Movie Review for Parents: Demolition and Coming Attractions

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels

MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual references, drug use and disturbing behavior

Released in Theaters: April 8, 2016

Best for Ages: 17+

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 100 minutes

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallee

Studio: Fox Searchlight

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Naomi Watts, Judah Lewis

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this drama about a man who learns how to live again after his wife dies in a car accident.

MOVIE REVIEW: Jake Gyllenhaal has built a great brand as an actor who does quirky, offbeat movies. And I love that about him. This isn't just a recent development in his career. It goes all the way back to his early movies like 2001’s Donnie Darko, 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, 2013's Prisoners and 2014’s Nightcrawler.

In a Hollywood world where so many movies are just the same thing, one after the other, we can usually count on Gyllenhaal to give us something different. He continues that path with Demolition.

He stars as Davis Mitchell, a man who works for his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) in a financial firm. It's a pretty run-of-the-mill life that includes a good job, nice house and beautiful wife. But when his wife Julia (Heather Lind) dies in a car accident, Davis is distraught and lost.

In the hospital after she dies, he tries to buy a snack from the hospital vending machine. But the machine steals his money and never delivers the snack. So he sets about writing letters to the manufacturer's complaint department, and ends up telling his entire life story, including his recent tragedy.

One day he receives a call from the company's customer service rep, Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts). Davis forms an oddball friendship with her and her son, Chris (Judah Lewis, who delivers a knockout performance). Davis also becomes obsessed with taking things apart, everything from a bathroom stall door at work to his entire house. But can he put his life back together?

Demolition is an excellent film, even if about half-way through, you're wondering where everything is leading and whether we’ll ever get there. The focus here is not the plot so much as it is Gyllenhaal’s unraveling character and the overall moodiness of the film. One thing I didn’t like about the film is director Jean-Marc Vallee's decision to use hand-held cinematography, which is often shaky and vertigo-inducing. I had to close my eyes a few times.

But who hasn’t felt like demolishing their life at one time or another? I think it’s a story most people can relate to in one way or another, whether you’ve endured a horrible tragedy or are just stuck in a rut. Thanks to an excellent performance by Gyllenhaal and a strong supporting cast, Demolition is worth checking out.

PARENT OVERVIEW: Demolition includes a deadly car crash, the death of a character, guns and shooting, hand-to-hand fighting with bloody results, and the demolition of an entire house. Strong language includes “f--k,” “s--t” and more. A teen smokes cigarettes, drinks beer and fires a gun. An adult character is a regular pot smoker. Characters make references to sex, and a character is shown naked on the toilet, thought nothing sensitive is shown.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Violence/Gore: A character dies in a horrible car accident. People are beaten and a character steps on a nail (bloody wounds are shown). A teenager shoots a gun. Characters smash furniture, appliances and a whole house with sledgehammers, other tools and a bulldozer.

Sex/Nudity: References to sex and oral sex. A character is shown naked, sitting on a toilet, but nothing sensitive is shown.

Profanity: Strong language throughout, including "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "ass," "goddamn," "retarded," "dyke," "prick," "idiot," "balls" and "pothead."

Drugs/Alcohol: A teen smokes cigarettes and drinks beer. An adult smokes pot and buys it from a pot dealer. Some social drinking and references to drugs like ecstasy and crack.


One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.


New movies in theaters this week include -- finally! -- a great movie for the whole family, The Jungle Book. This one is a brand new version of the classic Rudyard Kipling tale. Also on the big screen is Kevin Costner in the crime thriller Criminal, Ice Cube in a new Barbershop movie and lots more. Let's take a closer look at the new movies in theaters this week.


Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril | In Theaters 4/15 (2D, 3D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 7+ | Disney | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels

Directed by Jon Favreau and based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories, this live-action adventure centers on Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voiced by Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-mentor Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) and the free-spirited bear Baloo (Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. Also stars Lupita Nyong'o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of the wolf pack’s alpha male Akela.


Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 14+ | New Line, Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin (Ice Cube) and his longtime crew, including Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), are still there, but the shop has undergone some major changes. Most noticeably, the once male-dominated sanctuary is now co-ed. The ladies bring their own flavor, drama, and gossip to the shop, challenging the guys at every turn. Also, the surrounding community has taken a turn for the worse, forcing Calvin and crew to come together to save the shop AND their neighborhood. Directed by Malcolm Lee, this movie also stars Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, JB Smoove, and Nicki Minaj.


Rated R for strong violence and language throughout | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 17+ | Summit | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Criminal is a story about the right man in the wrong body. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative's memories, secrets and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate. The hope is that he'll complete the operative’s mission, but of course, nothing goes as planned. Directed by Ariel Vroman, this crime thriller stars Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, and Gal Gadot.


Rated R for language throughout, drug use, sexuality, and some aberrant and disturbing content | In Theaters 4/15 | Ok for Kids 18+ | A24 | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Directed by Pamela Romanowsky, this drama from producers James Franco and Robert Redford is adapted from Stephen Elliott's true crime memoir released in 2009. It centers on the real-life investigation into the 2007 murder trial of Hans Reiser, accused of killing his wife, and the ensuing confession of his friend Sean Sturgeon. This movie stars Amber Heard Depp, James Franco, Christian Slater, Ed Harris, Wilmer Valderrama, and Cynthia Nixon.


Not yet rated; likely R | In Theaters 4/15 (limited; VOD) | Ok for Kids 17+ | Screen Media Films | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

This political drama stars Emma Watson as Lena, a young woman whose husband (Daniel Bruhl) is abducted by Pinochet's secret police during the 1973 Chilean military coup d’etat. Lena must join a dangerous cult in the sealed-off Colonia Dignidad area in order to rescue him. This movie also stars Mikael Nyqvist and Florian Gallenberger, who also directs. No MPAA rating at press time.


One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.