In 1970s Los Angeles, bumbling private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and muscle-for-hire Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) become unlikely partners when they find themselves both looking for a missing woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) following the death of a high-profile porn star. Amelia's ties to the deceased actress are unclear, but as other members of the porn industry turn up dead, March and Healy's investigation reveals a much bigger conspiracy than the duo could have ever anticipated. With the help of March's teenage daughter Holly (Angourie Rice), their sleuthing eventually unearths corruption within the federal government. Shane Black (Iron Man 3) directed and co-wrote this action buddy comedy, which co-stars Kim Basinger and Matt Bomer.~Daniel Gelb
Always Bet on Black: the cast and crew riff on The Nice Guys' odd auteur, Shane Black.
Gosling and Crowe are perfect in the best movie of 2016, THE NICE GUYS. The Blu-ray transfer is stellar, with colors nearly as vibrant as the crackling dialogue and blacks as dark as the industrialist plot uncovered by Gosling's alcoholic widower private eye and Crowe's thug with a heart of gold. Special Features are sparse, but delightfully free from the puff piece bonus feature B.S. included on too many other discs to count. THE NICE GUYS is the real deal.
The Nice Guys is one of those undeniably pleasure-some films that comes along once every 5-10 years. Written and directed by Shane Black who brought us the 'Lethal Weapon' series, this film is a rompin COOL TIME AT THE MOVIES!!! The chemistry between the leads, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, is perfect! Fast-pace and funny to the last frame! Watch out for the sequel as I'm sure one is in the works.
Shane Black (Writer of the eighties classic Lethal Weapon) penned and directed this exciting and fun romp through 70's L.A. about two mismatched guys looking for a justice officials daughter who holds the key to why members of L.A.'s adult film industry are suddenly turning up dead. Ryan Gosling shines here as P.I. Holland March, an alcoholic widower whose young daughter has to pull him out of jams and even conduct the interrogations herself while her Dad is falling off a balcony or swimming in a pool with topless mermaids (yes, I just said that and it is in this film). Russell Crowe is also solid as the tough but caring enforcer Jackson Healy who teams up and tries to work with the more reluctant detective. The supporting cast is also quite excellent with Keith David as an aging goon, Matt Bomer as a cold-blooded hitman, and Beau Knapp as an equally psychotic but ultimately more pathetic goon who winds up taking a new nickname after getting sprayed in the face with blue dye.
The overall film captures the seventies pretty well and feels natural. Much like P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice it doesn't feel forced or knocks you over the head with countless references other action-comedies might try for. Also much like Inherent Vice the film's overall plot is fairly thick and owes a bit to the classic noirs of past. Especially Chinatown given the environment plays a part in the story. Although this film unlike Vice feels very much in the same vein as Lethal Weapon with plenty more action and humor to be had. Also worth noting the great soundtrack especially the opening Temptations song and the closing "Love and Happiness" by Al Green over the end credits.
The Blu-ray quality is as usual for Warner up to par with no issues to be noted with the transfer. Sadly though the usual Warner Brothers M.O. with a rather paltry amount of special features (about twelve minutes between two otherwise decent featurettes) and surprisingly a lack of the very good trailers this film had (although plenty of other films' trailers played when this movie booted up). Overall this is a solid and fun return for the detective film that will hopefully garner some sequels as it would be a shame if we don't see these two guys show up in future films together. I highly recommend it to any fan of detective films or at least ones with a humorous bent and certainly to Lethal Weapon fans.
Gosling steals the Show, but Black Keeps the Heart
From the moment The Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," kicks in and the old Warner Bros. logo flashes across the screen one can't help but be hooked by The Nice Guys. It's been eleven years since Shane Black made his directorial debut with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang after toiling away in the writers room for years and while it's been much too long since I've seen that Robert Downey Jr./Val Kilmer crime caper I have to imagine the cult following it has amassed since its release over a decade ago is happy to see Black back behind the helm of what he does best. Though Iron Man 3 may be the most divisive Marvel film of the bunch, Black clearly has a knack and a love for crafting stories from a time in which he obviously remembers fondly and nostalgically despite those times being admittedly reckless and ill-conceived. We are dropped into 1977 Los Angeles immediately, the music blaring, the now goofy clothes worn with honor, and a smog settling in over the skyline that immediately sets the tone of something being slightly askew. The magic of Black's touch in crafting the exact right tone he desires is that of not making this skewed feeling strictly pertain to the events of his story, but more it applies to the characters that will operate within this series of events that Black has crafted to more or less exploit the type of characters and the type of relationships he finds interesting and funny. That is all to say the plot actually matters very little here, but instead it is the chemistry of our two leads and the understanding with which they convey Black's dialogue and character qualities that make The Nice Guys more of an exception than the rule. Sure, there might have been two other actors that might have pulled this off in a similarly successful fashion and I'd even be willing to bet that replacing Russell Crowe with someone along the lines of a Liam Neeson or Kyle Chandler might have yielded better results, but Gosling absolutely owns his role and is essential to the movies success. This is Gosling's movie-make no mistake-and it will solidify both his presence and his talent as being among the most appealing in the business today (as if it wasn't already). As it is though, The Nice Guys is a buddy cop film that excels in creating a buddy dynamic so fun and compelling that all the cop stuff hardly matters.
The Nice Guys received outstanding reviews, features a couple of top-notch actors, and was written and directed by a man with some huge box office successes, but for whatever reason, it never seemed to find an audience in theatres. That is most certainly a shame. Fortunately, the film is now available in a package that conveniently includes copies on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital and it's an excellent purchase.
The film follows two men who work different angles in the private detective world. One largely uses his muscle to intimidate undesirables while the other relies on his deductive reasoning. Both exhibit a fair amount of talent, but their personal lives are a mess. The mystery is interesting and it unravels at a decent pace, but the real highlights are the tone and the main characters. A number of Shane Black's previous films have also featured a whole lot of dark comedy framed within an action mystery narrative (Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in particular) and this film easily lives up to the high bar he has set. For me, the true highlight is Ryan Gosling's performance as he spends much of the film channeling Lou Costello of Abbott & Costello fame.
The Nice Guys is an excellent addition to any decent-sized film collection. Chances are you'll know some people who haven't seen it and they'll thank you for introducing them to such a great movie. It also holds up quite well to repeat viewings. The presentation itself is a bit light on extras, but the film is so excellent that it's still great purchase.