Money Monster – Movie Review

I last wrote a movie review more than two years ago. While I have watched several moview since then, I not felt the inclination to write about any of them. Until now. Ashwina and I set out to get some dinner at Chai Ki – one of the restaurants we frequent – after a regular Sunday evening mass. However, when we got there sharp at the time of our reservation, we were told the wait would be another 30 minutes. You’re kidding me, right?

So, instead we decided to go catch Money Monster at the Everyman Cinema next door. It was an unplanned decision and since IMDB said the movie was a 6.9/10, we decided to take the risk. And, how could I say no to hot dog and pop corn?

Money Monster
{Source: IMP Awards}

The poster above already tells you that Money Monster stars George Clooney (as Lee Gates), Julia Roberts (as Patty Fenn) and Jack O’Connell (as Kyle Budwell). It also  and Caitriona Balfe (as Diane Lester). While the former two don’t need any introduction, for me Jack O’Connell is an unknown name and so would Caitriona have been if my wife didn’t make me watch Outlander.

The movie starts off with an ever so charming Lee Gates hosting his show Money Monster designed to give you some stock advice. The share price of IBIS capital has taken a massive hit due to a computer glitch(?). All the it’s investors have lost their money but the all-knowing (or so we think) Lee still attempts to convince you that the stock is on its way up. But, even before he dives into the details of why he thinks so, he is taken hostage by Kyle.

Kyle has lost his entire life savings (a full $60k) taking Lee’s and is out to get an answer and possibly revenge…

Well, to find out the rest of the story, I strongly suggest going to cinema now and watching it.

The Cast

Money Monster has a good cast with a mix of known and lesser known actors. This isn’t the first movie for George and Julia and hopefully won’t be the last. Unlike Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve, they’re not married and share the relationship of producer and news anchor(?). As expected, they do not disappoint with their respective roles and the chemistry they share.

Jack plays his role to perfection – A troubled young man with a plan attempting to get justice and some answers. Caitriona plays her supporting role trying to also figure out the reason the stock of her company took a plunge. Nobody knows, so blame it on the computer… In my opinion, she really does need to smile a bit more.

The Story

The end is somewhat predictable. It wasn’t a nail biting finish. However, what the story does do excellently is throw in some great movies was mix up the plots within the grand story line. It threw in a few unexpected elements like Kyle’s girlfriend’s reaction, some interesting international dynamics and several funny moments that had the audience laughing. The trailer above paints a very serious picture and so the funny bits do make it a pleasant viewing.

In summary…

It’s a very good and different movie to watch in today’s cinema when currently you have Captain America and X-Men attempting to steal the spotlight and the audiences. Well, I still need to find the time to watch Captain America and I’ve not been very impressed with the trailers of X-Men. And, Hollywood hasn’t impressed with its wide range of movies off-late. So, Money Matters is definitely welcome change from the super hero franchises.

Finally, if you have already watched this movie or plan to do so, I’d love to hear your reaction. As for me, I’ll give it an 8/10.

[Movie Review] Noah (or maybe no! ah!)

Noah

I saw the promos of Noah and decided it was a movie that was definitely worth watching. And I was wrong. If you’ve read the story of Noah from the Book of Genesis, you’ll agree with me.

Noah

The movie borrows its story line from the actual story in the Bible and then throws in its own “masala” to end up telling a story that even more unbelievable and really painful. This could possibly be because the real story is short and they needed some fillers. But, throwing in some fallen angels was a joke!

I like Russell Crowe as an actor, but this movie could have definitely received a bit more life to make it watchable.

However, to be fair, the movie does have some amazingly well done scenes. I love the whole creation story right from Adam and Eve, right now to the state of the world as it is before the flood. The building of the ark is awesome as well as the crashing of the flood waters around it. And, the depiction of how horrible the world had become is very well done. But, I’d have preferred a simple rainbow in the end.

Mr. Crowe plays his role very well. You can see the anger, the sorrow and the love which clearly shows you what an amazing actor he is. Ray Winstone plays his role well as the evil leader keen on surviving.

At the end of the movie, I felt that they could have just about called it any other name and kept a similar story line and it would have probably delivered. Noah, definitely not.

Did you watch the movie? What are your thoughts about it?

[Movie review] Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter Solider

Ashwina and I caught Captain America: The Winter Solider last weekend. I’ve enjoyed the Marvel series including Thor and Iron Man. And, I love the way they have linked the various story lines across the movies. So, without doubt, I was looking forward to watching the second movie of the Captain America series.

Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.

The movie opens with the scene in the trailer with the Captain showing us how he does things! Scarlett Johansson looks really fabulous as the Black Widow. And Steve Rogers does run the good mile. We’re also introduced to Falcon () and I love to swap on those cool wings of his.

Captain America delivers, like all the Marvel movies. There are several really well done fight sequences and some awesome equipment (did I mention Falcon’s wings?), all delivered through a story line that keeps you at the edge of your seat.

A solid delivery from Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson as Alexander Pierce and Nick Fury respectively. Sabastian Stan plays the Winter Soldier, which is a very interesting role and definitely a good character to take on Captain America. Cobie Smulders continues her role as Maria Hill and we’re introduced to Emily VanCamp who was a pleasing addition to the movie. Hopefully, we see more of her in a few more Marvel flicks.

Overall, this movie is a must-see especially if you’re a Marvels fan. And, you’ll definitely need to watch it to keep track of the intertwined story line. If you’ve watched it, what did you think about it?

[Movie Review] Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

I never wrote a review of The Hobbit when I watched it last year. It wasn’t as fast paced as the Lord of The Rings, but it definitely was an amazing movie to watch. I know Ashwina and I enjoyed every minute of it. So, we eagerly awaited for The Desolation of Smaug and caught the show a few days back.

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

If you haven’t watched the movie yet but plan to do so, be prepared to spend 3 hours in the cinema. At 161 minutes, it’s shorter than the first movie but it still is a long time to spend in the cinema. That being said, it didn’t drag as much as the first and they did keep the tempo running continuously.

This movie introduces you to Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and you have some amazing fight sequences with both of them against the orcs who continue to chase after Bilbo and the dwarves.

The cinematography is just spectacular which is in line with the Lord of the Rings and the first Hobbit movie. And being filmed in 3D definitely brings the action a lot closer. They have some good scenes involving Smaug and it is clear they have spent some good time getting it right.

So, if you plan on watching this, grab your popcorn and a large drink and definitely your 3D glasses to follow Bilbo on part two of his extraordinary journey. I’ll be waiting for The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

Trailer

[Movie Review] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Hunger Games Catching Fire

Hunger Games Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark may have won survived the 74th Hunger Games. But, life isn’t better in District 12. And, there is unrest in the other districts as people are inspired to revolt using Katniss as their beacon of hope.

President Snow is eager to get rid of Katniss and what better way to do so than the Quarter Quell. Held every 25 years, this Quarter Quell will feature the previous winners who aren’t pleased to go into the games yet again.

The second movie in this series is definitely better than what the first had to offer. It had relatively better special effects than the first and was definitely a bit more fast paced. Unfortunately, the movie is still quite long and you do have a to survive some relatively quiet scenes.

The cinematography is very well done. The clothes, the locations and the scenes are well shot. And, although, I might not be the biggest fan of the cast including Jennifer Lawrence, I will admit she and the rest of the cast play their role well.

What was your opinion of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire?

Trailer:

[Movie review] Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

First we were visited by Thor and Loki and then came the battle for New York. While we may have won the battle, the war is still far from over. This time Thor and the rest of Asguard face an even more powerful enemy whose origins go back to even before the time the nine realms were formed. Thor’s journey brings him back to earth where he unites with the love of his life Jane Foster to fight the evil.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the entire Marvel series. I liked the Iron Man series, Thor, Avengers and so Thor: The Dark World managed to charm me in the same way. The story line was pretty much along the same lines of good vs. evil, but the special effects and cinematography was definitely good. You have some cool new weapons by the bad guys (The Dark Elves) and the entire concept of a villain existing even before the creation of the realms is an interesting one. Some scenes where gravity goes for a toss (along with some vehicles), travelling between worlds as the realms converge all throw in some food for thought for sci-fi buffs.

Natalie Portman looks gorgeous as always, but I would love to have seen a bit more expressions from her. Chris Hemsworth plays his role of Thor in the same style as the previous two movies. Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, plays his evil part well.

As I mentioned before the cinematography and special effects is pretty good. The arrival of the the space ship at Greenwich reminds me that I should visit Greenwich again. And, if you’re in London and haven’t visited Greenwich, I strongly suggest making the trip.

I definitely recommend watching Thor, if you’re a fan of the series. Others might want to watch it because it’s a good popcorn movie.

Trailer:

Movie review: Now You See Me

Now You See Me

Who doesn’t love a bit of magic? Everyone has heard of Harry Houdini and I remember watching David Copperfield as a kid. Now You See Me is a movie that will both amaze you and excite you.

Now You See Me

NOW YOU SEE ME pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against “The Four Horsemen”, a super-team of the world’s greatest illusionists. “The Four Horsemen” pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audience while staying one step ahead of the law.

Mark Rufallo plays Agent Dylan Rhodes, the FBI agent in charge of the special task force to bring down the Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco). He is accompanied by Mélanie Laurent who plays Interpol newbie Alma Dray. Now You See Me also stars Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, who play Thaddeus (the magician killer?) and Arthur Tressler (the billionaire).

Now You See Me has an exciting story line that keeps you at the edge of your seats as the magicians pull off their magic tricks and as Thaddeus attempts to explain them and Dylan attempts to catch them. A street chase and a car chase later, the Four Horsemen are ready to pull of their greatest heist. Will Dylan finally catch up with them before their disappearing act?

Best known for his recent performance in Avengers as Bruce Bannar, Mark Rufallo is his usual self. Morgan Freeman plays his role to perfection. He quietly appears as a supporting star in several movies and is still able to deliver the same stellar performance. Jesse delivers his charismatic style similar to when he played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

And, the ending is simply awesome. To quote J. Daniel Atlas:

I did *not* see that coming.

Trailer

Movie Review: Fast and Furious 6

Fast and Furious 6

Fast and Furious 6

Check out my movie review of Fast & Furious 6 published on Blogcritics.

Fast & Furious 6 is definitely a must watch movie if you have been actively following the past 6 movies. It continues where Fast 5 left off and sets the scene for Fast & Furious 7. Director Justin Lin won’t be returning for Fast 7, but he does leave the series at its peak. I’m eagerly waiting for Fast 7 which is to be expected sometime next year.

Poster credits: IMP Awards

Movie review: Real Steel

First we had boxers and when we realised that they could be replaced by something less destructible, there were robots. Real Steel tells the story of one such robot, a promoter Charlie (Hugh Jackman) and his 11-year old son Max (Dakota Goyo).

When Charlie makes a deal to sign off custody of his son Max, little did he know what he was getting himself into. After several failed robot boxing events, Charlie is on the brink of losing hope, when Max finds a scrapyard robot. Little do they know that this junkyard bot would one day bring them back to the limelight.

Real SteeL

Source: IMP Awards

Real Steel is a brilliantly made movie. Hugh Jackman has always been a brilliant actor and he definitely doesn’t disappoint. And, this time he is well supported by Dakota and Evangeline Lilly (known for her role as Kate in the TV series Lost).

The graphics in the movie are well done, especially the fight sequences between the various robots. Through in some music and dance, a lot of humour and some drama and you’ve got yourself a winning movie.

If you haven’t watched the movie yet, do make sure you watch this in a theatre.

Trailer:

Rating: 9/10

Movie review: X-Men First Class

Before the days of Professor X and Magneto, Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr were simple special people trying to make their way through life, figuring out their “powers”. X-Men First Class tells their story.

X-Men First Class

Source: MoviePosterDB.com

It is usually very difficult to maintain a story line that keeps the user engrossed over several movies. X-Men has had its ups and downs over the past several movies. I loved X-Men Origins and this one does do justice to the ongoing series.

The special effects are really good and the whole set of mutants makes it even better. You get a preview of Wolverine, as Charles and Eric attempt to recruit Mutants to support their cause. Armed with their army of Mutants, they set out to take on Sebastian Shaw, who has a powerful army as well.

Can they win? And, at what cost? How does that friendship turn into arch rivalries? This movie sets out to answer them.

Rating: 7/10