Baby Driver roars into the theaters this weekend. Written and directed by Edgar Wright and starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, and Lily James. Baby Driver is about a young man aptly named Baby who is really, really good at driving cars. Baby is constantly listening to music and carries multiple iPods for different occasions. Every song he listens to has a purpose and a meaning for whatever he’s doing. Especially when he’s working for a crime boss as the getaway driver for some high-risk, high-stakes heists.
I’m going to keep this simple. Baby Driver is a cool movie and it’s all about the sound. It has one of the best audio mixes I’ve heard in a long time. Not many films use the music a main character is listening to as an integral part of the film that way Edgar Wright uses music in this one. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is another recent example of this but in that film, Gunn uses it as a device to motivate a character.
Edgar Wright is known for using music and sound in his films, not only as character motivation but also to tell the story. It’s a common occurrence in his film for plot lines to be explained while a character is flipping through the channels on television or overhearing a conversation on a radio. In Baby Driver, he does both, using music as a part of the character and explaining to the keen-eared audience what is happening off-screen of Baby’s actions. Baby uses his music to function. He feels the rhythm in everything he does and has a perfect song for everything he does. When he doesn’t have his music, his world is in chaos.
Oh yeah, the story is entertaining as well but this is a movie that is made for a big theater sound system. The sound mix is at the heart of this film from the pacing, to the editing, to the movement of the characters.
Also in theaters this week, the adventures of Gru, Lucy, Margo, Edith, Agnes, and the Minions continues in Despicable Me 3. When a former child star turned villain shows up and outwits him, Gru is forced out of the Anti-Villain League. Soon after he learns that he has a long-lost twin brother who eventually draws him back into a life of villainy. Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig and the rest of the vice cast return along with South Park’s Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt. Despicable Me 3 is rated PG.
The House stars Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler as a father and mother who whose daughter gets into the college of her dreams. It’s cause for celebration until they learn the parents learn that the scholarship they were counting on didn’t come through, and they’ve blown their daughter’s college fund. On the hook for tuition they can’t afford, they decide to star an illegal casino in their basement to recoup the losses. It is rated R.
The Hero stars Sam Elliot as an aging Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories with his former-co-star-turned-drug dealer, until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic, and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy. The Hero also stars Nick Offerman and Laura Prepon. It is rated R.
The Beguiled is a thriller from writer/director Sofia Coppola. The story unfolds during the Civil War, at a Southern girls' boarding school. Its sheltered young women take in an injured enemy soldier. As they provide refuge and tend to his wounds, the house is taken over with sexual tension and dangerous rivalries, and taboos are broken in an unexpected turn of events. The Beguiled stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, and Elle Fanning. It is also rated R.
New on DVD & Blu-Ray:
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The Belko Experiment
Saban’s Power Rangers
The Ledger: A Story of the London Fog (Criterion Collections)
Straw Dogs (Criterion Collection)
Nobody Speaks: The Trial of the Free Press
We Are Still Here
The Lost City of Z
The Fate of the Furious