These ARE the people we trust with OUR money?
The story takes place at an investment bank during a time span of about 24 hours during the early stages of the financial crisis as a financial analyst uncovers information that could destroy the firm. Tough decisions have to be made, pushing the lives of those involved to the brink of disaster.
In my honest opinion, this is the flick that the debacle Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps should have and tried to be. Which is an ever bigger shame for me considering Oliver Stone is one of my favorites and to see this young blood, writer/director J.C Chandor, practically make a better script, do a better-job behind the camera, bring-out more emotions, make a way, way better flick and take his spot, really makes me sad for one reason and one reason only: the times are changin’. However, it’s not something to really be all that sad about because trust me; after spending 2-hours with this movie, you’re going to be more than inspired to take all of your moolah out of the bank, and hide it in that secret vault behind that lame-ass painting G’Mom bought you last year. Don’t act like you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m on to you people out there.
But I digress. For those of you out there who don’t know this already, Margin Call is the directorial debut of Chandor and it’s a real surprise because you would think with something this entertaining, smart, thrilling, and overall, good, that the guy has been directing for decades upon decades. As a director, the guy is all fine and dandy since he never really does anything flashy other than tell the story like it is, but where he really shines is the script. Chandor’s script is amazing not only because it shows you what may have happened to cause the Stock Market crash, but because he shows the Stock Market crash for all that it is, with all the tiny and intricate details, yet without letting anything go over our heads. Like many others reading this, I, myself am a regular, every-day citizen which means that any type of talk of the stock market, the dow, and yadda yadda, all sound like a foreign language to me. However, that’s why I’m glad Chandor decided to include all of that jargon here, but just enough for all of the little-known citizens to fully understand and get a feel of before he launched a full-out, attack of numbers, stocks, and the most important of all: money. Remember the word “money”, people, because it’s going to come-up in this story many, many times. I can assure you on that.
Instead of showing us a bunch of assholes that pretty much bankrupt this country for all that it’s worth, Chandor takes time with these characters and shows about each and every single one of them as human-beings, rather than people to be blamed for the mess they caused. Actually, everybody’s to be blamed here because they didn’t take notice as soon as they should have and Chandor shows that in many ways: some people feel guilt, others feel sad, others feel optimistic, and others, well, they just don’t give a shit because they already make $56 million a year and won’t really lose much after the whole crash is said and done, so why the hell should they give two hoots!??! It’s a very disturbing idea to think about and have sit in your head, but it’s also very true and realistic in it’s own way because while there are over thousands and thousands of people out there, struggling to make ends meet and support a family; these other people who are supposedly responsible for the whole shit-show, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the Benjamin shower. Why? Because they can and quite frankly, they don’t care.
That whole last paragraph may seem like a total tirade/rant and for those out there who came hear to read about Chandor’s direction, I apologize but it’s just the way the world works, and that’s the way that Chandor paints it. There are no heroes, there are no villains, and there sure as hell aren’t any underdogs here, either. They’re just straight-up human-beings that just so happen to get plenty of moolah, but also have plenty of decisions to make at their workplace. That’s why, instead of sitting around and sobbing about the worst that has yet to come (and trust me, it will come), they get-up out of their seats, do their job, and move on with their lives. That’s mainly the mind-frame of everybody else in today’s world and if not, then it sure as hell should be. Pretty sure I gathered a lot more from this film than I imagined, but none the less, it’s a great script that Chandor deserved the nomination he got for it.
My problems with this film lie in the fact that I feel like this film didn’t have much momentum going for itself. I mean think about it: we already know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and how it may or may not be resolved. All we really have to do is watch everybody’s reaction and see what their view-points are. That’s not terrible thing to have in a movie like this where the central-problem of the movie is an actual, real-life happening that screwed many people over in today’s world, but it also just seems like it could have been a hell of a lot more tense, had it not already been known what was going to happen in the end. However, that’s why you have movie stars, and holy hell; what movie stars we have on-display here, all for show and tell.
Kevin Spacey is the center of this film as one of the more morally confused characters of the whole film. You can tell that he wants to stay true to his original vision of not selling off worthless stock, but as time goes on, you see this character start to fall back from this original idea as the “money” begins to comes into play and has to make-up and come to terms with the fact that he’s going to have to give into to being a coward, just so he can make a living and be fine in this dying economy. Spacey is always great in roles like this, but we barely see him get a chance to pull it off because he’s always too busy playing the evil, dick-headed roles that he seems to perfect so well. And even though, yeah, he’s good in them, it’s always nice to see him play a character that we root for rather than against, because he does the right thing and even if he doesn’t do it, at least he’s thinking it. It’s the thought and idea that counts and as shitty of an excuse as that may sound, then trust me; that’s more than I can say for any other character in this flick.
Zachary Quinto also stars in a very strong performance as the one guy who actually finds out about this problem in the formula and is left to solve any pieces of the puzzle that he can. Quinto isn’t somebody I have seen enough of in the past to actually give you my general opinion of what I think of him, but he’s very good here and it’s a real shame that he may not be able to get more roles after this, outside of Star Trek, because of the fact that (I may get shit for saying this but if you think about it: it is somewhat true) he’s gay. Once again, it’s a sad thing to say but it’s true because certain people just don’t want to see an openly gay men in a film, especially one where a character takes such a central focus as this. Yes, I know that it’s a very cynical way of thinking, but it’s the way people are and I hope that I’m wrong about Quinto because I would like to see him in more, other than just playing Spock. No matter how good he may be at it.
The real scene-stealer of this whole film is actually Paul Bettany, who plays one of the playboy bosses. Bettany has that perfect British wit down-pat here and shows that in every scene he has. However, it isn’t all fun and games with this dude, as he actually has a soul to let-loose and one that may not always seem the most morally-composed at times, but still understands how the world works and understands what’s going to happen to people, once the shit really hits the fan. Bettany deserves more roles like these and it shows that the guy can not only show the humorous-side of him that we see on-display in mostly all of his flicks, but also be able to balance it all out with a rare, dramatic-side as well. Jeremy Irons also pops in as the head-honcho, and does his usual, villainous shit where he comes into a scene, takes it over, brings out the inner-Scar within him, and just lets everybody know that he isn’t having anybody’s crap. In fact, the first scene where he’s introduced and allows us to see the real boss, play his cards and play them well, is one of the high-lights of the movie, not just because of the build-up, but because Irons owns these types of roles and absolutely delivers on everything we have come to know and expect from him.
Make no means about it: everybody in this cast is good and all get to show what they can do when they have the right piece of material, slap-dab in front of them. However, not everybody gets to join in on the fun quite as much as the ones I just mentioned earlier and in a way, as terrible as it may sound, seem like they are all just there to have a BIG-name on the poster. The useless roles for such stars as Demi Moore, Simon Baker, and Mary McDonnell all seem like they were created just for some more publicity, which isn’t necessarily a problem if you’re whole film is going to have them in it as much as the others, but they aren’t really around too much to really take their toll on you. Especially McDonnell, who literally shows up for 2 minutes, barely shows her face, and that’s it. Oh and even worse, it’s basically by the end of the movie, almost to the point of where we start to feel all trugged-along by this movie and all of their characters as it is. But hey, put her name up there next to Stanley Tucci and let’s see how many butts we can get in the seats. Apparently not a lot, but hey, it was worth the “money”-making shot. There’s that damn word again.
Consensus: While it lacks the tension due to the predictable turn of events that conspire, Margin Call is still an in-depth look into the lives of the people that made the ’08 crash possible and how, even though they may have screwed-up terribly, they are still human-beings none the less and made mistakes, that only you, myself, or the rest of the human-species would make.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
Look at that face! Honestly, would a face like Bradley’s lie to you?
Bradley Cooper stars as Rory Jansen, a struggling writer who happens upon a lost manuscript in a weathered attaché case. After he decides to pass the work as his own, he finally gets the recognition he so craved for but he soon has to face his actions when the original author (Jeremy Irons) comes to him.
After I got the chance to meet the writers/directors of this flick, Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, I found out that it took them over 12 years to finally get this piece off of the ground. So, think about that: this script has been in writing since 2000 and you would think that with such a long time to be revised, edited, and perfected that we would sort of have a masterpiece on our hands, right? Sad to say this, but I don’t think 12 years were worth waiting to see this story. Great guys, though!
Needless to say, Klugman and Sternthal have definitely made a very ambitious film that people will either hate or love due to the approach. The whole framing device starts off with one older guy, reading a story about this young writer who steals this other piece of work, which in and of itself is a story about a man and the love he found in post-WWII Paris. Judging by what you read there, you could probably say that this flick is either way too pretentious for it’s own good. And I would probably say that you are right but it is very interesting to see where and how these stories come together. The whole idea of whether or not these stories reflect fact or fiction come up plenty of times throughout the whole movie and they offer some pretty interesting questions you may have about this film once it’s all over in it’s brief, 96-minute run-time.
But as interesting as this film could be with it’s clever premise and general idea about what’s real and what’s not, the material never fully comes off the page (pun intended). I can definitely see why so many people were ready to buy-out this script around Sundance last year because all of the plot’s happenings and ideas seem a lot more subtle and hidden when you’re reading it. But the problem is, that once you get it on-screen, it comes off as a bit flimsy, especially when you have a bunch of the scenes revolving around a dude just typing away on his type-writer. Trust me, I love writing, I do it almost every day, and I can’t get enough of it, but there is nothing exciting or tense about watching somebody do that. There’s plenty of that here, along with some cringe worthy lines where Bradley professes to himself that he doesn’t really know who he is anymore, and that this whole guilt-trip about him taking over somebody else’s work is getting to him too much. Didn’t see that plot-device coming at all…
Speaking of that, what the hell was even the main message behind this whole movie in the first place? It seemed like Klugman and Sternthal wanted to say how stealing other people’s work is bad and will weigh heavily on your conscience, but do they not realize that this is a known thing ever since the days of 5th grade where kids had to start writing their own papers? It’s fine to talk about something that has already been talked about before but the idea of a guy stealing another person’s work, only to find out that it is terribly wrong, does not do much for me as it may have for Klugman and Sternthal. I wonder how many papers of their’s was sent back with a big “F-” due to stealing other people’s works.
If there is somewhat of a saving grace to this flick, it probably has to be the cast that does everything in their power and will to save this muddled story from going to shit. Bradley Cooper has a very strong presence in the lead here, even if a lot of the stuff he is called to do consists of him staring off into space, looking like he’s just done something completely and terribly wrong. He did, and we get that right from the start but we didn’t need to keep on being reminded every 5 seconds whenever the guy looks sad. Zoe Saldana is fine as his beau, and brings out some great drama in a role that seems so empty and shallow once you think about why she is in the story.
The only real bad acting I could find in this flick was Dennis Quaid’s as Clay Hammond, the old dude who’s reading Bradley’s book in the beginning of the movie. Firstly, the whole story with him and Olivia Wilde comes off as terribly random and stupid and does practically nothing for the movie. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just the fact that he’s getting older and seems a lot creepier, but the way Quaid phrases a lot his sexy lines to Wilde (who is 30 years younger than him, mind you) makes him seem like he’s doing a very bad impersonation of my dad when he tries to talk to me about girls. If you don’t know my dad, you won’t really get the joke but just think of those awkward dads that always try to talk to you about the ladies, then you’ll get my drift, hopefully.
Once Jeremy Irons comes into this flick, then everything else bad with this movie sort of just disappears because of what this guy can do. Everybody knows that Irons can play a sly mother-humper as if it was nobody else’s business and he does that perfectly here, while also being able to add some true depth and emotion to a character that isn’t the film as long as you’d like to hope. It also probably helps that his whole story about him and his lover in France was perhaps the most emotionally-invested part of the movie I had and reminded me a bit of The Notebook in a way. Not saying that I was insanely giddy by that fact but at least it was something that kept my eyes on-the-screen and not on my cellular device.
Consensus: Even with some smart ideas and good performances from the ensemble, The Words still never seems to come full-circle with it’s story or it’s intentions. Instead, it just features barely little or no thrills, and offers nothing new to what it has to say about the act of plagiarism and the guilt that comes over a person after they commit it. Well, other than it being bad and you shouldn’t do it.
Those damn Germans, always causing trouble.
The enigmatic Claus von Bülow (Jeremy Irons) stands accused of putting his wife, Sunny (Glenn Close), into a perpetual coma with an insulin overdose. Claus hires hard-charging attorney Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), who scrambles to defend his client — with help from some impassioned Harvard law students — while Sunny narrates flashbacks that shed light on the events that lead to her condition.
The whole film has a plot line that seems it should almost be a tragic drama. However, it combines that weird element of satire and docudrama. I mean its a weird combination, that at some points doesn’t quite work out the best in ways, but still is entertaining.
The praise of this film goes to Director Barbet Schroeder who makes this film a lot of different things, but mostly all just effective. He has this story told with so many flashbacks, and doesn’t leave out a detail that we feel as most that we are the lawyers in this film as well. The movie remains all ambiguous about what actually happened to Sunny, but we still get this feeling as to nothing is right.
I also enjoyed how many courtroom dramas that we know, like A Time To Kill and Primal Fear, all end up in the big courtroom scene, where as this is more about what goes on outside of the courtroom. We see all of the prepping, investigating, and questioning that goes into these cases, and it actually surprises me onto how much the lawyers themselves create so many stories, just to find out the truth.
However, I did have many multiple problems with this film. These “cutesy” students with their quips and their basketball and their sitting crossed-legged on coffee tables were annoying. Even Silver/Dershowitz was irritating with his persistent agonizing and flittering. Also, throughout this film the speed actually sped up, and I was more taken into this film. Then surprisingly, it got slower, and slower, without any real pace at all.
I have to give the most praise to Jeremy Irons, who actually did deserve that Oscar he was given. Although, I think Costner still gave almost a better performance with his material, Irons plays this character with such simplicity and realism, that its actually hard to tell on whether or not he actually did it. You want to hate this guy, cause of the way of his lifestyle, but yet he is so charming and cool that you actually want to be like him in a way. I think a nomination for Best Supporting Actress should have been given to Close, cause with the very few scenes she gets she actually brings out a lot of emotion, that actually has us caring for her character.
Consensus: Though its pace is all over the place and story is bit off setting, this strange film does well with its direction from Schroeder, wonderful writing, and most of all powerful performances from Irons and Close.
Two cowboys fighting for the pride and Rene Zelweggars love. OK sure!!!
When two gunmen, Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, arrive in Appaloosa they find a small, dusty and lawless town suffering at the hands of renegade rancher Randall Bragg. Bragg has not only taken supplies, horses, and women for his own, but also has left the city marshal and a deputy for dead. It is now up to Cole and Hitch to stand against the actions of the renegade rancher, which have already taken their toll on the town.
Ed Harris directs this western after 8 years of his last job in Pollock, in which he also starred in.That one about an artist, this one about cowboys.
This film does not add to the western genre like I thought it would. The pace at times is incredibly slow and I felt myself yawning at times, and I don’t normally do that. The editing job was sometimes very missed mashed around and I wish they had some sense of a pace for the story and at least put in more shooting scenes to make the film more interesting. Also the lineup of stars are very talented but I didn’t like how some of them were used. Renee Zelweggar’s character is not very an appealing in the sights and in the mind she’s pretty snobby and also not very smart, but then I forget were in the western times. Jeremy Irons who plays the main villain in this film could’ve been more effective if used more. Irons is a great actor and can prove to be a good guy or a bad guy very easily and he doesn’t get that chance at all. Though the time he had on the screen he too advantage of and did pretty good.
Though despite these bad things the film does have some good elements to it as well. The setting looks exactly like the western times, During the whole movie I actually felt like I was in the west with them. The dialogue is very clever with its undramatic use of humor mixed with a little bit of drama but doesn’t go over the dramatic meter.
Most of the praise comes from the underling chemistry that is between Harris and Mortensen. Harris is aging but still has the ability to apprehend the law when needed to, and Mortensen is also great as the right-hand man who is very soft-spoken but when needed to, he gets the job done. Also a noteworthy performance from Jeremy Irons when he is on.
This film for people who don’t like Westerns may not really find this the most appealing but it still does have good features though it doesn’t add on.