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Demolition Review (2015)

A twisted drama!

Comes another melodramatic venture from the beautiful head of Jean-Marc Vallee, Demolition is a movie not for everyone. Whilst I personally love his direction, in the back of the head I get this feeling it might overwhelm some with apathy.

PLOT OF DEMOLITION

Demolition lets you delve into the head of a guy who goes rogue on account of a recent mishap. Jake Gyllenhaal gets into the skin of Davis, a guy who doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on around him, until he does. The world we behold then is brimming up with his insanity, and he seems at one point to have reached heights of the inane. Some of his acts seem really fatuous but some instigated. But it is the constant struggle between the two that the director pushes us toward which makes things hard to digest.

BREAKING IT DOWN

Jake Gyllenhaal is, no doubt, outstanding as the protagonist who loses it all in the very beginning frames of the movie. It unfolds into a great sojourn as people make an effort to fathom his fatuous acts, which he justifies through his phenomenal explanatory yet endearing letters to Karen (Naomi Watts), a character we see appear out of the blue. For some moments, you will have a hard time wrapping your head around the mist she appears from. At one junction, I took her for a figment, but then when we see her world unfurling with more twisted people, things kind of sediment.

SUB-PLOT IN DEMOLITION

You see a sub-plot protruding right then with the inclusion of Chris (Judah Lewis) to the tale. The side story comes more as a helping hand to see the thrilling side of demolishing something, a secondary perspective which tries to address a persisting LGBT issue too. It is weird how with those moments with Chris, Karen disappears completely only to return when she is needed for the movie. A sense of disconnect that makes things impalpable. In his strides towards the extraordinaire, Jean-Marc Vallee often misses out on the flick’s substance.

THOSE GYLLENHAAL MOVES

Watching Jake groove to the beats was one of the most amusing and cool parts. His carefree reckless dancing makes you fall in love with him even more. Watching him rip apart everything he thinks beautiful, gives you a silent satisfaction. To feel that relatable urge to annihilate things to tatters, was a reassuring contended sight. Albeit it becomes very difficult to relate to his character after one point, owing to some humorous bits in the movie, which seemed more like a deliberate attempt to aid the movie into reaching its climax, which was also quite fromward from its original steer. But the climax unravels with a punch in a gorgeous fashion that covers up for the indifference that we face midway.

The fact that Julia (the wife) bides by and stays impregnated in Davis’ chores has been beautifully depicted in the Demolition. The way she gets mirrored to him every time goes on to show – no matter how aloof you are from someone your head somehow finds them through regular habits.

Screenplay of Bryan Sipe goes brilliant at times but ambles quietly on a constant high and low road. Chris Cooper does a very thoughtful loving and caring dad that almost breaks you up, if it weren’t for the callous Davis demeanour to put you back in his mood.

DAMAGED SPOILERS AHEAD

One of the most powerful parts of Demolition is Davis’ resurrection, as he feels sorry for his acts, and actually starts to miss Julia. That’s when he pulls himself together to meet a stranger who visits her grave. Mistook for the guy whom she was dating before her death, Davis decides to acknowledge him only to find out he was the guy responsible for the accident. It puts you in your brooding gears.

THE FINAL VERDICT

I could totally understand what the director is feeling when he tries to jog us down through that grieving lane. Unfortunately, he fails to connect us to his thoughts. With demolition, he couldn’t really open up wide and audaciously to the public, which I kind of felt defeats the purpose.

Everest Review (2015)

The first thing that hits you when the Everest commences is its music. There is melancholy inscribed, and you at once know there is tragedy in the tale. Well, of course, if you have been following the movie, the book, the unfortunate event and been watching the trailers, you already know what you are in for. And so the placard in the beginning tells you.

Everest is a true story that laps around the 1996 disaster on the mountain. The story brings Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, the leaders of two different groups, into the limelight and unwinds every minute detail related to their expedition. What it also does is open the gates for a little dread for those who think trekking it is a piece of cake.

Baltasar Kormakur’s direction is good but not great. His frames are silent and endearing and connect you at once. You suddenly find yourself amongst the characters. But sometimes you feel something is missing. Fleeting frames of the progressive kind don’t actually let you take profundity in. They rarely let you focus and you keep moving on.

Another problem with the movie is that you have a script that you cannot play around with. These events happened. You cannot toy with its reality. To make it into a feature film, you have to ensure that your direction is out of the world. To connect to the audience you have to make the gloom shattering.

Personally, what I felt missing was a heartbreaking emotional touch that would break you into a million pieces. Death didn’t seem to tingle you. Because there was little time spent on the aftermath and more time on the ‘what’. You couldn’t feel the warmth in the characters so losing them didn’t exactly connect. This again was a ball in the director’s court. Also, the screenplay being average fails to blow your mind. But there are, at times, brilliant lines in the movie that can be cherished as is.

There is one badass scene when the storm cloud gradually moves towards a stranded Rob that was one of the most memorable ones. Also, Doug and Harold’s fate was terrorizing to watch. The scenic beauty that the badass mountain offers is simply out of the world and is well captured. Though Baltasar often used the same frame again and again for emphasis.

There are little things in the movie that are really thought provoking. Clouds of thoughts engulf the team when they are asked “Why?” Why are they trying to reach its peak? Also, when the protagonist looks at a returning team with an injured member, fallen and vanquished, it puts him in doubts. The scene is metaphorical of defeat.

If you wish to relive the disaster, this movie sets a brilliant backdrop and entertains one helluva cast into a commiserating melodrama. A definite watch!

Southpaw Review (2015)

Southpaw is high on punch, but low on script.

Antoine Fuqua’s latest venture isn’t huge or the next best thing in a series of boxing movies we have seen so far. He had a clichéd script with him which he tried to weave into a movie. So what works in his favour and how did he manage to pull it off? The answer – Jake Gyllenhaal. Period.

You can almost read the tenacity in Jake’s eyes, the commitment in his body and the way he pulls anything off. He has gone pro in acting and he wears every skin endeavoring to erase his name, to don a character so brilliantly that people forget the guy under the skin. He creates a new personality altogether that walks, moves and talks differently.

Whitaker does a pretty good job as a trainer. Drama isn’t that great but manages to pull through, at times visiting sentient frames. The movie misses out on imparting gravity to characters like Jordan Mains, Hoppy, Jon Jon etc. who work as mere backdrops to the badass Billy Hope. Escobar played by Miguel Gomez disappears like noise too, since he fails to properly unfurl his limited time perversion.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Some of the badass bits that are worth noticing are – when the flick begins in rad pizazz with Hope listening to music whilst getting wrist wrapped. Ample time is spent on the beginning act which looks pretty dope. Also the aftermath of Billy losing Maureen has been shot pretty nicely. The father-daughter relationship that goes sour has been properly depicted by both Jake and Oona’s acting prowess. The boxing matches are pretty great to watch. Thrilling and the way it should be – natural.

Southpaw loses out on intensity. The story is quite clichéd and the screenplay doesn’t raise brows. At the end of it becomes nothing but mediocre. If it weren’t for Jake Gyllenhaal’s awesome acting, the movie could have simply passed as yet another boxing movie where the actor is bent on seeking redemption.

Go watch it if you love boxing, or Jake. 😉

The Unpredictable Academy: Snubs and Wins (2015)

Every year the Academy slips in a frowned spurn at a movie that is on everybody’s mind. This time ‘Boyhood’ became the bait. The coming-of-age tale that spread brilliantly over the span of 12 years, was a sure shot per se. But alas! the Oscars have a reputation in doing the unthinkable. ‘Birdman’ beat Linklater’s panache not only in Best Picture and Original Screenplay categories but also in Best Direction. The latter managed to hold its ground thanks to Patricia Arquette’s Supporting Actress win.

Not long ago when the Academy had pressed its Oscar sheet, the snubbing of great movies like ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Big Eyes’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and great actors like Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, David Oyelowo, Helen Mirren, Bill Murray, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, had caught a lot of moss. Putting out Selma flame was a big rebuff this year since people claimed it to be a distinction on Academy’s part, not to mention the fact that a majority of voting members in the Oscar team are white.

Apart from the biggest surprise of the night, some more were strewn all along the event. Academy chose to ignore the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ franchise once again giving precedence to ‘Big Hero 6’ in the animation department. Best Editing went to ‘Whiplash’ which again was a pie in the face for ‘Boyhood’. ‘American Sniper’ losing to ‘Whiplash’ in Sound Editing was another one. ‘Interstellar’ managed only one out of its five nominations. Surprise was Zimmer’s stunning score bowing down to Desplatic rhythm. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes overlooked in the Visual Effects department came as a big blow. However, it was a close call since Interstellar’s visuals were quite brilliant as well. It was great to see Glory glorified and Feast winning the Best Short Film Animated category. Winston just had to win 😉

Here is a short summary of what happened:

  • The Imitation Game (had 8 nominations, bagged 1)
  • Boyhood (had 6, bagged 1)
  • American Sniper (had 6, managed 1)
  • Birdman (had 9, got 4)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (had 9, got 4)
  • Whiplash (had 5, got 3)
  • Interstellar (had 5, got 1)
  • Foxcatcher (had 5, received none)

‘Foxcatcher’ was overlooked big time. Given the amount of work Bennett Miller had put in to create the beauty, he needed a little Academy respect and attention. Steve Carell’s transformational looks as John du Pont at least deserved a Makeup and Hairstyling accolade.

Rumours have continuously surrounded the Academy owing to its big decisions which seem pretty biased sometimes. The one that exemplifies the obvious perfectly – Incessant snubbing of Leonardo DiCaprio despite outstanding performances throughout his life. Academy even failed to recognize exceptional knacks of Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater last night. Both are yet to bag an Oscar, and that is just sad.

I picture Academy as one old crude witch, who just loves to see the world burn. If you have a favorite the Academy would snub it and shout “In your face!” in your face. Mainstream movies never even make it to the list.

Whatever the hammer says hardly bothers us though. We know for sure, nothing is really lost. The shattered are still celebrated. We still have incredible movies to watch thanks to sensational efforts put in by excellent directors, actors and the remaining crew.

If you didn’t make it, we don’t really care. Academy is just a bunch of people with their scathing point of view. If you consider all of us – people who watch you from every corner of the world, who care about every single thought you conceived to carve something beautiful, who praise your extraordinary efforts to create what we can only imagine, those who really love your work, who really encourage you do the exceptional, the real movie buffs, for us, you are still our winners! You will never lose! Let us raise one to that!

Nightcrawler Review (2014)

Nightcrawler is Jake Gyllenhaal, period.

Dan Gilroy’s debut flick is everything what it needs to be – a perfect reflection of his superb writing. His direction is subtle. Editing is just brilliant. The plot flows in a perfect rhythm through the head of a messed up guy Louis Bloom, who takes you on a high speed ride behind an exquisite red muscle to shoot stories up close.

SPOILERS

Jake Gyllenhaal is hands down one of the finest actors in Hollywood. The heights he scales and the lengths he drive deserve a big fat ovation. A psychopath on the loose, Jake is something more than that, a perfectionist who does things that he is good at. A deft thief whose keen eyes fall on crime journalism. He crosses all human confinements and legal barriers to get stories that are still hatching. Every crime scene is his puppet. He beats even the police to it.

An equally good performance by co-stars Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed who end up being manipulated by the devilry of the badass diligent Nightcrawler. Sitting on the hood of the car listening to every word that the static says, learning everything about police radio codes, manifest how dedicated the protagonist is to his work. In his words:

“I am a quick learner.”

There are shots that Jake perfects without dropping his calm demeanor, unhindered and incessant speeches that make you want to clap for his effort. The screenplay brings magic through his lips. The time he breaks the mirror screaming with frustration shows the perfection he has achieved in his acting. A great actor, with the variegation he has scoured, makes him one of a kind. I place him amongst the greats. Bravo!