Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

Prisoners won’t let you go

2 Oct

The award season is quickly approaching and Prisoners sets the tone for early considerations. The Dover family (Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello) and Birch Family (Terrence Howard, Viola Davis) are facing every parent’s worst nightmare. Their daughters are missing, and as minutes turn to hours, panic and desperation engulf their emotions. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) searches for the girls, but his only lead is released due to lack of evidence. Keller Dover takes matters into his own hands.

Prisoners is a thriller that takes audiences through a gamut of emotions and doubt. Working with the gifted Roger Deakins, Director Denis Villeneuve creates a nightmare environment that sends shivers down audiences’ spines. The subject matter has a become a popular topic in horror/thriller films, but Prisoners attempts to do something much different. The cast is unbelievable with Jackman and Gyllenhaal leading the way. Even at a running time of 153 minutes, Prisoners holds you tight and will not let you go.


Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Zodiac is an elusive subject to capture

25 Sep


Director David Fincher makes an attempt to capture the most elusive and mysterious figure in law enforcement history. He is no stranger to serial killers, but his interpretation of Zodiac by Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) gives audiences a front row seat to Graysmith’s obsession with the infamous case that terrorized Northern California and frustrated investigators for decades.

Fincher’s visual style and attention to detail are impeccable. He takes his time with the characters and attempts to replicate these events as accurately as possible from Graysmith’s perspective, but it does lead to a slow pace and a long run time. The cast is formidable, however, Gyllenhaal’s performance isn’t nearly as strong  as Mark Ruffalo as Detective Dave Toschi and Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery.  It is difficult to satisfy audiences with such an ending, but Fincher remains true to the story and keeps “Hollywood” out of it as much as possible.


Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B

Source Code is a cryptic thriller

2 Jun


Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a U.S. Army Chopper pilot who wakes up in the body of another man, in order to figure out the identity of a train bomber. The film wastes no time with the action and the sci-fi technology is advanced enough to intrigue audiences to pay close attention.

Director Duncan Jones has tackled science fiction successfully before with his debut film Moon. He may become known for his ability to play mind games with people because Source Code is cryptic thriller that keeps audiences entertained like a good game of Sudoko . The script mixes elements of Quantum Leap, 12 Monkeys, and Groundhog Day together, but there is an original element because of Gyllenhaal performance and Jones’ direction. Source Code is a smart thriller that will keep you guessing until the end.


Adam’s Grade: B

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

End of Watch throws the book at you

8 Mar


End of Watch is an unflinching cop drama that adds a little more to the mix. Writer/Director David Ayers is not a rookie when it comes to this genre. Six of his seven titles are crime thrillers with characters with badges playing a major role in his films.

Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are LAPD officers working in South Central Los Angeles that end up uncovering a large drug cartel operation. As a result, the partners become a pair of targets for the drug dealer known as Big Evil.

There are times when some of the scenes seem unrealistic, but despite the clichés, Gyllenhaal and Pena create believable characters that take you along for a ride in the backseat of the squad car. Ayers uses “found footage” and hand-held camerawork to create an ultra realistic feel, which adds to the suspense and energy to the script. End of Watch throws the book at you.


Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: A

Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut fills in the holes

22 Feb


I am torn between the theatrical release and the director’s cut of Donnie Darko. The theatrical version left me perplexed and wondering what just happened.  Richard Kelly’s updated version fills in many of the holes that made the original such an off the wall cool movie. Both versions are good, but I like the director’s cut a little better because it allows me to fully appreciate the intricacies of the plot and the mysterious performance by Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko). The main addition to the script is the explanation of the book, The Philosophy of Time Travel and how the Primary Universe and Tangent Universe are connected by vortexes made of water. Trust me, it does make much more sense and audiences still have to interpret the strange events for themselves, but the theory provides a more solid footing. The film is a contemporary cult classic that has become a transcendent piece of filmmaking and staple for most DVD collections.


Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B

Jarhead stages a counter-attack

12 Nov

Early on, Jarhead can be compared to Full Metal Jacket, but then the film switches gears and slows down to become a psychological study of a group of soldiers belonging to a sniper unit.

Based on a true story, Andrew Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a marine training for the Gulf War. His unit’s Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx) are given orders to hunt down and kill their enemy, but by the time the soldiers enter the kill zone the war is over.

Director Sam Mendes puts together an alternative perspective to the classic war movie. His cinematography is always in top form and the performances he gets have several rich layers. My only criticism is the inconsistent pacing and anti-climatic feeling everyone is left with, but I am sure Mendes intended to do this because he wanted to reveal the loneliness of deployment after a period of aggressive, relentless training. Jarhead stages a counter-attack rather than a full fledged assault.


Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A