Friday, October 31, 2014

NIGHTCRAWLER Film Review and Wine Pairing

What is super creepy and flies around Los Angeles at night?  Lou Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, as a crazed wannabe who inspires to become the paparazzi of death in Dan Gilroy's, Nightcrawler.  Quickly learning the nuances of high-speed news reporting, Lou Bloom takes us on a hellish journey of contemporary America and the dreary realism of the media and our failing culture.

Just in time for Halloween, this fright-fest of human behavior at its' worst was released last evening. Gyllenhaal delivers in what just might be his best acting performance, yet.  Lou Bloom is a lonely character - unable to procure a position of employment not matter how hard he tries.  He is gaunt, ugly, introverted, and very jealous of what those in the world around him have that he does not.  This serves as a both a recipe and lesson for what we can produce, here in America.  Sure, it happens everywhere.  It just happens a lot more, here.  Happy Halloween.

Finding quick success in capturing burning fires, dying people, blood and gore, Lou Bloom quickly catches the attention of an aging newscaster of a local, LA station.  Played by the gorgeous at 60, Rene Russo, they form a very interesting relationship.  Lou Bloom quickly learns how to succeed in the game.  Soon enough, it is not only his purple flowers in his window that represent the only beautiful thing in his life.  This is where this film gets very eerie.

Nightcrawler took a while to get a hold of me but, 3/4 of the way through, it finally, did.  My thoughts are that I am just too exposed to violence and realism in our country -  stuff that we hear about and see, everyday - no big deal, right? As the film presented itself,  I was only carried along in a mind of melancholy until the plot, really, kicked into gear.  Gyllenhaal's acting is what, truly, propels this story and leaves the viewer no choice but to be absorbed into his big, brown, bulging eyes erected over the top of his unhealthy and, almost, sickly frame(I'm talking Mathew in Dallas Buyer's, skinny).  At best, he has abandonment issues exude and he represents those who have been lost in the American dream and the American economy.  At worst, he is one very chilling human being to watch act on the screen.  I'm calling it now....he would be a great villain in the next, Batman.

My favorite selection of wine to pair with Nightcrawler?  I must go with something, American - dark and from California - heavy and deep and full enough to warm the soul on this creepy Hallow's Eve.  My choice is the full-bodied, deep and lush, red with hints of fall spice - the 2012 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon Block 007 from the Dry Creek Valley.  This wine is perfect for the dark....take a sip, alone on your front porch while you hand-out candy..... a small candle in the corner that lights the way just enough for kids to approach....scare the shit out of them....then, have another sip.....Outstanding film....Press Democrat's wine of the week with, perhaps, this year's film of the year?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gone Girl Film Review and Wine Pairing

Amazing Amy....where do I begin with Amazing Amy?  She is a very complex, determined, and intelligent character.  She is the highlight of the star's (Rosamund Pike) successful children's novel in the story of the film, Gone Girl.  America loves Amazing Amy, Amazing Amy is, well, amazing, and America, quickly, boils into panic when something happens to her creators's life as a hope-filled icon for housewives and children, alike, across our great land, this America.
Gone Girl tears at the audience through the horrific sequences of a husband (Ben Affleck), losing his wife in what looks to play out as a horrible family tragedy.  Both, screenplay and novel - written by Jillian Flynn, are excellent works, to say the least - horrifying and wonderful.  However, I was genuinely hesitant in taking myself to see the film after reading the book.  For as it is, the film never captures the substance of the literature.  But, this film wraps this novel in a nice, tight net and it is well-worth feeling the squeeze at the theater.
It is fair to mention that Gone Girl ranks in the upper eschelons of psychological thrillers.  I have no problem filing it into the genre of Hitchcock, feeling it leaning towards Silence of the Lambs, creepy , and finding myself horrified in some similar way as I was as a child when i snuck into the Stepford Wives at far too young of an age.
What brings great dimension and a whirlwind of enthusiasm to this sordid tale is the hype and drama that come once the media and local townspeople - especially the neighbors get wind of what has transpired in their tiny, little world.  The drama that can exude from person to person, in word of mouth and speculation, provides us with a diagnosis of some of the very sickness that plagues our society.
Gone Girl is a complexity of thoughts and exchanges based within the framework of intriguing lies and deception.  Gone Girl makes you happy and hopeful, it makes you sick to your stomach, Gone Girl makes you frightened and sad.  Jillian Flynn makes a strong case for one of the darkest and most thoughtful writers of our day and, to her, a toast-
My choice of wine to pair with such a profound psychological "who done it" thriller is the Fleurie Beaujolais Moilliard Grivet 2013.  This is a dimensional wine made from a very old estate that dates back to 1850.  Complex, with rich, berry fruit, this wines' intricacies mirror the depth that Jillian Flynn procures in this zesty, horrifying, brainy thriller.  Earthy but juicy, dark but light enough to pair lighter meats and an array of dishes from pasta to Moroccan chicken, this wine, like the mind of the creator of Amazing Amy, knows how to handle any situation that she finds herself in......even one where her husband is trying to kill her (and, no, that is not a spoiler).....hint hint......this film goes deep......bring a warm sweater....