Movies out today: black comedy and bad romance

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While the rest of the world gets to see Chappie, alas us lowly plebs have to wait another week. Oh well! Here’s what’s in cinemas to tide us over…

  • Nightcrawler

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NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling — where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou thrives. In the breakneck, ceaseless search for footage, he becomes the star of his own story.

What we would like to know is, how in the hell was Jake Gyllenhaal not nominated for Best Actor for this role? If you’ve read Kervyn’s review, you’ll know that Gyllenhaal pulls no punches, absolutely dominating the movie with his dark, creepy and captivating performance. But his performance isn’t the only good thing, the movie as a whole is completely gripping as a drama and effortlessly entertaining as a black comedy. With a near-perfect 4.5/5 stars, it’s definitely on the must-see list.

  • Blackhat

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Set within the world of global cybercrime, BLACKHAT follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.

With more style than substance, Blackhat comes across as rather lacking, with some bland performances and inconsistencies not quite covered up director Michael Mann’s particular brand of stylish directing and choreography. While it’s not unwatchable and quite entertaining, it could have been a lot more.

  • Playing it Cool

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The narrator (Chris Evans) is a writer and wants to write action but his publisher Bryan (anthony Mackie) wants him to write about romance first. The problem is, the narrator doesn’t believe in love. But when he meets Her (Michelle Monaghan), he falls for her, only to find out that she is already engaged.

So that’s weird. Captain America and Falcon together in a rom-com. Well, not together together (although wouldn’t that be interesting). Unfortunately, Playing it Cool so far looks like it isn’t anything but a standard rom-com. It’s one of those “if you’ve watched the trailer you’ve watched the movie” movies that falls for every trope in the book. Oh well, guess Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie had to do something to pass the time between Marvel movies.

  • The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

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When a group of orphaned children are forced to move from their home in London, caretakers Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory) bring everyone to the desolate and eerie British countryside. 40 years after Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliffe in the first film, The Woman in Black) left, this supernatural horror film introduces this new group to the now abandoned Eel Marsh House; an odd but seemingly safe location. It isn’t long before Eve starts to sense that this house is not what it appears to be as the children in her care begin to disappear. As their house of safety becomes a house of horrors, Eve enlists the help of a handsome pilot (Jeremy Irvine) to help investigate what is happening. Eve soon discovers that it may not be a coincidence that she has come to reside in the house inhabited by the Woman in Black.

Contrived and boring, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is as far removed from the first film as it could possibly be, losing all atmospheric, intimate chills in favour of predictable jump-scares and feeble horror-movie tropes. Kervyn rates it barely worthy of 2.5/5, so if you thought The Woman in Black was an excellent ghost story, best you avoid the sequel so as not to be disappointed. Daniel Radcliffe wisely did.

Last Updated: March 6, 2015

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

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