If we can admit broadcast journalism is part voyeurism, then we can begin to understand "Nightcrawler." This movie is Jake Gyllenhaal at his best playing a role deserving of an Oscar nomination. He brilliantly portrays a character down and out on his luck who decides to make a dramatic career shift into the world of overnight news. As he does, he lifts the curtain and we are allowed to see the violation that must occur in order for the story to make it to air. As he gains popularity, the lengths he will go to get a story become more drastic. This movie will leave you in a sense of shock and disbelief as the final moments play out. Voyeur is the disgusting feeling you will be left with as you exit the theatre and ride home to watch the nightly news.
#4 “The Imitation Game”
A gay man cracked the code that brought down the Nazis’ war machine. Let that sink in for a moment. Now, let it sink in that the same man was then pushed into a life of solitude and forced to undergo chemical castration, because the British government believed he had a sexually perverse disease that could be cured. The story has two parts here. One should fill you with pride when confronted by man’s ability to accomplish any task when he rallies together. The other should fill you with shame as you watch a man grow mad, paranoid and lonely all because he was born different.
I've seen all 8 films nominated for Best Picture and "Whiplash" is worthy of consideration. Never have I seen a picture that filled me with such anxiety and hope for the obsessive hero. J.K. Simmons plays the freighting conductor. He plays the role with passion and conviction. He will literally scare you out of your seat. Miles Teller plays Andrew who is fixated on becoming the greatest drummer ever. These two forces collide in movie magic and make a film rarely seen. The question becomes, who will win? The answer, in pure movie magic, doesn't reveal itself until the very end. If you missed this one due to its limited release, I cannot recommend it enough.
Movies such as "Selma" show us how far we have progressed as a people and how far we have to go. There are moments in this movie in which we seem far removed. The ignorance and prejudice is palpable in every confrontation. As a white viewer, shame washed over me. I said silent prayers wishing my ancestors weren't involved in the slave trade or the enforcement of Jim Crow. My prayers were answered knowing that even if they weren't, they were complacent with their silence. Dr. Martin Luther King was far from silent. Those that gathered around him were far from silent. After viewing this movie and seeing a recreation of the blood, sweat, tears and lives sacrificed on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement, I will be far from silent. When cinema is good, it emotionally moves you. When cinema is great, it moves you to action.
“Boyhood” is a movie of extremes. At one end, is the simple telling of a boy and his family in the modern world. They move, mom remarries, abusive step father comes into the picture, adolescence rears its confusing head, reconnecting with your biological father, teenage years are hellish, becoming your own man and then off to college. There is nothing groundbreaking here until you encounter the other extreme. A movie shot with the same actors over the course of more than a decade of work. The commitment to the craft and the dedication to the story is evident in every scene. As a 31 year old man, I saw my childhood before me and connected on almost every level. We may never see another movie like this and that’s alright by me.
Thanks for entering my world,