Jake Gyllenhaal is a versatile actor who’s traversed many genres, and that diversity continues with Nightcrawler, a perverse and prescient thriller that refuses pump the brakes from the get go.
Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is unemployed, and though his sunken cheeked visage gives him a desperate and all too hungry look, our anti-hero is far from weak. Rather, he is laser focused on landing a stable and well paying job. America is the land of opportunity, and Lou believes putting one’s best foot forward, along with an unshakable work ethic, should place him on the right path.
A highway accident during the dead of night sets Lou on his path, as he meets Joe Loder (Bill Paxton), a freelance cameraman who sells violent nighttime footage (car accidents, robberies) to local news stations in need of juicy footage.
Armed with a camera and a police scanner, along with the assistance of a hapless, well meaning drifter (Riz Ahmed), Lou speeds through the Los Angeles streets, ready to document the latest “if it bleeds, it leads” news story.
Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair) gives one of her best performances as Nina Romina, a news director sees potential in Lou and eagerly buys his captured footage. Desperate to keep her job, Nina takes her news coverage to grisly and tabloid driven lengths to increase her struggling station’s ratings.
In the clip below, Rene Russo explains why she didn’t change a word of dialogue for Nina (the movie is penned and directed by Russo’s husband, Dan Gilroy)
Lou’s quick ascent as a videographer may be commendable, but the steps he takes along the way is absolutely horrifying. Whether it’s staging a crime scene, manipulating Nina to suit his own needs, or placing his assistant in harm’s way, Lou’s sociopathic tendencies lead him to a dark, morally corrupt arena.
Gilroy and cinematographer Robert Elswit create a neon tinged, seedy, yet ultimately dreamlike City of Angels, wherein animalistic urges supplant any semblance of decency. Lou is envisioned by Gilroy as a coyote who haunts the local grounds, looking to feed on the available prey. Thanks to losing 20 pounds, Gyllenhaal perfectly captures Lou’s subtle ferocity.
In the following clip, Jake Gyllenhall about an aspect of the media he learned from doing Nightcrawler:
Movie fans may see traces of Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole or Sidney Lumet’s Network in Nightcrawler, and time will tell if the movie reaches their stratospheric heights. Even with these influences, the movie entirely stands on its own, giving viewers a nightmarish look at the insatiable media and mass consumption which creates people like Lou Bloom and Nina Romina.
A thriller which mixes film noir and pulp sensibilities, Nightcrawler thankfully doesn’t revel in the sheer audacity of its narrative. Rather, we are given an even-eyed yet seductive look at a man determined to succeed in the news business. Reporting is a bloody and dirty job and someone’s got to do it. Thankfully Lou, much to the detriment of his colleagues, is more than up to the task.
NIGHTCRAWLER (Open Road Films)
Running Time: 117 minutes.
MPAA rating: R
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Kevin Rahm. Director/Writer: Dan Gilroy
Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables, My Week with Marilyn) delivers a sublime performance as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. It’s a performance that’s garnering Redmayne, who won a Tony in 2010 for his work in Red, great notices (the movie comes out November 7).
Redmayne and co-star Felicity Jones, who plays Hawking’s strong willed wife, should be names that will be discussed when awards season comes around.
According to a Variety piece on Redmayne, Hawking described the movie as “broadly true” and even celebrated after the movie’s screening with the movie’s director (James Marsh) and scribe (Anthony McCarten).
“He has this amazing sense of humor,” said Redmayne, who first met Hawking five days before shooting started. “And an amazing sense of mischief and this sort of like glint in his eye.
During today’s press junket for The Theory of Everything, I asked Redmayne about his reaction to Hawking’s positive response about the film (a nurse reportedly “wiped a tear from Hawking’s eye” after the screening). Click on the audio below to hear Eddie Redmayne:
“Star Wars:Galactic Defense adds its own flare to the traditional tower defense genre and brings the excitement that was once limited to a galaxy far, far away, right to your fingertips,“ said Barry Dorf, DeNA vp of partnerships and alliances. “The game packs beloved characters, iconic locations, tactical gameplay, and heart-pounding battles into one exciting mobile experience.”
Since i’m an iOS guy, I’ll be downloading the game to play on my iPad. I’m always cautious whenever the freemium model is used, so hopefully Star Wars: Galactic Defense offers a ton of gameplay without immediately necessary in-app purchases/premiums.
I’ll be playing the game over the next several games and posting my review on this site. But for now, check out the trailer and, if you have actually played or are planning to play the game, feel free to comment below!!
Opening Friday in theaters, On Demand and iTunes, Hornscenters on Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe), a youth whose life is in disarray following the murder of his longtime girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple). Though he consistently claims he didn’t kill his lover, horns start growing out of his head and he develops supernatural powers in the process. As he gradually morphs into a seemingly different being, Ig’s seeming innocence stands on shaky ground.
The movie is another intriguing and viscerally charged experience from director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors), and I’ll be posting more from today’s press conference this week.
Today’s post focuses on the rapping skills of Daniel Radcliffe, as seen from his performance of the Blackalicious track “Alphabet Aerobics” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“I’m amazingly glad that I did it,” said Radcliffe. “I was like shaking with adrenaline for a couple of minutes afterwards. It was awesome.”
I asked Radcliffe if memorizing lines as an actor directly helped him hone his impressive rapping skills. Check out the audio below for his answer (co-star Juno Temple, who at the time of the press conference hadn’t seen the Tonight ShowStarring JImmy Fallon clip, is also heard on the audio):
Michael Ian Black (Stella), Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad), and Jonathan Stern (Children’s Hospital) are the wise guys behind Beef, an improv comedy from Paramount Digital Entertainment that centers on the legal and social issues that plague Lou the Butcher’s (Christopher Meloni) neighborhood.
From the trailer, Lou appears to be the judge and jury (if he’s the executioner, at least he knows how to cut the meat) of all the problems surrounding his butcher shop.
Beef premieres November 11 (11 pm est) on VOD platforms in North America. Retailers include iTunes, Vudu, TargetTicket, Dish, DirecTV, and Cablevision. For iTunes TV store users, the season pass runs for $9.99 if you want the Standard Definition version. If you want a higher resolution view of Lou and his neighbors, it’s $14.99 for HD.
Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine),Michael Cera, Beth Dover, and Luke Cahill are among the guest stars for the Beef’s first season.
Tuesday night’s Knockout Rounds on The Voice featured a powerhouse match-up between Team Adam members Mia Pfirrmanand Alessandra Castronovo.
Pfirrman’s rendition of the Christina Perri song “Human” led to high praise from coach Adam Levine and her advancing to the Live Playoffs (Levine told Pfirrman that she has “ice water in her veins” after the performance).
I interviewed Pfirrman this morning, and the 19-year-old singer talked about the lessons she’s learned working with Adam Levine, her close friendship with fellow The Voice artist Sugar Joans, and why self-belief is an important part of her life.
First off, Adam Levine seems like the kind of coach who’s going to tell it like it is and not sugar coat thing. Has that been your experience being coached by Adam?
Absolutely. I think that’s why I picked him in the beginning actually because after all the coaches turned around for me in the Blind Audition, something that Adam said really won me over. He knew that there was a lot that I needed to work on. He was the one that wanted to work on them with me, which is really great.
Being a young artist, I need constructive criticism to guide me to where I need to be. And he’s definitely the person to do that.
During one of your early interviews, you talked about having stage fright. Through this experience, has that gone away?
Yeah. I’ve actually overcome stage fright since I’ve come on the show. Just being part of a show like this is enough of a confidence booster to really prove to (myself) that I have what it takes to have confidence and to not be scared. Just to be on stage and do what I love. This has been a really amazing experience to help me get over that stage fright.
A lot of people would think, “Oh that would make me more nervous to be on a show like this in front of millions of people.” That’s another big thanks to Adam for really proving to me that I can be confident in myself.
We only get to see edited coaching sessions and rehearsals during the show. How much work really goes into the performances behind the scenes?
I can’t even explain how much work goes into these performances. We have rehearsals and vocal lessons and weeks of weeks of training just for one song. It’s something I do wish everyone could see and experience with us (on) how hard we work on these songs. Especially at this point in the competition, it’s so important that we work as hard as we can to continue on with these live rounds coming up.
It’s a really fun experience, though it is time consuming – it’s definitely something to be patient with. I’m really proud to say I’m part of this season – it’s definitely the best so far.
On being part of “The Voice” family, for you does that mean making lifelong friends past the show?
Oh absolutely. That’s pretty much the biggest part of it. We all are so close and we create these friendships that are so extremely rare and important to us. Doing what we love, and then having friends to be there with you and support and to tell you to keep fighting and going. I was thinking – is this even a competition?
I think it’s so amazing that The Voice does this. It makes it feel like less of a competition and just more of a family thing. Just us getting together and getting to do what we love.
Since you were raised in California, are you the resident tour guide among your colleagues? Living in California, it’s easy to take a lot of this environment for granted.
Yes, it’s really cool being the Cali girls. Me and Sugar Joans. She is my best friend on the show and since we’re both from California everybody is always asking us like, ‘You’re so lucky that you live here.’
That’s funny – because me and Sugar, we really don’t know how lucky we are to live here, and people are flying out to do these competitions from so far away. The other thing that makes me laugh so hard is when people say that they are so amazed by the mountains around here. I just never really noticed how beautiful they really are. People think it’s the most outrageous thing, and it’s so funny to me.
What is the most practical lesson you’ve learned from The Voice?
Just being yourself and not forgetting who you really are. I think a lot of young artists nowadays get on a show to become something they’re not so they can be successful. I know I’m still young but I’ve learned a lot (the past few) years . I think it’s super important to stick to your guns and hopefully that gets you somewhere. If that doesn’t, hopefully you have a back-up plan.
Having an older sister – she sings as well. She’s been struggling and fighting but never once has she done anything that she didn’t want to do so she can get a little bit of fame. It’s awesome to have that (quality).
That’s the most important part, is to just stay true to yourself and to always believe in yourself. If you have an attitude like that you can literally go anywhere. I know that sounds like a cliche or something you’d find on the internet with cute little quotes, but that’s so true. Eventually the right moment will come along for you.
Something that a lot of people don’t know is I’ve been trying really hard to get out there and have been trying real hard to be a part of The Voice. Along the road, there have been plenty of “no’s” for me, and at this point I’ve been getting so many “yes’es”and it’s been such an amazing experience to finally be where I want to be.
Thank you so much for your time and good luck moving forward.
Marvel fans received a ton of great news today, as several movies were announced that will run through 2019. The biggest casting news was Chadwick Boseman’s (42, Get On Up) singing as T’Challa the proud ruler of Wakanda and the hero behind the movie Black Panther. The movie is set for a November 3, 2017.
Black Panther’s debut in the Marvel Universe came in 1966, and during the years he’s also been a member of the Avengers. “I’m blessed to be a part of this Marvel Universe, to work with you both, and to make magic together,” said Boseman, who was flanked by Marvel stalwarts Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans at the event, which was held at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.
Along with the announcements of Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (July 2017), Thor: Ragnarok ( July 28, 2017 – Tom Hiddleston is also back as Loki), comes the news that an Avengers movie will be divided into two movies. The first installment comes out May 4, 2018 with the second slated for May 3, 2019.
Personally, I’m just glad kick-ass Carol Danvers gets her own film with the release of Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018). And if you love introspective superheroes, Black Bolt and his devastating screams are on display November 2, 2018 with the release of Inhumans. Last but not least, Doctor Strange hits theaters November 4, 2016, and there was no confirmation at the event that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the titular character.
At 18, country singer Allison Bray is a veteran on The Voice. Though she didn’t get a chair turn on season six, Bray didn’t hide in a corner and pout about the setback. Instead, she diligently worked on her craft to finally come back and get past the Blind Audition with a heartfelt rendition of “Merry Go Round.”
Bray sees her time on The Voice with a bigger picture in mind. Although having that singular vision of winning it all is understandable, Bray is focused on building a career anchored in longevity. In our interview, she discussed being mentored by Blake Shelton, having perseverance, and why bluegrass is pretty much embedded in her soul.
You’ve mentioned Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn as influences. If a neophyte to country wanted to explore the music, would you lead them in that direction?
I would definitely suggest that. It is important with any type of music to get back into how it started. I actually started out in a bluegrass background. Pretty much my whole family played bluegrass instruments. I grew up with the absolute roots of country music and I think my bluegrass background influenced my love for Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn – all those great people.
Getting a feel for the passion behind country music, that can help you almost with any type of music because country music is the root of all Western world music. I do believe that learning those small things can help you as an artist.
How great is it to team with Blake Shelton – since he has a reverence for country music’s roots as well as having a mainstream take on it as well.
I had three coaches turn around during my blind auditions. I chose Blake for that sole purpose. Blake has lots to offer, not even from a music approach, but he is a great influence for me the advertising and music business aspect. He knows everyone and their moms (laughs). I think having him in my corner is going to help me a lot as an artist. Even if I don’t make it far on the show I think he will always be there for me as a person.
We will always have some type of connection or friendship because we both share that love for old country music. I think maybe later on down the road he can help me outside the show and help me push my career in country music. He can expose me to some wonderful people and help me out a little bit. I really went with him for that reason. I really wanted to go with Gwen because she’s a girl and she could help me with my voice. But I have to think past the singing because it’s a business and it’s something you have to be well seasoned.
You have to know how to market yourself, you have to know what they want to hear, and I think Blake can help me with that because he’s a country music artist.
A lot of people would have given up after not receiving a chair turn on The Voice, but you came back and took another chance. Where does that resilience come from?
I have never been a quitter – ever. Thankfully growing up my parents were very strict and very hard on me as far as doing things I said I was going to do. My dad made sure that no matter what happened or what I did, that I finished what I started. When I didn’t get a chair turnaround, I had some unfinished business and he was definitely the one who said, “You’re not putting yourself on the show, you need to go back there and show everyone that you have what it takes.”
Those words will be instilled into my brain until for my whole life and will be until the day I die. I don’t call myself a quitter. I will always keep going back. Not getting a chair turn was a good thing for me. It’s a very humbling experience, let alone not getting chosen. The fact that I had the opportunity to come back a second time has been a crazy experience and hard for me to grasp. I’m enjoying it nonetheless and I’ve had the time of my life on the show.
Can you talk about the song you chose for your Knockout Round?
The song I chose reflects me as an artist. The first two songs I performed on the show have been more so laid back. The reason why I enjoy doing country music is that it tells a story. The song I chose is more upbeat and it’s more fun for me to perform.
If I had more fun doing it on stage, then I have a better shot at conveying a story and an image. I think this song will give me an opportunity to show everyone that not only am I a vocalist, I’m also a performer.
If anyone comes out and sees me on a weekly basis, they’ll know that this type of song is my favorite to do just because it’s fun.
How has it been being part of “The Voice” family?
I just tweeted that last night. I said there is not a tighter bond than the ones we have on the show. Not only between the contestants but even the staff of the show and the crew. The good thing about The Voice is they will always care about your well being – they care about you as an artist.
The music industry is so cutthroat and so straight to the point. Most of the time it’s about them making money and they don’t care about how you do or what you want to do.
(With) The Voice, they want you to succeed and that means the world to someone like me. Not only that, but we all live together throughout the course of the show. We get really close to each other – before we go to bed every night we sit around the fire at the hotel and play music and sing with each other. It’s a bond that’s hard to break and it’s a bond that we will keep outside the show. I’ve made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.
The Voice is by far the best musical experience that I’ve had thus far and probably one of the best ones I’ll ever have.
Good luck moving forward and thanks for your time.
Thank you! Thank you so much.
The Voice continues with its Knockout Rounds tonight at 8 pm et/pt.
Bryana Salaz brings a ton of moxie and charm to the stage. Part of the 17-year-old’s confidence stems from being raised in a military family and adapting to a plethora of new scenarios. Having Gwen Stefani as a coach has also nurtured Salaz’s skills, and their close knit bond has been evident throughout the season.
During our talk, Salaz was extremely humble and excited about her success on the show (she survived the Battle and Knockout rounds and is headed for the live shows), and though she has made her share of friends on The Voice, she also understands that this is a competition.
Check out our Q&A below as the ebullient (and seemingly fearless) artist talks about her relationship with Gwen Stefani, being raised in a military family, and her love for performing on stage.
How does it feel to advance to the live rounds?
Gosh, it’s been awesome. It’s so hard for me to put into words how I feel or how amazing and phenomenal it feels to be able to advance. And to have my family and friends supporting me is so awesome. The amount of support I’m getting on Twitter and Instagram and being able to share this experience with them and have them follow me like every step of the way almost is also incredibly awesome. I hope to keep moving forward and working hard because that’s what I’m here to do.
I’m very excited and blessed.
Has constantly moving with your family to different environments give you certain skill sets in adapting to The Voice?
Totally. Moving around almost every two years – it’s a lot, especially at my age. I’ve been to four different high schools and who wants to start a new high school their senior year. It’s actually pretty scary.
Moving around all the time and having to adapt to different cultures and styles – having to meet new people constantly, I think it’s given me an edge and advantage to this competition. It’s really hard number one even if you’re not a shy person. I’m not shy – I love meeting people.
But if you’re shy, I can’t imagine how much harder it is. Especially when you’re on the stage. Moving around has given me the ability to be really okay and get good at meeting new people and adapting to different environments. I’ve never been in an environment as fast paced as The Voice so it’s helped me change – It’s been just so helpful in this competition in ways that really only (having a) military perspective could understand. It’s been an honor to be in a military family as well – it’s an honor to have a soldier as a dad.
You have a powerful voice, so working with such different singers like Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift must really help in your growth.
Totally. Gwen Stefani, of course, she’s the queen of pop. It’s so different from what I want to pursue and it’s the same with Taylor Swift. They’re completely different artists and I’m a completely different artist from them. But to get their advice and their experience – they are some of the biggest names in the music industry.
I’m still finding out who I am as an artist. To get their help in molding me and helping me find myself is just a huge blessing. How many people can say that they’ve worked with Gwen Stefani and Taylor Swift – at the same time even! (laughs)
They helped take my song to the next level and that is why I was able to advance in the competition. I’m super excited to see what Gwen has in store and what song she picks for me!
I’m sure you’ve made lifelong friends from The Voice. Plus, it seems that Gwen Stefani really cares about you (note – Stefani jokingly told Bryana that she has “mommy issues” with her). From those two aspects, how amazing has this experience been for you?
It’s indescribable, really. I’ve made the best friends. It’s really so heartbreaking because you see some of your closest friends go home. Even my battle partner (Gianna Salvato) – we were best friends. To see her go home it’s like “I want you to do good, but I want to win.”
It’s so stressful and it was amazing because I got super close to Sugar Joans and I love her. It was such a great feeling to not have to go through that again and for us to still be in the competition (Joans, who lost to Salaz in Monday’s Knockouts round, is now part of team Pharrell).
Working with Gwen – she really is very, very good at connecting with her artists. She really puts a lot of time into us and breaks down what she wants from us and what we need to improve on. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, but she’s nice the way she does it. The bond that I have with her now – sometimes it doesn’t even register that I’m working with Gwen Stefani because we’ve gotten so close.
She really wants the best for every artist and it’s amazing how she can connect to each artist in a different way. I feel like we’ve formed this bond and connection that I trust that she is going to do awesome things for the live playoffs. She’s going to pick a great song. I trust her opinion because she really knows me as an artist. That’s something crazy to say that Gwen Stefani knows me. Oh my gosh, that’s so unreal! (laughs)
You tackle really big songs and you seem to have a strong sense of self-confidence? Where does that come from?
I think the confidence just comes from being onstage. Moving around all the time – it’s hard for me to say I have a home. I don’t have a home. If someone were to say, “let’s go visit (your) home,” where would I go?
When I’m on stage, I feel like I’m at home. I feel like that’s where I belong and that’s just where I was made to be. That really helps with my performing – I love being on stage. I love entertaining people. I love connecting to music. It’s been the only thing I’ve stuck with every time I’ve moved.
I want people to see that this is where I belong and that I will compete and I’ll work my butt off to stay on this stage. This is my home and I don’t want to leave it.
Is it still surreal to watch yourself on TV?
(laughs) Yes, oh my goodness it’s so weird. I never even got used to watching videos of me on YouTube. My parents would put videos of me on YouTube and I hated watching myself. Now I’m on national television and it’s like ten times worse! (laughs)
With being on TV, you’re going to get comparisons and people who don’t like certain things. That just comes with it and you just have to be able to just look past it. (Singing) is what I love to do and no matter what anybody says – you can’t bring me down!
This whole experience has been so hard to describe. All I can say is that it’s a blessing.
Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path, a 3-CD Soundgarden collection which features seven unreleased tracks, comes out November 24. Among the cuts is the single “Storm,” which was recorded in May with producer Jack Endino in Seattle (to listen to the song, you can stream it at this following link).
The great news is this collection wasn’t haphazardly thrown together, as Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil curated and selected the tracks. “As album sets go, this one has been fun to collect and compile over the decades,” said Thayil. “I personally may have referenced this project a number of times over the years, going back almost twenty of them to the mid-nineties.
Disc 1, titled “Originals,” features B-sides, the aforementioned “Storm” and the unreleased track “Kristi.” Disc 2 has the band doing a slew of covers from such artists as The Beatles, The Doors, The Stooges and the Rolling Stones. Demos, remixes, and instrumentals are featured on the third disc (it’s named “Oddities”).
Fans who pre-orderEcho of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path get an instant download of “Storm”