Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Big Short

The Big Short is based on the New York Times Bestseller by Michael Lewis "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine," which chronicles the real life U.S. real estate economic meltdown in 2008. The film is packed with A-list actors like Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt. Fun fact, this is the second project Gosling and Carell play opposite one another, the first being Stupid. Crazy. Love. Adam McKay, who brought us Anchorman wrote and directed the feature. This is the first drama McKay is directing.

The heavy use of financial, real estate, and economic terms may get you tangled up although they attempt to define most things. Nonetheless the film is very true to the facts and clearly explains how we drove ourselves in a recession. I continued to shift uneasily in my seat while watching. You almost can't believe this actually happened, and worse, it continues to happen today. 

The Big Short is The Wolf of Wall Street meets Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's so authentic it almost felt like a documentary.

While this isn't a traditional horror film, you're still bound to be screaming and covering your eyes before the credits run. I recommend this film with a heavy hand as it does get a bit confusing with all the financial terms. The pace can get tiresome and slow also. 

SEE IT...after taking an economics class or speaking with a banker ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl tells the true story of artist Lili Elbe who became a pioneer in the transgender community. This is the first real Oscar contender I have seen so far this year. Eddie Redmayne is my choice for Best Actor. 

The Danish Girl is in theaters starting November 27, 2015. 


Monday, August 24, 2015

The New Girlfriend

I had the pleasure of attending a special preview of the latest film by French director Francois Ozon, The New Girlfriend. The film is in French and is subtitled in English.

It tells the story of two childhood best friends Claire and Laura who grow up together but unfortunately Laura becomes ill and dies. Laura's husband is left alone to care for their newly born daughter but Claire promises to help them both. Shortly after she realizes she may have gotten more than she bargained for. Claire happens to stumble into David's (Laura's husband) home one day to find a woman with blonde hair and a dress tending to their baby. The 'woman' turns out to be David in a wig wearing Laura's dress. The story progresses into a whirlwind of craziness as we learn David's secret obsession with cross-dressing and how he just cant let go of his wife. Claire is reminded of her friendship with Laura and helps David through the difficult and bizarre situation. Their relationship turns into an unconventional friendship that leaves you wondering for more.

The New Girlfriend is an erotic twisted love story. As ScreenDaily said, it's "a love story for the modern age." Like most European films there's no shortage of sexually explicit scenes.

As a huge fan of foreign films, I really enjoyed The New Girlfriend. It's a mystery drama that keeps you locked in a state of shock but filled with emotional and comedic moments to cool tensions. The cast gave the film real depth and emotion. Claire is played by the beautiful and eloquent Ana├»s Demoustier. French native Roman Duris plays David with such passion and depth you'd think he was a drag queen off screen. Both actors exude a great deal of tenderness and bring to light the hardships that come with death and gender fluidity, like being transgender.

The film will be released in the U.S. on September 18, 2015 and carries an R rating. In the meantime check out the trailer.



Thursday, July 23, 2015


Let me start off by saying, I am a die-hard National Lampoon Vacation fan. Vegas Vacation is one of my favorite movies of all time.

They are back and are making a new and updated Vacation movie centered on Rusty Griswold who is all grown up. Rusty's family is tired of the same old vacation so he decides to go back to his roots and take the family on a road trip to Wally's World. The 2,500 mile journey from Chicago to LA isn't easy and comes with many shenanigans. Some sentiments from the older films come up too. I won't say too much not to give anything away.

Rusty is played by Ed Helms. Not only is Helms perfectly casted for the role but the entire cast is great. Christina Applegate plays his wife and Audrey (Rusty's sister) is played by Leslie Mann. They stuck to the original Chevy Chase and Beverly D'angelo for Clark and Ellen Griswold, undoubtedly a great decision.

Vacation is hilarious and just as good as the original four films. I love the small celebrity cameos. This film is definitely worthy of its 'R' rating with lots of F bombs and full frontal female and male nudity. Vacation will be enjoyed by both the original fans and new ones who don't know much about the franchise. But as an added bonus I definitely suggest you check out the original ones:
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
European Vacation (1985)
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Vegas Vacation (1997)*
*My personal favorite--a must see.

I'll be seeing Vacation again when it hits theaters on July 29, 2015.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Desert Dancer

Desert Dancer is a film based on the true story of Afshin Ghaffaian, an Iranian native who decides to purse his passion of dance in Iran and start an underground dance company in 2009, in the midst of the nation’s highly controversial presidential election.

The film chronicles his real life experiences as he combats oppression from the conservative Iranian regime. His simple freedom of expression, dance, comes at a high price. Afshin must go through leaps and bounds to follow his dreams and become free.

The film has a very artistic element to it. Desert Dancer is not a major studio picture; it was independently made with a $4 million budget. It contains intense edge-of-your-seat moments though that will keep you entranced. Desert Dancer is more than just about dance. It tells the story of the terrible injustices Iranians are facing and the corrupt government’s hold on the younger generation. This story resonates with people all over the world under governmental control and censorship. 

I had the pleasure of the meeting the director, British native, Richard Raymond. Desert Dancer is his directorial debut. As we spoke he told me how this film was very close to his heart and a passion project. He first read about Afshin in the paper and immediately flew out to see him to make this story into a feature film.

Desert Dancer stars Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Reece Ritchie (Prince of Persia), and Tom Cullen (Weekend). Pinto and Ritchie have no formal dance background but they were a magical combination on screen. Ritchie rehearsed for over 8 months prior to production. But beyond his dancing ability, he is an engaging actor with an immense amount of realness and transparency. Pinto immediately jumped onto the project when she read the script. Desert Dancer is truly a labor of love. It is in limited theater release on April 10 and full release on April 17.


Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Oscars Wrap Up

2015 Oscars Hits and Misses
This year's nominees didn't set a high bar. All the films nominated were not that moving or amazing. Nothing wowed me or pulled me in. Here are my hits and misses from the night.

Best Actress-Miss :( 
Patricia Arquette gave a below average performance. Her acting was not one-of-a-kind or anything special. Side note; the nomination of Emma Stone was single handily the worst move of the night.

Musical Performances- Hit :)
While I was mortified The Lego Movie wasn't nominated for Best Animated Feature Film, I was ecstatic to see Tegan and Sara perform 'Everything is Awesome.' Great appearance by The Lonely Island as well. Who knew Lady Gaga has such an amazing voice? I didn't. Wow I am impressed. 

Best Actor- Hit :)
Eddie Redmayne was the most deserving win of the night. He epitomizes what acting really is. He first stood out to me in 2011's My Week With Marilyn. He is going places and will only earn bigger and better roles. He was smart and fortunate to land such a unique and difficult role like Steven Hawkings. 

Host- Miss :(
Neil Patrick Harris was not as great of a host. I expected more from him. He wasn't ready to host such a big event. Then again it's difficult to out perform hosts like Billy Crystal and Ellen Degeneres. His jokes were stiff and lacked fluidity. 

Best Picture- Miss :(
Birdman was definitely not worthy of best picture. While I enjoyed most of the cast and loved the cinematography, it was not deserving of Best Picture. 

Overall the Oscars was a major drag, which was no surprise. Until next year.