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?

Halloween Marathon: My Soul To Take (2010)

On a slightly boring and gloomy Saturday morning, I decided to pick up my courage and watch My Soul To Take.  The only reason I had of watching this was that the summary sounded alright and well, there was Max Theriot.  I like him from Bates Motel so hey, why not give it a chance, right? Plus, Netflix seems to think its a good match for me.

my soul to take posterDirector: Wes Craven

Cast: Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Denzel Whitaker, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Pauliina Olszynski, Emily Meade, Frank Grillo

One night in Riverton, a serial killer murders his wife and takes his own life, however, surviving him is his daughter.  That same night, 7 children were born the moment that he died.  Its rumored that his soul split and went into each of these 7 children and that he would come back to claim his soul back.  16 years later, these seven: Bug (Max Thieriot), Alex (John Magaro), Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), Penelope (Zena Grey), Brandon (Nick Lashaway), Brittany (Paulina Olszynski) and Jay (Jeremy Chu) celebrate their birthday but they realize that one by one, they start disappearing.  Is the Riverton killer really back from the dead to take back his soul?

my soul to take 1

My Soul To Take is a horror thriller which actually may have its few thrills but not much horror.  It does built a nice atmosphere in a eerie with the dark scenes in the forest, the house, etc.  However, even with that, it still feel somewhat flawed.  There were questionable parts and a lot of the scenes were predictable. It tried to bring in a lot of evil symbols such as the crow. It was a mix of supernatural, slasher and mystery.

my soul to take 4

One of the biggest flaws in this flick would have to be its characters.  A lot of them aren’t too impressive acting-wise.  Their roles were a bit weird and nothing made me connect to them much.  The only exception was Max Thieriot as the lead character, or else I might have either turned off the movie or fell asleep.  I can see that he has some acting potential as he lead his role very well.  He was the mystery of this movie more than the actual Riverton killer as he had so many secrets revolving his life and his past with his family.  Another character that I liked was the girl playing his sister, Leah, known to her friends as Fang, played by Emily Meade.  She had a pretty good part and she was an essential part to the puzzle of learning Bug’s past.

my soul to take 2

Hmm…I’m all talked out.  This movie just didn’t really do much for me.  Its not that I hated it though.  I just wasn’t that impressed and I haven’t even seen anything from Wes Craven’s work to begin with so no comparison since that seems to be what disappoints mostly.  The only reason I’d pick up this movie to watch again would be to watch Max Thieriot do his role 🙂 He was definitely the positive in this movie.  So, would I recommend it? Well, if you like Max Thieriot or Emily Meade, then go for it (but then you might has well check out Bates Motel).  If you like a mild mystery/thriller but not to be scared, then this could be a good choice.  You won’t have much to guess because you’ll see everything happening a mile away, especially the kids disappear or getting killed.

I’m going into so many of these movies in the Halloween marathon blind.  My expectations being low could make me have better impressions of the movie than they actually are.  Let’s see if the next one is better…Halloween 4 review FINALLY going up next!