Thursday, May 19, 2016

MONEY MONSTER -- my review

MONEY MONSTER is like a comic book movie for adults. There's nothing particularly heavy. I's escape without the cape. Instead of super powers you get super stars… or one-time super stars. Now they’re still-bankable stars. But hey, how many Batmans have we had?

George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in a film that can best be described as DOG DAY AFTERNOON meets THE BIG SHORT meets NETWORK, but not as good as any of them. And yet, I found it entertaining. It zipped along at only 97 minutes. Next to great movies are movies you don’t have to check your watch.

Jodie Foster directed it in a Sidney Lumet style. You’ll notice at every turn I’m comparing this movie to other movies and that’s because there was nothing really original about it.  Yet it’s very well done and holds your interest.

George is a goofy TV host of a daily financial show and Julia is his producer. NEWSROOM with funny hats and props. He is held up at gunpoint live on the air (add KING OF COMEDY to the mix). Now comes a big standoff with police negotiators, Julia talking in George’s ear, Swat teams, and an underlying conspiracy.

In an attempt to get out of the claustrophobic TV studio, the action eventually moves outside and the story gets very silly and implausible. But no buildings are toppled by X-Men, no doomsday machines threaten to destroy the earth, and no one is clonked on the noggin by a flying ancient sledgehammer.

This film did introduce me to Caitriona Balfe, who was quite stunning. Fans of OUTLANDER know her well, but I haven’t watched that show. Until now. I feel a binge coming on.

I saw MONEY MONSTER at a DGA screening. Jodie Foster did a Q&A after the film. She’s very talented. I think Jodie Foster will make it in this industry.

She talked about the development of the film, working for several years on the script, and getting George Clooney to come aboard. Their first choice for the producer character was Julia Roberts and Jodie was surprised when she said yes. Of course, Julia worked only eight days, most of them in a nice protected sound stage, and made several million dollars for her effort. It’s not like she had to do eight days on THE REVENANT and skin a bear.

MONEY MONSTER looks to be a boxoffice hit. George is charming. Julia has great teeth. The fact that it’s released now and not November says they’re not anticipating any Academy Awards, which is fine. It doesn’t deserve any Academy Awards. Of course, neither did AMERICAN HUSTLE, but because it came out in the Fall and was by a hotter director with bigger stars it did get some nominations.

If only Jodie had gotten Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.

Alas, MONEY MONSTER is just a diverting night at the Cineplex. And if they want to use this as a blurb:  It’s the best studio movie out there where no one flies.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

Julia talked into George's ear, feeding him lines? Add BROADCAST NEWS to the mix.


The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

I, for one, appreciate small entertaining movies. As long as the story is good.

Clooney and Roberts (sadly) are no longer bankable stars despite their considerable talents.
Both had their heyday about 15 years ago. And it's been mostly flops for them in the past 5 years.
Money Monster will possibly but barely make it's money back.

Jodie Foster is a unique talent.

Mike Barer said...

But seriously, on a national cable show sound stage, if anyone walked on the set, wouldn't security have pounced?

Johnny Walker said...

Damn. It sounds as good as the trailer made it look :(

blinky said...

Is George Clooney the new Sam Jackson, as in it seems like he is in every movie coming out? Or is it the new Bobby DeNero who had a run at being in every movie coming out a few years ago? That said, he was excellent as The Fantastic Mr Fox even if he did loose his tail.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Modeled after CNBC's Jim Cramer, I guess. It was worth it just to watch Julia smile.

Carly said...

@Bumble Bee Pendant - I don't understand your logic. You say George and Julia had their heyday 15 years ago. You also say they have considerable talent. But they're no longer bankable because..? Because their 15 years older? You think only twentysomethings are bankable? Hmm. Sounds like ageism to me.

Eric J said...

Sounds like a decent mid-week Netflix movie. It generates paychecks that are good for the economy. Hollywood has always produced mostly paycheck movies. Bills still gotta be paid between blockbusters.

Breadbaker said...

Oddly, because of Clooney's support of Hillary Clinton, until your review this film had come to my attention only as a result of various Bernie Sanders supporters knocking the movie simply because he is in it.

Norm said...

It has made $19-million plus in six days. The budget was $27-million.

Anonymous said...

Clooney and Roberts occupy the same strange definition for me.

I feel like I'd like them personally, but I can't deal with them as actors. That is, I'd never pay money to see them in any movie, but I'd agree to go on a three-day camping trip with 'em.

To me, a fun camping trip would be me, George, Julia, and Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer would be there so the three of us would have someone to say "shut UP" to. She'd be like our "Meg." Camping groups need one whipping boy to blame things on. Jennifer would be perfect.

- Hubert

Jim 7 said...

"Murder Live!" - 1997, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

A vengeful father takes talk show host Pia Postman, host of The Pia Postman Show on WYBS, and her audience hostage on live TV, when his daughter commits suicide after being humiliated on the show.

Marg Helgenberger, David Morse

Jerry said...

It has made $19-million plus in six days. The budget was $27-million.

Keep in mind that box office take is split roughly even between the studio and theaters. So if "Money Monster" has grossed $19 million dollars, that means Tristar has made in the area of $ 9.5 million. Not the entire $19 million.

People tend to be unaware of the split, believing that the studios get to carry away the entire box office haul. They don't. And that's why movies that look like the should have made money when you compare their box office take to their budget often didn't. And keep in mind that budget figures you see for movies generally refer only to the cost of production. Advertising and promotion is rarely figured in, and for a major release, that can add up to millions and millions, in and of itself. Which is why more films like "Money Monster," with more modest box office aims, tend not to get major ad campaigns.

Judith said...

Wrong, Ken. American Hustle was a terrific movie.

Anonymous said...

While they didn't write it, seeing Clooney and Roberts as the leads makes me think the movie will attack Wall Street and Big Corporations that are so corporate, and they will end up being the bad guy. Like how Matt Damon's original script had him being hunted by the CIA in Good Will Hunting.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

There are reasons why certain people are bankable stars.
Talent is usually the reason. Also the movies they choose to be associated with.

The reasons why they are no longer bankable has to do with movies why are associated with or "off the field" reasons. That is to say, they do or say something in real life that audiences don't like.

I believe Clooney and Roberts (especially Clooney) have been in too many bad movies, and it's possible people may be put off who they are off the screen.

just my assessment.

Cap'n Bob said...

I'm done with Clooney and his movies forever.

Anonymous said...

Cap n Bob, you mean for the time it takes to watch a George Clooney movie.

McAlvie said...

You know, a good movie that just tries to be entertainment sounds refreshing. No, it won't win awards because it isn't overlong, doesn't spend more time on scenery than it does on dialog, and isn't trying to convince us that it is somehow IMPORTANT.

I don't spend a lot of time or money going to movies these days (I did go to see the new Star Wars, of course) but I just might go see this one.