Money Monster (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 26, 2016 by  

Depending on the individual watching this film, “Money Monster” can be an entertaining film or just a film mirroring the corruption that exist in the world today that makes us sick.  Or like me, feeling both. So, I do have mixed feelings about the film.  But for those wanting an entertaining thriller, “Money Monster” may be worth your time!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Money Monster


DURATION: 99 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English, French and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English – Audio Description Track, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Cantonese (Traditional), French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Language Throughout, Some Sexuality and Brief Violence)

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Directed by Jodie Foster

Screenplay by Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf

Story by Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf

Produced by Lara Alameddine, Daniel Dubiecki, Grant Heslov

Co-Producer: Joseph P. Reidy

Executive-Producer: Tim Crane, Kerry Orent

Cinematography by Matthew Libatique

Music by Dominic Lewis

Edited by Matt Chesse

Casting by Avy Kaufman

Production Design by Kevin Thompson

Art Direction by Deborah Jensen

Set Decoration: Lydia Marks

Costume Design by Susan Lyall


George Clooney as Lee Gates

Julia Roberts as Patty Fenn

Jack O’Connell as Kyle Budwell

Dominic West as Walt Camby

Caitriona Balfe as Diane Lester

Giancarlo Esposito as Captain Powell

Christopher Denham as Rob Sprecher

In the real-time, high stakes thriller, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O’Connell) forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today’s fast-paced, high-tech global markets.

Actress Jodie Foster has come along way as a director since her ’90s films “Little Man Tate” and “Home for the Holidays” and here 2011 film “The Beaver”.

Having focused on television directing for shows such as “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards”, Foster returns as director of the film “Money Monster”.

The film stars George Clooney (“Gravity”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Up in the Air”), Julia Roberts (“Notting Hill”, “Closer”, “Pretty Woman”, “Erin Brokovich”), Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”, “300: Rise of the Empire”, “’71”), Dominic West (“300”, “Chicago”, “John Carter”) and Caitriona Balfe (“Now You See Me”, “Escape Plan”, “Outlander”).

And now “Money Monster” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD in September 2016 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film begins with an introduction to TV financial expert Lee Gates (portrayed by George Clooney) who hosts the show “Money Monster”, which has been successful thanks to his fun television antics and the support of his longtime director, Patty Fenn (portrayed by Julia Roberts).

When Lee is working on the live airing of “Money Monster”, he was to interview IBIS CEO Walt Camby (portrayed by Dominic West) about the crash of the IBIS Clear Capital stock, which crashed due to a glitch in a trading algorithm which cost investors $800 million.

But because Camby left for a business trip to Geneva, Lee is unable to interview him.

But while filming his show, a deliveryman wanders onto the set of “Money Monster” and pulls out a gun and takes Gates hostage.

The delivery man’s name is Kyle Budwell (portrayed by Jack O’Connell) who invested $60,000, his entire life savings which he inherited from his deceased mother to IBIS, after Lee endorsed the company a month earlier and claimed that it was a safe pick.

Now Kyle is upset that he and other investors lost a lot of money and wants Lee to pay for endorsing the stock.  Kyle forces Lee to put on a vest filled with explosives and that if he doesn’t comply by answering his questions, he will detonate the explosives, which will destroy the building and kill everyone inside the building.

Because the show is live, millions of people all over the world are watching the show.  Many unsure if what is happening is real or fake but after Kyle shoots a big screen, many realize that what is transpiring is very much real and Lee Gates is in big trouble.

As Patty tries to assist Lee via communications through his earpiece, the “Money Monster” staff tries to find the whereabouts of Walt Camby.

Meanwhile, IBIS chief communications officer Diane Lester (portrayed by Caitriona Balfe) and Camby’s girlfriend wants to find answers to why the stock crashed and lost $800 million.  When she contacts a programmer in South Korea, Won Joon (portrayed by Aaron Yoo) tells her that there is no way an algorithm could not take such a large amount of money down, unless a human messed with it.

As police try to find ways to get Kyle to give up, they learn that the receiver of the bomb is located over Lee’s kidney and come up with a plan that in order to prevent the detonation of the bomb, they will shoot Lee with the hope that he survives from the gunshot.

When Patty and her staff get wind of this and relay the information to Lee, how will he respond?  And through the course of the day, what will Lee and his staff find out about the truth of why the IBIS stock lost $800 million?


“Money Monster” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). For the most part, the majority of the film is shot indoors but the film is well-lit and closeup details are good.  Closeup details of the skin and clothing, skin tones look natural and black levels are nice and deep.  The film looks great in HD!


“Money Monster” is presented in English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The soundtrack is also presented in English – Audio Description Track, Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The soundtrack is primarily dialogue with surround channels being used for ambiance (such as crowd scenes) and your occasional gun shots during the film. Overall, lossless soundtrack is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.


“Money Monster” comes with the following special features:

  • Deleted Scenes – (2:22) Featuring three deleted scenes.
  • George Clooney: The Money Man – (5:27) A featurette about George Clooney playing the character of Lee Gates and making him this character that can sell financial products.
  • Inside the Pressure Cooker – (9:54) The cast and crew discuss the film and about how everyone is under pressure and time is of the essence.
  • Analysis of a Scene: The Showdown – (7:09) A featurette analyzing the final scene.  (Note: Do not watch this featurette before watching the film as there are spoilers.)
  • Dan the Automator (Feat. Del the Funky Homosapien) – “What Makes the World Go ‘Round (Money!)” Music Video – (3:03)


“Money Monster” comes with a slipcover an UltraViolet Digital HD code.

The financial institution is rigged.

This is the message that filmmaker Jodie Foster and writers Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf are cajoling to audiences watching the thriller, “Money Monster”.

George Clooney’s Lee Gates is reminiscent of CNBC’s Jim Kramer but with more pizazz and over-the-top antics that viewers have come to watch and believe in the financial information that he gives to his viewers.

And when Lee Gates tells people about purchasing the IBIS stock, no one expected the stock to tank by $800 million not long after.

But when disgruntled Kyle Budwell, disguised as a delivery man, walks into the newsroom and during a live broadcast, takes Lee Gates hostage and threatens to blow the entire building with a bomb (attached to a vest which is placed on Lee), the cable show garners millions of viewers worldwide, watching everything play out.

Meanwhile, “Money Monster” producer Patty Fenn (portrayed by Julia Roberts) tries to keep her friend/host alive by trying to feed information to him via an earpiece and making sure he doesn’t get himself killed, meanwhile trying to find a way to use the broadcast alongside Lee to figure out the truth of why $800 million of IBIS stock tanked and to find out where is IBIS CEO Walter Camby, who was supposed to be on the show to be interviewed about the crash.

As the “Money Monster” staff work behind the scenes, we see IBIS chief communications officer Diane Lester (portrayed by Caitriona Balfe) doing her research in trying to uncover clues of how IBIS stock tanked so heavily.  Trying to find out how an algorithm glitch could lose many millions of dollars for investors.

But who does the audience sympathize, Lee…the host of “Money Monster”?  Or do they sympathize with Kyle Budwell, a person who used his deceased mother’s $65,000 to invest in the IBIS stock and to lose it all.

Granted, while the character of Kyle Budwell goes beyond madman and some can see him trying to seek answers for those who lost money, we start to see things go wrong in multiple directions, especially with law enforcement.

Police want a sniper to shoot Lee in order to destroy the bomb receiver in the vest.  By shooting Lee and destroying the receiver, you save many people.  And of course, when the “Money Monster” staff find out about this, this does not bode well for them.

Also, when the police decide to bring in Kyle’s girlfriend to help diffuse the situation, they don’t realize how unstable she is.

But we see is a mess of a hostage situation tangled in the corruption that can exist in the financial institution.

Ant that is part of the problem that I had with “Money Monster”, Clooney’s Lee is not supposed to be a strong character but a man who discovers the corruption in the system that he was part of.  The police let you down because they are equally making bad choices in the film, the “Money Monster” staff are just as bad, fornicating in the IT server room.

There is so much corruption in the film that you want to see some accountability and instead you get one major FAIL after the other.   The only person that really stands out in this film is Julia Robert’s Patty Fenn who seems to be the only one making the right decisions.

While the film was made popular for George Clooney and Julia Roberts working together in this film directed by actress/filmmaker Jodie Foster, these three talents collaborating together is quite entertaining and literally makes you want to watch this film.

But a romantic comedy this is not.  This is a film about bad choices and the corruption and filth that rears its dirty head in society.

Added with the bad suggestion by the film’s protagonist, because of the irresponsibility of media and law enforcement, the corruption in the financial institution, watching “Money Monster”, I felt like the characters who are watching the hostage scene take place on television in the movie, disbelief and knowing deep inside that the film reflects reality.

We watch cinema for a true escape (often to get away from reality), but “Money Monster” is less about an escape but a reminder of the messed up things we see day after day in news media about the things that can go wrong, is going wrong, but not just in our country but around the world.

Depending on the individual watching this film, “Money Monster” can be an entertaining film or just a film mirroring the corruption that exist in the world today that makes us sick.  Or like me, feeling both. So, I do have mixed feelings about the film.  But for those wanting an entertaining thriller, “Money Monster” may be worth your time!

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