Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

*Minor spoilers*

This is a film I really wanted to love based on its cast and premise. Unfortunately it doesn’t work quite as well as it could. 

Set in the pretentious and fickle world of art, it centers around a gallery – Haze – run by former punk-rocker, Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo). One evening, lauded art critic Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) attends an exhibition at the gallery with his friend, Josephina (Zawe Ashton), who also works there.

Morf is in a relationship with Ed but is deeply unhappy so he starts up with Josephina instead. Around the same time, Josephina returns home to her apartment block to find one of her elderly neighbours dead after a fall. The neighbour, Vetril Dease is a painter and J sneaks into his apartment after the fact to discover a vast collection of brilliant paintings.

On thin ice and recently demoted by her boss Rhodora, this is J’s opportunity to re-balance the scales and score big on the art scene. So she presents herself as Dease’s representative and a post-humous star is born. Unfortunately for Josephina, there’s more to Dease and his work than meets the eye and eery shit kicks off.

Rhodora, obsessed with the paintings, exhibits a small collection immediately and orders J to put the rest in storage. As desire for Dease’s art grows, including massive interest from art curator Gretchen (Toni Collette) and artist Piers (John Malkovich), Rhodora seeks to ensure the rarity of his paintings by hiding most of them away. Sadly this is not done fast enough and one by one our collection of central characters begin to suffer terrible accidents.

Velvet Buzzsaw is a thriller/horror with a supernatural edge. Although it is not as good as I wanted it to be, it is interesting. There are multiple deaths that really go to town creatively and I loved them. There a couple that really spoke to me as they incorporate two of my biggest loves, graffiti and tattoos.

Although this is heralded as a horror and it does have explore some overt horror themes, it isn’t that scary. It has a creepy tone that I did enjoy, and all the darkness of Dease’s apartment and paintings is stark in contrast to the bright light surfaces of the gallery interiors.

The whole scene in fact is wonderfully pretentious which I also dig. A little bit of pretension never hurt anyone I always think. It sends up the art world well and there’s a definite tongue-in-cheek dig at the eccentrics who inhabit it. Almost all the film’s characters are the worst – Morf and Josephina absolutely included – but you can kind of respect them for their hunger. Stranger ThingsNatalia Dyer pops up as poor gallery employee Coco who always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

So, although this isn’t director Dan Gilroy‘s best work – that would be the mighty Nightcrawler (2014) – I’m still interested to see what he does next.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Okja (Film) Review

Searching for that one friend in a million

There will be no film review next Monday because my beloved is on holiday and deserves a lovely break.

I have lots of post ideas under my belt though so have no fear about missing out on my fascinating updates, they will be coming in thick and fast. Or they’ll be coming, I suppose I shouldn’t promise the world with no idea if I can deliver.

Anyway, I wanted to review (in the loosest sense of the word) a film that’s just appeared on Netflix, one I’ve been looking forward to since I saw the first trailer. I’ll steer clear of spoilers as much as possible since it is brand new and I want you to watch it.

Without further fucking about.

Okja (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

*All the feels*

My Review

Before we start I feel like a disclaimer should be applied. Not to patronise anyone but this film near killed me emotionally and I thought it was worth a mention. Sure, I watched it under a blanket with a stuffed Hello Kitty (dressed as Wonder Woman) under one arm and a bar of chocolate under the other – my lower sadness level – but still. Prepare to be traumatised.

It also takes some dark turns that I hadn’t expected (but should of, given the director) so there’s that too. My BFF David said he took one look at the preview and knew he couldn’t do it. Which I respect.

Mija is a young girl living in the mountains in Korea. She lives a simple and lovely life with her grandfather and their giant Superpig, Okja. Oh, you want a little background about Okja, do you? Fine.

Okja isn’t just any old family pet. She belongs to the Mirando Corporation, a huge global giant with a controversial past. New CEO, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) is determined to change the image of the company with a socially conscious rebrand and the answer is obvious – SUPERPIGS. (Isn’t it always?).

As part of this massive project, Mirando have been breeding pigs (bigger, better GM-super food Superpigs for the consumption of the masses) and have dispatched twenty-six of their best piglets to twenty-six locations across the globe. These little beauties will be reared naturally and lovingly by expert farmers for the next ten years – until the ultimate Superpig can be crowned the winner (and their meat can go on sale to the public).

Don’t be mean to the piggies, Tilda

Our heroines therefore have been inseparable since they were babes in the wood and now they literally are just two BFF babes in the wood, frolicking in streams and napping under fruit trees. Until one day, a decade later, Mirando comes knocking again.

The threat comes in the form of TV zoologist Dr Johnny (Jake Gyllenhaal), the face of The Mirando Corp who has, along with the rest of his team, been keeping close tabs on all the pigs across the world. When he claps eyes on Okja though he’s blown away, declares her the hands-down winner and thus begins Okja’s Big Adventure.

While grandpa is resigned to Okja’s future, Mija is not prepared to let it slide. Girl’s gonna fight for her best friend, innit? So she sets off to Seoul (Okja’s first stop) where she falls in with Paul Dano and the Animal Liberation Front and inadvertently becomes part of a much bigger plan to take on Mirando and reveal the sinister truth behind the piggies.

*Boo hiss* Motherfucker!

Mirando (but of course) are not all they appear to be and public relations take a knocking when the ALF gets involved. Lucy’s place at the top becomes precarious while her team pander to every childlike wobble. With her sister, former CEO Nancy (also Swinton) secretly sniffing around, it doesn’t look like she’ll be ruling for long.

Meanwhile, ALF uncover all manner of horrible goings on behind the public face of the company. When Lucy decides to send Mija to NYC to be reunited with Okja, Dano and friends follow and it becomes a mad dash to save the best damn pig I’ve ever seen in my life.

Can they get there before Okja is lost forever – and will true love out?

Leave Okja ALONE!

My Thoughts

This is an odd little movie that I love a lot. It made me feel everything and some of the scenes are so beautiful I can’t get them out of my head. If this is your sort of thing then you’ll be as invested as I in the relationship between little girl and beast.

Ultimately, all that matters here is the friendship between two living creatures and honestly, all I wanted was a peaceful resolution. Whether than happens is for you to find out.

Meanwhile, most performances are spot on. Swinton nails both Mirando sisters with ease. If you’ve seen 2013’s Snowpiercer then you’ve had a flavour of what you get here.

Other standouts are Seo-Hyuan Ahn as Mija, who’s all kinds of amazing in her pursuit of what’s right. I also had time for the ALF, especially K (Steven Yeun). I was worried this film would be very white washed and perhaps it is but I thought its blend of Eastern and Western culture wasn’t too bad.

There are lots of comments here about the state of the world and our mass consumption. At times I felt it was asking me to consider where my fulfilment comes from and at what cost. It’s hard to watch this film when you’re invested in an animal with a rounded personality that loves and is loved, you know?

Okja gives you food for thought, is beautiful, touching and stressful as heck. I recommend it. And honestly, from the start your only concern will be the pig. 🐷 

Have you seen Okja? If so, what are your thoughts?

Ps. We’ll be reviewing Okja on All Out of Bubblegum in the next few weeks, so watch out for that. 

Things & Inc

An update post if you will, as boy do we have a lot going right now.

What, it’s Christmas and everybody is buzzing around like bees on ecstasy? You’re right, my bad. How’re you coping?

Here are a few of the things I am thinking about right now.

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  • Lena Dunham

I’m finally on Not That Kind of Girl and haven’t even passed the Introduction yet. But I’m looking forward to it.

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Sadly, the book already has a reputation that proceeds it, given the uproar it has caused over the last few months. People are forming new Dunham shaped opinions all over the shop due to some of the subject matter (and how it has been sculpted by Lena’s choice of language), but I am remaining on the fence until I have a context to relate it to.

I love her style and I can’t see that changing any time soon, but she might allude to stabbing puppies in the final segment, so you never know.

  • Christmas Shopping

I’m done! Did it all in one sitting with the help of the trusty internet. The lovely, lovely internet.

*SMUG FACE*

ChristmasCupid

  • Christmas Movies That Retell A Christmas Carol (And/Or Feature an Alternative Universe) From the Perspective of a High Flying Business Woman (Always American) Who Has Lost Sight of What Is Important 

See Christmas Cupid (TV Movie 2010), Holidaze (TV Movie 2013) and, from this afternoon, It’s Christmas, Carol! (TV Movie 2012).

All, you might have noticed, straight to television masterpieces. And yes, I do love them more than Coco Pops. Amusing because, of course, no woman can climb the career ladder without transforming into a total bitch of epic proportions!

(If any of you know of any more films of this ilk, please let me know).

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  • Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud

I am obsessed.

  • Family

This week hasn’t been easy and some new news has made it even more difficult and emotional (which I’m not going to go into) but I have been reminded that I have a fucking wonderful family who are strong and incredible people, come rain or shine.

It’s easier to deal with the shit stuff when you have an army of rock stars on your side, that’s for sure.

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  • Jake Gyllenhaal

We recently watched Nightcrawler and I really enjoyed it. Following the last of Jake’s films I absolutely loved, Enemy and Prisoners, he’s now pretty much my favourite. Such a talented (and fit) actor.

Nightcrawler follows creepy Louis Bloom into LA’s underground as he becomes interested, and then really quite good at, the business of crime journalism.

  • Ready Player One (the Movie)ready-player-one

OMG this book is fantastic and so completely up my alleyway, that I #canteven! But if I could, I would tell you that the fact that Christopher Nolan has been offered the film version of it is knicker-wettingly exciting and I squeaked a little when I heard.

Cannot wait.

(Even though the scriptwriter has admitted to have taken ‘liberties’ with the original source material, so you know, boo to that).

So, that’s me. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the lead up to Christmas. I’m not feeling that merry yet, I have to say but that has to be because I haven’t seen enough Christmas movies yet (I accept non-Dickensian rehashes too). Soon to be rectified, I hope.