Pick of the week: “Nightcrawler“ — The thing is, he’s not wrong. The freelance crime scene photographer Jake Gyllenhaal plays in this creepy thrill may be a total sociopath, profiting off other people’s miseries and even adding to them (or at least staging them) if it makes for a better shot. But he’s taking the principles of free-market-capitalism and entrepreneurship to its logical extremes — even if those extremes include murder. Great film.
Comedian Todd Barry uploaded a video to YouTube recently. It was a 1982 clip of David Letterman calling an 18-year-old Barry as part of a “Viewer Mail” segment. What’s fascinating about the clip is that, as a teenager, Barry acts and sounds pretty much exactly like the extraordinarily dry, sarcastic stand-up comedian he is now. It was all already there, in a teenage boy living outside Fort Lauderdale, waiting to be developed and discovered.
Chuck Workman’s Orson Welles’ documentary “Magician” isn’t a great film – I’m tempted to call it “Workman-like” for its dutiful arrangement of film clips and talking heads interviews. The film played at the Wisconsin Film Festival and is now out on Blu-ray from Cohen Media. But it’s fascinating to see that Welles was Welles well before “War of the Worlds” and “Citizen Kane.” And he was Welles long after the world wanted Welles.
“Slow West” is now playing on DirecTV and on video-on-demand. R, 1:24, three and a half stars out of four.
The movie is filmed in New Zealand, starring two Australian actors and an Irish actor, and was written and directed by a Scotsman.
So, of course, “Slow West” is a Western.
Pick of the week: “Hits” –My full review is here. “Mr. Show” co-creator David Cross is making the transition from young comedy upstart to cranky old man gracefully. He’s the writer-director of this scathing satire of “instant celebrity” culture in which no one is spared, from a teen girl who will do anything to be a pop star to a disgruntled man who becomes the flashpoint of a viral political movement.
“Love and Mercy” opens Friday at Point and Star Cinemas. PG-13, 2:01, three and a half stars out of four.
For an extra few bucks, theaters showing the Brian Wilson biopic “Love and Mercy” should issue headphones so audience members could jack in directly to Atticus Ross’ hypnotic soundtrack. (And I don’t mean earbuds, but big, fat, pillowy, quad headphones.)
Ross and Trent Reznor have made memorable soundtracks before for films like “Gone Girl” and “The Social Network,” but what he creates for “Love and Mercy” is more like an aural soundscape, with snatches of Beach Boys music and whispers of sinister voices floating around in the ether. Hearing it helps us understand the beauty and the nightmare of being in Brian Wilson’s head.