Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)
Written and Directed by Dan Gilroy

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In Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, he depicts a man, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has an entrepreneurial spirit that would make Tony Robbins proud and will do anything by any means necessary to achieve the success he believes he so rightfully deserves. Take Norman Bates’ way of smiling his way through conversations, Patrick Batemen’s deadpan somewhat narcissistic way of stating information in a logical and factual way and Travis Bickle’s sense of loneliness and you get the character that is Bloom.

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He is a new psychopath, one for the generation that is obsessed with the media and having information at their fingertips every second of the day. With an understanding that people want to see sensational media footage, Bloom takes it upon himself to buy a camera and a police radio transmitter and learn how to shoot videos that he can sell to local television stations. He sees that there is an opportunity to make quick and easy money, he envisions himself as a go-getter and when no one else will hire him, he starts his own company, aptly named Video Production News.

Bloom chases down ambulances and gets in the face of the victims, he is not afraid to get that perfect shot, one where the audience can see the blood and guts of the story. He takes his footage to a local station run by Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who absolutely loves his graphic footage. The bloodier the better in her books, anything that will get her front billing on the news is what she craves and Bloom can see how her eyes light up when she receives that type of coverage.

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When Bloom realizes that other camera men out there like Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) are arriving at crime and accident scenes before him, he gets discouraged, but he makes a plan. We see him go back to his apartment in Los Angeles every day; he parks his car, waters his plants, uploads his videos and watches the news, thirsty to see his own footage featured in the evening. That aspect of the film was so reminiscent to me of the solidarity that encompasses such famous psychologically troubled characters. They live through seamlessly passing the boundaries of normal to psycho not really feeling a disruption in their personalities. In other words, the things they do, the way they behave and treat people does not affect them.

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In order to get his company running more efficiently he hires his first and only employee, a young man named Rick (Riz Ahmed) who is willing to do anything to work. He hires him on the spot, and sells the job as internship, as if he would be learning from the best in the business, when in reality he has barely been working at all. The only other job we see him do is sell metal for money at the junk yards. Everything he does and says is ripped from Google searches and put together as his own, as if he was as eloquent and well spoken as a Human Resources manager.

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Rick’s job is to help him with shooting and basically be his navigator in the car. They sit around waiting for the police radio to tell them of the next big accident or crime and they run to get to the locations before anyone else. Bloom is relentless, he realizes that he needs to be the first on the scene and is willing to do so by almost driving other people off the road, running red lights and practically killing other camera men in his path.

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What Bloom does is he pushes the envelope and boundaries of reporting. He puts together clips and footage in a similar way to reality shows, edited to tell the truth he wants people to believe. As Nina says, if it bleeds it leads, and he takes that to heart when one night he arrives before the cops and shoots footage that could be considered tampering with police evidence. He deftly leaves out the part where he films the criminals who committed the crime and shows Nina what he found; of course she runs with it and puts it up for the world to see. Causing a commotion and scaring everyone since the crime took place in an upper class neighborhood. What ensues from here is Bloom’s way of fixing the problem, of showing that he takes initiative and can deliver the criminals in the way that he sees fit. Everything is always on his terms in order to make himself seem the most important person in the equation.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays an unscrupulous news cameraman in the thriller Nightcrawler

The best part of this movie is Gyllenhaal’s way of morphing into such a demented person. He delivers each line as thoughtful as possible, but behind the glimmering persona he is perceived to be, it is obvious through his eyes that he is a little off.

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Many of the shots are close ups and this only adds to make the film seem so much more real and fast paced, at times it feels as if we are in the car with no seat belts on whizzing through the city and canyons of Los Angeles. The camera angles and cinematography were all beautifully composed and helped give off that dark Hollywood feel to it. The streets of LA are not as pretty as what we see in TV and in blockbuster movies. They are dingy and filled with people, you never know what is lurking around the corner and we get that feeling in this film.

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Russo was outstanding and it was great to see her back in films. At times when she would talk to Bloom, she seemed both put off by him, but turned on as well. I liked that she portrayed that duality to her, she wasn’t a meek woman afraid of him, and instead we start to see that maybe she is a little more like him than she thinks. Ahmed played wonderfully against Gyllenhaal, he showed emotion and range and I hope to see him in more films.

Nightcrawler is on Netflix now and I have seen it again a few times and each time it gets better. I really enjoyed this movie, I would say it was one of my favorites of 2014, loved the characters and the fast paced action. This was a fantastic movie in my book and I am not just saying that because I am in love with Jake Gyllenhaal.

}}Melissa

Movie Review: Locke (2013)

Locke (2013)
Written and Directed by: Steven Knight

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Locke is one of those films that I heard so many people talking about that it piqued my interest, plus it has Tom Hardy as the star. As much as I wanted to love this movie and I do believe it has some merits, it just didn’t work for me.

The premise of the film is simple, a man Ivan Locke, gets in his car on the way to the hospital where his newborn baby by his mistress is about to be delivered. On the way there he is dealing with his job as a concrete foreman, where he is involved on a new, very important project that he must oversee to completion and he carries with him the burden that he must unravel the truth to his wife.

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Directed by Steven Knight, the movie is experimental in that throughout the entire film, he remains in the vehicle. He is the only protagonist that the viewer sees at all. Other voices are heard while he talks on the phone with them in his car, but they are never seen. We can only imagine their reactions at the news he delivers and how the other people on the end of the line are feeling.

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He must come to the consequences as a man for the things he has done in his past. What he has done to his wife Katrina (Ruth Wilson) and his family and where he will end up, that is the question. On top of the drama that is occurring in his personal life, he is coaching his co-workers to help him with the concrete project that heavily relies on his orders to get done.

The premise is interesting, but I would have preferred to have seen other actors in the film. The reactions of his wife and his mistress would have played out well in the film and this could have been a really exciting one to watch.

Hardy does a great job as an actor; he pushed the envelope and poured his feelings on to the screen. To be able to take on a feat alone, I am sure carried a heavy burden for him and he executed it flawlessly. Hardy has a great way of conveying emotion through his eyes and this ability worked great for this type of movie. I know he won some awards for his work in this film and he definitely deserved all the accolades.

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Many of the shots worked from an aesthetic point of view and helped to develop and convey the emotions in the scenes. I liked how the colors of different car lights and the highway created a sort of movement. As if we were driving alongside him and only see the glare of the lights. These colors bounce off his car window and add to give us an idea that in a way his actions are driving him crazy.

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Overall, I thought this movie was okay, I understand the artistic point of view and for that I think it did a great job. I definitely give the director and Hardy credit for their work. But I felt bored with the film and I wanted it to end or for something to happen, anything at the halfway point of the movie would have helped. If you want to see it for the artistic aspect of it, then I think it is worth watching, but if you are in the mood for a drama and something enthralling, then you must look elsewhere.

In fact if you are interested in seeing this movie, just watch Luke Abbott’s version that he did for Cara’s blogathan last year and you will save yourself a few bucks and 2 hours of your life.

}}Melissa

Update and June Favorites

Hello friends, I feel like I have been gone for so long. My last favorites post and movie review I did was in January (GEEZ) not counting the one I just posted the other day. I have had quite a lot of ups and downs recently, with my family, my mother’s health and my own health as well. For months, no one could diagnose what my mom had, they thought it was so many different things (scary things), saw so many doctors, had so many tests, was on disability and finally as of last week found out what she has and they can treat her (thank goodness). Going through that with her has left me really stressed out. I am okay too, I have had some issues that I am trying to get resolved and finally getting what I need to get better (woo hoo) as of last week. I have had zero energy to do much other go to work and come home and do the same thing all over again. I am finally starting to get back on the horse and get back to watching movies and doing what I love on here. But life happens and things are getting better and I am thankful for that. Ok that was pretty personal, but I wanted to share it because I know you guys won’t judge me.

Well I have still been watching my shows and wanted to share with you my favorites. Also, I’ll be going to Comic Con next week and I will be posting about my adventures and sharing some fun photos.

And here’s a picture of a cute puppy because he’s just too cute not to share.

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Movie Review: 50 Shades of Grey (2015)

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Written by Kelly Marcel
Adapted from the book by E.L. James

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The hype was palpable over the film 50 Shades of Grey. Everyone was clamoring over the steamy sex scenes, feminists were pissed off that it featured women being violated, and everyone was having a moment letting everyone know their opinion on the film. I had to see it for myself, for movie research of course (cough cough). I will easily give you my opinion in a few words, it’s not the worst movie, it’s not great, and I would say it is just okay.

Back when everyone was talking about the book, naturally I had to go read it and see what the fuss was all about, well I only got about 150 pages in and I put it down. I couldn’t take it, the writing was so corny, I felt like I was reading one of those old romance novels with Fabio on the cover. I thought the movie will probably better than this, and really who ever thinks that when they read a book?

 50 Shades of Grey is about a girl named Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a normal college girl who is a bit frumpy and modest, and her relationship with the young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), an enigmatic handsome guy and the most eligible bachelor around. In place of her roommate who is sick, she goes to interview Grey instead and upon arriving it is obvious that the two are completely different people. Where as he commands the room, she is meek and shy, his bravado is undeniable and hers is a bit softer hiding under layers of innocence.

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From there he becomes enamored with her, perhaps for her vulnerability, but his grasp on her becomes tight. He can’t stop thinking about her and wants to be with her. He appears at her work, a supply store, out of the blue, and asks her to help him find rope, ties and masking tape. If that doesn’t sound like a list for a serial killer, I don’t know what does. After inviting her over for dinner, he immediately knows he wants her to be his. Yes, his as in a possession, as in laying a claim over her.

He showers her with affection, takes on her a helicopter ride and of course has to help her with the seat belt. As he puts his hands around her waist area, the sexual tension can be felt. When he takes her back home, he lays down a contract and asks her to be his. In exchange, she will get her own room to stay in on the weekends, where she is free to decorate as she pleases, and anything she needs he will buy it for her, a new car, a computer, whatever it is. If she chooses to be his, she must adhere to his strict guidelines in being his partner, and not just any partner; she must essentially be his sex slave. Anything he wants to do, as far off as it sounds, whips, chains, being restrained with cuffs or rope, essentially anything goes if she is willing to play in his sex room. She can amend the contracts with what she does not want to do, but everything else is pretty much fair game if she agrees.

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When he shows her his play room she innocently asks if it contains an Xbox (which was really corny) and inside he shows his red room of sex. He has tables, chairs, whips on the wall of every style, flogging sticks and any sexual device that could be used for bondage. She is as much confused as she is in awe of her discovery of Christian’s deep and darkest secret.  In a way, I believe she feels special at the fact that he has shown her so much of himself, considering what a private person he seems to be to the public.

From there, the whole movie is her discovery of not only her sexuality and what it means to be pleasured in every way possible and her realization of who Christian Grey is as a person. He was orphaned and taken in by a wealthy family and that is as much as she really knows about him and he refuses to let her into his true world. Part of his rules, is that they cannot sleep together in the same bed or really do anything that would scream of a relationship, like normal dates and hugging. He is an odd person, but as he says throughout the film that is who he is and he cannot help it. Anastasia must take him as he is, if she wants to be in his life.

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The film was fun to watch, the corniness of it made me laugh. When I saw this in the theater months ago the audience was going a bit wild during much of the sex scenes. Mostly guys screaming silly stuff, it is obvious that sex still makes adults laugh as if they were in sex-ed class learning about this topic for the first time.

Johnson was pretty brave to put herself out there and be completely nude throughout much of the film, considering this was her big break out role. She delivered a performance that was heartfelt and endearing, and I became a fan of hers by the end of the movie.

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On the other hand, despite Dornan’s handsome looks and body, his acting felt very one note and dull. In the book, Grey is a force to be reckoned with from the boardroom to the bedroom and in the film, he was very blah and not that fun to watch. When the camera pans to him, he gives a gorgeous playful smile and he is great to look at, but everything else fell flat. I had only seen him in Marie Antoinette before, so I am not sure of his acting prowess as much, but I hope that he can deliver in the upcoming sequels. Since I knew that Charlie Hunnam was supposed to be in this role, but dropped out, all I could think about was how great he would have been in this film. Although I think he made a wise decision not taking the role and I think this would have devalued his image a bit.

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If you on the fence about seeing this movie, I think you should see it on one of those nights where you are really bored and have nothing else to watch, or if you are just curious to see it.

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lol

}}Melissa

 

Game of Thrones Finale Recap: Top 10 Moments of Season 5, Episode 10: Mother’s Mercy

Last week I mentioned that the previous episode broke the internet, let’s re-phrase that to it almost did. This week’s finale episode of Game of Thrones, DEFINITELY broke the internet. Now book readers only know very little more than TV viewers. The show is almost caught up, but there a few stories still left from A Dance with Dragons. Season 6 will encompass  the rest of that novel and the new one, if it ever comes out. This week’s episode was awesome, sad, crazy and chaotic all wrapped into one and left fans hanging on a thin thread of hope for what is to come.

Let’s talk about what happened on the final episode of the season.

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Game of Thrones Recap: Top 10 Moments of Season 5, Episode 9: Dance of Dragons

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was mind blowing to say the least. I think some of the scenes that went down (I won’t write it here in case someone is not caught up) broke the internet. I mean I’m not going to lie I was upset with that big moment that happened, which deviated completely from the book. Oh wait, I thought they were book changes, but the producers of the show have confirmed that George RR Martin said these things would happen. Ok, that really makes me mad, how do you spoil a book like that! Come on George, I thought you primarily wrote the books to tell a specific story and make readers excited, not to please HBO? I won’t rant anymore about that! But overall an interesting episode that made me both cry and yell in excitement!

Let’s dive in and talk about what went down (screaming internally).

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Game of Thrones Recap: Top 9 Moments of Season 5, Episode 8: Hardhome

Episode 8 of Game of Thrones was fantastic! Bravo, one of the best episodes yet. Season 5 has not been my absolute favorite, but it redeemed itself with the Hardhome story. Characters are finally coming together and various stories are quickly unraveling.

I think the next final episodes are going to impress like no other and take the story to another level (at least I hope so).

Let’s jump right into the recap and discuss some of the best wtf and omg moments.

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