Money MonsterWho was responsible for that “glitch” in 2007 that caused the stock market to dip dramatically? We now know that heavy selling and caused a 70-minute time lag in calculating the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Index, and when a backup computer system was accessed, a sudden 200 point drop was posted, provoking a 416 point plunge, the largest since 9/11. That may have provoked the story for Money Monster, when a particular stock dips due to something explained as a computer glitch. Directed by Jodie Foster, Money Monster is about a TV program of the same title with Lee Gates (played by George Clooney) as the emcee who gives out stock tips and otherwise sells the program with jazzy elements. Ibis is the company that had a sharp dip in value despite Gates’s earlier suggestion that the stock was a sure thing. But in the midst of a Friday show, Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), an apparent delivery person with two boxes, suddenly appears on the set, holding a gun. He has lost $60,000 because of Ibis’ decline in value, and he wants answers, holding Gates accountable for his promise that the stock would soar in value. Budwell believes that the media are phonies, billionaires steal from ordinary people, an editorial that is later confirmed when filmviewers learn that Ibis’s CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West) pulled money out to buy a goldmine in South Africa, only to have miners go on strike, holding up his investment. But the focus is on Kyle, who works a job at $14 per hour; he evidently counted on the stock to finance a family including the unborn baby being carried by his wife. Kyle eventually bonds with Lee to find the reason for the stock plunge, while police are summoned to deal with the fact that a hostage situation exists at first but develops into a joint effort to find answers. But how can someone working at near the minimum wage come up with $60,000? That question is never explained, and the credibility of the story never recovers.  MH

Kill Zone 2The most important premise for yet another kung fu film is announced by the Hong Kong police chief early in Kill Zone 2, directed by Pou-Soi Cheang. He states that thousands of persons disappear without a trace each year. The reason appears to be a hunt for the internal organs of healthy persons who are captured, operated on, and then dumped into the South China Sea. The caper is about two persons who need transplants and how criminal gangs in Hong Kong do some of their harvesting in Thailand. Filmviewers who like kung fu will enjoy seeing Tony Jaa, who plays Chatchai, the father of an 8-year-old girl who needs a bone marrow transplant to reverse leukemia. The story is just fast paced enough to hold the interest of those who eschew choreographed fight scenes, but the statistic about disappearances is entirely fictional.  MH

A Hologram for the KingDirected by Tom Tykwer, A Hologram for the King shows how Saudi Arabia is unbusinesslike. The screenwriter inserts several jokes, but they are not delivered by a comedian, and Boston business exec Alan (played by Tom Hanks), far too serious, finds a female companion who seeks company to break the frustration and monotony. The scenery is more fascinating than the plot!  MH

Elvis & Nixon
Eye in the Sky
A Hologram for the King
Hostile Border
Kill Zone 2
Money Monster
Son of Saul
Stealing Cars
Sworn Virgin
A War
Where to Invade Next
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
The Witch

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