Saturday, August 31, 2013


Prisoners was shown at the Telluride Film Festival last night. Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman were not in attendance, but director Denis Villeneuve was there to premiere his first Hollywood movie to a stunned audience:

The thriller, which breaks the rules of genre by focusing on character and the degrading effects of violence on people's souls, played well. Even viewers who could not stand its violence agreed afterwards that it was a stunning, overpowering film.

From Deadline:

The applause was strong and early critical praise is over the moon. Pundits will have to add this Alcon production being released by Warner Bros on September 20th to the list of strong Oscar contenders this year. That is , if audiences and academy members can handle the intensity of this superbly directed and produced film that features career best performances , for sure, from Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman (okay, I liked Les Miz too a lot) plus a brilliant supporting cast including Melissa Leo going for another supporting win, Terence Howard, the great Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Paul Dano who goes through the ringer for his art. You can easily compare this gem to critically acclaimed pictures like Zodiac, Seven, Mystic River and any number of films in the genre.

Look, it’s not an easy sit but as Telluride’s Julie Huntsinger had planned to say in opening remarks before she was called away, "I’m sorry, and you’re welcome..."

At the films’ Telluride after-party Friday night Villeneuve also talked about Enemy, the intimate drama he made before Prisoners with Gyllenhaal in the lead. Like Prisoners it will be playing next week in Toronto. Unlike Prisoners it is looking for a domestic distributor. Also at the party Alcon’s Andrew Kosove, his wife and fellow producers Kira Davis, Broderick Johnson and Adam Kolbrenner were truly euphoric about the initial Telluride and critical reaction to the movie. Villeneuve was glued to his iPhone awaiting new reviews. Such is the life of a filmmaker with a movie just about ready to go out in the world.

The producers must have been happy, as the reviews so far have been stellar. From Variety:

The wages of sin, guilt, vengeance and redemption weigh heavy on the characters of “Prisoners,” a spellbinding, sensationally effective thriller with a complex moral center that marks a grand-slam English-lingo debut for the gifted Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve. Powered by an unusually rich, twisty script by Aaron Guzikowski (“Contraband”) and career-best performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, this tale of two Pennsylvania families searching for their kidnapped daughters sustains an almost unbearable tension for two-and-a-half hours of screen time, satisfying as both a high-end genre exercise and a searing adult drama of the sort Hollywood almost never makes anymore.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Jackman gives what may be the most intense and satisfying performance of his career. As the film progresses, we learn that Keller is a far more complex and tormented character than his first appearance as macho hunter suggested. A recovering alcoholic and less than perfect husband, he seems to be acting out these vigilante fantasies as a way of compensating for a deep-seated sense of inadequacy. Jackman illuminates the character’s conflicted nature without ever begging for sympathy. Gyllenhaal is also playing a troubled character, a suspicious loner who nonetheless has a strong desire to help people in need, and he wins our sympathy for this dogged detective without in any way idealizing the character. Howard and Davis are excellent, as always, though one flaw of the film is that they have too little to do in the second half of the story.

As the plot twists multiply and tension mounts, the film reaches a climax that is satisfying without being predictable. Special praise should go to the sound engineer for a shrewd touch in the very last scene that brings the story to an absolutely perfect conclusion. Prisoners can at times be a hard film to watch, but thanks to all the talent involved, it’s even harder to shake off.

More from Deadline:

I don’t think there’s a single laugh in the film , no relief. You are simply wrung out by the end. The title is appropriate. All the characters are prisoners in their own right. This is a major achievement, one I can see landing several significant Oscar nominations. The journey is just beginning for the film. Villeneuve gives much credit to the casting and his key stars. “If you cast someone like Jake Gyllenhaal you know he will invade the part totally and create something. My background is documentary. I am used to listening to life. The more I am doing fiction movies, the more I love actors and want to give them freedom there is nothing more exciting than to let chaos happen in front of the camera,” he said while adding he was also more impressed everyday with Jackman as well as Gyllenhaal. He said Jackman is an actor without ego.

From Indiewire:

Director Denis Villeneuve and actor Jake Gyllenhaal are on the precipice of having a tremendous fall film festival season. Arriving in just a few short day is their first collaboration, “Enemy,” a terrific psychological doppelganger thriller that will premiere next week in Toronto.

And on "Prionsers": While Jackman is more than genuine as the father driven to the ends of his frayed tether to find his daughter -- and a few particular scenes with his son are heartbreakingly emotional -- it’s Gyllenhaal as the in-his-world, indefatigable detective that takes over as the heart of movie in the end with an impassioned but controlled tenacity that never asks to be applauded as heroic.

As the Variety reviewer tweeted: Wow!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Police promotions

We have a date for Jake Gyllenhaal's appearance on Inside the Actors Studio. The show will air on 9/19, a day before Prisoners opens in the U.S.

His first time on the series, the actor discussed his films "Brokeback Mountain," "October Sky," "Donnie Darko," "End of Watch," and the upcoming "Prisoners."

In addition, he discussed his famous Hollywood family and revisited his relationship with late friend and "Brokeback Mountain" co-star Heath Ledger.

From Bravo:

The star of films such as Brokeback Mountain, October Sky and Donnie Darko will soon grace the stage of Inside the Actors Studio! That's right, Hollywood hotshot Jake Gyllenhaal is James Lipton's next guest, and true to style, Lipton leaves no stone unturned.

The interview covers everything from what it's like to work with Hollywood stars like Anne Hathaway, IAS alums Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow; the inside scoop on Gyllenhaal's Bar Mitzvah; and what it was like being raised in a Hollywood family. And Lipton of course spends time discussing Gyllenhaal's Oscar-nominated performance in "Brokeback Mountain," and his relationship with his late co-star Heath Ledger.

In April, we heard about a photoshoot Jake did for Chinese Elle for Men. It is apparently out, according to this who worked on the shoot.

And here it is:

Jake's a detective in Prisoners, something Officer Brian Taylor aspires to. I found a new/old interview for End of Watch from Canal+:

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo
Minimalist EoW poster: (Poster by Parmveer Masuta.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

There Was and There Will Be

On this date last year, If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet opened in previews, marking Jake Gyllenhaal's New York stage debut. The performance received stellar reviews and allowed audiences to see Jake's range as an actor. This was truly a character unlike any Jake had ever played. Let's take a look back:

This fall, Jake's movie work again takes center stage, with the release of two films directed by Denis Villeneuve. You can tell from the play interviews how much Jake appreciates the collaborative process. He seems to have found a cinematic partner in his new director:

“One of my first desires after Incendies was to meet an actor and go deep,” explains Villeneuve. “I wanted to start meaningful work with the same person, to find a solid actor and create a long-term relationship with him. That’s why I got so excited about Enemy.”

“We immediately clicked. I knew he was my man. And it hasn’t changed,” says Villeneuve. “We adore each other and have so much fun working together.”

We'll get to see the fruits of this mutual admiration in September, when Prisoners opens, with Enemy to follow (one hopes).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school

The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University has not yet begun classes. But they did have an early seminar Tuesday night: Jake Gyllenhaal on a segment of Inside the Actors Studio, with legendary host James Lipton.

A lot of folks showed up for the taping, though most kept their cell phones and cameras away:

There was no tweeting from anyone as the discussion was happening. But we did get a few snippets:

"Forgive yourself and believe in your choices."

"Don't let the character's uniform define you. We worked six months in rehearsal to shed the uniform."

"Annie [Hathaway] is precise. Technique. I'm a mess. I like to throw things against the wall and see what sticks."

"Winning an award for the movie with the sixth-most profanity of all time. Now that would make me proud." (re: End Of Watch)

"Nothing gives me more joy than seeing other actors kill it."

Hopefully we'll hear more from the lucky attendees. And we'll find out soon when the program will air.

"Bad lighting, bad angle, bad-ass dude."

<"Is it cool if I get a pic with you? Unless you’re exhausted. Is this like super intrusive?" And then he lol’d so I guess we’re best friends now right?>

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Just around the corner...

Prisoners will be out in the United States in five weeks. But wait, you say. There has been practically no marketing!

Don't look at me. Blame Warner Brothers!

One television spot? That's all you've got?

Look, an international trailer, too!

I'm tempted to say "Wake me when you have something good," but the TV spot is pretty well done. Definitely puts you on edge.

We'll see if they get their Facebook and Twitter presence ramped up. It's going to get crowded out there in promoland next month. I'd like to see Prisoners get ahead of the pack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New post

We needed one! Here's Jake and Alyssa out in New York yesterday:

Nice photo of Jake at Rawlicious last month: