“NightCrawler” Is Nothing Like I Expected….

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm

The trailers appeared to depict Jake Gyllenhaal, Louis Bloom, as a camera man who attempts to get the story first, film it, and sell it to a television station. Louis appeared to lose it when he arrived a crime scene before the cops did, uncovers something he isn’t supposed to, and possibly gets hunted down or targeted because of it. This is what I thought the movie would be, but I was very much caught off guard.

“Nightcrawler” is actually a critique of 24 hours news and a study of man all wrapped up into one. It does still star Jake Gyllenhaal as a camera man but not so much in over his head as he is creating his own chaos. The story begins with Mr. Bloom selling scrap metal that he stole and along the way home from this encountering an accident and subsequently following that encountering Bill Paxton, playing Joe Loder, a fell Nightcrawler, who drives around Los Angeles at night capturing the car crashes, shootings, and stabbings as they happen, hopefully before the police even arrive, and sell the footage to a news station. Armed with a camera and a police scanner he buys from a pawn shop, Louis finds the gory blod spatter crime and films it and then sells it to local news station who is run by Rene Russo, playing Nina Romina. Utilizing the help of his trusty, but ultimately non-essential, side kick, Rick, played by Riz Ahmed, Louis’s company grows, and akin to Gordon Gecko, so does his power, worth, and ruthlessness.

Now Gyllenhaal, is unrecognizable in this film. A friend of mine told me that he was told by the director, Dan Gilroy, that Gyllenhaal was told to appear in the scenes literally hungry and his character comes across as such. Maniacal and vascular, Louis is equal parts cold and calculating and, if this film gains some notoriety, he will become an iconic character and reminded me of equal parts Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and Tom Cruise’s character from Collateral. I don’t know why Gyllenhaal chose this role but I suggest you see it for the sole purpose of witnessing his skill as an actor and never watch the movie again, because, it is, well….pretty damn dark.

Now, what I was referring to before, about this being a critique of the 24 hour news network, isn’t hard to miss. Ms. Romina is shown instilling fear into her audience and creating a story that was fairly fictitious all the while employing people like Mr. Bloom to go out and find gorier and gorier stories, because, stories like that pay and keeps the viewers interested. I also feel that this movie illustrates one possible, and I say that very lightly, outcome of what happens when you put a man in a corner. Bloom’s back is against the wall. He steals to survive and once he finds his career, he never lets go of it and quickly dispatches people who get in his way. Now, is he just a man chasing the American dream, or is he a sicko who managed to make a ton of money off of doing something that he really liked? I don’t know but maybe you do. What are your thoughts? If you’ve seen the movie, let me know what you think. And if you haven’t…check it out…and then let me know what you think.

I Want to Spend a Night in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

In Movies on October 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm


Last night, I was fortunate enough to go to a free screening of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and witness a Q&A following the screening with Jeremy Dawson a producer on the film who has worked with Wes Anderson, the director of the aforementioned film, on several other films as well.

For those of you who don’t know what “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is or who the heck Wes Anderson is, let me enlighten you. This movie contains within it three stories. The most important and lavish story, is the one that contains young Zero Mustafah, played by Tony Reveolori, who is the Lobby Boy for the hotel and M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes, who is the concierge for the hotel. These two meet after M. Gustave has an unusual encounter with Madame D., played by Tilda Swinton, who appears to believe that her life is in danger. What befalls after that includes an advernture involving a henchman, played fantastically by Willem DaFoe as Jopling, and includes Dmitrie, Madam D.’s son, played by Adrien Brody and a long cast containing Harvey Keitel as Prisoner inmate Ludwig, Jeff Goldlbum, as Deputy Kovacs, Edward Norton as Police Chief Henckels, Bill Murray as M. Ivan, Owen Wilson as M. Chuck, and Jason Scwatrzman as M. Jean. Without spoiling the entirety of this brilliant picture, this movie is about love, humanity, and courage in the face of danger. But, you may ask, isn’t just about every movie about something like that? Why, yes it is. However, this movie is also immensely funny and I believe one of the best, if he were to die today, I would say the best We Anderson movie out there. Who is Wes Anderson you ask?

Well he’s a director known for his unusual oddly humorous characters, intense color schemes, fantastic set designs, and mixing humor and drama quite effectively. He’s directed such works as “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenebaums” and my personal favorite, second, of course to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Mr. Anderson bits and pieces from his prior films to make something authentic and worth seeing in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.

The set design for this movie was fantastic and outrageous. The chandeliers, the alley ways, the bakery shop, were all incredibly done and done with such detail. There was also several uses of stop-motion animation throughout the film that were hilarious but still kept the story moving. Revolori and Fiennes were fantastic and I guess what really drew me to enjoying this film was that I liked their relationship. I didn’t care for many of the characters in both “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenebaums” and maybe I wasn’t supposed to but Zero and M. Gustave I enjoyed. I wanted them to succeed. I am also a sucker for a good adventure and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was exactly that. From prison breakouts to infiltrating a priest hood, Zero and M. Gustave had an adventure that they surely will not forget.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” contains the best parts of any Wes Anderson film and it is one that I think people everywhere should watch.

P.S. Also, just something funny to note, the producer revealed to us that Harvey Keitel was so intent upon nailing his prison inmate character, that he spent the night in the East German prison that they filmed it, because, well….he wanted to. There was no heating, no lights, just blankets and warm bodies. Just Harvey Keitel and a few German extras spending the night in an old East German prison. No big deal or anything.

Six Feet Under is..Nearly Undescribable

In Television on September 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm


But I will attempt to do so because I think everyone should watch this show. Binge it, watch it one episode per week, but however you watch this show, you should just watch it.

On the surface, Six Feet Under” is easy to describe, it’s a show about a family that runs a funeral business. However, there is so much more to this show than just the business. David Fisher played by Michael C. Hall plays the youngest son within the Fisher family but is a closeted homosexual who struggles with relationships as well as how his family perceives him as well. Nate Jr. Fisher played by Peter Krause, is the prodigal son returned to take over the business of his father, Nathan Senior played by Richard Jenkins, who passes away in the first episode but makes various appearances throughout. Frances Conroy plays Ruth Fisher who throughout the series struggles to find herself alongside her only daughter Claire, played by Lauren Ambrose, who is the youngest within the Fisher clan. Within the Fisher and Sons funeral home, Federico Diaz, played by Freddy Rodriguez, assists the Fisher brothers why also relieving the relationship he had with Nate Senior.

Within the first episode, the audience is introduced to death, uncomfortable family moments, and Brenda Chenowith, played by Rachel Griffiths who becomes a season regular alongside her brother Billy played by Jeremy Sisto, who suffers from Bipolar Disorder and an uncomfortably close relationship with his sister.

The show displays what happens when a family loses someone as well as what it means to be a close family. From drug abuse to illicit affairs, the Fisher’s experience it all. But this isn’t “7th Heaven” these incidents occur in a realistic fashion and the character’s reactions to these events makes sense. It is honestly one of the best character driven shows I’ve seen. There isn’t gratuitous random violence or even a lot of nudity, there are just people being people.

Which bothers me because, I feel, that this show isn’t included amongst those critics who look longingly back into the early 2000s and late 90s when looking at “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” and tell us that with Heisenberg gone, there will be no more good television. But they always fail to mention this show. Recently, A.O. Scott wrote a piece about the death of adulthood in present-day television and draws comparisons to “The Sopranos” and “Broad City” but fails to mention “Six Feet Under” at all. A show that, at its heart, looks at how the relationships of people change as they age, have children, and become closer or farther apart as a result. I’ve read countless articles lamenting the golden age of television that began with Tony Soprano and will end with Don Draper, but never have I read any mention of “Six Feet Under”.

Despite, having never heard of it a coworker and a friend recommended it to me and I was blown away by the performances, Michael C. Hall, for all those “Dexter” fans out there, really brings it and Frances Conroy, for all those “American Horror Story” fans out there, truly becomes Ruth Fisher. The episodes are fantastic and the finale is heart wrenching and had me thinking for several days after.


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