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! 🙂

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?

Mirror Mirror (2012)

I’m sorry that Baking Through Disney project is on a slow start but I’ve been trying to get those adaptations watched.  It hasn’t been easy to find time to watch movies that aren’t expiring on Netflix.  Anyways, thats behind us now and those reviews will go up gradually. Another thing is that I’ve been avoiding watching Snow White and the Huntsman but here we are with another one that just got added on Netflix and its the 2012 live action adaptation called Mirror Mirror.  I’m a huge fan of Julia Roberts…at least her earlier stuff is great so I always remain hopeful.

Let’s check it out!

Mirror Mirror (2012)

Mirror Mirror

Director: Tarsem Singh

Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Martin Klebba, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright. – IMDB

Mirror Mirror

Live action adaptations are popping up everywhere.  Mirror Mirror came and went before I even knew about it.  It went by so quietly that I actually had my doubts about it being good.  Sure, there’s Julia Roberts and I like her but let’s face it, Snow White and the Disney version has yet to have a really good adaptation.  At least from what I’ve seen, they’ve all been pretty sad efforts.  But then, I only reviewed Asylum’s and I guess that’s the extreme bottom of the barrow.  I don’t know what I’m rambling about.  What I’m trying to say is that Mirror Mirror is an average movie and the plot is nothing to call home about but it does have some pretty nice settings and visuals, even the costumes are pretty to look at.  All those things are in its favor.  There’s some good and some bad with the characters also.

Mirror Mirror

I wasn’t sure where to start with this since I’m a little indifferent to it but I think talking about Snow White and Prince Alcott (aka Prince Charming) is a good place.  There is no doubt that Lily Collins looks the part.  She’s a sweet looking girl and can pull off the nice and compassionate girl.  What most adaptations nowadays are doing seems to be making the Disney princesses into stronger women.  I applaud the effort.  Its a good thing and for the most part, Lily Collins does a good Snow White who learns how to be tough when she meets the dwarfs.  Her chemistry with the dwarfs might actually be more than hers with the Prince..haha! I guess that kind of is like the Disney classic, right? It was never about the Prince, was it? Now, our Prince here is a good looking dude.  He has some shirtless moments which makes for a few chuckles but is he convincing as the Prince? Hmm…he’s a little stupid.  Maybe he’s supposed to be, I don’t know.  Prince Charming was really all for looks, I guess and being Snow White’s happily ever after.

Mirror Mirror

The more fun part to talk about are the dwarfs.  This crew are not miners but thieves in this version.  They walk around in stilts of sorts that reminded me of the Kurios Cirque du Soleil show I saw last year.  They are a really awesome addition to Mirror Mirror.  Almost all the laughs are because of them and they make it so enjoyable especially when interacting with Snow White.  There’s a lot to love about them and I would rewatch Mirror Mirror just for their performances.  These dwarfs may be a different spin on the story we know but they are a good and well-needed change.

Mirror Mirror

The Queen here is played by Julia Roberts.  I hate to say it but this one was a little pathetic.  They try to change up the character in a way with the mirror is actually a magical dimension and actually the reflection of the Queen herself.  She’s superficial (as expected).  I guess continuity works here but I believe it was deliberate when they made that narrative by the Queen (or the Mirror) and then the English accent vanished and turned back into Julia Roberts own voice.  At least I thought it did in a few parts.  I wasn’t sure if they did it to make it funny or sarcastic but I personally didn’t like it all that much.  This Queen may be evil but she never felt that way to me.  She just tried to menace Snow White with her words but she’s kind of stupid and not really all that villainous.  That makes for this being the main reason Mirror Mirror didn’t quite do it for me.

Overall, Mirror Mirror has some pros: costumes, setting and the change for the dwarfs make it so entertaining and fun.  Snow White and Prince Alcott is a decent couple with a good enough chemistry.  Snow White and the dwarfs also carry some pretty nice chemistry and adds to the entertaining factor.  The cons however is the weaker plot which doesn’t quite feel like anything special. The Queen also is not all that villainous.  Mirror Mirror could be better but its not horrible.  Maybe its a decent choice on a rainy day.  Know this, the seven dwarfs will give you quite a good laugh 😉

Have you seen Mirror Mirror? Do you like Julia Roberts? 

Genre Grandeur – Erin Brockovich (2000)

Check out my review for Movierob’s Genre Grandeur for Biopics. One of my favorite is the story of Erin Brokovich directed by Steven Soderbergh and played by Julia Roberts in one of the best roles I’ve seen her in.
Next month’s Genre Grandeur is themed with 80’s action flicks. If you have a favorite that you want to review, remember to send a review over to Rob and join in on the fun 🙂 Also, remember to check out the other biopic faves that other bloggers have reviewed!


For our next review for this month’s Genre Grandeur – Biopics, here’s a review of Erin Brockovich by Kim of Tranquil Dreams.

Next month’s Genre chosen by Kieron of What About the Twinkie? is 80’s action flicks, so send me the review of your favorite film in that genre by 25th Nov to and I’ll post it.

Take it away Kim!


erin brockovich poster

Before we start the the write-up, I’m really not much of a biopics person. So, my repertoire is not huge. If it has historical value, I may possibly have fallen asleep through it. Don’t say that I haven’t tried because I do own a few, I just never really make it past the 30 minutes point. However, when I do make it through, I take it that its done a good job, regardless of how accurate the movie portrayal is. I never go back to cross reference…

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Valentine’s Marathon: Eat Pray Love (2010)

Not really a romantic comedy or even much of a romance, but it does look at another type of love.  This movie is based on one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in the same name.  That book made me smile from my heart as I read through Elizabeth Gilbert’s one year journey in 3 different countries.

Eat-Pray-LoveDirector: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, James Franco, Viola Davis

Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) is unhappy with her life, but more specifically with her marriage.  One night she can’t take it anymore and sits on my bathroom floor in tears and prays for the first time to God in desperate need for him to tell her what to do.  A voice tells her to go back to bed and her husband wakes up and says that he doesn’t want to go on a trip and she says she doesn’t want to be married anymore.  This starts her long harsh divorce, the one which a few months ago in Bali, a guru, Ketut, told her that she would lose all her money and then get it all back.  In the middle of getting a divorce, she meets David (James Franco), a guy who is acting her piece and they get into a relationship.  However, soon after, she realizes that isn’t right for her either and she finally decides that she wants to pursue what she’s always wanted in life: to travel and at the same time, find herself again.  She decides that for the following year she will first travel to 4 months in Italy and learn Italian and eat great Italian food, then go to India to meet a guru and pray and meditate, and then her last stop is Bali, where she will find Ketut (the same guruwho predicted she would lose all her money) and learn from him as he promised the last time they met. Its there she spontaneously meets Felipe (Javier Bardem), a man who has gone through a bad divorce and also doesn’t know how to love again.

The book that is movie is adapted from is probably one of the best books I’ve read.  I know that some people question the authenticity of the novel but whether it actually happened or not is not as important to me as the concept behind it.  The idea of learning to find balance within yourself and truly learning to love yourself, learn from your mistakes but forgive yourself for them as well and learning to move on.  However, that part is for a book review.


I have to say that this movie is decent as a standalone movie.  The shoots of landscape and scenery are absolutely beautiful.  It made me want to buy a plane ticket, hop on a plane and just travel to Italy.  Especially because I’m a huge food addict, the food shots in Italy was to die for. The temple where Elizabeth stays in on her stay in India is pretty detailed.  I’ve never been to India but I’d imagine a temple and meditation and rooms would look something like that.  It shoots the streets going into the temple, the outside chaos and in some areas, extreme poverty.  The devastation she had from the relaxing and breathtaking Italy to a loud and hectic India.  When she goes from India and departs for Bali, we get back into a balance of the two.

Eat_Pray_Love Italy

Julia Roberts does a fantastic job in this movie.  When she sits on the bathroom floor and prays for the first time, you can feel how desperate and confused she is.  How she doesn’t know how to make a choice anymore.  When she travels, you can see her breeding into a true Italian as she captures the essence of speaking your hands to support your words. In India, how the sudden change affects her character and reflects eventually her struggle to find peace because she hasn’t forgiven herself and learning the whole meaning of praying.  When she reaches Bali, her character is learning to find balance from the two places she had traveled before and when she suddenly meets Felipe.  Here Julia Roberts does a great job at showing us this struggle as she feels her life go out of balance and not knowing exactly how to balance loving herself and loving someone else.

eat_pray_love felipe

This movie is the first time I’ve seen Javier Bardem.  He is a fantastic actor, even though he was only in pretty much a third of the movie. Also, Richard Jenkins who plays Richard in Texas in India is worth a mention because he does a great supporting role as a man who tries to help Liz get over her problems and see herself for who she is.

However, if you want to be truly inspired, I really suggest to read the book.  The movie doesn’t really portray it that well.  But it does take out the essential quotes of the book and put it in as Elizabeth narrates some parts in the background.

And I leave you with this:

“Sometimes to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life.”-Ketut Liyer

“In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.” – Liz Gilbert

I’m a huge fan of Julia Roberts.  I’ve liked almost all her movies (that I’ve seen).  Are you a fan of her? Which movies did you like the most?

Have you seen this movie? Did you enjoy it?

P.S. My first post after its entered Valentine’s Day! Just a warning that I will be overloading you with Valentine’s Day posts.  I have at least one more movie review, Valentine baking and a little special something.  I’m putting it all together right now.  By the morning, the first of those posts should be up also.

Happy Valentine’s Day!