I’ve slightly overslept (i.e., seven instead of five hours) but the schedule demands that I catch Jason Reitman‘s Men, Women and Children at 9:15 this morning instead of at a 6 pm public screening at the Ryerson…always see ’em sooner rather than later. I next have a 12 noon showing of Theodore Melfi‘s St. Vincent, a.k.a., the Bill Murray dramedy. The point is to clear the decks so I can see Noah Baumbach‘s While We’re Young at 7 pm rather than wait for a Monday press screening. It’s bad when things start piling up but it’s worse if you just slump and succumb. This is a metaphor for life and survival. Man up or get eaten.

Yesterday I re-saw Wild Tales for the fun and pleasure of it (yes, I indulged…sorry). Then came Michael Roskam‘s The Drop, a low-key neighborhood crime drama which struck me as agreeably flavorful and well-acted , especially by the always impressive Tom Hardy as an unassuming, seemingly-none-too-bright barkeep named Tom who surprises the audience but particularly Matthias Schoenaert‘s bullying bad-guy character in Act Three. It’s a somewhat…no, earnestly above-average, Friends of Eddie Coyle-ish crime drama that I’m looking forward to seeing a second time with subtitles as I was able to catch maybe 60% or 70% of the dialogue. Strongly accented Jersey-speak + slightly whispery, miscalibrated sound system at the Princess of Wales = give it another shot.

Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler was the somersault head-turner of the evening. The Reitman screening starts in 33 minutes so I’ll just re-post the tweets. It’s a chilly, highly original urban psychodrama about a beyond-creepy sociopathic news video shooter who fits right in. The brazen, reckless, manic-wacko quality of Nightcrawler is what makes it cool and cultish — I was fascinated, appalled, thrilled. It’s strikingly soul-less, cold, creepy…and quite respectable for that. A news-video thriller with ice in its veins. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a modern-day antithesis of Travis Bickle on adderall. An uber sociopath, triple creepy, manic and very, very controlled and controlling. And yet Bickle had a lot of soul and sadness while Gyllenhaal’s cranked madman, by contrast, hasn’t a kernel of common humanity.

Nightcrawler is a little Ace in the Hole-ish in Act Three but before that it’s almost a kind of zombie film. A zombie crossed with an unctuous, scarily determined Eddie Haskell. In the superb final act Gilroy makes us complicit and partners-in-cime in Gyllenhaal’s mania to get the hot footage — a fascinating effect. The film may not work for women or too many couples (I overheard the word “depressing” muttered twice by Joe and Jane Popcorn types as I left the Elgin last night) but for those with a taste for the dark and entertainingly bizarre, bingo.