Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: jake gyllenhaal

Life Movie Review (2017) | A Spine-Tingling Sci-Fi Thriller

Life movie is yet another critical speculation of alien life form if we were to encounter one whilst prodding into the unknown. Even though the movie sends the message loud and clear that while trying to scour through uncharted enclaves, we might be endangering our whole planet in the process, what it also does is create a thrilling environment to execute its brilliant horror. If you focus on the thrilling formidable part alone you are going to simply love it. It’s climax has a badass twist which is definitely going to leave you satisfied.

While there are a lot of movies out there on a similar theme, and the concept is somehow trying to steer us towards not messing with things we don’t fathom, Life movie still remains however an edgy intriguing take on the extraterrestrial.

Theme and Plot of Life Movie

What happens when you try to understand the unexplained? The possibilities are immense when you really look at it. But that’s when you are optimistic about things. What if things begin to go south? What happens then? That’s the primal theme of the Life movie on which you find it riveted.

A six member ISS team is able to successfully capture a soil sample from Mars. Subjecting the specimen, segregating a single-celled organism from it, Hugh Derry played by Ariyon Bakare is able to bring it to life by adjusting it to an artificial atmosphere. They find it turning into a multi-celled organism pretty quick and that it reacts pretty well to stimuli. Each cell has a myocyte, neuron and photoreceptor of its own. Owing to that it’s dubbed to be all muscle, all brain, all eye. The organism is named Calvin after a school’s name.

still of baby calvin in life movie

One day due to a lab accident Calvin becomes dormant. On instigation for the fear of losing it, with the help of mild electric shock, Calvin becomes hostile and animatedly attacks Hugh. It is able to escape the cube, disintegrates a lab rat within a matter of seconds, and grows in size. When Rory Adams played by Ryan Reynolds tries to save Hugh, Calvin grabs hold of him too and despite him trying to kill it with an incinerator, it enters his mouth killing him slowly from the inside.

Following that incident Calvin escapes via a vent. What follows is sheer madness with the crew trying to fend off an omnipotent alien who is bent on killing everything it finds on board just for survival. What’s worse is the size of it keeps growing, and it’s impossible to kill.

You can order Life Movie from here:

The Metaphor of Life

Even though the concept herein is supposed to be a tad glib, you can’t help but connect it with the bigger picture. What if “we” humans are nothing but parasites like Calvin? What if we were inevitable too? All the animals, birds and plants extant today were trying its best to fend off humans, but we stuck, glued in like Calvin for survival. And we obliterated all signs of life, because all we cared for was survival.

I mean just look at it, we came along on a meteor annihilating the entire species of dinosaurs completely. We were also a result of single-celled organism that turned into variants of multi-celled ones. We swallowed the good, took everything by force and rule the planet like the next dinosaurs. In a way we are nothing but a paragon of Calvin.

Screenplay and Direction

Screenplay of Life movie is extremely poignant. At times when people stop to reflect, that’s when you come across some of the most powerful lines the movie has. At one point David Jordan played by Jake Gyllenhaal narrates an excerpt from “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and it spirals you into infinity thinking.

Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light. And the red balloon. Goodnight nobody.

Daniel Espinosa has directed the flick beautifully. I loved how there were long continuous shots of camera wherein the man behind the lens floated alongside its characters. People who went out were often shown from the vantage of people watching from the inside which was a subtle take.

There are however moments wherein it becomes really hard to concentrate because of all the red lights, you don’t know what’s going on or where’s our predator hiding. Also, actors are closely shot which populates the entire screen with their face. I think in the entire flick there wasn’t a single shot showing any actor properly which kind of made things monotonous with the camera.

The end somehow becomes predictable when you realize what is going to happen. It could have been wrapped more under clouds of doubt so that the audiences couldn’t have possibly seen anything coming.

The Final Verdict

Life movie will bring out pious horror from within. Calvin the antagonist is like a cockroach you can’t kill. The only difference being a cockroach isn’t on the prowl. Calvin is hunting and it is willing to do anything to suck life out of you for survival.

The way the movie ends it compels you to speculate which is a pretty great feeling. You can’t help but imagine what might happen next. It leaves threads open for sequels.

Life is a sci-fi thriller that shouldn’t be missed for the world.

Check out the trailer of Life movie here:

 

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!