Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

“End Of Watch” (2012)


Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.

End of Watch

Rating: 5 out of 10

End of Watch is a classic example of a great film trying to escape from behind the trappings of a well worn gimmick that doesn’t work. All of the elements are there: two solid male performances, an environment filled with love and brotherhood within violent trappings, and some dynamic actions scenes that had potential. Why didn’t they work? Well, the main gimmick is the idea that the police officer lead ( played very well by Jake Gyllenhaal) has a camera that he carries everywhere and he records (cough..Blair Witch Project…) his day to day life. The problem with that idea is that it’s a trade off. While it can create an almost pseudo-documentary, the price for that added sense of realism is that the narration has to constantly account for the camera. Who’s holding it? If they’re holding it, what’s the other guy doing?

images (21)images (24)

How do you show them in their daily lives if they can never be shown alone. Well, the answer is that they stop trying. At some point in the first third of the film, they never explain anymore. So, if you couldn’t account for who is holding the camera, why have the gimmick?!?! It’s such an obvious omission that even the least observant viewers will notice it. Also, the plot is extremely thin. I realize that the writers wanted to give you a broad picture of friendship and brotherhood with the Los Angeles Police Department but there’s really no plot progression. The characters are the same at the end as they were in the beginning. Very little was learned because it wasn’t as if they weren’t friends from the start. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to see two Los Angeles cops who are paired together and bond through shared experiences on the job? My last complaint would be the ending (which I won’t give away here). Why would you show that? Why close the film on a humorous note after everything you just put the audience through to get there?

images (26)images (34)

So, why aren’t I rating this lower? Two reasons: Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal. They are both so perfect in their roles and so natural that it felt like they ad-libbed most of their lines. You will believe in their friendship and their interactions never feel forced or unnatural. I still can’t recommend the film though. It’s never boring but the well worn gimmicks and lack of plot bog down what could have been a great cop film.

Brian’s Review – “Source Code”

Jake Gyllenhaal portrays a soldier recruited for a time-bending government investigation that places him in another man’s mind and body, reliving the same traumatic event repeatedly in an effort to identify the perpetrators of a terrorist bombing. Vera Farmiga plays a communications specialist who provides the vital link to the soldier’s primary reality as he searches for critical clues within a recurring nightmare.


Rating- 9 out of 10

It would be easy to dismiss Source Code as a derivative copycat of the Matrix simply because it contains the world within a world concept. If you did that you’d be missing out on one of the truly special science fiction films in recent years. Director Duncan Jones’ first film “Moon” was a cult hit that contained an interesting concept but failed when it came to pulling me in. However, his sophomore effort here has no such problems. Right from the first frame, I was swept up in this world where it’s one part science fiction and the other part a detective story. I wouldn’t dare dream to explain the plot points to you because that would ruin the entire experience. The greatest art here is the sense of discovery that the viewer gets as more answers slowly come to the main protagonist. The lead in this case is played capably but never over the top by Jake Gyllenhaal. He hits just the right balance of emotions without ever overdoing it.

Sci/fi films are always tricky when actors go over the top because it’s a reminder to the audience that what they’re watching has less reality to it. The ending turned out to be much more emotionally satisfying than what I was expecting and was a welcome change from the usual shootouts and explosions that we get from most films of this type. Duncan Jones clearly has tremendous control over this medium and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Don’t miss it!

Source Code

Jake Gyllenhaal portrays a soldier recruited for a time-bending government investigation that places him in another man’s mind and body, reliving the same traumatic event repeatedly in an effort to identify the perpetrators of a terrorist bombing. Vera Farmiga plays a communications specialist who provides the vital link to the soldier’s primary reality as he searches for critical clues within a recurring nightmare.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Source Code is Groundhog Day meets Inception meets Avatar … kind of.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a disoriented soldier who gets to take over the body of a man who is on a train outside of Chicago that is about to blow up. He has eight minutes until the bomb explodes and everyone on board dies. Eight minutes. Over and over again until he can figure out where the bomb is and who planted it. He’s not supposed to be trying to save the people, only learn about the bomber to stop a future attack. This isn’t, as they say, time travel.

There’s a lot of to figure out in the movie – like where is Jake once he’s off the train and in his own body, who are the people who are instructing him in his mission, who’s the bomber, etc., etc.

Source Code is well made and acted and pulled me in from the start. There’s a question I have about Jake and the end, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. So let me know when you’ve seen it and we discuss the ending.

Love and Other Drugs

 Pharmaceutical representative Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes a player in the big game of male-performance-enhancement-drug sales and, along the way, finds unexpected romance with a woman (Anne Hathaway) suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Based on the real-life Jamie Reidy’s memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, this satirical look inside the culture of Big Pharm is directed by Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai).

Rating:7 out of 10

Once in a while a movie is completely marketed wrong by film companies, and “Love and Other Drugs” is a perfect example of that.

We’re lead to believe this is a romantic comedy – which is why my fiancé and I went to see it. The beginning of the film sets up like a romantic comedy, but the last half of the film goes to full drama, which may be why she liked the first half better than the second half, and I liked the film more than she did.

If we want to classify this as a romantic comedy, it’s certainly head and shoulders above most of them. There are some truly funny and relatable characters who meet in unlikely circumstances – a cocky, good looking lady’s man meets a woman with early onset Parkinson’s disease. It sounds corny, but the characters were developed enough that we believe in them and care about them by the end of the film when they are going through dramatic moments. It was a bit too long, and it does follow formula – boy meets girl, boy loses girls, boy gets girl back. But I think the situations they are in are unique and the acting is strong.  

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan, who pairs with spunky Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep the Sands of Time — a mystical dagger that gives its holder control over the flow of time — from falling into the wrong hands and putting the world in peril. Mike Newell directs this sweeping live-action adventure based on the popular video game series, co-starring Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. Directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

Rating: 6 out of 10

Film adaptations of films just don’t work, and we’ve written about it before. I even ranked this film as one of the Top 5 movies you shouldn’t waste your money on last summer.

But I will say this — as stupid as this movie was, it was pretty fun. The concept isn’t great. It’s a film about a boy adopted into a royal family who is later framed for his father’s murder by his uncle, and while he is on the run finds a magic dagger that can bring you back in time one minute — throw in heavy doses of action, adventure, fights, and a hot chick. You get the formula.

This is not a good movie, but I’m not always in the mood for an intellectually challenging movie. Sometimes, I just want a movie to distract me from the hustle and bustle.

‘Poo poo, pee pee,’ and other unintelligent things my brother says that, apparently, our readers want

Brian on the playground with his pals.

This column is in response to Brian’s complaint that Matt is censoring him. Editor’s note: graphic content


I felt like I was on another planet when I was having a conversation with my big brother where he was arguing the merits of using the term “butt fuck.”

Normally foul language doesn’t offend me. I’m not a big curse-word user when I speak or write, but I’m not a church mouse by any stretch of the imagination. I do swear, just like most people. But there’s a difference between swearing with purpose and using as a hateful language or swearing as an adjective because you lack the vocabulary to express yourself in more clever ways.

When Brian was reviewing “Prince of Persia,” he referred to Jake Gyllenhall as the guy who got “butt fucked in Brokeback Mountain.” Now, this was used in a completely homophobic and demeaning way, in my opinion. He was putting Gyllenhall down for playing the role of a gay man and for doing a same-sex love scene in a film. To me, if I were reading this blog for the first time — as you may be doing now — you’d likely look at us as a couple of immature schmucks who are just another in a long line of jerks who pile on the mound of crappy blogs that are filling the internet. I like to think we’re a little better, a little smarter, and can be more clever than the average moron who takes up cyberspace with awful, immature blogs. The phrase about Gyllenhall was changed to “the catcher in Brokeback Mountain,” which was a little less offensive, but only by the slimmest of margins. I felt it was at least a little more clever.

I’d also like to think that as a man well into his thirties, a father, with an established career as a director, he’d want  smarter ways of being funny than saying, “fag” “shit” and “fuck” — all words I’ve repeatedly removed from his reviews. But, you guys have been voting in overwhelming favor that you prefer Brian swearing and using phrases like “butt fuck.” That seems hard to believe. Almost as hard to believe that I’m writing a column about it.

Enjoy some swearing (in a clever way):

Why film adaptations of video games don’t work

With the release of “Price of Persia: the Sands of Time,” we were left with the question: Why in God’s name would you make a movie about a Middle Eastern guy with an enchanted knife that can climb walls?

The games are cool, but this was not a game that left us yearning for anything more than a sequel to the game, which they did. And this was by far the biggest film production adapted from a video game with a $200 million budget, name recognition from Jake Gyllenhaal, and production by Jerry Bruckheimer. They’re either going to lose their shirt on this movie or a lot of respect, but they wouldn’t be the first.

Video games work in and of themselves because you can stretch the imagination and dumb down story lines a bit because it’s a game. It’s is not a transcendent medium that will work in books or film because we expect more from them — or at least some of us do. The dialogue in games is cornball at best, and the story lines are a means of getting us through a game, but don’t challenge us with a narrative the same way film and books do.

But for whatever reason, there is a host of directors and studio executives who want to cash in on the popularity of a video game without considering that audiences won’t pay to see a bad movie. Sure, there will be some die-hard fans of the game that will pay to see it, but the rest of us need a reason — like good plot, direction and acting.

We’ve been given a laundry list of video game movies that don’t work, and many have had big names but became even bigger flops, like “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” ” Super Mario Bros.” “Resident Evil,” “House of the Dead,” and “Bloodrayne,” just to name a few. Please, please, please stop making these movies! Give the money to a charity, like scholarships for acting schools or the Please Assassinate Michael Bay Fund. Don’t give us any more movies like “Wing Commander” starring Freddie Prinze Jr. or “Street Fighter” starring Kylie Minogue and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The following clips pay tribute to the fine filmmakers that brought us classics like “Mortal Kombat” and “Postal”:

Mortal Kombat: Epic fail. Here’s a tasty clip with awesome dialogue and a monster that grunts for several minutes at a time.

Super Mario Bros. Movie… sigh. Can’t believe they got Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper.

Postal…. ugh. I think of all the hungry people that could have been fed with the budget of this movie.

Here’s a nice Top 10 Worst list of video games from GameTrailers.com