Tag Archives: Taxi Driver

Movie Crime Log: Dying, Enemy, Woman

So, look, I’m about to deliver you a mixed-bag of news. Grip the arms of your chair and hang on for dear life. The bad news is, it’s 2015 already. 2014 is gone, never to return. The good news is, the year is kicking off with a Nicolas Cage movie!

In Dying Of The Light he stars as Evan Lake, a desk-bound Langley CIA agent forced into retirement by signs of early onset dementia. When his former tormentor pops up on the grid Lake decides to deliver him some good old-fashioned retribution while he still can.

Dying Of The Light has an interestingly tortured development. It was intended to be directed by Nicholas Winding Refn and star Harrison Ford, but Refn bailed to direct Drive instead. Screenwriter Paul Schrader – you know, Taxi Driver and suchlike – then directed from his own script.

But the movie was taken away from him by the studio and re-edited and mixed. The expressionist colour-scheme Schrader used was removed. The whole thing has received, as a result, a suitably tepid critical response. My earlier enthusiasm in the first paragraph was clearly misplaced. However, do make your own mind up by eyeballing this trailer.

Behold Cage’s grim countenance:

Dying Of The Light is out today in cinemas and available on your new laptop tomorrow.

Moving on.

It’s well-know that somewhere in the world, we all have a doppleganger, someone who looks just like us. Mine is Alijaz from Strictly. In Enemy Jake Gyllenhaal plays beardy Adam, who’s watching a film when he sees someone just like him in the background. Oh, the irony. He becomes obsessed with finding his double. ‘The result,’ it says here, ‘is a haunting and provocative psychosexual thriller about duality and identity, where in the end only one man will survive.’

Enemy is based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel by Jose Saramago and directed by Denis Villeneuve, the bloke who made the awesome Prisoners, so it’s probably worth the watch. Double movies are always kind of creepy. And Gyllenhaal’s mostly good in everything, these days. Except Prince Of Persia. That was totes rank.

So a few years back Susan Hill wrote a ghost story called The Woman In Black, and I think it’s fair to say it’s done quite well. It became a long-running – and trouser-browning scary – theatre production, and then a movie starring the boy wizard.

Now there’s a sequel called Woman In Black: Angel In Death which delivers up more period scares, courtesy of Hammer Films. The action moves forward to the Blitz, when a group of schoolchildren are taken to the old, sinister estate — always a good place to house some shell-shocked kids – and here must confront the dark force who still resides in the house.

I mean, really? Orphans, a decaying mansion full of scary dolls? Aren’t there any suitable B&Bs in town, or what?

Movie Crime Log: Nightcrawler, Countryman & Snatchers

Happy Halloween to you, sirs and mesdames. Let’s hope it’s not like The Purge round your way tonight.

If you don’t want to sit in the dark waiting for the streets to clear of pint-sized zombies and sweet-toothed ghoulies, you could always get the hell out of the house. There’s a thing called a cinema near you.

And the Oscar push starts tonight. Big posters round my way have been shouting ‘A Modern Masterpiece!’ and all sorts to describe Nightcrawler, a neo noir written and directed by Dan Gilroy.

Nightcrawler has been likened to Taxi Driver. It’s the story of Lou Bloom, a misfit drifter, who discovers the world of crime journalism, becoming a nightcrawler who chases ambulances and police sirens in night-time LA. Jake Gyllenhaal’s gone and lost loads of weight and he’s making mad, crazy acting eyes for the ladies and gentlemen of the academy.

Neo noir. I like that phrase, I’m going to use that again.

The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman is an oddity. It’s an American-Romanian co-produciton for a start, and features Shia Lebouf –- remember him? At one point he was in, like, every film going. And now, not so much. Curiously, Lebouf briefly dropped out of the production and was replaced by Zac Efron –- but then came back on board.

Anyway, it’s kind of a comedy drama with surreal elements about what happens when you travel abroad to see your girlfriend and discover her psychotic ex-husband is still in the picture.

Now this is more like it. Someone clever has re-released the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in key cities. So that’s London and Aberdeen and Lancaster and, er, Letchworth, and some other places.

It’s been hugely influential, of course, for its paranoid take on identity and conformity, and has remade several times. Jack Finney’s original novel ends with the alien body snatchers throwing in the towel and pissing off somewhere else after intense human resistance, but the movie ends on a more ambiguous note.

Every film bore knows it’s regarded as a metaphor for the McCarthy witch hunts or, alternatively, as an allegory for communism, although the producer was somewhat surprised at the many meanings given to it as he thought he was making a sci-fi thriller.

So, look, enjoy your evening, but if someone comes around and asks to place a gigantic pod in your vegetable patch, politely decline. And then leave town.