Showing posts with label Jake Gyllenhaal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jake Gyllenhaal. Show all posts

Saturday, March 12, 2022

MOVIE POSTER: Michael Bay's "Ambulance" Character Poster - Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal is the lead "Danny Sharp" in director Michael Bay's action thriller, AMBULANCE. The film is due April 8, 2022.  Below is one of three character posters released for the film:




Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review: "Spider-Man: Far From Home" Right at Home

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 12 (of 2019) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Running time: 134 minutes (2 hours, 14 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
DIRECTOR: Jon Watts
WRITERS: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (based upon the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko)
PRODUCERS: Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew J. Lloyd
EDITORS: Dan Lebental and Leigh Folsom Boyd
COMPOSER: Michael Giacchino

SUPERHERO/DRAMA/ACTION/ROMANCE

Starring:  Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Cobie Smulders, Numan Acar, J.K. Simmons, Peter Billingsley, and Dawn Michelle King (voice)

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a 2019 superhero film and drama from director Jon Watts.  It is the seventh film in Columbia Picture's Spider-Man film franchise, but it is the second in a new film trilogy that began with 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming.  Like Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home is also a co-production between Columbia and Marvel Studios, making it the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Far From Home finds Spider-Man forced to take on new responsibilities and threats in a world that has changed forever.

Spider-Man: Far From Home opens after the events depicted in Avengers: Endgame.  In Mexico, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders), a former high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Fury, arrive to investigate an unnatural storm caused by a creature called an “Elemental.”  There, they meet a super-powered man, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), who arrives to fight the creature.

In New York City, Peter Parker, who is also the Avenger known as Spider-Man (Tom Holland), is about to take a two-week summer trip to Europe with fellow students from Midtown High (the Midtown School of Science and Technology).  Peter Parker, who is still distraught over the death of fellow Avenger, Tony Stark/Iron Man, plans to use the trip to confess to his classmate MJ (Zendaya) his growing romantic feelings for her.  Peter also plans to avoid heroics and leaves his Spider-Man suits at his home in Queens.  However, Fury forcefully interrupts Peter's vacation and tells him that he is the heir to Iron Man's legacy.  Fury also demands that he help Quentin Beck, now known as “Mysterio,” fight an invasion of alien Elemental monsters.  But not all is as it appears.

I really enjoyed 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, but I thought this reboot/restart of the Spider-Man film franchise was a fluke.  Thus, as much as I wanted to see the new film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, I thought that it would probably be mediocre.  I am happy to report, dear readers, that it is not only not mediocre, but that it is also as good as Homecoming.

Sam Jackson is almost in top-form as Nick Fury (almost because there is a catch here).  J.B. Smoove and Martin Starr make the most of their scenes as the two teachers chaperoning Midtown High's European vacation.  Marisa Tomei as May Parker, and Jon Favreau as “Happy” Hogan are strong in their respective roles.  Jake Gyllenhaal does a good crazy turn as Mysterio, good because that character is one of the few aspects of the screenplay that is not well done.

Zendaya, who was quite good as MJ in the first film, does even better work in Far From Home.  Every time the film moved away from her, I wanted her back.  Jacob Batalon does scene-stealing in his supporting role as Peter Parker's friend, Ned Leeds, much as he did in the prior film.

But the star here is Tom Holland, now my favorite actor to play Spider-Man.  Holland makes Peter's grief over Tony Stark's death (in Avengers: Endgame) seem real and poignant.  At the same time, he plays the lovelorn and lovesick puppy pursuing MJ with a flair that rivals the best male romantic leads in classic teen movies.  I guess that Tom Holland's ability to play a lovesick boy finally gives Sony Pictures the YA (young adult) angle it wanted when The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) was the reboot of the franchise.

What Holland does best is portray the heroic arc and the heroic journey.  Holland's Peter Parker/Spider-Man believes that he is both not ready and not the right person to take Iron Man's place as the key Earth superhero.  As Peter Parks strives to become the hero he wants to be and is meant to be, Holland performance yield superb drama.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has a strong screenplay and expert directing.  The visual effects are fantastic, especially as seen in the final battle scene which finds Spider-Man spinning, swinging, ducking, dodging, bobbing, weaving, and being the hero, all with death-defying grace and cinematic magical prowess.

In my review of Spider-Man: Homecoming two years ago, I said that the film captured the magic, the sense of wonder, the imagination, and the freshness of Spider-Man's first appearance, which was a 12-page story included in the comic book, Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962).  Spider-Man: Far From Home stays true to the spirit of fun, adventure, mystery, and thrills that the comic book, The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963), promised readers over five and a half decades ago.

9 of 10
A+

Thursday, July 4, 2019


The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" Breaks Sony Box Office Record

Spider-Man™: Far From Home Breaks Sony Pictures Record As Highest-Grossing Film In Studio’s Ninety-Five Year History

Never-Before-Seen Extended Cut Featuring New Action Sequence To Be Released Labor Day Weekend

CULVER CITY, Calif. – Columbia PicturesSpider-Man: Far From Home has officially become Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing film of all time, passing the global box office gross of Columbia Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/EON Production’s Skyfall. Through Sunday, August 18, 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home made $376.7 million domestically and $732.9 million internationally for a worldwide cume of $1.109 billion.

Starting Thursday, August 29, 2019, ahead of the holiday weekend, an extended cut of the film featuring approximately four additional minutes of a never-before-seen action sequence will be released in theaters in the U.S. and Canada. The film will also be available in IMAX® and large formats in select locations.

On its path toward this record-breaking milestone, Spider-Man: Far From Home showed incredible power at the global box office.

The film’s North American opening at $185.06 million for the six-day holiday weekend was an all-time opening six-day record for Sony Pictures, the best-ever six-day opening for a Spider-Man film, and the best six-day opening for a film launching over the Fourth of July holiday. On opening day, July 2, the film opened to the biggest Tuesday numbers of all time with $39.3 million.

Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie overseas and opened at #1 in 65 markets including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The film’s global rollout began on June 28 in China, Hong Kong, and Japan with a $111 million cumulative opening. China debuted to $97.7 million – the seventh-largest opening of all-time for a studio film in the market and Sony Pictures’ second-biggest opening there. Japan opened with $9.4 million – the second-biggest superhero movie launch in the last decade. Hong Kong opened with $3.7 million – the fifth-biggest Friday-to-Sunday opening of all-time, and Sony Pictures’ best-ever opening in the market.


About Spider-Man™: Far From Home
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Directed by Jon Watts. Written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Based on the MARVEL Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Thomas M. Hammel, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O’Connor, Stan Lee, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach serve as executive producers. The film stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

"Widows," "Green Book" to Screen at Austin Film Festival 2018

Austin Film Festival Announces Full Film and Conference Schedule

Slate Includes Centerpiece Film Ben is Back, Widows, Green Book, Friends from College Season 2 Premiere, Wildlife

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing the writers’ contributions to film, television, and new media, announced today the full schedule of films and panels for the 25th Anniversary festival, this October 25-November 1, 2018. AFF’s feature film slate includes 23 World, North American, and US Premieres, a robust retrospective series, and highly anticipated marquee titles, including Steve McQueen’s and Gillian Flynn’s modern-day thriller Widows, Peter Farrelly’s dramedy period piece Green Book starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, Mike Leigh’s period piece Peterloo, Mickey Rourke-starring boxing drama Tiger, Paul Dano’s Wildlife starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, and Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges family drama Ben is Back bowing as AFF’s Centerpiece selection, with writer/director Peter Hedges in attendance.

AFF also announced its 2018 television program. Included this year is comedy series Friends From College, launching on Netflix in 2019. Creators Francesca Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller will present a special preview screening of the Season 2 premiere episode. Creator Justin Marks and executive producer Jordan Horowitz will also be on hand at the Festival to present the season 2 premiere of their espionage spy thriller Counterpart, starring Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons, premiering on Starz later this year.

AFF’s retrospective series will feature Tony Gilroy presenting his 1995 film Dolores Claiborne based on Stephen King’s novel, Graham Yost presenting his 1994 action classic Speed, and writer Mick Garris in attendance for a special Halloween presentation of Hocus Pocus.

Other World Premieres include The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, F/11 and Be There, The Amaranth, A Girl Named C, and Waiting for the Miracle to Come.

The full Film and Conference schedule can be found at www.austinfilmfestival.com.


ABOUT AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL:
Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. AFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. All attendees and events are based on permitting schedules and are subject to change and/or cancellation without notice.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from September 18th to 24th, 2016 - Update #25

Support Leroy on Patreon.

POLITICS - From ThinkProgress:  First the Mus-lambs hated white people because of their freedoms.  Now, the darkies hate white people because of their success.

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OBIT - From YahooMovies:  The actor Bill Nunn has died at the age of 62, Saturday, September 24, 2016.  He was best known for playing "Radio Raheem" in Spike Lee's 1989 film, "Do The Right Thing."  He also had a minor role in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.

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MUSIC - From YahooMusic:  The baby on the iconic cover of Nirvana's "Nevermind" album is now 25-years-old.  He's never made a dime on an LP that has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan join acclaimed actor Paul Dano's directorial debut, "Wildlife."

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CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  Brad Pitt tells his side of the messiness.

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CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  More on allegations about substance abuse, spousal abuse, and more in the ongoing Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

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ECO - From Variety:  Shailene Woodley to be honored at Environmental Media Association Awards.

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CELEBRITY - From YahooCelebrity:  How Angelina Jolie told Brad Pitt it was over.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER - From TheFreeThoughtProject:  Massachusetts state supreme courts says Black men justified in running away from cops.

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SPORTS - From Steelers:  Terry Bradshaw talks about playing QB for the Steelers and his biggest regrets.

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COMICS - From ScreenRant:  Is Agents of SHIELD connected to "Doctor Strange?"

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MOVIES - From RSN:  Can Oliver Stone's film, "Snowden," help Edward Snowden gain a pardon?

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CRIME - From RSN:  Connecticut cops are caught on camera fabricating criminal charges against a man who was recording them at a DUI checkpoint.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Rooney Mara to star in pop drama, "Vox Lux."

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Deadpool villian, Ed Skrein, in talks to join "Alita: Battle Angel," which Robert Rodriguez is directing and James Cameron is producing.

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CELEBRITY - From TMZ:  Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt.

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OBIT - From Deadline:  Screenwriter and director Curtis Hanson has died at the age of 71, Tuesday, September 20, 2016.  He won an Oscar for his screenplay for his 1997 film, L.A Confidential.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER - From YahooNews:  African-American Terence Crutcher was unarmed and did not shoot at the cops, but was shot to death by a white cop.

CRIME - From YahooNews:  Ahmad Khan Rahami planted bombs in New York City and shot at the cops, but he is still alive.

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MOVIES - From Variety:  Jamie Dornan will play "Will Scarlet" in "Robin Hood: Origins."

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MOVIES - From Deadline:  Johnny Depp's thriller "Labyrinth" has a distributor.

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STAR WARS-COMICS - From YahooMovies:  Marvel's "Star Wars" comics will dig into Yoda's history.

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POLITICS - From Truthout:  Here, what's (who's) in Donald Trump's "Basket of Deplorables."

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EMMYS - From LATimes:  A complete list of 2016 Emmy Award winners.

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BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 9/16 to 9/18/2016 weekend box office is Sully with an estimated take of $22 million.

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EMMYS - From TheWrap:  In case you missed it, Night 1 of the 2016 Creative Arts Emmys - from last week.

From Deadline:  Night 2 of those 2016 Creative Arts Emmys.

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OBIT - From TMZ:  Charmain Carr, who played one of the Von Trapp children in "The Sound of Music," has died at the age of 73, Saturday, September 17, 2016.

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POLITICS - From ThinkProgress:  Donald Trump trying to rewrite his Birther history about President Obama.

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COMICS-FILM - From WeGotThisCovered:  See Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons as "Commissioner James Gordon" in next year's "Justice League."

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COMICS-TV - From ScreenRant:  The "Ghost Rider" is a different kind of threat on this season's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD."

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POLITICS - From teleSUR:  Julian Assange offers himself in exchange for Chelsea Manning's freedom.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: "Nightcrawler" an L.A. Crime Classic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 (of 2016) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Nightcrawler (2014)
Running time:  118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence including graphic images, and for language
WRITER/DIRECTOR:  Dan Gilroy
PRODUCERS:  Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, and Michel Litvak
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Robert Elswit
EDITOR:  John Gilroy
COMPOSER:  James Newton Howard
Academy Award nominee

CRIME/THRILLER/DRAMA

Starring:  Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, Kevin Rahm, Ann Cusack, Michael Hyatt, and Price Carson

Nightcrawler is a 2014 neo-Noir drama and crime-thriller from writer-director Dan Gilroy.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the film focuses on a Los Angeles man who enters the world of freelance video journalism and then begins to manipulate events in order to create more lurid stories.

Nightcrawler opens in Los Angeles.  It introduces Louis “Lou” Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a thief always looking to convert his stolen merchandise into quick cash.  One night, Bloom is driving back to his apartment when he comes across the scene of a car crash.  He pulls over to witness the chaos, but most of his attention is taken by the “Stringers,” freelance cameramen who are filming live footage of the crash scene with the intent of selling that video footage to local television news stations.

Fascinated and inspired, Bloom buys his first camcorder and a police radio scanner and begins driving the streets of L.A. at night.  He looks for accidents, emergencies, and crime scenes that he can film.  He makes his first sale to KWLA, a bottom-rung television station, where he catches the notice of the station's morning news director, Nina Romina (Rene Russo).  As he muscles his way into the world of L.A. crime journalism, however, Bloom's dark side quickly emerges.

On the surface, Nightcrawler might seem like it is only a slick crime film, especially because of Robert Elswit's gorgeous cinematography.  What writer-director Dan Gilroy also offers, however, is a mean, edgy film that is classic L.A. crime story.  This film is high-quality neo-Noir that recaptures the classic, black and white L.A. Film-Noir, without being a prisoner to style and expectations.

Nightcrawler might not be the excellent film it is without Jake Gyllenhaal's marvelous performance as the sociopathic and murderously ambitious Lou Bloom.  It is now official; doubting that Gyllenhaal is a supremely talented and skilled actor is no longer okay.  I must also throw some cheer Rene Russo's way.  Hell, yeah, she's good, but Hollywood industry ageism now keeps her away from audiences.  She takes a throwaway character like Nina and makes her crucial to the execution of the narrative.  Also, I must not forget Riz Ahmed.  As Rick, Bloom's desperate-for-money assistant, Ahmed delivers a star-turn that just comes out of nowhere.

It might be easy to focus on Louis Bloom's sociopathic tendencies; one might call him an outright sociopath.  However, I think Nightcrawler speaks to the world that creates the Lou Blooms.  The world of L.A. local television news is little better than rogue capitalism.  The movie is rife with characters that are me-first and win-at-all-costs, to say nothing of the anal obsession with acknowledging achievement that comes from literally walking over dead bodies.

Nightcrawler is not perfect; some of it seems a bit far-fetched.  Louis Bloom gets away with things that stretch credulity, although I won't be specific in order to avoid spoilers.  Still, I was destined to like Nightcrawler because I like neo-Noir set in Los Angeles.  I think that what makes Nightcrawler so fascinating to watch are the things that sometimes make it hard to watch.  Dan Gilroy's gem is blunt about a morally bankrupt society in which class status is everything and in which society treats actual people as nothing more than commodities.

8 of 10
A

Saturday, February 6, 2016


NOTES:
2015 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Writing, Original Screenplay” (Dan Gilroy)

2015 BAFTA Awards:  4 nominations: “Best Leading Actor” (Jake Gyllenhaal), “Best Supporting Actress” (Rene Russo), “Best Editing” (John Gilroy), and “Best Original Screenplay” (Dan Gilroy)

2015 Golden Globes, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Jake Gyllenhaal)


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Nevada Film Critics Society Name "Gone Girl" as Best Film of 2014

The Nevada Film Critics Society (NFCS) is apparently a society of film critics who reside in Nevada and produce film reviews for print, broadcast, radio, and online.

The Nevada Film Critics Society's 2014 Awards for Achievement in Film:

Best Film - Gone Girl'

Best Actor - Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler'


Best Actress - Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl'


Best Supporting Actor - JK Simmons for Whiplash'

Best Supporting Actress - Tie:
Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year'
Patricia Arquette for 'Boyhood' 


Best Youth Performance - Ellar Coltrane for Boyhood'


Best Director - Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler'

Best Screenplay - Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler'


Best Ensemble Cast - 'Guardians of the Galaxy'


Best Documentary - 'Citizenfour'

Best Animated Movie - 'Big Hero 6'

Best Production Design - Adam Stockhausen for The Grand Budapest Hotel'


Best Cinematography - Hoyte van hoytema for Interstellar'


Best Visual Effects - 'Interstellar'

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Central Ohio Film Critics Name "Selma" Best Film of 2014


The Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) was founded in 2002 and is made up of film critics based in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas.  Its membership currently consists of more than 21 print, radio, television, and new media critics.  Each January, COFCA votes on a number of awards, recognizing excellence in the film industry.

The 13th Annual Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards, honoring the best in film for 2014, were announced on Thursday, January 8, 2015.

2014 / 13th Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards:

Best Film
   1. Selma

   2. Whiplash
   3. Snowpiercer
   4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
   5. Nightcrawler
   6. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
   7. The Imitation Game
   8. Boyhood
   9. A Most Violent Year
  10. Gone Girl

Best Director
  • Ava DuVernay - (Selma)

  • Runner-Up: Wes Anderson - (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Actor
  • David Oyelowo - (Selma)

  • Runner-Up (tie): Michael Keaton - (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))
  • Runner-Up (tie): Jake Gyllenhaal - (Nightcrawler)

Best Actress
  • Essie Davis - (The Babadook)

  • Runner-Up: Scarlett Johansson - (Under the Skin)

Best Supporting Actor
  • J.K. Simmons - (Whiplash)

  • Runner-Up (tie): Josh Brolin - (Inherent Vice)
  • Runner-Up (tie): Mark Ruffalo - (Foxcatcher)

Best Supporting Actress
  • Tilda Swinton - (Snowpiercer)

  • Runner-Up: Patricia Arquette - (Boyhood)

Best Ensemble
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel

  • Runner-Up (tie): Foxcatcher
  • Runner-Up (tie): Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal - (Enemy and Nightcrawler)

  • Runner-Up: Tilda Swinton - (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Only Lovers Left Alive, Snowpiercer, and The Zero Theorem)

Breakthrough Film Artist
  • Ava DuVernay - (Selma) - (for directing)

  • Runner-Up: Jennifer Kent - (The Babadook) - (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
  • Robert Yeoman - (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

  • Runner-Up: Daniel Landin - (Under the Skin)

Best Film Editing
  • Tom Cross - (Whiplash)

  • Runner-Up: Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione - (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance))

Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Graham Moore - (The Imitation Game)

  • Runner-Up: Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson - (Snowpiercer)

Best Original Screenplay
  • Paul Webb - (Selma)

  • Runner-Up: Wes Anderson - (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Best Score
  • Alexandre Desplat - (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

  • Runner-Up: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - (Gone Girl)

Best Documentary
  • Finding Vivian Maier

  • Runner-Up: Citizenfour

Best Foreign Language Film
  • We Are the Best! (Vi är bäst!)

  • Runner-Up: Ida

Best Animated Film
  • The LEGO Movie

  • Runner-Up: Big Hero 6

Best Overlooked Film
  • The Babadook

  • Runner-Up: Edge of Tomorrow

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Announces 2014 Award Nominations

The Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) was founded in 2002 and is made up of film critics based in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas.  Its membership currently consists of more than 21 print, radio, television, and new media critics.  Each January, COFCA votes on a number of awards, recognizing excellence in the film industry.

The 13th Annual Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards, honoring the best in film for 2014, will be announced Thursday, January 8, 2015.  The nominees were announced this past weekend.

2014 / 13th Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award nominees:

Best Film
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Boyhood
- Gone Girl
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Imitation Game
- A Most Violent Year
- Nightcrawler
- Selma
- Snowpiercer
- Whiplash

Best Director
-Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
-Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
-Ava DuVernay, Selma
-Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Actor
-Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
-Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
-Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-David Oyelowo, Selma
-Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress
-Essie Davis, The Babadook
-Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin
-Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
-Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
-Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor
-Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
-Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
-Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
-J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
-Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
-Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
-Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
-Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

Best Ensemble
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Foxcatcher
- Gone Girl
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Guardians of the Galaxy

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work):
-Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Interstellar, Miss Julie, and A Most Violent Year)

-Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Imitation Game)

-Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy and Nightcrawler)

-Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy and The LEGO Movie)

-Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Only Lovers Left Alive, Snowpiercer, and The Zero Theorem)

Breakthrough Film Artist
-Damien Chazelle, Whiplash – (for directing and screenwriting)

-Ava DuVernay, Selma – (for directing)

-Jennifer Kent, The Babadook – (for directing and screenwriting)

-Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle and Beyond the Lights – (for acting)

-Justin Simien, Dear White People – (for directing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
-Benoît Delhomme, The Theory of Everything
-Hoyte Van Hoytema, Interstellar
-Daniel Landin, Under the Skin
-Emmanuel Lubezki,   Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Film Editing
-Sandra Adair, Boyhood
-Spencer Averick, Selma
-Kirk Baxter, Gone Girl
-Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Tom Cross, Whiplash

Best Adapted Screenplay
-Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
-Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson, Snowpiercer
-Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
-Nick Hornby, Wild
-Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Best Original Screenplay
-Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
-J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
-Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
-Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Paul Webb, Selma

Best Score
-Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
-Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
-Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
-Antonio Sanchez, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
-Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Best Documentary
- Citizenfour
- Dinosaur 13
- Finding Vivian Maier
- Jodorowsky’s Dune
- Life Itself

Best Foreign Language Film
- Force Majeure (Turist)
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Ida
- Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)
- We Are the Best! (Vi är bäst!)

Best Animated Film
- Big Hero 6
- The Book of Life
- The Boxtrolls
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- The LEGO Movie

Best Overlooked Film
- The Babadook
- Blue Ruin
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Enemy
- Locke

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Friday, January 2, 2015

"Boyhood" Tops Austin Film Critics Association Awards

The Austin Film Critics Association describes itself as a group dedicated to supporting the best in film, whether at the international, national, or local level.  Members of the AFCA contribute to such publications and outlets as Ain’t It Cool News, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, The Daily Texan, DVDActive, Fandango, Film School Rejects, FirstShowing.net, KOOP Radio, Movies.com, among others.

The 2014 AFCA Awards were announced on December 17, 2014.

2014 Austin Film Critics Association Awards winners:

Best Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Best Actress: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Best Score: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman

Best Foreign-Language Film: Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)

Best Documentary: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)

Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)

Best First Film: Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

Breakthrough Artist: Jennifer Kent, The Babadook

Best Austin Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

Special Honorary Award: Gary Poulter, for his outstanding performance in Joe

AFCA 2014 Top Ten Films:
1. Boyhood
2. Whiplash
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Birdman
5. Snowpiercer
6. Nightcrawler
7. Selma
8. The Imitation Game
9. TIE: Inherent Vice and Gone Girl

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

San Diego Film Critics Pick "Nightcrawler" as Best Film of 2014

The members of the San Diego Film Critics Society write and/or broadcast for a San Diego County based outlet.  The society’s mission statement is “to provide diverse critical opinion about movies, advance film education and awareness, and recognize excellence in cinema.”

2014 San Diego Film Critics Award winners were announced Monday, December 15, 2014.

San Diego Film Critics Society Top Films of 2014:

BEST FILM
NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST DIRECTOR
Dan Gilroy, NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ACTOR
Jake Gyllenhaal, NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mark Ruffalo, FOXCATCHER

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rene Russo, NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Dan Gilroy, NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ADAPATED SCREENPLAY
Gillian Flynn, GONE GIRL

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
FORCE MAJEURE

DOCUMENTARY
CITIZENFOUR

ANIMATED
THE BOXTROLLS

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Robert Elswit, NIGHTCRAWLER

EDITING
James Herbert, Laura Jennings, EDGE OF TOMORROW

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pincock, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

BEST SCORE
James Newton Howard, NIGHTCRAWLER

BEST ENSEMBLE
BIRDMAN

BODY OF WORK
Willem Dafoe – JOHN WICK, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, A MOST WANTED MAN & NYMPHOMANIAC 2

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St. Louis Film Critics Choose "Boyhood" as Best Film of 2014

The St. Louis Film Critics is an association of professional film critics operating in metropolitan St. Louis and adjoining areas of Missouri and Illinois.  Founded in late 2004, the group’s goals (according to the website) are to serve the interests of local film critics, and to promote an appreciation for cinema both as an art form and for its societal, cultural and historical context and impact.

The eligibility requirements for a SLFC Award, according to the group’s website:  a film must have been shown in the greater St. Louis area in a theater or at a film festival or series, or made available to SLFC members by screening or screener during the past year. Films opening in limited run elsewhere for Oscar qualification but which will open in the St. Louis area early in the next year are eligible.

Winners of the 2014 SLFC Awards were announced on Monday, December 15, 2014.

2014 SLFC Awards:

Best Film: “Boyhood”

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman”)

Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”)

Best Actress:  Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”)

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”)

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”)

Best Original Screenplay:  “Birdman” (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Gone Girl” (Gillian Flynn)

Best Cinematography: “Birdman” (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Best Visual Effects: “Interstellar”

Best Musical Score: “Birdman”

Best Soundtrack: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Art Direction: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Animated Film: “The Lego Movie”

Best Art-House or Festival Film: “Whiplash”

Best Comedy: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Documentary: “Citizenfour”

Best Non-English Language Film: “Force Majeure”

Best Scene (favorite movie scene or sequence): “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – Quicksilver Escape from the Pentagon

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: "End of Watch" a Blast to Watch

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux


End of Watch (2012)
Running time: 109 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence, some disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references, and some drug use
WRITER/DIRECTOR: David Ayer
PRODUCERS: David Ayer, Matt Jackson, John Lesher, and Nigel Sinclair
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roman Vasyanov (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Dody Dorn
COMPOSER: David Sardy

CRIME/DRAMA/ACTION

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera, Jamie FitzSimons, Cle Sloan, Cody Horn, and Yahira “Flakiss” Garcia, and Maurice Compte

End of Watch is a 2012 thriller and cop movie from writer/director, David Ayer. End of Watch looks like a documentary, but is entirely fictional. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as two young Los Angeles police officers who run into criminal activity that is bigger than they can handle.

Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña) are close friends and partners in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). They are assigned to Newton, an area in South Central Los Angeles that is one of the toughest divisions in the LAPD. Both young officers, who are in their late 20s, have active personal lives. Brian meets and falls in love with Janet (Anna Kendrick), and Mike and his wife, Gabby (Natalie Martinez), are expecting a child.

Investigating gang activity in Newton, Brian and Mike uncover something so big that it also involves federal authorities. The actions of the young policemen draw the attention of the Curbside Gang, a vicious Latino street gang, and other criminal forces that are bigger than Brian and Mike realize.

Writer/director David Ayers is known for writing such police and crime films as The Fast and the Furious (2001), Training Day (2001), and Dark Blue (2004). Shot documentary-style, End of Watch is gritty and immediate, while films like The Fast and the Furious and Training Day are stylish, neo-Noir crime movies. In fact, End of Watch is at its best when it’s being gritty and in the middle of some kind of police action. Car chases, foot chases, shoot-outs, domicile entries, traffic stops, and stakeouts: they are riveting and nerve-wracking. Ayer’s collaborators give him some of the best cinematography and film editing of 2012.

When it focuses on the daily grind of police life or the ordinary moments of civilian life, End of Watch grinds to a halt. It’s as if the hum-drum of life is much less interesting to the filmmakers. It’s not that I have to have constant titillation; the movie simply loses its way when it’s not doing the exciting cop stuff.

The cast gives its all, however, even when they’re not chasing perps and popping caps. While Jake Gyllenhaal gives a good performance, of the two lead actors, Michael Peña gives the better performance. He earned a “Best Supporting Male” nomination at the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards (which was won by Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike). Gyllenhaal tries so hard, but he looks like he’s acting. Peña is subtle, effortless, and natural, so that Mike Zavala seems like both a real person and a genuine police officer.

In the movie, a few of the male characters talk about the allure they believe Captain Reese (played by Jamie FitzSimons) has. I have to admit that I also think that Captain Reese/Jamie FitzSimons does have some strange magnetism.

End of Watch is probably the movie that the 1988 film, Colors, wanted to be. As cop movies go, End of Watch is quite good.

7 of 10
B+

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Filming Begins on "Prisoners," Starring Hugh Jackman

Filming Begins on Alcon Entertainment’s “Prisoners”

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal head an outstanding cast in director Denis Villeneuve’s dramatic thriller

Principal photography is underway on location in Georgia for Alcon Entertainment’s “Prisoners,” a Warner Bros. Pictures’ release starring Oscar® nominees Hugh Jackman (“Les Misérables”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”), under the direction of Denis Villeneuve, who helmed the Oscar®-nominated foreign language film “Incendies.”

How far would you go to protect your child? Keller Dover (Jackman) is facing every parent’s worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces the only suspect’s release.

Knowing his child’s life is at stake, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. The desperate father will do whatever it takes to find the girls, but in doing so, he may lose himself, begging the question: When do you cross the line between seeking justice and becoming a vigilante?

Led by Jackman and Gyllenhaal, the dramatic thriller “Prisoners” features an all-star cast, including Maria Bello (“Beautiful Boy”) as Keller’s distraught wife, Grace; Oscar® nominees Terrence Howard (“Hustle & Flow”) and Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Doubt”) as Franklin and Nancy Birch, whose daughter Joy went missing with the Dovers’; Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) as Alex Jones’ Aunt Holly; and Paul Dano (“Looper”) as Alex Jones.

Denis Villeneuve directs the film from an original screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski (“Contraband”). Kira Davis, Adam Kolbrenner, and Academy Award® nominees Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove (“The Blind Side”) are the producers, with John Starke, Ed McDonnell, Stephen Levinson, Robyn Meisinger and Mark Wahlberg serving as executive producers.

Villeneuve is supported by a top-flight creative team that includes 10-time Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (“Skyfall”), Oscar®-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette (“The Young Victoria”), Oscar®-winning editor Joel Cox (“Unforgiven”), editor Gary Roach (“J. Edgar”), and costume designer Renée April (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”).

Alcon Entertainment’s “Prisoners” is scheduled for release on September 20, 2013, and will be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: "The Day After Tomorrow" is Still Relevant and Entertaining (Happy B'day, Dennis Quaid)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 83 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Running time: 124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense situations of peril
DIRECTOR: Roland Emmerich
WRITERS: Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Roland Emmerich; from a story by Roland Emmerich
PRODUCERS: Roland Emmerich and Mark Gordon
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ueli Steiger (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: David Brenner
COMPOSERS: Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker
BAFTA winner

ACTION/ADVENTURE/DRAMA/FANTASY/SCI-FI/THRILLER


Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Dash Mihok, Jay O. Sanders, Sela Ward, Austin Nichols, Arjay Smith, Tamlyn Tomita, Ian Holm, Kenneth Welsh, and Perry King

The subject of this movie review is The Day After Tomorrow, the 2004 science fiction and environmental disaster film from director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day). Released by 20th Century Fox, the film is an ensemble drama about people trying to survive a new ice age brought upon by abrupt global warming. The character that is the main focus is a climatologist who is determined to save his son who is trapped in a frozen New York City.

A crack paleoclimatologist, Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), discovers that the Ice Age is coming back with a vengeance in director Roland  Emmerich’s hip retro cool disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow. Mixing such controversial concepts as the green house effect, global warming, and modern super SFX, the film is truly the movie as roller coaster ride.

After this new Ice Age hits the northern hemisphere with almost unimaginable fury, especially New York City, Hall begins a dangerous track across the frozen face of the northeastern U.S. to reach his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is trapped in NYC with a group of fellow students. Meanwhile, the freak weather is tearing half the planet apart.

Although many critics and detractors will cry over the film’s allegedly implausible concept, the important question is always, “Is it good.” Hell, yeah, it’s good. It’s a big, old giant tub of popcorn movie fun. The Day After Tomorrow is also a finely constructed drama and thriller with that just right touch of melodrama that stays one notch below over the top, which is just enough to pull at the old heartstrings. It’s exciting. It’s thrilling. It’s a damn good time at the movies.

Roland Emmerich reaffirms what his film Independence Day hinted – he’s a great movie director. Emmerich does the same thing Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg do with a “serious” drama – make the ordinary extraordinary. When it comes to a fun film, The Day After Tomorrow is a keeper.

8 of 10
A

NOTES:
2005 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Karen E. Goulekas, Neil Corbould, Greg Strause, and Remo Balcells)

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paul Giamatti Wins "Best Actor-Musical or Comedy" Golden Globe for "Barney's Version"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy:

Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version WINNER

Johnny Depp for The Tourist

Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland

Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs

Kevin Spacey for Casino Jack

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is a Very Good Time at the Movies

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 97 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time (2010)
Running time: 116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
DIRECTOR: Mike Newell
WRITERS: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard; from a screen story by Jordan Mechner (based upon the video game series "Prince of Persia" created by Jordan Mechner)
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Seale
EDITORS: Mick Audsley, Michael Kahn, and Martin Walsh
COMPOSER: Harry Gregson-Williams

FANTASY/ADVENTURE/ACTION

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell, Richard Coyle, Ronald Pickup, Reece Ritchie, Gísli Orn Garðarsson, and William Foster

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a film based upon the video game series, Prince of Persia, especially the 2003 video game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Set in a mystical and mythical version of the Persian Empire, the film focuses on a fugitive prince and a young princess trying to stop a villain from unleashing a force that can change time and even destroy the world. And this is actually a very entertaining film that is part Raiders of the Lost Ark and part Robin Hood with a bit of The Mummy (1999) thrown into the happy mix.

The hero of this story is Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), the youngest of the three Princes of Persia. Dastan was actually adopted into the royal family when he was a boy by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), the ruler of Persia. Dastan, along with his foster brothers, heir-to-the-throne Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), and their uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), invade the sacred city of Alamut, because it is supposedly selling weapons to Persia’s enemies. The celebration of their successful conquest of Alamut quickly turns sour when Dastan is accused of murder.

Trying to clear his name, Dastan goes on the run with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), the ruler of Alamut, and learns that the real murderer’s true goal is the Dagger of Time, which Tamina is supposed to protect. Dastan finds allies, of a sort, in a tax-averse, shady businessman named Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina) and his knife-throwing friend, an African named Seso (Steve Toussaint), and their men. The real murderer also has allies, a band of highly-skilled warriors and hired killers known as the Hassansins, and he orders them to slay Dastan.

Although I initially planned to see Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, I decided to avoid it because all the movie trailers for it made the movie look like an empty CGI-extravaganza with little or no story and wooden characters. Well, the plot is indeed simple; the story amounts to a bunch of chase scenes, fights, and rescues; and the characters are pretty shallow. But it works. Just like The Mummy, which had a simple plot and story, Prince of Persia is a fun ride through the desert. Prince of Persia’s characters aren’t as endearing as the feature players are in The Mummy. Still, I’d follow Dastan, the chatterbox Tamina, Sheik Amar and Seso again, if they went on another breathtaking mission to stop a bad guy and save life as we know it (especially if their adventures featured another lush score by Harry Gregson-Williams).

This movie is also easy on the eyes with its beautiful desert cities, extravagant backdrops, and lavish sets. The cast seems to be made of every known skin color and body type, and the costumes are dazzling and eclectic. No performance really stands out, but somehow, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times works and works really well. It’s just fun to watch. It’s the kind of movie some of us will watch again and again on television.

7 of 10
B+

Sunday, November 28, 2010

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review: "Brokeback Mountain" is Broke in the Middle (Happy Birthday, Ang Lee)


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Running time: 134 minutes (2 hours, 14 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, nudity, language, and some violence
DIRECTOR: Ang Lee
WRITERS: Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana (based upon the short story by Annie Proulx)
PRODUCERS: Diana Ossana and James Schamus
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Prieto, A.S.C.
EDITORS: Geraldine Peroni and Dylan Tichenor, A.C.E.
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/ROMANCE

Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, and Randy Quaid

Two young men: Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), a ranch hand, and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), a rodeo cowboy, meet in the summer of 1963 while shepherding sheep on Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. They unexpectedly fall in love and form a lifelong connection. At the end of the summer, they part ways. Ennis remains in Wyoming and marries his girlfriend, Alma (Michelle Williams), and they have two daughters. Jack returns to Texas to ride bulls in the rodeo where he falls in love with and marries a cowgirl, Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway), and they have a son. However, for the next 20 years, Ennis and Jack meet a few times a year for a fishing trip where they can freely express their love for one another, both emotionally and physically. The film shows the toll hiding their forbidden love takes on them and their relationships outside their romance.

Brokeback Mountain has the burden of history on its shoulders, being a movie about a love between cowboys, and the fact that it is the first film distributed by a big Hollywood studio (Focus Features, a division of Universal) and getting a wide release that directly focuses on a gay love affair between men. While the film can take a lot of credit for being a landmark in American cinematic history, the contents of the film aren’t as great. Mainly it is a combination of faulty direction and a flawed script. Like director Ang Lee’s previous film, 2003’s The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain is choppy, clumsy, and often dull. Add the fact that this film is alternately dry and cold, and you don’t have the makings of a great romance film. Sometimes The Hulk had moments that were quite novel, really clever, or simply brilliant filmmaking choices, and Brokeback Mountain is that way. However, dross sometimes weighs down the clever cinema. As for the script, an adaptation of an E. Anne Proulx story by Diana Ossana and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), it does indeed seem like a short story padded with a sagging and problematic middle to make a longer story.

That shakiness carries over to the acting. Heath Ledger is superb, often rising above the material and sometimes dragging the material up to his heights. His performance rings true; he certainly comes across as a dirt-poor cowboy, trouble and conflicted about all his personal relationships. His eyes are so expressive, and his facial expressions are riveting and absorbing. On the other hand, Jake Gyllenhaal really isn’t that good, and except for a moment here and there, his performance seems forced… phony even. That especially puts a damper on the screen chemistry between the leads. The supporting performances are good, though the parts are too small. Randy Quaid is menacing as the surly rancher who discovers Ennis and Jake’s secret. Michelle Williams is also quite good as Ennis’ long-suffering wife, Alma, and there are moments when she lights a fire that is as good as anything else in this film.

Certainly there are moments in Brokeback Mountain that completely impressed me. The opening act of the film, which reveals the origin of the cowboy’s love, is truly, truly expert filmmaking. The ending is heart-rending and poignant, with Ledger giving a performance in the last act that is good enough to save the entirety of another film. It’s the vast, clunky wasteland in the middle of Brokeback Mountain that keeps it from meeting its promise greatness.

6 of 10
B

Sunday, January 29, 2006

NOTES:
2006 Academy Awards: 3 wins: “Best Achievement in Directing” (Ang Lee), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Gustavo Santaolalla), and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana); 5 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Diana Ossana and James Schamus), “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Rodrigo Prieto), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Heath Ledger), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jake Gyllenhaal) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Michelle Williams)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 4 wins: “Best Film” (Diana Ossana and James Schamus), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Jake Gyllenhaal), “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), and David Lean Award for Direction” (Ang Lee); 5 nominations: “Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music” (Gustavo Santaolalla), “Best Cinematography” (Rodrigo Prieto), “Best Editing” (Geraldine Peroni and Dylan Tichenor), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Heath Ledger), and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Michelle Williams)

2006 Golden Globes: 4 wins: “Best Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Director - Motion Picture: (Ang Lee), “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Gustavo Santaolalla-music and Bernie Taupin-lyrics for the song “A Love That Will Never Grow Old”), and “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana); 3 nominations: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (Gustavo Santaolalla), “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Heath Ledger) and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Michelle Williams)

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Zodiac Refuses to Be Ordinary Serial Killer Flick



TRASH IN MY EYE No. 110 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Zodiac (2007)
Running time: 158 minutes (2 hours, 38 minutes)
MPAA - R for some strong killings, language, drug material, and brief sexual images
DIRECTOR: David Fincher
WRITER: James Vanderbilt (based upon the book by Robert Graysmith)
PRODUCERS: Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Bradley J. Fischer, James Vanderbilt, and Ceán Chaffin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Harris Savides, A.S.C.
EDITOR: Angus Wall

DRAMA/CRIME/MYSTERY/THRILLER

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, and Dermot Mulroney, Chloe Sevigny, Philip Baker Hall, Charles Fleischer, and Clea DuVall

In the 1960’s and 70’s, a serial killer terrified the San Francisco Bay Area and taunted police with his ciphers and letters. As the cryptic killer, sometimes clad in an executioner’s hood, stalked the streets and the countryside, investigators from four jurisdictions search for the murderer. Zodiac, the recent film from director David Fincher (Se7en), is a chilling recount of the murders. The film is based on the actual case files of one of the most infamous unsolved killing sprees in U.S. history, and its characters are also based on real people.

Shy editorial cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) has taken an interest in the new case his cynical colleague, the San Francisco Chronicle's star crime reporter, Paul Avery (Robert Downey, Jr.) is investigating. A murderer who calls himself, Zodiac, is hunting humans, and he sends letters to the press, including the Chronicle, and the police investigating the homicides. Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and his partner Inspector William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards) are feeling the pressure to discover who Zodiac is, especially with Avery often getting in the way of their investigation.

The case becomes an obsession for these four men as an endless trail of clues builds some careers and destroys others. As the years pass and they haven’t solved the case, Toschi finds himself dealing with too much department politics and too many false leads, and Armstrong grows weary of being away from his young family. Avery is drinking and drugging his career away. Meanwhile, Graysmith has quietly amassed piles of information on the Zodiac case. He thinks he may be able to solve the case, but will it cost him his family and his life?

Zodiac is a character drama dressed as a Film-Noir mystery/thriller. Although both director and writer (James Vanderbilt) are fascinated by the mystery of Zodiac’s identity, they seem more fascinated that the case would so alter the lives of the men who became obsessed with unscrambling the case’s codes and secrets. To that end, David Fincher gets some high quality performances from his cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr.

Although seemingly relegated to the background early in the story, Gyllenhaal’s Robert Graysmith (The real Graysmith wrote two books on the Zodiac killer, including the one upon which this film is based.) gradually comes to the forefront. Quietly and subtly, Graysmith is the one who maneuvers the film’s central theme – that obsession can take over a man’s life and then redefine him, which is to say make him something else and thereby destroy him. It’s a soft performance by Gyllenhaal that nevertheless drives Zodiac, and Fincher has the good sense to accept that, especially as his films tend to feature intense and charismatic characters. Gyllenhaal’s Graysmith is much more approachable than the other characters, and the one to which the audience will attach itself to in order to navigate the story.

With so many high expectations for Zodiac, it is no surprise that Fincher didn’t meet some of them, but few directors could make so beautiful a neo-noir crime film that is as equally beautiful as a character drama. From Mark Ruffalo’s frustrated cop who refuses to let frustration beat him to Downey’s slick reporter – the charming rogue who burns so brightly that he burns out too soon – Fincher uses nuanced performances to build Zodiac. The performances remind us that sometimes the murder victim isn’t the only victim of the crime.

8 of 10
A

Monday, July 30, 2007

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jake Gyllenhaal on Prince of Persia

Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Prince Dastan, talks about PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME in this interview provided by Disney:

QUESTION: You and Gemma Arterton have great chemistry on screen in Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time. That must have helped in the scenes where your characters banter together?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: Oh definitely! Those scenes I think were the best written and the most fun to play. They came so naturally and we shot them so fast. It was unfortunate that the ended so quickly. We might spend a month on an action scene and half a day on that scene (with Gemma). We would nail it and move on. She and I had a sort of tit for that thing. The first time we met she looked at me as though she was unimpressed and I looked at her like…’You should be! Why aren’t you?’…(joked). So that was it from the beginning, there was no acting required.

QUESTION: The weather in Morocco during filming was supposed to be so hot and sandy that it was almost like having sand in your mouth all the time?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: It was not that bad. It was ok. It was hot but it was fun. The desert is really cleansing…the sand exfoliates your skin….and there is a nice warm dry sun and you are sweating.

QUESTION: You must have been conditioned by Jarhead?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: I was. I make a lot of movies about turning back time and a lot of movies in the desert. It’s a very strange thing.

QUESTION: You have been Spider Man and Batman. Now in Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time you have become a sort of super hero?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: No! I am a video game adaptation. (jokes)

QUESTION: So how does it feel to finally have your own action figure?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: That is like fulfilling the dreams that I had when I was eight years old. When he is playing with an action figure what young boy doesn’t think that maybe one day…You personify anyway as the action figure character that you are playing with, so to be one is incredible. If you were to go back to the eight year old me and say that one day you will be playing in a movie that looks a little like Indiana Jones, or The Goonies and a couple of other things and it is the video game that you are actually playing called the Prince Of Persia…I think that my head would have exploded.

QUESTION: What was your inspiration for the movie?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: My primary resource was the video game. There were also books and different paintings of that time that were real inspirations. After I read the script I had a meeting with Jerry Bruckheimer and asked him what the movie was going to look like. Was it going to look like a video game or how I might imagine a typical Disney film? For instance, I wondered if I was to be wearing the red outfit for the whole movie. Jerry handed me this book (The Orientalist) and said that was how he wanted it to look. But apart from that there was not a lot of research. There was some research into weaponry and things like that. But I looked on it more like it was based on a fantasy world that was based on reality.

QUESTION: What is it like to make a big expensive special effects film like Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: The thing about a movie like this that is interesting is that people tend to only associate it with commerce. For me it was always that it was so much fun. It is differentiating the actor with the businessman and the actor who says that he wants to be a kid again and have a good time. It was so exciting! Every day I would drive to work and it was like going to a sporting event when you are the captain of the team. There were thousands of cars lined up along the road for five miles and there was an army of film crew and then the sets were 100 feet high – all built with perfect detail. I don’t think you see that any more on a film set. So often it is green screen effects that are done later. But we could shoot anywhere because the details were extraordinary and there were thousands of extras. And some more were added in later – to make it even bigger! I would get in there and every day I did feel like a kid.

QUESTION: After working with you in this film, Sir Ben Kingsley says you have the ability to seemingly be doing very little in front of the camera and yet it’s just right?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: With this movie I always looked at it like I was reading a children’s book to a child. It was that kind of style of acting. Because of his years of theatrical work and his history of Shakespeare, Sir Ben has an attitude that there is a sense of telling a story clearly and even theatrically. At on point I told him I felt as though I was speaking to a child and he said….exactly! I always feel that if a movie is good then an actor should have to do very little.

QUESTION: What would you say was the greatest challenge, the physicality of it or speaking in a British accent?

JAKLE GYLLENHAAL: No doubt speaking in a British accent, that was the hardest part for me. It’s daunting trying to do any service as an American to such a beautiful fluid speech pattern that you all have. For me, it did help being surrounded by a primarily British cast and somewhat British crew. So I would speak every day, I would get out of the car and I’d have the accent on all day. And I would sort of journey from region to region around England with each different person I would talk to, I would mimic them and sometimes I would sound like them in takes and Mike [Newell] would say [adopts posh British accent and shouts]… ‘Dear boy! You don’t sound right! Do it again! Smashing!’. That’s my favorite line. ‘CUT!’. That’s when you know he was excited about a take. So yeah, I would say the accent was much more daunting, particularly in front of the British press.

QUESTION: How dangerous is it working with ostriches?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: The ostrich scene was where I was the most terrified in the entire shoot. They are terrifying animals. Even in their innocence, they can tear out your eyeballs and rip out your heart. They seem like they have eyes similar to mine but they really don’t. They can really do dangerous stuff to you.

QUESTION: How much of the stunt work did you do and were you in the best shape of your life for this movie?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: It depends what you mean by ‘best shape’. I cycle and I run long distances…10 or 12 miles. But I am not able to do that when I am the shape I was for the movie. I remember seeing lance Armstrong on the cover of a magazine and he was saying ‘I’m ripped!’ He was skinny and really gaunt but that was him ready for the tour. So that is being in shape in another way. But I was fit for doing almost any sport. I could avoid serious injury because I was strong and flexible enough. I am pretty athletic so I always feel pretty good and healthy.

QUESTION: What sort of injuries did you get?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: My shoulders got pretty big so I couldn’t always grab on to something and sometimes there was a little pulling and tearing of tendons. There were some little muscle things and bruises and cuts…but no big deal. I accepted that aches and pains are part of the job. I want to go after the things that I want to do or I am inspired by

QUESTION: Did you feel you were chosen for Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, not just for how you look but because you can handle deeper stuff?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: I hope so. I hope that is why people choose actors. Obviously I know they don’t always do that. But I believe that you earn your stripes. I don’t believe that there is necessarily an order and that doing a bigger movie means you have to do a smaller movie. But I do feel that when you are cast in a movie you should have earned that thing – whether it is from an audition or other work you’ve done, or whether you have behaved well in a certain way or that you also do good work. Those things are important. Jerry [Bruckheimer] said he thought I was a good actor and [director] Mike Newell too. Mike had worked with my sister and had seen and respected my work. He didn’t just pick me out of the blue. I worked to gain their confidence and I feel that is how it should be.

QUESTION: As a child was it always the case that you would become an actor?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: There is a very early entry in my diary, from when I was six years old. It says…Soccer is my life! I played AYSO soccer – school soccer. It became my obsession. Which position did I play? I played all sorts of positions. When you are playing soccer at five years old there isn’t really a position. You run after the ball, basically.

QUESTION: There are several Prince Of Persia stories. So how prepared are you to do another film as Dastan?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: With a movie of this size that is something that becomes contractual even before you start it. There have been many movies in which I have been involved when there has been the potential for something else and it hasn’t happened. Or it has happened actually. But the thing is, I am totally game. I love the character and his world. I think it is super fun.

QUESTION: You must be pleased with your English accent in Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time because it is spot on.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: Thank you very much. I worked really hard on it. It was planned from the very beginning to use an English accent. Jerry Bruckheimer said that he thought an English accent seemed to legitimize any time period. Particularly if it is in the past but even if it is in the future. It’s sort of strange but there is something about the accent. I don’t know what it is. There is an ancient quality and the Shakespearean theatrical thing that people can unconsciously relate to. Also since Mike Newell was shooting it in Britain, he wanted primarily to cast British. So the actor who was to play the part of Dastan would have to fit in.

QUESTION: How have you coped with fame? Have you become more comfortable as you have got older?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL: Up until now I have had an interesting perspective because I haven’t been so clear about all the things that I want to do or who I was. Now I think I feel much more comfortable with it because I am more comfortable with what I want to do and who I am and what I care about. A lot of this stuff is great fun, I have a good sense of humor and I enjoy laughing. I want to make movies that are like that and spend time with good people. This is our day so you should have a good time doing it. That is my perspective on it now.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is now vailable on DVD and Blu-ray.