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?



It practically screams, "WOAH GUYS, THIS TOTALLY ISN'T A DULL MOVIE OR ANYTHING, IT'S EXCITING! THERE'S QUICK CUTS AND LOW BASS AND THUMPING AND IT'S LIKE SOME KIND OF CYBER THRILLER! IT'S TOTALLY AWESOME AND ALSO NOT BORING DID WE MENTION THAT YET?"

So...it's actually really good

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 like...mortgage...stuff? 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.

THIS IS MY ACTING FACE

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

the bad: IT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING, IT HAS NO FOCUS, IT DRAGS LIKE A LEGLESS ORPHAN AND LOSES ALL SUBTLETY HALFWAY THROUGH AND BY THE END YOU WANT TO CHEW YOUR TOES OFF TO RELIEVE THE TEDIUM.

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.

What nonsense is this? What tomfoolery? What...um, 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.

Lion King 3D: THIS WAS SO NECESSARY, YOU DON'T EVEN UNDERSTAND, THE WILDEBEEST CHASE WAS IN 3D FOR FUCK'S SAKE, THAT IS AWESOME. FROM THE DAY WE ARRIVE ON THE PLANET, AND BLINKING, STEP INTO THE SUN. THERE IS MORE TO BE SEEN, THAN CAN EVER BE SEEN, MORE TO DO, THAN CAN EVER BE DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE

Ahem.

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"

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