The Pursuit of Happyness: A Triumph of Human Nature That Lacks The Final Blow…

The Pursuit of Happyness is one of the most quoted films ever made, you see it all the time plastered all over the internet. Chris Gardner standing against the fence telling his son “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it.“. One of the most recognised and mainstream biopics ever made the film is made so much more powerful by the fact that it is based off the true story of now globally recognised American businessman Christopher Gardner. But that isn’t to say the film doesn’t have it’s ups and downs.

The film follows the story of Chris Gardner whom goes through the ‘stages’ of his life over the course of the entire movie and in many ways this foundation sets a strong pace that leads The Pursuit of Happyness to be neither to fast or two slow and rather somewhere in the middle ground exactly where a piece like this needs to be. The audience experiences the harsh reality of a man whom is so powerfully devoted to himself, his family and to the seeking of ‘Happyness’ but at the same time comes up against the strain of a bad investment made in his naïve youth.

Chris battles a broken relationship, financial instability, homelessness and mental torture all whilst trying to do right by his son. In an attempt to escape the mundane difficulties of staying put Chris puts everything on the line to become a stock broker on Wall Street leading him to lose his relationship, his home and himself for much of the film.

19 Crushingly Beautiful Movie Scenes That'll Make Parents Ugly Cry

The casting work of The Pursuit of Happyness has to be applauded, a young Jaden Smith puts in a top performance as ‘Christopher’ the son of his same named father Will Smith (Who could’ve guessed the family relatives would have great on screen chemistry). This is certainly one of Will Smith’s best and most substantial works and his effort portraying Chris Gardner is not to be understated either. You’ll very quickly take a strong attachment to Chris and his Son which is obviously partly due to the writing but in many ways equally so the top performances in those main roles. Thandie Newton as ‘Linda’ also gives a really emotionally charged performance that adds to volatility of the scenes in which herself and Will Smith interact, particularly as the film progresses.

The character arks and plotline (Although based off a true story) were also extremely well done. No character of importance was left without significant development with some powerful moments packed in between. Although it has to be said that the end of the film whilst putting a nice tie on things felt somewhat rushed and cut short, giving the audience a sense of finality but not so much the satisfaction that the events previous really merited. Chris seems to go through such an immense journey of highs and lows, rushing through the experiences most have in a lifetime in such a short amount of time just to end it all with some fist bumps and the deeming of the final stage of his life as ‘Happiness’. Whilst this does the job it perhaps doesn’t quite hit the mark perfectly.

With that being said The Pursuit of Happyness delves into some pretty intense and profound themes and ideas and does so in a clever, witty and enthralling way throughout most of its journey. Various scenes here and there probably weren’t necessary but the concept of the Rubix Cube (And the scene in the Taxi), the word happiness being spelt ‘Happyness’ on the outside of Chris’ son’s daycare and a lot of the advice that Chris gives to his son being really advice to himself were all catalysts for success in battling the life story of Chris Gardner in a creatively impressive way.

The life lessons were always going to be the focal point of a film like this and what The Pursuit of Happyness does right that so many other films like it don’t is that it does not preach, choosing to show rather than tell and avoiding cliques (not entirely but mostly) to get it’s point across not just about happiness, but really the nature of being human as a whole also.

The Pursuit of Happyness is a powerful and witty biopic that takes the example of Chris Gardner to delve into some of the harshest faucets of life that some may choose to ignore. Excellently casted and written The Pursuit of Happyness rarely gives you reason to take your eyes off the screen, boasting well rounded character arks and impressively compacted messages. An emotional rollercoaster The Pursuit of Happyness falls short in its ending but it’s successes make it nonetheless a fantastic watch.

8/10

Disney Plus Could Overtake Netflix, Here’s Why…

Disney Plus has absolutely exploded onto the scene and is currently pulling in unprecedented numbers and audiences that services such as Netflix surely must be feeling nervous about.

In November of 2019 Disney Plus amassed 10 Million Subscribers.

It is February of 2021 and Disney Plus has easily pushed past 90 Million Subscribers.

Take that in…

That is around 14 Months ahead of projections and there looks to be absolutely no signs of letting up with millions of new paying subscribers flooding in month after month.

In a little over one year Disney Plus has amassed an unbelievably large audience of over 90 million people, which is nothing short of mind blowing considering the fact that it was in the very same November of 2019 when the service was actually launched.

Lets compare that to Netflix. Founded in 1997 Netflix took SIX YEARS to gain it’s 1 million subscriber milestone in 2003.

Though it is important to understand that Netflix underwent a lot of changes in it’s first few years and was obviously arising in a very different climate.

However that isn’t to understate these numbers from Disney Plus. To push towards half of Netflix’s total subscribers (Around 200 million) in just over a single year is bound to concern the streaming giant.

Now Disney Plus is obviously aiming towards quite a targeted market by making the franchises under Disney’s control exclusive to that service, however with such an explosion into the market it would not be surprising in the slightest to see Disney Plus branching out to license other films from completely separate studios. Which could prove to be a huge threat to the success of Netflix.

And with projections for Disney Plus to reach around 230-240 million paid subscribers by 2023-24 how could you not be speculative as to where that will leave services like Netflix.

But How and Why has Disney Plus exploded in the way it has?

There are plenty of obvious reasons to pin to the massive and immediate success of Disney Plus, in built audience, plenty of funding, competitive pricing the list goes on. But what really seems to have pushed Disney Plus to new heights as a platform is it’s decision to have content that is completely exclusive to its service.

You quite literally are unable to stream those shows, movies and documentaries anywhere other than Disney Plus, and that is where Netflix just can’t compete.

You’ll be able to find heaps of movies on Netflix scattered across the streaming industry from Hulu to Amazon Prime Video to HBO Max to Stan you’ll be able to stream plenty of Netflix’s catalogue across other services.

This doesn’t apply to Disney Plus, you cannot find what is on Disney Plus on any other streaming service and you therefore have no other option other than to subscribe to their service if you wish to stream that content.

And what really packs the killer punch is the fact that Disney has control of some of the biggest franchises on the planet.

-Star Wars

-Marvel

-Pixar

-National Geographic

These are monumentally huge franchises with billions of dollars worth of production value boasting millions of unbelievably dedicated and global fans, all exclusively available to one service and one service only. Disney Plus.

It’s genius.

Netflix has tried to push their own smaller version of this concept with Netflix originals with mixed results, but there is just no way for them to compete competitively with Disney Plus as far as exclusive content goes because that is the very crux of Disney’s platform.

Netflix has variety but Disney has exclusivity. In essence that is where things currently stand and are the central reasons behind each platform’s success.

So hypothetically if Disney Plus was able to grow such a large subscriber base and proceed to branch out by licensing big titles outside of it’s direct umbrella, Netflix may well see detrimental downturns in returning subscribers. Meaning unless they make some serious decisions on how exactly they can add the same amount of incentive we’re currently seeing from Disney Plus.

Disney Plus is the fastest growing streaming service on the planet, and easily the fastest service to put up 90 million subscribers.

Does this mean to say that Netflix is going to crash, crumble, die and fall out of existence, absolutely not. But just you can’t help but be interested to see what Disney Plus does into the coming years with it’s platform and given the numbers the service is putting up (Which are only growing faster and higher) Netflix executives have to be looking at each other with considerable concern.

10 A-List Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar

The Academy Awards, more popularly known as the Oscars are regarded as arguably the most prestigious awards in the film industry and year after year stir up both excitement and controversy surrounding various nominations and eventual winners. Public opinion is always going to be divided following Oscar winners and nomination snubs, however there’s still a number of huge stars with plenty of reason to feel that they should have taken out the top spot at least once. So here’s 10 A-Listers who’ve never won an Oscar…

Will Smith

Will Smith as Christopher Gardener in 'The Pursuit of Happiness'

Nominated twice as Best Actor for his performances in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ and ‘Ali’ Will Smith is the first name on this list and currently has never taken out the top spot at the Academy Awards. From ‘Independence Day’ to ‘I Am Legend’ even given such an immensely large catalogue of movies across all genres Smith hasn’t bagged an Oscar yet to many fans displeasure.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise in 'Mission Impossible'

The ‘Mission Impossible’ star has had an illustrious career no doubt about that, but even with big performances outside of his most popular franchise in films such as ‘Minority Report’, ‘Rain Man’ and ‘The Color of Money’ Cruise has never received an Oscar. With three nominations at the awards for his work in ‘Magnolia’, ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘Born on the fourth of July’ whilst some still view Cruise as more of a blockbuster actor many still consider him unlucky to not have at least one Academy Award.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Zodiac'

Criminally underrated Jake Gyllenhaal has received just a single nomination at the Academy awards for his performance in ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and given his ability to put in quality performances how could he not be on this list. With fine displays in films such as ‘Nightcrawler’, ‘October Sky’, ‘Source Code’, ‘Prisoners’ and so many more it’s surprising Gyllenhaal has received just a single nomination and never taken out a win at the Oscars.

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. as 'Iron Man'

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most well known faces in Hollywood and outside of his most popular role as Iron Man he has been nominated twice at the academy awards for Oscars after his roles in ‘Tropic Thunder’ and ‘Chaplin’ however has never ended up taking out that top spot.

Matt Damon

Matt Damn in 'The Martian'

Outside of his penning involvement in ‘Good Will Hunting’ which won ‘Best Original Screenplay’ as far as acting goes Damon has actually never received an Oscar even after Nominations for his personal performances in ‘The Martian’, ‘Invictus’ and obviously ‘Good Will Hunting’. With appearances in ‘Interstellar’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ and so many more, many fans consider Damon more than deserving of an Oscar for his work.

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford in 'Blade Runner'

Harrison Ford has had a long and for the most part strongly received career in Hollywood and from his performances in ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ to those in the various ‘Star Wars’ films it may surprise some to see Ford on this list but he actually has only ever received a single nomination at the academy awards for his work in ‘Witness’ and outside of that has never won an Oscar.

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo in 'Spotlight'

Mark Ruffalo is once again a very underrated actor as far as mainstream attention goes and regularly puts in quality performances. With three nominations for supporting roles in ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Kids are Alright’ Ruffalo has never been nominated for a lead role nor won any Oscar entirely. Given the top-shelf Ruffalo performances found in ‘You Can Count on Me’, ‘The Normal Heart’ and ‘Zodiac’ Ruffalo not being even nominated for a lead performance has stirred controversy in many fans.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson in 'Batman Begins'

Say what you will about Liam Neeson but as far as his acting goes he has mustered some great performances, with a loaded arsenal of films such as ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Widows’, ‘Ordinary Love’, ‘Husbands and Wives’ and so many more it may surprise you to know that Neeson has never won an Oscar and has received just a singular nomination for his role in ‘Shindlers List’

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson in 'The Hunger Games'

Woody Harrelson is one of those actors whose persona may lead you to initially misjudge his ability to take on all types of roles and take them on well. The genre blending actor whom feels considerably underappreciated has been nominated three times at the academy awards for roles in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’, ‘The Messenger’ and ‘The People vs Larry Flynt’ but couldn’t bag an Oscar for any.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson in 'Pulp Fiction'

Last but certainly not least, Samuel L. Jackson has been nominated just once for his role in ‘Pulp Fiction’ and with such a massive array of movie appearances and big roles some feel that Jackson has been unfortunate not to at least get a few more nominations and even wins at the Academy Awards.

The 10 Highest Grossing Films of 2020 May Surprise You…

In all honesty 2020 was obviously a very difficult year for film makers around the globe, constant lockdowns and strict regulations to slow the effects of the pandemic made it near impossible for the industry to operate with the same level of efficiency as previously and in many cases halted production altogether. So given the unbelievable circumstances that plagued the film world throughout 2020 why not take a look back at which productions topped the box office ladder, some of them may surprise you…

10. The Sacrifice: $161,047,608

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This Chinese Wartime Epic finds itself sitting at 10th on the 2020 global Box Office rankings, with the entirety of that coming from it’s immense popularity in China. It is fairly rare for a film to be pushed so high up the rankings by its box office popularity in a singular country but ‘The Sacrifice’ and its tale of the final stages of the Korean War clearly did something right, showing an impressive box office performance of $161,047,608 .

9. Birds of Prey: $201,858,461

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DC made a significant return to box office success with ‘Birds of Prey’. This story of a broken Harley Quinn following her rejection from by the Joker was able to produce an impressive $201,858,461 at the global box office. Considering some of the last releases DC has put out I’m sure ‘Birds of Prey’ and it’s considerable success was cause to celebrate especially given it’s $82 million budget.

8. Legend of Deification: $240,654,967

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Perhaps another surprise to some, rooted deep in Chinese mythology and showing in Mandarin it would seem from the outside that ‘Legend of Deification’ would be popular to a fairly specific type of viewer, and while for the most part this film found nearly all its success in China it is again very impressive to have pulled in such an audience. Though small release numbers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, this beautifully animated piece still sits strongly on this list with a global release of $240,654,967.

7. Dolittle: $245,303,780

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Even with critic’s poor reaction to Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘DoLittle’ the film still managed to amass a strong box office performance around the globe with good domestic and global numbers totaling an eventual $245,303,780. However it is also important to understand the films huge budget of $175 Million due to it’s major usage of CGI and special effects. To many its budget renders it a flop however at the box office it still sits 7th.

6. Sonic The Hedgehog: $313,597,095

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Based off the classic video game ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ even following a huge redesign effort after its initial trailer release being laughed at by probably the entire internet managed to pull in an impressive $313,597,095 at the global box office off the back of an $87 Million budget. With mixed reviews and a stuttered release process some might be surprised to find ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ sitting at 6th on this list.

5. ‘Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train’: $340,100,754

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To some this might come as a massive surprise however perhaps given the unbelievable popularity of ‘Demon Slayer’ as an anime is it so out of the ordinary that its first full length film did over $340 Million at the global box office mainly across Japan but also Vietnam and Hong Kong also. ‘Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train’ amassed huge box office numbers that no doubt many will be surprised to see at 5th overall for 2020.

4. Tenet: $362,929,000

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The latest in Christopher Nolan’s impressive array of films ‘Tenet’ proved no less impressive at the box office from the outset. However once again it is important to consider this alongside it’s astounding $205 Million budget. The mind bender takes on the concept of time itself and whilst certainly not Nolan’s best was fairly well received and with a total of $362,929,000 at the global box office sits at 4th for all 2020 releases.

3. My People, My Homeland: $422,390,820

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Looking into the unique nature of various communities across rural China ‘My People, My Homeland’ is yet another Chinese Film that pushed to the top of global box office rankings without the need for Western ticket sales. With a box office display of $422,390,820, most of which coming out of the Chinese market this film sits firmly in the top three releases of 2020.

2. Bad Boys For Life: $426,505,244

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When Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were set to return for the third and more than likely final installment in the ‘Bad Boys’ trilogy there was always going to be huge numbers popping up at the global box office however I’m not entirely sure everybody saw a resulting $426,505,244 at the box office occurring off of just a $90 Million budget. With strong reactions from the public and considerably favorable critic response ‘Bad Boys For Life’ proved to be the second largest release of 2020 and the largest as far as the Western World is concerned.

1. The Eight Hundred: $461,339,528

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Sitting atop the 2020 Box Office charts is yet another Chinese wartime epic. Entailing the story of 800 Chinese soldiers fighting for their lives out of a warehouse against a surrounding and brutal Japanese army ‘The Eight Hundred’ had small Box office releases outside of China however pulled in a massive $460 Million from its target market and easily pulls clear to be named the highest grossing film of 2020.

The Big Short: A MUST for Economists and curious Film Fans alike…

The 2008 housing crisis in the United States (leading to the crash of the global economy) and the respective Global Financial Crisis that followed was one of the most immensely tragic and instantly devastating events in modern history. The effects of the crisis are felt even still around the globe today however so few are truly aware of why exactly the market came down the way it did, especially the newer generations who may simply see it as a devastating market crash and nothing more.

This is exactly why films such as ‘The Big Short’ are so perfect and immensely important for both casual and economically inclined viewers alike. Released in 2015 the fun poking but equally serious take on the GFC makes use of an absolutely stacked cast including the likes of Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Steve Carrell and Brad Pitt along with guest features including Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain. The film received multiple academy awards nominations taking the top spot for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) andgrossing over 133 Million dollars (USD) at the global box office with just a 50 Million dollar budget.

Whilst the film does a fantastic job to give a more in-depth and easier understood look into the circumstances surrounding the crisis on Wall Street it is multi-faceted in its ability to produce laughs and entertain throughout with equal ease. This without doubt comes about due to outstanding performances from the leads, in particular Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling whom whilst on completely different ends of the spectrum as characters, put in top-quality performances as central figures along with an equally strong display from Steve Carrell, Finn Wittrock and John Magaro.

The film dives into the story of how a group of various investors were able to actually predict the fall of the housing market on Wall Street and bet against the market before it crashed by shorting subprime mortgages, thereby making hundreds of millions of dollars at the very least when the market fell. All of which is based around real life individuals and their stories. These men were laughed at and ridiculed as they presented their cases to major banks whom were certain there was absolutely no chance of a market crash and would cash out on their loans to the investors.

Whilst not all the jokes landed and various scenes or ideas felt somewhat out of place or forced at times. The film travels along at a good pace and for the most part is relatively easy to follow, which is outstanding for a film explaining the internal nature of Wall Street and its investors during the largest crash in decades, an inherently quite difficult topic to grasp.

This film was absolutely mind-blowing for someone who never truly appreciated or understood both the endlessly ruthless nature of Wall Street nor the unbelievably corrupt system which used greed and ignorance to prosper off of the unsuspecting public whom really knew any better, a methodology that proved to be their downfall. It was the dozen whom profited from the market crash that found out the true nature of the big banks on Wall Street along with the highly corrupt nature of the ratings agencies which placed completely false ratings on horrible housing investments that were being marketed as ‘risk free options’.

The character arcs across this film are done particularly well in order to provide viewers with multiple perspectives from the very few men who took the time to take a proper look into the housing market and attempting to warn a Wall Street unprepared to listen leading up the the 2008 crash that made them some of the richest men in the world, but equally took millions around the globe from their jobs, families and lives.

‘The Big Short’ is a highly creative and fresh take which very few other films revolving around economics have attempted or pulled off with this level of quality. Director Adam McKay has made use of elements across multiple film genres with a highly capable cast and pulled the strings in a way that truly allows this true-story film to succeed in its mission to both entertain and inform. A remarkable look into the astounding events surrounding the 2008 Financial Crisis and a film where its shortfalls are heavily outweighed by its successes.

8/10

Lets Talk Movies: Why Benedict Cumberbatch’s “The Imitation Game” is Just so Good.

After recently revisiting the 2014 Award Winning hit I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘The Imitation Game’ is without doubt one of the most creative and outside of the box takes on the second World War that will spark excitement in all searching for something more than the ever-present and oversaturated market of explosion filled recounts seen year after year in the Hollywood scene. Based on a real life story is only the beginning.

The film follows a well paced timeline through the life and military work of Allan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a completely emotionally detached yet increasingly complex and loveable Cambridge professor with a scarred past and a love for intellectual challenge. After getting through a bumpy job application for a top secret job revolving around the greatest puzzle ever encountered in British military history, Turing and a small select group of Britain’s greatest minds are put to work against the German communication system/machine known as the “Enigma”.

The film whilst from the outset seems somewhat linear, given proper time and attention becomes far more layered as Turing goes through the ‘Impossible’ journey to crack the enigma and put the war in the favour of the allies. The introduction of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightly), exploration of Turing’s past and the reveal of Turing’s homosexuality all intertwine alongside the main plotline and leave viewers stuck on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the fine performances of the cast in this film. Cumberbatch and Knightly are perfectly cast for the roles and are particularly impressive as the leads.

As far as cinematography and large scale intensive shots go this is a war film that can easily rely on the enthralling plot and impressive cast performance to keep people in seats. Whilst the film does fall down slightly with some particular scenes feeling somewhat unnecessary or forced for the purpose of adding a more “Complex” feel, ‘The Imitation Game’ rarely takes a wrong step across its two-hour runtime.

The fact that this one is also based off a true story on an individual scale rather than just a war fiction makes it that much more appealing for a viewer who knew absolutely nothing about the story of Alan Turing nor his immensely impressive work and equally tragic treatment as a homosexual and as a military hero. Obviously fictional additions were made to the film for entertainment and plotline purposes however to think of the real life implications of the events entailed in the film is just jaw-dropping.

Overall, a powerful and immensely creative piece of work that travels outside of the box of traditional war films with impressive ease. Boasting fine performances from perfectly casted leads and supports ‘The Imitation Game’ truly is a must watch in the sea of modern wartime films.

9.5/10