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Review: Money Monster

Money Monster
05.12.2016
5 10
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PLOT: An obnoxious TV financial guru (George Clooney) is taken hostage live on-air, by a young man (Jack O’Connell) financially ruined by one of his stock tips.

REVIEW: When it comes to being a film critic, there’s absolutely nothing worse than giving a bad review to someone you admire. I adore Jodie Foster. I think she’s one of the great role models of her generation, and a talent rarely equaled by her contemporaries. Suffice to say, I was rooting for MONEY MONSTER, but it’s an ill-conceived film that goes wrong early-on and never recovers.

money monster george clooney

Clooney plays a loud-mouthed TV host probably modeled after someone like Jim Cramer. Working as a kind of “infotainer” we’re supposed to believe that people take this ultra-childish guy – who beat-boxes to hip-hop while wearing G-chains in his intro – seriously enough to invest their life-savings into what he says. Fine – stranger things have happened and had MONEY MONSTER come along a year ago, the reception might have been more positive.

Alas, THE BIG SHORT happened. Arguably the best movie about money since WALL STREET, that movie dared to treat its audience as if they were – God forbid – grown-ups. By contrast, everything in MONEY MONSTER is so spoon-fed it becomes ludicrous. Financial jargon is kept at a bare minimum, while they also try to soothe the audience by treating the financial maleficence that bankrupts Jack O’Connell’s character as the shady dealings of one evil genius CEO (Dominic West). Everyone else, right down from his data people to his communications adviser are portrayed as 100% in favor of the little guy – making this far from the condemnation of a broken system the trailer might leave you to believe it is.

All of this leaves us with the human drama as the main reason to see this. Sure enough, Foster’s got three excellent actors in the lead roles. Clooney has the swagger and charm to make the character work somewhat, but his transformation from a total SOB to a selfless champion of the disadvantaged – to the point that he risks his life over-and-over to protect that man who threatened to kill him – is never convincing.

money monster julia roberts

Jack O’Connell, who’s an amazing young actor (he’s terrific in ’71 and STARRED UP) gets a role that feels like old-hat, a working-class hero trying to make a difference. Basically, John Travolta played the exact same part in the now-obscure MAD CITY. The only real original twist is that his pregnant girlfriend (Emily Meade) winds-up being anything but sympathetic. The one who fares best is actually Julia Roberts, who impresses as Clooney’s tough director, who takes control during the hostage situation with compassion and dogged professionalism. She’s the only one who feels authentic.

What’s also quite strange about this is that Foster, perhaps in an attempt to give the film some sense of levity, introduces weird little comic digressions that make the whole movie seem like a kooky caper at times. When they go back into dramatic mode, the audience is so used to laughing that scenes that should be somber become unintentionally hilarious. The background characters also feel like stock-types, from the boorish hostage negotiator to the wise-cracking New York cameraman, to the cool, professional police captain (Giancarlo Esposito).

In the end, what should have been a smart, provocative thriller feels like a corny rehash – THE BIG SHORT or 99 HOMES if their filmmakers didn’t have the faith that the audience would be sophisticated enough to know who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. This is a major misfire for all involved, but also not quite bad enough to be considered an all-out disaster. It’s just a mediocre waste of talent and time.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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12:25AM on 05/14/2016
1997 called they want their movie back.
1997 called they want their movie back.
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7:24AM on 05/13/2016

Another Clooney Box Office Bomb

Clooney is not a movie star. He's a decent actor who looks good but unless he's part of a bigger cast can't make a movie that makes money. Julia Roberts has become the same way. Both let their political views drive their narrative and now half the country doesn't like them and no one under 30 cares a thing about them. Tomorrowland should have been all the proof any studio needed to know better than to put him in a movie, small or large budgeted and expect to make any money. Clooney is boxed in
Clooney is not a movie star. He's a decent actor who looks good but unless he's part of a bigger cast can't make a movie that makes money. Julia Roberts has become the same way. Both let their political views drive their narrative and now half the country doesn't like them and no one under 30 cares a thing about them. Tomorrowland should have been all the proof any studio needed to know better than to put him in a movie, small or large budgeted and expect to make any money. Clooney is boxed in and as the Sony emails show he knows he's box office poison. Who ever greenlights any movie with him starring needs to be fired.
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1:51AM on 05/13/2016
DIdn't find it as bad as this review makes it out to be, but rather it was just kind of bland. It's certainly timely and it does have some edge of your seat qualities to it. And I appreciate that it doesn't go the typical route of painting everyone with money or success as being evil or greedy. Clooney's character, I thought, was actually well crafted for someone who initially comes off as a completely pompous asshole. But the film is pretty unremarkable. Walking out, it feels forgettable. I
DIdn't find it as bad as this review makes it out to be, but rather it was just kind of bland. It's certainly timely and it does have some edge of your seat qualities to it. And I appreciate that it doesn't go the typical route of painting everyone with money or success as being evil or greedy. Clooney's character, I thought, was actually well crafted for someone who initially comes off as a completely pompous asshole. But the film is pretty unremarkable. Walking out, it feels forgettable. I wouldn't compare it to The Big Short. This is more of a victim's fantasy than that film's everyman recounting of the housing crash.
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7:18PM on 05/12/2016

Mad City!!!

Love that movie. 80s movies are getting most of the nostalgia nowadays (and rightly so) but the 90s was a pretty great decade for movies too.
Love that movie. 80s movies are getting most of the nostalgia nowadays (and rightly so) but the 90s was a pretty great decade for movies too.
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6:35PM on 05/12/2016

That's what I was afraid of

Not to get political, but after Clooney did his thing for Clinton, I figured this movie wouldn't be so much what it was being portrayed as in the trailers. Thanks for the shout out to Mad City, though. Every time a movie like this comes out, I'm reminded of how much I enjoyed that one.
Not to get political, but after Clooney did his thing for Clinton, I figured this movie wouldn't be so much what it was being portrayed as in the trailers. Thanks for the shout out to Mad City, though. Every time a movie like this comes out, I'm reminded of how much I enjoyed that one.
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4:56PM on 05/12/2016
Not surprised. The trailer's tonal shifts felt forced enough. Plus it just feels like a Wall Street version of Cadillac Man, but preachier.
Not surprised. The trailer's tonal shifts felt forced enough. Plus it just feels like a Wall Street version of Cadillac Man, but preachier.
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2:42PM on 05/12/2016
I haven't seen this, so I'm not going into whether I think this review is right or wrong. But the reviewer makes a lot of comparisons to movies like Wall Street, The Big Short, and 99 Homes. Aside from 99 Homes, these seem like odd comparisons to make. Wall Street and The Big Short were movies about Wall Street greed, the latter of which dealt with the major fallouts of such greed. This movie doesn't seem to be an analysis or commentary on what Wall Street is, rather a commentary on the
I haven't seen this, so I'm not going into whether I think this review is right or wrong. But the reviewer makes a lot of comparisons to movies like Wall Street, The Big Short, and 99 Homes. Aside from 99 Homes, these seem like odd comparisons to make. Wall Street and The Big Short were movies about Wall Street greed, the latter of which dealt with the major fallouts of such greed. This movie doesn't seem to be an analysis or commentary on what Wall Street is, rather a commentary on the effects their actions have on everyone else. So it's kind of hard to really rely on his rating when it's based on comparisons to movies that aren't tackling the same issues/themes. AS I said, I haven't seen the movie myself, it just doesn't seem like a fair review.
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4:54PM on 05/12/2016
He said The Big Short was the best movie about money since Wall Street. That's not comparing Wall Street to Money Monster. But The Big Short also looks at the effects of the crash on regular people, even if they aren't the main protagonists. And it was just last year. Also, if you remember Jim Cramer's now-infamous defense of Bear Stearns right as the shit really hit the fan (Jon Stewart committed an entire episode of The Daily Show interrogating Cramer about it), it all goes back to Wall
He said The Big Short was the best movie about money since Wall Street. That's not comparing Wall Street to Money Monster. But The Big Short also looks at the effects of the crash on regular people, even if they aren't the main protagonists. And it was just last year. Also, if you remember Jim Cramer's now-infamous defense of Bear Stearns right as the shit really hit the fan (Jon Stewart committed an entire episode of The Daily Show interrogating Cramer about it), it all goes back to Wall Street criminality.
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