Archives for posts with tag: Ryan Gosling

Grade A

The lives of two men, a bank robber and a cop (played by Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, respectively), will violently collide and alter their lives and of those near to them.   Gosling and Cooper both have sons who are one-year-old when the fateful day happens; and the sins of the fathers will come back to haunt their sons 15 years later.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Place Beyond The Pines” is the scene when Cooper is pulled over by a fellow cop, played by Ray Liotta.  Cooper has snitched on some cops, you see, and one of those cops is Liotta.  Liotta, known for his intense, fearsome stares, has not lost his touch, as evidenced by this scene.

“The Place Beyond The Pines” is an odd duck because it doesn’t follow the typical 3 act structure of virtually all movies.  It feels like 2 acts followed by 3 acts.  Let me explain.  The first 1/3 of the movie is Gosling’s story, then the last 2/3 of the movie is Cooper’s story as well as the two sons of Gosling and Cooper.  Basically, at the 50 minute mark, it’s like watching another movie…a sequel to the first 1/3 of the movie, if you will.  We get this huge build up, and then the movie flatlines as we are introduced to a whole new set of characters.   Surprisingly, this does not harm the movie overall.  Why?  Because almost everything else works like magic.

Two little shenanigans though that I can’t let go: 1) Cooper’s son is a problem teen, and Cooper doesn’t implement any kind of measures to keep his teen from having an out of control party while Cooper is away; 2) a character buys a motorcycle in cash, and immediately rides off…no license, no registration, no plates, no insurance…how far does this guy think he can go before he sees flashing blue and red lights behind him?

“The Place Beyond The Pines” is like a slow burning, dramatic mini-series that takes its time to develop the story and characters.  At some point, you, the audience, gets hooked; and you just have to watch it all the way to the end.  That’s a good thing, because this movie is one hell of story.

— M

Grade A

Part comedy, part drama, part suspense and part horror — unless you don’t think being unemployed and homeless is horrifying — “The Big Short” is an eye-opening, crazy ride into the world of financial markets and how the world economy collapsed in 2008/2009.

A handful of traders and investors (played by Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling, to name a few) have found serious flaws in the U.S. housing market that would cause it to collapse and take the entire U.S. economy — and those of other countries — down with it.  They decide to go “short” (basically a bet that prices will fall) against the housing market.  These men are laughed at and ridiculed by the rest of the traders/investors/banks who take the opposite bet; but eventually the financial apocalypse that so few had the vision to see — and the balls to take advantage of — will come, bringing such a wide swath of destruction that the effects are still felt by the entire world as I write this.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Gosling is trying to do business with Carell to take a large, short position on the housing market.  Carell and his guys ask for the math on Gosling’s findings.  Gosling points to a young, Asian guy and tells Carell and his crew that the Asian guy is his math specialist!  “Look at his face, look at his eyes,” Gosling says.  Ha ha!   Yes, it was a racist comment; but it was also funny as hell.  I’m Asian, and I laughed my ass off — and even if I wasn’t Asian, I’d still laugh my ass off.  Don’t be so sensitive…the world isn’t here to tiptoe around your feelings.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Big Short” is the scene when Carell is in a restaurant asking a manager of a CDO fund (Collateralized Debt Obligation, which is a financial instrument that was filled with garbage a few years prior to the financial collapse of 2008/2009) what he does and what is in his CDO fund and who the manager really works for.   This scene quickly sums up the high level of greed and callousness in the financial markets that helped usher in all that pain for hundreds of millions of workers all throughout the world.   This scene is infuriating to watch.

For those not at all knowledgeable about the financial markets, “The Big Short” can be confusing despite a few segments where celebrities — playing themselves — explain things in a more simplified form.   But this will be easily understandable by all: there were a lot of shenanigans going on in the U.S. government, the ratings agencies, the traders/investors/brokers, real estate companies, banks, investment banks, and last but definitely not least, the numerous people who took out housing loans who had no idea what they were getting into.

Bottom line: whether you’re into stocks or bonds or currencies or commodities, it’s gambling.  Know exactly what you’re getting into.

— M

 

With talents such as Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, writer Dan Fogelman and directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, it’s no wonder “Crazy Stupid Love” is one of the best rom-coms I have ever seen.  This goes beyond being a movie and enters the realm of artwork.  The movie’s characters show us how love can be crazy, stupid and wonderful; and usually it’s a mix of all three at the same time, which is why our lives usually goes into a tailspin when we do fall in love.  Caveat emptor.

Carell is being divorced by Moore, Moore is having an affair with Bacon (sounds like a kinky, porn flick, huh?), Stone is unhappy with her boyfriend and seeks the comfort of bar hopper/ladies man Gosling, Carell’s babysitter has the hots for him, Carell’s son is in love with the babysitter, Carell meets Gosling and Gosling decides to turn boring Carell into a sharp dressed, ladies man (and the transformation is impressive), Carell still is in love with his wife…in the hands of lesser talents all this would have turned into an undercooked meal that would’ve given people diarrhea.  Instead, “Crazy Stupid Love” is a movie you should not miss.  I love this movie.  “If you love this movie so much, why don’t you marry it?” you ask.  I did the next, best thing: I bought it.

The biggest message this movie gives is that we have to work hard at our relationships.  Not just at the beginning, but always.   If you want to be with someone, and you think that person is worth it, you put the effort to make it work.  Don’t fall into the trap of being lazy and not paying attention to your significant other’s needs and wants.  I know.  It’s very hard to do all that when you’ve been married for decades.  But it’s still a good message.

My most memorable, movie moment is the scene where Carell, with the help of his kids, tries to get back with his wife; and 3 unexpected visitors show up.   The first visitor took me by surprise — which is a good thing because most movies are predictable.  That’s all I will say about the first visitor because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen this movie.

So, don’t forget to fight for what is important to you.  Fight for love, for justice, for friendship.  Don’t fight over that parking space some jackass just swiped from you right in front of your face.  Unless you think it’s worth going to prison for.  Then you’ll have crazy, stupid love with a 300 pound monster named Bubba while your face is buried in a pillow.

M

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