Tag Archives: independent film

Margin Call: I’m Back to Reviews Everyone!

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.

 

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Velvet Goldmine: “G” Stands for Glam and Gay

To be honest, I had no idea what this movie was going to be about when I first started it. I searched Netflix for movies starring Christian Bale and/or Ewan McGregor and

The perfect glamster couple. (Collette + Meyers)

found this little gem. (I think gem’s the right word to use for this movie in particular.) Not a strong runner in the money department, this movie has a star studded cast but boasts the time and effort of an independent film with a message to put across. I was perfectly okay with all the homosexuality as well. And trust me, there was a lot.

And it wasn’t even a gay vibe from the outfits.

This movie exudes glam and glitter more than any other film I’ve ever seen. In the same documentary/journalistic vein of Party Monster (review a few entries back), this movie handles the earlier era of Glam Rock (back in the 70’s). Knowing not much about glam rock other than David Bowie, it was interesting to see a character based on him. This movie performs as an homage to David Bowie and Iggy Pop, but with less of a focus on the drugs and more on the sex. I wasn’t expecting as much of a straight edge film, but this movie doesn’t leave out the Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

And here’s something even weirder. I’m not that huge of a fan of glam rock. Sure, I have Gary Glitter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pt. II on my iPod, but that’s about as far as it goes. Oh, and this:

That’s the extent of my glam rock knowledge. But what surprised me about this film is how much I enjoyed the musical soundtrack of the film. The movie was right in informing me from the very beginning that I should turn up the volume on my T.V. I thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 70’s, and had no idea how much I would enjoy glam rock. John Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor both lent their vocals to the soundtrack to give it a truer feel to the film, something I always

The fantastical outfits.

appreciate.

But let’s get into the story a little bit. Structured after what is considered by every film student as the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane, this movie attempts to uncover the glittery veil on who Brian Slade (John Rhys Meyers) truly was. Arthur Stewart (Christian Bale) is a journalist and former glam enthusiast who has come full circle in what used to be his glory days. He has been charged with unearthing the truth on Slade/Persona known as Maxwell Demon. After he pulled a fake assassination stunt at one of his concerts, he fell from grace and landed in obscurity. Meanwhile, everyone around him give their opinion of what their lives were like with Brian Slade around.

The Glam-man Rises.

It’s interesting to see how involved Christian Bale’s character was with the glam scene and those who surrounded Brian Slade. In a world of blossoming bisexuality, all of the characters explore just what it means to be human through sexual interaction. At the same time that it could be discomforting to someone who is against abnormal sexual acts, this movie doesn’t play it up to more than it is, human interaction on a very base and carnal level. It is always amazing to see actors perform onscreen what they truly aren’t in real life. All three (Bale, Meyers, and McGregor) are straight men. They all simulate homosexual acts (kissing, suggestive thrusting, etc) on camera in front of what I would expect is a mixed morals cast and crew. When you slip into something you’re not and sell it, I give you props for that.

The costumes and personalities flair onscreen creating something pretty to look at as well as substance for a story about a form of music that swept both the U.K. and America. With this clash of countries (Ewan McGregor plays Curtis Wild, a glam rocker from Michigan) and love all over, this movie

Ewan McGregor, showin’ it all.

professes love and understanding, no matter what beliefs, morals, or nationality. I was impressed with John Rhys Meyers haunted acting (just as I was with Culkins in Party Monster) and everyone did their share. Christian Bale created a character conflicted with his sexual identity and his confused past, while Ewan staged an opposite character that embraced all life offers. It was a dazzling performance by everyone, including Toni Collette. Throw in Eddie Izzard to add some pizzazz and you have yourself a great cast of rockers.

A side you’ll never see of John Rhys Meyers.

And that’s what I loved about this movie. This isn’t your average film. Combining the worlds of musical and sexual liberation created something that an outsider like myself wouldn’t be able to acquire otherwise. The actors deliver superbly and the songs and colors create a fantastical cosmic journey you don’t want to end. If they couldn’t strung a series of glam rock music videos together, I wouldn’t have complained. So I say anyone looking for a change of pace to life should check out this film. It’s fab. 8.4 out of 10.