Creed 2 (2018)

Creed 2

Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) stares into the face of the son of Ivan Drago, Viktor (Florian Munteanu).

As in all great sports films (including the 2015 predecessor), Creed II is not about boxing but about development of character. Perhaps the only reason why it is not as great a film as the first is because it is not as fresh, but it still packs a whallop.

The film begins as Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan, who is having a great year with this and Black Panther) has just won the belt and is more than in his prime. He has proposed to his longtime girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson), whose music career is still going steady (despite the fact that she has in fact lost her hearing due to illness), and both are on the verge of starting a family. Even outside the ring, he is still looking for advice from his mentor/friend Rocky (Sylvester Stallone). There is still a vibrant electricity in their scenes together, filled with humor and heart.

All of this takes a back seat when Buddy Marcelle (Russell Hornsby, who was recently in The Hate U Give) is set to promote a fight between Creed and Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the infamous killer of Apollo. There is indeed intensity bubbling on the screen when we see the meeting between Rocky and the elder Drago. Ivan has been an outcast ever since his loss in the fourth film, and needs to win not only the promoted fight, but the respect of those he once considered family.

There is so much emotional baggage going into the ring for the audience (let alone the characters) that it is pretty impossible not to be invested in the action on-screen. Director Steve Caple Jr. handles the script as if it were a Hollywood relic (and rightly so). That is not to say the boxing scenes are boring. Far from it. He is smart enough to handle them with as much care as he does what happens outside the ring as well.

Parents, as long as your kids have seen the original films in the series (except number five), they are fine here. There is one mild scene of sensuality at the beginning, and some swearing (not to mention obvious violence), but I would say middle school and up is fine.

I left the film with one concern: where do we go from here? Topping off this face-off will be a hard act to follow, but one I will gladly pay for in a heart beat.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

2018 Half Time Report

halftimereport1

 

I am rather surprised that the first half of 2018 has had a rather good share of quality films, nearly breaking the tradition of having mainly bad films in the first half of a year. It actually made me realize that while I can make a top five of the year so far, I could not do a bottom five (for it would include films I actually enjoy).

That being said, such good movies like Deadpool 2, A Quiet Place, Incredibles 2, Ready Player One, and Set it Up did not make the list.

First, the bottom three…

 

3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

After the nice revival of the series in 2015, we are given this let down. Nice visuals, but way too many plot turns and clichés that make you shake your head rather than nod.

2. Irreplaceable you

It is rather sad when there is a romantic movie that tries hard to bring the tears and fails. Too many characters making choices that are really difficult to relate to, let alone agree with.

1. The Cloverfield Paradox

Credit to the film makers for keeping this project a secret up until the release right after the Superbowl. That is really the only positive I can think of. I have not seen any of the other Cloverfield films, but it still does not hide what a waste of time and money this was.

 

Note: The last two films mentioned star actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I point this out because I wish to say she is talented, and I hope she gets better material soon.)

 

Now the best so far…

5. Isle of Dogs

Leave it to Wes Anderson to, as always, give us as fresh an original movie as possible. It is weird, quirky, funny, touching, and has Bill Murray. So, you know, a basic Wes Anderson film.

4. Black Panther

Easily one of Marvel’s top films, the kingdom of Wakanda gives us some of the best action, grit, and realism we have seen in any action film. All the cast is wonderful.

3. Avengers: Infinity War

As if the previous film were not enough, Marvel then proceeded to give us the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight. Seriously, think of how bad this movie could have been, and yet there is hardly a fault. Regardless of how you feel, there is no doubt of the wonderful, terrifying screen presence of Thanos (Josh Brolin is definitely having a good 2018).

2. Hereditary

This horror thriller reminded me a lot of 2016’s unseen gem The Witch. With a stellar cast (mainly Toni Colette), this film leaves a taste that I have still not fully gotten out of my system. I don’t think I want to either.

1. Won’t you be my Neighbor?

We still have more action packed films (comic book or otherwise) to endure this year, but they did not come much more humble and respected than Fred Rogers (who took me years to realize his first name). A documentary that is sure to bring tears and cheers, it is as necessary a film as the world needs these days. Like Hereditary, it will leave a taste (albeit a much warmer and comfortable one) in your bones and soul that will not leave you (not to mention make you feel somewhat guilty for the parodies Rogers had to suffer).

 

Now to the second half of 2018…

 

 

And the Oscar goes to…

And-the-Oscar-Goes-to

 

Honestly, I am tired of the whole Oscarssowhite talk going around (I too wish it was more diverse, but it is not all the Academy’s fault: I mean, there were not many performances to begin with, sadly). Why can’t we just acknowledge the nominees as they are?

I have been doing Oscar Contests since I was about 13, and have learned as I went along (I used to think it was ok to have ties in catagories). I am not saying I know all the answers, but if you want to win an pool you may be in, here are my picks in all catagories (and reasons why)…

For a list of all nominees, visit

http://www.imdb.com/awards-central/oscars?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=2348233542&pf_rd_r=0KC5ZWBP7PAY2XWABKNB&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_t=15091&pf_rd_i=main&ref_=ac_ac_ac_lk10

Best Picture

Picture

 

Truly, the biggest award of the night is also the biggest toss up of the night. The PGA awarded The Big Short while SAG awarded Spotlight and DGA The Revenant. Those three are the top three closest to the finish line.

Being that The Revenant also should be winning Best Director and Best Actor, I have it down as winning Best Picture. Still, it is going to be a photo finish, so don’t be surprised if it goes to the other two (or even Mad Max: Fury Road).

Will win: The Revenant (65 % sure)

Could win: Spotlight, The Big Short

Should win: Room (my favorite of the year)

 

Best Director

 

 

Director

Only twice in history has a director won Best Director two years in a row. Being that he just won his second consecutive DGA award (the first time that has ever happend), it seems best to say that Alejandro G. Innaritu will win again this year for The Revenant (the DGA award has predicted Best Director at the Oscars all but 5 times in over 50 years). If there was a spoiler, it would be my personal pick, George Miller, for his incredible work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant (95 % sure)

Could/Should win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

 

 

Best Actor

 

 

Actor.jpg

 

 

The wait is over. All who have been waiting for Leonard DiCaprio to win an Oscar will finally get to see the chance. Even one of his competitors, Eddie Redmayne, has stated he wants Leo to win. I would not be surprised if the other nominees felt the same way. It also helps that it is the best performance of the group. I personally can’t wait to see the standing ovation, and hear his speech.

Will win/Should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (100 % sure)

Could win: No one really, but if I had to pick, it would be Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

 

 

Best Actress

Actress

 

 

 

One of the reason’s I picked Room as my favorite movie of 2015 was the performance by Brie Larson. It is one that will go down in history, and an Oscar will only help it more. The only real threat is Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, proving she is still one of the best young actresses around.

Will win/Should win: Brie Larson, Room (95% sure)

Could win: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Supporting Actor

“CREED”: (L-r) SYLVESTER STALLONE as Rocky Balboa in “CREED.” Photo: Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros. Pictures

 

 

 

 

I am still a bit upset that Room’s Jacob Tremblay was overlooked, but all the five nominees give stellar performances. Still, none was more surprising or as heartfelt as Sylvester Stallone in Creed. Tom Hardy is probably the next closest, proving he is one of the best actors working today. Still, expect a win for Rocky.

Will win/Should win: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Could win: Tom Hardy, The Revenant

 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Supporting actress

 

 

I must admit I was not a huge fan of The Danish Girl, but I was impressed by the great turn by Alicia Vikander. Despite other great performances in the catagory, I feel she will win. However, it would be kind of cool to see Kate Winslet win, mainly to see her and Leo holding Oscars next to each other.

Will win/Should win: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl (90% sure)

Could Win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Original Screenplay

 

Original Screenplay

While Inside Out was the most original film of the last few years, expect the win to go to Spotlight.

Will win: Spotlight (90%)

Could win: Straight Outta Compton

Should Win: Inside Out

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

 

Even if the film was very confusing at times, expect this award to go to The Big Short.

 

Will win: The Big Short (90%)

Could win/Should win: Room

 

Best Animated Feature

Animated

While I have heard great things about Anomalisa, I doubt anything is beating Inside Out.

Will win/Should win: Inside Out (95% sure)

Could win: Anomalisa

Best Forgein Language FilmForgein Language film

 

 

I have not seen any of the films, but I have heard nothing but good things about Son of Saul, a film I am hoping to see.

 

Will win: Son of Saul (85% sure)

 

Best Cinematography

Cinematography

 

It is rare for someone to win consecutive Oscars, so it is even rarer for someone to do so three times in a row. Still, that seems to be the case for Emmauel Lubezki, after winning two years ago for Gravity and last year for Birdman. Expect him to win again for The Revenant, unless they finally give one to Roger Deakins (for Sicario).

Will win/Should win: The Revenant (85% sure)

Could Win: Sicario

 

Best Film Editing

Film Editing

The fast paced, yet somehow smooth editing of Mad Max:Fury Road should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could Win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

Production Design

Despite the awesome looking images of The Revenant and the realistic looks of Mars of The Martian, the futuristic deserts of Mad Max: Fury Road should drive away with it.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Martian

 

Best Costume Design

Costume Design

Sandy Powell is up against herself for Carol, but her work in Cinderella is what is the best of the bunch.

Will win/Should win: Cinderella (75% sure)

Could win: Carol or The Danish Girl

 

Best Make-up/Hairstyling

Make-up

Another award for the outstanding Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (70% sure)

Could win: The Revenant

 

Best Original Score

Original Score

I am as big a fan of John Williams as anyone, and his work in Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is more proof he is the best film composer ever. However, he has already won five Oscars while another legendary composer, Ennio Morricone, has yet to win a competitive Oscar (he won an Honorary one a few years ago). Like Dicaprio and Stallone, expect a standing ovation.

Will win: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight (90% sure)

Could win/Should win: John Williams, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

Original Song

I won’t lie: I am not a huge fan of any of the songs, but the best one, “Til it happens to you” from The Hunting Ground, should bring an Oscar to Lady Gaga and (finally) Diane Warren.

Will win/Should win: “Til it happens to you”, The Hunting Ground (75% sure)

Could win: “Writings on the Wall”, Spectre

Best Sound Editing

Sound Editing

I am still trying to find out the difference between Sound Editing and Mixing, but expect both to go to Mad Max: Fury Road.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing

See above. Don’t bet against a rock band on trucks.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (80% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

 

Best Documentary Feature

Documentary

Will win: Amy (80% sure)

 

Best Documentary Short Subject

Documentary Short

Will win: Body Team 12 (50% sure, and not just because they look like Minions)

 

Best Animated Short Film

Animated Short

Will win: World of Tomorrow (45% sure)

 

Best Live Action Short Film

Short film

Will win: Ave Maria (30% sure)

Best Visual Effects

Special Effects

The Revenant had one amazing bear attack and Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens gave us more Star Wars brilliace. Still, the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road had very little CGI effects, which is why it should win.

Will win/Should win: Mad Max: Fury Road (75% sure)

Could win: Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

Top 10 Films of 2015

Top 10 films of 2015

 

It is true that some years have better movies than others (1939 and 1994 are prime examples). This does not mean some years are always bad, it just means you have to look harder for them. 2015 had movies you may have had to look harder for to see.

Of course, I did not see every movie that came out last year (I still need to see Beasts of No Nation and Straigh Outta Compton), but I do feel rather confident still with my top ten list ( in which good movies like CarolThe Big ShortWar Room, and Bridge of Spies did not crack the list).

 

Wild Card

Sicario

Benecio Del Toro and Emily Blunt in Sicario.

It may not have gotten all the love it deserved, but great acting and tension fueled Sicario, especially the great performance by Benecio Del Toro.

 

10.

Steve Jobs

Michael Fassbender reveals the iMac in “Steve Jobs”

Written by the always wonderful Aaron Sorkin, Michael Fassbender will most definetly get an Oscar nomination as Steve Jobs, also with equally great performaces by Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels.

 

9.

The Hateful Eight

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell, just two of “The Hateful Eight”.

Basically, anything by Tarantino is worth seeing, and The Hateful Eight is no exception. It is fun to watch as much as it is for those who made it.

 

8.

Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who faces seemingly insurmountable odds as he tries to find a way to subsist on a hostile planet.

Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who faces seemingly insurmountable odds as he tries to find a way to subsist on a hostile planet.

The most surprising thing about The Martian is not the performance by Matt Damon, nor the supporting cast, but that Ridley Scott directed a movie with humor. That is rare.

 

7.

Spotlight

Possibly the front runner for Best Picture, Spotlight is the story of the true revelation of the dark secret in the Catholic Church in Boston, and beyond. Every actor brings their A game to this film.

 

6.

Creed

Stallone shows Jordan the ropes in “Creed”.

Nostalgic as well as new, Creed is all the things we love of the original Rocky flicks. Stallone is truly remarkable here in the role no one could duplicate.

5.

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Rey, Finn, and BB-8: the three new heroes of the galaxy.

Sure, the story was a lot like the original film, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings new characters (as well as old) to new life in a film that is not doing to shabby box office wise right now.

4.

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.

Filled with more realism and grit than any other film this year, The Revenant is a wonder to behold. It is also the ticket to that long awaited moment of calling DiCaprio an Oscar winner (and it would be well deserved too).

3.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron team up in Max Max: Fury Road

I like to think of director Michael Bay watching Mad Max: Fury Road and taking notes. There is just enough story here to back up one of the best action flicks ever. Like Star Wars and The Revenant, this film shows why films should be watched on big screens, not small ones. It is like Lawrence of Arabia on caffiene.

2.

Inside Out

Fear, Joy, and Disgust are just three of Riley’s voices in “Inside Out”

Easily the most original film of the year, I feel that Inside Out will be like a fine wine: aging better through your years on earth. It ranks among the best animated films ever made.

1.

Room

Jacob Tremblay discovers what lies outside the room.

You know a movie is good when you can’t get it off you mind, even months after you have seen it. Such is the case for my number one pick of 2015, Room. I drove about an hour to the theater and an hour back, and it was worth every second.

Brie Larson is the front runner for Best Actress, and I have not seen a better performance by anyone (of any age) this year than that of 8 year old Jacob Tremblay. The film is likely to never be forgotten once seen.

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.

 

It is clear that some are good celebrities and some are good actors. It is the chose few that are good at both that we always like the most. Some names today include Hanks, De Niro, Pacino, Streep, Blanchett, Cruise, and Day-Lewis. Another name that fits that is DiCaprio.

I first saw him as a teenage hearthrob in Titanic, then saw him spread his acting wings in the early 21st Century in films like Gangs of New York and The Aviator. Now, he is one of the most famous, talented actors on the planet. All that is missing is an Oscar, and I think The Revenant will give him that.

The Revenant is based off of a real life frontiersman named Hugo Glass (DiCaprio). During a fur expedition, he is mauled by a bear (a scene that will defy belief for any viewer). Others in his company are set to press on, but some stay behind, including his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), Bridger (Will Poulter), and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).

(Warning: The following paragraph does have vo, but I feel to mention them because they are in the trailer.) Glass is so mutilated that Fitzgerald feels it is right to just end his life quickly, but Hawk does not agree. Eventually, Fitzgerald kills Hawk, Glass’s only family, and leaves Glass to die.

The rest of the film is the journey back to living for Hugh Glass. What surprised me a lot was how little dialogue Leonardo Dicaprio has in the film (although after the bear attack, I assume his vocals would be near extinct). It is just another way for us to remember how great an actor Dicaprio is.

The film also is more proof of how wonderful an actor Tom Hardy is (he does not have the star power of the names I mentioned before, but he is getting there). He is one of a handful of actors up for Best Supporting Actor consideration.

Now I get to the visuals, which are among the most dark, beautiful, and haunting you will see in a theater. Director Alejandro G. Inarritu (fresh off his Oscar win for Birdman) is as responsible for it as is the uncanny cinamatography by Emmanuel Lubezki, who won back to back Oscars for Gravity and Birdman. The visuals give the film its own layer of spirituality and grace.

Parents, there is a little nudity (two men from far away) and one soldier raping an indian woman (we just see thrusting, no nudity). Still, the R rating is for the violence. I know that Leo was not attacked by a bear, but I had to remind myself at times it wasn’t real. The R rating is justified.

For those who can handle The Revenant‘s grit, realism, honor, grace, spirituality, and dark harshness, it is definetly one of the best of 2015.

 

Overall: Four and a Half Stars ****1/2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol (2015)

Carol

Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in “Carol”

 

Cate Blanchett is truly one of our best actresses alive (I would even go so far as to put her second only behind Streep). She is versatile (see her performance in Cinderella), she is beautiful, and she has a old school, golden age Hollywood Aura around her unlike any other working actress (even Streep).

As the title character in Carol, she gives another performance that is superb. She is fallen for by a young store clerk named Therese (Rooney Mara, also very good here). We learn that Carol has had one affair before hand with her childhood friend Abby (Sarah Paulson). This is known to her husband Harge (Kyle Chandler), and when he meets Therese, he begins to get suspicious again.

Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith (entitled “The Prince of Salt”), the film is directed by Todd Haynes with the proper quality and care. We feel for each character, their troubles, needs, wants, and desires.

Parents, the film deserves its R rating, as there is one scene where nudity is shown in a mild sex scene. Aside from that, no real heavy swearing or violence.

Overall: Four Stars ****

 

The 7 Deadly movie sins of 2015 (or, the seven worst of the year) (2015)

2015 Worst

How I felt during these movies….

Ok, seeing these movies are not actually a sin. Still, these are seven films (I am not yet a professional film critic, so I do not need to see all the bad ones. This means I did not make it to ten this year, which is a good thing) that I would consider the most disapointing of the year. (If you don’t see any on here, it is because I wisely avoided it. Take that Fantastic Four!)

7.

Ant-Man

Paul Rudd discovers his future in “Ant-Man”

Ant-Man is a forgettable marvel movie, even with decent special effects. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas do ok work, but the script is not up to par, and it has one of the worst villains in recent comic book movie history.

6. Home

Home was a family film, but was not for everyone in the family. It was just meh.

5.

San Andreas

Dwayne Johnson is the one unbreakable “rock” in “San Andreas”.

Dwayne Johnson can do very good acting. Too bad he does not take very good scripts, like the made for syfy film San Andreas.

 

4.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

Casey, played by Britt Robertson, visits Tomorrowland

I agree with the films message, but wouldn’t you want a film like Tomorrowland to take place in…..Tomorrowland?

 

3.

Terminator Genisys

He said he would be back.

Terminator Genisys does not only fail to live up to the first two, but it suggests that those two did not even happen? That is not cool.

 

2. Chappie.jpg

Chappie was something I thought could go well (it was made by the director of the great film District 9). The result? Change the H to an R in the title.

 

1.

  1. XXX JUPITER ASCENDING MOV JY 1628 .JPG A ENT

    EXCLUSIVE TO USA TODAY FOR FIRST USE Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in a scene from the motion picture “Jupiter Ascending.” CREDIT: Murray Close, Warner Bros. Pictures [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

    When I got Jupiter Ascending from the library (like I would pay for it), I put it in, and tried to pay attention. I was on my ipad the rest of the movie. I forgot the game I was playing, but I am pretty confident it had a better storyline.

The Danish Girl (2015)

The Danish Girl

Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”.

 

The Danish Girl is a well intentioned bio pic that delivers two great performances but does not seem to be anything beyond what we expected. Perhaps it is ironic that a movie about someone trying to do something new does not do something very new in itself.

That does not mean I did not like the movie. I just expected more of the tale of married couple Einar and Gerda Wegener, married artists in the 1920s. One day, Gerda’s (Alicia Vikander) friend Ulla (Amber Heard) is unable to pose for one of her paintings, so she recruits her husband Einar (Eddie Redmayne). Ulla surprises them, and names Einar “Lilly”. This eventually leads to Einar wanting to become one of the first known in the transgender community.

As shown in The Theory of Everything (which he recently won the Oscar for), Eddie Redmayne is proving he is one of the best actors of his generation. He delivers another fine performance here as Einar/Lilly. However, it was Alicia Viander I was most impressed with. Her Gerda is one of the most devoted wives in recent movie memory. The key is that she is not one to just sit back and let it all happen. She has a fire in her that says don’t mess with me, but also an inner gentleness that is evident if she wants to show it. It is clearly an Oscar nomination for both actors.

Parents, the R rating is justified. There is not much swearing and little violence (just in one scene) but there is a lot of nudity (not just in the art pieces).

In the end, I wish the film was not just another straight bio pic, and tried to be a little more (though I did enjoy the score by Desplat). Still, it is worth seeing for Redmayne and Vikander , both giving award worthy performances.

Overall: Three Stars ***

 

The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell, just two of “The Hateful Eight”.

 

One of the worst things people can do as movie goers is shy away from a Tarantino flick just because it is violent (that is going to be violent goes without saying).

Althought The Hateful Eight was almost not made (more on that later), it is still classic QT. It contains the usual amount of violence, and (most importantly) sharp, wonderful dialogue that no one does better. The film stars Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren. He stumbles upon bounty hunter John Ruth (an excellent Kurt Russell) on his way to the city of Red Rock, where he will deliver murderer Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh, equally fantastic). A snowstorm delays them to a cabin filled with others including Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth,) Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern).

My favorite thing about Tarantino is that I never know what will ever happen next. This means I never know who lives and who dies. I obviously won’t go further into the story, except to say that not every character is what they seem to be. There is also a part here played by Channing Tatum, which proves (along with 2014’s Foxcatcher) that he can be a great actor if given the right script).

Parents, the fact that this is Quentin Tarintino means that the film will deserve its R rating (though the only sexual thing is a character showing that he was forced to give oral sex and that he was fully nude while doing it.) So yes, 17 and up. Still, for those who can handle a Tarantino flick, the film is well worth it (It is not his best, but then how could he top a film like Pulp Fiction?)

I close by saying why the film was almost not made. Tarantino’s script was leaked online, and therefore did not want to make it. Fortunatly, he was convinced to do so. To those people who like to find out about movies before they are released, I say the following: Why? Why not wait for the surprise in the first place? Can you at least stop ruining it for others?

Overall: Four Stars ****

The Big Short (2015)

THe Big Short

Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling in “The Big Short”.

 

The Banking world has always confused me.

All talks about stocks, bonds, and mortages have always hurt my head. There is a lot of talk about those in The Big Short, but it is dumbed down just enough to keep someone as clueless to banking as me to be entertained (though I was still a little confused).

The first success of the film is the casting. Christian Bale stars as Michael Burry, who is a genius but socially awkward (we learn from a childhood accident). He is one of four outsiders who would go to determine the stock market crash that would be remembered as the worst since the great depression. The other three are Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling, who also narrates the story), Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) and Ben Rickertt (Brad Pitt).

This is a hard movie to follow for some. Still, I am glad I stayed, because it is handled with wit, humor, and respect. It is no surprise the four recently mentioned actors give great performances (mainly Bale and Carrell). What surprised me the most was that this was from director Adam Mckay (mainly known for doing films like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.) This is actually the first film he has made not to star Will Ferrell at all.

Parents, this does have some sexual themes/ nudity in it. There are two scenes in strip clubs. One at the beginning (very short) and one later on (which does go into detail, although the character goes there to talk about money, nothing else). There is also swearing. In short (no pun intended), the movie does deserve its R rating.

I will end by saying that one thing I enjoyed a lot about the film is that it knows a lot of people in the audience will be confused by the terms used. They solve this by simply bringing in random stars to explain them to us (I wish they used more). Who are these stars? I would never ruin that for you.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars *** 1/2