A BIT SHORT: The Big Short and The Hateful Eight


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Warning: SPOILERS

big short 1The Big Short, like Spotlight, is the one of those movies ripped from the headlines—of years and years ago; but this time the subject is not pedophile priests, but the downfall of the American economy. Written by Charles Randolph and the director Adam McKay, from a book by Michael Lewis, it’s also a very satisfying bit of agitprop theater with Brechtian distancing devices thrown in for good major.

It basically tells the story of four different groups of people who all realized, more or less at the same time, and years ahead of schedule, that the housing mortgage bubble was going to burst in 2007 and destroy the world’s economy.

This leads to the movie’s major irony: the people who figured this out then proceed to invest heavily against the U.S. economy, making tons of money when their Cassandra like prediction of doom came true.

So basically, we in the audience, along with the characters in the movie, find ourselves and themselves actually hoping that the U.S. financial system tanks like the Titanic. Continue reading

BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES: Ant-Man


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
ant manWhen word came down that they (and we all know who “they” are even if we don’t know who “they” are) were making a movie based on the Marvel character of Ant-Man, well, let us say that there was a bunch of groaning and/or unintentional laughter followed by, “Oh, you’re serious”.
Among my comic book geek friends, Ant-Man, a superhero who could miniaturize to the size of the referred to hard working insect, as well as control them, had never been taken that seriously.
With the name not really helping much.
And when I first saw the previews, I didn’t see any additional reason for optimism. They seemed fairly, well, lame.
So now I’ve seen the movie itself and I have to say…it’s not bad and actually has some worthy virtues to speak of.
Who’d have thought it?
The basic premise is that an ex-con (but don’t worry, one of those heroic ones, a computer hacker robin hood, so that way we can cheer him on) gets lured into a life of superherodom by a retired scientist trying to stop an-ex intern, now owner of the scientist’s former company, from exploiting the scientist’s technology of shrinking objects and people and selling them to the highest bidder for world domination purposes (with that neo-Nazi group HYDRA somehow managing to have the most moolah to do it after being so soundly defeated by Captain America and Co. a year or so ago—where do they get their funds? The Koch brothers?). Continue reading