Michael Scott

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Greed


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Movie: :2stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:
Final Score: :3stars:




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Movie

Greed tries to be the British Wolf of Wall Street meets Wall Street, and dare I say it? Got a bit greedy in the process. The film was meant as satire on the rich and famous world of clothes retailers, imbuing itself with the title of one of the 7 deadly sins, only to fall prey to a few of them in the end. Sadly the satire is nearly completely scrubbed clean of the final product, and the film’s falls victim to some slothfulness and greed itself as it bitterly rails against capitalism and corporate shenanigans in a seemingly angry, but undeniably myopic manner.

Greedy McCreadie (Steve Coogan) as one Sir Richard McCreadie is dubbed in the first few moments of the film, is a clothing retail tycoon who is just turning 60 this week. The man came from money, and made money hand over fist as he drove some of the hardest bargains in the industry. Starting out as a card con man, he uses his influence and power to strike business deals over seas, and undercut profit margins all the way around in his search for the ever loving dollar. Now he’s 60 years old and he’s throwing a gigantic party with A list celebrities so that he can rub the noses of the Jenners and the Apples of this world in his successes.

However, things start to go awry from the very beginning, with celebrities canceling out of the blue, the work for an overly ostentatious gladiator arena not being finished on time, and general malarkey that culminates in a giant row over kitchen utensils. All of this happens to be documented by the billionaire’s personal biographer Nick (David Mitchell), who watches as the family’s sordid history comes boiling to the surface and almost drowns the entire party in bitterness, anger and nasty secrets.

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Greed really is greedy in it’s ambition. It wants to be a massive satire on the rich and famous, but instead squanders it on unfunny showboating. We all know that rich people hide assets off short, or use shell corporations to maximize profits, but the film makes a big deal out of Nick finding out that McCreadie doesn’t exactly play by the rules the lower class THINKS that they are playing by. It’s all very superficial, with perfectly legal machinations that are legal to everyone, but the rich tend to take advantage of first. However, Greed makes a gigantic deal about this revelation, as if it’s news to anyone.

Slothfulness is another deadly sin the movie falls prey to, as the center act of the movie just plods along at an excruciating pace. Even by the time the final act “twist” comes into play, no one is still watching at that point. The violent twist might have been funny and poignant under different circumstances, but after watching a humorless and banal hour and 15 minutes of unlikable people doing unlikable things, it looses all humor and biting satire that was intended. Instead it’s just another unhappy incident in an unhappy film.

The final credits of the movie drops the real purpose of the film as it lays out the statistics of sweat shop laborer’s in other countries. It tries to tell us that the rich are so few, and the sweat shot laborer’s have so little, but none of that comes across in the film. We’re literally watching the rude and greedy antics of an eccentric billionaire, but so little time is focused on the seemingly main point of the film that you’re left wondering what IS the point. Is it a satire about how rich people are completely out of touch with the lower castes? Or is it a condemnation of the rich outsourcing labor to countries with low wages. Sweat shops to be precise. At the end of the day I’m not sure WHAT the purpose of the film was, as it doesn’t seem to know itself. The funny thing is, McCreadie is not really seen doing anything that bad. The worst you can say about what we see on screen is that he’s a raging egotist and he strikes a hard bargain. Not once do they show him engaging in criminal activity, nor does it show him being THAT evil. They show nearly an hour and a half of him being an absolutely brutal deal driver, and then point at the audience and say “see, look how bad he is! His deal making isn’t illegal, but we still don’t like it!”.




Rating:

Rated R for pervasive language and brief drug use




Video: :4stars:
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The digitally shot film (framed in 2.39:1 for the AVC encode) is generally resplendent, especially considering that it is filmed in the sunny beaches of Greece, and thus enjoys quite a bit of detail and clarity. Faces are well defined and given proper skin tones, and the contrast is exquisite. Darker shots can get a bit noisy in the low light environment, and the colors a bit more dim and grungy in nature. The black levels tend to be very good, showing only minimal crush, but they aren’t super revealing in the shadows, and the before mentioned noise levels do spike in them. It’s a good transfer, and while it’s not one of the best out there, is certainly very pleasing and glossy looking.



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Audio: :4.5stars:
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The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is surprisingly robust and exciting, delivering more than just the standard fare drama track. The soundtrack offers really exciting and powerful musical beats, complete with heavy drum beats and some intense surround swells. The dialog centric scenes are definitely front heavy, but the vocals are precise and clean, and even some of the dialog hefty sequences show some goodly surround activity (such as in the Sri Lanka hubbub, or the rumblings of the party near the end). It’s a good mix, and in some ways a great mix, and probably the single best part of the whole package.










Extras: :1.5stars:
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• Behind the Scenes - Steve Coogan describes playing the crass, bombastic Richard "Greedy" McCreadie, and why he and Director Michael Winterbottom are asking audiences "to connect the dots and give a ****."
• Deleted Scene














Final Score: :3stars:

Honestly, my biggest beef with the movie is that it’s not what it represents itself as. Coogan and Winterbottom (seriously, can you not have a more British name besides Winterbottom? Well, maybe Cumberbatch, but I digress) both advertise the film as a humorous satire, but the film gets lost in it’s own pridefulness (yes, another deadly sin) and develops sort of a complex as well, as it wallows in self seriousness. We see sweeping shots of sweat shops in Sri Lanka and they throw in a sup blot about Syrian refugees on the Greek beach where McCreadie is throwing his bash, trying to pluck at heart strings, which makes the entire endeavor about as humorous as The Passion of The .

Sony’s Blu-ray disc is from their Sony Classics line, which means it’s an MOD (manufactured on demand) disc (still stamped and not burned for the Blu-rays), it looks and sounds great on Blu-ray. The extras are a bit slim, but that’s pretty standard for the MOD line. However, those good specs can’t get over the fact that Greed is a bit too greedy in it’s aspirations, and a bit lackluster on the delivery. Personally I’d skip it.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Shirley Henderson, David Mitchell, Asa Butterfield, Shanina Shak
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Written by: Michael Winterbottom, Sean Gray (Additional Material)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: R
Runtime: 104 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 5th, 2020
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Recommendation: Skip It


 
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