How did the director of Anchorman and Step Brothers manage to pull off this remarkable achievement? Adam McKay achieves an improbable task here with The Big Short; turning the dauntingly impenetrable catalysts for the 2007-08 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and the terrifying-to-consider effects, into a tremendously entertaining comedy-drama. He also never ignores the tragedy of the event and isn’t afraid to dig deep into the world of complex mortgage derivatives and use inventive approaches to make it accessible. The film is a damning indictment of Wall Street, from the angle of men who saw the crash coming and who begin to realise what their unexpected profit opportunity meant for the U.S financial system, and the rest of the world.
Films about white males living in a fantasy world are just about one of the most unoriginal and over-used dramatic structures around; that doesn’t mean they can’t be brilliant or interesting films, it’s just that we appear to be stuck inside of an obsessively male and delusional-culture mindset. This will come as a surprise to very few people (probably only to the aforementioned group of males). There are presently such an over-abundance of films that inhabit these fantasy worlds. There is no single reason why, just as there is no single way to engage with these fantasies. Examples currently in cinemas approach the topic with either total dedication (American Sniper), questioning exuberance (Birdman) or fascinated perplexity (Foxcatcher), being the three most prominent examples right now. These three films tend towards the destructive and the depressed.
A teen coming of age story set in small town, beach side America, where a 14 year-old boy learns about love, life and that crazy notion of adults not having all the answers. Seen that film before? Would you want to see it again despite knowing the revelations the protagonist will probably have? What if Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Toni Colette starred in it and the show was run by Jim Rash and Nat Faxton, who won an Oscar for The Descendants? Could they do anything different with the familiar formula? My review of The Way Way Back after the jump.
Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, Jim Carrey and Olivia Wilde all dabble in some magic and terrible wigs while James Gandolfini reaps the benefits in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a comedy involving rival magicians, friendship and a shit load of glitter, yet is any of it even remotely funny? My review after the jump.
Apart from being a showcase for Ryan Gosling’s chest, Crazy Stupid Love is a conventional romantic comedy where the central relationship is the least compelling of all the story-lines.
Carell stars as Cal Weaver, a rather dowdy middle-aged man who splits from his wife (Julianne Moore) after finding out she has had an affair with a colleague (Kevin Bacon). Cal turns to drinking, and begins to spend a lot of time in a bar complaining about how much his life sucks. At this bar he observes ‘ladies man’ Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) in action. Jacob decides to take the rather desperate Cal under his wing and teach him his women charming ways.