“What happens to the animals out there during a wildfire?” “They adapt, I suppose. The little ones get confused and burn up. I used to cry about it when I … Continue reading ‘Wildlife’ gives Carey Mulligan her best role yet
Tag: Jake Gyllenhaal
‘The Sisters Brothers’ is a John C. Reilly showcase
Back in the treacherous times of the Old West, it was every man for himself. You lived and died more by your gun than your word, so it helped to … Continue reading ‘The Sisters Brothers’ is a John C. Reilly showcase
Demolition: A Jake Gyllenhaal gem
Moviegoers deserve more films like Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest, Demolition. A movie made for the sake of good storytelling and not just to make a buck.
Unlike Batman v. Superman (which cost $275 million to make), Demolition probably cost less than $30 million to produce. This movie was made for the soul and asks a lot of uncomfortable, yet brutal questions. It is familiar looking, yet different when you start to turn the pages during its 100 minute running time.
Director Jean-Marc Vallee doesn’t mess around when he picks up a camera these days. He directed Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, where both actors walked home with Oscars. He directed Reese Witherspoon in Wild, where she scored a Best Actress nomination and career renewal. Gyllenhaal’s career didn’t need saving, but he is a marvel here as Davis Mitchell, a man who changes in ways you wouldn’t imagine after his wife dies in a car accident. (more…)
Raw and Honest “Southpaw” told from inside out
(In case you missed it on KSDK)
Take everything away from us, and we are flesh, bone, blood and all that we have created. Antoine Fuqua’s gritty boxing flick is told from the inside out, and he accomplishes that by starting with the human frailty of the modern fighter. Southpaw may look familiar but it’s something different. The intense B-side track to Rocky.
Jake Gyllenhaal(the fearless actor can’t miss right now) is Billy Hope, and the fight opens with preparations for Hope’s 43rd fight. He’s unbeaten, but that doesn’t include facial scarring, potential brain damage and visceral shock to the upper body. His wife, the beautiful yet tough Moureen(Rachel McAdams, evolving as an actress with every role) can see the toll being stacked on top of her family, which includes the couple’s adolescent daughter. Hope wins the fight, takes a beating and may walk away before the brutal shock of life stuns him and takes everything away from him. If you haven’t seen the trailer, good for you but this film will fake the left to the head and hit you in the kidneys with an uppercut you never saw coming.
Instead of just going all Rocky and showing us the comeback trail of Hope from the gutters to the ropes, Fuqua and screenwriter Kurt Sutter(the maestro of Sons of Anarchy) beat the soul of Hope senseless first. Stripped of everything, the fighter has to be reborn. Is this like Mark Wahlberg’s The Fighter? Is it a modern Rocky? Yes on both counts, but more brutal. Those fighters didn’t have it as tough as Hope and that sets Southpaw apart and gives this seemingly conventional drama fresh legs in the cinematic ring. (more…)
A Dose of Buffa Special-PRISONERS review
There comes a time when I must spotlight a little of my Film-Addict work on the blog because I can’t trust everybody that needs to hear about a certain film to go to the site. Consider this a Dose of Buffa Special.
Running Time-153 minutes
Directed by Denis Villenueve
Cast-Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano
Plot-How far would you go to protect your family? Keller Dover (Hugh 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 (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrests its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child’s life is at stake the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
Buffa’s Take-When I left this movie, the first thing I wanted to do was go home and hug my son. The second thing I wanted and needed to do was inform everyone within a ten mile radius how important it is for this movie, Prisoners, to be seen. Easily one of the year’s best films, French Canadian director Denis Villenueve’s spellbinding tale will get inside your bones and stay there a while. Few movies have the power to be present you with a moral dilemma and take the necessary time to lay out their story while inserting every scene with authentic tension. Never mind the trailer that some believe gives away too much. What you get there is a basic setup that covers a third of the film’s running time. Prisoners is full of juicy compelling moral questions and features the best ensemble cast of 2013. Let’s dig in.
Hugh Jackman’s work as Keller Dover deserves Oscar attention. It goes without saying that the actor is as versatile a talent in Hollywood as one can find, but here he puts on display his best screen work to date. He turns it all up a notch. Forget his Oscar nominated work in Les Miserables last year. That is surface imitational work compared to what he does here as Dover, a father who won’t be stopped until he finds out where his daughter is. A survival specialist who keeps natural selection close to heart, Dover won’t be stopped and Jackman electrifies with his portrayal. This is the same man who grows claws out of his hands as Marvel’s Wolverine and dances on Broadway. Jackman is astounding and the emotional glue that holds the film together.
Gyllenhaal is nearly as brilliant, playing a detective who fills his whole life up with police work. He doesn’t have a home he dares to sleep in nor a vacation to seek. Detective Loki’s life is consumed by his cases and Gyllenhaal doesn’t fake a second of it. Concentration as sharp as a knife even though his eyes continue to blink and beg for starvation, the actor becomes this character and doesn’t stop at merely impersonating an officer. Gyllenhaal’s work in End of Watch must have helped him greatly here.
The rest of the cast is stellar. Bello, showing loads of despair but never creeping towards manipulation, turns in her best work since The Cooler. Davis and Howard, parents looking for their child with less hostile maneuvers, turn in solid work. Dano cranks up his quirky weird vibe on the outside yet slowly reveals a tortured soul beneath as his story line collides with Jackman’s. Melissa Leo, in a few scenes, creates someone that doesn’t leave your head far after the credits roll. She is the picture of realism.
Villenueve has only done a handful of films, but one can only hope he trusts the Hollywood system to deliver more of these style of films. The film is shot beautifully by Roger Deakins, covering the dark tale in perfectly set grey tones. Editor Joel Cox doesn’t waste a single frame in conveying the director’s message. The production work here is aces across the board right down to the understated and powerful score by Johann Johannsson.
If art’s goal is to imitate life, this film comes pretty close. Prisoners is a truly complete cinematic experience. The story is pulverizing and shocking. It won’t just take a piece of parents, but any soul with warm blood flowing through it. It’s challenging for moviegoers because it presents lingering questions that begin and end with emotional response. The end isn’t tied up like a cute little knot. A very deserving film of your attention, Prisoners may be the best film I have seen in 2013.
Film Addict Rating System
3-Worth the Trip
4-Pay to See It Again
5-Join the Advertising Campaign