
to stay abreast on pop culture,
read history on Lord Byron,
try improv and look deranged
without caring what a stranger
thinks.
Men don't have enough
films about men proactively
occupying the boredom of life
with life itself. Coogan and
Brydon prevail across the board
from fun-o-meter to romance
by being confident weirdos
because weirdos have brass
balls for not blending in in
the first place. The film dares
you to explore your funny and
unfunny weirdness ... and have
more interesting friends.

FILM NOTEBOOK
Alexis Bledel:
Far from trope
MY 'Manic Pixie always plot-driving, but the
details of her life are dramati-
Dream Girl Who tally exposited with intent to
matter, in and of themselves,
isn't mine because she matters, in and of
herself.
ByNOAH COHEN When Jesse comes back for
DailyArts Writer Winnie in "Tuck Everlasting,"
he finds her in her grave, not as
Kimberly Alexis Bledel an immortal teenager. She lived
plays roles that make you and lived happily, unafraid
love her, roles that place her of dying off-screen, and cer-
in a certain romantic lime- tainly not pathetically waiting
light. From speed-talking, for Jesse. Bledel played, not
book-inhaling Rory Gilmore the treasure of a romance that
("Gilmore Girls") to brave, wouldn't ultimately make her
wide-eyed Winnie ("Tuck happy, but a woman who lived
Everlasting") to sketchbook- and died a woman's life, a life
toting sweetheart Lena that the immortal Jesse did not
("Sisterhood of the Travel- get a lead role in.
ing Pants"), Bledel occupies a When Rory dates Dean, Jess
happy medium among female and Logan "Gilmore Girls," we
romantic leads: she loves and experience those relationships
is loved but is taken by her from her eyes. Her schooling
own choice; she makes her own remains central among her pri-
choices. orities. Her journalism career
The boys who come for her remains central among her pri-
are of the ilk to overwhelm orities. And even if you didn't
- soulful, with untamed hair agree with her and her moth-
and sentiment. But Bledel isn't ers' choices in the end, there's
overwhelmed. She is whelmed. no doubt who the movie was
She is an even-handed, point- really about.
scoring player on the field of So when I say Alexis Bledel
love, not a catalyst for others' is my Manic Pixie Dream Girl,
life-affirming adventures, nor a please don't scoff at her for
salve for someone else's heart- being reduced to a trope or an
break. She is protagonist, hear object of affection, and please
her roar. And she remains so in don't scoff at me for referring
"The Kate Logan Affair" and to her with the sentimental
"Post Grad," and even in her possessive that's the vice of my
minor roles in "Sin City" and brood. She's a Manic Pixie with
"Mad Men." or without boys like me loving
To me, she justifies the her. She and other so-called
Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope Manic Pixie Dream Girls will
as something that isn't mini- go ahead and live their lives,
mizing or confining. Her Manic on and off-screen, regardless
Pixie is something of a hero. of their brooding, sentimental
The Bledel Manic Pixie isn't following.

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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