The Boxtrolls is alright, but not the best Laika can do:
Five stars to Laika for another superb job, both in animation and direction. Just a shame – like the underwhelming, overrated Coraline – that the source material isn’t up to scratch. I’ve love to see Laika take on an actual adaptation of Discworld, rather than this Discworld-wannabe effort, as the allusions to (if not downright rip-offs from) Terry Pratchett’s creation are too obvious to ignore. In the meantime, they should return to original fare like the superlative ParaNorman, because they’ve clearly got a knack for it.
Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal goes American Psycho in the City of Angels in Nightcrawler:
Nightcrawler is the kind of film that crawls up on you while you’re watching it. And that’s important because taken at face value, it shouldn’t work. Jake Gyllenhaal’s all-in performance as Lou Bloom, a sociopath who stops at nothing to become emperor of his dirty little realm of ambulance-chasing news vampires, is a straight riff off Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman, right down to the mouth shapes. The setting, betwixt dusk and dawn in the soulless vastness of Los Angeles, soundtracked by a too-cool score, was fixed by Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. The subtext of TV news as Baudrillardian hyperreality is a path well trodden. But first-time director, many-time screenwriter Dan Gilroy manages to pull it off by conjuring just the right kid of dreadful atmosphere to make you forget these creative shortcomings and get sucked into its nightmare amoral world – more nightmarish for the notion that it’s so plausible.