Monday, November 21, 2011

Margin Call or "That One Big Oops"

Ok so me and the boy saw Margin Call over the weekend, admittedly partially against my will. But with a trailer like this, can you blame me for being reluctant?


Like, really. Everyone brings their A game and in a cast comprised of Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons and That Guy From The TV Show Medium, it's an awful lot of A.

A all up in this bitch

The plot follows thusly: It's 2008-ish and a very large and unnamed firm that does...stock...things, with is cleaning house. Stanley Tucci's character Eric, head of Risk Management, is part of the unlucky group getting axed but before he leaves he gives one of his underlings, played Zachary "Eyebrows" Quinto, a thumb drive with his last unfinished project on it. Because Quinto's character has absolutely no social life, he stays at work and completes the project only to discover...

"Good God, that is an awful lot of porn"

Nah, he discovers what we're told in vague "Hollywood has a very loose grasp on how stocks and bonds and money works" way, that the firm's stocks/mortgages/magical golden geese are toxic, and that somehow they have stretched themselves beyond the limit and, the best part: they are teetering on the edge of losing more than the company is even worth.

"Tom beat my Angry Birds score! Oh and also our company is on the verge of collapse. But the Angry Birds!!"

A midnight meeting is called, people who make lots of money trying to ensure things like this don't happen are very confused. Zachary Quinto is confused. Everyone sort of stands around flummoxed trading really excellent bits of dialogue. And honestly, it's not as slow as I'm probably making it sound. The tension is palpable, this is clearly the biggest fuck-up in financial history, everyone looks like they're next in line for execution and the movie makes it feel like this one long night might be these people's last on earth. The cinematography is gorgeous and engaging and no scene feels extraneous.

In the end, decisions are made that will save individual asses but ultimately set up the prelude to the Great American Economic Suckfest that followed. There is a lot of talk about who is responsible and how we as a people live beyond our means, Paul Bettany gives two great speeches about how easily one can spend two and half million dollars and another I have reproduced here that beautifully and eloquently sums up the mess we're in as a country:

"People wanna live like this in their cars and big fuckin' houses they can't even pay for, then you're necessary. The only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is cause we got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off and then the whole world gets really fuckin' fair really fuckin' quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don't. They want what we have to give them but they also wanna, you know, play innocent and pretend they have know idea where it came from. Well, thats more hypocrisy than I'm willing to swallow, so fuck em. Fuck normal people"

Considering that this is director JC Chandor's first film, it is very ambitious and very satisfying. It may be a bit hard to track down but I definitely recommend it. Margin Call trades four and half catapults out of five.

Ps: We saw this at this little college theater full of old people who asked such wonderfully loud questions to no one in particular like:

"Which one's Kevin Spacey?"

"What'd he say?"

"Why's he handing him that piece of paper?"

"What's he doing?"

"Is HE Kevin Spacey?"

I made sure I dealt with them in a mature and appropriate manner.

This is Sugary Cynic, hiding all my money under my mattress. 'Night!

John Tuld (Jeremy Irons's character): "So you think we might have put a few people out of business today. That its all for naught. You've been doing that everyday for almost forty years, Sam. And if this is all for naught then so is everything out there. It's just money; it's made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don't have to kill each other just to get something to eat"

Friday, November 18, 2011

J. Edgar or "Who Runs the FBI and Looks Fabulous In Heels?"

I just want you all to know that it took every ounce of what little self-restraint I actually posses not to make the title of the post, "Gay Edgar". Just know that.


So...J. Edgar. In theory, a cool idea as he is a very polarizing political figure. On one hand, the man helped to revolutionize forensics, fingerprinting and how we catch criminals. He also pretty much rebuilt the FBI from the ground up into what it is today. He was also vain, paranoid and brain-splodingly crazy. So there's that.

What I'm saying is this is a fascinating man who wielded a ton of power for somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty years. There's a lot of gold to mine here. Maybe too much, because Clint Eastwood seems to have gotten a little overwhelmed and the movie staggers along like the bloated corpse of J. Edgar himself, which incidentally Eastwood lets the camera linger lovingly on until you somehow become inured to the sight of a pale, geriatric gut.

Like this, only pale, shirtless and dead. Fun times.

Ok, see I wanted to like this movie. And there is a lot to like. The tone is great, the colors are muted and it's all very immersive. Dicaprio is fantastic as Hoover. He portrays Hoover as a man with the best intentions, who is dorky and awkward and just wants to show everyone that he knows what he's doing with the FBI. He's got a little-man syndrome going on (literally, he has his secretary heighten his desk so he can look down on people while sitting behind it). He is able to ricochet from smarmy ass-butt to vulnerable puppy with ease and believability, even when he's under layers of poochy old man makeup.

Emote harder! It's not getting through the makeup!

Anyway, he's definitely up for an Oscar nom as the role requires face putty, a funny accent and is of a real person. Everyone else is good too. Naomi Watts is his loyal secretary, sticking by Hoover's side longer than most people have been alive. Dame Judi Dench plays the Giver of Mommy Issues, imbuing young Hoover with all sorts of horrible insecurities and complexes that eventually lead up to a ridiculous scene where, after she dies, Edgar goes all Norman Bates and puts on one of her dresses. It is intensely melodramatic and over the top and Dicaprio's ability is the only thing that makes it kind of work.

"You're going to grow up to be the most extra-special little man the world has ever seen, because mommy says so. Also, mommy says she better not see you carrying on with dudes, because then mommy will have to get the stick"

You see, at the heart of the movie, which focuses briefly and haphazardly on everything from the missing Lindbergh baby to the Kennedy assassination to Martin Luther King Jr, there is a love story. Edgar is super awkward in general but it is at it's most intense around ladies. He despairs. Then one day, he meets Clyde.

And since no human on earth is capable of resisting Armie Hammer, Edgar falls hard. He makes Clyde his right-hand man and a relationship is subtly hinted at and it's very sweet. Edgar cares for Clyde but is too afraid to really say it, to put a name to what he's feeling, and Clyde is pretty ok with this, never forcing Edgar outside his comfort zone...until it becomes less and less subtle and they have a fistfight and kiss and it's really kinda hot. But it only happens once. Until they're old men. Oh well.

But anyway, so there's the love story but it's BURIED under a pile of storylines that literally go nowhere. Eastwood takes all these ideas and sets them all up very nicely and then just leaves them there. I get that Hoover had a very long career but just pick a bit, focus on it, and build a goddamn story around it! But no, it meanders and drags and makes a two hour and fifteen minute long movie feel four hours long. And then it commits the sin of the five different endings. So you're bored and it's just dragging and you're desperately going "well, this is a solid place to end it, they just did this montage and-nope. Ok, well he had his goodbye with Clyde, so now it'll-nope. Dammit. Ok, well he's dead now, so they clearly have to-"

So, the good: the acting is great, the various scenes, even though they add up to nothing, are well done. All the actors turn in fantastic performances, especially Leonardo Dicaprio and Armie Hammer, and especially as poor Armie tries so hard to offset his horrid old man make-up.

Guys, seriously? Armie Hammer is TWENTY-SIX YEARS OLD, there is no way you can make this look credible


Ahem. Yes. So, it's a hard to recommend it, but it's still pretty much the best movie in theaters right now. Or you could go see Jack and Jill.

Better go with J. Edgar. It nets two and half catapults out of five. This is Sugary Cynicism, off the record, of course. 'Night!

Mama Hoover: "I'd rather have a dead son, than a daffodil son" yeah I'm sure that won't screw him up in the long-term. Not at all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'M BACK...There Was Supposed To Be A Pun Here


What nonsense is this? What tomfoolery?, ridiculous...stuff?

Because why start giving a crap now?

Yes, yes, the glorious and all-hating Cynic has returned from her several month hiatus thing and is now talking in the 3rd person (just go with it, this getting back into the the flow shit is hard). And what brought her back? Why the very same thing that led to the creation of this most lauded den of movie geekery and deep-seated annoyance: PROCRASTINATION!

...I have writing samples that I have to do for my graduate school applications and they suck and I hate them and I DUN WANNA DO IT.

In short, nothing has changed.

Well some things have, to bring you up to speed, and I guess for new people who are randomly clicking over and have no idea what the hell I'm talking about (Aww, it's so cute when she assumes people give a shit)

I have reached the wise and knowing age of 22, I be filled with life experience and knowledge and things...I can't even type that with a straight face.

I have a real grown-up(cooughpart-timecough) job teaching the SAT to snotty high-schoolers who don't know a transition word from a Kardashian (I'm being topical, LOOK AT ME BE TOPICAL, I'MMA MENTION RICK PERRY NEXT, JUST WAIT).

I'm in the process of applying to graduate school to get a master's that will only be slightly more useless than my undergraduate degree. Wheeee.

But most importantly I have seen so many fucking movies and not being able to tell the internet what I think of them has been driving me INSANE. A brief and psychotic lowdown:

Tree of Life: Now that I've seen it twice, I love it. Unconditionally, like it is my nonlinear, religiously confused child. The first time I saw it I was too busy melting into a puddle of human condition/being mercilessly tortured by the long, artistic, opera-filled shots of THE UNIVERSE.

Drive: If the world was an accurate place Drive would be called Soulful Staring With The Occasional Death-By-Knifing, or In Which Ryan Gosling Makes Me Forgive Him For Being In The Notebook.



Fright Night: The boydude thought it was stupid. I think Colin Farrell is sexy as balls. And David Tennant was hilarious, that too. It was cute and harmless, c'mon.

And so many others! *Sob* I never told you about Super 8 (I loved it, it's my childhood, only in the wrong decade and with slightly more aliens) or X-men (gaygaygay in the very best way), or HARRY FREAKING POTTER (I cried, go ahead and judge me, SNAPE WAS A HERO), and Planet of the Apes (meh. The boy liked it. Because he likes monkeys), and Midnight In Paris (RHINOCEROS), and, and, and...

*Vomits from overdoing it*

Whew. Ok. Right. So, I'm back now, and things will be the same, yet different. I will still be supplying you with movie news, reviews both new and old, and a general air of cynicism and hatred. I will only be doing it Monday/Wednesday/Friday because then I will actually have something to say as opposed to "well gee, nothing happened today" or "hergleblergh, i am drunk, here's a picture of Sean Connery dressed as a banana" and such. There is also a new banner, and it is my sincerest hope that the bright pink sears your retinas forever.

And there you have it. On Friday, there will be a return to form as I disseminate on the long, long, long, gay and long journey that was J. Edgar. This is Sugary Cynic and it feels good to be back. Slightly sticky, but good.

(When me and the boydude, CE, went and saw J. Edgar there was a trailer for a movie called War Horse, which featured a horse galloping majestically through war and stuff)

Clever Euphemism: (In a very loud whisper) "The climax of the film is THAT THEY FUCK THE HORSE"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Holy Balls On Toast

It figures really, I go on hiatus, I end up on the front page of and shit just EXPLODES. My inbox is literally flooded. Um, wow and stuff.

I feel sort of obligated to comment on this event, put something here, but I'm sure what. I mean, I saw Water For Elephants not too long ago, but not much to say about it, apart from Robert Pattinson can act just fine when not forced to sparkle. I'm gonna see the new X-men movie for sure cuz the cast makes me feel all tingly in my pants, but there's not much to say about yet except for that.

So very, very tingly

And...yeah. I feel like I should give a better representation of my blog but I still hate Windows 7 Paint, haven't gotten photoshop yet and when not sorting t-shirts into boxes in a room that looks like the warehouse where they stored the Ark of the Covenant, I have been working with children who enjoy such activities as screaming, running and pooping with reckless abandon. And, in one unforgettable instance, all three at the same time.

Just like this, but with more poop. Lots more.

Anyway, right now the Heat game is about to be on and while I really don't care about basketball or various other team sports, I do enjoy jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute so I'mma go watch Lebron James make people who are not Lebron James look like three-legged howler monkeys in terms of playing skill. Unless three-legged howler monkeys would be good at basketball. I wouldn't know, because I don't watch sports.

So, welcome to Sugary Cynicism everyone who's a newcomer, it's usually this, except with more movies and now less frequently than usual. Enjoy!

There's also usually a lot of this. Go comb the archives and you'll soon see why

This is Sugary Cynic saying, "well shit, next time I'll leave for two weeks!" 'Night!

ps: I'm also here too:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where The Hell I've Been aka "We Can't Stop Here, This Is Bat Country!"

Ok, I wasn't in Bat Country. Or Las Vegas. I did disappear for a week or so though, didn't I? What happened was this:

Except in this case, the picture is a metaphor for "I got into a creative/blogging funk, and then I caught a cold, and then I got a case of food poisoning so horrendously awful I spent days enduring a nightmare of visceral horror" the evil wizard represents stomach cramps, my sword represents cold medicine and the magical lightning represents the cultural ramifications of the Industrial Revolution.

Short Version: I stopped caring, then I got really sick.

Anyway, as to the creative funk...ness, I am finally starting to break through it and junk. Which sounds lazy since 90% of what I do on here is bitch about movies and make silly pictures but whatever. What I'm building towards here (yes, I was building towards something, honest) is that after a lot of reflecting, when not doped on Nyquil, I decided that Sugary Cynicism has gone about as far as it is ever going to. I made it as a thing to do that wasn't school-hell and now school-hell is over and sure there's the other never-ending hells of life but the truth is my heart just isn't in it anymore. Not because of you guys. You guys fucking rock. I couldn't ask for more awesome readers unless one of you was actually Christian Bale.

"Ah, sir? Shouldn't you be out fighting crime?"
"In a minute, Alfred, I just want to finish this reading this post, this Sugary Cynic is so witty and clever"

But either way, I just don't feel it like I used to and soon enough Sugary Cynicism, while the archives will remain active because my massive ego demands nothing less, will no longer update. I'm thinking of starting a Tumblr (I know) with silly comics and such and in the near future CE and I working on creating a site that would have many different contributors and collaborators working on it and writing things and such. Hopefully some of those people will be you. But not you. No, no, the one behind you. Oh fuck it, I'll email you.

Anyway, this is not the last post. There are a few more to come before that, a few more movies exist that require bitching about. Like for instance, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In order to make up for my abscence, here's an obscenely long comic detailing why it's awful and was created by people who hate happiness:

And that's all I have to say about that.

Anyway, I'll be seeing you people, at some point. For now this is Sugary Cynic saying "the castle is a metaphor for castles being awesome" 'Night!

(Agreeing with something the Missionary Dude said)

Jack: "I support the Missionary's position!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Will Ferrell, Stop Toying With Me

It's not cool anymore, ok? You think winning my heart with Stranger Than Fiction makes it ok to turn around and do crap like Land of the Lost? Seriously, Will Ferrell, you're funny and all, but with these shitty comedies that make me hurt on the inside, I gotta wonder if your sweet, shy and sincere turn as Harold Crick wasn't just some kind of fluke.

...Ok, you have my attention

Everything Must Go is not your typical Will Ferrell movie. It is moody and slow and honestly quite depressing. And I'm pretty sure no one else in theater apart from me and CE had any idea it was those things going in.

"A film about an alcoholic who loses his job, wife and house all in the same day only to spiral into a mental and emotional crisis of the self while forging tentative bonds with other neighborhood outcasts? Well...if it's got Will Ferrell in it, it's sure to be hi-larious!!"

Indeed Ferrell's character, Nick Halsey, loses all the above things when he falls off the wagon and gets drunk on a business trip, where he may or may not have slept with some people he shouldn't have. Either way, bad things. So Nick's wife, proof that hell hath no fury like a woman blablabla, changes the locks on the house, moves out, throws all of his stuff out onto the lawn, freezes the bank accounts, cancels the credit cards and even turns off the poor bastard's cell phone. The woman is thorough. So Nick does the only thing he feels he can do: buy an ass-ton of Pabst Blue Ribbon, get hammered and take up residence on his lawn.


We never see the wife, but during his drunken lawn-o-rama, Nick interacts with his old AA sponsor, a concerned but ultimately unhelpful cop played by Michael Pena, as well as a pregnant woman moving in across the street while her husband does...things. Things that involve him not being there to help his pregnant wife move. This is discussed. Eventually. But the only other character really worth mentioning is neighbborhood kid, Kenny, played by Christopher Jordan Wallace, son of the Notorious B.I.G. Kenny is enlisted by Nick to watch his stuff during Nick's runs to the liquor store and the two eventually enter into a business partnership to sell all of Nick's crap off with a yard sale. Eventually they become friends, but not in the cheesy sentimental way. They are both quiet, sort of matter of fact. Kenny puts up with Nick's bullshit and Nick teaches him business skills. Wallace is great, never cutesy and annoying but still like a realistic kid and he and Ferrell play well off each other.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship...or alternatively, a child predator lawsuit

Anyway, as Nick tries to figure his shit out and guzzles cheap beer, the movie meanders and drags at some points. Parts are funny, but not really in the laugh out loud sort of way. It's a meditation on alcoholism from the point of view of the alcoholic and this is where the movie shines. Will Ferrell is good. Really good. He is subdued and haunted looking. He is a man who never intended to alienate the people he loved, but ended up doing it anyway and can't figure out how to fix it. He wants desperately for his life to return to normal, but isn't sure what normal is anymore. The ending, while avoiding sap and sentimentalism of unconvincing redemption, is instead of kind of blah, though ultimately realistic. There's not a lot of emotional payoff, which is annoying when a film drags this much, but still, it's worth seeing, provided you know what you're getting into.

Will Ferrell, you devious bastard, do some more dramatic roles before I change my mind about you. In the meantime, Everything Must Go gets three catapults out of five. This is Sugary Cynic, taking up residence on my front lawn but drinking better alcohol. PBR is for hispters. 'Night!

Kenny: "Other kids say stuff to me like, you're so fat, you got shocks on your toilet seat"

Nick: (starts to grin and then stops too late) "Yeah...that's mean"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tokyo Gore Police (It's Pretty Much Exactly How It Sounds)

Firstly: Simon, here is your paint picture for correctly guessing the most recent banner quote. I have no idea who Maggie is, but Scott Pilgrim, (Ziggy Stardust era) David Bowie and Conan OBrien's rather femmy Thor are all doing your homework:

If you're wondering why it looks like shit, it's because I got a new computer and OH MY GOD MS PAINT ON WINDOWS 7 SUUUUUCKS. AND THE FILL BUCKET DOESNT FILL IN ALL THE LINES AND I DON'T KNOW WHHYYYYY. Either way, I'm prolly gonna get photoshop cuz this sucks.

Moving on:

Trust me when I say that burning is probably the least of Tokyo's problems in this movie

Tokyo Gore Police, which CE discovered lurking in the bowels of Netflix, is that perfect gem of a bad movie that only comes around once in a blue moon: its plot is preposterous and hilarious, its budget nonexistent, its gore factor high, and, like most Japanese things, it is completely balls-to-the-wall insane. In short, it is glorious.

The kind of glorious that involves a pet gimp with machine guns for limbs

Our story (and I use that word with infinite looseness) takes place in the future of Tokyo, where the police are privatized and cheery ads for blades aimed at the suicidal are played on TV. It's a broad parody of Robocop in that way. Anyway, there are these crazy mutants called Engineers that are killing people and also, whenever you wound them, the wound turns into a weapon. They cut a guy's arm off, the stump turns into a chainsaw, lose an eye? Now it's an aiming scope. Some guy loses his...sensitive area?

Because it's no fun to let you draw your own conclusions

Our heroine, as it were, is the police's top Engineer hunter, a young woman named Ruka. She runs around dismembering people with swords and tries to get to the bottom of things. Whatever that means. This movie is insanely over the top, with enough spurting blood and crazy bullshit to make Quentin Tarantino want to say "tone it down!" It's all pretty much super fake and cheesy looking, but it's just on such a massive scale that it leaves an impression anyway. It's like anime in real life. Which is admittedly a terrifying thought.

And never once is there any sort of winking at the camera. Not when Ruka uses a rocket launcher as a boost, or when kids play soccer with some dude's head, or even when the main baddie powers up and uses his leg stumps, recently eviscerated by Ruka, as a means of upward propulsion. Yes, he uses his massive jets of blood spurting to fly. And never once are we supposed to question it.


The equivalent to watching this movie: take a tab of acid then bludgeon yourself upside the head repeatedly with a frying pan while watching eighties sci-fi/slasher movies while a Japanese man screams at you.

And that is basically Tokyo Gore Police. For the majority of the movie I knew not whether to laugh or cry. This film defies the typical ratings scale. All I can say is, if you want something silly, bizarre, and nigh incomprehensible that may or may not be a softcore Japanese fetish film, then by all means, go watch Tokyo Gore Police. Otherwise, it's probably best to keep your sanity and run away screaming in the opposite direction.

This is Sugary Cynic, and she is delighted that Japan is still capably of frightening her deeply. 'Night!

CE: "It's basically Robocop on a zero budget crossed with Rule 34 come to life"

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