Investments and Wall Street have been hot topics in Hollywood over the recent years with The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short taking real life events to the big screen. Now director Jodie Foster takes a fictionalised look at what happens when an investment goes wrong.
Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a popular show Money Monster giving tips of hot stocks to the viewing audience. During a live show disgruntled viewer Kyle (Jack O’Connell) manages to get into the studio and takes Gates hostage at gun point. As Kyle demands the cameras keep rolling as he asks for answers over a bad investment Gates producer Patty (Julia Roberts) tries to keep Kyle calm and Gates alive.
Considering the combined star power of Foster, Clooney and Roberts involved Money Monster is an accomplished and well produced affair. As in their previous movies together Clooney and Roberts work well together with their real life friendship flowing into a believable on screen chemistry as producer and star of Money Monster. Rising star Jack O’Connell manages to ozze charisma and raw talent as the angry but also somewhat sympathetic gunman. The central three characters are so compelling that the rest of the supporting characters fade fail to make much of an impression, apart from overwhelmed cameraman Lenny (Lenny Benito) and put upon assistant Ron (Christopher Denham) providing some comic relief.
Foster does a good build up, introducing the main players and the background to the events and when Kyle storms the studio it is a moment fills with tension. The film works best in these early stages and the action inside the studio keeps you glued to the screen. Perhaps if the whole film was set inside the studio it would have been a more thrilling, claustrophobic film. However whenever we step outside the thrills die and momentum is lost and struggles to build up again. There’s also the nagging feeling that the film is not as clever as it thinks it is and is not told in a particularly original way.
By the time we get to the last act the film feels too worthy and righteous to satisfy as an engaging thriller and its messages about evil companies are nothing new. It doesn’t help that the real bad guy of the movie is so obvious he might as well have villain tattooed on his forehead.
Rating 3/5 – solid enough but not outstanding despite a strong central trio
I’m not against Valentine’s Day. I’m also not against rom-coms. But I often feel like Valentine’s Day pulls me into two different directions. One part loves all the romance, the happy couples and the reassuringly cheesy rom-coms that inevitably come out at this time of year. Then there’s the other part that feels cynical, gets annoyed at the smug couples, or just can’t stand to see another rubbish romantic comedy (and I mean comedy in the loosest sense of the word)and can’t wait until the world goes back to normal again.
With this in mind I’m doing two posts this week. One where I’ll be discussing my favourite romantic movies and this one, which celebrates that sometimes around Valentine’s Day you want to see something that’s not the predictable boy-meets girl.
First off is My Best Friend’s Wedding. On the surface this seems like your normal rom-com, after all it starts Julia Roberts, what more proof do you need? Roberts plays Jules who is horrified when her best friend (a man-it’s not that kind of film) decides to get married to a preppy blonde named Kimmie and Jules realises she’s in love with him. So Jules naturally sets out to try and stop the wedding. Now normally in this kind of film we’d see Kimmie as the annoying villain standing in the way of the Jules’ path to true love. Except Jules is a complete bitch! And Kimmie is a sweet, sympathetic girl, and suddenly you wonder whose side you’re supposed to be on. Worth seeing if you’re sick of Rom-coms always playing the same predictable notes. And it’s actually funny!
Then we get 500 Days of Summer, which I enjoy mostly because of the sequence where Joseph Gordon-Levitt mimes along to the Hall & Oates song “You Make My Dreams” on his way to work and suddenly everyone else joins in. But that musical interlude aside this film mostly stays on the bitter edge, following what happens when a relationship is decidedly one sided. When the girl of your dreams doesn’t think you’re the guy of hers. Funny and thoughtful with another amazing performance by Gordon-Levitt (does he ever put in a bad one?)
If I’m really turned off by any kind of rom-com then I’ll just go straight into horror. I have a love/hate relationship with horror, generally not liking anything that’s too sadistic and mean spirited. A bit of humour is always welcome. So I’d probably go for something in the Scream or Final Destination franchises. Humour and scares often go side by side in these and I won’t feel too scared going to bed (ok maybe with the first Scream film) but I can still get my anti Valentine kick.
If I was to continue the horror films then I’d have to include one of my favourite films of last year The Cabin In The Woods. Perhaps more witty than scary but like Scream I love things that comments on the clichés of the horror genre and puts its own clever spin on it. Then maybe follow that up with Drag Me To Hell it’s funny and has likeable leads in Alison Loman and Justin Long. It also has some good scares (especially the old woman) and a great ending.
So that’s my Anti Valentine’s Day Films. I’d be interested in hearing what would be on everyone else’s lists.