Sunday, August 23, 2015

Two reviews of Nightcrawler, “The best movie ever” by William Henry (Brian's son) and Charlene Jones

Directed by Dan Gilroy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, and Riz Ahmed. Available on Netflix

Review by William Henry:
Nightcrawler is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen,” says William Henry. “It’s up there with Birdman. Certainly, Nightcrawler is the best thriller I’ve seen.” And William sees a lot of movies. “About two a week,” he says, "when there’s nothing good out, more when there’s something worth seeing. “ He catches all the movies at Cineplex, except the 18A flicks (because he’s only 13), plus movies at the Kingsway (a repertory cinema) and at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (an art house venue in downtown Toronto).

Nightcrawler is disturbing, partly because it shows a dark side of the news industry. Stuff like this actually happens,” says William. “Plus, there are lots of points in the movie where it’s like, ‘Wow, I did not see that coming.' And it’s great acting.

“Most importantly, Nightcrawler is way better than Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” which is something William says after every movie he sees.

William Henry is a professional actor and amateur movie buff. This fall, he’ll be going into grade eight. More adventures with William at the movies here.

Review by Charlene Jones:
The acting convinces, the script sizzles, scenes are humorous and the message, dark and slimy, delivers. All of this comes across in Nightcrawler, the slightly creepy film by director Dan Gilroy.

First the acting: some early scenes slide by so smoothly you almost believe Gyllenhaal’s character, Louis Bloom really says that’s his name. But he doesn’t. Committed to lying the way a politician commits to her career, Louis calls himself  Lou Lebloom but so quietly, so effectively the sound and the message about Louis rides under the radar.

Nor does Rene Russo’s character seem to mind the lies as they turn up, dead fish floating on a river of greed and ambition. Frustrated because she got a detail wrong? Yes. Morally upset? The character she plays finds morals a slight obstacle on the scale of a no-see-um insect on a hot summer night. Nothing a good swat, physical or mental, can’t cure. And cure the question of morals this character easily does in the quest for bloodier, more flesh flailed footage of urban terror and destruction.

Riz Ahmed, a newbie to my eyes, configures the loser, living almost on the streets of LA, desperate but naive with aplomb. We believe him as he manifests his understanding of equality with his employer, Louis Bloom. It is this uttered belief in the American Dream that results in such tragedy.

And ultimately it is the scourged inner seam of the American (read Canadian) dream that rises with bilge from the belly of this production. Success demands you leave your humanity at the door, there is no success like excess and, oh yes, the favorite trope of our latest social insights: corporations are run by psychopaths.

It’s a great film.

Charlene Jones’ poetry has most recently appeared on Commuterlit. Her poem “Visitors to the ROM” was a runner up in the Ontario Poetry Society’s annual Arborealis poetry contest. Charlene also writes for her radio program Off the Top with Whistle Radio, 102.7 fm, aired every second Tuesday from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. (Note: Whistle Radio and CommuterLit have recently teamed up to run a monthly contest. Details here.) You can see Charlene perform her poetry and prose at Portobello Restaurant and Bar the first Saturday every month in Toronto. Finally, Chalene’s first novel, The Stain, was was released in 2014.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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