Skip to main content

Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

Image result for Baby Driver poster

Saw this film at the Manor Theater in Squirrell Hill last night (which, incidentally, is a great place to see a film; there's a little bar/lounge area inside and you can take your drink into the movie). If a poster has ever sold a film, this film's poster sold me. All I needed to know was a.) it was called Baby Driver, which alone was enough for me, b.) it looked like a classic block-buster summer action movie, precisely the kind of movie you need to see on a hot summer night in the comfort of your local air-conditioned theater. I mean...look at that poster. 

I love a good car chase film, and haven't really seen a good one since Drive (2011) which absolutely blew me away. Baby Driver has some of the arty, carefully-produced and stylized qualities of Drive, but Baby Driver tries to be -- and succeeds -- at being a bit more light-hearted and fun. 

What are some of the high-points of this film?

  • Incredible car-chase scenes, naturally; some of the best I've ever seen
  • Killer soundtrack. Part of the plot is that the main character, Baby, has an ear condition requiring him to listen to music all the time to drown-out a buzzing in his ears. Perfect opportunity to make this film basically a two-hour music video...and it works.
  • Jon Hamm as a former Wall Street banker turned heist-pulling bad boy. Not sure if I'm quite yet able to see him as anything but Don Draper, but damned if I don't like seeing Jon Hamm's handsome face up there on screen doing just about anything. Released from the confines of his role on Mad Men (the greatest show of all time), Hamm brings an odd kind of wily, wry humor to whatever role he plays now, somewhat like Vince Vaughn IMHO but less manic. 
  • Heavily stylized production. What do I mean by this? You'll have to watch it to find out. But little details such as matching gunshots to the beats of certain songs, or the scene in the laundromat in which every washing machine is spinning with brightly colored red, yellow, or blue clothing, in alternating machines, or the scenes in which Baby dance-walks through town or though his apartment listening to music. I want to feel like these details are cheesy. I really want to, but I can't. I liked them and they worked in this world.
  • Kevin Spacey. Not his greatest role, but once again, I just love Kevin Spacey. He can almost do no wrong in my eyes. 
  • Lily James as Baby's love interest, a waitress who works in his favorite diner. Again, probably not the role of this actresses life, but she's absolutely gorgeous in this film, incredible to look at, and adds a much needed break from the almost constant action.
  • Jamie Foxx as the whacked-out theif, Bats, who is suspcious of Baby's clean-cut ways.
  • I wasn't like super impressed with Ansel Elgort (Baby), and I did find his performance a little cutesy at times, but by the end of the film he really grew on me. I will look for him in other stuff, to see if he's got any range of if the "shy stud" thing ala Josh Hartnett is all he can do. 
Two thumbs up. Go see it.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…