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Tag Archives: 2015

The Big Short

A film based in fact about 4 different people who predicted the housing bubble collapse and who profited on the collapse through short selling collateralized debt obligations (which the film explains). The film is a lot of things: (a) it is great satire; (b) it plays in many places like a documentary, bouncing back and forth between the 4 key movers in this market; (c) it is really “hip” – the way it is shot, as well as the score, give the film a very contemporary edge; and (d) most importantly, it is a lay-friendly explanation of how the housing …

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Spotlight

Spotlight: Based on the true story of the Spotlight team from the Boston Globe who broke the story about the sexual abuses committed to children by over 70 priests in the Catholic Church in Boston and the systematic cover-up of those abuses by the church. This was a wonderful film, although it can be a bit angering at times as well. It is a great story of detective journalism and the work it takes to break stories of this magnitude. The pace of the film is quick; it presents various angles of the investigation in a way that gives insight …

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Room

Brie Larson play Ma; she and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) have been held captive in a tiny shed for all of the 5 years he has been alive. It is the only world he knows, and the skylight high above is his only indication that there is something else outside. The first half of the movie, shot entirely in Room, is very difficult to watch and rather claustrophobic at times. The second half of the movie when they are out is a revelation. There is a scene right in between the two periods of their lives that is absolutely …

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Steve Jobs

Michael Fassbender plays Steve Jobs in a 3-act film that captures 3 critical times in his life: The rolling out of the Macintosh in 1984; his being fired from Apple and his launch of NEXT in 1988; and at the launch of the IMac and the new OS in 1998. This is a really interesting film. The acting overall was fantastic, but I was mesmerized by Fassbender’s acting performance and that of Kate Winslett (who I did not recognize at all in the film) who played his marketing director and his “social consciencie”; the interactions and chemistry between the two …

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The Danish Girl

Based on a true story, Eddie Redmayne plays Eilan Wegener/Lili, an artist at the turn of the century who is the first person to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. Alicia Vikander plays Gerda, his wife and lifelong companion. The move is impressive for a couple of reasons. First, the story unfolds naturally and in a way that could be accessible to a broader audience. The movie is written and filmed in a way that allows Eilan’s womanhood to emerge and evolve naturally and very sensitively and compassionately. The performance by Remayne is brave and nuanced, but I think that the star …

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Mr. Holmes

Ian McKellan plays Sherlock Holmes in a story that moves back and forth between the present, when he is very old, retired, and suffering from memory loss, and to his younger days solving crimes. In the present, he maintains bees and struggles to remember the pieces of something that happened to him before he retired. He befriends the young son (Roger) of his housekeeper (played by Laura Linney); Roger is also interested in solving riddles and will help him to put the pieces together. This is a fine film. The acting by McKellan was stellar (as it always is), but …

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Clouds of Sils Maria

There are three important women in this film, all of whom shine in their roles. Juliette Binoche plays Maria Enders, an aging actress who seems to be at a point in her career when she can have any role she wants; Kristen Stewart plays Valentine, her personal assistant; and Chloe Grace Moretz plays Jo-Ann Ellis, an up an coming actress who is viewed as one of the stars of her generation. Maria began her career in a play in which she played Sigrid, a young woman who drives Helena, the older woman, to suicide. Now, she has signed on to …

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The Walk (3D)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Philippe Petit, a Frenchman who illegally walked on a high wire he and a group of recruits stretched between the Twin Towers in NYC for him to walk across. Overall, it was a pretty good movie. The beginning was rather slow, but once the film got to the point where he and his confederates were in NYC setting up the event, it became much more interesting. The cinematography is beautiful during this stretch of the film, it is intense watching has he makes 8 passes across the wire, and Gordon-Levitt does an excellent job of portraying Petit …

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The Martian

Matt Damon plays Dr. Mark Watney, a botanist on a scientific expedition to Mars. During an intense storm, there is an accident and he is presumed dead; the remaining crew takes off, leaving him behind. The movie is about his experiences in trying to survive by himself on the planet. This movie should not have worked for me, but it did. The science seems mostly improbable, but it sure sounded good. The dialog in many places was rather corny, but they together helped give the movie a levity and goofiness that worked. The song (a disco soundtrack) were a bit …

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Pitch Perfect 2

The movie begins as the Bellas, fresh off of 3 National A Capella championships, find themselves disqualified from future US competitions due to a rather unfortunate accident involving Fat Amy that starts off the movie. They will be allowed to continue to compete and remain as a chapter if they win the world championships. While there are a lot of gags, I was not nearly as enamored with the sequel as I was with the first one. The ideas here are not terribly fresh. The announcers, mimicking the very funny announcers from Best in Show, fall flat. Having said that, …

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