The Hummingbird Project (2018) Poster

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10/10
Fantastic and Unique
hledmonds14 October 2018
I saw The Hummingbird Project last night at BFI. It's captivating and interesting, funny and thought provoking. The acting is incredible, Eisenberg does a fantastic job with some pretty emotional stuff. Salma Hayek is great, it's cool to see a woman with so much power for a change. The real standout to me though is Alexander Skarsgård. His role is spectacular. It's unlike anything he's done before, he brought a perfect amount of comedy to the role.
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8/10
The Skarsgard Project
KarenAM1 October 2018
The movie is projecting modern society's hunger to grasp more from life, to get richer and faster. While the story and pace of the movie is fast enough to keep our interest in it,the script however, feels a little dry. Imagery is just captivating and production design is on top. The highest praise I can think of the movie is Alexander Skaarsgard's acting - which is smart, emotional, funny and nothing he has done before. A supporting actor nomination is a possibility if the movie gets wider recognition and release.
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7/10
COUSIN VINNIE
js-6613028 February 2019
When a financial IT hustler in the midst of his greatest gamble is presented with a death sentence, he decides to dig a deeper hole.

Twitchy, wide-eyed Jesse Eisenberg is perfect as the edgy and on the edge Vincent, putting out a series of unfortunate fires in his bizarre quest to drill a straight fibre cable pipe from Kansas to New Jersey. Better is balding nerd, hunch-backed, awkward code crunching cousin Anton, played by unrecognizable Alexander Skarsgard in equal doses of clown tear sadness, and physical slapstick. Their escape from and battle with Cruella Devillish Salma Hayek (strong boss Eva), stirs the plot pot.

"The Hummingbird Project" is an exercise in determined futility, as a couple of misguided geniuses in search of life-altering, get rich quick adventure, get in way over their heads as their world spirals out of control. And though the film veers off common sense tracks, there's no denying it's power to cajole viewers along for the crazy ride.

Dig it!
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7/10
Offbeat, gripping cyber thriller, a tad patchy
PotassiumMan23 March 2019
Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard are entrepreneurs who undertake an audacious venture to deliver a fiber optic cable from Kansas to the New York Stock Exchange that is faster than all the other portals by just enough to make a staggering difference in market returns. In choosing to take this gamble, they wind up using valuable information obtained from working for their former boss (an effectively domineering Salma Hayek) whom they now find is their competition.

Although this is a well-acted film, its momentum is a bit erratic. The storyline never loses its energy but the plot sometimes takes peculiar detours. This ambitious enterprise is fraught with the emotional imbalance of its two dissimilar protagonists, one a highly calculating salesman (Eisenberg) and the other a neurotic computer wiz (Skarsgard). We discover that each one has motivations of his own. As considerable opposites, they keep the film's dynamic engaging.

Some of the film's best moments are when these two aspiring masters of the universe find the core principles behind their work being challenged by the citizenry they cross paths with. The film takes a mild-mannered look at the ethics of the project but mostly lets the audience judge for itself. Recommended as workmanlike filmmaking on obscure but compelling material.
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5/10
a dancing Skarsgard is not enough
ferguson-621 March 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. More. Better. Faster. Most industries have those goals, and this story from French-Canadian writer-director Kim Nguyen focuses on high-frequency stock traders ... particularly a race between two competitive firms to cut one millisecond off the processing time. We learn that one millisecond is roughly one flap of a hummingbird wing (hence the film's title).

We also learn that one millisecond can translate into hundreds of millions in profits, which is why cousins Vincent and Anton walk away from their jobs at the Eva Torres brokerage firm to pursue their dream of shaving that single millisecond. Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) is the fast-talking visionary and deal-maker, while Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) is the computer programming whiz. Yes, you read that correctly. Sex symbol Skarsgard ("True Blood", "Big Little Lies") plays a paunchy, balding, computer nerd with zero social skills. He also delivers the film's most enjoyable dance moves ... it's a moment to which any programmer can relate.

If any of the above (other than Anton's dance) seems the least bit exciting or enticing, you should know that the bulk of the film deals with the digging and drilling (there's even a montage) required to lay the fiber optic cable that will allow this extra-quick data delivery. Their plan is to tunnel from Kansas City to New Jersey in a perfectly straight line. Because of this, we get conversations with homeowners, conversations with Amish, conversations with drilling experts, and conversations with those who want this to happen, and those who don't. Have you ever thought about drilling through a granite mountain that is located in the middle of a park? Neither have I, and I wouldn't have thought of it again if not for writing this review.

To clarify, this is a story that seems like it could be true, but isn't. Most of the screen time is devoted to either underground drilling, computer programming, or intellectual property. And while I'm sure each of these categories have their fans, most will agree the transfer to cinema does not come off especially entertaining. In fact, it's so dry that the filmmaker felt the need to include a cancer sub-plot in hopes that we might find Vincent a bit more appealing as a character. It should be noted that since his Oscar nomination for THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Mr. Eisenberg has displayed a remarkable lack of variation in the roles he's chosen and characters he's played. At this point, we mostly just find him annoying, rather than brilliant or even mildly interesting.

Salma Hayek plays Eva Torres, former boss of the cousins, and now laser-focused in not letting the boys win. Ms. Hayek is given relatively little screen time, and is portrayed as the villain ... although her goals are no different than Vincent's and Anton's. Michael Mando plays Mark Vega, the partner and drilling expert the boys choose to project manage this undertaking. Mr. Mando is best known as Nacho from both "Better Call Saul" and "Breaking Bad". Ayisha Issa brings a momentary jolt to the proceedings as a mountain driller, but the film simply drags when neither Mr. Skarsgard nor Ms. Hayek are on screen.

Technology is a very difficult topic to make visually entertaining. I'm not talking about the high-tech special effects that go into making the wildly successful superhero movies that are so popular these days. No, I'm referring to actual technology ... programming and data analysis. The list of technology-focused films includes: SNEAKERS, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, OFFICE SPACE, HACKERS, WAR GAMES, SWORDFISH, and THE IMITATION GAME. The best of these understood that the story around the technology was more vital than the actual programming being done. And all of them were wise enough to avoid drilling and digging. Then again, none of the others featured a dancing Skarsgard.
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10/10
Wow great movie!
Danielle-laferriere19 March 2019
This movie is an important reflection on the money system in our société. Funny, deep, captivating, Nguyen director and acting of Hayek (a powerful women), genius Eisenberg, and fabulus Skarsgard a must to see!
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6/10
Wants to be like "The Big Short" but falls... short
paul-allaer31 March 2019
"The Hummingbird Project" (2018 release from Canada); brings the story of cousins Vinnie and Anton. As the movie opens, we are at the offices of "Torres & Thathcher, New York, October, 2011", where Vinnie and Anton both work as data analysts. Unbeknownst to their boss Eva Torres, Vinnie and Anton are planning to leave and branch out on their own, as they have found a way (or so they think) to get data from the Kansas Electronics Exchange a millisecond faster than everyone else by building a 4 inch fiber tunnel in a straight line from Kansas to New York. Of course, this involves many legal and practical challenges. Off they go... At this point we are 10 min into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this movie is written and directed by little known (on the US side anyway) Canadian Kim Nguyen. Here he brings a story that could have a major impact on how stocks are traded on Wall Street. Within minutes, it is clear that the vibe Nguyen is going for is Adam McKay's "The Big Short". In and of itself there is nothing wrong with that. Except that here, it simply doesn't work all that well. First of all, we need to make a leap of faith that stick traders getting data in 16 milliseconds rather than 17 milliseconds (think about that) will cause a tornado in the stock markets. Second, the movie makes a number of side bars that divert from the major story line (sorry, I don't want to divulge more than that). On the plus side, the movie is helped enormously by the lead performances. Jesse Eisenberg (as Vinnie) and, even better, an almost unrecognizable Alexander Skarsgård (as Anton) truly carry the film on their shoulders. Salma Hayek's screen time (as Eva Torres) is all too brief, unfortunately. Bottom line: the movie is not bad per se, but neither is is compelling. It all feels like a lost opportunity.

"The Hummingbird Project" premiered at last Fall's Toronto International Film Festival to so-so acclaim, and the movie now is getting a limited theater release. It opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and the Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (8 people, including myself). I can't see this playing in the theater for more than just a few weeks. If you are interested in a "Big Short"-wanna-be that falls, well, a bit short but that has its moments, I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater (if you can), or VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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1/10
I want two hours of my life back!
apostolopouloskostas31 March 2019
It's not even true story and it is no reason to be this a movie. It's a waste of time. It's starting with two guys trying to make money and it ends with completely nothing. What is the reason for the film? Actors and director trying they best but the story and everything about the film doesn't deserve anything above 1.
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