All the Money in the World (2017)

All the Money in the World

Gail (Michelle Williams), won’t let family troubles stop her from getting her son back.

It is impossible to talk about All the Money in the World without mentioning how the movie almost never happened. While the movie is far from perfect, I find all who made the film (mainly director Ridley Scott and star Christopher Plummer) deserve a load of respect.

The film tells the true story of how a teenager named John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) was kidnapped and held for ransom until his family paid a vast sum of money. He still lives with is divorced mom Gail (Michelle Williams), but it is on his father’s (Andrew Buchan) where the money is. The teen’s grandfather, J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer, who is not related to the younger Plummer in real life), is an oil magnate, and is one of the richest in the world (if not the richest). He refuses to pay the ransom, basically giving off a vibe that would make the Grinch look like Gandhi. Gail is helped out with a co-worker of her father in law, Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg).

 

Of course, it is the making of this movie that has been the stuff of fascination. The original actor who was to play the elder Getty was Kevin Spacey. However, after reports surfaced of his many past acts of sexual misconduct, Ridley Scott cut out all of his scenes, and replaced him with Plummer (not to mention bringing back Wahlberg and Williams for reshoots), and finished in a week (with a few weeks before the film was to be released). This is not the first time Ridley Scott has had to do something of this magnitude: 2000’s Gladiator was in trouble when a few scenes were still needed after the death of star Oliver Reed.

 

The original trailer with Spacey is still online, though Scott has said he does not plan on releasing the Spacey version. It was said that Spacey’s portrayal was more dark and sinister than Plummer’s, but I for one thought it was better the less evil Plummer appeared. Of course, we cannot root for this sinister man with all his cash, yet the veteran Plummer still gives him plenty of charm that makes us realize how he got rich in the first place. It is great acting.

 

Parents, the movie is R, mainly for swearing and violence (particularly one graphic scene). There is no real sex or nudity, so I would say High School and above.

 

Had the movie not been stained with the Spacey reports, perhaps we could have watched the movie for what it is, and not for what happened off camera. I personally would like to see the Spacey version, only to compare what might have been. Of course, no amount of money will allow me to see that.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars *** 1/2

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Transformers The Last Knight

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) gets some down time to take a call from his daughter.

There is undoubtably a lot to hate about Transformers: The Last Knight, but perhaps the thing I hated most was that I did not end up hating it as much as I thought I would (or at least as much as I hated Age of Extinction).

There are only two redeeming (if you want to use that word) qualities to this film: the plot is a little easier to follow, and there are not as many Michael Bay-isms in the film. Sure, there is still humor that panders to the 13-year-old boys in the audience (which I did not seem to see any of the night I saw it), a lot of sunsets that are never-ending, and far too much of the US military. Still, I only counted one scene of advertising (Bud Weiser), and (the one I am most thankful for), no female objectification (which I was really afraid would happen when the 14-year-old girl character was introduced).

The last paragraph is really all that is not bad (I just can’t bring myself to say “good”) in the movie (and really may be the longest paragraph of positivity that the film will see). The rest is what you would expect. Optimus Prime is back, but in some bad guy programmed way (I forgot his evil name and am too lazy to look it up). He is returning from Cybertron (his home world), looking for a staff once given to Merlin (Stanley Tucci, who was smart enough to be in the movie for no longer than four minutes) that helped England during the dark ages 1600 years ago (which I did not know was that long ago, but this movie does teach us a lot about history if it were written by a three-year old). Mark Wahlberg is back as Cade Yaeger, the eventer from Age of Extinction (thankfully, his daughter and her boyfriend are not). He is summoned by Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins, who I never thought until now could be annoying) to help find the staff along with Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock). We also, yet again, get Josh Duhamel as William Lennox and (for reasons I can only attribute to the need of a paycheck) John Tuturro as…whatever his character was.

The action sequences are the same as always, offering nothing new to any of us. The humor is flatter than paper (save one minor humorous scene of Bumblebee’s new voice box being Siri). The innuendo between Wahlberg and Haddock is more cringe worthy than anything I have seen in some time. For a glimmer of a moment, I had a feeling the movie would not stretch beyond its welcome. Yeah, it did.

Parents, if your kids have seen the first films, they are fine here. Still, there is nothing wrong with skipping a movie night and staying home to watch Netflix (it has countless options far better).

According to both Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg, each has said this would be their last Transformers film (though Bay had said that previously). If the title is being prophetic for those two, perhaps it will be the same for the franchise?

(Note: The after credits tease at the coming of the gigantic machine known as Unicron, who was voiced in the 1980s film by film legend Orson Welles just before he died. The only thing that would make me want to see the next film is if Welles is brought back to life to do the voice work. Being that he is dead, and hated the role, I have doubts.)

 

Overall: 1 1/2 Stars