September 22, 2015
        "Room" wins the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival                “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette        

Ryan Gosling is hot in “Drive” It’s almost the end of the Cannes Film Festival, and the best has been saved for last. Sean Penn opens first tonight in “This Must Be The Place,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Then Ryan Gosling comes with “Drive,” from Nicholas Winding Refn. I saw them both this morning, they’re excellent. “This Must Be the Place” may even wind up with The Weinstein Company from what I’m hearing, which would be a great reunion of Penn and Harvey Weinstein. They made a movie years ago which Sean directed called “She’s So Lovely.”

In “This Must Be the Place,” Sean plays a an aging punk rocker from the early 80s who resembles Robert Smith of The Cure. Cheyenee, his character, has been cut off emotionally from his Orthodox Jewish family in New York, but returns when his father dies. It’s an odd story, but Sorrentino has a great visual sense. Also, David Byrne performs his song, “This Must Be the Place” live, and it’s even better than it was a hundred years ago in Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense.” Frances McDormand plays Sean’s wife with her usual fun crankiness. But the movie is all about Penn, who is unforgettable.

Meantime, Ryan Gosling takes a giant leap forward with “Drive,” a dreamily paced noir action film. This movie has cult classic written all over it. Gosling, now buffed up, emerges as a kind of new Steve McQueen. He’s had plenty of kudos, awards and nominations, but “Drive” will launch him into the leading man, action hero department. He also has a strong supporting cast with Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Carey Mulligan, and an outstanding Albert Brooks.

“Drive” is a violent film about lunatics who kill for money without thinking twice. Gosling plays a professional driver who can out pace anyone as he assists with robberies, etc. He’s also a survivor. “Drive” is incredibly stylish, although I wish someone would lose the cheesy ABBA soundtrack and put in some decent music that fits the film. (Hello, producers: call Randall Poster.)

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About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to

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