Creepy Crawler

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Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best actors around at the moment and likes to change it up and take risks with the parts he plays. In Nightcrawler he has returned to the weird and creepy persona not too unlike Anthony Perkins in Psycho. Has he played a mass murderer yet? I think he most definitely could. He’ll make you cringe in this film for sure as he plays a very creepy and an emotionally detached guy who is very robotic and most definitely career motivated no matter what the costs are to those around him.

I have never heard of Nightcrawlers before and I’m not sure if it’s an actual term or a name the writer thought was a fit to the role. Nightcrawler are people that take amateur footage of crime scenes and sell them to the news. This being the case they need the most juicy story, with lots of blood and carnage for the news corporations to pay top dollar. They make huge amounts of money out of other people’s misery. This is why Louis, Gyllenhaals character is the perfect man for the job because he is completely emotionally detached, nothing phases him and nothing gets in the way of a good story.

To be a Nightcrawler all you need is a camera and to know what crimes are going on and a fast car helps. Louis has a radio to pick police frequency so he knows what is going on and where? He may even get there before the police do, making the footage hot property. He also needs someone to sell the story to and this is where Rene Russo’s character comes in as TV news veteran who can take on a story. She works for a less attractive news company and needs all the ratings she can get. This brings pressure, which means she is prepared to push the boundaries of morality and taste to get to where she wants to be. High ratings keep her in a job and Louis brings this on a regular basis meaning he starts to gain control of her career and can drop it down the toilet if and when he chooses. He needs a partner who needs money and will therefore do the job for peanuts. Rick is motivated by money only and although he disagrees with certain aspects of the job and is scared about how far Louis will go, the waving of the dollar sign soon switches the conscience off. There is also the competition between Louis and Bill Paxtons character Joe who soon feels the harsh reality of a man possessed by his work and eventually becomes the subject.

This is one of the best films of the year and is a completely original concept. That’s is hard to come by these days where film is often about money and franchise. Gyllenhaal is perfect in the role and the weight loss showed a real commitment and added to the creepiness. Why do thin people look so creepy? I think in this case it’s the thought that the obsession to create film takes over the need to eat. The rest of the cast are vital and all have their own motivations and are extreme in the ways they are willing to get where they want. There are no lines that can’t be crossed and no limit to the distance they can be crossed by. This leads to death, which in some cases is a result of their work. I would definitely recommend this film and I would put Gyllenhaal in the Oscar bracket for this film.

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8/10

Fury at a time of remembrance

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Remembrance Sunday is a day we should never forget as so many gave their lives so that we could enjoy peace. Since 1815 approximately 1,345,846 British soldiers have died in war and that’s where there are records, so it is more likely to be higher than that. To put that figure into perspective it would mean the whole population of Trinidad and Tobago being wiped off the face of the earth. Just think that is just one nations casualties over nearly 200 years, so what if we added all the casualties of war? How many nations would no longer exist? Think of the generations that could have been around now had the young not been taken away from us. In WW1 250,000 of the soldiers that the British took to fight were under the age of 19. what were you worrying about at this age? Your exams? Girlfriends and boyfriends? Finding work? These guys didn’t know whether they would be around the next day. These men if they survived would have no doubt suffered from the sights that they saw, possibly for the rest of their lives? Some were so anxious to defend their country that they lied about their age. John Cordon went to war in WW1 at the age of 14 and sadly never came home. He was the youngest soldier and should have had his whole life in front of him. We need to remember the men and women who had the courage to live and fight through the wars and be thankful that we have not had to do the same.

I was at the memorial on November 11th in Ashford and the words “They gave their today for our tomorrow” really stood out for me and It is so true and this is why it is so important to remember those that gave their lives during the wars.

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The reason I am writing about this is because I saw the film Fury at the cinema which is based on the second world war in Germany. The film follows a group of men, American men who take their courage, skills, fear, love and Brutality into the cold steel of a tank. They have seen some horrific sights and done the most heinous of things as war grips every inch of their body and soul. They are not all likeable, whether the war has changed them we do not find out, but some are particularly cut throat and they are not the most gentlemenly when it comes to the ladies. It is kill or be killed which has been a hard lesson as war has progressed. A member of their team has died and he is replaced by a young boy who has no idea about war and is terrified about what is to come for him. To kill another person is wrong and it takes a long while for him to come to terms with war and realise that his actions could get himself and others killed.

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Brad Pitt plays Don Collier who is in charge of the crew and he has kept them alive up til now and he demands and deserves the upmost respect. He doesn’t take fools gladly and nothing will stand in the way of him and his tank and no circumstances does anyone put the teams life at risk. The new recruit soon learns this, but Don is fair and a respect grows between the man and boy. Logan Lerman plays the boy and he truly looks terrified as he goes from holding a pen as a desk clerk to holding the machine guns of a metal monster as they shoot their way through the German towns. Shia Labeouf is another member of the crew who is far less cutthroat and brutal than the rest. I wonder how Shia stayed in character for this as his eccentric ways have got him in a lot of trouble lately? Michael Pena seems to be in so many films at present and here he plays the ladies man although the women do not always have a choice as no doubt his lust builds through war. John Bernthal is a real nasty piece of work and has moments that make you feel sick, you earn his respect and it is not easily done as the young boy finds out. The green eyed monster soon shows it face as his character is jealous of the new boys friendship with the boss.

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The performances of all those involved are brilliant, particularly Lermans and Beruthal as two enemies within the tank who soon find a respect although possibly not an understanding between eachother. It is good to see that all the characters are not all dashing heroes as no doubt war ravages away at their morals and changes them. The story is a pretty simple one which means that there is not much depth to it. You never really learn much about their characters, which lets the film down a tad. This is no Saving Priavte Ryan although the action and the uncomfortable scenes between American and German really put you on edge. You see the mixture of brutality and humanity around the table and the beginnings of a love that never see’s the end of gunpowder and artillery. Overall this is a good film, but I cant see it being up there with the great war films and I think a better story was needed rather than just looking at a snapshot of the soldiers lives. Even though it was over 2 hours long, it felt rushed and much more could have been revealed.

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7/10

The Judge

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The judge is appealing first of all because of the great cast, with Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’onofrio and Billy Bob Thornton. They all perform brilliantly in this family drama, which is not an original story really, but it’s acted so well that you feel the emotion and see both sides of the story. Robert Downey Jr plays a brilliant lawyer who is not always concerned with morality as winning is the main objective. Despite his achievements he is the black sheep of the family due to his reckless behaviour, which has ruined relationships, his brothers career and made seeing his father particularly difficult. His father is a judge and very proud of his standing within the small community in which he lives. Everything is done by the book although he can be very harsh, he is fair and only does things because he thinks he is helping. Father and son differ in their views which has created a giant wedge between them.

The two other brothers fill the judge with great pride, where as Hank played by Downey can do nothing right. Career wise he has far exceeded anyone in the family, but the rest is a complete mess. Hank has moved away from the small town both in body and mind, looking for the bright lights of the city away from the shadow that his father’s reputation has cast over him. They are brought together by the mother’s death although it is very uncomfortable for all of them. The mother’s death brings about an event that means father has to lean on son and its very hard to take.

Pride gets in the way as does failing health which leads to an undignified moment which the father deals with surprisingly well. There is a comical side to this moment which is heart warming and brings out a closeness that the relationship has lacked for so many years. They learn a lot about each other over the course of the film as secrets are revealed and emotions are spilt. There is anger, fear, disgrace, disappointment, but there is love despite the negativity. By the end of the film there is understanding and although you don’t see it on film I believe Hank come out a far better person.

The performances are brilliant from all involved particularly from Duvall and Downey. Their relationship is the core of ‘ll that happens. It also effects the relationships they have with others including sons, daughters, partners and wives. I really enjoyed the film and although it’s not original it does draw you in, make you think and also look at your own relationships.
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8/10

The Maze Runner

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I am going to try to do a review on this film despite missing parts where I fell asleep. It’s not all bad as I had a week of not much sleep, so my snoozing isn’t completely down to the film. In saying that, had I been more interested in the goings on I may have stayed awake throughout. The two ladies either side enjoyed it though, one being my girlfriend Amy and the other her friend Juliet. I didn’t even like the ice cream I had chosen, so although not a terrible night, not the best.

Again I have not read the book of The Mazerunner and again I have no intention of doing so because it was the storyline that sent me to sleep rather than the performances. Thomas lands in the mysterious place without knowing who he is, where he is and how he got there? He is soon being chased by a group of young men across green fields (the glades) with no where really to go. We do not know who the men are and why they are chasing him? Thomas soon tires and the others catch him up and this is where things are revealed. Each person has been sent to the glade without knowing much about why and how? Each month a new person is sent to join the gang and take up a role within the community based on their skill set. They need to survive!

There are some who are not so trusting in particular the character Gally who takes an instant dislike to Thomas because he asks too many questions. Thomas wants answers and flashbacks give him a hazey idea of what is going on and be wants to get out. The only way out is a large Maze, leading to no one knows where? A group is tasked with mapping it out and they are called the Mazerunners. Each day they head out and try to find their way out, mapping the maze as they go. Weird noises come from the inside of the maze at night from monsters known as Grievers. They are another danger for the boys of the glade to battle.

A last person arrives at the glade and its a girl, much to the surprise of the boys, particularly as she is the last one. Gally wants them all to stay put as he is scared of the dangers, but Thomas who proves his worth wants to get out. Are they part of some kind of experiment? What lies beyond the maze? What is a Griever? A lot is revealed by the end of the film, but not all and we know that this is only the beginning of the story, a small part of what is to come.

The story itself did not enthrall me in the slightest and there have been so many films like this in recent years which have been far better. The acting is good and I think Will Poulter will have an amazing career and he picks an American accent as if it was his own. This will help him go far! The Grievers looked ridiculous, but not having read the book I cannot judge who’s imagination they come from. They really didn’t put much thought into them, whoever it was? This is clearly one film of a set of films and this is an introduction, so it may well work when the next instalment comes along as on its own it doesn’t really tell much of a story, more it sets one up. I am not prepared to give up on this however and feel that this could be the start, although a poor one of a great set of films. Let’s wait and see.
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6/10

Gone Girl

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I was really quite excited about this film and had heard great things about it from some of the articles I had read. It is yet another film based on a book and one I hadn’t read prior to going to see it at the cinema. It being a who dunnit meant that reading the book would surely ruin the suspense and take the fun you have when trying to play detective. Also reading it after would make it feel rather pointless, so I do not really intend to read it now. This being said this is obviously a good story and one worth reading, the order in which you do it is entirely up to you of course.
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The film starts with Ben Afflecks character sitting at a bar talking to his sister, a bar which you later find out he owns. It is his 5 year wedding anniversary and you can already tell the marriage is struggling. The sister is clearly not a fan of her sister in law and doesn’t think she is the best person for her brother. Anniversary tradition means that he has to follow a treasure hunt of sorts by finding clues that his wife has set out for him, which is a major part of the plot.

Ben Affleck returns home to find his wife missing, the glass table on its side with smashed glass as if there has been some kind of disturbance. He soon notifies the police and an investigation starts and although he is not the prime suspect at first, it’s not long before it turns into a murder enquiry with him at the centre. He does the emotional press conference where everyone points the finger at him, particularly a certain talk show host. He is made out to be the murderous husband who isn’t quite acting like he should considering the love of his life is missing.

The story is told through his wife’s diary and goes back to the very beginning where they first met and fell in love. It’s a whirlwind romance and a happy relationship that soon turns sour, but who’s version of events is the truth? Where will the treasure hunt clues lead and will they tell us what has happened to the wife? Who else will be sucked into this mess? There are many twists and turns throughout and you feel quite excited when you turn the corner and find a whole new pathway to the answer, but it’s a twisted pathway that doesn’t just swallow up one person.
The performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are brilliant although Rosamund borders on hammy at times, but gets away with it. Affleck doesn’t get the credit he deserves because in the right film he is a brilliant actor. I just hope that the new Batman film doesn’t ruin it for him and he can carry on creating films like this. The supporting characters really build up a picture and give you clues to who has murdered the wife. Maybe the obvious person really has done it? You find out quite early on, but the mystery doesn’t stop there. I’ll warn you that the “C” word comes up a couple of times, hence this is an 18 certificate. This is one of the best films of the year.
8/10

71

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71 follows an English soldier from Derby who is sent to Northern Ireand in order to stop the republican militants. During 1971 an operation was set up called Op Demetrius which tasked the army to arrest those involved in violence. The film doesn’t really go into this and it mainly looks at soldiers trying to quell the violence. The Corp of soldiers head onto the streets of Northern Ireland and are attacked meaning they had to flee the area. Unfortunately two soldiers are left behind and they receive the most brutal attack. The camera doesn’t shy away from the sheer violence of the subject and we as an audience see the blood, screams and hatred very close up.

The English soldier Jack O’Connell is in fear for his life in an area where there is so much hatred against the soldiers. Where can he turn? Who can he trust? Can he even trust those on his own side? You really feel his fear and its almost like watching a child who as been left alone to fend for themselves. The soldier has to cope with his injuries, but does receive help from a family and a young boy. You see the devastating affects of the bombing on the innocent, you hear their screams, see their tears, watch their blood spill and fear for their future.

The acting throughout is brilliant and really makes your heart raise a beat. You will the soldier out of this horrific situation. You want those responsible to feel the harsh pain of justice and that’s from both sides. Sadly the English do not make the best choice to bring peace to the nation as was proven by their acts in 1971 when they chose torture to get the information. You also want the young and foolish who get tied up in the war to come to their senses and get away unharmed, but of course that rarely happens. The film is gritty and dark and doesn’t hold back with the emotions felt by all involved. The production is by Film 4 and I have found that many of the films they deliver are of real class and this film is no different.
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7/10

The Purge Anarchy

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My first thought when I saw that The Purge was going to have a sequel was “Really? But the first was so bad.” and the first really was bad, devoid of imagination, weak in plot and not particularly well acted. The idea of the purge is particularly interesting as I thought it could really delve into the human mind and see how far away from animals we really are? What would it take for a person to commit a heinous crime? Would one night on the loose be enough for some? Who would be the prey? Survival of the fittest comes to mind. Who would The Purge benefit and how could it be used?

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There are many more questions and of course many theory’s on what could happen if The Purge became reality. The first film did not come up with any questions and provided very little apart from a lot of ruthless killing with no real reason behind it. This is why it disappointed me. so I went intro the second film with very little optimism. That being said I did still go and see it, so there must have been some hope that the second film would be better. The second film was indeed far superior to the first and it did have a look at human nature and how The Purge would be used, and by whom, what benefit it would have to society. It also looked at the class structure and how the government would be involved.

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The build up is very similar to the first. The camera looks upon the people of the city and you know that somehow they will soon be close up and running for their lives. One couple break down on the motorway and you know they are going to be in for it. As people leave their place of work and their family to get inside you can easily identify who will be targeted. Those on the lower economic scale who cannot afford the expensive security systems will be the easy targets. This is where the survival of the fittest comes into it. There are those that seek revenge for the loved ones that they have lost either through a reckless act or a premeditated murder. Some will sacrifice themselves in order for their families have a better a life with more money. Some just get caught out through misfortune. The second film covers all these aspects of humanity.

Class is very important in the storyline as the rich target the poor and use those less fortunate than themselves for their little games. Can money really save your life? Maybe it can? Again this is where survival of the fittest comes in and those most powerful prey on those most weak. This can be said for the government too as uses The Purge to it’s advantage, but surely they are safe from the murderers out there? Their money will surely protect them? Unemployment is down because those at the bottom of the ladder are killed off, those without jobs or homes are the first ones targeted and the government are not scared to do this themselves, well pay someone else to do it at least. Crime would be down because those who have the urge would be free to do it on this one day of the year. Of course the rest of the year people like this could quite easily hold themselves back or would it make more murderers because once they have the taste of blood they may want more?

The Purge would of course be an unthinkable policy and one that would destroy society not protect it or make it better. So many people would be targeted and killed because of bigotry. Those that have racist views would target ethnic minorities, those that are homophobic may target those who are gay. What about those that are believed to be paedophiles, wrongly so on may occasions, surely they would be a target. Those that are ignorant enough to think that all Muslims are terrorist would surely act on their stupid views? How many people would actually be left if The Purge really came into existence. And that’s’ just murder, there are so many other disgusting crimes that would occur if people were free to commit them, The Purge only looks at killing and of course this is for good reason as it would truly be unwatchable if they reflected on what might actually happen, It would truly be a night that you could only imagine in your worst nightmares.

The second purge film skims some of the ideas of what could happen and rightly so, but at least it does tackle a small part of it, which makes it an interesting film, Im glad they didn’t take it too far, but also feel that the second film played out the way I thought it should and explored a great deal of the human mind and the peoples actions.

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