Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Strong’

The Radical Left

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Frank Langella, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Michael Keaton, Ben Shenkman, Alex Sharp, John Carroll Lynch

Pacifists, Hippies and Black Panthers converge on Chicago in the summer of 1968 during the Democratic National Convention and are confronted by the police and naturally riots break out. Are the police to blame? Are the protesters to blame? It is the summer of love, anti-Vietnam protests and significant social upheaval worldwide.

This is the premise of West Wing and The Social Network Oscar winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s new film in which he directed and wrote. The Trail of the Chicago 7 was originally set for a theatrical release in October 2020 but due to the coronavirus pandemic, Paramount sold the rights to the streaming giant Netflix for a cool $56 million dollars. Which explains the reason why this great film can only be found on Netflix when in fact it was best suited to a proper cinematic release.

Especially with Sorkin’s witty dialogue and his fantastic cast that he managed to assemble for The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The cast includes Oscar winners Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) as liberal pacifist and anti-war activist Tom Hayden, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) as defence attorney William Kunstler, Oscar nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as the non-nonsense but bigoted judge Julius Hoffman, Emmy winner Jeremy Strong (Succession) as hippie Jerry Rubin and a stand out performance by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as the fast talking defiant hippie leader Abbie Hoffman.

Also in the cast are John Carroll Lynch as David Dellinger, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Panther leader Bobby Seale who also got charged along with the original seven for incitement to start a riot and public disturbance.

While the first half of Aaron Sorkin’s film is confusing and needs to be anchored, the second half is brilliant as he clearly shows you what actually happens even if as a screenwriter he does get historically creative with the real facts.

Speaking of the real facts, as a viewer it is best to look up the actual story of the Trial of the Chicago 7 and the context in which the riot occurred. As Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Abbie Hofmann so eloquently says, “Everyone was in the Haymarket Tavern at the Chicago Hilton like the Sixties never happened until it came crashing through the window.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a great film, very dialogue heavy but it stands together through some superb ensemble acting especially from Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the prosecuting attorney Richard Schultz and a fine performance by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale who actually lands up getting bound and gagged in an American courtroom.

Nominated for 5 Golden Globes in 2021 including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Song, Best Supporting Actor for Sacha Baron Cohen and Best Screenplay, Catch The Trial of the Chicago 7 now on Netflix. This courtroom drama gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Kings of the Jungle

The Gentlemen

Director: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Jeremy Strong, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Eddie Marsan, Samuel West, Geraldine Somerville

Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) plays entrepreneurial American gangster Mickey Pearson as he takes on British society along with his right hand man Ray wonderfully played by King Arthur star Charlie Hunnam is the new Guy Ritchie action film The Gentlemen which is definitely aimed at the British blokes.

Complete with foul language and an array of fascinating and dubious characters from the Jewish Billionaire Matthew played by Jeremy Strong, the Cockney Cleopatra played against type by Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) and Chinese mafia heavyweight Dry Eye played by Henry Golding (Crazy, Rich Asians), The Gentlemen skilfully navigates a web of intrigue as Pearson tries desperately to outwit these bunch of fellow gangsters.

All masterfully told with a kind of camp gossip by the sleazy journalist Fletcher also beautifully played against type by Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins, Maurice, The Man From Uncle). Guy Ritchie directs this convoluted storyline in his usual retro-editing fashion and self-reflexive style which has become his cinematic trademark.

Thankfully, Ritchie has returned from his brief sojourn directing the Disney classic Aladdin is quite at home the genre of the British gangster flick which is synonymous with his name.

Colin Farrell (In Bruges, Widows, Roman J. Israel, Esq.) makes a brief but relevant appearance as Coach as he mentors a group of housing estate hoodlums which inadvertently work for Mickey Pearson and magically trick various opponents out of the highly coveted stash of weed, which the crime boss is so cleverly concealing on British country estates. Between the Jewish Billionaire, Dry Eye and Pearson, all of them are vying for the title of King of the Jungle.

From hoodies to cultured lords, The Gentleman is a masterful and clever story, told with dexterity by Guy Ritchie while showcasing the full diversity of London as the multi-cultural British capital city.

Samuel West (The Darkest Hour, Howard’s End, On Chesil Beach) makes a brief appearance as Lord Pressfield whose daughter has got caught up with a bunch of junkies.  

Director Guy Ritchie makes a play on all the connotations of what a Gentleman is meant to be: noble, kind, loyal as he names this violent, foul-mouthed and exciting gangster flick The Gentlemen which is not surprising from a creator of such films as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

If viewers are looking for a brilliant British gangster flick, then look no further than The Gentlemen which gets a film rating of 8 out of 10. It’s a twisty, violent and flamboyant gangster film featuring an array of super cool characters and crackling dialogue.

The Whims of Powerful Men

Molly’s Game

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Graham Greene, Chris O’Dowd, Justin Kirk, J. C. MacKenzie

The Social Network, Moneyball and Steve Jobs screenwriter Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut in Molly’s Game featuring a powerfully hard core performance by Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) who is basically in every frame of the 2 hour and 20 minute expose of the decadent world of illicit high stakes poker.

Chastain plays Molly Bloom a savvy and smart young woman who in a bid to escape the clutches of her persuasive and pushy father Larry Bloom, a stand out performance by Oscar winner Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), leaves Colorado and heads to Los Angeles where she starts working for a slimeball misogynist Dean Keith played by Jeremy Strong who asks her to set up and run a regular Tuesday night poker game with a $10 000 buy in.

Soon the shrewd and street smart Bloom takes the poker game away from Keith and sets up her own High Class games at a luxurious suite at a Beverley Hills hotel aided by the dubious Player X played by Canadian actor Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno).

Sorkin tells and retells Molly’s rise and fall from power through a series of carefully crafted narrative flashbacks in between scenes with Molly Bloom and her New York defense attorney wonderfully played by Idris Elba (The Mountain Between Us, Star Trek Beyond).

With Sorkin’s trademark flair for snappy dialogue and producing a distinct visual style of his own, Molly’s Game is a fascinating portrait of a young woman who gets dangerously and illegally caught up in the world of high stakes poker where she eventually becomes subjected to the whims of vain and powerful men, most of whom are gambling addicts and would think nothing of sitting at a poker table until dawn betting their fortunes away just to prove who is a winning player.

Within this highly competitive masculine world, Molly Bloom gets indicted for organizing poker games with among others the Russian mafia in New York as well as Hollywood film stars, producers, rock stars and East Coast Trust fund babies.

Jessica Chastain is stunning in Molly’s Game and keeps the pace of this lengthy film, portraying a decadent Madame who presides over a glamorous boudoir for men to gamble, drink and flirt with gorgeous supermodels or as her book publisher says, she was the keeper of a very expensive and indulgent man cave.

At the heart of the story, which could have been edited in sections, is Molly’s complex relationship with her father who she was always goading from her rebellious teenage years to her earlier childhood attempts at becoming an Olympic ski jumper in Salt Lake City.

If audiences enjoyed The Social Network and Steve Jobs, then they will love Molly’s Game, a decadent tale of one woman who bet her good name and reputation on the house.

Molly’s Game gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is worth seeing for a remarkable performance by Jessica Chastain who really proves her talent as the heroine in this gritty, seductive tale about greed and power.

 

 

No Income, No Jobs

The Big Short

big_short

Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro, Rafe Spall, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez, Jeffry Griffin, Billy Magnussen, Max Greenfield, Tracy Letts

The critically acclaimed film The Big Short is a highly inventive tale of how six men predicted the collapse of the US housing market and actually made money off this economic disaster.

Christian Bale turns in a brilliant Oscar nominated performance as the socially awkward Dr Michael Burry, a neurologist suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome who gives up medicine to become a hedge fund manager in director Adam McKay’s frenetic financial diatribe The Big Short, about the collapse of the American housing market in 2007 and 2008, which precipitated the worst international financial crisis since the Great Depression back in 1929.

big_short_ver2

Joining Bale in the cast are Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) as Wall Street trader Jared Vennett, Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) as hedge fund manager Mark Baum and Brad Pitt (Moneyball) as reclusive banker Ben Rickett. These four men together with two young eager investors Charlie Geller played by John Maguro (Carol) and Jamie Shipley played by Finn Wittrock all predict the imminent collapse of the US housing market due to the instability of unsecured sub-prime mortgages.

Through a series of inter related events between 2005 and 2007, these guys develop a system of credit default swaps by betting against the housing market which like the Tech industry bubble, eventually burst in 2008 bringing down Lehman Brothers in September 2008, one of the world’s largest investment banks, and forcing the entire global economy into a devastating recession.

What makes the entire dodgy financing worse is that the banks and the international rating agencies collude to actually validate the profiting of these credit default swaps, causing the Biggest Short in economic history which inevitably lead to no income and no jobs for millions of people worldwide.

Best Line in the film is prophetically “In five years’ time, everyone is going to be blaming the immigrants and the poor.”

Financial films are never exciting unless the director makes the viewer totally engrossed in what they are watching. Fortunately Anchorman director Adam McKay through some inventive directing and skillful editing along with a fascinating script by Charles Randolph which makes The Big Short an utterly engrossing film.

The Big Short is anchored down by four great performances by Pitt, Carell, Gosling and particularly Bale. Christian Bale and Steve Carell are particularly good and while some of the narrative devices are quite ingenious like Jared Vennett directly addressing the audience or using celebrities like Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez to explain the financial fundamentals especially of synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), the latter of which ironically taking place at a Blackjack table in Las Vegas.

The Big Short is an engaging, masculine portrayal of greed and power running unabated and the most frightening part about the story is that it is all true. The effects of the 2008 global financial meltdown are still being felt around the world in 2016.

Audiences should also look out for cameos by Melissa Leo and Marisa Tomei along with Rafe Spall (Life of Pi) and Hamish Linklater (Magic in the Moonlight). Unlike Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street or Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, Adam McKay’s The Big Short does not glamourize greed but rather sheds light on how reckless and unchecked rampant capitalism has its pitfalls as the entire world was to find out in September 2008.

The scary part is that, these real life characters portrayed in The Big Short made money off the eventual collapse of a national housing market and some of the larger Banks got away with dishing out unsecured loans to unsuspecting home buyers simply by restructuring the debt packages.

The Big Short is highly recommended viewing for those that enjoy financial films with edge, tenacity and an inventive style without resorting to profanity or decadence.

 

 

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2021
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
  • Meghan Markle’s Triumphant Interview and Its Existential Threat to the Royals
    Early in her interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS Sunday night, Meghan Markle made reference to a much older conversation. Markle, who claims to have grown up utterly unschooled in the ways of the British royals, recalled her mother asking her, “Did Diana ever do an interview?” “Now I can say yes, a very famous […]
    danvariety
  • NBC News International President Deborah Turness Returns to ITN as CEO
    Deborah Turness, president of NBC News International, the global arm of U.S. news network NBC News, will join the U.K.’s ITN as CEO from April 19. Turness replaces Anna Mallett who joined as CEO in 2019 from BBC Studios, and will now join Netflix as VP of physical production for the U.K. and local language […]
    Naman Ramachandran
  • Harry and Meghan Interview Special Draws Huge Audience for CBS
    Oprah Winfrey’s explosive interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drew a huge audience to CBS on Sunday, attracting more than 17.18 million viewers during the two-hour broadcast. n comparison with the 78th Golden Globe Awards’ numbers last Sunday night, which garnered a bleak 6.9 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among the key demographic, […]
    Mónica Marie Zorrilla
  • ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Getting Turned Into Stage Musical
    “The Queen’s Gambit,” the story of a chess prodigy that was a streaming smash for Netflix, may become a musical. Level Forward, has acquired the theatrical stage rights to Walter Tevis’ novel “The Queen’s Gambit,” which served as the basis for the miniseries. Tevis also wrote “The Hustler” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” […]
    varietybrentlang
  • BTS, H.E.R., Haim, Jhene Aiko and More to Perform at Grammy Week Virtual Events
    Needless to say, the 2021 Grammy Week will not be like ones we’ve known in the past. While it’s ordinarily a week of socializing, celebrating, parties, concerts and (most of all) networking, this year we’re going to have to do all of it from home, like we’ve had to do virtually everything else for the […]
    Jem Aswad
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90