Money Monster is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a World War II film from Carol Reed, Bryan Cranston as a president, Salma Hayek in an Italian fairy tale, and George Clooney's charm.
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My wife and I have never, nor will we ever make a freebie list - a list of five celebrities whom we can sleep with without the other getting upset over it - but if we did, George Clooney would be at the top of hers. Hell, he’d be pretty close to the top of mine, and I don’t begin to even swing that way.  But he’s just so damn handsome and he just bathes in charm, and push come to shove, I don’t think I’d be able to help myself.  He’s one of my all-time favorite movie stars, which is kind of funny because I don’t think he’s that great an actor.  He’s really got a rather limited range.  There’s a certain type of character that he plays really well, but when he ventures too far away from that, the seams start to show.  Luckily Mr. Clooney seems to be fully aware of his own range and rarely does he venture away from it.  Charm makes up for a lot of deficiencies in ability and George Clooney is made from the stuff.

Though I don’t like her nearly as much, Julia Roberts fits into a similar category.  She’s a decent actress but she’s got charm that shoots out of her like a lightning bolt.  For my money, the characters she’s really good at playing aren’t nearly as interesting as the ones Clooney plays, which is probably why I’m never as excited to see her as him, but there is no denying she has been a movie star of the highest magnitude.

Jodie Foster on the other hand doesn’t have nearly the same spark.  She doesn’t light up the screen the same way Clooney or Roberts do, and yet I’d argue she’s a much better actor than either.  As a director, well, lets just say she’s hit about as well as Clooney has in that regard.  Her latest, Money Monster, stars Clooney as a Jim Cramer-type who goes on TV every day and gives money tips.  Julia Roberts is his producer.  All is well until a man who bet everything on one of Clooney’s stock tips and lost forces himself on the show, armed with a vest full of explosives.  It did not fare particularly well with critics or audiences.  It scored a mixed 57% on the Tomatometer and while it made money at the box office, it didn’t exactly burn any records down.  Our own Kristen Lopez sarcastically called it “Mediocre Monster”.

Yet here I am making it my pick of the week.  Did I mention that George Clooney is a charm monster and that I’ll watch anything and everything the man ever makes?

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Flash: The Complete Second Season:  I’ve only seen the first season of this DC series on the CW, but it's still better than any film the comics company has put on the screen in years.

Night Train to Munich (Criterion Collection):  Carol Reed’s WWII thriller gets a Criterion Blu-ray upgrade.

Now You See Me 2:  The mediocre magic movie gets a sequel.

A Bigger Splash:  An erotic psychological drama from Italian director Luca Guadagnino.  It stars Tilda Swinton as a famous rockstar who, while holidaying with her boyfriend, gets a visit from an old friend (Ralph Fiennes).  Drama ensues.  This is the sort of art-house film that got lots of great reviews but barely showed up in any theaters outside of major cities.

All the Way:  Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony Award-winning performance as President Lyndon Johnson in his first year as president after the assassination of JFK.

Tale of Tales:  Salma Hayek stars in this cinematic take on several Italian fairy tales.  Much like the actual Grimm Brothers tales (before they got sanitized by Disney and the like), these stories are filled with sex, violence, and gore.  From the looks of it, director Matteo Garrone has filled it with stunning imagery, but the reviews have not been particularly kind.

Love & Friendship:  Whit Stillman directed this period drama based on the fairly obscure Jane Austen novel Lady Susan.  It stars Kate Beckinsale as a Lady of the house who has recently lost her husband and is trying to find a suitor for her other daughter (Morfydd Clark).  That sounds like typical Austen fare, and honestly I’m not particularly fond of her writings, but it also fits so perfectly into what Stilman does that the two seem so perfectly fitted for each other, I wonder why he’s just now getting around to her.

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