Review: Money Monster

It’s impossible to watch Money Monster and not be reminded of Dog Day Afternoon. That 1975 masterpiece by Sidney Lumet starring Al Pacino, which told the story of a pair of hapless bank robbers turned into anti-establishment heroes must have been in the back of the minds of those behind Money Monster, which takes many of Dog Day Afternoon’s emotions and updates them for our modern age even while serving up a more exciting and altogether different story. Though Money Monster follows in strong cinematic footsteps, with an excellent cast and solid directing from Jodie Foster, it occasionally struggles to strike a consistent tone and is at times let down by its script, especially in its final act. Still, Money Monster is an energetic film that strikes at emotions shared by many, anchored by its charming and attractive stars and held up by its brisk pace. It may not be as biting, powerful, or moving as it potentially could have been, but it’s still a solid, entertaining experience.

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Review: Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers mainly make two distinctive types of films. On the one hand, many of their films fall into the category of quirky comedies, such as Raising Arizona or O Brother, Where Art Thou?. On the other hand, they’ve also dabbled in more serious, yet still unique, dramas like No Country for Old Men and True Grit. Hail, Caesar!, a farcical romp through a 1950s Hollywood studio, falls squarely into the first category, and as such is the funniest film the Coen Brothers have made in years, particularly for classic film fans. It’s a return to form for the writing/directing pair, combining an all-star cast with a distinct storytelling style and comedy that demands a fair amount from viewers in able to fully appreciate it. The end result is a film that feels different from anything we’ve seen onscreen lately and is bound to please any fans of the Coens or of the golden age of Hollywood.

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Trailer Tuesday: The Monuments Men

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found trailers to be endlessly fascinating.

It’s usually never a good sign when a film that was originally scheduled for release during Oscar season gets postponed into the next year, but I feel like it might be a good choice for The Monuments Men.  While the film seemed like Oscar bait, the way the awards season is shaping up it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t have a chance against the likes of 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity and others, despite the fact that World War II movies do well and the cast they rounded up for this film is phenomenal.  Instead of competing for this year’s Oscars (it will of course be eligible for next year’s, but movies released in February are forgotten by the time December rolls around) it will instead release in the doldrums with little competition and can be a much bigger box office hit.  The tactic worked for The Great Gatsby, so why not here?  Take a look at the trailer and read on for my thoughts:

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Trailer Tuesday: Gravity

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

When my wife and I see a new movie trailer, either in the theater or at home, we almost always look at each other afterwards to get an sense of each other’s quick reaction to the trailer.  Usually they’re in sync, as we typically like the same sorts of films.  “Stupid” comedies get an eye roll, horror films usually get a sarcastic yes followed by a determined no, big, loud action movies typically get an indulgent smile and a shake of the head, while many others get a noncommittal shrug or head bob indicating that we need to see more before deciding.  Even when we don’t agree, we usually know what reaction the other one will have before we look, so I wasn’t surprised to see her emphatic no following the first trailer we saw for Gravity.  Take a look at the latest one below, and read on for my comments:

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