Thursday, May 22, 2014


Have you ever been watching a movie and you remember that you have seen that guy before?  In another movie?  I had that experience about three times this past year with Jake Gyllenhaal.  I recently watched a movie called "End of Watch" which is amazing if you like South Central Los Angeles gang-related violence.  And who doesn't!  I went back and looked through his filmography and realized that he has a history of making some really high quality films.  Here are some that I really enjoyed:

Prisoners (2013): I thought this was going to be another "ho hum" crime drama, but with Hugh Jackman, Gyllenhaal and the great actor Paul Dano, it is above average.  It starts out with a predictable "girls go missing" plot, but Jackman takes matters into his own hands while the police (Gyllenhaal) are trying to figure out what is going on.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, although I have not taken candy from strangers since watching this film.

End of Watch (2012): Gyllenhaal plays a "normal" L.A. cop along with his sidekick/police partner played brilliantly by Michael Pena.  This is a super-violent and scary movie, and I absolutely loved it.  Not for the faint of heart.   Did I mention it was violent?  What I really enjoyed was that the two cops are normal guys—not heroes in the traditional sense of the word.  After seeing this movie I am so terrified of Los Angeles that I don't even want to fly over California on the way to Hawaii.

Source Code (2011): I am a science-fiction fan, and by that I mean real science fiction.  Light sabres and wizards are totally cool, and I am not dissing the wizards.  No spells please.  But there aren't many really good hard science fiction movies.  This is a really good science fiction movie.  Gyllenhaal places a guy on a train, and they keep reliving the same 8 minutes or so.  For two hours.  Okay, it is way better than I am making it sound. 

Brothers (2009): I figured if Gyllenhaal was teamed up with Spider-Man and Queen Amidala, you have a blockbuster right there.  Well, I thought this movie was going to be about some guy who runs away to Afghanistan and the other guy is "making whoopie" with the girlfriend, but that is not actually what the movie is about.  It is a tense, psychological drama and the acting was superb.  The lesson here: don't get caught by the Taliban and have a hunky brother.  

Zodiac (2007): I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  It is long (162 minutes—almost three hours) so you may have to take a break to go to the bathroom, eat food or pay your electricity bill.  But it is worth it—there are some great shots of San Fransisco in the film, and the movie is actually scary (not "gory" but actually creepy and feeling real) plus it is based on a true story.  If you like smart detective movies, this one has some great plot points and will keep you guessing.