HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Money Monster
HTS Overall Score:73
Everything is politicized these days. ESPECIALLY Wall Street. The financial sector has taken enormous heat after the infamous stock market crash a few years back and there have bene scores of movies tasked with taking “the man” to town, bitterly lashing out against the corruption that was so obviously flowing through many companies and industries in that small section of the money making world. Movies like “The Big Short”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Margin Call” have all beaten Wall Street around the head and shoulders, and now Jodie Foster joins the ranks of directors laying into the mysterious “Wall Street” and tries to evoke an emotional response, especially from the people who lost some sort of money in the financial crashes that have happened over the last decade.
Foster has stayed outside of the directing realm for a while, making a few movies in the mid to late 90s, and then coming back with the highly under rated movie “The Beaver” where she also starred opposite the blacklisted Mel Gibson. “Money Monster” marks her first feature film directorial role since that 2011 film, and the results are decidedly mediocre. She tries so very hard to setup a thriller that peels back the curtains and exposes another conspiracy theory feel like a snake without its venom. Sure the bit may hurt, but there’s nothing to fear here. There’s no POWER to the bite, and the result is that you just shake it off and walk away, feeling a bit letdown. Almost as if there was something that COULD have been said, but was lost in the chaos of the movie.
Lee Gates (George Clooney) is a high priced TV show host of the famed “Money Monster”. A financial show that tries to mimic Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” in real life. However, Lee backed a stock from a company known as IBIS, which turned out to tank and look $800,000,000 OVERNIGHT. Well, this is something that goes on in the stock market all the time, but blue collar delivery driver, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) doesn’t really take kindly to that notion. Hijacking Lee and his whole crew during an episode of “Money Monster”, he demands justice for the lying and conniving of the people who have swindled not only himself, but all the other people who were caught up in the advice from Gates’ TV show.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78954[/img]Stuck behind an explosive bomb as a vest, and nothing but a TV producer (Julia Roberts) as his saving grace, Lee struggles to appease the agitated hijacker as best he can. Trying desperately to find out answers for Kyle turns out to be a full time job in and of itself being that, as the movie says in the tagline, not every conspiracy is a theory. Every thread pulled reveals that the $800,000,000 stock market loss may not have been as innocent as it was stated, and the tenacious Gates and decides to follow this thread until the very end, no matter what that outcome is.
“Money Monster” feels a bit like a snake without venom, as I said. The bit is there, but Foster does little to actually drive home the point and stake that final nail through the coffin. There are moments where the viewer can actually think critically about the politicized statements about right and wrong in Wall Street, but more often than not we are just left with the surface story of “guy with a gun!” and the bomb scenario. I see what she’s getting at with her jabs at what makes something WRONG, even though it is usually legal to do, but those moments are glossed over as way too much time is spend on staring at Kyle and his ravings while the NYPD try to get the people out of the building and put a bullet in the would be bomber. We have the elements to discuss the trickledown effect of those people at the top and how the lower class people are stuck in a system that they just have to have “faith” in, because the internal workings of our stock market have become so complex that PHD’s and brilliant mathematicians have a hard time keeping up with it all. However, the end result is something that tries to be jack of all trades, but master of none. You can see WHERE the parts were, and WHAT Foster was trying to get at, but the proof is in the pudding, and this particular pudding is just a bit bland and boring.
Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality and brief violence.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78962[/img]“Money Monster” sports a pleasant, but fairly simplistic digital encode on Blu-ray. Shot with a standard modern teal and green lens filter, it looks a bit grey and laid back, with large elements that can look a tad flat at times. Clarity is fairly sharp, with good facial details and the studio lot that the show is mainly shot in looks organic and real at all times. I did notice a bit of softness that seems to cover the image most of the time. It’s never aggressive or smeary, but just barely noticeable if you know what to look for. Blacks are deep and inky, showing off plenty of shadow detail in the murky looking shadows of the studio, but that also sometimes moves to black crush where a few of those details are obscure a bit (look in to the background where the camera guys are when we see things from Gates point of view). It’s a solid transfer, and one that has very few technical flaws, it just doesn’t stand out as much as one would expect.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=78970[/img]Sony is once again rather generous with the amount of options for lossless audio on their new releases. Instead of the usual ONE lossless track in English, we also have a French and Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1 track for those who prefer differing language options. Still, we’re going to be reviewing the English track as that’s what the majority of you will be listening to, and it’s more than competent at doing its job. Dialog is the main focus of the film, punctuated by a few moments of chaos and surround activity. Besides the breakout song and dance number at the beginning, the only real excitable points in the track come from Kyle breaking into the studio and shooting off a few rounds, as well as the end of the movie where Kyle and Lee make their way down New York City streets with crowds of people activating those surrounds with goodly use. The rest of the time it’s just Patty, Lee and the other people discussing things with Kyle. It’s simple, but it’s used effectively as the dialog is strong and clean, and there’s even a few moments where some heavy LFE gets to show up and make an appearance.
• Deleted Scenes
• George Clooney, The Money Man
• Inside the Pressure Cooker
• Analysis of a Scene - The Showdown
• Dan the Automator (feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) "What Makes the World Go 'Round (MONEY!)" Music Video
“Money Monster” is a decently directed and fairly impressive film that sports some great actors and very good performances. The problem is that it is just is not that compelling at the end of the day. It says all the right things and shakes it’s fist at all of the right people, but I can’t seem to come up with a solid statement that it is trying to get across besides that “big businesses do bad things”. Personally I felt that there was a lot under the surface, but sadly none of that could make it above the typical “guy with a gun and a bomb!” story that was the veneer. Audio and video are stable and solid for the release and there’s a decent amount of extras, which leaves me to recommend this as a simple rental.
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Written by: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Buy Money Monster On Blu-ray at Amazon
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