Saturday, September 5, 2015

Intolerable Cruelty - George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones

There is no way I would ever buy a video with that title, but Kathy had seen part of the movie on the airplane and we saw it in a Good Will thrift store for $2.99. And there are some great scenes. I loved the rottweilers hired by Catherine Zeta-Jones chasing the soon to be divorced husband were great, (and they show up again). I thought Edward Herrmann, the famous character actor, overplayed his role a bit, but only a bit, but it is a comedy. Clooney and Zeta-Jones do pretty well within the constraints of the screen play. Don't expect reality. Do expect gamesmanship.

Is it family friendly? Well gee, it is about infidelity and divorce lawyers. And there are morals to the story, money cannot buy happiness, we need something other than work, put your health before you plastic surgery.  And above all, don't sign the Massey Pre-nup and if you do, make sure you keep your copy.

Would I watch it again? Probably. Kathy likes it and I can check my email while it is running.

Firewall - Harrison Ford

OK, if you know me at all, I am a forgone conclusion. From Hackers, to Sneakers, I may not love the movie, but I am going to own it and watch it. This is a genuine movie though with plot and characters and drama, lots of drama.

Harrison Ford has devoted his life to bank computer security and it is thought he might be able to aid in the technical aspects of a large heist. They use a number of methods to get to him primarily his family.

What I like about the movie is that it does not hinge on technology. No need to break a 256 bit cipher in your head in 30 seconds or less. This works on the human side of things and the attackers do a very good job of it. No matter how much they change technology, this will always remain work.

Is it family friendly? Well, I guess you could say the family that is kidnapped together stays together. Seriously, there is no nudity. But these are seriously mature themes. Some movies have what I call , "Disney violence", (think about the old Batman TV show with POW, and SPLAT). Sophisticated kids seem to know that it is not real.  This is not Disney violence. I mean there is the classic Harrison Ford win the day by leading with your chin that no one will take seriously, but to make the plot come to life they mess with the viewers mind a bit, it is close to a psychological thriller.

Will I watch it again? Of course. There is a lot that I can learn for my craft from the movie. Plus, it is a pretty plot with good acting.

The Pacifier - Kid Movie - Vin Diesel

This is a kids movie. We host guests at the lake house every couple of weeks and sometimes they bring kids. I keep a collection of movies that appeal to younger viewers. Basically this is a knock-off of Kindergarten Cop with Arnold. KC is much better, but this is not bad.

Family friendly? Check; genuine Disney. It will not be Christian values per se, but it will be universally appealing.

Will I watch it again? Sure, with the right younger viewer I would be happy to. I will even bring the popcorn.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Closer, Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen

Roberts and Law are two of my favorite performers, but this fell flat. I don't really have a favorite line or scene. Not family friendly, not planning on seeing it again. This goes in the trade in pile.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Michael Douglas

The cameo appearance by Cramer says it all. And in addition Susan Sarandon as Jake's mother, Warren Buffet, Jake Chanos and Graydon Carter as themselves and Eli Wallach, (from the Holidays). What a cast and I just touched the surface.

Do I enjoy the movie? Not really, too close to home. There are some terribly bright spots. "What is your number, I find everyone has a number, what it will take to walk away, what is yours?" "More." Later in the movie, Charlie Sheen has an uncredited walk on part and he did make his number and did walk away. He was not so greedy he had to have more. And the speech by Michael Douglas, where he makes the famous acronym NINA famous, but as NINJA, No Income, No Job, no Assets, was fantastic.

If you are here by way of LinkedIn, NINJA is why I put the post up. I am forced to attend meetings where I hear that we are short of tens of thousands of cybersecurity jobs. I am told that we need people that have skills, hard, technical, hands-on skills. Yet recently, I posted some of those jobs. they got hits, but they got far less hits than my Ashley Madison post. Is a cybersecurity bubble even possible? PANW is at $162 a share and they aren't even earnings positive, FEYE with a market cap of 6B, same story. Worth watching!

Try to make it to chapter 17, (I think I have that right). The "Too big to fail" section. Yes, this is fiction, but it is not so far from the truth. My son, yes that transitioned Marine son, bought me the book. He knew that since it was a gift I would have to read it. Made me want to invest in Green Stamps, (the original bitcoin and just as good for the long term).

Do I recommend the movie? Yes, I do. Each of us has a responsibility to leave a legacy and part of that is financial. The movie is helpful in many ways, one of which is the reminder of bubbles, again and again and I am not stuck on tulips. I am not and will never be a financial wiz, but I have seen the damage bubbles cause. Kathy and I have been largely blessed to avoid destruction, but it was dumb luck, not brilliance. Great lead in to my classic family friendly question; is it? I did not see any evidence of nudity and sex, didn't see any violence where arms get taken off and blood goes spurting. But there is a certain type of Wall Street violence going down in spades. I do think this is an opportunity for prepared parents to speak with their older children, especially about greed.

Will I watch it again? This was the second time and it is not feeling jaded at all. So yes, this movie stays on the shelf. And I will not kid myself, it is a good reminder to invest with your mind, (and statistics), not your heart. I keep my trading journal online. My journal helps keep me straight, but it is also for my son and brother in law. It is not exciting. It is far more current that the dates on the files indicate. Maybe it will help someone else and I am very open to ideas and suggestions. None of us really know how the market works, not even those guys who play themselves in the movie.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Rich teenager, Taylor Lautner, a "father" that spars full contact with him, anger issues and disturbing dreams.. Sigourney Weaver is his shrink, (nice that they let her play her age).

Aside from Weaver, I did not recognize anyone else in the cast with the exception of Maria Bello. My favorite role for her was Lil i Coyote Ugly. But despite a fairly green cast they do a fairly good job with the basic teenage angst, party, drive fast and all that is before the twist.

As part of a school assignment he finds his baby picture on a missing persons web site. The evidence keeps falling into place. So who are his parents?  The questions come faster than the answers and the screenplay is downright explosive right about then.

Is it family friendly? Hehe, well I wouldn't show it to a 4 year old. It isn't big on sex so you do not need to worry about that. There is some violence, but it is fake violence, most kids will not internalize it; it seems like a Nickelodeon film.

Would I watch it again? Not sure, but I am keeping it on the shelf. We have a kids section since we have guests so often. Maybe, a young teens section makes sense too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Elysium - Matt Damon - Jodie Foster

Sci-Fi. Haves and have nots. A somewhat dystopian society. Lots of weapons, special effects, what is not to like?

They keep Matt tamed down a bit. Otherwise the plot and cast would allow him to destroy everything two minutes after he got the exo-skeleton. There are some nods to other movies, especially Johnny Mnemonic. I don't think Jodie Foster got to shine in her role. I did like Emma Tremblay as the kid, I thought the story went well and Alice Braga did well as her mother.

Family friendly? I did not see any evidence of sex or nudity, but this goes into the category of shoot em up. I will put one in from time to time when Kathy is out, it passes the time.