Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Gosling’

Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ offers a frosty portrayal of a pilot’s historic journey to the moon

October 15, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 15, 2018

First Man, director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2016 feature film La La Land, documents how Neil Armstrong progressed from being one of a handful of test pilots pushing past Earth’s atmosphere to the first individual to set foot on another celestial body.

The movie serves as a sequel of sorts to The Right Stuff, writer-director Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book about America’s first astronauts. Indeed, Chazelle’s movie was adapted (by screenwriter Josh Singer, a co-author of The Post) from a 2005 authorized biography of the same title by Auburn University space historian James R. Hansen.

Kaufman began his movie with Chuck Yeager’s breaking the sound barrier in 1947 and ended roughly 15 years later as NASA approaches the end of Project Mercury, the first crewed American orbital missions. Chazelle and Singer start their story in the early 1960s, literally seconds before Armstrong embarks on a hazardous suborbital flight in an X-15 rocket plane and a few months before the civilian test pilot is selected for Gemini, NASA’s second set of crewed missions.

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Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ is an entertaining and engaging love letter to movies, jazz, Los Angeles and love itself

December 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 27, 2016

Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is an utterly charming romance about star-crossed lovers in Los Angeles.

She is Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress working as a barista at a movie studio lot and sharing an apartment with three other wannabe performers. He is Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a.k.a. Seb, a free-wheeling pianist whose shabby apartment is stuffed with unopened boxes full of memorabilia that he intends to put into the jazz club he dreams of opening some day. (If the character’s last name was given in the picture, I don’t recall it.)

The couple meets cute several times before the relationship really gets going. We first meet the characters in standstill freeway traffic when Mia incurs Seb’s wrath by failing to notice that the road has cleared because she’s caught up in rehearsing lines for an audition.

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Adam McKay explains how the end of the world got monetized in ‘The Big Short,’ his surprisingly entertaining tale of real-life financial shenanigans

January 2, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 2, 2015

The Big Short is a strangely entertaining and extremely timely movie about a wholly unlikely subject: A handful of investors who anticipated, and got rich because of, the collapse of the American housing market.

Director Adam McKay’s feature is based on Michael Lewis’s 2010 nonfiction book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Lewis also wrote Liar’s PokerMoneyball and The Blind Side, among other books; the first of these drew on Lewis’s experiences on Wall Street, while the latter two became enormously successful sports movies. The latest Lewis-inspired outing was translated to screen by thriller screenwriter Charles Randolph and McKay, the director of such excellent comedies as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

The Big Short tracks three sets of characters in their quest to make a bundle of money while betting against conventional wisdom. One of the men at the heart of the story is Michael Burry, a one-eyed possibly autistic medical doctor who runs a Silicon Valley investment firm. As played by Christian Bale, Burry is an oddball who loves to play heavy metal rock music at eardrum-piercing volumes and who regularly shows up at the office dressed as if he were about to spend a day cleaning his garage. Burry wears the shirt throughout the film, which takes place over the course of about three years.

Burry, who’s capable of prolonged bouts of concentration, finds that an alarming percentage of housing mortgage bonds are based on poorly secured subprime loans. A single bond consists of thousands of individual mortgages, each of which represents the debt owed by a home buyer to a lender; investors buy the bonds in order to receive a share of the monthly mortgage payments.

For decades, such bonds were a rock-solid investment. What Burry discovers — contrary to the assertions of virtually every economist in the known universe — is that many of home loans being made were incredibly risky. As a result, the mortgage bond market is highly overvalued and therefore due for a correction, otherwise be known as a crash.

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The romantic comedy ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ suffers from crazy, stupid psychology

July 14, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 14, 2015

There’s a short scene about two-thirds of the way through the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid, Love that captures its willful cluelessness about how the world works.

When a quartet of adult men brawl behind the house that Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) used to share with a son and daughter, the police are called. But the officers don’t seem very concerned that two neighbors (one of them Cal, the other the father of a teenage girl standing in the back yard), Emily Weaver’s lover plus a fourth man have been involved in a melee. Instead, the cops blithely head elsewhere, pausing only to admonish the parties involved that in the future they should keep their fighting indoors, where it won’t attract as much unwanted attention.

It’s a remarkably cavalier response to the fight, which was sparked partly by Bernie Riley’s not-so-comic misunderstanding that Cal was having an affair with, or at least receiving racy pictures from, Bernie’s 17-year-old daughter and partly because of the very real infidelity that caused Cal and Emily to separate.

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