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The Big Short Review (2015)

Can we ever forget the big bad ugly “Great Recession”? Just when you were trying real hard to forget, bam! comes The Big Short, forcing you to relive the pain again. But wait! Don’t be fooled just yet. It isn’t like any other mainstream movie, or a drama to focus on the severity the great fall brought along, or the lives it uprooted, or the devastating aftermath it brought along with the punishing tide, rather a prequel to how some geniuses had envisaged the collapse way before, and decided to swim across.

Adam McKay packs in an excellent exposition to depict the players of The Big Short, with Ryan Gosling as Jared Venett, the guy with exceptional presentation skills (yes watch out for that bit!), Christian Bale as Michael Burry, the autistic polymath who was the first one to figure it all out, Steve Carell as Mark Baum, the lunatic front-runner to milk out the mortgage shortcomings, Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert, the laconic beast-banker who mentored Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley played by John Magaro and Finn Wittrock to bet against the dwindling housing market. McKay’s direction is one of a kind, as he slams frames mid-way to not focus on apparent conversations. He steers in its comic factor by asking characters to look at the camera mid-way for emphasis. Occasionally playing recorded video frames to make it all look more appealing. You can almost perceive the effort he has put in to break down the gorgeous Michael Lewis book.

“You know what I hate about fucking banking? It reduces people to numbers.”

Screenplay of the movie is extraordinary. There are so many words selected from profound areas that fill in the voids of sentience. Dramatic bits in the movie are just so right, that you always feel connected with the adrenaline vibe. There are so many banking terms incorporated in the flick expounded in laymen terms by renowned personalities like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez and Richard Thaler that make things easy to gobble.

The moment the flick reaches its climax, you know what’s coming, but you still end up with a feeling of satisfaction for those who managed to milk the Great depressing cow with a smug face that barely read “We told you so!”

The fact that it isn’t confined to just one perspective drives home its enthralling factor. The story of the people, who saw the monster coming from a distance, makes you want to plunge in the bandwagon too, but alas the procession is long gone and recession pervades. It gives you a sense of contentment to see the hefty checks protagonists managed to weave out of a disaster. It is inspirational in a way and makes you want to get instant rich too. Well, you can do that! Just be a genius and watch out for such loopholes in the system.

Foxcatcher Review (2014)

Simply blown away by Foxcatcher! Outstanding performances!

PLOT OF FOXCATCHER

Bennett Miller’s wonder Foxcatcher, is primarily a psychological study of exceptional characters portrayed superbly by Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Based on a true story of brethren Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz, the tale is an account of how their lives changed when they encountered the richest man in the United States, who promised to support Mark in winning the Olympics.

STEVE CARELL’S MAKE-OVER

You have to give a standing ovation to Steve Carell’s makeup artists. The job they did with his prosthetic nose and a complete makeover is highly commendable. The character build up is so brilliant that it is quite next to impossible to figure out if is Steve who is behind the mask! The posture, the walk, the talk, the demeanour, everything is just marvelously put on by Steve and he perfects it at every frame.

Channing Tatum is equally ravishing sporting a constant tough-boy lower lip countenance that he carries throughout. Mark Ruffalo is simply outstanding in Foxcatcher. The acting pro plays Mark Schultz’s elder brother to perfection. There is so much going on on his face that you could almost read it.

Miller’s direction is one of the best I have ever seen. He keeps us engaged with long shots of a particular expression something that every drama thrives on. The editing of the movie could have however gone better since there were many dispensable shots strewn all across. Rob Simonsen and Michael Danna did a great job with the composition which Miller played only when required, quite nicely.

SPOILERS WRESTLING AHEAD

As the frames run towards the inception of the flick, the movie gradually eases into the concept behind the movie moniker ‘Foxcatcher’, subtly remarking its historical significance. We witness a herd of men on horses on hunting grounds with hounds chasing foxes speaking of their affluence. Then begins the flick with Mark’s routine and Dave’s flair.

Soon we are introduced to the great John Du Pont a character so brilliantly woven, that it makes it hard to see through him. John’s constant endeavor to prove himself to his mother is wonderfully depicted. Amongst some great scenes from the movie are John’s frequent outbursts (Watch out for that gun bit!), Channing’s hitting himself in wrath, Mark’s exceptional efforts to help his brother, wrestling moves that Mark and Dave perfected and of course the unexpected climax.

MELODRAMA

The drama of Foxcatcher reeks of human passion, psychology, fraternal concern, mental disputes and ill effects of strain in relationships. A perfect drama that Miller perfects owing to exceptional acting prowess shown by Steve, Mark and Channing.

A highly recommended movie if you wish to witness some classic mind-boggling acting.

The Unpredictable Academy: Snubs and Wins (2015)

Every year the Academy slips in a frowned spurn at a movie that is on everybody’s mind. This time ‘Boyhood’ became the bait. The coming-of-age tale that spread brilliantly over the span of 12 years, was a sure shot per se. But alas! the Oscars have a reputation in doing the unthinkable. ‘Birdman’ beat Linklater’s panache not only in Best Picture and Original Screenplay categories but also in Best Direction. The latter managed to hold its ground thanks to Patricia Arquette’s Supporting Actress win.

Not long ago when the Academy had pressed its Oscar sheet, the snubbing of great movies like ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Big Eyes’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and great actors like Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, David Oyelowo, Helen Mirren, Bill Murray, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, had caught a lot of moss. Putting out Selma flame was a big rebuff this year since people claimed it to be a distinction on Academy’s part, not to mention the fact that a majority of voting members in the Oscar team are white.

Apart from the biggest surprise of the night, some more were strewn all along the event. Academy chose to ignore the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ franchise once again giving precedence to ‘Big Hero 6’ in the animation department. Best Editing went to ‘Whiplash’ which again was a pie in the face for ‘Boyhood’. ‘American Sniper’ losing to ‘Whiplash’ in Sound Editing was another one. ‘Interstellar’ managed only one out of its five nominations. Surprise was Zimmer’s stunning score bowing down to Desplatic rhythm. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes overlooked in the Visual Effects department came as a big blow. However, it was a close call since Interstellar’s visuals were quite brilliant as well. It was great to see Glory glorified and Feast winning the Best Short Film Animated category. Winston just had to win 😉

Here is a short summary of what happened:

  • The Imitation Game (had 8 nominations, bagged 1)
  • Boyhood (had 6, bagged 1)
  • American Sniper (had 6, managed 1)
  • Birdman (had 9, got 4)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (had 9, got 4)
  • Whiplash (had 5, got 3)
  • Interstellar (had 5, got 1)
  • Foxcatcher (had 5, received none)

‘Foxcatcher’ was overlooked big time. Given the amount of work Bennett Miller had put in to create the beauty, he needed a little Academy respect and attention. Steve Carell’s transformational looks as John du Pont at least deserved a Makeup and Hairstyling accolade.

Rumours have continuously surrounded the Academy owing to its big decisions which seem pretty biased sometimes. The one that exemplifies the obvious perfectly – Incessant snubbing of Leonardo DiCaprio despite outstanding performances throughout his life. Academy even failed to recognize exceptional knacks of Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater last night. Both are yet to bag an Oscar, and that is just sad.

I picture Academy as one old crude witch, who just loves to see the world burn. If you have a favorite the Academy would snub it and shout “In your face!” in your face. Mainstream movies never even make it to the list.

Whatever the hammer says hardly bothers us though. We know for sure, nothing is really lost. The shattered are still celebrated. We still have incredible movies to watch thanks to sensational efforts put in by excellent directors, actors and the remaining crew.

If you didn’t make it, we don’t really care. Academy is just a bunch of people with their scathing point of view. If you consider all of us – people who watch you from every corner of the world, who care about every single thought you conceived to carve something beautiful, who praise your extraordinary efforts to create what we can only imagine, those who really love your work, who really encourage you do the exceptional, the real movie buffs, for us, you are still our winners! You will never lose! Let us raise one to that!