Tag Archives: Christian Bale

An entertaining night at the Golden Globes, with some surprise winners. And NFL wild-card weekend was boring until the end, as the Eagles survive a thriller

Every year the Golden Globe awards kind of sneak up on me. I know they’re in early January, I’m aware the calendar has turned, and then a day or two before they’re held I read something and I’m like “Oh yeah, the Globes are this Sunday!”

You know I love awards shows, even when they’re bad, so of course I have many thoughts on Sunday night’s long telecast, which I mostly enjoyed.

— OK, gotta start with the major award winners. Can someone please explain to me how a movie about Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody” wins the best picture award for drama, and not musical or comedy, and “Green Book,” which I loved, wins best musical or comedy when it’s really pretty much a drama?
I know the Globes are weird, like the crazy uncle at everyone’s Thanksgiving, but that’s really, really weird.

— OK, got that off my chest. On to other stuff; I surprisingly enjoyed the hosts, Andy Sanberg and Sandra Oh. I’m not a Sanberg fan at all, but he and Oh were funny. The monologue curveball of telling the famous actors and actresses in the audience how great they were was good, as was Oh’s declaration to all the people of color in the crowd that this moment, when so much of their work was being recognized, was real.

— My favorite thing from the hosts was the skit where they gave free flu shots to all the celebs. The fact that they kept inexplicably showing Jim Carrey all night made me wonder; He’s an anti-vaxxer, do you think he refused the flu shot? I also laughed hard at the “Inspiring Globe moments” montage featuring just clips of Oh and Sanberg winning.

— Still, as I say every year, why can’t Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host everything? They’re amazing.

— Winners I was thrilled about: Of course the highlight of the night for me was seeing “The Americans” finally get rewarded, as it is one of the five best shows of all time. I also very much enjoyed “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” winning for best actress for Rachel Brosnahan (I’m not loving Season 2 as much as Season 1, but much more on that in a post once I’m finished with Season 2), loved that “Green Book” got showered with love, and was very pleased to see Regina King win, because she’s great in everything.

I was shocked “Black Panther” and “A Star is Born” got shut out, just because they were so huge this year.

— Great speeches: Glenn Close (above) had the speech of the night, about empowering women, while Regina King’s was great, and oh yes Miss Carol Burnett, the amazing Carol Burnett, gave a heartfelt and sweet speech after getting a lifetime achievement award.

— I always find it interesting that even with so much amazing work being done on TV, at the Globes it always feels like TV shows and actors get second-class billing, that the movies get the last awards, and are treated with so much more prestige.

— Best dressed: Idris Elba, as always, is crazy handsome; my wife literally gasped when he walked out on stage and then started speaking (sure, he’s got lots of things I don’t, but does he know exactly how to get my wife’s coffee and bagel? I didn’t think so. I don’t feel threatened!) Allison Janney was stunning, as was Taraji P. Henson and Julianne Moore, who I adore.

— Worst-dressed: The wife says Darren Criss looked silly, while I want to know what was living under Rachel Weisz’ dress.

— Finally, the line of the night definitely goes to Christian Bale, who won for playing Dick Cheney in “Vice.”: Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration to play this role.”

Even Satan be like “Nah, Dick Cheney is way worse than me.”

**And now to the NFL, where wild-card weekend, as sometimes happens, was fairly boring until the end of the two Sunday games, and suddenly things got pretty darn exciting.

The final game of the weekend was the most dramatic, and I must say that that horseshoe that’s been planted up the Philadelphia Eagles’ rear end for the past two playoffs is clearly still up there. After scoring a dramatic, fourth-down go-ahead touchdown in the final minute, the Eagles allowed the Chicago Bears to drive down the field, setting up a final play 43-yard field goal attempt from Cody Parkey.

Improbably, impossibly, Parkey’s field goal hit the upright, THEN hit the crossbar, and instead of bouncing over the bar for a successful kick, it bounced back toward the field. And the Eagles, somehow, had survived again.

Poor Parkey. Guy has been getting destroyed, predictably, on social media over the miss, but he’s a human being and people should not take sports so seriously. No one player in football is ever totally responsible for a loss; the great Bears D allowed Philly a TD drive in the final minutes, they get some blame, too.

— Meanwhile,  Nick Foles, two years in a row, as a backup QB has come on and led the Eagles to a playoff win. Methinks maybe that guy gets a starting gig somewhere soon.

— I am all aboard the Los Angeles Chargers (still feels really strange to write that “Los Angeles” part) bandwagon! I love, love, love their defense, they ran the ball just well enough to win Sunday at Baltimore, and Philip Rivers is a playoff-tested, bad-ass QB who is fun to root for. It also kills me that their head coach, Anthony Lynn, is so good, since he was a Jets assistant for years and they never seriously considered making him the head coach.

I am absolutely picking the Chargers to beat New England next week. But maybe that’s my heart talking.

— It’s been a long, long time since the Dallas Cowboys have been really good. That was a solid win over the Seahawks Saturday night but for all the hype about Dak Prescott a few years back when he burst onto the scene, I just don’t know if he’s really all that elite. Guy makes a lot of bad throws.

— Andrew Luck vs. Pat Mahomes next week? Yes please. Luck is a really easy guy to root for; I’m really happy he’s healthy again and playing well. I think the game of next weekend is Chargers-Pats, but Cowboys-Rams could be entertaining as well.

 

“The Big Short” was way more entertaining than I expected, and still left me enraged. The best photos of the year. And Dave Barry’s Year in Review, brilliant as always.

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I went to see “The Big Short” last week not just because it’s based on a book I wrote (OK, OK, it was the “other” Michael Lewis who wrote it, must we be sticklers for details?), but because it got superb reviews and I was curious how the director, Adam McKay, could possibly make sub-prime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations into an exciting movie.

But damned if “The Big Short” isn’t pretty exciting. The cast is stellar, with Christian Bale and Steve Carell shining, but the script and the inventive way McKay uses to explain a lot of the boring technical jargon (a naked Margot Robbie in a bubble bath talking about finance certainly got me to sit up straight in my seat) was really what made the movie stand out.

The film doesn’t talk down to its audience, and actually makes the half-dozen or so main characters, who saw the housing bubble collapsing, and taking the world economy down with it, long before others did, seem like characters in a thriller.

To be clear, there are no “good guys” here, just some money men who figured out what was going to happen and made millions doing it.
Even as I was enjoying the movie, though, I got enraged, which is what I suppose is the point. This entire financial collapse we experience in 2008 could’ve been prevented, and it was caused by reckless greed and illegal behavior, combined with so many regulators looking the other way.

By the end of the movie, you feel angry that so few have gone to jail over causing so much pain and suffering. But you also feel this was an important story to tell that most Americans really should watch (kind of the same way I feel about “Concussion,” another flick I just saw, but more on that next week in this space.)

Go see “The Big Short.” It’s much better than you think it’ll be. And you’ll even learn something while having a good time.

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**Next up, two of my favorite year-end annual events. First, the New York Times’ collection of the Pictures of the Year, from news events around the world. So many haunting and beautiful images here, I’ve put two on the page here (above and below) but really, look at all of them.

Just amazing photography.

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**Finally today, one of my favorite annual things to read this time of year is Dave Barry’s hilarious take on the momentous events of the last 12 months. Barry is, without a doubt, the funniest newspaper writer who ever lived, and though he doesn’t write as much anymore, these year-end recaps still slay me. Some excerpts below; read the whole column here:

JanuaryOn DeflateGate: “The most fascinating theory is put forth by Patriot Head Coach Bill Belichick, a man who, at his happiest, looks like irate ferrets are gnawing their way out of his colon.”

March, on Putin: Abroad, Russian President Vladimir Putin mysteriously vanishes from public view for 10 days. It is later revealed that he was training customer-service representatives for Comcast.

August, on climate change: The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that July was the hottest month globally ever recorded. With a renewed sense of urgency, the world’s industrialized nations vow to continue sending large delegations via jumbo jets to distant conferences on climate change until this darned thing has been licked.

November, on Presidential debates: In presidential politics, Ben Carson reacts angrily to CNN reports suggesting that he never tried to stab anybody or hit his mother with a hammer. Really. Donald Trump continues his two-pronged campaign of saying reprehensible things and then clarifying his statements by saying he didn’t really say them so STOP HATING YOU PATHETIC LOSERS, a strategy that continues to cost him vital support among knowledgeable Washington insiders. Jeb Bush seeks to revive his flagging campaign by unleashing an awesome new slogan —“Jeb Can Fix It!” — and immediately surges ahead in the coveted 3-year-old-boy voter demographic.

“American Hustle” gives you your money’s worth at the movies. The Cowboys continue to creatively lose. And Jon Stewart, brilliant again

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**FYI: I feel an epic “Homeland” rant coming on for Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever I have time to properly vent about the season finale Sunday night…

One of the many great things about living in New York City is that movies often open in a few theaters here a week or two before they land everywhere else in America.

So it was that I got to see “American Hustle” in a packed house in Manhattan Saturday, and I can happily report that it met almost all my expectations.

It’s a wild, unpredictable, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic film, that leaves you no doubt it’s a capital M Movie. You know how sometimes you spend 12 bucks to see a film in a theater and you’re like “Really, that’s all I got for my money?”
“American Hustle” is not at all like that. It’s got beautiful people, like Amy Adams (who should get an Oscar nom she was so good), Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. It has action scenes, a cracklingly-good script, great performances from all, and enough plot twists to surprise.

The first 45 minutes were fantastic, as we learn how small-time hustler Irving (Bale) and his faux-English girlfriend Sydney (Adams) get wrapped up in a plot by an FBI agent named Richie (Cooper) to take down bad guys much higher on the food chain than Irving and Sydney.

Lawrence is Irving’s wife, and Jeremy Renner shows up one of the con men, and for a while the movie all gives them time to shine.
About halfway through, though, it sort of stalled, for about a half-hour, and that’s why I don’t think it’s a four-star, amazing movie. It gets back going thanks to a super-famous cameo and a crazy ending plot, but it sort of meanders for a while.

Still, this movie is beautifully shot, and the 1970s clothes, hair and attitude are brilliant and hilarious. (Quick aside: Has Amy Adams ever not been great in a movie?).

Go see it, whether you lived through the ’70s or not. You will definitely get your money’s worth.

**And now, Jon Stewart at his eviscerating best, taking down Megyn Kelly and the Fox News Blondes for their ridiculous complaining about Santa Claus, Christmas, and a bunch of other crap they were complaining about.

Stewart really is a national treasure, isn’t he?

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**You know it’s been a delightful Jets season when they lose by 10 and you’re happy they kept it close.
That’s kind of how I felt Sunday; even when my boys showed life against the mighty Carolina Panthers down in Charlotte, cutting their deficit to 16-13 in the third quarter, I knew something was bound to go wrong soon.
And it did, in the form of a blocked punt that quickly got turned into a TD. Geno Smith did some good things, but did many bad things, and I still think they need another QB in 2014.

Two more losses and I expect the Rex Ryan era, which started with such promise, to mercifully come to an end.

Around the NFL with some quick-hit thoughts…

— Ah, the Cowboys. Entertainment from them is more guaranteed than death and taxes. Somehow they blew a huge fourth-quarter lead at home to Matt Flynn (Matt Flynn!!!) and the Packers Sunday, and Tony Romo threw two INT’s in the final minutes, like he’s legally required to do. And here they saw Philly lay an egg earlier in the day and figured to gain control of the NFL Least. Don’t ever change, Cowboys.

— The Giants haven’t looked this bad on offense since Ray Handley was their coach (look him up, younger readers).

— Can’t decide which team was more pathetic Sunday: The Bengals, getting blown out early in Pittsburgh, or the Raiders, giving up 56 to Kansas City. Will Oakland ever be good again?

— Always nice to see Tom Brady so pissed in a post-game press conference that he curses on live TV.

— Jamaal Charles (above), I love ya, but scoring 5 TDs after my fantasy team with you on it already failed to make the playoffs doesn’t do squat for me.

— Keep forgetting to link this, but Peter King on themmqb.com did a great 3-part series on the life of NFL officials, going deeply behind-the-scenes with them for a week. I came away with a whole new sense of respect for their job, their lives, and their skill at making split-second decisions. Check it out when you can.

Thoughts from the first few wild days at the Olympics. And “The Dark Knight Rises:” A ridiculous but entertaining flick

It’s been a pretty wild first few days of the Olympics, hasn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like a whole lot has gone on the first few days, since Queen Elizabeth jumped out of an airplane on Friday night. It’s been exhilarating and sad and awesome.
Tried to watch as much Olympics coverage as I could, so some quick-hitting thoughts on what has gone down the first 48 hours or so:

— Gotta start with my man Ryan Lochte, who as I’ve said before, I covered for 3 1/2 years when I worked at his hometown newspaper in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was phenomenal Saturday in the 400 IM, cruising to a gold medal and leaving Michael Phelps in the dust, in fourth place. It was stunning to see how far off the lead Phelps was; NBC had to widen the camera shot just to get him in the frame for the last 100 meters. It was a dominating, no-doubt win for Lochte, and I was happy for him.
Then Sunday night, swimming a race he never swims (the 4×100 freestyle), Lochte was overtaken on the final lap by France and the U.S. had to settle for silver. I’m sure Lochte will get criticized a little, but silver’s about what the U.S. expected in that event.

— My every-four-years rant: Dear NBC: It’s 2012. Stop tape-delaying LIVE events and holding them for prime time. Frustrating trying to watch races on the computer and have it keep freezing. I mean, I know why they do it (advertising dollars go up in prime time), but come on, you can’t tape-delay sports in 2012! Thank you.
— So, the Opening Ceremonies: On a weirdness scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 43. Dancing doctors and nurses? Rings of fire in the sky? The Queen skydiving (OK that part was cool)? God bless the Brits for going for it, but man, it was hard to follow.
— I found the men’s team archery on Saturday wildly interesting, after never watching the sport before. It’s amazing how quickly you get invested during the Olympics; I was yelling at the TV for that U.S. guy Kaminski to PLEASE hit the gold “10” number at the end. At the finish, the heavyset Italian guy got the 9 point shot (is it called a shot?) he needed, and the U.S. had to settle for silver.

Still, it was exciting.

— NBC showed no compassion for poor Jordyn Wieber Sunday night; the American gymnast was the huge favorite to win the all-around competition, only because of Olympic gymnastics’ bizarre scoring system of only 2 competitors per country making the finals, Wieber didn’t make it.
So NBC decided to show her crying on camera a bunch of times, following her as she walked off the floor, then stuck her in front of America for an interview. I know, I know, it made for good TV. But I felt really bad for her.

**So I rarely ever see big summer blockbusters, but my fiance and her family really wanted to see “Dark Knight Rises” Saturday night, so off I went. It was … entertaining and ridiculous and everything a summer blockbuster is supposed to be.
And while I was highly confused for much of the flick, and laughed at its ridiculousness at many points (here’s one question: So Batman’s got all of these high-tech weapons and a cool vehicle and all that, and his enemy in the film is also pretty futuristic, and yet how do they settle their differences? By punching each other really hard in the face), it was still worth the price of admission.

Couple thoughts:
— Anne Hathaway was really good in this. I don’t usually like her in movies, but she was a superb Catwoman.
— Christian Bale spent much of the money looking sad and frustrated. He does that in every movie, right?
— I know it was a few thousand miles, and a week, away, but I’m not going to lie: Sitting in that theater watching that movie Saturday, I thought of the Aurora shooting. I tried to rid that image from my mind, but it kept coming back.

Still, all in all, a pretty good flick with some cool special effects and a great plot twist toward the end. There was even some humor thrown in so the whole thing wouldn’t be so dark.

If you’re a Batman fan, I’d say go see it.