All the Money in the World (2017)
When I think of All the Money in the World, it is hard not to think about everything that happened with Kevin Spacey and the bad publicity that surrounded this film because of him. It is my understanding that the movie was just about completed when the news came out about his sexual allegations.
(This is my review of All the Money in the World, but I feel that it is important to talk first about the cloud of negativity that hovered over this movie before its release. There is a certain amount of hypocrisy that has been a part of the Hollywood machine for many years. It still is today).
I think that the producers of the movie agreed that All the Money in the World was guaranteed to bomb at the box office because of Spacey. So how did they resolve this problem? The same way that Netflix resolved their Spacey problem with the infamous House of Cards firing, they cut him out of the film completely. They brought Christopher Plummer in to replace him. Then they had to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Plummer instead. How that will pan out with the Netflix Original Series House of Cards is yet to be seen, but that is a topic for a different day.
Spacey was originally billed second. His character was a big deal to the film. They had to bring in the other actors and redo a good chunk of the whole movie so that they could replace him. This all had to be done with only weeks remaining until the film was due to be released!
I read that it took about 9 days to completely reshoot the necessary scenes to cut Kevin Spacey completely out of All the Money in the World. That is insane if you think about it. Ridley Scott did what they thought would be impossible to try to salvage the film.
Now, if that was not enough, more controversy instantly surfaced about the reshoots. Apparently, Walhberg negotiated that he would get paid somewhere in the millions of dollars if he had to film any extra scenes. He has a good agent and he is one of the highest paid actors out there, so this comes as no surprise right? Wrong. To stir things up more, now all of a sudden, people were complaining because he got paid far more than Michelle Williams or any of the other actors for his reshoots. They were paid thousands and he was paid millions. The complaint was that there should be closer to equal pay for all involved.
I am all for women’s rights. I am glad that they were able to erase Spacey from this film because of his sexual misconduct. They should have cracked down on all of that years ago. We all know, and they all know that people in power in Hollywood have been taking advantage of that power for far too long and nothing has really been done about it until recently.
However, I believe in the free market. People should be able to negotiate their worth. They get paid for what they contribute. The superstars get paid more because they bring more to the table. That is how it always has been and how it always should be. If you want to look at equal pay between men and women in Hollywood, I think you need to look deeper into the fact that Hollywood treats women like objects. Hollywood writers do not write many quality roles for women. Instead women are seen as window dressing and men are made out to be the heroes. That is not a problem with the actors or actresses. That is a problem with the filmmakers, and ultimately the big production companies that have gotten big for a reason, because they know how to make money.
What does Mark Wahlberg do when he hears that many people believe that he got overpaid and he is looked at as being part of the problem? Marky Mark turns around and donates all of the extra millions of dollars that he made for reshoots to “Time’s Up” in Michelle Williams name.
All of the Money in the World is based on true events. It is about a teenage boy who is kidnapped and held for ransom because his grandfather is the richest man in the world. The grandfather will not pay the ransom, and the boy’s mother is forced to do whatever is in her power to try to get her son back.
The movie was directed by Ridley Scott and the noteworthy cast includes Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Timothy Hutton, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Charlie Shotwell, Andrew Buchan, and Marco Leonardi.
Ridley Scott generally knows how to get a film done right. He has got the process down. Sometimes the expectation is higher than the outcome, however. This is the case with this movie. It is well made to a point. It jumps around a lot. Usually that is OK to tell a story, but it makes this film feel a little choppy. It also seems to take away from how we feel about the characters in the story. We are not given much of a chance to really like and care about the people in the movie. If we do not care much about the characters, then we do not care much about what happens to them.
I think that this disconnect exists in the movie because it is in fact, based on true events. They follow the story line of what happened in real life, but they do not give you much reason to like the characters. This strongly takes away from how good the movie could be. It is good up to a point, without the possibility of being better.
Christopher Plummer got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this movie. He was part of the film for 9 days of reshoots. With all of the chaos that surrounded All the Money in the World, it seems like Hollywood was just throwing the movie a bone when they nominated Plummer for an Oscar. He is a solid actor and he was good in this film, but not Oscar good. Not even close. I think that this is a case of Hollywood trying to recoup their investment and show praise for Ridley Scott’s ability to get the job done that needed to get done. If there is an Oscar nomination of any kind for a movie, it pretty much guarantees that people will see it. It is sort of like the media. They tell you what they want you to hear. In this case, they tell you what they want you to watch.
I cannot help but wonder, what the other version of the film with Spacey was like. With my tainted view of him as an actor at this point, I would have hated the movie. It was definitely the right thing to do replacing him. I used to be big fan of Spacey, but it is amazing how quickly your view of someone changes once their true colors bleed through.
Overall, the movie was good, but not that good. It is an interesting true story that was certainly worth telling. It felt rushed, because it actually was rushed. I feel that with more thought placed on character development, the movie could have been a lot better.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
John Q. (2002)
Proof of Life (2000)
Inside Man (2006)
The Negotiator (1998)
American Hustle (2013)
Back in August of 2013, when I first heard about American Hustle, this was my viewpoint on it:
David O. Russell has taken 3 stars from his film Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and 2 stars from his film The Fighter (2010), and brought all 5 of them together to make a movie. If The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook had a baby, it would be named American Hustle.
Not only is this film a guaranteed Oscar contender, but it will likely be amazing.
I have been excited about seeing American Hustle ever since.
What do you get when you cross two conniving con artists, a crazy FBI agent, corrupt politicians and the mob? The answer, American Hustle. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) have developed an excellent partnership of swindling desperate people out of their money. Everything is going great until one day, a power hungry FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) catches the couple in his web. In order to keep from going to prison, Irving and Sydney are forced to work with the FBI to try to help bring down other criminals. One thing leads to another and they find themselves butting heads with the mafia. The beauty of it all is that you can’t tell who is conning who.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Pena, Alessandro Nivola, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Robert De Niro, and Paul Herman.
I have to say that I loved the trailer for this movie. It tells you what the movie is about without telling you much about the movie at all. They leave a lot to the imagination. It was refreshing. You get excited to see the movie because of the cast of characters and how they are acting, but you are dying to know what the movie is really about. In this day and age, this is a risky concept because there are multiple movies out there that appear like they are about nothing because their trailer does not tell you much, and when you go to watch them they are pointless. Their secrecy sucks you in, but in reality they weren’t keeping a secret. They just really suck and you just wasted your time. American Hustle is not like that, at all. There is far more to this film than the trailer leads you to believe.
I did not expect there to be as much humor as there was. The movie was laugh-out-loud hilarious. It was very smart, well thought out dark humor.
The film oozed with elegance. Everything about the movie seemed classy. It was clean and crisp. The colors were so clear and bright. From a filmmaking aspect alone, the movie was perfection. Picture that, but then throw in some of the best actors in the business into a flawlessly put together movie.
So, now you have a diamond of a movie with a cast that is worth its weight in gold. What do you get now? Fireworks. American Hustle recreates the 70s believably and the soundtrack is there to prove it. The actors play the game like the all-stars that they are. The chemistry was electrifying between everybody. The actors kept one-upping each other.
Chistian Bale, with a porky belly and the cheapest comb over imaginable stood out among the rest. His performance was not surprising, but it was every bit as good as anything he has ever done before. His performance was not surprising because he has been acting at such a high level for such a long time, that it’s hard to expect anything less out of him. His acting was power and precision. For a long time now, Johnny Depp has been my favorite actor and Bale has been my second favorite. I think Bale just surpassed Depp. Dare I say, lately he is more consistently in better movies. Bale is capable of almost any role and he proves it time and time again. I have not seen all of the movies that are up for Academy Awards, but as of right now, Bale gets my vote for Best Actor, and he should be competing against himself for Out of the Furnace (2013)(that movie was snubbed), as well.
Speaking of Academy Awards, Amy Adams. She was absolutely wonderful in American Hustle. She was stylish and sophisticated. Instead of being dressed down, like she was in The Fighter, her beauty was really able to shine through to her core. She played a woman who was always in control and it was the best performance by an actress that I have seen since perhaps, Hilary Swank in the film Million Dollar Baby (2004). It certainly was Amy’s best film that I have seen to date. It was even better than her performance in The Fighter.
Bradley Cooper had more curlers in his hair than Amy Adams. He pulled it off though and it was funny. He brought a level of insanity to his role in American Hustle that showed similarities to Silver Linings Playbook. He was allowed his moments to shine, but you could tell he was along for the ride in the back seat behind Bale. Amy Adams was riding shotgun and Jennifer Lawrence was in the back seat behind her, sitting next to Cooper.
Jennifer Lawrence seemed to pick up right where she left off in Silver Linings Playbook. She was the broken housewife with an attitude and an appetite for wreaking havoc and turmoil. I thought she played the part about as well as she did in Silver Linings Playbook.
David O. Russell has come a long way since Flirting With Disaster (1996) and I Heart Huckabees (2004). He took a page right out of Martin Scorsese’s book by having multiple narrators in American Hustle. The movie actually was very Scorsese-esque. Russell’s last three films have all been Oscar contenders and American Hustle is as deserving of an Oscar as either of the other two. My only concern is that this movie gets screwed out of the Academy Awards that it rightfully deserves for the sake of diversity.
This film was like the acting all-star game of 2013.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: I usually do not rate a movie a 10 after the first showing, but I could not find anything wrong with this movie. I thought that it might drag on a little bit because of the 138 minutes running time, but it didn’t. It was just an exercise in excellence. I am often reluctant to give a movie a 10 rating right away because I think that it should prove the test of time. I think this one already did.
If you liked American Hustle, then you will most likely enjoy the following films:
2 Guns (2013)
Director Baltasar Kormakur pulled out the big guns for his new Action/Comedy 2 Guns. With a cast that includes Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, and Paula Patton, how could you go wrong? This is the question that I asked myself. My answer was that you most likely can’t go wrong. I was very excited to see this film, so I caught one of the first showings.
The film is about an undercover DEA agent (Washington) and an undercover Special Forces officer (Wahlberg) that team up to get close to a drug cartel. The catch: each man is unaware that the other is a cop.
2 Guns is a high caliber adventure that is fully loaded with twists and turns, plenty of action, an amazing cast of edgy characters, lots of laughs, and a whole lot of fun.
Denzel Washington is one actor that has never really disappointed me. He has always acted his heart out in every role that I have seen him in. He is certainly one of the greats. He is one of the most consistently solid actors of our time. His role in 2 Guns is evidence that he has no intention of changing his ways or slowing down. His character is suave and in control. He lets his presence be known on screen. If he were a Jedi, the force would be strong with this one.
Mark Wahlberg’s acting ability has noticeably improved over the years. It was never bad by any means, but he has definitely found his niche. He has always taken a no-nonsense approach to his acting. This has given his movies more intensity and energy. Over time, he has learned to develop a different personality to each of the characters that he plays. He has become very versatile. In 2 Guns, he somehow managed to be funny and a badass.
The witty banter exchanged between Washington and Wahlberg was hilarious. That, mixed with each man’s physical ability for violence made the movie very entertaining. Their characters played off of each other wonderfully.
Besides Haywire (2011), I have not seen Paxton in anything great for a while. This is his best film movie Frailty (2001). He played a good tough-guy in this film.
There was never a dull moment in this movie. If you are looking for a lot of action, some good laughs, great acting, and an overall awesome film experience, look no further than 2 Guns. This movie has everything. It’s the best Action/Comedy film so far this year, and will probably be the best of the year.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you enjoyed 2 Guns, then you will most likely enjoy:
Pain & Gain (2013)
Michael Bay took a true story about bodybuilding thieves and kidnappers, and chewed it up and spit it out bigger and better than before. The producer and director has a tendency to go big or go home. Pain & Gain went huge with a super sized Mark Wahlberg, a bulkier Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”, and an extra beefed up Anthony Mackie.
I should not have enjoyed this movie, but I did. It is supposedly a true story, but you have to believe that with Michael Bay involved, the film could very well be far from the truth. Everything about the movie was way over-the-top.
The movie was raunchy, vulgar, and went totally off the deep end. It’s filled with drugs, cussing, nudity, and brutality. I was caught off guard at how funny the movie was though. I expected an action/adventure and I got an action/comedy. The story is pretty twisted and it needed a lot of comedy to help you get through it, so kudos to the filmmakers for recognizing this fact. The real story was probably not that funny. The real story was probably not that entertaining either.
If you are not a fan of dark comedy, then you might not like this movie. It is mostly filled with dark comedy and stupid comedy. After all, all brawn and no brains is the underlined theme of this film. The movie could also be considered very offensive. If you are easily offended, you might not like the film.
The characters were far out, but very well-acted. The casting was perfect. I don’t think that you could find a funnier bunch of giants anywhere. With that being said, if this movie had a different cast, it probably would have just been awful. I am certain that the actual people that the characters are based on are not nearly as likable as the actors who play them in the movie.
With how big Mark Wahlberg is now, if he could go back in time and fight his character in The Fighter (2010), he would beat the crap out of that guy. He gained 40lbs. to make Pain & Gain and he looks gigantic. Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” somehow became more enormous for his role. It just goes to show the dedication that these guys had to make the movie.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked Pain & Gain, then you will most likely enjoy:
Broken City (2013)
Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe both let their presence be known in Broken City. Each man carries himself with such tenacity and vigor that when you put them both in the same movie together, you are certainly in for a show. Put them both in the same scene, and you are in for fireworks.
In this film, Crowe reminds us all just how powerful his acting can be. He seemed like he was very comfortable with his part and was having a lot of fun with it. That aspect of it was pretty obvious and made the movie more enjoyable.
Wahlberg has been choosing his movie roles very carefully lately, and makes yet another wise choice. He has definitely shown us that he can act with the best of them and delivers another very raw, intense performance. Obviously he is the lead in this film and he was billed first before Russell Crowe, but I think that he has rightfully earned that position. He has paid his dues and has reached the superstar status.
The movie is pretty dark. It is filled with deceit, dirty cops and politicians, murder, and violence. It’s almost scary how well it was all depicted. It was all very well written, well directed, and skillfully filmed. It was all rounded out by a superb supporting cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler. The latter three of those four are all very solid character actors and they were all at their best.
I have noticed a trend recently. Female lead characters have not had much of a chance to develop their characters in movies. It just seems that more and more, actresses are not given too many lines or very big roles in larger movies as of late. They may be main characters, but the men usually dominate the film. Obviously this happens a lot in movies, but usually when the movie has a big budget and a high caliber cast, it also gets a couple of strong female lead characters to go with it. Broken City continued the trend of weak or underdeveloped female lead characters. This may have taken a little bit away from the movie, but at the same time could have contributed to how and why the male characters went off the deep end. Their female counterparts were a little too withdrawn.
Broken City was reminiscent of old Humphrey Bogart private detective movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), or The Big Sleep (1946). Of course it is a new age and more intense film than those were, but it just reminded me of them while I was watching it. Those were classic films that were fun to watch.
Overall, Broken City was a very strong, entertaining film.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you enjoyed Broken City, then you will probably like: