Movie Meter: Jake Gyllenhaal Goes Full-Creeper for Nightcrawler

What to see (and skip) in local movie theaters this weekend.


Nightcrawler: You have to give Jake Gyllenhaal some credit: Dude is not afraid to go full-creep if a role demands it. In Dan Gilroy’s scathing indictment of mass media and gore-celebrating TV journalism, Gyllenhaal plays a gaunt sociopath who looks as if he’s survived for months on Jolly Ranchers and cigarette ashes. Seeking some kind of direction in his life, he becomes an indispensable freelance cameraman for a desperate local L.A. affiliate. He films the city’s murders, fires, car accidents and other assorted horrors on his all-night shift to bolster their sagging morning ratings. The film is brilliantly unsettling. (Pearl, Rave, UA Main Street, UA Riverview) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Art & Craft: This fascinating doc from Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman is about one of the most notorious modern-day art forgers. The thing is, Mark Landis isn’t doing it for the money. He likes to give away his “priceless works” to major museums by duping them into believing he’s some sort of wildly eccentric, rich philanthropist. A talented artist in his own right, he has the uncanny ability to forge other masters’ work using little more than commercial art supplies and frames that he buys from Wal-Mart and distresses himself. Unassuming and adorably self-deprecating, he even manages to charm the former museum curator he once fooled, who has dedicated his life to putting an end to his artistic con game. (Ritz at the Bourse) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Citizenfour: A much-heralded doc that wowed critics at the New York Film Festival, Laura Poitras’s film concerns Edward Snowden, the now-notorious NSA whistle-blower seeking asylum with the EU. Poitras was actually one of the first people in the media Snowden contacted about divulging the NSA’s illegal monitoring activities. This eventually led to their meeting in Hong Kong for several long interviews, all of which she caught on film. The result is evidently a fascinating reveal of major historical importance, and a treatise on the power of an individual against the most powerful government in the world. (Ritz East) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

The Blue Room: Director Mathieu Amalric is best known for acting in films like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. In his directorial debut, the Frenchman stars alongside Léa Drucker as an adulterous pair of lovers. One post-sex conversation suddenly results in a murder investigation, in which Amalric’s character may or may not be a suspect. Equal measures puzzling and beguiling, this twisty psychological drama has the makings of a pared-down Gone Girl, minus the plot extravagances. (Ritz at the Bourse) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%


The Guest: Is this an amusingly self-aware thriller, whose over-the-top action makes your pulse race even as you get the giggles? Or is it just another idiotic action flick that eschews any sense of reality in favor of big, dramatic bang-bang? I lean strongly towards the former, but even if you’re not sure, there’s plenty to like in Adam Wingard’s action flick. Dan Stevens, still working hard to show he can do more than eat crumpets and drink tea with his pinkie raised, seems to be having a ball playing a malevolent anti-hero. His character shows up one day at the house of a fallen, former military buddy and starts helping the family by any means necessary, leaving a spread of bodies in his wake. Taken with a wink or not, it’s still pretty entertaining.(Ritz at the Bourse) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%


Before I Go To Sleep: Nicole Kidman plays a woman so damaged from an earlier traumatic accident that each night when she goes to sleep, her mind is wiped clean of any memories, leaving her completely bewildered the next morning. Further complications arise when it dawns on her that her husband, played by Colin Firth, and doctor, played by Mark Strong, might not be quite right either. Based on an airplane bookstore bestseller (he said snobbishly) by S.J. Watson, this high-concept thriller certainly has the high-firepower cast, but critics are decidedly mixed on its merits. Critic Tom Glasson writes “Imagine Groundhog Day without any of the good bits.” Ouch. (Roxy, UA Riverview) Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38%

Piers Marchant is a film critic and writer based in Philly. Find more confounding amusements and diversions at his blog, Sweet Smell of Success, or read his further 142-character rants and ravings at @kafkaesque83.