Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Handsome, Nick Naylor is a lobbyist, i.e. Sultan of Spin for Big Tobacco. He may be charming but his only friends are the self- proclaimed, “MOD Squad” because he, VP of the Academy of Tobacco Studies along with the head of the Moderation Counsel (alcohol) and chairman of SAFETY– Society for the Advancement of Firearms […]

In Time (2011)

That so many sociological/ psychological/ economical/ political themes are presented in one Sci-Fi action adventure will either intrigue or infuriate you. When and where time is money– literal currency– one of the poorest teams up with one of the richest to become Bonnie & Clyde with a Robinhood complex. Intentionally or not, the story explores […]

The Big Sleep (1946)

Despite Casablanca’s iconic status (fans consider it “bittersweet” while I classify it as brooding and enigmatic), I consider this Noir to be the epitome of its genre. For me, Bogart springs to mind when I think of classic film: charming and able to hold his own without diminishing the strength and wit of a bold […]

99 Homes (2014)

If you’ve seen The Big Short, this movie will seem slightly less shocking. It’s still outrageous from a moral standpoint but the rock and the hard place between which the main character finds himself could easily entrap anyone. Rather than categorize an unscrupulous person as a single-minded villain, this movie depicts how a previously upstanding […]

The Big Short (2015)

Here it is, folks: the answer to, “Why is the economy in the crapper?!” I’m no expert at Math so the fact that I got lot out of this movie is a testament to the effectiveness of its metaphors. It expertly breaks down a convoluted problem into a series of manageable explanations. Tip: follow this […]

There Will be Blood (2007)

If you’re looking for strong themes to promote an overt moral of the story, move along; nothing to see here. Rather than fill the traditional Western fable template the story gradually builds its characters to an intensifying crescendo when at last it makes good on its promise made in the title. Certainly, there are recurring themes; how could there not be in young America’s Westward expansion? But as rampant greed fuels a wealthy oil prospector and a fledgling minister alike, it becomes hard to tell who—if anyone—deserves success. The redeeming quality can be found in the prospector-turned- mogul’s son, who—despite being raising for the sole purpose of a prop in a devious sales pitch—bears no grudge against anyone. There is a hero and there is a victor; just not the same person.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

So much talent, so little time. One of the numerous highlights of this movie is its timing. Unlike many modern comedies, the actors serve the story, rather than use it to showcase their immature antics, which are only funny when given an equally outrageous context. In this setting, two con artists attempt to outwit each other but both end up getting played. Who gets the last laugh when real-life masters of comedy use their impersonation skills as their characters execute a plot to dupe a wealthy heiress out of her fortune?