In cinemas this week: Money Monster, Now You See Me 2, The Measure of a Man and Queen of the Desert.
Money Monster – Lee Gates (George Clooney) is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show “Money Monster.” Suddenly, during a live broadcast, disgruntled investor Kyle Budwell (Jack O’ Connell) storms onto the set and takes Gates hostage. He tells Lee that he lost everything on one of his tips. As Gates tries to plead with Kyle, he’s also using an earpiece to communicate with his longtime producer in the control room. Together, they must figure out a way to defuse the situation and disarm the angry young man. We are intrigued by what Jodie Foster brings to the director’s chair, and this timely study of sociopolitical anger should make for a great thriller. But, no one is talking about this much at all.
Now You See Me 2 – Set three years after the first film’s events, The Four Horsemen return for a second mind-bending adventure. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to reveal the mastermind behind it all. Like its charismatic illusionists, this film presents itself as one big illusion; and embraces showmanship over logic. It is a film that flings every trick at its audience, and while it is never boring, it ultimately has too many tricks and not enough sleeves.
The Measure of a Man – Vincent Lindon gives a Cannes Best Actor winning performance as unemployed everyman Thierry, who must submit to a series of quietly humiliating ordeals in his search for work. Futile retraining courses that lead to dead ends, interviews via Skype, an interview-coaching workshop critique of his self-presentation by fellow jobseekers all are mechanisms that seek to break him down and strip him of identity and self-respect in the name of reengineering of a workforce fit for a neoliberal technocratic system. Stéphane Brizé film dispassionately monitors the progress of its stoic protagonist until at last he lands a job on the front line in the surveillance and control of his fellow man and finally faces one too many moral dilemmas. A powerful and deeply troubling vision of the realities of our new economic order.
Queen of the Desert – A true story of the life of British explorer and adventurer, Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman), this film chronicles her journeys of love and loss in the Middle East during the early 20th century. Though directed by Werner Herzog and co-starring James Franco and Robert Pattinson and is a giant turd of a movie.
Weekly Recommendation: Not a great week. If you haven’t caught Hunt for the Wilderpeople, get onto that. From this bunch Money Monster and The Measure of a Man should prove to be the most satisfying.