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Entries in Enemy (9)

Saturday
May282016

Villeneuve & Gyllenhaal: From Enemy to muse

Cinematic magic often occurs when an actor and director find their careers entwined and they're able to bring out the best in each other. Film history has been littered with Directors and their muses; Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, John Ford and John Wayne, Hitchcock had many, Woody Allen had his, too. Now it seems Denis Villeneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal are joining those ranks with their recently announced third collaboration The Son, based on the Jo Nesbo book. The moody thriller will follow Gyllenhaal as a heroin addicted prisoner who escapes to learn the truth about his father's suicide. Hopefully this also means we'll have another career best performance from Gyllenhaal. Following Nightcrawler, Zodiac, and both the Villeneuve pictures (Enemy, Prisoners), crime thrillers seem to fit Gyllenhaal like a glove...

While Prisoners was more palatable to audiences, Enemy felt far more like the unique stamp of an auteur and muse project. This brain bender offers the only thing better than Jake Gyllenhaal starring in a movie: two Jake Gyllenhaals starring in a movie. The puzzle of a man meeting his exact double is gripping, thought provoking, and one of the most underappreciated films of the last few years. The curious spider motif that recurrs throughout Enemy is an appropriate metaphor for the delicate web that Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal spin together. 

We'll have to wait awhile for The Son, thoughas both men have very full slates with Villeneuve working on the Blade Runner sequel and finishing the Amy Adams sci-fi drama Story of Your Life. Gyllenhaal next stars in Nocturnal Animals from Tom Ford and he obviously has a taste for alternative acclaimed directors, since he's got roles in new Antoine Fuqua, David Gordon Green, and Joon-ho Bong projects as well. Gyllenhaalics rejoice.

Are you excited about this latest auteur & muse team? 

 

Thursday
Dec252014

Top Ten Movies from 2014 You Should Catch Up With on Streaming

Margaret here, reporting from the warmth of the family home. In between gift-exchanging and major cooking projects, I'm going to be trying to catch up on as many 2014 movies as possible. For those of us without much time to run to the multiplex, there are plenty of options among recent acquisitions on streaming services. While most of the showiest would-be awards contenders are either still in theaters or holding off on their DVD releases, there are plenty of buzzy (and possibly even soon to be Oscar-nominated) movies available for the couch-bound.

Honorable Mention: Slow-burn crime drama Night Moves (Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning) and Baltimore dirt-biker documentary 12 O'Clock Boys, both on Amazon Prime; Mind-bending relationship dramedy The One I Love (Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass) and low-key Swanberg indie Happy Christmas (Anna Kendrick, TFE favorite Melanie Lynskey), both on Netflix Instant.

 

10. Stranger By The Lake (Netflix Instant) This French erotic thriller had critics raving at the beginning of the year, though it hasn't been in much of the end-of-year conversation.

9. Nymphomaniac, parts 1 and 2 (Netflix Instant) Lars von Trier's latest provocation, served in two parts, is not for the faint of heart but is for anyone who wants to see Uma Thurman rip a scene apart in part 1.

8. Enemy (Amazon Prime) Celebrate our Year of Gyllenhaal with double the Jake in his second collaboration with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve. It's been called "what might happen if someone let Terrence Malick make a "Twilight Zone" episode, with a quick rewrite by David Cronenberg." 

7. Blue Ruin (Netflix Instant) This grim, ultra-budget indie thriller is up for the Independent Spirit's John Cassavetes Award, given to an outstanding picture made for under 500K. Come for the revenge story, stay for the unsettlingly realistic gore.

 

6. We Are The Best! (Netflix Instant) This early-80s-Stockholm-set dramedy about three middle-grade girls who form a punk band irrespective of actual musical gifts has been cropping up on many a top-ten list, and has been widely praised for its infectious joyful spirit.

5. Locke (Amazon Prime) A tense one-man show, this claustrophobic thriller hangs completely on a star turn from Tom Hardy, who's earned TFE raves and even has Brad Pitt stumping for him at industry screenings.

4. The Immigrant (Netflix Instant) The fact that the Weinsteins are giving this sweeping period the redheaded stepchild treatment and dropping it from their campaign slate shouldn't keep you from checking it out. You, too, can join in the mass internet grumble over its being overlooked at the Oscars for Best Actress, Best Score, and Best Cinematography prizes. (It may yet take home some Independent Spirit Awards!)

3. Snowpiercer (Netflix Instant) Critics have been all over the brutal, absurd, and entirely original dystopian action film. It's a dark horse for Supporting Actress with Tilda Swinton's bonkers performance, and full to the brim with memorable setpieces. Don't be a shoe; watch it!

 

2. Under the Skin (Amazon Prime) The atmospheric alien fever dream has a legion of ardent fans, and is the hip moviegoer's choice for a top-ten-list entry guaranteed not to repeat at the Oscars. Guaranteed to be among the most visually memorable movies you see all year.

1. Ida (Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant) This little movie has been an awards magnet, and may well make a smooth trip to the Best Foreign film Oscar come February. Since it's present on two major streaming services and clocks in at a mere 80 minutes, there's no excuse not to catch up with this starkly beautiful and poignant Polish drama. 

Which movies are you planning to catch up with from home? Have any additional streaming recommendations?

Sunday
Dec072014

Team FYC: Enemy for Production Design

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's Jason on Enemy.

Toronto is a city always standing in for other places; I grew up about two hours from it and I've visited many times (I love that I saw David Cronenberg's Crash, filmed in that city, on a downtown screen there since it wasn't playing anywhere closer to me) and I've always described the town as "New York City, but clean." It is a bit sterile, a lot cold (I refer you to Cronenberg again - where else could he possibly call home?), a bit personality-free. So what better place to set Denis Villenueve's Enemy, a dark nightmare of doubles, then?

Jose Saramago's novel The Double, on which the film is based, is of course set in Portugal but more importantly it spends big chunks carrying its characters off to the countryside; Enemy however never makes it out of downtown Toronto -- there is no "out of Toronto." The city seen from far above floats between the Great Lake on one side and tundra or mist or maybe just the edge of the known world on the other; meanwhile the streets are webbed with trolley-wires and the buildings all seem like computer renderings half-finished. We see people walking the streets but they have all the presence of the ghosts haunting The Matrix, and the expressways seem to endlessly circle around in a Truman Show like loop.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul142014

Beauty Vs Beast: A Table For Two At Dorsia

JA from MNPP here with this week's new drug (sorry I've been listening to a lot of Huey Lewis and the News these days - I consider their album Sports to be their finest acheivement, don't you?) aka another round of "Beauty Vs Beast."

Here's the deal - tomorrow's my birthday and it wasn't exactly planned this way but since there's a screening of American Psycho happening this weekend here in NYC my week's taken on that movie as a sort of non-official theme. I'm not murdering homeless men or stuffing kittens into ATM machines, mind you - don't get too freaked out. It's just a sort of general thing. But with the specter of Patrick Bateman hanging in the air I figured what better time to give you what I think might be one of the toughest picks between two bad apples (Christian Bale and Jared Leto) that we've had so far in this series.

I speak of...

 

A vote for Paul Allen is a vote for that whole Yale thing! Yeah you know, that whole Yale thing. So per usual you've got seven days to make with the picking and the commenting - in seven days our masks of sanity will slip and we'll crown a winner.

PREVIOUSLY And speaking of slipped masks of sanity, last week's competition was a literal face off between the two Jake Gyllenhaal's in this year's best-picture-so-far-says-me Enemy - since this choosing was slightly arbitrary (either way you win, with Jake) the competition remained close but in the end the "nice" guy won first - we all decided to let Adam stay on. Carmen honed in on the peculiars of this decision:

"I'm voting on blueberries alone. It's Jake Gyllenhaal vs Jake Gyllenhaal, I can afford to be frivolous."

Monday
Jul072014

Beauty Vs Beast: The Two Jakes

JA from MNPP here - The year 2014 is halfway over and since Nathaniel seems to be having fun listing his picks for "the best of so-far" I felt like joining in - my favorite movie of the year here at the half-point is Denis Villeneuve's doppleganger creep-fest called Enemy, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal as two men (maybe?) who find each other (maybe?) through chance (uh... maybe?) and the destructive effect that this has on their lives (definitely).

If you didn't catch the film in theaters (I managed to twice but I realize I am extraordinarily priviledged for that; its release was a puzzler) it came out onto DVD and so forth two weeks ago, so hopefully you've set aside the time - as I said when I reviewed it way back when this movie is the dream of a movie I would be able to make if I were a movie-maker. It hits all my buttons and then some, including ones I never even knew about -- Jake Gyllenhaal ordering another Jake Gyllenhaal to take his clothes off? Sure!

On the surface this week's "Beauty Vs. Beast" might seem a trick question (and maybe it is, just like the whole movie might be a trick movie) but Jake's performance in the film does make Adam (the teacher who's with Melanie Laurent) and Anthony (the actor who's married to Sarah Gadon) two distinct men - it's usually not hard to tell who's who because of posture alone, and the differences only seem to branch out (and yes, perhaps double back...) from there. So have at 'em...

 

If you haven't seen the film now before voting my point is go watch the movie right now! And then vote. Of course a vote for Jake, any Jake, is a winning vote all the same. And on top of telling me which Team Jake you prefer in the comments I'd love to hear y'all's theories about the movie. This movie brings them forth!

PREVIOUSLY Last week we got ourselves pre-juiced for Showtime's Masters of Sex, which returns on July 13th, by asking y'all to choose between the Masters & Johnson at the show's heart - I can't say I was surprised to see that Lizzy Caplan bounces the highest on the bedsprings of most of our hearts. She walked away with a full 85% of the vote. Said par, getting a hearty chuckle outta me:

"I love her so much I'd even invite her to a pool party... even if there were going to be girls in bathing suits there."

Sunday
Mar162014

Box Office: Smart Dogs, Ab'ed Warriors, and Speed Racers

Because animated films have good legs at the box office, Mr Peabody continued to walk up right and traded places with the muscle-bound warriors of the 300 sequel for first place.  

BOX OFFICE
01 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $21.2 (cum. $63.1) Tim's thoughts
02 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $19.1 (cum. $78.3)
03 NEED FOR SPEED $17.8 *NEW*
04 NON-STOP  $10.6 (cum. $68.8) Amir's Review 
05 TYLER PERRY'S SINGLE MOM'S CLUB $8.3 *new* 
06 THE LEGO MOVIE $7.7 (cum. $236.9) Nathaniel's Review
07 SON OF GOD $5.4 (cum. $50.8)
08 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $3.6 (cum. $4.7)
09 FROZEN $2.1 (cum. $396.3) Review | Let it Go | Jonathan Groff Interview
10 VERONICA MARS $2.0 *NEW* 

The LEGO Movie is way way out front for biggest hit of 2014 thus far but I have to admit that I'm surprised that Frozen which is now 2013's third biggest hit, far exceeding anyone's expectations, is folding up and moving out of theaters for DVD already. If they had kept milking it a bit, it probably could have passed Iron Man 3's gross. You can only make that theatrical money once, really (unless they invent 4D and retrofit) But I guess they're eager for the DVD/BluRay cash. Most of the Best Picture nominees are still in theaters but like Frozen are on DVD very very soon. They're now losing a ton of screens but you can see their final totals here (Nebraska and Her ended the season as the lowest grossers and Gravity and American Hustle as the bonafide sensations).

The big story of the weekend is surely Wes Anderson's success. The Grand Budapest Hotel was welcoming aton of new guests with the week's best per screen average. It vaulted into the top ten despite showing on roughly 3,000 less screens than the other movies. The smaller story is that Denis Villeneuve's mind trip Enemy (reviewed) starring Jake Gyllenhaal² only opened on one screen? One screen? What were they thinking? It's so hard to get attention when you're only on one screen

What did you see this weekend, my people? I hope you were watching Eternal Sunshine and are joining us for Tuesday night's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"?

 I'll admit that I fell into a weird Netflix hole of Scandal Season 2 because I could barely get out of bed. I guess my body finally collapsed from Oscar season adrenaline withdrawal? (I'll be fine tomorrow I hope). I don't respect Scandal exactly but now I see why people tune in each week. I had tuned in for a few Season 1 episodes and thought it was very poorly written trash. At the end of each Season 2 episode we turned to each other and said "Scandal!" in our best loud whisper faux shock voices on account of the, uh, scandalousness. So I guess in Season 2 it transformed into good trash tv. Either that or I lowered my standards. Which is possible with Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington steaming up my TV screen. The supporting cast though I find surprisingly  weak for such a successful show.