Posts Tagged ‘Christian Bale’

Media Update 11/24/2016

November 24, 2016


The Grinder

I knew I was going to watch this show when I heard the premise around the time I started thinking about studying the law. After the election, I decided to watch it and it is a very funny and relevant show right now. Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson, an actor who played a lawyer on television. He has now decided to help out at his brother’s actual law firm. It is a great story about a man with a ton of ideas but no training trying to bluster his way through being successful. Meanwhile, his intelligent and well-trained brother comes in and saves the day. It is a great story about how you cannot just charge into a situation and be successful without knowing the rules. The rules matter and watching somebody with great confidence fail and adapt is very funny and interesting to me. Fred Savage, who plays Stewart Sanderson, often acts as the last sane man and tries to reign in his brother. Happily, Savage is not viewed as the villain for doing this because he is both correct and Lowe’s character is usually being flagrantly ridiculous. A lot of the humor comes from the clash between the everyman and the celebrity. There is a big of vaudeville in Fred Savage’s performance and a ton of melodrama in Rob Lowe’s performance. The two characters slowly start to affect each other so that they can take on a bit of each other’s positive characteristics. They are backed by a great cast and great guest stars. The first episode even has Kumail Nanjiani in it. It is a little unfortunate that a good show like this went off of the air so quickly but there is a lot of that going around. I definitely recommend it, especially for how it tears apart shows like Boston Legal, JAG and Law and Order.


The Big Short

I was glad to have an excuse to make myself watch this one because I have had access but had not gotten around to watching this movie. It was right up my alley. First, it had Christian Bale in it and that is an automatic point in favor of a movie for me. Christian Bale does not really play sane and normal people and this movie is no different. Here he plays a guy in charge of managing an investment fund who is a genius who is good with math but not people. He sets in motion a chain of events which leads to himself and others shorting the US housing market in 2007. Everybody thinks they are crazy because up until 2007 the housing market was mostly stable. As we know, the subprime mortgage crisis along with horrible banking practices created a financial crisis that we are still recovering from. Early on, the movie is actually kind of funny and quirky as we meet our characters. As it continues, it becomes more of a horror movie as the characters begin to realize just how messed up things are and how doomed the economy is. It is also a story of realists vs. optimists as we see professional economists and bank representatives try to paint on a smile as the world starts to burn around them. The movie could have been much more melodramatic but one of the things that breaks the tension a bit is the constant breaking of the fourth wall. The characters (who are based on real people) turn to the camera and explain the economic and banking concepts involved or explain what happened in real life. They also cut to famous celebrities three times to help explain things which is great because it gets a bit complicated. Slowing down to explain the concepts really helped the movie. It ended up being a really good but sickening movie because a lot of the stuff in it really happened. I definitely recommend it.


Dice, Camera, Action: The Curse of Strahd

The tabletop roleplay gaming group that I am in is gearing up to play Dungeons and Dragons. While I have watched my share of streams and listened to podcasts, I am not completely in tune with the new fifth edition rules. As I have stated in the past, I am a huge fan of “Commander” Holly Conrad who is a YouTuber and a cosplay wizard. I am also a fan of Chris Perkins, who has become kind of a dungeon master to the stars as a Wizards of the Coast employee. So, it was a no-brainer to start watching episodes of this stream. Watching it reminds me of our gaming group and how our characters instantly like or hate each other and all of the group dynamics. The story is also interesting as it covers a module called The Curse of Strahd which is set away from The Sword Coast or the Forgotten Realms. Instead, the players are magically transported to a new but dark land where vampires are the main threat. This makes the story pretty dark and Halloween-y but the players manage to keep it light. For instance, they call themselves the Waffle Crew and constantly bicker and snark at each other. I was not as acquainted with the other players but I really like NateWantsToBattle and Jared Knabenbauer who both know their stuff. I have absolutely fallen in love with the sunny, silly portrayal of a paladin that Anna Prosser Robinson achieves. Of course, I love Holly’s socially awkward tiefling warlock and her epic weirdness. I am way behind on this show but I will continue to watch it.

Music of the Week:

Cashmere Cat – Trust Nobody ft. Selena Gomez, Tory Lanez

Slapbak ft. Miss Aleida “Dance All Night”

Television – See No Evil

Em Sea Water- The Box Theory

Train – Play That Song

Weekly Updates:
– I watched more Galavant and it just gets better and better
– I watched a lot of Markiplier’s Undertale streams
– As I mentioned, I watched a ton of WWE programming
– I watched a bit more Lucifer
– I continued Once Upon a Time Season 6
– This week’s theme is “The Importance of Rules”
– Happy Thanksgiving!

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American Psycho

October 12, 2015

I have a bias against the rich and wealthy people of America. My family always had money but we were never rich, like most Americans we lived on a budget and we did our best. We had lean times and times that were not so lean. However, as I grew more politically aware and knowledgeable about the world I grew to resent the truly wealthy people. In a lot of ways they are like aliens that walk the Earth and somehow absorb our currency faster than normal Earth humans. Many of them lose touch with what it is to be human and their children are born never knowing the true value of a dollar. These people are scary. The mindset that there will always be more than enough money frees some of them from any regard for human life. They grow socially conservative and guard their money against those who desperately need it. Their concerns become trivial by average standards. This movie is full of these people and it is terrifying.

I’m a huge Christian Bale fan and I have been since I discovered him when he took the role of Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy of movies. He brings everything to a performance even in a bad movie. I’ve since tried to slowly consume all of his filmography bit by bit. I even lingered and watched the Shaft remake because he played one of the villains. He was even great in the Shaft remake, what more do you want from the guy? In this he’s incredibly creepy. He plays a wealthy young man who does something with business in the eighties. He is very successful but something is very, very wrong with him. He conforms to society but it is quickly apparent that he has deep psychological problems and is just going through the motions to cover them up. His speech pattern is very superficial and unnatural, almost always smooth but with a weird rhythm and tone to it. He ocassionally seems to have outbursts of incredible anger but the character he’s yelling at never reacts so you’re left wondering if that was just in his head. It’s a really good portrayal of a serial killer.

The movie lacks any sort of sense most of the time. The surreal atmosphere of the super rich coupled with the insanity of Bale’s character makes for a disjointed, uncomfortable plot structure. Half of the time there’s barely a reason for the next thing to happen and even Bale’s narration isn’t going to help you very much with his motivations. I really gave up trying to figure out exactly what was going on pretty early in the movie. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the ride while letting little interpretations and theories bounce around in my head. The insane main character is not the only crazy part of the movie. The people around him tend to react very strangely in that they largely don’t react. He’s very strange, the kind of person I would desperately try to avoid at a party or any other engagement once I had met him. Yet, the world around him is permissive and nonchalant about his eccentricity. Maybe they’re afraid to dig deeper and find the madness underneath. When the madness finally does come out it’s like a volcanic eruption and it’s all the scarier.

This movie is very well put together. Unlike a lot of the movies I will have reviewed this month, there was an actual budget behind this one. The camera work and music feel more artistic and that helps add to the pretentious and shallow feeling that I got. The director, Mary Harron, has only directed four films in her career. However, she was also the co-writer for this one (and all her films) which earns her a lot of points in my book. She has worked on two films concerning Andy Warhol which explains some of the weirdness of the movie. Yes, I am aware that the movie is intended as a parody but parody often rings a bit true. The film is visually designed with a minimalist and simple eighties style. There is a lot of black and white and some other expanses of solid colors that just feel empty. She and her friend Guinevere Turner adapted the movie from the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis did a lot of true crime research for his novel which I admit I haven’t read. However, I do see that he did a lot of film work as well as novels and obviously his work translated really well into a great movie.

Really, I was surprised by how good this movie was. The atmosphere was creepy, the characters were offputting and every part of it really worked. The actors beside Bale are all really good and put in more subtle performances which happily clashes with Bale’s performance. Even Willem Dafoe puts in a subtle performance and that’s really saying something. I would suggest you checking this out if you can stomach a lot of gore and a little sex.


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