1. Nightcrawler (Open Road Films, 2,766 Theaters, 117 Minutes, Rated R for violence including graphic images, and for language): I get a real retro vibe from this one. It seems like it would feel right at home in the seedy action dramas of the 1970’s, and Jake Gyllenhaal appears to be channeling a mid-1980s James Woods in his performance.
These are both good things. The 1970’s was an era that spawned Taxi Driver and Dog Day Afternoon and Woods is one of the most underrated actors around (not that Gyllenhaal is a slacker himself)
The film focuses on independent crime journalists who use guerrilla tactics to film hot news stories as the happen in the hopes of selling the footage to news outlets. But what happens when the reporter becomes part of the story, especially when the line between right and wrong is typically blurred to begin with?
2. Before I Go To Sleep (Clarius Entertainment, 1,902 Theaters,92 Minutes, Rated R for some brutal violence and language): This is the film that answers the question no one bother to ask—what if 50 First Dates was a suspense thriller.
Nicole Kidman plays a woman who wakes up with no memory of the last 20 years. Her husband Ben (Colin Firth) tells her she lost her memory in a car crash ten years prior, and every day since has been the same routine of her trying to remember. Problems erupt when she starts slowly regaining bits and pieces of her memory. What she remembers makes her doubt what is real and what is an illusion and turns her loving marriage into something far more dangerous.
The film has a great cast, but the material seems like tawdry pulp-novel-like pap that is so far beneath them that it is almost insulting.