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: 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

Movie review: Fast Five

Fast Five (Fast & Furious 5) is the fifth movie in the Fast & Furious series, which doesn’t seem to end. But, then again, who is complaining?

When Dominic (Vin Diesel) gets arrested, his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian (Paul Walker) are quick to break him out. They decide to escape to Brazil where trouble, in the form of Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a federal agent who never misses his target and Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), a powerful drug lord.

Not to be dissuaded, Dom and Brian decide to take on both opponents are quick to assemble a crew to get the job done.

Fast Five

Source: MPoster.com

If you’ve followed the previous four movies, you’ll recognise Fast & Furious 5 to be along the same lines. However, this one is bigger with a super star cast, intended to serve as the grand finale for Dom and Brian and possibly the start for Luke.

Fast Five isn’t the most spectacular movie on the storyline front. However, the movie has a whole set of new stunts, some grand theft auto, big guns, gorgeous girls, a stunt-filled chase on foot and a super amazing car chase to take the movie to a climax! It also reminds me of those car chases in NFS or GTA, but with a greater degree of realism.

It was a great way to start off the summer with a high octane movie. But, if you haven’t watched the movie yet, you should go out and do so. And, when you do, wait for the creds…

Trailer:

Score: 7/10

Movie review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Ever since I watched the first movie, I have been an even bigger fan of Mr. Depp, especially his portrayal of Capt. Jack Sparrow. And, so I have made it a point to watch each movie in the series and have loved each of them.

In the latest movie, Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) runs into his ex-flame Angelica (Penélope Cruz) and together they set out to find the fountain of youth, partly for them and partly because Blackbeard (Ian McShane) wants to find the fountain to extend his life. But, they are not the only ones hunting for the fountain. The Spanish and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) are also in the race to find the fountain.

Thus begins the race of several ships across the high seas, with maps and mermaids and ships in bottles.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Depp once again does justice to the movie with his amazing acting, which is also the reason this series has gone from being one movie to many, with promises for more. While Sparrow and his wisecracks are the main selling features for the movie, credit must be given to the writers who have done a fascinating job with the script, without which those lines would not have happened.

Penelope Cruz plays her part pretty well, looking gorgeous as usual. Geoffrey is at his usual self and Ian is the new element in the picture who appears very late in the movie, but plays his role well.

The special effects are as good as the past and the 3D does make it better. Definitely a must watch, especially if you’ve watched the past three movies.

Trailer:

Rating: 8/10

Movie review: Thor

When Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), the god of thunder and lightening, decides to disobey his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), he is banished from the realm of Azgard to earth without his strength and powers. His hammer follows after him and becomes a point of great mystery for the people of Earth.

On earth, Thor meets and falls in love with the gorgeous Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman). But, life isn’t all rosy as he would hope to be, especially when you have an evil brother called Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has made up his mind to kill Thor, take over the Azgard throne and destroy earth. And, so continues the fight of good vs. evil.

Thor

Thor is a movie that is extremely well done as a story line and with the graphics as well. However, if you have no clue who he is, it appears to be a story of a guy with a big hammer.

The acting is done well. You have a few funny dialogs in the movie, mainly thrown in by Chris that livens up the screenplay. Natalie does more than just look pretty by playing the role of the smart scientist. And, Mr. Hopkins is at his usual stern best.

It’s definitely a good one time watch. So, if you’re going to be fascinated by the story of the god of lightening and thunder, you should go ahead and watch the movie.

Trailer:

Rating: 7/10

Movie review: I Am Number Four

Here’s a movie with an excellent concept but is let down by terrible acting and an equally bad story line. John, a.k.a. Number Four is a an above average teenager who is infact an alien from a planet far far away taking refuge on earth, running from town to town, hiding from more evil aliens who want him and eight others dead. They have got Number One, Two and Three and now it is his turn.

I am Number Four

While the concept isn’t very original (we do have Transformers, don’t we?). However, the concept of 9 does lend a unique touch. Throw in a relatively cute girl and a relatively hot, gun bearing Number Six and you have a movie that that is watchable.

The question to be asked is: Are we going to have a sequel to this one?

Rating: 5/10

Movie review: Gulliver’s Travels

If you were expecting Gulliver’s Travels to be a serious depiction of the book that Jonathan Swift wrote, then you will be very very disappointed.

The movie is a comical depiction of the character, played by Jack Black. When Gulliver takes up the assignment to go visit the Bermuda Triangle, in a bid to impress Darcy, little does he realise that he would land up in an island with many tiny people. He soon wins the hearts of everyone out there and thus begins the story of lies and deceit.

Gulliver's Travels

I watched the movie in 3D and it did add to the viewing experience. Jack Black plays his usual self from the days of School of Rock, and I will admit that he paid the role well. The movie makes a pitch of many of Fox’s major movies of the 20th century. The other actors play their role as supporting characters of Mr. Black. I recognised that Lilliput was shot in Greenwich.

I’d like to write more of a review, however, there isn’t much to say about this movie. The movie is a one time watch. But, I wouldn’t go far beyond that.

Rating: 5/10

Movie Review: The Tourist

Elise: Invite me to dinner, Frank?
Frank Tupelo: What?
[she gives him a look]
Frank Tupelo: Would you like to have dinner?
Elise: Women don’t like questions.
Frank Tupelo: Join me for dinner.
Elise: Too demanding.
Frank Tupelo: Join me for dinner?
Elise: Another question.
[Frank thinks for a moment]
Frank Tupelo: I’m having dinner, if you’d care to join me.
[Elise smiles at him]

Am no expert on asking anyone out to dinner, so this is definitely not something I tried! But, this quote definitely stuck out in this movie.

The Tourist tells the story of Frank Tupelo who meets the lovely, gorgeous, stunning, beautiful (…) Elise on a train from Gar de Lyon to Venice. Little does he know that this meeting would make him target of a mobster and the British Economic Police.

The Tourist

I will admit that I’m a bit partial to movies with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. So, putting them both in a movie throws my partiality metre off the charts! While I try to be impartial, I must say that the story line was well written. I did guess the ending, but then who wouldn’t?

Depp is at his usual brilliant self. Cool, calm and witty, you can see glimpses of Captain Sparrow in this role. Angelina is her usual beautiful self. The first 15 minutes of the movie has her walking with minimal conversation and the elegance at which she does this will not let your eyes leave the screen.

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: Unstoppable

After watching Tron Legacy, a movie of pure fantasy, watching a “Inspired by true events” movie was the exact opposite.

Unstoppable is about a runaway train and is based on the CSX 8888 incident, obviously spiced up for dramatic effect. In the movie, veteran Barnes (Denzil Washington) and Colson (Chris Pine) check into a regular day at work operating the 1206. As they start to understand each other, they are take on the challenge of stopping the AWVR owned runaway 777 after attempts to stop it fail.

Unstoppable

While Unstoppable has been “overly dramatised” than the original incident, the movie does justice to a great extent. It attempts to follow the sequence of events, including the final attempt by Colson and Barnes to stop the train. The movie is fast paced and there are several scenes that make you lean forward in your seat as you take them in.

Washington and Pine do justice to their roles. Then again, Denzil Washington has been excellent in every movie he has acted in. Some of the quotes are nice. One that I loved is by Pine as he says “One day everything is perfect and the next day it is falling apart faster than you can put it together” (or something like that). Makes me think of my life at times.

Go watch it.

Rating: 7/10