This week, Cineast gives you previews of the new movies ABCs of Death 2, Nightcrawler and Before I Go to Sleep.
ABCs of Death 2
This is an omnibus of 26 short films, arranged by the letters of the alphabet, showing vivid (i.e. gory, bloody, gross, revolting) and creatively twisted ways to die. Graphic, lurid and fairly expressionistic, ABCs of Death 2 is not only a gore-fest of the first order, but also a tribute to the modern masters of genre films. For the lay reader, the term “genre films” is a gentrifying euphemism for what used to be called “slasher films.” Each blood-drenched short film in ABC’s of Death 2 was contributed by one of the top names in today’s world of genre films—who, relieved of the need to tie their imaginative blood baths to any storyline, focus their energies on hideous and disgusting detail.
In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom—an ambitious young man looking to score big. Finding that there is a class of photojournalist called “night crawlers”—that is, people who chase after police cars and ambulances in order to photograph fresh crime scenes and accidents—Lou finds his calling. He makes a deal with TV newscaster Nina, who is looking to air the blood-drenched images Lou promises to get, but soon Lou gets carried away by the excitement—to the point where he endangers innocent people in order to get his money shots. Audience members of a certain age might be reminded of the famous crime-scene photographer Weegee, whose shots of recently dead bodies graced the covers of New York City tabloids from the ’40s through the ’60s. Weegee was the only photographer in the city who was allowed to have a police radio, and he often made it to crime scenes before the authorities. Unlike Gyllenhaal’s character in Nightcrawler, however, Weegee was never actually implicated in any murders. Also stars Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and Riz Ahmed.
Before I Go to Sleep
Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth star in Before I Go to Sleep, a thriller that hinges on the idea that Kidman’s character Christine—having suffered a head injury that prevents her from forming memories—wakes up every day neither knowing her husband Ben (Firth) nor able to remember what has happened to her. With such a tenuous grip on reality, Christine doesn’t know whom to trust—a situation that the audience shares. Like Joan Fontaine’s character in Hitchcock’s classic Suspicion, Christine falls prey to dark suspicions of Ben’s role in causing her injury, and these suspicions are encouraged and fed by her doctor, who might just be trying to help her—or could he have more sinister motives? In time for Halloween, a tense goose-pimpler that will keep you guessing until the last moment, and maybe even beyond.