24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Albert Brooks

Golden Globes: Albert Brooks on his sharp performance in 'Drive'

December 15, 2011 | 12:31 pm

Albert Brooks in Drive

Filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks hadn't been on the big screen in six years when he returned to tangle with Ryan Gosling's character in the slick neo-noir thriller “Drive.” His performance as the charming but sinister mobster Bernie Rose was worth the wait: Brooks was nominated for a Golden Globe for  supporting actor (though he was passed over by the SAG Awards on Wednesday — and don't think he didn't notice). Brooks chatted with 24 Frames from his home in Los Angeles about his nomination, his character and why Globes host Ricky Gervais might want to keep his distance.

How did you find out about your nomination?

I got the good news on Twitter. I tweet, so I woke up and went on Twitter and saw a lot of people say, “Way!” Twitter tells you a lot of things. I expect to hear about the end of the world through Twitter.

What was your initial reaction?

Well, I was happy. It’s better than being left out.

Were you surprised that a character as dark as Bernie was embraced?

The thing is, I think the film worked. I’ve done a lot of roles in other people’s movies that I was proud of but somehow the movie doesn’t lift off the ground. And if the movie doesn’t lift off the ground, then nothing sort of lifts with it. So I was really happy that “Drive” worked so well and that I could play that kind of a character. I think the movie had to be really interesting, and I think [director] Nicolas [Winding Refn] did a great job of that.

Did you enjoy playing Bernie?

The actual physical stabbings I wouldn’t really describe as fun. Because you’re doing it sometimes for six or seven hours to get it to look right. And you’re covered in blood, and you have to work yourself up into at least a frame of mind where you’re going to even do that kind of physical activity, and it sort of leaves you feeling weird at the end of the day. Some of the talking parts, the attitude that guy had, I enjoyed that — where he wasn’t taking [anything] from anybody. But stabbing people is not so much fun. At least not more than once.

Are you looking forward to the ceremony?

I’ve never been to the Golden Globes, actually, in my whole life. I figure you go and it’s like a party; at least you get to eat there, right? … I’m easy. Just tell me what time, and I’ll show up.

Any thoughts on host Ricky Gervais?

I thought he was pretty funny last year, so we’ll see where he goes.

Are you prepared if he throws some jokes your way?

Does he do that?

A little bit, yeah.

Oh, I’ll stab him right in the eye. [laughs] I’ll show him.

He’s been warned now. Any parting thoughts?

I just tweeted … I said, “Thanks to the Golden Globes. If you had a health plan, I’d leave SAG altogether.”


Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: 'Extremely Loud,' 'Tinker Tailor' snubbed

Golden Globes: 6 nods for 'Artist'; 5 for 'Help,' 'Descendants'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose in “Drive” Credit: Richard Foreman / FilmDistrict.

African American critics name 'The Tree of Life' best film of 2011

December 12, 2011 | 11:10 am

Tree of Life was named the best film of the year by the African-American critics

"The Tree of Life," Terrence Malick's 1950s-set drama that ruminates on questions of family, faith and the universe, was named best picture of the year Monday by the African-American Film Critics Assn. The group also awarded two prizes to the stars of the civil-rights period piece "The Help," declaring Viola Davis best actress and Octavia Spencer best supporting actress.

Here's a full rundown of the group's awards, and some links to our recent coverage of these titles.

Best picture: "The Tree of Life." (Check out film critic Kenneth Turan's review of the film here.) The other films rounding out the top 10, following in order of distinction, are: "Drive," "Pariah," "Rampart," "Shame," "Moneyball," "The Descendants," "A Better Life," "My Week With Marilyn" and "The Help."

Best director: Steve McQueen, "Shame." (The director talks about his collaboration with star Michael Fassbender in this story.)

Lead actor: Woody Harrelson, "Rampart." (Here's a video in which the two-time Oscar nominee talks about approaching his character, an LAPD cop.)

Lead actress: Viola Davis, "The Help." (An interview with the actress, who recently graced the cover of The Envelope, can be found here.)

Best supporting actress: Octavia Spencer, "The Help." (She talks about adjusting to the frenzy of award season in this feature.)

Best supporting actor: Albert Brooks, "Drive." (The actor recalls how he prepared to play a mobster in this story.)

Breakout performance: Adepero Oduye, “Pariah." (Read about all the ingenues in this year's awards race here.)

Best Documentary: "The Black Power Mixtape." (Learn more about the film, set in the 1960s and 1970s, in this article.)

Best screenplay: Ava DuVernay, “I Will Follow." (DuVernay, who grew up in Compton, talks about how her upbringing with her aunt inspired her to write and direct her first feature film.)

Best foreign film: Alrick Brown, “Kinyarwanda." (A review of the film can be found here.)

Best song: Jason Reeves & Lenka Kripac, writers, “The Show” from “Moneyball."

Best independent film: "Pariah."

Special Achievement: George Lucas, (Cinema Vanguard); Richard Roundtree, (AAFCA Legacy); Hattie Winston (AAFCA Horizon) and Institution, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Founded in 2003, the AAFCA tries to bring attention to films that appeal to black audiences, were created by or star African Americans or center on the black experience. Last year, the group named "The Social Network" best picture and gave its top acting honors to Halle Berry for "Frankie & Alice" and Mark Wahlberg for "The Fighter." None went on to win awards in those categories at the Oscars.


National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

L.A. Critics name 'Descendants' best film, laud 'Tree of Life' too

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain star in "The Tree of Life." Credit: Fox Searchlight

'Drive': Albert Brooks recalls a breathtaking deleted scene

December 7, 2011 |  6:30 pm

Playing the mobster and former movie producer Bernie Rose in the neo-noir thriller "Drive," Albert Brooks uses both the carrot and the stick. When the situation calls for it, Bernie will schmooze, haggle or crack a joke. But when words fail, watch out — because he won't think twice about resorting to coarser methods.

In a recent visit to the Envelope Screening Series, Brooks recounted a scene — eventually left on the cutting room floor — that demonstrated Bernie's matter-of-fact viciousness.

"This scene didn't make it into the movie," Brooks said, "but it's one of the most amazing things that ever happened to me."

He went on to describe a scene in which his character confronted a noisy neighbor and asked him to keep it down. The hapless neighbor soon learned that Bernie is not a guy to be messed with. At the encouragement of director Nicolas Winding Refn and with the blessing of actor Ben Marley, Brooks gave the scene his all, and the results were startling, to say the least. Get the whole story in the video above.


'Drive' tours an L.A. that isn't on postcards

Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn share the ride

An interview with 'Drive' director Nicholas Winding Refn

— Oliver Gettell

'Drive': Albert Brooks sheds light on his dark place [Video]

December 6, 2011 |  5:47 pm

Albert Brooks
One of the dark delights of the stylish thriller "Drive" is veteran actor and filmmaker Albert Brooks' performance as Bernie Rose, a onetime B-movie producer turned mid-level gangster who feuds with Ryan Gosling's laconic wheelman. Played with equal parts charm and menace, Bernie is a snappy dresser with an affable demeanor, but he's also a ruthlessly pragmatic mobster who won't hesitate to get his hands dirty if the need arises. And in "Drive," the need arises more than once.

"I wish I wasn't as familiar with the dark place as I am," Brooks said of his character during a recent conversation at the Envelope Screening Series. "To me, violence and all emotions are like a billionth of an inch from each other. And if you look at really violent people, they're generally the most pleasant people when they're not violent."

Treading the line between violent criminal and benign businessman is what makes Bernie so chilling, and so watchable. See more of what Brooks had to say in the video below.


Albert Brooks plays deadly sweet in 'Drive'

Cliff Martinez scores a strange success with 'Drive'

'Drive' locations: Refn's film shows grittier sides of L.A.

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Albert Brooks in "Drive." Credit: Richard Foreman / FilmDistrict

New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

November 29, 2011 | 10:50 am

The artist

"The Artist," a black-and-white silent movie, was named best picture of 2011 Tuesday morning by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film's director, Michel Hazanavicius of France, also earned best director for his valentine to the early days of Hollywood.

It is the first time the critics have given its top award to a silent film. Earlier in the morning, the film earned five nominations for the Spirit Award.

Meryl Streep was named best actress for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," which opens in L.A. on Dec. 30. It is the fifth time the New York circle has honored Streep. The last time was two years ago for "Julie & Julia."

Brad Pitt took home best actor honors for his performances as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball" and as a stern father in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." It is his first honor from the critics' group. Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for "Moneyball."

This year's golden girl, Jessica Chastain, was named best supporting actress for her roles in "The Tree of LIfe," "The Help" and "Take Shelter." Albert Brooks won best supporting actor for a rare dramatic turn in the film noir "Drive."

Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams' won best nonfiction film, while "Margin Call," written and directed by J.C. Chandor, was awarded best first feature. Cinematography honors went to Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree of Life."

Foreign-language film honors went to Iran's  "A Separation," which has already won multiple awards and is the country's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar. The Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, who died in August, got a special posthumous award.

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony in Manhattan on Jan. 9.

The New York Film Critics Circle, which was founded in 1935, is the first major critics group to announce its picks for the best of the year. The organization, made up of critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and online sites, traditionally voted after the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. But in October, the 33-member group announced it would move its awards selection ahead two weeks.

The voting was supposed to have happened on Monday, but the group didn't have the chance to screen David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which opens Dec. 23, until Monday morning, so the voting was delayed until Tuesday. The film received no awards.

Over the decades, the New York critics' selections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have differed. Last year, the circle chose "The Social Network" as the top film and the academy gave "The King's Speech" the best film Oscar. The two groups agreed two years ago on "The Hurt Locker."

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures announces its selections Thursday morning.


"New York Film Critics movies awards dates to see 'Dragon Tattoo'"

-- Susan King

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


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