Money Monster (2016)

On the return flight to Montreal, I watched Money Monster. I’ve been wanting to watch this one since it was in theatres but never got the chance. One, the previews looked good. Second, I love Julia Roberts. Three, I’m a pretty big fan of Jodie Foster and want to see how she does in the director’s chair.

Let’s check it out! ūüôā

Money Monster (2016)

Money Monster

Director: Jodie Foster

Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Christopher Denham, Aaron Yoo, Chris Bauer

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

Money Monster is a thrilling ride and most of it is due to the outstanding cast and their portrayal of these compelling characters. It does sometimes step into the predictable corridors and sometimes even makes us question if someone could do some of the things these characters did. This is where the characters are written really well to create a balance in personality. I will go further into detail about that later. One of the other redeeming features is the theme on the emphasis on the lack of transparency in the financial markets and the lack of concern for the people who get caught in the crossfire. Jodie Foster being the director of Money Monster works perfectly because she is always so fantastic in everything especially her thrillers. She has a good grip on how the story should be paced and done.

Money Monster

As mentioned before, Money Monster’s most redeeming feature goes to its strong cast. In the lead, we have George Clooney who plays a financial TV host, Lee Gates. To be honest, Lee is pretty full of himself. At the beginning, we can see he is caught up with the glamour and craze this job has brought him. His character grows quite a bit when he digs a little deeper and finds his conscience to help this guy who has strapped a bomb on him to analyze what actually happened to cause a corporation to lose all that money overnight. This is where we bring in our female lead here, Julia Roberts who plays Patty. She steals the show here completely because in many ways, you can view her as Lee’s conscience. She reminds him to not just think about himself and what to not go overboard and downright when to shut up to not provoke the situation further and protect everyone. Man, does she do a great job! But, we can’t take away that Jack O’Connell playing the bomber Kyle was also really good. I haven’t seen this actor before but he makes us believe in his character and in many ways, we will start to sympathize with him. In this situation, we start to realize that Kyle is also a victim in a much greater scheme. Trust me, this probably isn’t a spoiler because it kind of stares you down on what this whole fiasco is about.

Money Monster

Other than the characters, Money Monster has very good pacing. Its why I usually like movies that come in at around 90 minutes. Sure, its a little predictable at certain spots. And if you were strapped to a bomb and the guy who is holding you as hostage has like a mini breakdown and leaves his gun lying there, it sure is tempting to pick it up, right? Just one example. The atmosphere is properly gripping and the context of the crisis they are in is not lost. In many ways, its not only a wake up call for the transparency of the financial markets and for investors when Kyle holds Lee hostage but there’s also a one for Lee when he realizes how little his reputation and life counts for or maybe how humanity isn’t a strong point to anyone watching his show or just how his word or life doesn’t really mean that much to anyone when it comes to money. ¬†Whatever it is, there is something to ponder on in Money Monster.

Money Monster

Money Monster has its pros and cons. For some, there may be a lot more to pick apart in this one but I properly thought it was a really good thriller. I’m not one for financial things but this one had me at the edge of my seat anticipating the next thing to happen regardless of how predictable it may all seem. The characters just naturally draws us into the story. Its one to check out for sure. The ending is a little lackluster perhaps but the film in entirety has its charm.

Have you seen Money Monster?

Panic Room (2002)

Justin at Today I Watched A Movie reviewed this flick a few months ago (exact time frame I don’t remember) and he gave it full score 3/3 and said that Kristin Stewart could act. ¬†I have nothing against Kristin Stewart but I have NEVER seen anything remotely memorable from her. ¬†So I went on the hunt for this movie, then last month I found it on special somewhere and I snatched it up. ¬†After having it sit on my table for the past month, I finally picked it up and saw it a few days ago. ¬†I have seen this before on TV or somewhere, not in full though so this is technically my first time seeing the whole thing.

panic room posterDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight, Yoakam

Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) is recently divorced and is seeking a house for her and her daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart) in an area closer to her ex-husband. ¬†We start with her looking at a gigantic house and we see that there are 3 floors, basement. ¬†The best part is that there is a secret room connected to the main bedroom called panic room which is not only a 3 feet steel box, but has an elaborate security system and is a place to hide if ever there are burglars, which has its line and all that. ¬†As uncomfortable as Meg originally was with that idea, they ended up getting the house and on the first night, three men, Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Junior (Jared Leto), Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) breaks in not knowing that Meg and Sarah had already moved in. ¬†They are after something valuable that was left behind by the previous owner. ¬†As Meg realizes that they are in danger, she gets Sarah and they lock themselves in the Panic Room. ¬†What they didn’t know is that what the three men want is in exactly where they are hiding, and they find ways to get Meg and Sarah to come out while inside the panic room, they are trying to find a way to be rescued.

panic room 1

This is a crazy movie: Intense action thriller to say the least. ¬†It had me extremely anxious the whole time. ¬†There were some times where I felt it was slightly stupid, but then thinking about ¬†if I was in Meg’s shoes, I’d probably have done the same stupid things. ¬†So it was forgiven. ¬†I mean not connecting the panic room separate phone line, I can get that. ¬†I have my cellphone, its not totally crucial. ¬†Who actually expects to get broken in on the first night? This flick is even more intense as everyone is locked into one place: the house. ¬†As much as we had a tour in the beginning of the movie, a lot of it was still new. ¬†Not knowing what was around the corner, made this a thrill to watch. Plus, ever since Phonebooth, I’ve been attracted to movies with only one setting.

panic room 2

Ever since Silence of the Lambs, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Jodie Foster. ¬†I haven’t seen all her movies and far from it, according to IMDB but I adore the movies she’s in. ¬†In this one, she’s just totally awesome as a woman that strives to protect herself and her daughter from the dangers that keep coming and repelling it in intelligent ways. ¬†Kristin Stewart is an alright child actress….just what happened to her now? She actually was decent in this one. ¬†At least she didn’t have one expression through the whole thing, that’s already good enough for me. Thats what scares me though, how child actors do okay but after they grow up, they forget how to act.

panic room burglars

Any good hero is always carried with their villains. ¬†The bad guys in this one are played by Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam. ¬†The last guy, I’m not familiar with, nor do I remember any of the movies that he’s in. ¬†However, the characters themselves were done pretty well because the 3 guys each had their own motives, different personalities that balanced their actions and played off of each other really well.

I’m definitely recommending this movie. ¬†I had me at the edge of my seat and genuinely worried about the two main characters. ¬†It made me wonder about what next move the theives would do to force them out and how they would intelligently (and sometimes not so much) counteract. ¬†This is a fantastic thriller!

Whats your favorite thriller? What do you think of Jodie Foster?

Part 2: Thrillers

Now that we’ve warmed up with the nice family oriented Halloween flicks, we’re getting ready to hit the hardcore stuff. ¬†Of course, before we go all out and jump into a week of sleepless nights, I’ll hit us off with some thrillers (all kinds except horror). ¬†Just a bit scary at times, dark at time, messed up at times…you know what I mean, right? I love thrillers so it was really a toss-up on what I could put in here. ¬†Why do I like it more than others? Because of the suspense in most of them, there’s always something to try and figure out. ¬†Whats around the corner? Will there be a twist? A good thriller will let you buy into it, let it lead you on and bring you some occasional scare. ¬†I did manage to get my hands on two new movies that this Thriller Marathon will include.

Here’s 8 THRILLERS to bring up the intensity till next week when we hit the intense horror segment.

1) DISTURBIA (2007)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Cast: Shia Leboeuf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse

Plot summary: Kale Brecht (Shia Leboeuf) gets home arrest for punching his Spanish teacher in class for the summer. ¬†Kale’s mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) cuts off all his internet and TV leaving him with nothing to do. ¬†As a result, he starts spying on the neighbors. ¬†When the news starts talking about missing women, who were later found dead, he starts suspecting one of his neighbors, Robert Turner (David Morse). ¬†With his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and his new neighbor, Ashley (Sarah Roemer), they start spying and following Turner.

I was surprised actually that this movie was good. ¬†I got it because it was a thriller (and it was on special). ¬†Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Shia Leboeuf. ¬†The only movie I enjoyed him in was Transformers, but thats just because I enjoyed that movie a lot. ¬†I checked the director’s background. ¬†D.J. Caruso did Taking Lives before Disturbia. I was alright with that movie. ¬†Taking Lives was also a surprisingly good thriller. One I had debated to put on this list actually. ¬†Just for information sake, D.J. Caruso did Eagle Eye and I am Number Four afterwards. ¬†Eagle Eye was alright, but man, I am Number Four…I’m speechless. ¬†That movie was crap. ¬†Maybe I’ll review it one day after I read the source material. ¬†Anyways, all I can say, this was a fine piece of work by D.J. Caruso after I saw what his later movies were. ¬†This movie is a mix of humor, a bit of teen romance, and suspense. ¬†The deal with thrillers is that you are willing to buy into it every time you rewatch it. ¬†I bought into it every time I saw this. This movie is pretty fun thriller and its a great way to start off my thrillers portion.

2) THE OTHERS (2001)

Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston

Plot: This movie starts in 1945 Channel Islands in a big family house. ¬†Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a mother of two photosensitive children, Anne and Nicholas. ¬†She is confined to the house under strict rules to protect her children. ¬†Her husband (Christopher Eccleston) has gone off to war a few years back and is not determined whether he is alive or not. ¬†We also get joined by 3 servants that come to help her take care of the house: Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Erik Skyes) and Lydia. ¬†Suddenly, mysterious things start happening in the house. ¬†Her daughter claims that she’s been seeing others in the house. ¬†The house seems to be invaded by others.

This is a really suspenseful movie.  Its full of startling moments and your mind will keep thinking of what would happen next.  Nicole Kidman is superb as always and does great a playing a distressed and panicked yet protective mother.  Fionnula Flanagan is just amazing.  Her acting was captivating to watch and so very believable.  This is a mystery thriller that carries you deep into the plot and wondering whats around the next corner.  Keeps us wondering what is going on in the house and whether it is haunted.

3) SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins

Plot: A young FBI agent in training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is sent to interrogate an imprisoned psychopath/psychiatrist, Hannibal”the Cannibal” Lecter, in hopes of helping solve the serial killings by a man nicknamed Buffalo Bill. ¬†Dr. Lecter decides to help Starling in exchange for her sharing her own story at¬†the same time.

This movie is the first thriller I ever saw.  It was deep and disturbing in so many ways.  I finally bought this one the other day and added it into this marathon.  It may not pack in a lot of startling sudden scares but the chilling role of Dr. Lecter and the serial killings itself is enough to make it impact the audience mentally.  There really is nothing more I can express than the fact that its the first thriller I ever saw, its also one of my favorites.  After seeing this, I now I have the desire to watch Red Dragon and Hannibal, both equally great thrillers.  No one can portray a cannibal and psychopath as well as Anthony Hopkins ever will.

4) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo diCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Plot: U.S. Marshal Edward (aka Teddy) Daniels (Leonardo diCaprio) get assigned with a new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate after a woman, both prisoner and mental patient, disappears mysteriously from her room with no trace on Shutter Island.  This is an island where it is a maximum security prison ward for highly dangerous mentally unstable felons.  We soon learn that Teddy himself has wanted to go there to investigate something else for his own personal reasons.  It is here that the story unfolds.

This is a new one that I picked up the other day at HMV because it was on special and well, I’m a big Leonardo diCaprio. ¬†This is an awesome thriller. ¬†I haven’t seen one this good in a really long time. ¬†I’m a huge fan of all the actors and I think Leonardo diCaprio is at the top of his game here. ¬†Of course, it helps that he’s partnered with Martin Scorsese, a really wonderful actor. ¬†This one made my boyfriend and I ¬†ask a lot of ¬†“What’s next?” around every corner and after everything that happened. ¬†We were guessing and thinking about every next moment that could happen. ¬†It was some thrill ride, I tell you. ¬†One you definitely shouldn’t miss!

5) ORPHAN (2009)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: A couple, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) loses an unborn child and decides to adopt a 9 year old girl, Esther. ¬†Esther is originally from Russia and her last family had died in a fire where she barely made it out alive. ¬†Kate and John both think that Esther is smart, kind and well-mannered at first sight and she gets along with their two children, Max and Daniel. ¬†Slowly, there seems to be “something wrong with Esther”. ¬†Unusual things start happening around her.

This movie is really chilling thriller. ¬†I’m serious, I haven’t been scared and startled and disturbed in a while. ¬†I had to spend an hour after the movie to watch some comedy to relax my mind. ¬†Its just really awesome. ¬†It packs in a lot of “Oh, shit” moment. ¬†I haven’t seen anything else by this director but man, he does really well. ¬†This story is believable and the girl who plays Esther is amazing. ¬†The little girl that plays Max, who is deaf, is also the little girl in Resident Evil: Retribution playing Becky. ¬†If you haven’t seen this one, out of my whole list, I think you definitely should check this one out. ¬†It’ll pack in some startling experience.

6) PAPRIKA (2006)

Director: Satoshi Kon

Plot: “This is your brain on anime”. ¬†Thats generally what it is I guess. ¬†Paprika is a girl who can enter into your dreams through a device created called DC Mini. ¬†This device can record and let you rewatch the dreams you’ve had. ¬†When the device is stolen from the Institute of Psychiatric Research, the three scientists that invented it try to search for it with the help of Paprika. ¬†The thief is causing a lot of chaos by entering into people’s minds and thoughts while they are awake and distract them with dreams of their own or others.

Last week was for animation but this anime is deep and definitely NOT for children. ¬†For one, its rated R. ¬†Well, why it fits here its because its categorized as an animated thriller. ¬†It was some thrill alright. ¬†I was confused and deep in thought while watching this one. ¬†The essence in this may be partially in the animation but I think what captivates us is the story itself and the mystery behind it. ¬†I guess its a bit like Inception actually. ¬†Its pretty well laid out as a story and you will be wondering about how things will unfold. ¬†I’m definitely going to give this one a second run to better understand what was going on in entirety. ¬†The whole concept between light and darkness, the merge between reality and dreams.

7) BURIED (2010)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds

Plot: A trucker in Iraq wakes up to find himself buried underground with only a lighter and a cell phone.  He then fights to learn what has got him in that position and figure out a way to get out before its too late.

That is as simple as I can go with this movie without ruining it for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. ¬†I personally got this movie because I saw the trailer and thought it was awesome, before that I hadn’t even known its existence. ¬†So yes, Ryan Reynolds is amazing in this one man show. ¬†The other person he interacts with is on the phone. ¬†It reflected really well the urgency and gripping turns in the story. ¬†I really loved this movie (most of the time). It was quite the enjoyable movie experience. ¬†I always appreciated movies where its just one man show movies (first one I saw was probably Phone booth).

8) SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Plot: A child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) takes on the task of helping a young boy, Cole Sear, who claims that he can see dead people. These dead people are those who don’t know that they have died and continues to haunt him. ¬†Cole’s mom (Toni Collette) desperately wants to help rid his son of his problems.

I’m ending this with a bang. ¬†After all, according to that poster its the #1 Thriller of All Time. ¬†This thriller was crazy awesome. I think it was the best movie which we everyone knows has the best twist ending ever. ¬†I never saw it coming ever. ¬†I was also younger when I first saw this movie. ¬†Deal with movies with twist, is its rewatchability has to be that the actual movie plot has something you can take from it or else, you can’t watch it again. ¬†This movie packs in some good acting and fantastic plot. It was the movie that put Night Shyamalan on the map (lets not discuss what happened afterwards), but this movie was great. It gave us deep emotions and some nice scares. I’m pretty the majority of you have seen this, but if you haven’t, you have to!

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!

After watching this whole line-up, I’m sure that you all notice that its actually not really too scary. ¬†I really didn’t have time to watch more and/or make another list. ¬†I don’t think it needs much more though. ¬†I forgot to grab Se7en off my boyfriend’s collection at his place, if not, I’d definitely add that in. ¬†I also wanted to put in Butterfly Effect, but I had lent it out. ¬†Those were the original last 2 that was to complete the list. ¬†Overall, the current list already have pretty good films. ¬†Some do pack in some scary moments and others balance with a bit more thinking, a bit more profound ideas to ponder a bit on maybe.

For all of you that want to pack in some fright, I got my boyfriend to help me out with the next one. ¬†So, it should definitely be intense. ¬† I’ll explain to you all why I need this extra help next week. ¬†In the meantime, we will work out a way to choose the best horror movies in our collective movie collections. Next list will be top 10 Intense Horror. ¬†Hopefully you’ll come back to check it out!

As for this list, any that you disagree with? Didn’t enjoy as much as I did? Would you put anything extra? I love watching thrillers and would love to get some suggestions for ones that I haven’t seen.