Posts Tagged ‘jake gyllenhaal’

h1

Movie Reviews: Rocketman, John Wick 3, Long Shot

June 7, 2019

Rocketman (2019) – I really enjoyed it. Taron Egerton gives the performance of the year so far. He was amazing as Elton John and it’s pretty hard to take the role of a well-known musical legend and make it your own. He absolutely crushed it. He was arguably better than Remi Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody and that performance won an Oscar. I liked how the film used Elton’s biggest hits to help tell the story and, of course, Elton John has plenty of iconic songs to pick from. Also, the costumes in this were insane and should be a lock Oscar winner in that department. Rocketman might not be the most enjoyable movie of the year, but it might be the best one so far. 8/10 (Must See)

John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019) – More of the same here. Good, fun action and some cool cinematography. If you liked the first two movies you should like this one also, but it’s not really doing anything new or making the overarching story any more interesting. I’ll say it’s the weakest in the franchise so far, but I’d still watch a part 4. 6/10 (Recommended)

Long Shot (2019) – I really enjoyed it. The only Seth Rogen movie I didn’t skip in the last half decade was Steve Jobs, so it’s nice to see him in something that doesn’t suck and he was pretty funny in this. Charlize Theron was also great and there’s a scene where she needs to solve a national crisis that is pure comedy gold. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) – God, I hate to call myself a Ted Bundy fan. That can’t be the right word. Historian? I’ve read The Stranger Beside Me twice, plus various other Bundy publications and I’ve seen multiple movies and documentaries. I know this story inside and out and I’m definitely fascinated with it, especially since a lot of it happened in the Pacific Northwest and the fact that he escaped from jail twice (spoilers!) is mind-boggling and honestly kind of awesome. I also loved the casting of Zac Efron and thought he looked great. Yet somehow I absolutely hated this movie and I’m not entirely sure why. It just felt like it lacked authenticity and trying to tell this story from Ted’s girlfriend’s point of view was a misstep. I was bored out of my mind watching this and it wasn’t from overexposure. It just sucks. 3/10 (Bad)

Enemy (2013) – This was insanity. Anything from director Denis Villeneuve is must see cinema, so I went back and checked out this thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and it was fantastic. There’s a lot to dissect in this one and it’s not obvious what everything means but I enjoyed unraveling the mystery and I was absolutely riveted the entire time I was watching. Enemy is strange and awesome, and a must see in my book, but definitely not for everyone. 8/10 (Must See)

h1

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

February 15, 2018

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Director: Tom Ford (A Single Man)

Bottom Line: I can see how Nocturnal Animals has divided audiences and I’m actually surprise the audience score is as high as it is on Rotten Tomatoes (72%). This is likely not a movie for the casual filmgoer or really anyone that doesn’t want to think too much while watching films. I loved it though. It’s beautifully shot, extremely well acted, and the multiple narratives seem complex but are actually pretty simple and intertwine extremely well.

Here’s the gist: Amy Adams plays a woman deep into her second marriage and things seem to be falling apart between them. While her husband is away in NYC (cheating on her) she receives a manuscript from her previous husband (Gyllenhaal) that she begins reading. The story is about a man (Gyllenhaal again), and his wife and daughter, driving along a deserted Texas highway and being forced off the road by some hooligans that torment the family and eventually take off with the two women. The man teams up with a local sheriff (Shannon) to locate the two women. While reading the manuscript, Adams’ character finds herself reflecting on her own life and wondering about the choices she’s made.

I tried to type that synopsis up with as few spoilers as possible. I highly recommend watching Nocturnal Animals knowing absolutely nothing about it… like I did.

Michael Shannon gives a terrific (and Oscar nominated) performance as the Texan sheriff and the rest of the cast is great as well. Jake Gyllenhaal always seems to be solid, if not quite amazing, in any role he takes on and this film isn’t any different for him. Amy Adams’ character is quite a bit more interesting. In flashbacks, she seems genuine, somewhat optimistic, and perhaps quite a bit naive and in the present she says very little but exudes sadness and a palpable coldness. It’s a nuanced performance that will probably be appreciated more over multiple viewings. Also, it’s a bit of casting genius to have Isla Fisher in the role of the wife in the manuscript as Fisher and Adams have long been linked as doppelgangers of one another.

Nocturnal Animals is a brilliant film. If you found yourself unsatisfied when the credits started rolling, work a little harder. Do some research and figure it out. If you don’t want to do that, then Nocturnal Animals definitely wasn’t for you. This movie fires on all cylinders, while combining Western thriller with psychological warfare and a classic revenge tale. I still haven’t seen some critically acclaimed films from 2016, but right now I feel comfortable ranking Nocturnal Animals as high as #3 on my list and I won’t be surprised if ten years from now I look back on 2016 and it’s the film I remember most. I highly recommend it, but be warned: you’re going to have to use your brain because it’s not all spelled out for you.

Replay Value: This is the kind of film that if you liked it, you’ll surely want to watch it again. Probably immediately.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Michael Shannon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and, in what I felt was a rather weak year for films, was probably robbed of multiple other nominations. Nocturnal Animals stuck with me way more than La La Land and Fences, for instance, and it seems criminal that the film received zero technical nods.

Grade: 8 (Must See)

h1

Nightcrawler (2014)

April 28, 2015

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed
Director: Dan Gilroy

Bottom Line: Nightcrawler is one of the best films of 2014. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a knockout performance as Louis Bloom, a sociopath that has absolutely no moral compass and will go to any length to reach his goals. In this case, the goal is to become Los Angeles’ most prominent nightcrawler – a job that requires him to listen to police scanners so he can be the first person on the scene with a video camera in order to take exclusive footage he can sell off to local news stations. And what do they want? White people in good neighborhoods – dead – and preferably killed by minorities. Or gruesome accidents. It’s a perfectly sleazy job for a seedy person like Louis Bloom. It’s amusing watching him flounder while figuring out the ropes of nightcrawling, but he’s sharp, so he quickly becomes adept at it. Of course, he needs just a little bit of help, which he gets by hiring a homeless man named Rick (Ahmed) for $30 a night to help him navigate to crime scenes. And it’s his relationship with Rick that best illustrates exactly how self-centered Louis is – this is a man that has no friends and truly cares about no one other than himself. Rene Russo checks in as the graveyard news editor for Channel 6, the company Louis exclusively sells his material to. Although it’s more subtle, she’s no less despicable than Louis – she cares more about putting out product than her own self-respect and she also appears to have no line she won’t cross for a scoop. And she’s certainly willing to air whatever Louis shoots no matter how questionable it may be. It’s a decent performance from Russo, but the character is more interesting than the acting is.

Director Dan Gilroy does a great job in his directorial debut. Watching Louis and Rick navigate the streets of L.A. really brings you into the city and almost makes it a character all of its own. He keeps Nightcrawler intriguing before reaching one of the most intensely suspenseful climaxes I’ve seen in quite some time. Nightcrawler really pulled me in from the opening scene and didn’t let me loose until the end credits. It was probably the most riveting film I saw in all of 2014. I think it’s borderline criminal that Gyllenhaal didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for his acting work here. While I haven’t seen some of the nominated performances (soon!), it’s pretty clear that he does better work here than Bradley Cooper does in American Sniper. He’s creepy. He’s unsettling. He’s a sociopath to the T. It’s truly great work from Jake here.

Nightcrawler is a great film with a stunning performance from Gyllenhaal. It’s as entertaining as any film I saw in 2014 and the climax is breath-stoppingly awesome. Much like the car crashes and murders Louis films, it’s a film so grimy you just can’t take your eyes off it.

Replay Value: Seen it twice… it’s probably worth owning. I loved it, but it does lose some of its suspense the second time around.
Sequel Potential: Not the kind of film that should have a sequel.
Oscar Potential: Nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but Gyllenhaal probably should have gotten an acting nom and I have seen Best Picture noms I liked less than this movie.

Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)

h1

Love & Other Drugs (2010)

April 4, 2011


Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt
Director: Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Glory)

Quick Thoughts: Love & Other Drugs has the feel of a chick flick, but has enough screen time of Anne Hathaway’s breasts to make any reluctant male companion a happy camper. Also, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jamie Randall is an easy guy for us to root for: successful at his job, funny, extremely adept at attracting women, and emotionally unavailable. Until he meets Hathaway’s Maggie Murdock, a woman that is basically the female version of himself. They say opposites attract, but in this case, two similar people find something in each other that has been absent from every other relationship they’ve ever had: love. Gyllenhaal is slightly underrated as actor–probably because he’s starred in some substandard action fare (see: The Prince Of Persia)–and he continues to charm here. Anne Hathaway is on my radar as a serious up-and-coming actress. She’s been displaying Oscar talent since her turn in Rachel Getting Married and I can’t wait to see what she does with Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in the next Batman movie. Her performance in Love & Other Drugs as the free-spirited, but unavailable Maggie Murdock, a woman experiencing the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, is yet another strong performance in her young career. Love & Other Drugs isn’t The Notebook, but it’s an above average romantic dramedy with enough charm, humor and gratuitous female nudity to leave both males and females satisfied.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I wouldn’t buy it, but I’d watch it again some day.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: YES! Anne Hathaway @ The Oscars: “Whatever happened to the good ‘ole days? It used to be you get naked, you get nominated.”
Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)
Recommendation: A solid romantic comedy with good performances from its leads and Anne Hathaway’s boobs. Repeatedly. I mean, come on!