Posts Tagged ‘Selena Gomez’

It’s a Zoo Out There

Dolittle

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, Emma Thompson, Octavia Spencer, Rami Malek, Marion Cotillard, Tom Holland, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Carmel Laniado, Kumail Nanijani, John Cena, Frances de la Tour

(from left) Dog Jip (Tom Holland) and Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) in Dolittle, directed by Stephen Gaghan.

Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin, Tropic Thunder) takes on the mischievous role of Victorian animal doctor John Dolittle who has an amazing ability to communicate with animals which includes a menagerie of beasts and birds including a timid Gorilla, a Polar Bear and a bossy Parrot voiced by Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Howards End) in the heart-warming film Dolittle which is definitely an ideal film for parents to accompany their children to.

Dolittle is a delightful film if slightly boisterous at times with a really simple plot about a young boy named Tommy Stubbins played by Harry Collett who accidentally shoots a squirrel and then takes the poor creature to the infamous Dr Dolittle to seek his assistance. Stubbins is roped into assisting a young and comatose Queen Victoria played by Jessie Buckley (Judy) by a Lady Rose played by Carmel Laniado.

Both Stubbins and Lady Rose ask for the assistance of the eccentric and reclusive Dr Doolittle wonderfully played by Robert Downey Jr to assist in finding the source of Queen Victoria’s condition.

Soon Dr Dolittle and Stubbins plus the menagerie embark on a nautical adventure to a mysterious island to find a cure for Queen Victoria but along the way they get stranded in Montevideo, an exotic island run by the crazy King Rassouli played by Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) who also happens to be Dolittle’s belated father-in-law. Doolittle’s gorgeous wife Lily Doolittle has mysteriously vanished.

While Dolittle’s storyline is slim, it really is a fun filled film about a doctor who has the amazing ability to talk to animals with an overall message of conservation and appreciation of animals which the younger generation will be able to enjoy.

The villain in Dolittle is Dr Blair Mudly marvelously played by Michael Sheen (Frost, Nixon) and there is also a cameo appearance by Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) as Lord Thomas Bagley who is suspiciously watching over young Queen Victoria’s supposed demise.

Dolittle is a raucous animal film with a fantastic voice cast including the talents of Oscar winner Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Tom Holland, Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List) and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) which all help bring the screen animals to life with vitality and without the pretensions. The visual effects are extraordinary.

Dolittle is recommended viewing, a crazy fun-filled family film with a fabulous cast of characters and animals and is suitable for the entire family.

Dolittle gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is by no means a masterpiece nor does it pretend to be cinematic gold. It’s a light enjoyable adventure film filled with sufficient animals to populate a zoo.

How To Ruin Your Life Brilliantly

A Rainy Day in New York

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Elle Fanning, Timothee Chalamet, Selena Gomez, Liev Schreiber, Jude Law, Diego Luna, Rebecca Hall, Cherry Jones, Will Rogers

Oscar winning director and veteran scriptwriter Woody Allen (Hannah and Her Sisters, Annie Hall) delivers another witty slice of New York life filled with paranoia, lust and intrigue featuring all the hot young stars of the Instagram generation: Elle Fanning (The Beguiled) Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) and music celebrity turned actress Selena Gomezn (Rudderless) in his new film A Rainy Day in New York.

Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) plays Gatsby Welles a disgruntled privileged millennial who accompanies his sweet and sometimes naïve girlfriend Ashleigh Enright wonderfully played with a bubbling effervesce by indie film darling Elle Fanning (Mary Shelley, The Beguiled, Maleficent)  to New York City to interview the difficult middle aged film director Roland Pollard superbly played by Live Schreiber (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Spotlight) who goes off the rails after the screening of his latest film and suffers an artistic breakdown.

As Ashleigh and Gatsby get inadvertently separated in the Big Apple, Ashleigh gets caught up with the foibles of hot movie star Francisco Vega played by Mexican star Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Milk, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and scriptwriter Ted Davidoff wonderfully played with just the right amount of neurosis by Oscar nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) who confronts his wife Connie played by Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) for having an affair.

Gatsby meets the wise cracking Shannon in a breakout performance by Selena Gomez on a student film project and they hit it off while afterwards he attempts to drown his sorrows at a glamourous cocktail bar in Manhattan where he meets a mysterious beautiful blond woman.

Back in his own territory, Woody Allen delivers a very funny scripted film about a day in the life of paranoid New Yorkers as the weather deteriorates along with their moral values. Chalamet and Fanning are brilliant as the two main protagonists proving once again director Allen’s ability to cast the hot young stars of contemporary cinema.  

There are some terrific cameo performances especially by Cherry Jones (Boy Erased, Whisky Tango Foxtrot) as Gatsby’s supposedly snobbish society mother who reveals to him her rather bizarre past much to her son’s utter despair.

For those that love classic Woody Allen films, make a plan to watch A Rainy Day in New York – it’s hilarious, funny and smart with a suitable twist at the end.

 A Rainy Day in New York gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is superbly scripted by Woody Allen with some great one liners including how to ruin your life brilliantly and ably uses all of New York’s legendary locations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.

 

 

 

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