Margin Call isn't the first film to peer into the moneyed, aspirationally heartless world of finance, and it's not going to be the last, but it's got a fair shot at being the one with the most masterful timing. J.C. Chandor's feature debut aims to offers insight into the mindset of bankers poised to plunge the country into the 2008 economic crisis because of their own reckless conduct, and it reaches screens as Occupy Wall Street has spread across the U.S. and internationally, fueled in part by outrage about a lack of accountability in the financial and corporate world. The film's not an indictment or a satire -- it's a tense but contemplative exploration of being on the other side of one of those mirrored skyscraper windows, of being in a precarious place of privilege, power and, most important of all, carefully guarded remove.
Writer-director J.C. Chandor isn't traditional Verge material -- a 15-year veteran of commercials, documentaries and short films whose dramatic feature debut, Margin Call features a eye-popping ensemble cast of Oscar winners (Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons), seasoned pros (Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker) and next-generation standouts (Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley) taking on the tale of a New York City investment bank flirting with oblivion at the dawn of the ongoing financial crisis. And thanks to both the cast and his own formidable chops, Chandor pulls it off with impressive aplomb.
"I've made some bad movies, but some of those bad movies have been other people's dreams, so it would be sort of inelegant to tread on all that. I've made movies because I've thought, 'God, I really want my kids to have a house in the country.' It's depressing, not being in charge of one's destiny. So what you have the power to do as an actor is the power to say 'no'. You don't have the power to say 'yes'." And: "I think it might mean no more action films! I mean, I love action movies, I love all sorts of movies, but there are just too many of the fuckers and too few movies for grownups." [The Guardian via MovieCityNews]
Three years after he shot to fame by terrorizing Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight, Cam Gigandet finds himself once again in a vampire flick -- only this time the bloodsuckers are really nasty, and Gigandet is one of the good guys. As a young sheriff in the upcoming Priest, Gigandet plays foil to Paul Bettany's Jedi-like warrior, both searching for a missing girl in the vampire-infested wasteland. Gigandet met with Movieline to discuss Priest and more after he and his fellow filmmakers debuted first look 3-D footage from the film at WonderCon.
If Screen Gems' upcoming post-apocalyptic thriller Priest feels a bit familiar to you, there's a reason: the film reunites star Paul Bettany with director Scott Stewart, with whom he made last year's avenging-angel apocalypse pic Legion. Produced on a relatively modest budget, Legion made $67 million worldwide but fared poorly with critics and, Bettany admits, suffered from its limitations. With Priest, however, he and Stewart aim to surpass their own benchmark and give audiences something that they haven't seen before: a 3-D post-conversion job worth the price of admission.