Tagged: jean-Marc Vallee

Demolition

Summary: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th July 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Screenwriter: Bryan Sipe

Cast: Madison Arnold (Ray), Stephen Badlamenti (Mickey), B Bastian (Jennifer), Blaire Brooks (Amy), James Colby (John), Ben Cole (Steven), Chris Cooper (Phil), Polly Draper (Margot), Brendan Drooling (Todd), Jake Gyllenhaal (Davis), Royce Johnson (Secuirty Marty), Tom Kemp (Dr. Brodkey), Judah Lewis (Chris), Heather Lind (Julia), Alfredo Narcisco (Michael), Wass Stevens (Jimmy), Naomi Watts (Karen),C.J. Wilson (Carl), James Young (Ahmed)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEMOLITION REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

For me as a critic ‘Demolition’ is like a five star explosion. The director, Jean-Marc Vallee, received five stars from me for his last two films – the heart-gripping drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and the visually spectacular ‘Wild’, while leading man Jake Gyllenhaal has garnished the same scores for his recent films – ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Nightcrawler’ and ‘Southpaw.’ I would be lying if I said I was expecting something brilliant from ‘Demolition’ and this time I was disappointed.

‘Demolition’ is the story of a broken man. To the outside world Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal – ‘Nightcrawler’) is a man who has everything. He has an amazing looking home, a successful career in finance and the perfect marriage to Julia (Heather Lind – ‘Mistress America’). But then when Julia is killed in a car accident he re-accesses his life through a series of letters to a convenience machine company and soon he finds himself wondering whether or not he really loved Julia and also suddenly discovering a need to want to demolish everything. These letters also bring him into contact with the emotionally damaged Karen (Naomi Watts – ‘The Ring’) and her troubled young son, Chris (Judah Lewis – ‘Deliverance Creek’)… something that causes an even big rift between Davis and his father-in-law, Phil (Chris Cooper – ‘American Beauty’).

It’s not a cliché that I normally like to use but ‘Demolition’ really is one of the movies of the year, in fact it is a lesson in filmmaking (from the screenwriting up) to any young filmmaker out there. Screenwriter, Brian Sipe (‘The Choice’) doesn’t waste a single second of screen time. He sets up the relationship between Davis and Julia in less than a minute and as the film delves into the life of a man falling apart the audience are kept guessing exactly what is going to happen next in that special form of character driven suspense… something that we previously have only got to experience in special films like ‘The Safety Of Objects.

‘Demolition’ is one of those amazing films were the director really understood what the screenwriter was trying to do and captures the vibe from the page and brings it to the screen in a remarkable way. So many lesser directors would have taken Sipe’s script and tried to make everything painfully obvious to the audience but here Vallee keeps his audience guessing. There are a tonne of questions that need to be asked about the brilliantly written and edgy character of Chris while the will they/won’t they tension between Davis and Karen is ever present without ever becoming clichéd or cheesy. That also leads to a second level of suspense as the audience waits to see what happens with Karen’s ‘boyfriend’ Carl (C.J. Wilson – ‘The Intern’).

Sipe’s screenplay also allows the cast to put in some amazing performances that are deserved of any awards that they should pick up. As we saw in ‘Nightcrawler’ and ‘Southpaw’ Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance goes to a whole new level when he is asked to play a character who is falling apart and here Gyllenhaal certainly brings his A-Game. Whether it be a scene where he is mentally breaking down while demolishing his home with a sledgehammer or sharing a touching emotion scene with Judah Lewis… his performance is truly captivating.

Follow in Gyllenhaal’s footsteps in Naomi Watts who has sadly been wasted in woeful films like ‘Allegiant’ and ‘Diana’ recently. But here as Watts is given a meatier script and able to play the drug affected Karen she really comes to the fore and reminds audiences just what a fine actress then she really is. Then there is the arrival of Judah Lewis. This young actor seems to relish playing a young character struggling to cope with his sexuality and the fact that his drug addicted mother is not paying enough attention to him. Lewis breezes through even some of the more difficult scenes and he really announces himself as a young actor to watch in the future.

In a cinematic world where bigger is considered better and every film released seems to what to out do it’s predecessor’s special effects it is a real relief to be able to sit down and watch a film like ‘Demolition’ – a film that relies on the fact that it has a brilliant screenplay and actors who are at the top of their game to pull it off. ‘Demolition’ is one of the films of the year and also shows why Jake Gyllenhaal now has to be considered one of the best actors of our generation.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a hot shot financier whose wife is killed in a car crash. He goes into denial and his life goes into melt down and he begins to alienate everyone around him. Including his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper), who also happens to be his boss.
A minor incident involving a vending machine in the hospital though is the real catalyst for his frustration. He writes complaint letters to the company, which attract the attention of Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts), the sympathetic customer service representative. She finds something about the personal revelations in his letters of complaint that intrigues her. An unlikely relationship slowly develops. But it is his relationship with her troubled delinquent son Chris (newcomer Judah Lewis), who is struggling with his own sexuality and identity, that really starts the healing process. Davis becomes something of a surrogate father figure for the wayward adolescent.
Davis also finds release through demolishing things, from household appliances up to his own house. Wrecking his own beautiful, architecturally designed house with a sledgehammer proves cathartic, but it is also a heavy handed metaphor for leaving his old life behind and moving on. Ironically, in one of his letters Davis writes: “For some reason, everything has become a metaphor.”
Written by Bryan Sipe (who also penned the recent adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice), this is a rather downbeat and unpredictable drama dealing with death, grief, and the process of moving on.Demolition has been directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee, who directed Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar in Dallas Buyers Club. Demolition is full of some of his trademark stylish flourishes – such as dreamlike shots, slow motion flashbacks and looped images – that give parts of the film a similar surreal quality to his enigmatic Cafe de Flore. Music has also been an important element in Vallee’s films beginning with the coming of age tale CRAZY, and here he has compiled a great soundtrack that mixes older acts like Heart and Free with indie bands like Cave and Half Moon Run, and some classical music.
Demolition has been shot by his regular cinematographer Yves Belanger, and there are some crisp and striking images. But this vaguely disappointing tale attempts to explore similar territory to that Vallee essayed in the more successful Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman trying to find herself through an arduous physical experience.
There are solid performances all round, particularly from the charismatic young Lewis who brings a spark of energy to the film that contrasts with Gyllenhaal’s downbeat and quietly compelling reading of his grieving character. The always reliable Gyllenhaal appears in virtually every scene, and he anchors this quirky but ultimately flawed drama, delivering another of his intense, edgy performances as the self destructive and emotionally stunted Davis. Cooper brings his usual stoic, gruff and world weary persona to an underwritten role, while Watts delivers another strong performance as a woman who is also dealing with her own emotional issues.
But despite the emotional content and late bursts of sentimentality, Demolition is a film that will not have broad appeal. However, it should do well on the festival circuit and in art house cinemas.

 

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Demolition (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Demolition reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

2016 Revelation Film Festival Header

The Revelation Film Festival runs from July 7-July 17 in Perth. The opening night film is Jean Marc-Vallee’s Demolition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. There are lots of features and documentaries screening during the festival, many of which are Australian premieres. Greg spoke to festival director Jack Sargeant to find out more.

You can listen to or download our 2016 Revelation Film Festival interview right here.

 

2016 Revelation Film Festival Logo

Wild

Summary: Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) is a woman in crisis. Her personal life has taken a battering to the point that she never no longer knows what is going on and where she is headed. Her marriage to her husband Paul (Thomas Sadoski) is in tatters after she repeatedly cheated on him, she has been battling against a heroin addiction and the loss of her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern) has seen her reach rock bottom.

Cheryl knows that she needs to make changes in her life but nobody expects to make the choice that she does. They are very shocked when she announces that she is going to go on a one thousand mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail in a bid to find herself. Many expect that she will fail on her journey but Cheryl decides that this is one thing that she is not going to mess up or give up on.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Screenwriter: Nick Hornby, Cheryl Strayed

Cast: Lorraine Bahr (Lou), Charles Baker (T.J.), W. Earl Brown (Frank), Ray Buckley (Joe), Anne Gee Byrd (Vera), Jerry Carlton (Dave), Will Cuddy (Josh), Cathryn de Prume (Stacey), Cliff De Young (Ed), Laura Dern (Bobbi), J.D. Evermore (Clint), Nick Eversman (Richie), Jan Hoag (Annette), Gaby Hoffman (Aimee), Michiel Huisman (Jonathan), Bobby Strayed Lindstrom (Cheryl (6 Years Old)), Keene McCrae (Leif), Mo McCrae (Jimmy Carter), Kevin Michael Moore (Spider), William Nelson (Leif (3 Years Old)), Evan O’Toole (Kyle), Leigh Parker (Rick), Matt Pascua (Wayne), Kevin Rankin (Greg), Thomas Sadoski (Paul), Brian Van Holt (Ranger), Reese Witherspoon (Cheryl)

Runtime: 115 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR WILD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Travelogue films have been sneaking into the cinemas at a pretty rapid rate over the last few years. Some, like the very good Secret Life Of Walter Mitty work, but a large number end up like Tracks, a dull affair that saw a woman walk across a desert with a camel for a majority of the film, or completely laughable and self-indulgent like the ridiculous male torture device known as Eat, Pray, Love. Therefore it is an absolute relief that Wild turns out to be an amazing film that is likely to take a few people by surprise with its alternative edge.

Really as a film going audience we shouldn’t have expected anything less. Director, Jean-Marc Vallee announced himself as an edgy director who can find box office suspense with the award-winning Dallas Buyers Club, but with Wild he takes that one step further and in doing so makes this a film that really will inspire those who are finding themselves on the darker side of life.

What better way to show human desperation than to take one of Hollywood’s most beautiful actresses and brutally show her as somebody who is really suffering. Witherspoon knows how to play rough, she did that recently in Mud, but here Vallee takes Witherspoon down even further, delivering scenes of real nastiness with scenes of injecting heroin and promiscuous sex that will be a shock to the system for anybody expecting this to be some Julia Roberts fluff.

Likewise Vallee doesn’t glam up Cheryl’s journey across the trail either. Sure he doesn’t mind showing the odd piece of beautiful scenery but it’s intercut with Cheryl having to make unglamorous toilet spots, watching her eat cold foot, pulling off toenails as her feet suffer with every step and of course the suspense of not knowing when one of the male hikers or hunters is going to see her a single female alone on the trail as a piece of bait that they just can’t pass by. Aided by a beautifully written screenplay by Nick Hornby Vallee has ended up producing a surprisingly good alternative masterpiece.

With screenwriter and director working well in tandem the last piece of the puzzle was the lead actress and Reese Witherspoon certainly doesn’t let the team down. Gone are the days when Witherspoon was known for her ‘soft’ roles in films like Cruel Intentions or Legally Blonde, now Witherspoon seems to excel when she is given the rougher roles and she backs up her recent great performances in Devil’s Knot and Mud with a stunningly good performance here. Witherspoon cops whatever Vallee throws at her and while many actresses may not have wanted to film some of the nudity that Witherspoon is called to deliver, she seems to have little or no problem with it at all. Her well-rounded performance certainly deserves the Oscar nomination that she has received and she actually does have a pretty decent chance to add to the one that she picked up for Walk The Line. While Witherspoon does steal the show she is also joined by Laura Dern for some amazingly touching and sometimes harrowing scenes together as well.

Wild is perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the year. A travelogue with the grittiness of a film like Trainspotting or 21 Grams is pretty much unheard of. With one of the best scripts to have surfaced in a long time, a performance by a lead actress that is full of grit and a director at the helm that isn’t afraid to make a ‘dirty’ blockbuster there is little wonder why Wild has turned out to be one of the best films you will see in 2015. Aside from running a little long it does absolutely nothing wrong.

Stars(5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)

 

IMDB Rating: Wild (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wild reviews: You can also read our Wild review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer: