Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wall Street (1987)

I know, I know. I should have watched this movie years ago. I didn't, so deal with it. That being said, I was still not disappointed. The fast talking and fast moving world of the 1980s never looked so...good?

Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is a young, upstart stockbroker who is just trying to make a buck for his clients and spread the best information to make them the most money. Subtext: He's not very good at it. Bud feels that the one person who can help him get the tips/money/notoriety that he deserves is Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Gekko is the king of "don't call it insider" insider trading. Gekko is the man who has a plan to make the the rich get richer, and Bud wants in on the ground floor. After Bud gives Gekko a tip that sort of pans out, Gordon takes him under his wing to make him a Wall Street superpower. Bud gets the money, gets the notoriety, gets the girl (Daryl Hannah). However, one things leads to another and Bud causes a series of events that may result in his father (real life dad Martin Sheen) losing his job after 20+ years. How is Bud going to right his wrong? Better question: Will Gordon let him?

What ever happened to Charlie Sheen acting THIS good in a movie? Or anything for that matter. Either way, this was Michael Douglas' film. He empowered every single frame he was on the screen. Gordon Gekko was not a good man, and Douglas made sure that you knew that. Oliver Stone managed to weave his way from one point to the next so seamlessly. It's a shame his more recent movies haven't been able to capture that as well as this film. I know a lot of you have seen this, but maybe this will spark interest to watch it again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Waiting For "Superman" (2010)

If you've ever listened to any sort of political ad or debate over the last 20+ years, then you know that politicians and voters believe something is wrong with our education system. This movie takes a look at how much/little people are doing about the problem.

The movie follows five families, 4 of them in the lower class homes but all of them struggling in school. Some are single parents, others are newly laid off, and some just want the best help they can get for their children to be better educated. However, the problem doesn't seem to lie with the parents or the schools, but with the teachers and, more specifically, the teachers unions (dum dum DUMMMMM). While some of the students act like nothing is wrong, all of them are aware that money is the issue that's keeping them from the best education they can have, in one way or another. An ambitious superintendent in the Washington DC school system and a Harlem-based educator are some of the people trying to spearhead particular issues in their respective cities. The movie culminates with all 5 kids having to go in a lottery for their education.

That last sequence, with the lottery drawings, is exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. These kids clearly want to learn and only a certain few are going to be able to based on a bingo ball, index card, raffle ticket, etc. The movie is nothing new about how bad the schools are, but it does show it in a different way. This movie shows the problems and offers solutions, but I'm not quite sure if anything said in this movie will be treated as demonstrated. It was a great documentary and I strongly recommend it to all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From Paris With Love (2010)

A good movie this was not, but I did have a mild amount of fun during the action scenes. John Travolta has the distinct ability to not pick out great plots for his movies, but he does have fun with them.

James (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a top aide to the US Ambassador in France but he's also trying to become a CIA operative at the same time. He lives with his fiance in Paris while trying to balance the job he has with the job he is passionate about getting. One day, the call comes to meet his new partner, Charlie (Travolta). Charlie is not the picture of CIA class. His clothes are as grungy as his crime fighting style. With both James and Charlie trying to adjust to each other and figure out if they can possibly work together, a problem keeps rearing its ugly head: Cocaine. The laws against drugs in France help lead the two towards a bigger problem and now they have to see if they can stop an assassination attempt. Maybe this is the thing that brings them together.

Like I said, the action was fun. It had some very unique and very intense action scenes that managed to use over-the-top violence with a balance of realistic fight scenes. Other than that, there was not a whole lot to offer. The plot was simple and been done to death. It's got some fun parts, but I can't really recommend this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Social Network (2010)

I went into this movie expecting a great movie and I got that and then some. This is not the "Facebook Movie." This is the movie about how this spy, nervous computer geek got revenge in the most fiscal way.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) just got dumped by his girlfriend. She knows he's smart and capable of doing whatever he can to get rich, but he's also a socially-inept ass. As a result, Mark enlists the help of friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) to make, a site dedicated to choosing which Harvard female was more attractive than the one next to her. After that erupts over campus, he's a sensation. He then gets the idea for a social network website that puts all the college experience online...or did he take the idea from the Winklevoss twins who hired Zuckerberg to build a similar site. As expands, Zuckerberg is feeling the heat. Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) helps Mark build up the a franchise and subsequently pushes Saverin out. Exactly how many friends will Mark have left?

As good as this movie was, nothing stood out more than the performance of Jesse Eisenberg. He managed to nail the character and kept him moving at the same Aaron Sorkin pace. That means, he kept talking and talking and talking until there was nothing left to discuss. Him and Andrew Garfield are both deserving of Oscar consideration. Director David Fincher as well. He managed to make a movie about computer nerds exciting. Also, kudos for the most exhilarating rowing (I'm sorry, crew) race in the history of film. Go see this movie.