The Big Short looks at the global financial crisis of 2008 focusing on the group of hedge fund managers who predicted and profited from the crisis as well as the frankly terrifying greed from the big banks that lead to it. Christian Bale plays Dr Mike Burry, a sandal-wearing, metal listening, socially inept genius who is first to spot a series of markers he believes are likely to result in a financial meltdown. He is so convinced that the historically super-stable mortgage market is about to implode that he invents an entirely new “short” product and convinces some major banks to bet against it. This is also picked up by uber-competitive Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who pitches getting in on the idea to Mark Baum (Steve Carell) – and by Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) and Charlie Gellar (John Magaro), a couple of basement traders looking for their first big win. As we watch these groups investigate and expand their portfolios it becomes abundantly obvious that the entire US system is completely corrupt and totally motivated by greed. By getting Adam McKay (best known for Will Ferrell comedies) to direct what could have been a very dry subject becomes an exciting, humorous and tension filled look into one of the most globally devastating happenings of the last decade. He is particularly clever in using celebrity cameos to explain the jargon and acronym heavy terminology used by the industry and I was glued to the screen throughout. The narrative is definitely not without conflict, while the audience ultimately wants the cast to be right in order to expose the shocking behaviour of the banks and government when this happens the lives of ordinary people will be torn apart and McKay does manage to bring in some balance. Although possibly not quite enough. Bale is as good as expected as the maverick Burry and Carrell brings a complex and layered performance to a man torn apart by guilt and desperate to stick to his principles in a system too corrupt to let him. Educational, exciting and ultimately quite depressing this is one of the best films I have seen in ages. 5/5
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
In this film adaptation of the novel I recently reviewed, Lily James plays Elizabeth Bennet, one of five daughters trained in China to fight off the zombie hoard that has beset 19th century England. At the same time as trying to hold back the ever advancing plague they are also committed to finding husbands, something that seems within their grasp when the handsome Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), his sisters and their friend, Mr Darcy (Sam Riley) move in to a nearby estate. Unfortunately Elizabeth and the very serious Mr Darcy get off on the wrong foot and the two find themselves adversaries even though they are fighting on the same side. Things don’t get any better when Bingley, who it seems was on the cusp of proposing to Elizabeth’s older sister, Jane (Bella Heathcote) quits Netherfield and it appears Darcy has dissuaded him from marrying her. Elizabeth finds herself far more taken with George Wickham (Jack Huston), an officer who not only has some shocking tales about Darcy but also seems to think he has found a potential way to deal with the plague. But as Elizabeth avoids a proposal from her cousin Parson Collins (Matt Smith), her sister Lydia (Ellie Bamber) runs off with Wickham and London falls to the undead menace, it becomes clear that things are not what they seem. So this film is significantly different from the book, mostly because Burr Steers is not forced to stick to the original narrative as closely as Seth Grahame-Smith was. This makes things a lot more dramatic and action packed which isn’t a bad thing. James is great as the stubborn, arse kicking Elizabeth but I didn’t really buy Riley as Darcy and Lena Hedley is criminally underused Lady Catherine de Bourgh who is supposedly the best zombie killer in England but never kills any zombies. Essentially this is fun in a silly, harmless way and probably a better way to consume this particular mash up than the novel. 3/5
After being dumped by the man she thought she was going to marry (Matthew Davis) for being too frivolous, sorority queen, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) decides to go to Harvard Law School to prove him wrong… and win him back. Here she discovers that her particular brand of pink-infused, ditzy glamour is not de rigueur and that she might have to do some work if she’s actually going to succeed. Fortunately for Elle she has drive, passion, relentless optimism and a surprisingly shrewd legal mind on her side, one that will stand her in good stead when she is called on to help out a former sorority sister who has been accused of murder. Legally Blonde could have been an exceptionally silly movie but Elle is such an awesome character. She’s smart, sassy and always true to herself. She doesn’t let anyone take advantage of her and she’s a loyal and dedicated friend with real integrity. A lot of her appeal is down to Witherspoon who is utterly charming. Jennifer Coolidge is also an absolute scene stealer as Elle’s manicurist, Paulette. A worthy guilty pleasure. 3.5/5
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003)
Ah there’s nothing like a vastly inferior cash-grab sequel. Elle is back… this time taking on congress to try and get a bill passed to stop animal testing after discovering that her chihuahua’s mother is a testing subject. This second outing takes everything that was cute, fun and charming about the original and ratchets it up to eleven. The result is so whacky and overwhelming that it’s like eating three packets of really cheap sweets one after the other, having a massive sugar rush and then a massive sugar crash and wanting to kill yourself. On top of that the ridiculously twisty nature of the US government system is way too complicated to get your head around for what is essentially supposed to be a fun romp. Just stop at the first one. 1/5
I have got to see The Big Short – so many opposing opinions. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it. Confession time: I thoroughly enjoyed Legally Blonde as a kid, I cannot tell you how many times I saw that movie! Never saw the sequel though, which seems to have been a wise decision.
It really has divided opinions. I don’t blame you for loving Legally Blonde. It’s kind of awesome!
i have only seen the big short and plan to rewatch it to see if my reasons for disliking it so much are justified. no desire to see any of the others tho 🙂
I can see why The Big Short might not be for everyone.
I want to see PP&Z!!
They don’t show any tacos. I just don’t want you to be disappointed.
You don’t get to see anyone’s rat either. 🐀
LOVE The Big Short. But you didn’t buy Riley as Darcy?? Wow I can’t disagree more. He’s now my favorite Darcy and I never even like that character, I’m more of Mr. Thornton (North & South) gal. In fact I love that movie so much I’ll see it again on the big screen.
But he’s got weird little teeth and he’s too skinny!!!!
He’s got English teeth + he’s tall and lanky, I see that as a PLUS obviously as I’m seriously obsessed w/ him now 😛 LOVE him w/ all that leather… and the Samurai sword. YUM!
Not all English people have teeth like that… I promise. I normally like lanky but he’s just not how I picture Darcy.
I never thought of him as Darcy either, in fact when he was cast I was like hmmm?? But I ended up absolutely LOVING his portrayal. I mean he said he didn’t ever want to play Darcy without the Samurai sword. I think he knows he can’t top Firth to most P&P fans but I for one would take him over any other Darcy. Ahah yes I know not every English guys have bad teeth, but I think the fact that he does adds character. Perfect people are so damn boring.
I have such a soft spot for Legally Blonde. The second one did look as unappealing as out of date mayonnaise.
It’s a lovely lighthearted movie. The second one is a plate of turds.
Always amazes how me how bad a sequel can be.
I love Legally Blonde. The sequel, not so much.
The sequel should never have seen the light of day.
Sounds like I really need to watch The Big Short.
It’s been quite polarising but I loved it.
The cast looks very good.
I’m so glad somebody else also liked The Big Short! I thought it was very good! And Legally Blonde is my “power movie”, you know, the one that lifts you up and makes you believe in yourself again. 😀 I must have seen it something like 20 times! I’m not a fan of zombies but that sounds fun. And I had no idea who’s Sam Riley even though I’ve seen Maleficent AND On the Road…
I’m surprised how many bad reviews it’s gotten because my flatmate and I loved it! Sam Riley is a bit of a Chameleon so you might not have noticed him with the way he disappears into a role.