One of the most controversial filmmakers in Hollywood has always been Oliver Stone who has tackled topics like the assassination of John Kennedy (JFK), 911 (World Trade Center), and insider trading (Wall Street) to name a few. Now he returns with a new film about one of the most controversial figures today in the film Snowden. Snowden tells the tale of former CIA and NSA operative Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man who exposed the United States Government for spying on it’s own people without warrants as he distributed the proof to the press. The film follows Snowden from how he got his start in the intelligence field to the struggles he dealt with when he got too deep into what was happening. The film also stars Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars) as Lindsey Mills, Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) as Glenn Greenwald, Melissa Leo (Red State) as Laura Poitras, Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Corbin O’Brian, Robert Firth (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Dr. Stillwell, Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) as Ewen MacAskill, Timothy Olyphant (Rock Star) as CIA Agent Geneva, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Trevor James, Keith Lakeith (Straight Outta Compton) as Patrick Haynes, Ben Chaplin (Thin Red Line) as Robert Tibbo, Bhasker Patel (Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom) as Marwan Al-Kirmani, and Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry) as Hank Forrester.
I have to be honest in saying that I wasn’t really aware of what it was that Edward Snowden was being accused of, but what ever it was he was being called either a traitor or hero. The one thing that I can say about him after watching this film is that he should be considered a hero. The United States government shouldn’t be allowed to pry in your life unless they have a warrant. According to the film, they were bypassing all of it by claiming that there were secret warrants so that they wouldn’t tip off the “Threats”. Now as far as the films is concerned I thought the film was alright in my opinion. It just runs a little too slow for my liking at times and there is a lot of computer jargon that the average person will not understand in it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a terrific job in the film as Edward Snowden and he even changes his voice to sound more like him. Shailene Woodley actually does a great job too and she even shows off some of her assets in the film which was a change for her. She does a great job being the perfect balance between the nerdiness and what is real in life. Now the beginning of the film claims that this is a dramatization so how much of it is true, I am not completely sure. I am actually interested to see what is fact and/or fiction. There are some thrills and suspense in the film as you wonder if he’s going to get caught, but we all know how the story ends. The film even features a cameo from the real Edward Snowden so look for that if you choose to see this. I am going to give the film an A- and I am doing this because I thought it was a good film (which is the same as alright), but I am just not into the computer jargon.
The question of the day is do you want to be educated about something you probably didn’t know anything about? If that is the case and you have Netflix, then you need to check out today’s film The Big Short. The Big Short is a film that chronicles the crash of the mortgage industry on Wall Street back in 2008/2009. The film follows four different denizens in the industry Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), Mark Baum (Steve Carell), and the team of Charlie Geller (John Magaro), Jamey Shipley (Finn Wittrock), and Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) as they decide to bet against the housing market and it’s loans which was simply unheard of at the time. They were betting against the economy which was considered ballsy. The film also stars Tracy Letts (Killer Joe) as Lawrence Fields, Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) as Cynthia Baum, Adepero Oduye (12 Years A Slave) as Kathy Tao, Rafe Spall (Life Of Pi) as Danny Moses, Hamish Linklater (Battleship) as Porter Collins, Jeremy Strong (Zero Dark Thirty) as Vinnie Daniel, Melissa Leo (Red State) as Georgia Hale, Karen Gillan (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Evie, and the film features cameos from Anthony Bourdain, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, and the film was directed by Adam McKay (The Other Guys).
If you do not know anything about trading stocks, bonds, and the housing market then you better pay full attention to the film cause you could get absolutely lost. They have Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, and Selena Gomez appear on screen to help break down some of the terms into dummy form. Even then, I would still advise people not to leave at any point or you will be confused. If you want to see how crooked and stupid the US Government and the banks were with the average working persons money then you need to watch this movie because it’s all about how they screwed you with no lube. It’s hard to choose an MVP for this film because they all really did a terrific job in the film, but some of my favorite moments belonged to Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell especially when they were together. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Gosling is trying to explain why he is betting against the market to Steve Carell using the Jenga format to represent all the loans. The interactions between the two during this scene are just awesome and worth seeing. After you have seen the film, you are going to be astonished about how so many things just slipped through the cracks during this whole ordeal especially with the mortgage market in the early to mid-2000’s where so many people were defaulting and foreclosures were happening. This film sheds the best light on the reason for the collapse of the economy so be prepared. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade because it’s smart, thought provoking, and intuitive. Check it out on Netflix right now as we speak.
I figured since I watched a film that had an Oscar winner in it yesterday, I would do the same for today. The film I chose for today, Midnight Cowboy, won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay in the 1970 Oscars. The film stars Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible) as Texan Joe Buck and Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) as New Yorker Ratso. For Joe Buck, he has this idea that he’s too big in the hustling game for Texas and so he decides to move to New York to better his hustling game. For Ratso, things can’t get any worse for this New Yorker and he’s had enough of the big city so all he wants to do is move to Florida. Together, the two of them will form a very unlikely bond as they try to survive the streets of New York. The film also stars Sylvia Miles (Wall Street) as Cass, John McGiver (Breakfast At Tiffany’s) as O’Daniel, Brenda Vaccaro (Zorro: The Gay Blade) as Shirley, Jennifer Salt (American Horror Story) as Annie, Barnard Hughes (TRON) as Towny, Viva (The Man Without A Face) as Gretel McAlbertson, and the film was directed by John Schlesinger (The Falcon And The Snowman).
The first thing that should sell you on the film is the fact that Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight star in the film. The second thing about this film that should sell you is that for 1969, it definitely pushed the boundaries of what was seen on film. Jon Voight has a sexual act performed on him by a man in the film and is the most unluckiest hustler or the worst. Both Voight and Hoffman lost the Oscar for Best Leading Actor to the duke John Wayne even though they deserved it after watching this. Dustin Hoffman has one of the best performances I have seen in a long time and his transformation was Oscar worthy. First of all, he sells that he’s this low down in the dumps New Yorker and he looks like he hasn’t showered in months. What more could you possibly want from the man? We are always led to believe that is what you have to do if you want to win an Oscar. Meanwhile, Jon Voight plays this clean cut cowboy in the big city who is a little naive because he’s not used to the hustle and bustle of the big city. I am not going to give away the ending of the film, but it’s kind of sad and bittersweet. I totally didn’t see it coming, but that is what I loved about it too. The film is gritty and it features a cool segment where they are at a Warhol party. This is classic cinema at it’s best and definitely a film worth watching if you are trying to be a cinephile. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.