After a long semester of work, homework, and plain more work, I have come back to the world of review blogs. Thanks to those of you out there who come back to check and look forward to reading the inane and ridiculous things I say. And now it’s time for a little movie review. This one (that I watched wayyyyy back in August) is called Margin Call. Based on the events of the 2008 mortgage crisis, this independent film boasts a
Look at Spock and those well defined eyebrows.
star studded cast that focuses more on the characters and their interactions than it does on the action and big picture scheme. If you are looking for car chases and guns, look elsewhere. This movie gets its bite from the dialogue.
So Zachary Quinto (star of Heroes and that almost unrecognizable role as Spock) plays Peter Sullivan, a low level employee that sees the company he has been striving so hard for begin to unexplainably fall apart around him. His boss, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) is fired for no discernible reason, leaving Sullivan with a program he was working on that show what we have come to know as the great 2000’s recession (I just call it that… but not really). After some late night calculations, Sullivan finds that his company is really in a lot of deep feces. I’m talking mounds of excrement with no rain boots.
A role Spacey was born to play… A lot…
So a whole meeting is called as you see the chain of command called in to this banking company. It starts with Paul Bettany’s character (my favorite of the entire movie. He’s one of those unspoken characters that just gets it.) and works itself all the way up to Jeremy Irons as the company’s CEO. I was really surprised that for an independent film such as this that so many good actors would sign on, but for a role like this that portrays life in its true form, I’m not as surprised.
But could I even say anymore about the star studded cast? I already mentioned Quinto, Tucci, Irons, and Bettany. That’s solid right there. But throw in Kevin Spacey? Now we’re just getting American Beauty high class on this one. And he’s just as brutal as a upper class boss in this one as he was in Horrible Bosses. But he does have a heart, mind
A bit of that trading floor drama.
you. You got Simon Baker as the hardass playboy with an ego issue that wants to keep it all under wraps. Demi Moore as the manipulated female staff member. Her unsure performance keys right in to a cutthroat business that leaves no room for the timid. Throw in Aasif Mandvi (without any comedic relief, unfortunately) and you have your top billed cast right there.
And what’s more, there is some really great dialogue and monologues in this movie. First one that comes to my mind is the one done by Stanley Tucci towards the end of the movie. His reevaluation of his entire life up to the point he gets fired is true and heartfelt, even if he is approaching it from the way in which he helped out a town commute from West Virginia to Ohio over a bridge. Gotta give him his props for memorizing all those numbers. And basically any line out of Paul Bettany’s mouth just sounds like privileged few from New York’s best areas. His snarky attitude and calm assessment of the downfall of banks during the crisis was just spot on. You need characters like him in movies to really gain perspective on the overall plot.
A star studded cast of dramatic proportions.
Combine all of these great interactions with greatly portrayed characters and you have yourself a movie that is character-driven. But it’s not just that. How could a movie about the logistics of the mortgage crisis be so interesting? This movie barely talks in actual economical jargon. Well, there is some, but I was enraptured by the characters to notice too much. What this movie effectively does is put real human faces to the upper management devastated by this terrible crisis in our society, and help people realize that not everyone who later benefited from the liquidations and lay-offs were such terrible people. (Sure Jeremy Irons was, but look at Kevin Spacey in comparison. Perfect contrast.)
So I would encourage fans of John Grisham bo0k-to-movie remakes and real life drama films to check this one out. It’s not that well known, but it’s worth checking out if you’re not all about the comedy and action. Real intellectual shizz. Margin Call gets a 8.4 out of 10 from me. Get at me guys, I’m back into reviewing!
Bring it home, Tucci.
Leave a comment | tags: 2008 mortgage crisis, Aasif Mandvi, amazing monologues, American Beauty, banking company, based on real events, CEO, chain of command, character driven plot, computer program, cutthroat business, Demi Moore, downfall of the banks, economical jargon, ego issue, Eric Dale, femal staff member, firings, focus on characters, gains perspective, good actors, great interactions, greatly portrayed characters, hardass, heroes, Horrible Bosses, independent film, intellectually stimulating, Jeremy Irons, John Grisham, Kevin Spacey, late night calculations, lay-offs, liquidations, logistics, low level employee, Margin Call, movie review, New York, no comedic relief, Paul Bettany, perfect contrast, Peter Sullivan, playboy, portrays live truthfully, quick rapport, real human faces to business, real life dramas, recession, review blogging, Simon Baker, snarky attitude, Spock, Stanley Tucci, star studded cast, top billed cast, upper class boss, upper management, West Virigina to Ohio bridge, Zachary Quinto | posted in Movies
Suck it, R.T...
Alright, first off, death to Rotten Tomatoes. I’m not really sure where this website gets off giving this film 16% (why the hell a percent?) “approval” rating or however they go about rating all films. I’m just assuming at this point that they shit all over action films and take no account of the true purpose of an action film. Action. That’s what the damn genre is called and that’s what I expect. So this critique websites that don’t really go too hard into giving the least bit of credit where credit is due, need to re-evaluate what’s going on. Maybe I should rename my blog “Reviews from the Silver Lining,” cause there’s rarely a film I can’t take something away from and appreciate it for that fact. Even if it’s horrible, there are a lot of people whose blood, sweat, and tears went into that film. And they deserve at least a worthwhile evaluation of, I would suppose, a life’s pursuit. Come off it.
And I found a damn lot right with this movie. The title of the film coming from the Japanese art of paper doll plays, this movie created a landscape in which the actions and scenarios displayed on film could be believed. From one
The Drifter (Hartnett) and Yoshi (Gackt). A dynamic duo.
direction of town comes The Drifter (Josh Hartnett). The other, a Samurai named Yoshi (not Nintendo related) without a sword or honor. In a world without guns, an all out brawler and sword expert come together to absolutely Tech Deck wreck a bunch of foolish thugs.
And why do they come to this town? They come to kill the Woodcutter, Nicola (Ron Pearlman). With a debt to repay and a talisman to recover, these two must join forces in order to conquer the evil
Word Ron Pearlman. Choke a Demi.
that has taken of the East. Without a specific location, this movie took on a whole new post-apocalyptic world in which, finally, sissy-ass guns have been laid to rest. The only movies I ever want to see guns in are The Matrix and Equilibrium. Enough said. Upon this landscape of raised paper houses, anything and all can happen when you can swing like a prizefighter and run house like Kurosawa.
For a half arthouse, half action packed punch, this movie brings out the action side with a lot of action stars. From Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, and
I gotta say Hartnett worked shit in this one.
Lucky Number Slevin comes Josh Hartnett. His no talk, just rape (in whatever sick and twisted good way you can talk about utter destruction) this guy lays waste to those who would doubt him. Next up, and most notably, is Gackt, Japanese singing sensation and all around beautiful face. Among other talents, Gackt can speak English far more fluently and clearly than say, Ken Wantanabe in Inception (what happened between Last Samurai and that?). His sword skills are a bit jumpy at parts, but who wouldn’t expect that from a pretty boy singing prodigy? He is in his late 30’s…
Kevin McKidd as Assassin #2. What a character.
Throw in Ron Pearlman, face of Hellboy and a handful of other well known action films. There could have never been another soul alive who could have played Hellboy half as well as he did. And he wasn’t the worst at Nicola either. Give another little toss to Woody Harrelson of Natural Born Killers and more recently Zombieland. Not a big fan, but he did his part as The Bartender. He just never really stands out to me… Demi Moore for the old woman looks, and here’s the surprise. Kevin McKidd. This Scottish bastard had a cocky, yet strange way about him in this film that I found almost endearing. In quite a few period pieces and my favorite, Hannibal Rising, this is the first movie I think… (other than Trainspotting) that I knew this guy was from Scotland. A little bravo your way, McKidd.
Lovin' that background layout right there.
So we got the cast, the setting, and the situation. It’s all coming together. And what ties it up in a neat little bow? It for sure wasn’t the 2 hours this movie was allotted. It felt more like 3… It was the special effects. provided by Snoot FX, the locations and shooting styles felt action-y (?) and the fluidity of the fight scenes and the transitions (especially Hartnett’s fight scene in breaking out Yoshi from prison) was just top notch. It just gave such an interesting and non-retarded Sin City feel to it that I was hooked.
As Dennis Harvey of Varietysaid of the film about its fake flower feel, all color and no substance/life, I’d have to say he missed the point of the film. He was definitely batting from the ballpark of critical art film acclaim, when he should have been coming from what the essence of a Samurai/Western would be. Include the feeling of a theatrical Japanese paper doll show, and you have Bunraku. Not something tacky, but a whole new way to tell a story that I truly appreciate. That was its best part. A solid 7.6 out of 10.
Could it get better?
1 Comment | tags: action films, action stars, arthouse film, beautiful pretty boy, Black Hawk Down, blood sweat and tears, brawler, Bunraku, cocky and strange, credit where credit is due, critical art film acclaim, Demi Moore, Dennis Harvey, East, Equlibrium, Gackt, giving percents, good special effects, Hannibal Rising, Hellboy, Inception, Japanese paper doll plays, Japanese singing sensation, Josh Hartnett, Ken Wantanabe, Kevin McKidd, Kurosawa, Last Samurai, Lucky Number Sleven, Natural Born Killers, Nicola, no guns, no sword, non-retarded Sin City, not a big fan, old woman looks, Pearl Harbor, period pieces, post-apocalyptic, prison break scene, prizefighter skills, prodigy, Punishing Paper Dolls, Reviews from the Silver Lining, Ron Pearlman, Rotten Tomatoes, samurai, Samurai Western, Scottish, Snoot FX, speaks good English, sword expert, talisman, Tech Deck, The Bartender, The Drifter, The Matrix, the Woodcutter, Trainspotting, true purpose of action films, unique landscapes, Variety, whole new way to tell a story, Woody Harrelson, world without guns, Yoshi, Zombieland | posted in Movies