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Old 04-22-2006, 09:02 AM
  #46
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It does sound terrific -- I've only come across maybe one reviews that was anything less than gush-o-rific about Ryan's performance and the film itself (this one). Quite the turnaround from Stay, when even though Ryan was shown some consistent love, everything was pretty brutal.

I don't think I've posted this one before (in this thread or the zapped one):

Quote:
Half Nelson
By James Greenberg

Bottom line: Riveting as a teacher with a drug problem, Ryan Gosling establishes himself as a major talent and one of the finest young actors around.


PARK CITY -- If there was ever any doubt, with "Half Nelson," Ryan Gosling establishes himself as a major talent and one of the finest young actors around. Fortunately, freshman feature director Ryan Fleck and screenwriter Anna Boden have given him a juicy role as a well-intentioned teacher in a black neighborhood whose own life is spinning out of control. A quality indie film in terms of subject matter and execution, the picture should find a receptive audience in specialty venues and later on cable outlets.

An expanded version of Fleck's award-winning Sundance short, "Gowanus, Brooklyn," "Half Nelson" knows the territory and avoids the crusading teacher cliches of lesser films. Besides, Dan Dunne (Gosling) is too screwed up to be a white knight, and in the world he inhabits nothing is black and white.

Dunne is one of those charismatic teachers who has a great rapport and street cred with his students, one in particular, 12-year-old Drey (Shareeka Epps). Drey's life-defining experience to date has been the imprisonment of her brother for dealing. Newcomer Epps keeps pace with Gosling and communicates a soulfulness and wisdom well beyond her years.

Dunne, who teaches history with a Marxist slate and coaches the girls' basketball team, tries to keep Drey out of trouble, but he's hardly one to be giving advice. After a game one night, Drey discovers Dunne stooped over in a bathroom stall with a crack pipe in his hand. Dunne has a major drug problem and is struggling just to stay afloat.

The other major influence in Drey's life -- her single mother is at work most of the time -- is her brother's partner in crime, Frank (Anthony Mackie). A smooth and charming operator, Frank has designs on recruiting Drey for the family business. In a way, Frank and Dunne are fighting for her soul, but because Dunne buys his drugs from Frank's men, he is hardly setting much of an example.

Gosling's triumph is that even as the character sinks deeper in a hole and does some foolish things -- flinging a basketball at a referee over a disputed call, showing up for class so strung out he can barely teach -- he is still a sympathetic figure. His intelligent face, covered in a scraggly beard, and graceful gait suggests a person of good will even if he is a bag of contradictions.

The son of socially conscious parents, he became a teacher to help save the world, and now he can't even save himself. Drey is as much his redemption as he is hers. But he fares less well with the other women in his life. His ex-girlfriend Rachel (Tina Holmes), whom he met in rehab and clearly still has a thing for, has cleaned up and is engaged. He also blows it with a lovely fellow teacher (Monique Gabriela Curnen) when he shows up stoned at her house in the middle of the night and forces himself on her.

It's a long way down, and the film probably could benefit from a bit of trimming to keep from getting repetitious, but for the most part the story is riveting, largely because of Gosling and Epps' work and chemistry together. Nice score, sometimes nothing more than a plaintive guitar, by Canadian band Broken Social Scene is a big plus in setting the tone and keeping the story moving.

Other tech credits are first-rate. Cinematographer Andrij Parekh gives the film a gritty, lived-in look without it seeming stagy. And Boden, doubling as editor, makes some beautiful cuts from the crack house to the classroom. But at the end of the day, it's Gosling's performance that elevates the material and makes it memorable.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr..._id=1001920777
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:20 PM
  #47
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Yeah!!! love the praising of Ryan. He does deserve it though I'm sure.
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Old 04-23-2006, 05:25 AM
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When does this movie open in the US?
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Old 04-23-2006, 08:05 AM
  #49
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I saw a good review of this movie somewhere, but I can't remember where now. It sounds like a tremendous performance by Ryan (yet again).
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Old 04-23-2006, 08:52 AM
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It comes out August 11th.
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:37 PM
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I'm very excited about it.
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Old 04-26-2006, 04:04 PM
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A not-entirely-gushing-review (the nerve ):

Quote:
Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, USA, 2005). Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) is both an inspiring, idealistic teacher of history and a long-suffering addict of crack and cocaine in this challenging character study. Aside from a laughable reliance on stroking his scruff to convey existential angst, Gosling is largely up to the task of playing the bipolar lead, but the swaying narration of his character's downward spiral feels shapeless. Still, the scenes in which Dan and a knowing student (Shareeka Epps) guardedly discuss immobility, race, and life in Brooklyn avoid the histrionics that mar typical teacher films, making Half Nelson a powerful, if overly ambitious first feature for writer-director Fleck and writer-producer Anna Boden. 6:15 p.m., Kabuki. Also Tues/2, 9 p.m., Kabuki (Goldberg)

http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=404
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:32 PM
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Yeah the nerve . I can't believe it wasn't all praise.
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Old 04-27-2006, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Leading off our 10 picks is arguably the best film of the entire festival, Half Nelson.

Spoiler:


Filmmaking/life partners Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden grab us by the throat as Drey discovers Dan strung out in the girl's bathroom. Inspired by Miles Davis and a wrestling metaphor about characters caught at a crossroad, Half Nelson demonstrates without a trace of melodrama, and with a single act of violence (a basketball tossed in frustration), how the death of liberal dreams leaves a teenager choosing her path between two scary guys. The piece de resistance is a mesmerizing verbal showdown between Gosling (The Believer) and Mackie (Brother to Brother) for a girl's soul. (Kabuki, 4/30, 5/2)



http://www.ebar.com/arts/art_article...lm&article=159
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:45 PM
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Yeah!!! Anohte great review!!!!
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Old 04-28-2006, 01:24 PM
  #56
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I really cannot wait to see this movie!
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:56 PM
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Four more months.
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Old 04-28-2006, 09:25 PM
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I know. It's so soon.
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:55 AM
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This movie really sounds terrific. I can't wait to see it.
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:19 PM
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Another one:

Quote:
Half Nelson
Ryan Gosling, who normally works with a kind of self-satisfied smirk on his mug, steps up several notches with a beautifully concrete performance made of guts and soul. He plays a white teacher in an inner-city school. Drugs are prevalent; each kid probably knows or is related to someone who deals, and even the teacher himself uses. One student, 13-year-old Drey (Shareeka Epps), discovers his secret and they become unlikely friends. You wait for the Lolita stuff to kick in, but it never does; Half Nelson is a rare movie about relationships without gimmicks. Epps and Gosling perform several scenes together, many in long takes, and while he is superb, she matches his every move. Director Ryan Fleck makes his feature debut.

http://www.cinematical.com/2006/04/2...sco-internati/
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