Review of "The Big Short"
The Big Short is dramatic retelling of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, from the viewpoint of a lucky few you managed to profit from it. This unique perspective, shown through a cast of eccentric characters, makes for an entertaining, and at times enraging story. The content of this film is quite thought-provoking, and manages to make the viewer feel both good and bad about the financial crisis, through the profits made by central characters and the broader economic issues shown. There are a lot of technical terms thrown around in this movie, which a person not very familiar with the world of finance might find confusing at times. Anyone should still be able to understand the general ideas being explained, but the specific technical details of what happened will probably not be accessible to most viewers.
There is quite a large cast of characters, to keep track of, from 3 distinct groups, all of whom have stumbled into the opportunity of a lifetime, right before the biggest economic crisis of their lifetimes. Each character is memorable and unique, so there aren't any moments where the audience is asking themselves "Who is that again?" Narration throughout the film provides context to the events we are seeing on screen, and at times it feels like a pseudo-documentary.
Depending on what kind of person you are, this movie will probably either make you angry or want to pursue a career in finance. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in business, and likes movies with a good amount of humor sprinkled throughout.
Review of "Thor: Ragnarok"
"Thor: Ragnarok" is a great superhero film and a solid addition to the Marvel universe. Packed with action, special effects and loads of humor, it has a lot more personality than "Thor: The Dark World." The movie starts off strong with Thor's encounter with fire demon Surtur in Muspelheim. Upon his return to Asgard, Thor finds Loki impersonating Odin and he presses his brother to help search for Odin. There is a brief encounter on earth with Dr. Strange which is visually interesting, but seems a little extraneous. When Thor and Loki meet their powerful and destructive sister Hela, played by Cate Blanchett, they barely escape with their lives, ending up on the garbage planet, Sakaar. The visuals and world-building of planet Sakaar are colorful and quirky which I found reminiscent of the Bruce Willis sci fi film "The Fifth Element." Jeff Goldblum plays the planet's whimsical psychopathic ruler, the Grandmaster, however much of his dialogue and interactions seemed indulgent and pointless to the story.
The film really finds its legs with the brilliant introduction of fellow gladiator, Korg, a hilarious, soft-spoken rock monster played by Waititi. Thor's gladiatorial battle with the Hulk is epic! The suspenseful, action-packed escape laced with humor keeps up the pace until the incredible bridge battle with Hela's army set to Led Zeppelin's rockin' "Immigrant Song." The special effects in the fight scene and Thor's final showdown with his evil sister Hela are solid. The only real weaknesses in the film stem from Cate Blanchett's over-the-top caricature of Hela and the extraneous addition of Tessa Thomson as alcoholic Valkyrie, Scrapper 142, who isn't given much of a character arc or pivotal role in the plot. Overall, this film is entertaining and funny. If you're not yet a Thor fan, you will be after you see this film!
Review of "Pretty in Pink"
Pretty in Pink is a John Hughes classic with a fantastic soundtrack and quirky characters. Molly Ringwald plays relatable teen Andie, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who falls for Blane, a rich kid played by 80's heartthrob Andrew McCarthy. The young couple from two different worlds try to make it work, but peer pressure and class tension conspire to tear them apart. James Spader is believable as the villain, Steff, Blane's toxic best friend. Annie Potts makes a dramatic impact with her stylish costumes and zany single life as Andie's unconventional boss and confidant, Iona. Andie's best friend, Duckie, played by John Cryer is a lovable combination of heartbreaking and hilarious in his earnest pursuit of Andie's love. Duckie's showstopping lip sync performance at the record store is an iconic must-see. This sweet, funny romance makes a great date movie or rental for teen slumber parties.View comments (0)
Review of "Sixteen Candles"
This movie is a super fun classic teen comedy. Samantha (Molly Ringwald) wakes up to realize her family has forgotten her 16th birthday. This film is enjoyable from start to finish and is sure to put a smile on your face!View comments (0)
Review of "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"
I was a big fan of the first Kingsman movie, and would even consider it to be one of my favourite movies of all time. So, when I learned that a sequel was in production, I was understandably ecstatic. However, after watching this appalling bastardization of the Kingsman franchise, I can safely categorize it as “Exhibit A” of “How to destroy your franchise 101.” The movie starts off fairly strong, with a solid action sequence and initial intrigue. But the further into the movie we go, the more apparent the flaws become.
First off, character development is essentially non-existent in this film. In the first movie, Eggsy has a wide character arc, going from a boy born on the wrong side of the tracks, to learning how to be a gentleman, and a hero in his own right. In the Golden Circle, during the final battle, Eggsy remarks on how he’s “far more of a gentleman than you will ever be” to Charlie. But this statement felt hollow, because it wasn’t earned, like it would have been in the first film. But the problems don’t end with the main character. Colin Firth, who plays Eggsy’s mentor Agent Galahad, looked like he didn’t want to be there at all. In all fairness, he probably just read the script. Merlin is a solid secondary character, but his death is a disappointment. Also a disappointment was Roxy’s death. I thought they could have done a lot more with her, and she was a welcome addition to an otherwise massive sausage fest. The president is better described as a caricature than a character, and seems like an SNL-skit inspired version of US president Donald Trump. The movie’s villain, Poppy, is creepy, but doesn’t feel scary or all that dangerous. With Valentine in the first Kingsman movie, we got a direct look at his total control over most of the world’s elites (including within Kingsman!) and his dangerous assistant, with her bladed prosthetics. Aside from the initial carnage Poppy causes by destroying all of Kingsman’s resources with missiles we don’t enough reason to be afraid of her, and her near-empty headquarters makes her look weak and vulnerable.
Before I saw the first Kingsman film, I thought it was going to be another over-the-top actionfest with little substance and poor writing. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised, but Kingsman: The Golden Circle is everything I was worried the first one would be. I have to say, this movie really peaked for me when Elton John flying jump kicked one of Poppy’s minions in the face. I honestly don’t know what Elton John was doing in this movie, but it really made the whole thing ridiculous. There was also an abundance of excessive swearing in this installment of the franchise, which felt almost forced. The visual effects looked faker and more heavily stylized than the original. There are a few funny moments in this film, but they’re mostly clustered around the beginning, while in the later parts, attempts at humor are just plain silly. I think the problem with this movie is mostly that they don’t take themselves seriously enough. In the first Kingsman, they were just self-aware enough to poke fun at old spy movies, while simultaneously telling a compelling and entertaining original story. In The Golden Circle, it feels like they’re making fun of themselves, making themselves look stupid and the audience feel stupid for wasting time watching it.
Review of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
This movie started out strong, and the action sequence on the island was well put together, with plenty of tense and thrilling moments. However, it really falls apart in the second half. One of the things that I felt was missing from this movie that its predecessor had was the sense of adventure. Only about a third of the movie is actually set on the island of Isla Nublar, and the rest of the plot unfolds at an old, secluded mansion in the US. I think this was a mistake, since it would have been really interesting to see what happened to the park in the years since it closed, and how the dinosaurs had adapted to it. I might have forgiven this disappointment if there had been a compelling story to keep me entertained instead. However, past the initial island sequence, which was well executed both in terms of direction and in terms of visuals, the story is weak and predictable. Once at the mansion, it basically becomes a game of hide and go seek with a new dinosaur we've been introduced to, interspersed with minor characters bumbling about, releasing more dinosaurs to make things worse. It became obvious the longer I watched that the director was chasing the thrill and tension of the island segment, trying to recreate these feelings in a long series of forgettable, nearly identical scenes.
Characters are remarkably 2-dimensional in this movie, with essentially no character development occurring. With the exception of Chris Pratt and Bryce Howard's characters, the others are remarkably stereotypical. I can sum up many of the characters in just a few words: the insufferable activist, the computer nerd, the military vet turned opportunistic soldier of fortune, just to name a few. The bad guys are all generically evil, and there's one particular scene which really showcases this, when the bad guys are auctioning off the dinosaurs, all the audience members look nearly indistinguishable from each other, dressed in all black, as their only function is to look ominous. Closer to the beginning of the movie, a little bit of work was done to develop the young girl's character, adventurous and mischievous, but it doesn't take long for her to lose it and become a generic kid running around scared. Jeff Goldblum's character, who acts as a sort of narrator for the beginning and ending, comes across as meandering and vague, saying nothing so concise or profound as "life finds a way" in the original Jurassic Park.
There are a few jokes in the film, but they were too few and far between to break apart this unfortunately underwhelming mess. As someone that enjoyed Jurassic World and its predecessor, the original Jurassic Park, I found this installment to be very disappointing.