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    Sunday, May 26, 2024

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans


    Dumb Money

    There’s nothing better than seeing a David take on a Goliath and win. The little guys here are individual, small-potatoes investors who went all-in on GameStop stock in 2021 and sent the price through the roof, which caused major financial losses for uber-wealthy hedge fund operators who shorted the stock. (The ending, alas, is far from a decisive win/loss.) Paul Dano plays financial analyst Keith Gill, who started the movement. Gill, wearing cat shirts (hence his nickname Roaring Kitty), goes online in his basement and shares his stock-market opinions and investments. People, from a nurse to college coeds, follow him. While the Wall Street aspect is fascinating, one of the best parts of the movie is the kinship between Dano and Pete Davidson, as his slacker, stoner brother. While their relationship is friction-filled, their bond is also evident. (Maybe Dano and Davidson need to do a buddy comedy next?) “Dumb Money” is invariably going to be compared to “The Big Short,” another movie focusing on monetary matters and malfeasance through multiple characters. “The Big Short” is a better film — smarter script, more creative directing — but “Dumb Money” is still very good.

    — Kristina Dorsey


    250 Greatest Guitarists

    Rolling Stone, Oct. 13 issue

    Every three or four months, a collection of 30 or so Rolling Stone contributors cranks out one of these lists, the purpose of which is not to enlighten so much as to manufacture social media arguments that boost revenue. “We tend to value heaviness over tastiness, feel over polish, invention over refinement, risk-takers and originators more than technicians,” the RS Wise Persons write of their criteria. Another thing they value is the sort of strategy that changed childhood athletics, for example, by ensuring everyone gets a trophy and equal playing time regardless of skill level. I don’t have kids, so I don’t know how erasing the idea of meritocracy on a playground works out. Let me say there are some surprising and even inspiring choices on this list. But I’m tired of artists like Eric Johnson, Roye Albrighton and Sonny Landreth — top-level “risk-takers, inventors and originators” who ALSO have “polish, refinement and technique” in spades — being routinely ignored just so PC half-asses like Stephen Malkmus and Carrie Brownstein get included.

    — Rick Koster


    A Haunting in Venice

    The third of Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie adaptations is solemn. It’s melancholy. It’s visually dark (watching it, you might feel as if you need to see your ophthalmologist for a check-up). Characters whisper more often than exclaim. In other words, it’s tonally very different from the shiny glamor of his “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile.” I prefer the “Orient/Nile” style of whodunnit, but there’s no denying that “Haunting in Venice” is a well-made film. The tale: A young woman is found dead in the water of Venice. Of course, there are countless suspects, including, but not limited to, her ex-fiance, her opera-singer mother, her family’s housekeeper, her family’s doctor. The acting is spot-on, especially Michelle Yeoh as a psychic and Tina Fey as a sardonic mystery author. And Branagh, as always, is a wonderful Hercule Poirot.

    — Kristina Dorsey

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