Demolition trailer

I was a big fan of Jean-Marc Vallée‘s last film Wild, which featured Reese Witherspoon playing the real-life author Cheryl Strayed and taking on a physically impossible task as a means of working out issues in her personal life. When I heard Vallée would be directing a similar film with Jake Gyllenhaal, I was excited at what new aspects of the human spirit the movie might illuminate.

Demolition (out today in theaters) has many of the same virtues of Wild, only with a male protagonist. Both films are shot beautifully and have some of the best editing I’ve seen, using cuts in footage not just to convey the passage of time, but also to establish mood, and to explain a character’s mindset. On a technical, they are exceptionally executed.

Unfortunately, I found Demolition ultimately amounted to less than the sum of its parts. Hit the jump for my brief video review.

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Demolition trailer

How do you mourn the death of a spouse you never really loved, who represented a life that you never really wanted? If you’re like Davis, the character played by Jake Gyllenhaal in Jean-Marc Vallée‘s Demolition, you start by writing a series of long, rambly, bizarrely confessional letters to the company behind the vending machine that failed to spit out the peanut M&Ms you paid for.

And because Demolition is an indie dramedy, those letters eventually lead Davis to a sympathetic customer service rep, Karen (Naomi Watts), who, along with her rambunctious son Chris (Judah Lewis), may be just what Davis needs to destroy his life so he can rebuild it again. Demolition is making its way into theaters this spring after debuting at TIFF last year, and you can watch the new trailer after the jump.  Read More »

Demolition trailer

Fresh off of playing a guy fighting to get his life back after losing his wife in Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a guy fighting to get his life back after losing his wife in Demolition. The new film by Jean-Marc Vallée takes that premise in a very different direction, however. For one thing, Demolition‘s Davis begins his path to redemption by writing a complaint letter to a vending machine company.

His complaint is received by customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts), who is intrigued rather than weirded out by his intensely personal notes. With the help of Karen and her cute precocious kid (Judah Lewis), Davis starts the process of tearing down his life so he can build it up again. Chris Cooper plays Gyllenhaal’s father-in-law. Watch the Demolition trailer after the jump.
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Janis Joplin Biopic Director

Dallas Buyer’s Club was a big film at the end of 2013. This year, Wild, the new film from its director Jean-Marc Vallee, is said to be a powerful movie as well, thanks in part to a great performance from Reese Witherspoon. Now Vallee is setting up to make a new film, and this one will potentially combine major factors from his last two movies: it’ll be a story based in truth, anchored by a significant female performance. Vallee is in talks to be the Janis Joplin biopic director; he’ll direct Amy Adams as Joplin in a film about the late singer’s life. Read More »