In-House Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

imageNightcrawler:

“The closer you look… the darker it gets.”

I have to say, for me personally, this was one of cinema’s highlights last year and it certainly lived up to all i thought it was going to be. Well, almost….

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a bit of a nobody; a loner with obsessive tendencies. Someone who will happily walk over a corpse if it means he’ll get to what he wants.

The film opens with Lou Bloom attempting to find a job in construction, but after refusal, heads on out into the night frustrated and looking for something, anything, better to come his way. Driving on the freeway he inadvertently stumbles across a car accident where his attention is drawn, not to the accident, but indeed to camera man Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) who is by chance on scene filming the carnage. And it is here his obsession starts.

imageAfter being refused by Joe Loder to give him a job as an assistant, Lou Bloom realises that he doesn’t need help. In fact all he needs is a camera and to be at the right place at the right time to capture life’s unfortunate events and to sell the footage to the highest bidder. In steps Rene Russo, Nina Romina, who is the morning news director for one of larger tv networks. She agrees to buy his footage and encourages him to continue his work and promises more exposure and more money within the tv network.

imageAs Lou Bloom’s obsession becomes more controlling of his personality he realises that to be able to get the best out of every unpleasant event, he needs a second pair of hands. This unwitting character is Rick Carey( Riz Ahmed) who, like Lou, is down on his luck and looking for any work that will pay and is happy not to ask too many questions. His weak character plays right into Lou’s hands and Lou knows now he can push the limit of acceptability with regards to what and more importantly, how, he films each event. And this is where I shall leave the plot so as not to spoil anything.

Nightcrawler is a clever mix of modern with retro, kind of in the same vein as Drive with Ryan Gosling. Its story of freelance camera men being “ambulance chasers” is what works so well in giving it that retro feel. It puts you back in a mind-set before the likes of Facebook and Twitter and the 24 hours a day news channels. That rush to get to the exciting story before anyone else and to show it to the world as “yours” must have been something very unique and special for those involved and which, for me, feels well captured here.

imageI have to admit that there were one or two little things that popped up where I thought… “hmmmm would that really happen…?!?” But I forgave it that because the rest of the film was so well-balanced and written to the point where later in the film I actually gasped in shock out loud. So to Dan Gilroy on his writing and directorial debut, I say “Bravo!”

So, simply put, I highly recommend Nightcrawler. In fact, thinking about it, I could have just said that at the beginning..

Reviewed by Ben

Staff A-Z of Films: E is for… (Pt.2)

ROB SAYS:

The_Elephant_Man-135262381-largeE is for The Elephant Man (1980)

The Elephant Man tells the true story of John Merrick, a severely deformed man who was paraded as a circus freak in turn-of-the-century England. David Lynch’s follow-up to his singular debut Eraserhead has an authentic feel for the time while also evoking the classic horror of Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon with atmospheric black and white imagery supplied by veteran cameraman Freddie Francis.
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The heavy-weight cast includes John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller and Anne Bancroft, but at the heart of the film is an unrecognisable John Hurt as Merrick and Anthony Hopkins as the doctor who tries to help him.
So much of the film is about how others react to the Elephant Man: in horror, fear, pity, confusion. Hopkin’s beautifully nuanced performance is full of conflict, love, and gentleness. He shows that true acting is all about reacting in what could be his greatest achievement.
Anthony+Hopkins+The+Elephant+Man This is a monster movie flipped on it’s head. Lynch begins by building the sense of dread around this freakish man and then shifts to take his side against the far more horrific humanity that surrounds him.
The film unfolds with a quiet power and bit by bit it will break your heart.
***

ALY SAYS:

8-MileE IS FOR 8 MILE (2002)

8 Mile is an autobiographical movie directed by Curtis Hanson (Chasing Mavericks) about a young white wannabe rapper Jimmy ‘B-Rabbit’ Smith (Eminem) who tries to defy the boundaries of class and race and break into the rap industry.

8-mile-2002-06-gThe story shows how Eminem, who lives in a trailer with his mother (Kim Basinger) and younger sister, struggles to survive and how he lives only to rise above his circumstances to make it as a successful white rapper.

8mile1With the urban masses at the local rap battles having booed him off stage once already, contending that rap is a black man’s world, Eminem shows that if at first you don’t succeed, try again!

A little piece of trivia that I learnt after watching the film…..The sheet of paper that Jimmy writes on the bus is the real sheet that Eminem wrote “Lose Yourself” on. The sheet of paper sold for $10,000 on an eBay auction.

**

8-mile-8-mile-8894000-970-647R.I.P. BRITTANY MURPHY

***

SIMON SAYS:

end_of_watch_ver3_xlgE is for End of Watch (2012)

Really original take on a cop movie – Michael Pena plays the role of the guy you expect to find in the force in south central LA – Hispanic, married with kids – yet his partner (Jake Gyllenhaal) doesn’t quite fit in. A little aloof and resented by some of his colleagues, he forms an unlikely friendship with his partner.

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What’s really original with this movie is it doesn’t just centre on the violence and carnage of this notorious district of LA – it is a very human tale of the hopes and aspirations of two regular guys set against the backdrop of a very dangerous workplace.

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Well worth the watch – no pun intended!