Dec 23 2015

The Big Short

Fueled by a lifelong desire to poke holes in system and seek truth, investor Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and his team of fund managers smell blood in the water upon reviewing a flaw in the banking system exposed by Dr. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) and fund seller Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling). Betting against the house (so to speak) on the housing industry, a small group of investors stand to make millions based on the economy’s collapse. Success based on utter failure, who were the real winners and losers in the housing bubble collapse of the mid 2000’s?bigshort Directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) the comedic overtones are ripe throughout this historical look back/black comedy of the housing bubble crisis, mind you this isn’t Ron Burgundy ha ha funny, but rather, oh my god this horrible train wreck that impacted all of us needs some humor in order to be palatable and understood. Breaking down complex financial topics into easily digestible chunks via celebrity explanation and a broken 4th wall McKay has made a rather breezy watch out of what could be a very droll topic, and frankly, anything that can educate the public and entertain at the same time is a notable feat, good on ya. Meanwhile, acting from the ensemble feels up to speed, although Brad Pitt’s character feels a bit less fleshed out and raises a few questions. None the less, a fine way to spend your holiday, and getting smarter at the same time, now if you’ll excuse me I need to go follow the investment strategies of Dr. Burry. The Big Short is rated R.

Dec 17 2015

Star Wars: The Forces Awakens (NO SPOILERS)

To write a film criticism is to observe a film through our own personal lens as a viewer and then attempt to write that observation in a concise and accurate manner– that in mind it’s with some amount of struggle that I come to you to write about J.J. Abrams latest endeavor Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Why? Because I personally want you to experience this film as I did, with a sense of wonder and admiration. A sense of something that has shaped and engrained itself into American culture for nearly 40 years. A continuing story that has inspired adults and children to dream of the stars, examine the balance of good and evil and how the two are often inseparably twisted, and the continued questioning of who we are and what we’re made of? To that end, I won’t be offering any plot synopsis for this film, instead, a thought about what J.J. Abrams has created.starwars7 In a few words, Hope, A New Hope. Having wrestled with the downturn of the franchise in the 90’s and 00’s through a series of abysmal prequel’s with creator George Lucas at the helm, Abrams has instead gone to the mountain and found the bottled lighting that created the original trilogy, episodes 4 though 6. Harnessing that power Abrams along with additional writers Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt have created a great new step in a positive direction to put the awe in awesome and formulate a story that delicately weaves new guard and old in a loving way combining stars Daisy Ridley, John Bodega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, along side Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, and Mark Hamill; not allowing one to upstage or overshadow the other. And while some of the dialogue and plotting comes across as oversimplified and blocky, remember that’s always been a part of the Star Wars “charm,” regardless, prepare to be won over with loving nostalgia and the best intentions. Congrats J.J. you have inspired this doubter and helped me to believe again.

Dec 11 2015

In the Heart of the Sea

Based on the 1820 event that would inspire Herman Melville’s tale Moby Dick (Ben Whishaw), an aged Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) recounts his story of the great white whale that would hunt down Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) and First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) along with the rest of the whaling ship Essex, stranding the crew thousands of miles from home.heartofthesea Directed by Ron Howard, this classic tale is retold with creative cinematography, inspiring and beautiful score, and quality special effects. Sadly, this tale is also appears to have been told without a dialect coach on set, and without a tremendous amount of creativity in the storytelling department, sure it’s a whale of a tale but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly riveting when it needs to be. Still, Howard’s eye has certainly created something beautiful to look at, even if the story itself falls shy of Melville’s classic writings. Perhaps a matinee without the 3D goggles, In the Heart of the Sea is rated PG-13.