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Apr 17th
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Thrill Ride

film_driveSmart, slick, stylish 'Drive' ready to hit the road

Ryan Gosling does not typically make safe acting choices. After gaining attention a decade ago as a Jewish neo-Nazi skinhead in The Believer, Gosling has crafted an impressive resume in chameleon-like range of roles—from the romance of The Notebook, to eccentric comedies like Lars and the Real Girl and Crazy, Stupid Love, to the intense indie dramas Half Nelson (for which he racked up an Oscar nomination) and Blue Valentine.

So when Gosling decides to do an action movie, there's a reasonable chance it won't be the usual Hollywood sellout. It will, in fact, be a movie like Drive, a lean, streamlined, stylish suspense thriller, with a very particular sense of mood. Danish-born director Nicolas Winding Refn has his own smart ideas about crafting suspense and delivering thrills. And with Gosling on board—literally, in the driver's seat—this is one slick, souped-up vehicle ready to hit the road.

Based on the James Sallis novel, Drive was adapted by scriptwriter Hossein Amini (better known for more literary adaptations like Jude and Wings of the Dove). Gosling stars as literally a man with no name; the credits refer to him simply as "Driver," while others onscreen just call him "Kid." He's a Hollywood movie stunt car driver by day, flipping faux police cars while the cameras roll (after signing a liability waiver in case of injury or death), under the tutelage of crusty mechanic/ex-racecar driver Shannon (Bryan Cranston).

But it's a different story at night, when he hires out as wheelman for petty criminals operating in the greater Los Angeles area. His contacts are made anonymously over the phone, and his rules are simple: he doesn't want to know anything about the job, he'll arrive at a designated time and place and provide a five-minute window, and he doesn't carry a gun—he drives. We see how it all works in the tense opening sequence when he picks up a pair of burglars and deftly eludes pursuit via side streets and back alleys—or simply by standing still with the lights off, even as a police helicopter searchlight sweeps the area like the sinister beam of an alien mothership.

But of course, it doesn't always go off like

clockwork. After the taciturn Driver forms a tentative bond with neighbor, Irene (a pert, wistful Carey Mulligan), and her little boy, Irene's husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac) comes back into the picture after a stint in prison. Standard wants to go straight, but needs to pay off one last debt to his old associates. To protect Irene and her son, Driver reluctantly gets involved, and from then on it's an escalating spiral of mayhem as Driver takes on ever more

sinister and powerful opponents—from various hit men and henchmen all the way up to a local crime boss (Albert Brooks, whose bland geniality works to great effect in this context) and his volatile business partner (Ron Perlman).

There are moments of sudden, appalling violence. (No wonder Driver doesn't carry a gun; he can improvise a weapon out of anything, or intimidate by the sheer force of his presence, with no weapon at all.) But what's most remarkable about the action here are the long stretches of edgy silence as Driver watches and listens—knuckles crack, leather gloves creak, ambient noise fades away to nothing. The sense of danger is unnervingly acute. Or Refn will do something completely original, like insert a long, film_drive-posterswoony kiss when we're expecting all hell to break loose. When a loathsome crook is beaten to mush in a dressing room full of strippers, not one woman screams or runs away. They all silently take it in stride; the violent scenes, like everything else in this movie, are quick, efficient, and mysterious.

As is Driver himself in Gosling's terrific performance. He doesn't say much, hardly ever breaks a sweat, but we sense deep feeling just below the surface. We don't know where he comes from, why he takes the wheelman jobs (he lives so simply, he doesn't seem to need the money), or where he's learned his particular skills. None of which matters: Gosling's commanding presence fuels this wild ride. Watch film trailer >>>

 


DRIVE ★★★ With Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks. Written by Hossein Amini. From the novel by James Sallis. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. (R) 100 minutes.

 

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.