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Aug 222015

southpaw image

Southpaw is not a film about sports and personal glory through sporting achievement. Southpaw is about how we engage with the complicated sport of life. It is about the techniques we deploy to achieve victory and avoid being knocked on our asses, and the blind spots that keep us thinking those techniques work even when they threaten to destroy everything. It concerns itself not with the aforementioned personal glory in beating the snot out of someone, but with issues relating to grief and emotional intelligence. I don’t remember the last time I saw so many men crying in one film (and often not about themselves!). While the generic structure of a sports film still holds it together, leading many to describe it as hackneyed, there are many ways in which it undermines traditional macho ideological tropes and refutes the hollow victories of the genre.

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Trailer: Southpaw

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Mar 292015

I am a massive Jake Gyllenhaal fan. He is on an absolute role right now with the likes of Enemy, Prisoners and Nightcrawler. Will Southpaw continue this trend of incredible performances in great films? It’s hard to say.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), Southpaw tells the story of Junior Middleweight Champion Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal), who fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.

It also stars Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Rita Ora, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent.

I love Training Day, but I find Fuqua a little hit-and-miss. His films can be quite formulaic, and favour action sequences over character development or plot.

One thing is for sure, Jake has been working out. Comparing this hunk of muscle to the sickly looking character he played in Nightcrawler, it’s hard to believe it’s the same actor. It is said that he gained 15 pounds of pure muscle, training twice a day for seven days a week.

Southpaw releases in Australia on August 20, 2015.

Nov 252014


“If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket” – a pearl of wisdom from entrepreneurial young man, Lou Bloom. Lou is someone willing to go the extra mile, the extra 100 miles, to do what it takes to succeed. So what happens when he decides to turn his sights to capturing video news footage? Nightcrawler is reviewed after the jump

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Podcast: NIGHTCRAWLER (The Matineecast, Episode 122)

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Nov 052014


Without a doubt, Nightcrawler is one of my favourite films this year. So when Ryan asked if I would come on The Matineecast to talk about it, I was delighted.

Usually Ryan and his guest talk about a couple of other films at length (The Otherside), but for this episode we mostly let that slide, and got into the nitty-gritty of Nightcrawler.

If you haven’t seen the film yet you might want to be cautious, as we do stray into spoiler territory.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Nightcrawler releases in Australia on November 27.

Trailer: Nightcrawler

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Aug 162014

Oh boy.

I first heard about Nightcrawler when this ad was posted on Craigslist. The ad contained a link which led to the video resume of one Lou Bloom, aka the lead character in Nightcrawler. I must say I appreciate when marketing tries something a little different.

The official synopsis is as follows:

NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling — where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents.

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favourite actors right now. Between Enemy, Prisoners and End of Watch , he is so on form. This is director Dan Gilroy’s first feature film, however he is no stranger to Hollywood. Gilroy has behind the pen for films which include The Bourne Legacy, The Fall and Reel Steel.

Madman Entertainment has picked up Nightcrawler for a 2014 release in Australia. The film will première at TIFF (where I hope to see it) in September.

Trailer: Enemy

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Feb 082014

I don’t know if Australian audiences will get to see Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy on the big-screen, but I’m hoping like hell it happens. I loved the atmospheric and emotional Prisoners, it lingered with me for weeks after. This looks creepy as hell.

In his review for Indiewire, Ryan Lattanzio writes

Cinema embraces psychosexually tortured doppelgangers. If Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” were remade and recast with Jake Gyllenhaal as a gloomy professor in place of Natalie Portman’s psycho ballerina, it might look something like Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” a nifty bit of murky fun rife with unsettling imagery and a sense of taut dread even Alfred Hitchcock would have admired.

I’m sold. Now just tell me when and how I can see this.