Nightcrawler. Third viewing. (First, second.) What a creep. Not sure if it’s coincidence or foresight, but this movie anticipated so many of today’s headline issues – journalism and technology, display over discernment, race, class, economics, sexual misconduct in the workplace, narcissism, freelance desperation, moral compromise. It’s all there. And Bill Paxton is so great. RIP.
Frailty. A father reveals to his sons that God has called them to kill demons. I really like the use of sound in this one, the full range from silence to full intensity at just the right moments. Also some smart visuals, like how we see humans get killed, but when demons are destroyed, we don’t. It doesn’t give away the truth, because it’s not the point.
A Simple Plan. Watch this one a couple days after Bill Paxton’s death. He’s great. Could make a nice combo with Fargo.
Nightcrawler. Second viewing, ditto everything I wrote before), and I loved it even more this time. This was the first of a handful I watched on a very long flight. Sorry not sorry for the deluge to come.
Haywire. Second viewing (the first). Sometimes it could use a little spark, but I do appreciate it’s overall reserve and steady rumble. If I were in charge, I’d probably do some trimming at the end. Nice, though, to let the side characters like MacGregor and Douglas shine a bit.
Nightcrawler. This is at or near the top of my 2014 favorites. Gyllenhaal and Russo are great. A warning about the easy path from consumer to witness to amateur to professional to accomplice. Joblessness, economic precarity makes that transition even easier. Business theories unmoored from real flesh and blood humanity are worthless. Though the context here is metro network news, it also works as an indictment of CNN (et al.) and international affairs. Promote violence to sell more violence. Think globally, act locally. I love the moment during Bloom’s first monologue in the studio, where this laughably sentimental soundtrack eases in, cleverly undermining the creepster ravings. It’s a wink to the audience – “Can you believe this nut?“ Of course not. I think I might see this one again. It’d make a good L.A. nighttime adventure moral compromise double-feature with Collateral.
Edge of Tomorrow. THIS. This is the kind of genre action film we need. Superheroes can suck it. The best Cruise performance in a good while, and his character has a great arc from coward to competence (always likeable, though). I love the film’s learning curve, too. Just enough to string you along, while not weighing you down with unnecessary repetition. For 2014 releases, I have to put this up there with The Lego Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Haywire. I love when genre films are cooler than they need to be. There’s plenty of moments of playing color and camera angles and audio cuts. The long shots of just running or driving in reverse (!). Quiet fights. Shower-time rummaging. The house with the lights out. The sunset beach scene. The careful, cautious rooftop chase was a nice change from the insane parkour we often see. The use of moody soundtrack reminded me of Manhunter. Carano is a little bit of a robot. It fits, though. Dialogue isn’t too special, but there’s a certain magic that a recognizable ensemble cast brings. I need to see more Steven Soderbergh. Out of Sight was great.