Thursday, September 15, 2016

Money Monster Blu-ray Review

Academy Award winners George Clooney (Best Supporting Actor, Syriana, 2005) and Julia Roberts (Best Actress, Erin Brockovich, 2000) reteam for Money Monster, the intense and exciting conspiracy thriller set against a ticking clock. Clooney plays a financial TV host put into an extreme situation when he and his producer (Roberts) are taken hostage by an irate investor. Also starring are Jack O’Connell (Unbroken), Dominic West (“The Wire”), Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”) and Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”). Directed by two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Jodie Foster (The Accused, 1988; The Silence of the Lambs, 1991), 
Film (3 ½ out of 5 stars)
Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a financial television show called “Money Monster”.  He employs eye catching tactics like costumes and live animals as he gives stock tips to his audience.  Producer Patty (Julia Roberts) is his producer who is incredibly good at handling the often childish host. Gates likes his cheesy graphics and sound effects and rarely stays on script. A large company, Ibis Clear Capital, has recently had a glitch that cost many people their savings.  Lee has booked the CEO Walt Camby to be on the show. Camby goes MIA and his CCO Diane Lester plans to take his place via satellite.

Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) is an angry investor who barges onto the set, armed and irate.  During the broadcast he plans to confront the CEO who is responsible for the loss of his money and the television host that gave him the tip. An intense standoff ensues on live TV while Gates and Patty work to discover the truth behind the Ibis glitch.

The combination of George Clooney and Julia Roberts has proved successful in the past. Even though they are rarely in the same room they have exceptional chemistry together. Clooney’s charisma helps to sell him as the pitch man. You don’t need to be financially savvy to understand the events as they unfold. The film takes the time to teach you as it goes and you’ll never be wondering what just happened. The drama becomes more intense than I expected which is a good thing. When Clooney asks his audience what his own life is worth, you truly feel for the man. This is one of those films that may have gone unnoticed in the theaters, but is well worth the time now that its available to own. 
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Money Monster is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 1080p high definition with a widescreen 2.39:1 ratio.  The film transitions from moments in the dark hallways of the studio to the bright lights of the sound stage. Fine detail and black levels are good and skin tones are accurate and even. The graphics of the television show will provide bright colors and stark contrasts.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is more than sufficient to handle the intensity of the film. It’s a dialogue heavy film, and that dialogue is always intelligible. Your volume will not need to be adjusted to accommodate gun fire or the shouting of the gunman. Music is limited but the bass will be tested as the host dances to hip hop.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains an interesting list of special features.  Be warned, they include big spoilers, so you should watch the film first.  I was surprised it lacked Director’s Commentary.
  • Deleted Scenes – Available with optional play all function “Global Opening”, “Let Me Speak to the Quant”, and “Molly’s Exit Rant”
  • George Clooney:  The Money Man – Includes interviews with Director Jodie Foster, Actor/Producer George Clooney, Writer Jamie Linden, Actor Julia Roberts and more discuss the film and the main characters in the basic behind the scenes featurette.
  • Inside the Pressure Cooker – A more detailed look at the jigsaw puzzle and logistical nightmare that the film is (for those who made it).  Cast and crew discuss the elements that will come to a boil before the film’s resolution.
  • Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown – The film’s most thrilling scenario is examined, including the differences between the first draft of script and the final ending.
  • Dan the Automator (Feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) “What Makes the World go Round (Money!)” Music Video
  • Previews
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Money Monster delivers a unique combination of intensity and heart. Don’t doze off when you hear it’s about uncovering a financial crime.   There is a true conspiracy at work and its worth the ride to watch it unfold. The film has genuine twists and makes you feel like you can’t expect even the most central characters to see the end. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film and it loses very little muster upon repeated viewing (even after you know how it will end). The Blu-ray’s audio and video quality is very good and the supplemental features are a great addition to the story.

Order your copy today!

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