*NEW* KILL YOUR FRIENDS REVIEW *NEW*

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Hoult delivers a killer performance. Shame. The rest of the film didn’t.

An A&R man (Nicholas Hoult) working at the height of the Britpop music craze goes to extremes in order to find his next hit.

He’s come a long way from About A Boy. Channeling his inner Patrick Bateman, Nicholas Hoult kills in this patchy BUT strangely watchable satire.

The demented opening sequence certainly set the tone. You knew what you were getting yourself into. Hoult’s cocky snake charmer had a hypnotic effect. He really carried the piece. Casually talking about how bad music has gotten while shooting up cocaine and urinating on a trampy looking James Corden.

You read that, right? Disgusted. Then this won’t be for you. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Stelfox is a monster. He has NO remorse and will NOT stop. Ambitious doesn’t even come close to describing how far the man will go to climb up the ladder.

The film gave an American Psycho meets 24 Hour Party People vibe. I’m NOT familiar with the John Niven novel BUT I will certainly be adding this to my reading list. Unfortunately book lovers, I can’t make comparisons. BUT when does a film ever top a book?

I did feel a little nostalgic as the film went back to the 90s indie scene. Junkie XL delivers another decent soundtrack. NOT quite Mad Max proportions BUT with Blur, Oasis and The Prodigy on the playlist, I was content.

The insults aimed at the music industry hit too close to home. Most notably with Moritz Bleibtrau’s (Run Lola Run) eccentric performance as the sex craved Eurotrash DJ Rudi. A derivative club anthem breaking the charts left, right and centre with some lazy bass and repetitive lyrics. Music really hasn’t changed.

Stelfox’s preaching about integrity and authentic music soon laughed off when he gets a nice pay check from signing the mad desk jockey. BUT at the same time, it did feel a tad dated with all the A & R scouting and sound house gigs. Not many sound houses going around my neck of the woods any more.

With Stelfox constantly breaking the fourth wall and narrating, it reminded me a little of Filth BUT the subject matter just wasn’t as controversial or satirical enough. His obsession to beat a rival A & R scout (Tom Riley – Da Vinci’s Demons) was ridiculous. Resorting to all sorts of desperate measures.

Hoult was a tour de force BUT after a while, there wasn’t much else going on. Once he snorted and swallowed some drugs here and effed and jeffed there, it soon got very repetitive. Despite being a great platform for an underrated British cast, they weren’t given the best characters. Craig Roberts (Submarine) might as well have been non-existent as Stelfox’s underling. Whether that was the intention is another matter. Edward Hogg’s (Bunny and the Bull) dimwitted detective was irritating. Every time he stumbled into a scene, I could feel my interest waning.

Corden was wasted in his role. He looked the part BUT was pushed into the background for the majority of the film. The only real laugh I got out of his character Waters was that despite Stelfox’s best efforts to destroy his reputation, the powers that be were still considering him due to experience.

Ed Skrein delivered a much more convincing turn than his performance in The Transporter Refueled as Rent. The self-made manager trying to find the next Spice Girls in a group of Jeremy Kyle rejects. Georgia King’s (Cockneys Vs. Zombies) didn’t do a bad job as Stelfox’s manipulative PA. It was a shame that her character only got interesting in the closing minutes when it was too little, too late.

The only problem with these sort of films was that there was only ever going to be two outcomes. And despite a ridiculously crazy and bizarre drug-induced finale, the end result was still a little too predictable and abrupt for my liking.

The pace may have lagged and the plot a little weak. BUT a stellar turn from Hoult makes this dark mess worth a watch.

3/5 (Just)

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NIGHTCRAWLER REVIEW

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Donnie’s really gone Dark-o

Jake Gyllenhaal manages to do his best Patrick Bateman impression and out-Bale Bale in one of his best performances to date.

Dark, demented and very good. If a little predictable.

So what’s it about? When Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal), a driven man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Within the opening sequence, we get the essence of Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) as he is caught stealing copper fencing from the train tracks. Flashing that Cheshire cat smile and pleading innocence, you can see the cogs turning. And in the bat of an eye, that smile fades instantly and a monster is unleashed. Cool, calm and collected. Striking when the moment arises.

A true American psycho. A smooth talking charmer with ambitions that he will stop at nothing to achieve.

An impressive and well written debut from Dan Gilroy. Fantastically shot. The cityscape at night was captured brilliantly by the cinematography of Robert Elswit.

Nightcrawler is somewhat of a slow burner as we watch Bloom climb the social ladder for fame and glory.

It starts with our sociopath desperately seeking a job and smooth talking his way into anything. That is until he witnesses a crash. Those flashing lights and ruthless nightcrawlers (Freelance cameramen preying the streets for horrific accidents, murders and crime scenes) creeping out from the urban underworld, craving for a pay check soon sets our protagonist on his path.

Bill Paxton plays the relentless Joe Loder brilliantly and it’s good to see him back in movies. His character dispensing the mantra: “If it bleeds, it leads” unwittingly sets up a competition for carnage.

Gilroy does make some fantastic commentary and satire on the censorship and attitude of the news media. The public’s obsession for blood and trauma constantly pushing them to distort moral and ethical boundaries for fifteen minutes of fame.

The film builds up and up as the madness ascends to crazy and scarily realistic levels. Where Bloom first intervenes small car accidents with a little handheld camera; it soon escalates to breaking into live crime scenes and moving pieces of evidence (and even bodies) to make the perfect shot.

It was great to see Riz Ahmed (Four Lions). He plays the clueless sidekick with aplomb. Oblivious to Bloom’s ambitions and unaware of what lay in store. Some of his encounters with Gylenhaal make for dark but comical viewing.

Rene Russo also stood out as Nina Romina (Awful name. Didn’t realise that until I saw the credits). Questioning the morals behind Bloom’s actions but desperately enabling him for the sake of keeping her job and bringing in the ratings.

SMALL BIT OF TRIVIA: Dan Gilroy is the husband of Rene Russo and brother of Tony Gilroy who is responsible for Michael Clayton and The Bourne franchise.

The chase sequences are intense. Especially in the closing moments as Bloom’s descent into darkness reaches breaking point.

There are suspenseful moments to be had. The sequence in which Bloom and his sidekick are filming the police attempting to apprehend a murder suspect. A scenario the pair set up. I was hooked. Nail biting stuff. Executed perfectly. The tension mounting as you wait for the fireworks to go off.

At times, it did feel like the trailers did show too much of the film. You knew when to expect several of the bigger moments in the film. That’s not to say there aren’t more surprises along the way.

Bloom is intelligent and some of his speeches rival Bateman. But crafty and calculated he may be, they go on far too long. Especially in his dinner date with Nina. We get it. You’re mad. Get on with it.

One major qualm is that with a film like this; there are only ever two outcomes. It seemed to go down the Bad Lieutenant (Cage Lieutenant) route which makes for a surprisingly flat (if typical) and slightly abrupt ending.

Don’t get me wrong. Gyllenhaal is a tour de force and should be commended. The weight loss added to his creepy demeanour and shark toothed grin. Gilroy has written and directed a visceral descent into the dark side of the American dream. Something we haven’t seen for a while. A resurgence? Maybe.

As Lou Bloom says, “If you want the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket”. Well, if you have the money, buy a ticket and go see it.

Certainly worth a watch. And we are live in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

3.5/5 (But this may change)