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What are you watching? 2019 edition


#4004

The Big Short

Mixing excellent performances with pitch-black gallows humour and utterly insane but true info on why the 2008 crash happened, the lack of consequence for those reponsible remains staggering. Why did politicians not go after the bankers? Because the bankers could burn the politicians and fuck it, like the voters will actually vote differently anyway. The actual response? Politics turning ever more vicious towards the weakest in society played out and is continuing to do so. In a way you could likely chart the 2008 crash consequences playing out all the way to Trump and Brexit.

It’s in some of the conversations that a human face gets put on it - like the renter whose landlord hasn’t been paying the mortgage, or the pole dancer with five loans. Then there are the sharks giving out those loans and while that may have stopped in housing matters, it hasn’t stopped elsewhere - the flow of easy credit continues. If I wanted to, I’m told by my bank I can get a up to a £35k loan - not that I want to because it’s a loan.

While I knew the basic story, the details this film adds makes it even more appalling. That there was no barrier to working in finance regulation and then going to working for the companies regulated is stunning and probably so over here. People have moved from HMRC to a big bank’s tax advice division. But the big one is how it explained synthetic CDOs for those with no knowledge of them. It has several points like it, where you’re wondering how the hell anyone let it go on but the answer, reiterated through the film, is it was all hidden behind a wall of jargon. These are very complicated products that you couldn’t possibly understand so just trust us when we tell you it’s all under control and your government still gets those few billions in tax revenue, OK?

And then the last sting in the tail at the end, want to invest in a bespoke tranche opportunity?

A really smart film, but it’s amazing we’ve all meekly just accepted it. It becomes more so when you add in some politicians going for the pure free market angle of the banks should have been allowed to go bust. There’s some over here in the UK, the no regulation laissez-faire bunch, I’m sure they have their US counterparts.

Murder on the Orient Express

This is a fun ‘spot the actor’ film and talk about attack of the 'tache. For all I’d agree that Branagh is a bit too large to really nail Poirot, his version ain’t bad - he gets the pickyness of the character right.


#4005

He’s probably the thing I enjoyed most. Meanwhile Malcovich is solid in the ABC Murders as an old hasbeen detective but he doesn’t embody Poirot much for me at all. It’s hard not to feel like it’s just a random murder mystery.


#4006

We’re probably going to blitz watch Malkovitch tomorrow.


#4007

A fun bit at the end of the film is Christian Bale’s character deciding only to invest in water.

After reading a report that climate change projections had Wales and Ireland getting more rain (if that’s possible) and the east of the British and Irish Isles drying out that there was a fan-fiction scenario where they held the financial leash with control of the most vital product that we literally can’t live without. A power fantasy for @Lorcan_Nagle and me.


#4008

Yeah, with the line about people just blaming poor people and immigrants at the end you can see the consequences with a major but underreported homelessness problem and anti immigrant politics.

At heart, the people responsible weren’t punished because we all didn’t make the politicians do it and we all bailed them out. I can’t see any reason why they’d be reluctant to do it again, honestly. Even with the recent volatility In the market, a few people are still raking in.

I’d like to now see The Favourite about a time when emotional turmoil in a leader’s personal life might determine if we go to war or imprison thousands of citizens. Thank goodness we don’t live in times like that anymore.


#4009

I just learned that Dylan O’Brien voiced Bumblebee…and wow.
Memo ain’t stand a chance.


#4010

Watched Flight (2012) again. Still wowed by James Badge Dale. Started watching Life (1999) again (read: fell asleep during, which is not a criticism, as I can sleep during any movie) having been inspired by chatter here at MW about Murphy signing on to star in the Grumpy Old Men remake (which I suggested he ought to do with Lawrence).


#4011

SCROOGED is actually weirder, a little more horror and a little funnier than I remembered. Closer to Ghostbusters actually.


#4012

And they were happy to play up that link with the marketing.

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#4013

The first Ant-Man has just started on BBC1. I’d forgotten how good the ‘young Michael Douglas’ effects were in that opening prologue. Appropriately enough, they’ve aged well. :slight_smile:


#4014

I said as much to my dad as he was going down the channel list. Now, sadly, my parents are watching the film. :neutral_face:


#4015

I just watched the first episode of The ABC Murders and thought it was excellent.

I love the way they’ve tried to find a new take on Poirot that weaves together lots of different elements from the original books (there are hints of the final Poirot story, Curtain, here - which I didn’t expect but which feels quite appropriate) and also offers a bit of a fresh spin in terms of some of the liberties taken with the dates and characters.

I was sceptical of Malkovich’s casting but he works brilliantly for this take on Poirot.

Some of the parallels with modern-day politics are a bit heavy-handed, but again they offer a slightly different dimension.

And it’s beautifully directed, too - lots of visual flair and several long sequences where the story is told with very few words at all. (I can always tell that this is happening a lot when my wife is listening to the TV but looking at her phone and is unable to follow the story.)

I hope the concluding episodes live up to this opener.


#4016

They do. For me it’s not really Poirot but it’s still great.


#4017

Yeah, I think it helps that it’s a Poirot designed for this one story, rather than as a character they can build a franchise around.


#4018

Yeah it’s like an Elseworlds story. I have a feeling they may try and do a few series, the openended-ness of his and Chrome’s relationship and the talk of re-ignighting him.


#4019

I still haven’t seen it, which seems stranger and stranger all the time, as Murray was a family favorite growing up and I love A Christmas Carol


#4020

I saw it in the theater when it came out. It was the same year as Beetlejuice, I think, and I’ve seen Beetlejuice innumerable Times, but I haven’t seen Scrooged since.

I didn’t like it the first time but it’s got a lot to recommend it now.


#4021

She’s really admirable - she was interviewed on the ABC back in March to promote the Peter Rabbit film and came across as really clever, determined, and passionate about helping other actresses:

MONIQUE SCHAFTER: Are you finding other actresses in Hollywood are having those same ambitions?

MARGOT ROBBIE: Yeah. So many actresses I’ve heard: they have either come to me or I’ve heard that they’ve been saying to other people: “I want to produce something.” And I just keep going to them: like, “If you want the infrastructure that you don’t have right now, come to our company. If you want to produce with us, we’ll develop whatever you want to do. Or I’ll sit down with you and tell you exactly how we did it and fast-track it. But you should do it.”

Video and transcript:

Apart from Infinity War and The Fugitive, we rewatched Zodiac; a great period piece but I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around.

Working through Better Call Saul, which halfway through season two remains really excellent.

And slipped in the first two episodes of The Beatles Anthology, which I haven’t seen since it kicked off my interest in the Beatles, airing on TV in the mid-90s.


#4022

It’s quite crazy that she’s doing all of this while she’s still so young, too. She really is incredibly clever; at 27, she has a production company and produced a movie she is starring in. And the way the talks about that process shows that she really, really knows what she’s doing, too. This is a good interview on that:

Also reminds me that I still need to see Z for Zachariah.


#4023

Oh, I forgot one - we also watched Zero Dark Thirty - wife had already seen it but long wanted me to watch it too. It was enjoyable for the most part. Of course the final 30-minute leg is exciting, well-shot stuff, and there are tense moments along the way there, but it’s maybe a little too slow in the first hour.

All the performances are good, but it was a bit distracting seeing so many Australians and Brits playing Americans.