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Jodie Foster
George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito
Writing Credits:
Jaime Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf

Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

Box Office:
$27 million.
Opening Weekend
$14,788,157 on 3,104 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:
Chinese Simplified

99 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 9/6/2016

• “The Money Man” Featurette
• “Inside the Pressure Cooker” Featurette
• “Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Money Monster [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 30, 2016)

For the first time since 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve, A-listers Julia Roberts and George Clooney reunite for 2016’s Money Monster. Directed by fellow star Jodie Foster, Monster introduces us to Lee Gates (Clooney), the flamboyant host of his own cable financial investment show. Gates’s longtime producer Patty Fenn (Roberts) plans to go to a different network – a fact she doesn’t tell Gates.

Before any of this occurs, a mystery man wanders onto the live TV set. We soon learn that working class stiff Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) took Gates’ financial advice, lost his savings and wants answers.

This means Budwell wires explosives to himself and demands to find out what went wrong. We follow the drama involved with this hostage situation as well as behind the scenes intrigue related to conspiracies that affected the investments involved.

Money Monster hit screens in mid-May 2016, which seemed like an odd time for a drama like this. Movies such as Monster feel like fall releases, flicks put out when they can garner potential Oscar attention. After all, wouldn’t one expect a movie with social relevance that involves notables like Clooney, Roberts and Foster to contend for awards?

Perhaps the studio dropped Monster in the middle of summer blockbuster season as “counter-programming”, an attempt to attract “adult audiences” turned off by the more teen/kid-friendly efforts that dominate the season. Or maybe the suits figured Monster wouldn’t do much business at any time of year and used it to fill a slot.

Whatever the case may be, Monster failed to make much of a dent. It got mediocre reviews and only earned $41 million in the US. With a small $27 million budget, its $93 million worldwide gross means it turned a small profit, but one expects more from the superstar talent involved.

Personally, I think Monster offers a pretty entertaining little drama, but I can understand the disappointment it engendered. After all, Roberts, Clooney and Foster seem as A-list as A-list can be, so the movie’s mediocre reception – both critically and financially – must be viewed as a letdown.

If we detach the movie from those expectations, though, it does work pretty well. On the positive side, Roberts and Clooney seem invested in the tale and they give it their all. In particular, Clooney appears to enjoy his role as the semi-buffoonish Gates, but he also manages to bring depth and heart to the part. The actors add zest to the proceedings.

Foster also stages the story in a tense manner that keeps the audience off-guard. Monster takes many genre conventions and plops them on their ears. I won’t spill beans about these surprises, of course, but just when the movie seems to want to go from standard cinematic devices, it often 180s them, and those curveballs delight.

I do think the script comes with far too many plot holes, though – way more than I would expect. Take the basic premise, for example. The second that Kyle steps on the set, he seems suspicious and squirrelly.

Despite Kyle’s off-putting behavior, though, no one seems even vaguely alarmed. They all act like he’s a puppy who wandered in off the street, which makes no sense – especially not in the current environment. With terrorism constantly on the collective mind, no one thinks to call security when some creepy guy skulks about in the background of a TV show set?

Many other eyebrow-raising stretches of logic occur as well. These don’t create fatal flaws, but they make the movie less realistic than it should be. Tighter logic would’ve improved the film.

Nonetheless, Money Monster delivers a pretty entertaining movie. It doesn’t live up to the expectations that its talent engenders, but the film works well enough to become a mostly good ride.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Money Monster appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a positive presentation.

Overall delineation seemed good. Some interiors could seem a little tentative, but the majority of the film appeared accurate and well-defined. I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and neither edge haloes nor print flaws marred the movie.

In terms of colors, a heavy teal tint dominated the film. As predictable as this was, the transfer replicated the hues appropriately. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed mostly positive. The image suited the material.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it also fit the story. Given the tale’s character focus, the soundscape didn’t open up on a consistent basis, but it offered a smattering of “action” sequences that used the five channels well. General ambience also fleshed out the spectrum, and music showed nice stereo spread.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared full and rich, while effects were accurate and dynamic. This became a more than adequate mix for the movie.

A smattering of extras fill out the set, and we find three featurettes. The Money Man goes for five minutes, 27 seconds and offers notes from director Jodie Foster, screenwriter Jamie Linden, producers Daniel Dubiecki, Grant Heslov and Lara Alameddine, editor Matt Chesse, and actors George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Caitriona Balfe and Julia Roberts. “Man” looks at Clooney’s character and performance. A few insights emerge but much of the piece remains fluffy.

Inside the Pressure Cooker lasts nine minutes, 55 seconds and features Heslov, Roberts, Foster, Linden, Clooney, Dubiecki, Chesse, Alameddine, production designer Kevin Thompson, O’Connell, and actor Christopher Denham. “Cooker” looks at story/character areas, pacing and influences, set design, editing, cast and performances, and Foster’s impact on the shoot. “Cooker” covers a lot of ground, a fact that means it lacks depth. Still, it throws out some interesting observations.

Finally, the seven-minute, nine-second Analysis of a Scene includes notes from Foster, Clooney, Linden, Dubiecki, Roberts, Thompson, Alameddine, O’Connell, Heslov, location manager Joe Guest and executive producer/line producer Kerry Orent. “Analysis” offers specifics about the film’s climactic sequence. This limited focus allows the featurette to dig into matters with reasonable depth that makes it arguably the best of the clips.

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 34 seconds. We see “Global Opening” (1:24), “Let Me Speak to the Quant” (0:42) and “Molly’s Exit Rant” (0:28). These add brief and inconsequential sequences.

We also get a music video for “What Makes the World Go ‘Round (Money!)” from Dan the Automator. It presents a cluttered, busy video that might give viewers a headache.

The disc opens with ads for Ghostbusters (2016), Concussion, The Shallows, Inferno and Lights Out. No trailer for Monster appears here.

Despite leaps of logic and a little too much sermonizing, Money Monster usually works well. It tosses some twists into its genre and becomes an entertaining drama. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus features. Monster doesn’t live up to its pedigree but it still succeeds most of the time.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 7
5 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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