Downsizing is an American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne and also co-written by Payne and Jim Taylor. What an adventure Downsizing has turned out to be. This movie was so unique, I was unable to predict anything. However, this is where most of my praises end because there are a million reasons Downsizing could never happen. This movie is the fantasy of all fantasies. I think I have the most problem with 5″ people, that’s just not feasible.
In a futuristic world, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon, a physical therapist and Kristen Wiig, respectively) are living in Omaha, Nebraska with financial issues. At a high-school reunion, they encounter Dave and Carol Johnson (Jason Sudeikis and Maribeth Monroe, respectively) who have gone through the process of “downsizing”. This process, which is irreversible was invented 15 years earlier and involves shrinking humans to a height of five inches. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money. Their total assets of 125K would add up to 10 times as much as they have now or clearing 12.5M allowing them to live a very different lifestyle. Everyone the Safranek’s interviewed seemed to be happy and without any money issues. Children born to the downsized residents are born small and all body parts are in proportion. Animals are separated from the downsized by domes and hundreds of precautions are taken to protect all personnel. So needless to say, after exploring all the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agreed to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for downsized individuals. The procedure is turned out to be grueling and unnerving which caused one of them to back down at the last second. At this point, there’s no way to warn the other so only one ends up going through with the procedure.
Now you may think I’ve just given away this movie but I assure you, it’s only just begun. After getting over my anger at the spouse who wimped out for not jumping through hoops to let the other know of their decision, I wondered what would happen to the other since the procedure is irreversible. There must assuredly be a divorce for starters, and what about the money. How would that be allocated? Or would the other spouse have a change of heart and come on board later? Where would one find love in this small community, and if companionship couldn’t be found, what would their future look like without someone to share such a meager existence with? Choices are limited and regret began to show up rapidly.
Outside the walls of Leisureland, life was not so pretty and the ugly was about to be revealed. A savvy Vietnamese political activist, turned housecleaner named Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau), who was jailed and downsized against her will is about to change the entire flavor of Downsizing. Now I will stop here and give you an opportunity to see the movie for yourself. My 7.5 rating is only because of it’s inability to work as a workable plot, ever. Otherwise, Downsizing is a very interesting story with all the horror and suffering man is truly capable of creating. Lan Tran was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box and had her leg amputated upon arrival. Downsizing is definitely worth seeing. Check it out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged anne-helene, audrey safranek, brigette lundy-paine, christoph waltz, dave johnson, donna lynne champlin, downsizing, dr andreas jacobsen, dr jorgen asbjornsen, dusan mirkovic, eric burns, hon chau, ingjerd egeberg, james van der beek, Jason Sudeikis, joaquim de almeida, joris konrad, kristen wiig, margo martindale, maribeth monroe, matt damon, ngoc lan tran, niecy nash, paul safranek, Rolf Lassgård, soren pilmark, udo kier
Sneaky Pete is an Amazon original streaming on Amazon. I found this series to be a fun adventure in the life of con artist. Sneaky Pete focuses on a lone grifter and whatever crew he picks up for his con game. At times the story gets pretty complicated as con games go. I found myself binge watching the entire season in 1 night — so I’d say Sneaky Pete is pretty good.
Marius Josipovic (Giovanni Ribisi) is in prison for a crime he had to commit in order to save his life. While in there, he finds out from his brother Eddie Josipovic (Michael Drayer), that he cannot come home once he makes parole, so Marius decides to hide from the gangsters he owes a great deal of money to by assuming the identity of his cellmate, Pete. He moves in with Pete’s family, who hasn’t seen him since he was a small boy (over 20 years ago) and is roped into the family’s bail bond business. Marius ends up a criminal taking down other criminals and, in the process, he’ll discover the family life he’s never had, among other things. The situation is not “easy peasy” for Marius because the leader of the old crew knows Marius is out of prison and is threatening Eddie to get Marius to return. Of course there are many unanswered questions Marius attributes to memory lapses, which cause suspicious moments from some of Pete’s family members. This problem definitely motivates Marius to work overtime researching the answers, even paying a visit to the prison to see Pete, who talks excessively about his pass family life. Sneaky Pete is both dramatic and humorous but make no mistake, dangerous and violent. Vince (Bryan Cranston) is the ruthless leader of the old crew and is always at the top of his game. Otto and Audrey Burnhardt (Peter Gerety) and (Margo Martindale), respectively are Pete’s grandparents, who almost steal the show as they are smart, bad ass and resourceful, not your typical grandparents.
Sneaky Pete airs in 10 episodes on Amazon and is exciting, adventurous and suspenseful. I was hooked after 1 episode. Season 2 is slated to start in 2018.
Posted in STREAMING
Tagged bryan cranston, eddie josipovic, Giovanni Ribisi, grifters, margo martindale, Marius Josipovic, michael drayer, otto burnhardt, peter gerety, sneaky pete, vince
Why oh why didn’t this movie get a nomination for Best Picture? There are 10 slots for Best Picture. August: Osage County, “AOC” or The Butler could have filled the last slot which remains blank. I can’t say enough about this extremely well acted and well told story. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. Before I saw “AOC” I had my sights set on a different actress for the Best Actress award. After seeing “AOC”, hands down, Meryl Streep deserves that Oscar. Over all, the movie almost resembled a play but was so well done, it just didn’t matter. I don’t think “AOC” has gotten it’s just desserts. Additionally, I don’t think it was well marketed. I was amazed at both the direction and the acting. A cast of veteran actors really makes this movie among the best for me. Contributing to the brilliant performances in “AOC” are Julia Roberts who plays Barbara Weston, Chris Cooper who plays Charlie Aiken, Juliette Lewis who plays Karen Weston and Margo Martindale who plays Mattie Fae Aiken. The film is about a highly dysfunctional family who got that way because of their highly dysfunctional parents, brilliantly played by Meryl Streep who plays Violet Weston) and Sam Shepard who plays Beverly Weston.
Drop everything and go see August: Osage County — it’s really worth your time and money. For me, this may be Meryl’s best performance, to date! Check it out.
[AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress]