bill paxton

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler: Not an X-Men SPinoff

So when I first heard of Nightcrawler I was really excited for the X-Men Spinoff and wondered if Alan Cumming would be making his return to play the iconic comic book character. Sadly I realized the film was not about the teleporting mutant, but it was in deed a dramatic film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. At the time I was not a fan of Gyllenhaal. However by the end of this film I have been converted. I saw him in Prisoners and he began to grow on me, and then a friend showed me Brothers and I began to think maybe I had him wrong all these years. And this film set me straight. The guy is talented. So talented that I couldn’t even see him in the film. All I saw was the character, you completely lose him in the performance.

Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton. It is written and directed by Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut. It tells the story of driven but troubled young man named Louis Bloom, who finds his way into a career of shooting footage of newsworthy accidents and crimes, and then sells them to the local news. As he begins to get increasingly better at it he begins to become obsessed with not just filming the news, but making the news.

The film is creepy as all hell. You walk away completely creeped out to think that this is how we get our news. I believe it is pretty accurate. I’ve wondered how news channels get this footage and it’s crazy to think this goes on. The story is so in depth and is a very slow build. Not slow in the film drags, you spend the entire movie engulfed in this story. The film is shot beautifully, giving its L.A. setting the tough gritty feel you expect from the city.

The cast is perfect. Each of them giving noteworthy performances. Rene Russo as the Morning News Director does a wonderful job towing the line between a respectable business woman, and a sleazy news director. You don’t want to dislike her though you know she is doing things who otherwise wouldn’t approve up. Is it morally wrong? Yes but it’s what is demanded of her position. Bill Paxton plays a sort of rival to Gyllenhaal, and as always is shining star. I have always loved Paxton and ever project he is involved in. Riz Ahmed plays an out of luck intern that Gyllenhaal takes in. He has problems with Gyllenhaal and his methods, however is no position to turn down a job. He is really the most redeeming character in the film. I found him to be the only one I really wanted to root for. And like I said Gyllenhaal is firing on all cylinders this film. He loses himself in the character and it’s not Gyllenhaal you see, not Gyllenhaal you follow, but Louise Bloom, the creepy cameraman.

So I implore you to go out and catch Nightcrawler. It is a riveting, creepy masterpiece of a film. Not only do I expect an Oscar for the film, but I expect Gyllenhaal to get the nom for Best Actor. I scored Nightcrawler 5.5, with a .5 bonus for not only Gyllenhaal’s performance but the overall tone and creepiness of this film. That rounds us out at a smooth 6.0, JEEBUS-TACULAR!

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All You Need is Kill, on the Edge of Tomorrow

All you need is kill! Er, Edge of Tomorrow. The new film from the director of greats such as Swingers, The BOurne Identity, Mr. & Mr Smith, and Jumper, Doug Liman. Now I know what you are thinking, Tom Cruise, he doesn’t have it anymore, this looks like the same as that last crappy film he did Oblivion. But trust me, this film was marketed horribly. It’s a pretty good film. It stars Cruise Emily Blunt, and Bill Paxton. Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, which originally was the title, and actually a much better title if you ask me.

Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a loser spokesperson for the army, who is a the voice of the resistance against the aliens that have attacked earth. When he is forced into combat against his will, he is exposed to the aliens and develops a case of groundhogs day. Every time he dies he wakes up the day before the big battle. He meets Rita(Blunt) who once was stuck in the same situation. Together they train to fight the alien race and become the only hope for humanity.

The marketing for this film was awful. The trailers all looked terrible, there was little to no buzz around from critics or anyone who had screened the film. I went in thinking it would probably be a disappointment, but came out very entertained. Cruise has seemed to be phoning it in the last couple of films. I felt he was pretty much done as the action star. But this film shows that Cruise still has a few good action flicks in him. I am not particularly a big fan of Emily Blunt. I find her to be kind of dull. But she worked for me in this film. The chemistry between her and Cruise was phenomenal.

The story is a mix of Groundhogs Day, Aliens, and Starship Troopers. You could think it would have the possibility of getting stale and repeating itself could get boring. However, Edge of Tomorrow does a good job at changing things up and making each “reset” unique and continue the over all story. You see Cruise grow as a character and a soldier. The fact that his character knows his memories from every repeat, but Blunt’s must trust him right off the bat and she never knows how many days they have gone through certain situations.

The only issue I found with the film was the final act. After all the resets, all the work they do to set up, the battle can be kind of weak. Not enough to really hurt the film, but enough to make you think about it a little bit. Another big thing that will hurt the film is the lack of marketing like I said earlier. First off the film’s title is weak, All You Need Is Kill was interesting and exciting. Plus the negative perception of Cruise’s last outings in film will hold audiences back. Which is a shame, because this film is truly a fun time.

When it comes down to it, I gave the film a Jeebus score of 4.1, A Good Time at the theater. SO please, disregard your first perception of the film. Don’t let Oblivion, or Jack Ryan keep you away. Give Cruise another shot, and check out Edge of Tomorrow.