The Big Short (2015)

After a little mix-up with a free advanced screening that I got picked for, it cleared up and they ended up giving me The Big Short.  I’m not much of a finance person.  Fun fact is that, I actually started out studying in a major in finance when I first started university and then decided it wasn’t my thing and switched majors.  So I know a little more than the basics but its really not part of my interest although my husband is a huge fan and have read the book of the same name by Michael Lewis.  While he couldn’t go with me, my best friend did. Honestly, the cast looks great but I’m not much of a drama movie sort of person so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Big Short (2015)

The Big Short

Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Jeremy Strong

Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed. –IMDB

Drama movies and especially those based about finance is really not my cup of tea but I really liked The Big Short a lot. I might be the only person on the universe that has only seen snippets of Anchorman and never the entire movie so I don’t know anything about Adam McKay’s style however if this is an indication of anything, its that he manages to turn this true story into something where we can take away about the economy and government and social structure, even morals and make it also entertaining but with a good creative approach to make sure all the not so finance saavy audience will understand those fancy finance lingo and terms in layman terms. Now, that is a feat all in itself and I think he does a stellar job at it. The script is strong enough that I actually thought about digging out the copy of The Big Short that my husband owns and reading it. The main reason is because the movie also has quirky narration from various characters’ viewpoints as the story goes along and when its made for cinematic convenience, they add the narration to say how it actually went down. I thought that was a pretty unique approach.

The Big Short

Most of us know that scripts and directors are a part of the success of a movie. The Big Short is full of great actors.  Our main narrator is Ryan Gosling who seems to take a backseat in the situation but we soon realize is implicated into this situation as well. While, we’re also quickly introduced to the extremely smart but socially awkward Dr. Michael J. Burry played by Christian Bale.  I personally love Bale, more his earlier work that the more recent stuff.  But he did the role so well.  I think the compliment goes out to him and Brad Pitt (who I actually didn’t recognize until fairly later in the movie) who really changes the appearance and style of what we’re used to seeing them in (or its my lack of seeing movies from them in this genre) that made me not see them as the popular stars that we know them as.   But it would be unfair to leave out Steve Carell in this mix.  I never saw Foxcatcher so maybe that is his best role ever (which I’ve heard being said), but this is my favorite role of his as Mark Baum. There are no words to describe the truth these characters carry in a blunt and awkwardly social way, especially in the case of Bale and Carell’s characters.  They have gone through struggle and they manage to make especially those two characters very human but never enough to get in the way of the message this story is trying to send, whether its about the financial sectors or the morals of finally understanding what their predictions could mean in the bigger picture, especially when they are betting on the future of the economy.

The Big Short

In a movie like this, there are some supporting actors that I’d really like to see more of.  Some of them are familiar faces and some not so much (maybe to others who have seen their recent movies).  Just a quick mention of John Magaro and Finn Wittrock who buddy up in this one and give us an additional perspective as young investors who want to play with the big boys and fall on this betting against the market completely by chance but is lead by a reclusive ex-finance mentor (played by Brad Pitt). At the same time, Vinnie (played by Jeremy Strong) is part of the team with Steve Carell’s character Mark Baum and I liked his role a lot too.

The Big Short

I’m saying a lot of good stuff about The Big Short.  I truly enjoyed it immensely.  However, if I was to criticize it just one little bit although in the great spectrum of things, it didn’t bother all that much. Its the ending drags a little and the drama is totally there.  Up to that abrupt turning point, they managed to show us the gravity of the situation but also keep us entertained but when the deed actually happens, the tone shifts with the snap of our fingers.  The morals and ethics of the situation just slaps us in the face even for these guys who are the winners of this situation but then it begs the question, are they really the winners, right? And at what expense?  Although, in that defense, I could argue why it needs to have that tone which is why I’m okay with it.

Overall, The Big Short is a great drama who uses a unique approach to create a dramatized effect but also give us the story and the message its sending to clearly show us what happened during this credit crisis in 2008.  Its a story about greed but also about morals.   Its entertaining and thought provoking all at the same time. Definitely the surprise of 2015 for me!

Have you seen The Big Short? Do you intend to?

World War Z (2013)

I did not end up finishing the book World War Z before seeing this movie but am about 80% done with it. Also, I love zombie movies and this has been one of my most anticipated of 2013!  I have been avoiding to read the reviews but have skimmed a few in the last few days with mostly average ratings.  The only thing I knew going into this movie was that there would be close to no correlation to what the book was about.  It would have crazy, super speed zombies.  I went in with a little bit of expectations but tried to keep them minimal. I’m not sure if it was an obligation for everyone else but I had to see it in 3D and I chose this flick to try out the new cinema VIP experience with comfyspacious theatre seats and all.

Now lets get on with what I thought about it!

world war z poster

Director: Marc Forster

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse

Former United Nations employee, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) has settled down to spend more time to be with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and his two girls Rachel and Constance.  On the way to school one day, they all get stuck in traffic in Philadelphia that turns out to be a zombie attack that he learns has already invaded almost every corner of the world as he tries to seek refuge from his UN connections.  He learns that this turned into a Zombie pandemic and has killed many of the leaders/governments and threatens to wipe out humanity.  This is when they call Gerry in to help find a way to save the world starting from where it all began.  He ends up traversing various countries as he follows the clues.

WHOA! Honestly, that was my reaction when I got out of this movie! Check Twitter, I posted it up there.

Gerry Lane and his family

Gerry Lane and his family

I might be the only crazy person saying it but I LOVED IT! I mean, the story was not very thick but they were weaving this out of a book that recalled the World War Z through stories of different people so they could take some facts and pretty much make up the rest of it to make movie material. In any form of pandemic or whatnot, its about finding a way to save humanity (in this case) from zombies with zero information at the beginning.  Its about a man that walks into a mess that was caused by the ignorance of the authorities of many countries.  I didn’t expect the plot to get any more than it did..although to be absolutely frank, the ending was a bit lacking (just a bit).

Overload of Zombies!

Overload of Zombies!

However, this action/drama/thriller/horror (whatever the genre was) kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! There was a part in the beginning that startled me and I let out a little scream in the theatre (and I never did that before) which led me to holding my hand over my mouth the rest of it so to not do it again.  It was intense and they progressed the story quickly to keep the audience intrigued with the situation.

world war z overhead

I thought the intro sequence was fantastic with all the news broadcasts.  I thought the directing effort from Marc Forster was pretty impressive. He did a great job at showing the immediate urgency of the whole situation.  We can see how everyone is pretty doomed…no one will get out of this unless we have people willing to make sacrifices. The grandness, massive spread and the uncontrollable breakout, the helplessness was all reflected especially in those overview shots.

world war z plane

Brad Pitt makes an amazing effort here.  He carries the movie from start to finish.  I’m usually talking about the importance of character development and in this one, he’s pretty much on the move so much that we don’t see too much of that.  His job was to really go all out and find a way to save everyone and at the same time, save his own family.  That was Gerry’s goal.  Brad Pitt convinced me every single minute that he went from immense love for his family to being someone who was willing to do everything to protect himself, the people around him and in turn, his family.  This was a desperate situation and it required desperate measures.

Just a little thing, this movie doesn’t take a huge standpoint in the light of the novel itself but it does throw out some of the underlying themes through the dialogue and thats the theme of humanity’s ignorance and carelessness.  That was the basis of what happened.  In the end, this would never have happened if the country leaders had taken a warning seriously.  (Is that considered a spoiler?)

Brad Pitt in World War Z

My boyfriend and I loved this movie.  A part of the review here is from what he thought (that I agreed with after a little after movie discussion).  It achieved what it had set out to do.  I don’t care much for gore even if this relates to zombies but this movie was about the desperate situation the world was in and finding a solution and all with sending just one man to do it. It was supposed to focus on being dramatic at parts, intense for most of it and it did all that!  There was some startling parts, mostly in the beginning, which added to the whole horror experience.  There were moments that 3D did add to the beauty of the flick.  Not to say that it wasn’t majestic in itself to look at from all the shots of the swarms of zombie invading the different cities.  AND, Brad Pitt does a awesome job!  I’d say thats a win.

I loved it quite a lot! 🙂

Happy Feet Two (2011)

I’m back from vacation meaning I had another 16 hours spent on the plane watching movies.  This time I got around to another 5 movies.  There were a few failures where I just passed out watching two other ones in the middle and caught an incomplete movie so I won’t talk about those.  The first movie that I saw going back was a family animation called Happy Feet Two.  I don’t know how well Happy Feet was to the public but I enjoyed it for the upbeat music and dancing.  I loved it. Despite that, I still had this feeling that Happy Feet Two would be absolute crap as I had no idea how they’d do a follow up on it.  I was pleasantly surprised though, as I enjoyed it quite a bit.  A great movie to start off my long flight back home.

Happy Feet Two focuses on Mumble (Elijah Wood) and Gloria’s(Pink) son, Erik (Ava Acres) who doesn’t seem to know his place and his talents to find himself in Emperor Penguin world.  When he sees Ramon (Robin Williams) running off to find his world again, Erik and his two friends trail behind him and end up meeting Lovelace (Robin Williams) and the Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria).  The mighty Sven grows on Erik because he sees the possibility to achieve the impossible if you have the will.  Sven is actually a puffin that tricks everyone to believe that he is a penguin that can fly.  At the same time, we meet krills that want to escape the food chain and be different with Will the Krill (Brad Pitt) and Bill the Krill (Matt Damon).  They form somewhat of a side story.  Something in the environment suddenly changes and the Emperor Penguin world shifts lower and all the penguins are now stuck with no food.  The only ones outside are Erik and his two friends and Mumble who went out in search for him.  With the help of the penguins from Ramon’s world, they face this emergency and try to find a way out that they need everyone to help them out.

Its a pretty simple story.  Whats really nice and I think works well for Happy Feet in general is the musical elements.  We get upbeat music to match up with penguins dancing and singing through happy and sad times.  I’m not saying that we can all live through life and just forget our problems with dancing and singing but I have to say that its help me through a lot of tough times.  I think that has a factor on how much I did enjoy the movie.  It was just fun.  I don’t think its as good as the first one, but it does a pretty good job.  I think also another contributing factor to why I enjoyed it was the voices.  Everyone is top of the line.  Robin Williams did voices for two parts and it had hints of the voice when he did the Genie in Aladdin and I really liked it. As usual, Hank Azaria does a great job also as Sven.  Matt Damon and Brad Pitt join in as well for Bill and Will the Krills and they were quite fun to watch and listen to.  The only thing was that it seemed that they were trying to ride the popularity of Ice Age and the squirrel side story.  Its still entertaining for the Krills to have the stage but at times, it seemed a bit like it was trying hard to make sure it kept the movie in a uplifting mood even when it was meant to be slightly more serious. I wonder if it was really a necessary addition sometimes.

Overall, I did enjoy this movie.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  Did it give me any laughs? Not really.  What it did give me was a fun and musical time with a few heartwarming moments.  That was great for the beginning of the flight and it got me ready for the next one.  If you enjoyed the first one, I’d expect that you’d find some fun with this one.

Did you see this movie? Enjoyed it? Maybe you enjoyed it more than the first one?