Equity

“This movie has been nicknamed “”The She-Wolf of Wall Street””, and to some extent it is, in that it is about women working the investment game. But we don’t really wanna define a strong women’s film by the men who did something similar first yeah? Besides, other than the occuptation, it’s all different. The plot, the tone, the type of work the leads do. So let’s just leave Leo and company out of this one, ‘kay?

Anna Gunn stars in a role that would make Syler White oh so very proud, an investment banker that is working to launch an IPO for an up and coming social networking site that prides itself on its privacy and security.

I know I’ve become a bit of a broken record on feminism in film, but this is a shining example of what we women are truly capable of. Written by, directed by, and starring women, this is one of the strongest displays of girl power you’re going to find today. And most importantly, it shows women with power, who aren’t afraid to try and take their place in the world. An early scene has Gunn give a quick monologue about money being the reason she loves why she works, and that she’s not going to back down from that position because women aren’t supposed to be there. The film highlights how she and her assistant have to work twice as hard as the boys, and are taken down by even the slightest perceived infraction that no one would even bat an eye at if she were male. Frankly, we need more movies like this. A lot more.

And oh was Gunn really able to sink her teeth into this. We saw her just start to rise up in Breaking Bad, but this is the career Skyler White could have eventually aspired to. And she is not at all apologetic for it. It’s breathtaking, inspiring, and empowering to watch. The film may be a little small to land on any awards radars, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy. The general buzz around the film has been pretty positive, so I really hope that encourages more movies like this to be made, and hopefully on a larger scale.

Equity – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

Pete’s Dragon

“As I’m sitting here at my beloved VO2 cafe in Cambridge, the movers have left just over an hour ago with the majority of my worldly possessions en route to California. This past Saturday was my going away festivities. The main event was a movie night in the evening, with a selection of films voted on from a list of past movie night faves. Zombieland, 21 Jump Street, and Cabin in the Woods won. Less official, but still a part of it was dinner at a nostalgic MIT hangout. Even less official was my usual pair of Saturday movies, albeit slightly later than usual, to better accommodate the evening schedule. I was on my own for the first, which was totally fine (that much easier to get completely lost in the movie), but I did have a faithful movie companion join me for the second. While it was a perfectly fine and enjoyable movie, it may not have been the best choice for a farewell party.

I don’t really wanna spoil it, but basically it comes down to the film being rather emotionally manipulative, combined with my being particularly vulnerable given that I’m within a week of saying goodbye to Boston (you’re my home), and the last 10 min just felt like a metaphor for the whole deal. Thus, it got a far stronger reaction out of me than it deserved.

Now I’m sure I must have seen the original classic Disney film when I was little. I would have either rented it or caught it during one of the Disney channel previews we’d get (a childhood highlight). But if I saw it, I don’t remember it at all. Basically, my strongest memory of Pete and his dragon is their part of the electric parade at Disney World.

I don’t feel like being very coherent right now. Here’s some quick thoughts I had during the movie:
-The plot was way too simplistic
-I never thought I’d hate Karl Urban. By which I mean I hated his character and my general esteem for the actor couldn’t overcome it.
-Of all the fantastical and implausible elements (uhh disappearing dragon, anyone?) the one disbelief I could not suspend was that a five year old could be cut off from all human contact and still maintain his language effectively.
-The graphics for the dragon looked fantastic.
-No really why am I so emotional over such a thin film?
-Oona Lawrence is the coolest kid ever.
-Also, the dragon shares his name with one of my favorite yoga teachers, who I’d just said goodbye to the day before, so lots of mixed feels.
-No really, the dragon is so pretty.

What it all comes down to, it was an okay movie. Better than a lot of what we subject the kids to nowadays, but not good enough to appreciate the adults in the audience as well.

Pete’s Dragon – \m/ \m/ \m/”

War Dogs

“You know how I’ve been decrying the state of modern mainstream cinema? My main despair is rooted in the lack of originality in the hackneyed and rehashed stories? Well, I think War Dogs presented a solution to that, and that solution is to find stranger than fiction true stories hidden in unlikely and unknown worlds. This was such a fascinating story, made all the more better by a pair of strong performances from our leads.

War Dogs stars Miles Teller and Jonah Hill who find a little known backwards way into supplying defense contracts for the US Pentagon. As they get in deeper and deeper, the orders grow larger, the money grows substantially, the legality lessens, and they are soon in over their heads. It maybe doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but the rabbit hole does go down pretty far, and twists quite a bit on its way.

And I was saying before, solid work from our boys. This is right up there with anything that’s earned Jonah Hill an Oscar nomination (further proving those were not flukes) and Teller keeps right up with him.

I don’t really know that there’s a whole lot more to say, other than I was surprised and impressed. Certainly something right up my alley

War Dogs – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

Ben-Hur

“I went to this movie mostly out of a feeling of obligation from my movie addiction. After catching up on Mr Robot (#obsession) after work, I was kinda falling asleep. Reviews for the film were lackluster, and in keeping an eye on the weekend’s movies times, I noticed the initial screens for it were reduced by half. While I had seen the original, I didn’t really remember much (although apparently I liked it). All that negativity’s there to say that I didn’t expect I’d be really into the film.

Not that a lot of the buzz about it being a fairly weak remake isn’t necessary untrue. I don’t know that it really added a whole lot to the world of cinema, and I’m not likely to keep thinking about it next week. Somehow between the solid cast (Jack Huston was one of the few things that kept me watching Boardwalk Empire for a whole two seasons, fantastic here) and generally strong (though predictable) storytelling, I was with it. Things kept moving along nicely, and everytime I thought we were about to be dragged down by a longer than necessary action sequence, we weren’t. They were all appropriately lengthed and well utilized.

Now a word about remakes. I tend to have mixed feelings about them as a concept. Mostly, I’m okay with them as long as they either bring something new to the table or have a solid reason for happening, other than trying to make some easy money. The following is one of the most well thought out responses to that question that I’ve ever come across. Taken directly from IMDB trivia:
Director Timur Bekmambetov explained the film’s adaptation in a interview with Collider: “”When we say “”original Ben-Hur,”” we have to be very concrete about which original version we are talking about. There were two big screen versions made, in 1925 and 1959. These are the two most famous ones. There was also a Broadway stage version at the beginning of the [20th] century. There have been a lot of television versions. The Ben-Hur story reminds me of “”Romeo and Juliet,”” “”Hamlet,”” and any story written by Chekhov. It is timeless, so every new generation wants to go back to it in order to adapt it for the new world. The screen version made in 1959 runs for four hours, and there is only a small number of people who can actually stay through the whole movie. It is about people different from us. And it’s normal, because people used to be different. The audience was different, too, as well as the cinema language the film was made in. The 1959 movie was about revenge, not about forgiveness. For me that was the main problem, as I think that the novel is mainly about forgiveness, about the fact that a human being learned how to forgive. I got so excited about the project when I read John Ridley’s script. I understood that John’s vision of the story has so much light to it, and that he shares the same thoughts about a certain morals as I do. We talked with him about our modern world, which actually reminds me very much of a huge Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire, the most important important values were pride, rivalry, power, strength, the dictatorship of power and self-love. This kind of world does not have any prospects today. Humanity has to learn how to love and forgive. This would be our only solution.””
That is reasoning I can get behind. And I have to say his theme really did come through very well. I was raised to believe in forgiveness over vengeance, and any time a character sought out vengenace, it didn’t quite sit well with me. But that wouldn’t be the end of the story. Forgiveness always won out, and those resolutions felt better. Even if the whole thing wrapped up a little too neatly, the idea felt right.

I’m not suggesting that this needs to be seen, although the minimal box office take is rather disheartening. I’m just saying that it might deserve more of a chance that it seems to have gotten.

Ben-Hur – \m/ \m/ \m/”