Double Feature: Southpaw (2015) & Miss Sloane (2016)

Welcome to the next double feature. I rented Southpaw and Miss Sloane on discount on Play Store last month. Two very different films and two very different feelings about it however both heavily reliant on their main character.

Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Oona Lawrence, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris

Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Wills to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services. – IMDB

If there is one word to describe Southpaw, it would be disappointing. It isn’t particularly a bad film as the performances were great. Rachel McAdams did great for what it was. Jake Gyllenhaal was fantastic and I absolutely love Forest Whitaker who is an underrated actor. The girl who played the daughter was Oona Lawrence and that arc was decent.

However, the flaw lies in the fact that Southpaw is pretty much another Rocky story in many instances and we already had Creed recently that was much more engaging. It didn’t help that Southpaw was a little too dramatic at parts but never made it feel very exciting to watch. Seeing the stellar cast being in this uninspired script truly was a lackluster experience.

Miss Sloane (2016)

miss sloane

Director: John Madden

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Lithgow, Jake Lacy

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price. – IMDB

Miss Sloane was a movie that I went in with no idea of what the premise is. I have heard good things about it and I have enjoyed Jessica Chastain. Miss Sloane is such a vibrant character wrapped up in a tough and ruthless shell. She is strong and strategic in all her plans and for all the reasons, it makes us wonder on what she has under her sleeve even in the most desperate of situations but it is what makes her compelling to watch.

Miss Sloane, just as the title implies, is truly based on Jessica Chastain and how she takes on the role and she did an outstanding job. As we navigate through her way of life and the little things, while she isn’t exactly a character you would cheer for because of her lack of ethics and morals in some of her decisions, every part whether planned or not comes into play and that gives full credit for the screenwriters doing a fine job at giving it a good pacing that keeps everything moving and finding a balance to learn just enough about Miss Sloane and keeping enough to make everything make sense and surprise when it falls into place.

While Miss Sloane isn’t typically the movie that I would watch, I’m glad that I did because it was absolutely awesome. Gripping, compelling and full of twists and turns around every corner. This one is a must see.

Have you seen Southpaw and/or Miss Sloane?

Enemy (2013)

I don’t really know why I chose to watch this early in the morning on a plane, but Enemy had me intrigued since its theatre run. However, its limited release was also the reason I didn’t get the chance to see it then. My goal on this flight, as you will soon realize, consists of movies that are more limited and independent and I felt would add value to watching them since they are less available. Either way, lets check out Enemy 🙂

enemy posterDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon

Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal),  a monotone history teacher sees his double spontaneously in a movie and decides to track him down. His search leads him to Anthony Claire (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is a married soon to be father and third grade actor. Despite the reluctance, they finally meet and realize that it is perhaps more than they bargained for.

Its hard to sum up this movie without some form of spoiler alert. For the most part, I’m not really sure I completely understood what happened after the ending. If any of you saw it, please tell me that they didn’t waste 90 minutes of my life. Maybe there was something more and I need to give it another viewing.

Enemy

Its the first time that I encountered Denis Villeneuve’s work. Villeneuve seems to have a rather dark style, at least for Enemy, it was almost completely in the dark. Maybe its the watching it on the tiny in flight entertainment system but I do appreciate what it was trying to do. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I disliked the movie. To me, it had a really good suspense and psychological thrill factor going until the last shot. I can’t say if that destroyed the sum of its parts but it could. It still boggles my mind and I believe that I might need to catch some more detils with a second viewing to catch its full meaning.

Enemy

Our main focus in Enemy is Jake Gyllenhaal who spends a good part of the movie playing off himself. Hats off to him for a job well done. I’m also a pretty big fan of Melanie Laurent so as minor as the women in this film were, they helped reveal a bit of a deeper hidden character in both Anthony and Adam. Although both of them are physcially identical, as the movie goes on, it reveals how they have different personalities. I guess you could say it asks the question if its possible to have an evil twin? With no blood bonds, it does beg the question of why they look similar in appearance. To be honest, I think it would be interesting to watch the special features if I got the chance.

Enemy

Overall, there isn’t a lot that I can say about this because I feel like I am missing something but at the same time, it might be just my wondering whether I get the sudden last twist in the final shot. Feel free to email me about your thoughts so as to not spoil it for others.However, there are a few pretty genius points to Enemy. The first is Denis Villeneuve’s talented way to build a tense and suspenseful atmosphere throughout the entire movie. Second would have to go to Jake Gyllenhaal’s quite masterful acting abilities on playing almost completely against himself in this kind of weird story about doppelgangers. Although as a whole, I haven’t quite formed a concrete opinion, it still did manage to have me intrigued throughout. Deep down, I feel like it might have achieved something pretty amazing, if only I wasn’t so confused. Do I make any sense?

What did you think of Enemy? Are you a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal and/or Denis Villeneuve?