Archives for posts with tag: Jake Gyllenhaal

The death of boomer masculinity occurred somewhere near the 105-405 interchange. For years, Michael Bay has been a high priest of action filmdom, preaching a holy Hollywood trinity of bullets, testosterone and helicopters (lots of helicopters). Today’s action market is dominated, however, by a spandex-clad rainbow coalition playacting stories created and curated by nerds and geeks. Bay’s unsuccessful “Ambulance” (2022) brings cops, robbers and EMTs to a bank heist, then takes us on one of his patented, never-ending, catastrophic car chases. The awkward, tiresome Cain-and-Abel subplot featuring Yabya Abdul-Mateen II and Jake Gyllenhaal adds speed bumps to a chaotic movie.

For most of the movie, it’s hard to watch Jake Gyllenhaal’s depiction of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman in “Stronger” (2017) because Bauman is such a screw-up. It’s refreshing, because most person-overcomes-adversity movies are so schmaltzy, but it’s still uncomfortable to watch because he’s SUCH a screw-up, as is his whole dysfunctional, working-class Boston family. (It’s like “The Fighter” but more pathetic.) But then Bauman meets the guy who saved him (the guy in the cowboy hat). Turns out the guy gets a chance to save him all over again. Cue the schmaltz. Less refreshing. More comfortable. Not better.

Some of us are old enough to remember black-and-white reruns of “The Twilight Zone,” the show that set the standard for twisting our perceptions of reality. If it were still around today, “Source Code” (2011) could be an episode of that TV series. Here’s the plot: Assuming that when people die, the last few moments of their life remain in their memory as their brain slowly shuts down; what if someone else could occupy that memory space and find clues to solve a crime? Cool, huh? Or too complex? Maybe that’s why it didn’t do better at the box office.