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The Chive


   The funniest, nastiest movie reviews anywhere.


If I had a dollar for every time I thought to myself, "Why aren't there more movies about low rent thieves who stumble into even more morally questionable careers like, say, being an ambulance-chasing, freelance crime scene videographer?" I'd be fucking broke.

I guess there were enough knuckleheads out there craving just this sort of flick, though, because that's Nightcrawler in a nutshell.  Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) opens the movie stealing chain link fencing, copper wire and manhole covers to sell to construction companies.  Then, by pure happenstance, he decides to buy a police scanner and a video camera, film the aftermaths of car accidents and murders and sell the footage to a local TV station.

Lou, by the by - and this is no spoiler as it's made more obvious than a mustache on the Mona Lisa during the very first scene - is also a borderline psychopath.  Writer/director Dan Gilroy was no doubt aiming for some Travis Bickle equivalency with Lou - as evidenced by a Baltic Avenue bite on the famous "You talkin' to me?" mirror scene in Taxi Driver - but Bloom is no Bickle, and Gyllenhaal is no De Niro.

Which reminds me.  When De Niro gained 60 pounds to play Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, that showed fucking commitment and rightly set the bar for actors taking their prep to the next level.  The Interwebs were going nuts when Nightcrawler was released because Gyllenhaal lost SO much weight for the role.  Are you fucking kidding me?  He dropped maybe 10 pounds!  I know to the average Hippo-American that's a huge deal, but it sure as juice-cleanse-shits doesn't hold a candle to what Christian Bale did for The Machinist

Rene "Mrs. Dan Gilroy" Russo plays the News Director hungry for all the carnage footage Lou can provide . . . but, apparently, less so for his cock.  Bill Paxton cameos as a rival  videographer who tells Lou, "If it bleeds, it leads." like it's some sort of Earth-shaking revelation rather than a tired-ass cliche that's been around for decades. 

Speaking of which, isn't it time the world adopted The Paxton Rule?  I don't care if he's playing a deaf-mute quadriplegic, voicing an animated Uraguayan chinchilla or guesting on an episode of House of Cards, Paxton should be contractually obligated to say, "Game over, man." at least once every single time he appears on screen.

Nightcrawler acts like it has something to say about the evils of capitalism . . . or lowest-common-denominator media . . . or the punji stick reality of the American Dream, but it has zero idea what it is.  It's packed with more false starts than an Oakland Raiders game but stays miles away from even remotely approaching making a meaningful statement about, well, anything.

At least Nightcrawler is better than the similarly-monikered Nightbreed.  And yes, I've seen the recently-released, much-hyped Director's Cut.  And no, you gullible fanboys, it doesn't shake any of the stink off of Clive Barker's shitasstrophic original.

March 15, 2015  Video release review rather than theatrical release review because pamplemousse facial.