Money Monster

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May 24, 2016.  The new movie “Money Monster” looks like a cross between the movies “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975) and “Network” (1976), but minus the wit, suspense and satire that the latter and former, both directed by Sidney Lumet, had. Plus, “Money Monster” is as predictable as all “get out,” with plenty of “Oh, come on!” moments. I wont even mention how much better the performances were in the older films.

“Money Monster” has been directed by Jody Foster. It features George Clooney as Lee Gates, a Jim Cramer like TV stock advisor who is taken hostage, while on the air, by an angry investor who lost sixty-thousand dollars following Lee’s investment advice. Haven’t we seen this? Just look at the trailer for “Money Monster” and you’ll see what I mean. How many more movies and documentaries can we see that tell us how Wall Street people are crooks screwing over the little guy? I wont even bring up the whole “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

At any rate a stand off ensues, live on the air, while the police try to figure out what to do. As the proceedings unfolded, I found myself not even remotely close to the edge of my seat. I wish the movie cops had asked for my help, because I came up with a solution that they never even considered. Not only that but, I, along with the friend with whom I saw “Money Monster,” thought of a much better ending.

To “Money Monster’s” credit it does have some good scenes and some suspense, here and there. The problem it that it does not seem to know how to build upon the suspense. For example, “Dog Day Afternoon” starts out as a complete comedy and then, slowly transforms into a very suspenseful “nail biter.” “Money Monster” does not. “Dog Day Afternoon” takes us inside the life of the hostage taker, fleshes him out, and builds sympathy for him. “Money Monster” does this to a certain extent, at one point even blatantly stealing a scene from “Dog Day Afternoon.”

The hostage taker, Kyle (played by Jack O’Connell), is a generic working class, angry man, down on his luck, sort of guy. I mean, did he have to invest sixty-thousand dollars on Lee’s advice? Take a little responsibility for yourself, fella!

“Money Monster” also takes a stab at the callous mass media, including the internet, that wants to exploit the situation, but is any of this really new? I mean, “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network” took pokes at the media which are much more interesting and significant, even some 40-years later! In fact, “Network” actually predicted the type of media circus that we have today.

I guess what I’m saying is that, instead of going out, and paying money to see “Money Monster,” watch “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network” instead.  These two films make a dynamite double feature that will be a lot easier on your wallet.

Money Monster, Director, Jody Foster, 2016, TriStar Pictures, 98 minutes, rated R

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About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on May 25, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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