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

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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