2014 Film Reviews
by Dr. Bob Blackwood
These movie review articles appeared in the Columbia River Reader and are copyrighted by Bob Blackwood
Back to film year index page
Oscar Picks for 2014
Dr. Bob Blackwood
year’s Oscar Picks are almost a crap shoot—e.g. 9 films nominated by the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for “Best Picture.”
Nevertheless, here we go.
Picture”: Either Cuarón’s “Gravity” with Sandra Bullock and George
Clooney with 10 Academy nominations or McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” with 9
nominations. I liked Cuarón’s
tight, 1 ½ hour thriller the best, but McQueen’s historical film has legs
too. Final call: “Gravity” with
hopes that the inappropriate “science fiction” label (this film is science,
not fiction) doesn’t kill its chances.
Actor”: Probably Leonardo DiCaprio in Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall
Street” or Chiwetel Ejiofor from McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.” Leonardo
has never won an Oscar, despite very distinguished performances in Scorsese’s
films; it is about time he won one. Chiwetel
may not have the push to walk away with the golden man, though his performance
was flawless. Final call: DiCaprio.
Actress”: It could be another Oscar for Cate Blanchett in Allen’s “Blue
Jasmine” or another Oscar for Judy Dench in Frears’ “Philomena.”
Cate has decades to go; conceivably, this might be Dame Judy’s last
go-round. Final call: Tossup.
Supporting Actor”: I liked Jared Leo in Vallée’s “Dallas Buyers Club”
for his in-depth performance as a dying transsexual; Michael Fassbender’s
slaveholder in McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” was three-dimensional as well.
Final call: Leto.
Supporting Actress”: Jennifer
Lawrence in Russell’s “American Hustle” created a memorable character that
was funny too. Lupita Nyong’o in
McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” broke through to the public with this role.
Final Call: Lawrence.
Director: All of them—David O. Russell in “American Hustle,” Alfonso Cuarón
in “Gravity,” Alexander Payne in
“Nebraska,” Steve McQueen in “12 Years a Slave” and Martin Scorsese in
“The Wolf of Wall Street”—did beautiful work.
Final call: Cuarón. He
overcame some real challenges in re-creating outer space and making us care
about his characters.
Chadwick’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (MPAA: PG-13) is a history and
a bit of a personal view of Nelson Mandela, the man called “Tata,” the
“Father” of the new, integrated, nation of South Africa.
Perhaps some critics are unhappy that we did not get more details on
Mandela’s political swings or they desired more personal angst from this
lawyer who had received a life sentence for treason in 1961 for leading a
campaign of sabotage against the white apartheid government of South Africa.
should be remembered for what he was—a practical politician.
He and his African National Conference first tried a campaign of
non-violent protest as Gandhi did. It
failed and was met with harsh reprisals. He
then sought leftist allies and led the ANC into violence.
By 1990, the pressure brought on by Mandela and his allies led to the
government releasing him from his island prison after about 27 years,
negotiating with him in privacy to bring peace, and led to his election as South
Africa’s first black president, where he governed with fairness to all.
received the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the US
Presidential Order of Freedom. Has
any other person gathered all three of these prizes?
Elba (the star of the British TV police show “Luther”) gave a very nuanced
performance of Mandela as a lawyer and political leader, as a prisoner in as
harsh a jail as the Afrikaners could create for a Black leader, and as the
father of his country. He is only
matched by Naomie Harris (Eve in the James Bond film “Skyfall”) as
Mandela’s wife. If you want a
picture of a man who moved the world, check it out.
Hit and a Miss
Dr. Bob Blackwood
directed by Stephen Frears (“The Queen,” “The Hi-Lo Country” &
“Dangerous Liaisons”), stars Dame Judi Dench in the title role, a woman who
has been searching for her son who was adopted 50 years ago. Steve Coogan plays
a former BBC reporter searching for a good story.
“Philomena” and Dame Judi, plus the score and the screenplay, were
nominated for Oscars.
true story shows the viewer how harsh things were in the Ireland of the 1950s
for an unmarried woman who was trying to keep her son while working in an abbey
as a laundress. Though she could
have kept her son for 100 pounds plus her labor, she didn’t have 100 pounds.
All she earned was her keep. An
American couple paid a $1000 US to the sisters in the Abbey, an adoption mill,
for the right to adopt the child.
that point on, as far as the nuns were concerned, that child was none of her
mother’s business. They lied to
her repeatedly. Only the hard-edged
questioning and researching of Coogan’s character made the difference.
But, Philomena, the victim of the nuns’ conspiracy, forgave the nuns.
She was the true Christian here, the only one who could overcome her own
concerns, and even reminded the reporter that he should be forgiving them too.
It has sort of a happy ending.
Besson wrote the story and co-produced “3 Days to Kill,” which was directed
by McG (born Joseph McGinty Nichol, the director of “This Means War,”
“Terminator Salvation,” and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”).
Besson is one of the best filmmakers around, but this film—which stars
Kevin Costner as a CIA agent with a wife (played by Connie Nielsen) and a
daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld)—just doesn’t mesh properly.
the action sequences play beautifully. Costner’s
assassin piles up roomfuls of bodies of our country’s enemies and does it with
great style. Unfortunately, he has
been in the business for 32 years, and he is dying from brain cancer that will
take him in months, not years. Lucky
for him, a sexy CIA handler (Amber Heard, who can never really go undercover
wearing those skin-tight outfits) offers him an expensive experimental drug
which may save his life. But, of
course, he has to keep killing until the worst of the enemy are eliminated.
Meanwhile, his daughter keeps whining with the usual teenage angst.
After awhile, I kept hoping that either The Wolf (Richard Sammel) or The
Albino (Tómas Lemarquis) would take out the daughter; then, Costner could get
back to something he was good at and interesting cinematically—shooting
people. As a father, he was a real
Dr. Bob Blackwood
“The Great Beauty,” the Oscar winner for 2013 Best Foreign Film, Paolo
Sorrentino—director of “This Must Be the Place” with Sean Penn—shows us
a Rome that his 65-year-old reporter, Jep Gambardella (played by Toni Servillo),
knows very well. He knows the
players, the playmates, the entities that make it Rome and not a hick town.
Federico Fellini had made a film with a 65-year-old Marcello Mastroianni, this
might have been the film he made. The
film is a bit raw in evaluating interpersonal relationships and yet forgiving.
It focuses on the end-of-life rather than the midst of it, such as
Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.”
“La grande bellezza” (the Italian title), we see all aspects of Roman
society—the high life, the low life. We
see it all through the perspective of Jep, not a burnout, but rather a
knowledgeable journalist. He can
appreciate the many beautiful things and people of Rome. And he is still
learning who he is and what he was.
is a memorable film, not for any one thing, or any one sequence, but as much for
the ancient art in the background as for the young, middle-aged and older Romans
who enliven the foreground. We
remember Jep as not a writer but rather as a camera, one who sees it all and
helps us to remember. Try to see the
film on a movie screen if it is still available; consider renting or buying it
if it is not.
you liked the “Twilight” series and the “Hunger Games” films, you may
appreciate “Divergent” by Neil Burger—director of “The Illusionist”
with Edward Norton. “Divergent”
is a based on Veronica Roth’s young-adult novel. Opening night for
“Divergent” brought it almost $23 million as opposed to $36 million for
“Twilight” and $67 million for “Hunger Games.”
That places it third in the YA market, a good place to be now as opposed
to other YA films.
makes it a YA film? The star,
Shailene Woodley as Tris, is an attractive young woman, actually 22.
Her special someone (don’t expect any explicit sex), her trainer, Four
(Theo James), is 29 and looks like a Greek god.
their society, everyone must fit into one of five factions: Erudite
(intelligence), Abnegation (selflessness—the faction which governs now), Amity
(peacefulness), Candor (honesty), and Dauntless (bravery).
After her virtual-reality test shows she could fit into several
categories, Tris from Abnegation makes her adult life-choice and joins
Dauntless. Tris’ divergence
creates enmity with the power-hungry Erudites, led by Janine (Kate Winslet).
When threatened, Tris resorts to violence.
you like “Divergent”? A lot of people like flashing knives and smoking guns.
& “Brick Mansions”: A Miss and a Hit
Dr. Bob Blackwood
was looking forward to cinematographer Wally Pfister’s debut as a director in
“Transcendence” (MPAA: PG-13) with a cast starring Johnny Depp as a computer
researcher, Rebecca Hall from “The Town” as his wife and fellow researcher,
and the very accomplished Paul Bettany, playing a good friend in the same
business. Some nutty terrorist
decides to kill Depp, a man who has reached new heights in preserving human
thought and perceptions. His wife
decides to preserve Depp’s personality and human intelligence in their new
massive computer. Hmmm….
all the scientists are friendly to the concept of preserving human intelligence
in a computer, problems start to arise. Before
you know it, some nervous people feel Big Brother has returned, as a computer
ordering mankind about rather than simply responding to necessary requests.
How does it end? I think that
should be saved for the viewers.
do have a problem with the pacing of the film.
In addition, I was hoping that maybe some sort of compromise could be
reached between the political and military forces, whose members have given so
much to our country, with this new very responsive electronic creation.
What modern society can function without computers?
True, sometime our computers break down or make computing errors, but
primarily they are making our life richer by their existence.
However, my virtue of hope rests in a religious and humanistic context
which does not exist in this film. It
would spoil that old “man vs. machine” plot.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Delamarre’s “Brick Mansions” (MPAA: PG-13) is a Canadian re-make of Luc
Besson’s French film “District B13.” Besson co-scripted this film.
It opens with one of the best action openers I have ever seen: David
Belle, as in “District B13,” escapes a crew of gangsters by flashing his
“parkour” skills—a somewhat martial art he helped create—part
acrobatics, partly using whatever objects are available. Wow!
late Paul Walker enters as an undercover cop, seeking to catch dope-dealers and
to help the denizens of this ghetto in Detroit that is surrounded by a giant
wall with policemen at each entrance/exit. Belle
and Walker are soon a dynamic duo not only stopping the drug-dealers but also
facing down the Mayor of Detroit who was planning to chase out or kill off all
the residents and turn the land over to unscrupulous urban developers.
In the end, even the gangsters are backing Walker and Belle.
It has a happy, if improbable, ending.
This is a fast-moving film that doesn’t give you time to run-out for
Walker’s last film, “Fast and Furious 7,” will be released next year.
Enjoy the summer.
Boys” & “Chef”: From the Falsetto to Lip-Smacking Good
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Eastwood doing a musical? Yes, you may have seen his “Bird” and “Honkytonk
Man” with their stories of musicians, but those were all Eastwood’s films
(the product of an “auteur” as the French critics would say).
His “Jersey Boys” (MPAA: R) came out after the Broadway show on The
Four Seasons was a Broadway hit; it’s not an “Eastwood” film as the others
took at least three of his performers—John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Erich
Bergen as Bob Gaudio, and Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi—from the Broadway
cast. Vincent Piazza as Tommy Devito
was Lucky Luciano in TV’s “Boardwalk
Empire.” Christopher Walken plays ganglord Gyp DeCarlo, a friend of the boys.
Eastwood takes the young men’s story, shows their attempts in the
1950’s, when they tried out different names before finally emerging onto the
sales charts in 1960 renamed The Four Seasons.
on-the-mark falsetto and Bob Gaudio’s music worked well for about 12 years,
despite the British Invasion and other competition.
When DeVito allegedly misappropriated the group’s money, only Gyp
DeCarlo and Valli’s determination saved them.
The group made good money on the road throughout the Seventies.
film works best when the actors are singing and when they are fighting among
themselves. This is not Eastwood’s
greatest film, but it will be a commercial success. “Jersey Boys” cost an
estimated $40 million; it has already earned over $21 million in the first 10
days. Eastwood always watches the
California kitchen comedy “Chef” (MPAA: R) is a film that was written,
directed and stars Jon Favreau—also an “auteur” in my mind.
you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know that the chef is often a
sensitive person, an artist, and a performer.
The chef tries to keep the owner happy, the patrons smiling and the
kitchen crew working hard. No one
can do it all every day.
Favreau as Chef Carl Casper first tries to keep his owner happy (Dustin Hoffman)
but, in doing so, fails himself as a chef before a prestigious food critic.
Almost everyone else—including his young son (Emjay Anthony), Scarlett
the hostess & his friend, Sofia Veraga as his wealthy ex-wife—sees Casper
as too self-involved. When his ex
gives him an old food truck, however, he revamps the truck with his son and his
Number 1 guy (John Leguizamo). Casper
finds happiness being his own boss and loves his work.
The film has a happy ending with a lot of laughs along the way.
It has appeal to a mass audience from children to senior citizens.
Most Wanted Man” Meets “Lucy”
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Corbijn made a fine character study with George Clooney as a hitman preparing
for his last assignment in Italy in “The American” (2010).
He has done it again with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a battered
contemporary German intelligence officer in “A Most Wanted Man,” a film
based on a novel by John Le Carré. What
kind of a man is Hoffman’s Günther Bachmann?
is a workaholic. He doesn’t have a
life; he has a job. He talks to
people in all walks of life gathering information.
He is paunchy, smokes incessantly, enjoys alcoholic beverages, and often
looks like a member of the walking dead. Suddenly,
he discovers that an active political dissident (half Russian, half Chechen)
from the USSR, underplayed well by Grigoriy Dobrygin, has moved into his city,
Hamburg, though he has no passport. Why
did he come there?
idealistic lawyer (Rachel McAdams), who helps immigrants, takes an interest in
the undocumented man with a past. We
discover the former dissident may collect a 10,000,000 Euro inheritance.
Also, Gunther discovers that a US intelligence officer, well-played by
Robin Wright with a mixture of professional concern and imperial strength, is
now his partner. When she refers to
his previous experience on operations with American partners, Gunther says
simply, “They didn’t end well.”
there is some action here, but it is an actors’ picture.
Willem Dafoe, as a clever banker, appears to help the former dissident.
When the dissident does collect his inheritance, he determines to give it
all to charity. Of course, there is always a hitch. You will find yourself
totally within another, darker world, which grows darker as the film progresses.
Seymour Hoffman died at 46 years of age from a drug overdose. His last leading
role in “A Most Wanted Man,”—based on
John LeCarré’s post-9/11 novel—will have a limited release in July
2014. Hoffman allegedly became very
close in his own life to the uneasy German intelligence officer that he played
in this film. He was one of the best
American actors of his generation.
is the last film in which Hoffman is the lead actor.
However, he will make an appearance in the next two “Hunger Games”
1970’s tale of we humans only using 10% of our minds has been scoffed at by
modern science, which claims we use all we have if we are lucky.
In any case, in Luc Besson’s “Lucy,” we see Scarlett Johansson, as
a drug courier, receiving a huge jolt of consciousness when she inadvertently
ingests a large amount of a new drug.
she knows more, then she strikes back at her gangster connections and makes this
an action picture. Finally, she has almost godlike powers—we are in Stanley
Kubrick’s “2001” almost. I
know; you’re thinking, “Isn’t being the most beautiful young actress on
the screen enough for her?” No,
and let us leave off any sexist comments, please.
What we do see is an action film with beauty beating up all the beasts.
There, you wanted it; Besson gave it to you.
“Only Lovers Left Alive” & Another
Dr. Bob Blackwood
is back. That Japanese creation,
which allegedly owed its origins to American atomic testing, frightened me a bit
in 1954, though I laughed a lot. By
the time of “Mothra vs. Godzilla” (1964), I was cheering on the big dinosaur
hulk and the twin fairy sisters while Mothra menaced mankind.
Godzilla in this year’s Gareth Edwards’ film of the same name (MPAA: PG-13)
is almost cute in appearance as he stalks two giant radioactively-twisted
cockroaches/lobsters (one of them can fly), creatures who have no redeeming
virtues. Instead of a steady
development of fear, as in the 1954 Japanese film, the audience is glad that
Godzilla can handle these creatures.
cast, including—Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, and
Ellizabeth Olsen—all get cricks in their necks looking up at Godzillla, but
they are glad to see him. Not every
genetically radioactively-exposed creature is hostile to mankind, including each
of us, I suppose. It was fun.
Alright, it slowed down in the middle, but it sped up at the end. And, it
is a box office blockbuster.
Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” (MPAA: R) is
the story of two vampires who have been living together (more or less) as lovers
for several centuries. Adam (Tom
Hiddleston) is an alternate musician today (references to 17th-19th
century composers are made too); Eve (Tilda Swinton) is just a rich kid.
Thanks to a doctor who provides them with Type “O” for a high price,
they are not stalking teenagers on the street.
Besides that, they might be knocking off potential audience members of
know this is a vampire flick, but it reminded me more of international spies
hiding out in a foreign country. I
almost expected Eve to mention MI-6 at times.
Instead, however, she permitted her sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) to visit
them. The seemingly younger and
certainly immature Ava soon kills off Adam’s most useful human contact, Ian
(Anton Yelchin), as a sort of midnight snack. Some vampires have no style at
all; she didn’t even have a cape. The
film’s ending is grim but humorous. Try
it; it tastes differently from other vampire films.
City: A Dame to Kill For” Meets “Calvary,” A Study in Contrast
Dr. Bob Blackwood
Miller—former comic book author and graphic novelist—and Robert
Rodriguez—filmmaker (“From Dusk Till Dawn”)—created a sequel to their
“Sin City” (2005) with the appropriate film noir title: “Sin City: A Dame
to Kill For.” With the high
contrast black and white look with only occasional splashes of color, like its
predecessor, it may be the most visually stylized film this year. Although some
critics are knocking this sequel, I think it flows better than the original
won’t like this film? People who
can’t accept men and women stereotyped as macho men vs. slutty women, or
viewers who like subtlety in screen performances.
Who will like this film? Several
film critics, people who like graphic novels, and audience members who can be
mesmerized by the emphasis that Eva Green can deliver as a two-timing,
aristocratic sex-bomb. I’ve always
remembered Green’s carefully nuanced performance as the wife of the last King
of Jerusalem who had a yen for Orlando Bloom’s blacksmith in “The Kingdom of
Jessica Alba is back as another 1940’s-type sex object. Mickey Rourke is as
tough as ever. Josh Brolin shows anxiety in his romancing. And Bruce Willis
makes an appearance. The rest of the cast is distinguished; I only wish they had
more to do.
“Calvary,” Brendan Gleeson plays a widower, Father James, who became a
Catholic pastor in the town of Sligo. While
hearing confessions, a man threatens to kill him in seven days, not because he
is a bad priest but because Father James is a relatively innocent one.
The would-be murderer was raped by another priest many times during his
childhood. This is his way of “evening up the score.” For the most part,
Gleeson keeps his concern about the threat to himself. Adding to Father James’
grief is his daughter (Kelly Reilly) who joins him after an unsuccessful suicide
this destroy the good priest? For about half of the film, he shows his sharp wit
in dealing with his occasional parishioners.
He’s both a good man, and no man or woman’s fool.
The closer he gets to the end of the week, however, we see dramatized
weaknesses in Father James, but we also see strength.
And, he comes to terms with his daughter.
The conclusion is for you to see.
director, John Michael McDonaugh, made a good Irish comedy in “The Guard”
(2011) with Don Cheadle; he created a great tragicomedy here.
Cinematographer Larry Smith opens our eyes to the beauty and the horrors
of Irish life. And the supporting
cast—Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, M. Emmet Walsh, Orla O’Rourke and
others—could not be better. Give
it a look.
Knocks It Home; Shawn Levy Is Called “Out”
Dr. Bob Blackwood
last time Denzel Washington worked with Antoine Fuqua in “Training Day”
(2001) as a gritty antihero, Denzel won an Oscar for Best Actor.
I don’t think he will win one again for “The Equalizer,” but I
think the film will do well commercially. Why?
The plot is about an older man (Robert McCall, the same name as the TV character
in the 80’s show) who works in a hardware supermarket called Home Mart.
He has the respect of his fellow workers.
But one evening in a diner right out of Edward Hopper’s
“Nighthawks,” he meets a young Russian hooker (Chloë Grace Moretz) who soon
is being brutally victimized by a well-connected Russian pimp (David Meunier).
Moretz underplays her role well.
McCall changes into what he had been; a killer employed by a US government
agency. He takes care of the pimp.
When the Russian oligarch (Vladimir Kulich) sends his best man (Marton
Csokas), the tough guy is dealt with, though we see Csokas’ character has some
depth in his interaction with McCall. By
the end of the film, the oligarch regrets his earlier decision.
film enrages some film critics, too bad. Almost
all of them have given Denzel’s performance praise; you have to.
He conveys determination with a subtlety that many other actors totally
addition to the main plot, we see McCall helping out other folks who have been
leaned on by the powerful. I don’t
pretend to be a Hollywood producer, but I suspect a lot of moviegoers feel in
some way that they have been leaned upon by individuals and organizations.
I think the film will be a financial success if word-of-mouth and a good
opening-weekend mean anything. Let’s
see if a sequel pops up in a couple of years or so, though Denzel has many
offers of employment.
really looked forward to seeing a humorous film in Shawn Levy’s “This Is
Where I Leave You.” It certainly
has a good cast. Jane Fonda is the
matriarch of a family whose Jewish atheist husband has requested that his whole
immediate family sit shiva for him for seven days, though none have had
religious instruction. Of course,
the cast of children—Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey
Stoll—just drop everything and stay, even though they are all yuppies. Don’t
make me laugh.
that is the problem, not many laughs. O,
sure, insults and slights, yes; laughs, no.
The trouble is in the script. I’m
sure Mr. Levy will do better next time. He
is also producing and directing “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”
which is in post-production.
Entertaining Films and a Nightmare
Theodore Melfi’s “St. Vincent” (MPAA: PG13), Bill
Murray plays an unmarried Vietnam vet who is fond of alcohol and has a pregnant
Russian “girlfriend” (Naomi Watts) whom he can afford. Watts
is so convincing in her character that I didn’t recognize her until half-way
through the film. In any case, Vincent’s life is simple and satisfying to him.
new next-door neighbor (Melissa McCarthy), however, has a mess. She is living
with her young son (a very talented Jaeden Lieberher) and starting a new job
before her divorce is final. She
needs a babysitter. For $12 an hour,
she gets the best Vincent can give her son.
Vincent doesn’t change his life, but the youngster sure asks
intelligent questions—which Vincent usually avoids.
thought Melissa McCarthy, who usually looks like a train-wreck, was looking her
best and acting as a concerned, though challenged, mother with a husband who
doesn’t want to settle their divorce. You
sympathized with her. In his cranky
way, Vincent sympathizes too. He
handles people as only Vincent can. What’s
wrong with a happy ending for a change? I
like an audience that laughs during a comedy.
Leitch & Chad Stahelski’s “John Wick” (MPAA: R) doesn’t have any
real laughs, just a sardonic snicker or two.
Wick (Keanu Reeves), “The man whom you send to kill the Boogeyman,”
left his Russian mob boss (Michael Nyqvist) five years ago and, recently, his
wife died. He acquired the cutest
puppy in the world; he loves it. The
mob boss’ stupid son steals his car, beats Wick up and kills his puppy.
The son is stupid; the father is not.
He immediately tries to deal with Wick.
has a solution. Kill every stupid
mobster who walked into his house. Kill
anyone who tries to stop him. And he
proceeds to work on that goal for most of the film. I think it is fair to state
that it seems only Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” used up more gunpowder
than this film (excluding war films, of course).
is death on two feet. He gets hurt;
he gets out of it all somehow. And,
perhaps to some readers’ amazement, Reeves makes you believe he can do it.
He is a real action star. His
dramatic interaction with other actors is acceptable, but, man, does he show
what a determined individual with the right equipment can do.
It is the action hit of the Fall, and allegedly he did 90% of his stunts.
To be fair, however, Nyqvist almost steals the show with his perceptive and
Dan Gilroy (“The Bourne Legacy”) has created “Nightcrawler” (MPAA: R).
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a loner who haunts (and that’s
the appropriate verb) the L.A. road system at night to get videotape and photos
of bloody victims of car accidents, criminal assaults, and every other horror
you can imagine. Bloom rushes to his
favorite TV station where the night editor (Rene Russo) pays him more and more
as the weeks pass. In the world
where “If it bleeds, it leads,” Bloom delivers the goods, one way or
another, legally or ….
has tapered down to skin, bone and claws. His
blue eyes are as cold as the Atlantic Ocean on D-Day, for much the same reason.
I’m not fond of most contemporary “horror” films; they always seem
to be pandering to the lowest possible emotions in the least intellectual way.
This film slowly shocks you, as Gyllenhaal reveals his morbid taste, his
hatred for all mankind, and his well-developed “pay and play” argument for
getting his night editor to share something besides her budget with him.
you say, “I don’t want to see a film about a creep,” just remember, how
many of them have you worked for or with? If
Gyllenhaal is not nominated for an Oscar for this performance, I would be
surprised. Riz Ahmed, as Lou’s
much abused partner in Lou’s night cruising, downplays his role, but he
convinces the audience that even a guy who’s really down on his luck can’t
stand a monster. Gyllenhaal is a
beautiful monster. See him; don’t