Hidden Figures (2016)

Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) makes a first movie and gets beaten up in NASA mission by our protagonist, thats a first. I could see him twitching with pain when Katherine Johnson, erases the black board (no pun intended it is black board not white board) and rewrites the formulas for John Glen‘s pod re-entry, unfortunately Penny was not there to console him.

The review

Hidden Figures is a wonderful uplifting story of three African American ladies during segregation, making it to the top in NASA space mission.  The bubbly, Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who wants to be an aeronautical engineer in the white mans world, men watch her struggle through a observatory window when her heel gets stuck on the launch pad. The senior, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) who is managing a colored computers – literal meaning is a black women employed for computing. The genius of the trio is Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) who is calculating rocket’s trajectory and re-entry crossing odds with Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons famously known as Sheldon Cooper). The movie is fairly star studded, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) is head of the launch mission who at first is very skeptical of the Katherine’s math abilities, he is a fantastic scientist with great leadership skills, but his human side is revealed when he discovers that Katherine took half hour breaks on a critical mission days just to learn that she had to walk half a mile (rain or shine) to relieve herself in the colored bathrooms. Takes a sledge hammer and shatters the  signs of color of the facility and declares “There are no colors here at NASA, we are all one color”. In the other building Dorothy updates her staff with coding (FORTRAN) so that they don’t become obsolete on the installation of IBM supercomputers in the building, in the interim gains the much anticipated respect from her supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst). Mary breaks the barrier to be the first women to go to a College for White only through a court order. The icing on the cake is when management decides to take off Katherine from the mission control since all the calculations can be done by IBM computers, John Glenn personally orders to get Katherine to verify the calculations done by the computer. She oversees safe re-entry of John Glen in the Mission Control room filled with White people (I mean all men dressed in white shirts), with Katherine in a bright colored dress. She later goes on to supervise the Apollo 11 launch, mission to moon.

The movie is a pleasant watch, very well directed by Theodore Melfi, a must watch for all children.

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Passengers (2016)

Hmm, where do I begin with this movie, its an arms race to build a colony on Mars and beyond, first we had Gravity(2013) where you saw what it was like getting drifted in Space, then came Interstellar(2014) and Martian(2015) where they landed and grew a plant there. Here in passengers they have taken it to the next level, passengers settling on another planet. Every next movie uses part imagination and part scientific evidence to push the envelope backed by NASA. George Lucas is like you all so 18th century.

The review

The first 30 mins the movie is played by Chris Pratt (Jurassic World 2015) is awakened on a spaceship prematurely since his hibernating pod has malfunctioned, with no one available to talk; sounds scary but we have seen worst on Cast Away(2013). He scans through all the profiles of 1500 passengers and picks to wake up JLaw ( her name in the movie is Aurora, why did you not leave her sleeping, don’t you watch Disney Movies man). Don’t worry, ‘If I was you, I would be waking her up too‘. Now the next 30 mins or more they are busy trying to find out why only they are up and rest are hibernating peacefully for 90 years. Whatever happened to ‘Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Hon, Aur Chavi Ko Jaye‘, maybe I am old schooled they had a whole ship by themselves with all the amenities, food and wine at disposal. Lo and behold after an hour into the movie they find romance between them. It took less time to bring two Pandas together in NYC Zoo. Since Chris discovered sex; by the way JLaw claims this was her first on screen, he thought of waking up Julia Roberts too, but then the director yelled at him, it would cost them another 2o million.

All is well and Chris has planned to propose JLaw at the bar where our only humanized robot Arthur as witness, he takes off to get the ring and Jlaw is chatting with Arthur, disaster strikes, Arthur spills the beans as how Chris contemplated waking her up with guilt and finally went for it and now all looks so good with them together. JLaw is furious and breaks up with Chris for forcefully waking her up.

As fate has it, Chris waking up abruptly was beginning of more problems to arise on the ship and now Chris has to get out into the space and fix it. Love is lost, what more can he loose, he gets out and fixes it but drifts into space. JLaw could have let him go, Brad Pitt was sleeping in one of the pods, looks like she was smitten by Chris and risks her life to bring him back.  You think she will fail in the mission, hello so predictable, then they live happily ever after. No really they do and leave a legacy behind for the hibernators to see a rain-forest created in the space ship after 90 years.

I like JLaw, her movies are best but if I have to watch her I would watch Hunger Games again.

 

Money Monster (2016)

Prologue(Click here to jump to review)

Wifey wanted to watch the Civil War with kids on Mothers day weekend. I politely declined  going to theater and waste my hard earned money. Then comes the emotional blackmail ‘you never want to spend time with your family’. I said if we have to go to movies then I would prefer to watch Mother’s Day – starring Jennifer Aniston (wink wink). Surprisingly she agreed too, the plan was we would drop kids in the Civil War hall and we go to Mother’s Day. The usual kids weekend activities began  and next thing we know it was bed time. Movies just vanished in thin air. Then came the following weekend, while I was taking care of Madhav’s activities and she doing Sarang’s, she just called and asked me to get four tickets to Civil War on my way back to 6.30pm show.

As usual I said again “I am not interested to watch Civil War.

“No, we are going with Josh (Sarang’s classmate), just get four tickets”.

Wow! she had just deleted me from the consideration. I was cool with it.

While I booked four tickets, couldn’t help but notice that there was Money Monster airing around the same time. Decided to go alone – felt lonesome, stepped out of line and dialed good friend who lived close by. Him and I been long time Wall Street guys, wasn’t a hard sell to convince him to join for the movie; especially starring – George Clooney and Julia Roberts put the last nail in the coffin. Believe me, guys who are not into guys, dig Clooney, and Julia is Americas sweetheart. Enough of the prologue, lets cut to the Chase (Manhattan)…

The review

There are scores of movies made on Wall Street and this is no different, but this starts with a comedy, where Clooney is Jim Cramer of Mad Money. I jump out of my chair cheering for Clooney for mocking Cramer (the bastard of Wall Street – no regrets on calling that), while the humor continued on the screen, I am wondering is this the movie where Clooney is Austin Powers of  Michael Douglas’s Wall Street with Julia as his sidekick, his voice in the ear. That comedy ends soon when on air Clooney is taken hostage by an unknown delivery guy(Jack O’Connell). Julia helps Clooney get thru the crisis while staying in his ear all the time. Finally the camera moves out of the studios and lands with the protagonist on the Main Streets of Manhattan for all those moviegoers to guess the streets while the camera pans thru. The usual 99 percenters are rooting for Jack to blow the heads of Clooney, disregarding their personal safety where Clooney is strapped with Bomb vest. Talk about saving money by Jodie Foster for creating the entire movie in a recording studio,  the camera is back into the Financial Building where the real villain; CEO of public traded firm IBIS; akin to Bernie Madoff  is made to face the camera and tell the truth as to why his stock crashed 800 million in half hour, where millions had lost their nest eggs. You guessed it, the hostage taker is one of them. The villain starts off with the usual line ‘This is one of those glitches in the computer that triggered the flash selling’. Clooney’s sidekick has done some research by now and demands a real answer, turns out this wall street genius who was delivering 18% returns to his clients over decades had made one wrong bet in South Africa that had wiped out his entire portfolio.

 The movie is fast paced and don’t miss the comedy in the beginning, because thats all you get. Clooney and Julia are good but it’s Jack O’Connell who steals the show. The movie is not a block buster.

Disclaimer:Although I have worked for two decades on wall street, you might wonder am I the The Wolf of Wall Street, I am not, I am just that bitch who creates the glitch; a computer guy from the back alleys of Mumbai.


Chase Manhattan: while Clooney walks on the streets you can’t help but notice the iconic Federal Building(Gold Reserve) on one side and Chase Manhattan on the other.