Albert Brooks is not playing for laughs

CBS News | link ›

ALBERT BROOKS has a very long record of playing movie roles for laughs. Not in his newest role, however, and thereby hangs a tale. Mo Rocca has a Sunday Profile:

Albert Brooks kills in his latest film, “Drive,” and not in the knock-’em-dead funny kind of way.

“Well, I’d wanted to play a part that was different from something I’ve played before for a while,” Brooks said. “I didn’t put out on the casting call, ‘Want to kill.'”

Turns out Albert Brooks … who’s made us laugh for 40 years … can be a really good bad guy, too.

“Drive” is a neo-noir crime drama, with Ryan Gosling as a solitary wheelman, and Brooks as small-time mobster Bernie Rose. Film critics from New York to San Francisco named Brooks Best Supporting Actor, and he’s been nominated for a Golden Globe.

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Albert Brooks Costars in “Drive”

Rolling Stone | link ›
By Peter Travers

Buckle up for the existential bloodbath of Drive, a brilliant piece of nasty business that races on a B-movie track until it switches to the dizzying fuel of undiluted creativity. Damn, it’s good. You can get buzzed just from the fumes coming off this wild thing…Prepare to be blown away by Albert Brooks, cast way against type as crime boss Bernie Rose. Brooks, an iconically sharp comic voice, has toyed with villainy before (see Out of Sight), but never like this. Brooks’ performance, veined with dark humor and chilling menace (watch him with a blade), deserves to have Oscar calling.  Read whole article ›

Brooks takes a seriously funny look into the future of America

Boston.com | link ›
By Diane White

Albert Brooks is a keen and critical social observer, attested by his work as screenwriter, director, actor, and comedian. His first novel, “Twenty Thirty: The Real Story of What Happens to America’’ is an inspired work of social science fiction, thoughtful and ambitiously conceived, both serious and seriously funny.

In the year 2030 the United States is trillions of dollars in debt to China. Cancer has been cured, so more people are living longer, draining the Treasury with health care and other entitlements, while remaining youthful due to various medical and cosmetic breakthroughs. Millions of insensible people are kept alive, hooked up at great cost to expensive machines to appease powerful religious lobbies, and the influential nursing home industry. Young people feel they have no future and resent the “olds’’ for gobbling up their tax dollars. “He never even sent me a birthday present,’’ says one young man of his grandfather. “and now I have to pay for his wheelchair.’’ Continue reading

Albert Brooks on his new futuristic novel: I wanted it to read like a news story

Los Angeles Times | link ›
By Patrick Goldstein

It’s hard not to argue, with only the smallest apology to Larry David, that Albert Brooks has the most distinct comic voice of his generation. When we were talking the other day, just after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. special forces in an affluent suburb of Islamabad, near an elite military academy and a lush golf course, Brooks said dryly: “It would be like Hitler living in Burbank. You’d have to think the Burbank police were in on it, wouldn’t you?”

Even though he is best known for directing and starring in a string of groundbreaking comic films like “Modern Romance” and “Lost in America,” Brooks, 63, has helmed only one movie since 1999, finding it easier to get work as an actor — he’s costarring in a new Judd Apatow film that shoots this summer. He’s also been busy penning his first novel, “Twenty Thirty: The Real Story of What Happens to America.” Due out Tuesday from St. Martin’s Press, the novel is a revelation, painting a caustic, unsettling and only occasionally comic portrait of a country plumb down on its luck. Continue reading