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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in End of Watch (6)

Wednesday
Oct292014

'Nightcrawler' and L.A. in the Digital Age

Glenn here to offer a rebuttal to my own work.

 

When I reviewed David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars at the New York Film Festival, I was highly critical of the film’s look. It’s the ugliest film of 2014 so far and will likely remain a recurring staple of my anti-digital rants for some time to come. Fair is fair, however, and lest I get the reputation of somebody who is strictly against digital, I wanted to sing the praises of Robert Elswit’s work on Nightcrawler. Neither a horror film as befitting its Halloween release date, nor a superhero film like many people have thought due to its title. Yet, in spite it this, the film works as both an unsettling work of urban and moral decay and a portrait of a man who, in his own eyes, is a bit of a hero.

Nightcrawler is a film that has a visual point of view, finding interesting compositions to tell a story that in the grand scheme of things is fairly conventional in its narrative beats and structure. It takes the familiar image of Los Angeles and twists it into a city where at night it becomes a muddy-skied haze. This is a film that is both gorgeous to look at and repugnant to the eye at the same time. The Los Angeles of Nightcrawler seethes and creeps and Elswit’s camera shows just what can be achieved with the medium.

Directed by Dan Gilroy - not to be confused with brothers Tony Gilroy (the film's producer and director of Michael Clayton) or John Gilroy (the editor) - it's certainly very much inspired by the form-pushing work of Dion Beebe (Team Film Experience’s Top Ten Greatest Working Cinematographers) and Paul Cameron on Michael Mann’s Collateral. I don't consider this much of an issue given that film had perhaps my favourite cinematography of the '00s, and what’s the point of groundbreaking work in the industry if it can’t be adapted and played with by future filmmakers? In a way it's the same as how another Jake Gyllenhaal film, End of Watch, appropriated the look made famous by found footage horror and supplanted it onto the streets of gangland L.A.

Despite what some people may think, I am very much capable of falling head over heels for digital camerawork. I just appreciate it when filmmakers do something with the format that you otherwise can’t with film. What’s the point of the conversion if not to do something unique that sets it apart? I have no doubt celluloid would have worked amazingly for Gilroy's film, and in fact he did film the daytime sequences on 35mm highlighting how different the two mediums can be. I enjoyed watching that disparity taken advantage of, an aesthetic choice that entirely works for Nightcrawler as it captures Gyllenhaal’s sunken face as he films the aftermath of the city’s violence, pawning his footage to bottom-of-the-barrel TV networks. Leaving my screening and I couldn’t help but think of what Maps to the Stars could’ve been if they’d had anything close to resembling Nightcrawler’s keen sense of craft. That the film is partially about the alarming ease that we can capture the world within which we exist, it makes it incredibly relevant piece of work, too.

Monday
Jan072013

Best of 2012: Nathaniel's Honorable Mentions

We're reached the End of Watch. No, not the movie of that title though we'll soon get to it. But the invisible line I have to draw on my movie calendar between Now and Then. I've squeezed more screenings in this past month than I probably should have for a clear head but I must finally cut myself off. Now is the time to take stock and share favorites. The Film Bitch Awards have begun with my choices for Best Screenplays now posted. "But, wait, where's the top ten?" you ask. We're getting there. But first we start right here...

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (In No Particular Order)
No movie seemed more in my personal wheelhouse this year that Joe Wright's sumptuous ANNA KARENINA but in truth it divided me. lots more movie-lovin' after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec052012

It's ZDT for the NBR

And things were looking so super extra competitive this year! Just a few days ago Les Miz, Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty all seemed to be on somewhat equal footing and to a lesser extent Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook, and Life of Pi had all received enough warmish embraces from critics, audiences and  Oscared corners of the showbiz culture that we could look forward to a real competition once the Oscar nominations were announced on January 10th. But with the one-two-zero-dark punch of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, the Oscar race suddenly looks a bit less like a clusterfuck and a ltitle more like a done deal. Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's engrossing account of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, is suddenly apparently way out front.The NBR generally attempts to spread the wealth but not so this year since they gave ZDT three of their top prizes (Pic, Director, Actress)

Will enough critics groups and precursors disagree or is this just one of those years that seemed competitive and then suddenly wasn't... like, oh, so many years in the past!

Winners and discussion after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov232012

Thanksgiving Linkovers

Good afternoon! I only had one piece of pumpkin pie last night so it absolutely cannot be counted as an unqualified success of a Thanksgiving. So, desperate for leftovers (I wasn't even sent home with any spare pie!), I turn to good blogs, the whip cream of this internet pie.

Film Dr. a pictorial primer on Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
MNPP JA's living vicariously through Amanda Seyfried fixation continues unabated
Towleroad homoerotic Skyfall poster 

In Contention the first of countless top ten lists, Cahiers du Cinema finds Holy Motors at the top
DP/30 Jake Gyllenhaal talks End of Watch. Which I still haven't seen. I am a bad Gyllenhaalic this year. (I also missed Won't Back Down
Awards Daily Sasha interviews Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
LA Times Tracy Letts says he didn't alter much about August: Osage County for the screen in his screenplay. So... it's three hours long then? 
MovieLine Noomi Rapace does her best Mick Jagger in a new music video. But is it Mick Jaggery enough? 
Empire Marisa Tomei may co-star in a new Hugh Grant romcom. I can see that pairing totally working.

Finally...
Timothy Brayton, easily one of the best (and most completist-friendly) online film critics, has ranked every single Bond film (with each link going to a new review) the Bond Girls and each James Bond. That's a lot of 007. 

Yes yes. I'll post the results of the readers poll here soon -- sorry for the holiday delay -- but before we are totally Bonded out, knock back a martini with Tim's reviews and lists.

Sunday
Sep232012

Trouble With The House at the End of Watched Curved Street

It was a photo finish this weekend with Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jake Gyllenhaal all struggling to land in first place. We won't really know who did until tomorrow. If you ask me that's a poor showing for Jennifer (given that horror is an easy cash grab on opening weekends) and Clint and a redemptive showing for Jakey who pundits always like to claim is over as a bankable leading man if he ever was. But maybe that's my bias spinning it since I have yet to seek treatment for the Gyllenhaalism. (Next up Maggie G in Won't Back Down!)

Box Office Fifteen
[TIE] 01 END OF WATCH  $13 *NEW*
[TIE] 01 HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET $13 *NEW*  
03 TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE $12.7 *NEW* 
04 FINDING NEMO 3-D $9.4 (cum $29.9 this time 'round)
05 RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION $6.7 (cum $33.4)
06 DREDD $6.3 *NEW* 
07 THE MASTER $5 (cum. $6.0)
08 POSSESSION $2.6 (cum. $45.6)
09 LAWLESS $2.3 (cum. $34.5) REVIEW
10 PARANORMAN $2.2 (cum. $52.5) 
11 THE BOURNE LEGACY $1.6 (cum. $110.4) 
12 THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN $1.5 (cum. $48.6) REVIEW
13 THE EXPENDABLES 2 $1.4 (cum. $82.9) Let's cast a female version
14 ARBITRAGE $1.2 (cum. $3.9) 
15 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES $1.2 (cum. $443.1) REVIEW

The Master had the healthiest per screen average among the wide openings (though it's only just barely "wide" now) but P.T. Anderson movies have never made as much by the end of their run as The Odd Life of Timothy Green already has (approaching $50 million) which is totally why we can't have nice things. Adults with taste continue to destroy Hollywood by staying at home and watching their premium channels instead of supporting films made for them at the theaters.  In limited release Perks of Being a Wallflower led the arthouse with a very healthy per screen average and a quarter million gross in its first weekend.

What did you see this weekend? And who is still going to Batman? He hung up his cowl, people!

In more timely news, are you watching the Emmys with us tonight? If so "see" you in the comments section.

Sunday
May062012

Linksplosion

Scribble Junkies wonders if short men make better directors
My New Plaid Pants sneak peaks End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena
IndieWire Oops, we deleted the movie. The growing pains of digital cinema
Cinema Blend Joss Whedon on his success with The Hulk. Speaking of...
Tom Shone thinks the Hulk is the only thing he got right.
Huffington Post thanks the foundations laid down in the Whedonverse for The Avengers success
USA Today gets good quote from the Core Four in The Avengers. And everyone has a good laugh about Mark Ruffalo in his motion capture phase. The man himself:

The first day of the leotard I said, OK (expletive), get a good laugh. Let's just get it out in the open. There was a lot of snickering and off-color jokes about the leo part of my tard. I don't think that needs explaining. 

Wow Report the best job in Hollywood is...
ASME announces the best magazine covers of the year. Truly odd choices here, I have to say. Mila Kunis' GQ cover is the only actress cover featured. 
Guardian sad legal battles over the Zsa Zsa Gabor estate. The famous actress is 95 and is probably not long for this world
Forbes released their list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. The highest and only ranked actress is Angelina Jolie at 29 (unless you think of Beyoncé #18 as an actress). 
Newsorama has a ten-wide list of things we've learned from The Avengers... but it's more about what Marvel Studios can learn from it. 
The Mary Sue Brave's Princess Merida already showing up at Disney parks 

Theater Watch
Potentially terrible news for New Yorkers. The fate of the awesome Zeigfeld Theater on 54th street is up in the air. That's a pity. This is hallowed ground we're talking about. It's one of the few single screen ginormous theaters left. It's where I saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time. It's where I saw Michelle Pfeiffer in the pflesh and its the only suitable place for big deal starry movie premieres in Manhattan. Please don't close up!

This Weekend's Must Read...
The Hairpin points us to this amazing Elizabeth Berkeley interview right before Showgirls (1995) came out. It's hilarious and fascinating and sympathetic in retrospect. So much titillating delusion.

I thought, ‘I have to do this.’ I mean, this role, I would kill for. It’s very rare you read a script where the whole focus of the film is on a woman. Also, I’m so passionate about what I go after and I really felt a lot of connection with the character right away...

The bottom line is the character is so emotional. She’s constantly on the edge of a breakdown so that was hard because what’s two minutes in her life was 17 hours for me. There was one scene in particular where I’m on stage auditioning for the showgirl spot where Alan Rachins’ character is wanting me to put ice cubes on my nipples. That was so difficult. Everyone on the set just felt really upset by it because the fact is that goes when showgirls audition. I mean, it’s part of the process.  

Authenticity!