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Reviews for May 13th, 2016

Cash Only

Directed by Malik Bader


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by FilmBuff.
Opens at Cinema Village.


Directed by Ben Wheatley


Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Released by Magnet Releasing.
Opens at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town

Directed by Jeremy Lalonde


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Gravitas Ventures.
Opens in select theaters.

Love & Friendship

Directed by Whit Stillman


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions.
Opens at The Paris Theatre and Angelika Film Center.

Last Days in the Desert

Directed by Rodrigo García


Number of times I checked my watch: 4
Released by Broad Green Pictures.
Opens at Village East Cinema.

Money Monster

Directed by Jodi Foster

      Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts the TV show "Money Monster" where he provides financial advice to viewers. A disgruntled viewer, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), arrives onto the set pretending to be a delivery man, threatens Lee with a gun and has him put on a vest with a bomb attached to it. Kyle claims that he had lost all of his savings after buying a stock that subsequently fell despite Lee's advice to buy it. Lee tries to get ahold of the company's CEO, Walt Camby (Dominic West), and soon discovers that Walt is responsible for causing the stock to fall. Meanwhile, amid all the chaos, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), Lee's producer, provides him with instructions into his hidden earpiece via the editing booth.

      At least three writers wrote the screenplay for Money Monster, and given the messy plot and uneven tone, it feels like there were too many cooks in the kitchen. It's not that there's anything wrong with blending the genres of thriller, drama and comedy, but blending it in an organic and entertaining way takes skill which none of the writers, namely, Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf, display except for in the first 10 minutes or so which have a little wit. As the film progresses, though, the plot becomes less and less believable and increasingly lethargic. Everything just goes from Plot Point A to Plot Point B as though it were in a hurry. Director Jodi Foster fails to slow the film down to generate some humanism and allow for us to care about these characters beyond what's on the surface. Kyle, as it turns out, has a girlfriend, Molly (Emily Meade), but she's nothing more than a tacked-on plot device who's ignored in the third act.

      The actors, despite their talent, fail to compensate for the weak material. George Clooney has charisma, as usual, but he doesn't make his character believable or memorable for that matter. Julie Roberts does the best that she can do, but, just like Clooney, fails to breathe life into her character (which is mostly the screenplay's fault). Jack O'Connell gives a solid performance and is the only actor that rises ever so slightly above the material because the character he plays has a modicum depth, and he's skilled enough to get to the character's innate emotional core. For a more gripping, memorable and provocative thriller with a far more intelligent screenplay, see A Monster With a Thousand Heads which also opens this weekend albeit in limited release.

Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Columbia Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

Sunset Song

Directed by Terence Davies


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Magnolia Pictures.
Opens Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

The Trust

Directed by Alex and Benjamin Brewer


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Saban Films.
Opens at Cinema Village.