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Old January 1st, 2016, 10:58 PM
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Default The Big Short

Went to an afternoon showing of The Big Short at the Ward Theater today (1/1/16) with a friend.

The movie is about the events leading up to the United States' mortgage housing crisis during the years of 2005 to 2008 as seen by three different groups of people from across the United Status.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: The Big Short

What did you think of the movie, Helen?

Been looking forward to this one.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: The Big Short

My main reason for going to this movie is because I went with a friend. I don't think this was a movie I would gone by myself, mainly because of the genre (biography) and the subject matter.

That being the case, I wasn't bored by the movie, even through I couldn't understand some of the subject matter but there were scenes in the movie that the flow of movie stopped while either a character broke the 4th wall to say that the scene that just happen, happened the way it was shown or there were some minor changes to it. The other instance is that a mini economic lesson was presented by some celebrity.

There some comedic moments in the movie.
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Old January 3rd, 2016, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: The Big Short

I saw this movie last week and liked it. It reminded me a lot of Spotlight, which I think was a better movie, but The Big Short is still worth seeing, as long as you're not afraid of challenging movies.

The movie is about the 2008 financial crisis, which is as complicated a subject matter as you could want to tackle. That's the biggest obstacle in the telling of this story: how do you explain esoteric (and maybe boring) concepts such as "subprime mortgages," "mortgage-backed securities," or "CDOs (collateralized debt obligations)"? Easy. You get Anthony Bourdain or Selena Gomez or other celebrities to pop in and explain it to you. Well, not really. I didnít fully understand it, and I donít think very many others would. But you at least get the gist of the complex nature of this whole mess, and that was the point. The banks had built a web of complexities designed to hide what amounts to outright fraud. And all the while, the people who were supposed to look out for us (our government and related agencies) were looking the other way, or not looking at all.

The movie is bitingly funny at time, angry throughout, and features a superb ensemble cast. I especially liked Steve Carell's and Christian Bale's performances. For that alone, I would recommend this movie.
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Old January 4th, 2016, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: The Big Short

I'm glad you compared it to "Spotlight," which I loved, and which I also felt was a complementary film. I agree "The Big Short" is tackling a pretty complex and potentially dry topic (it was the Planet Money podcast that helped me get a handle on CDS/CDOs), so I'm definitely curious to see how they tackle that. But like "Spotlight," I'm looking forward to the performances more than anything else!
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Old January 26th, 2016, 01:22 PM
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Default Re: The Big Short

The Big Short (2015)
Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling. Directed by Adam McKay. Based on the book by Michael Lewis.

I read half of Michael Lewisís The Big Short but despite the writerís talent for explaining complicated concepts through the use of narrative, the sub-prime mortgage scandal is so abstract that even people who were dealing in these mortgages didnít really know what they were. Adam McKay, who co-wrote the screenplay, tries a few different tactics to get his audience to understand the heart of the product, including breaking the fourth wall and letting his characters use visual aides while walking each other through the concepts. And itís still hard to grasp.

However, McKayís purpose is really to reveal the villains in this story, to show how multiple levels of greed and self-preservation led to the collapse of some of the oldest financial institutions in the country, teetering the global economy on the brink of destruction. Thereís a lot of blame to go around, and hereís why McKay is a good choice to direct this film. The director of Will Ferrell comedies Stepbrothers and Old School, McKay understands that a touch of whimsy and amusement is necessary here, or the effect of his movie on audiences will be to fill them with rage they canít do anything about. What we get instead, thanks to his assortment of characters with their assortment of motivations, is the only thing we really have left: the ability to laugh.

This is no comedy, but it reminds me of a button I used to pin to my shirt when I was in high school during especially cynical moods. It read, ďI used to be disgusted. Now Iím just amused.Ē The Big Short fills the viewer with disgust, tinged with anger, and lightened with amusement. Itís the right formula, and it results in a very, very well-made movie.

If there are any good guys, they are played by Steve Carell and Christian Bale, two investors who exploit a flaw in the housing market. Actually, it isnít a flaw in the market they take advantage of: itís the certainty by major banks that there is no flaw. So arrogant are the banks that they basically take what they consider to be sucker bets, offering huge odds in favor of the wagerers. With billions (billions!) of dollars on the line, the banks and their agents refuse to do any due diligence, and as explained in the voice-over in the filmís intro, all it took to bring the world economy to its knees was the willingness of a small number of people to look at what was there.

Acting is better than average all around. I was especially taken with Carell as an investor with a noble streak, and Brad Pitt as a cynical investor whoís out of the game, but isnít above backing two newbies with irrefutable evidence. McKay does a heck of a job with a daunting task, resulting in a movie thatís effective and convicting, one that begs to be seen at least a second time, and probably a third.

8/10 (IMDb rating)
84/100 (Criticker rating)
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