Review Category : Entertainment

Review: “Money Monster” (R)

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in “Money Monster”; Atsushi Nishijima/©2016 CTMG(NEW YORK) — George Clooney is Lee Gates, a Jim Cramer Mad Money type who hosts a popular financial talk show called Money Monster. It’s a role that allows Clooney to crack wise, be dapper, dance and inhabit a guy with the emotional IQ of a 12-year-old. Julia Roberts is Patty Fenn, his longtime show runner. On this particular day, Lee has just started his show when Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) pretends to be a delivery guy, walks right into the studio and takes Lee hostage on live TV, using a gun and two vests filled with explosives.

Let’s tap the brakes a moment. As somebody who’s been on quite a few television production sets, there’s absolutely no way Kyle gets into the studio as easily as he does here. It’s actually laughable, to the point I laughed out loud when he walked into the studio with such ease. In fact, the rendering of Kyle’s plans is so outrageous it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief.

Back to the story. Kyle is angry because he made a terrible investment based on Lee’s advice, an investment that lost Kyle his life’s savings. Kyle’s interest isn’t in Lee alone: He also wants answers from Walt Camby (Dominic West), whose company lost 800 million dollars because, purportedly, of a glitch in an algorithm. Problem is, Camby’s nowhere to be found.

There’s a spray of clever dialogue here and there but for a movie that wants to impart insight into a “rigged” system, Money Monster is awfully simplistic and relies way too heavily on Clooney’s charm –and he certainly is charming! Here, however, that charm isn’t enough. Roberts’ Patty is intelligent and strong — she’s the hero of the movie, really, but the story is so unbelievable the role has little impact.

Jodie Foster is, generally, a fantastic director, but her direction here was too focused on Clooney and Roberts — and can you blame her? But she didn’t do enough to elicit empathy for Kyle’s plight, and did little to explain the changing dynamic between Kyle and Lee that shapes the story.

Two-and-a-half out of five stars.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Arsenio Hall Back on TV, Co-Hosting “Greatest Hits” on ABC

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Image(NEW YORK) — Arsenio Hall will be back on TV this summer. And in primetime, too.

The former late-night talk show host will host ABC’s Greatest Hits, alongside country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

The six-episode music series will feature iconic music artists and current chart-toppers performing hits from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Each episode will focus on a five-year period in time and feature duets, tributes and solo performances.

Produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures, Greatest Hits will premiere June 30 at 9 p.m.

The show is the latest in a series of new unscripted series ordered by ABC for its summer schedule, joining To Tell the Truth, The $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Federal Officials to Investigate Whether Gender Discrimination Exists in Hollywood

Todd Williamson/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Federal officials are investigating a perceived gender bias in Hollywood, according to the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.

In a press release issued Wednesday, representatives from the organizations thanked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs for launching a probe into their claims.

This comes one year after they asked federal and state governments to investigate what they called “blatant and rampant discrimination against women directors in the film and television industries.”

“ACLU SoCal and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project are pleased that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs gave careful consideration to our findings and responded by launching a wide-ranging and well-resourced investigation into the industry’s hiring practices,” read a statement on behalf of the organizations. “We are encouraged by the scope of the government’s process and are hopeful that the government will be moving to a more targeted phase.”

Last May, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project released a public letter to the feds, in which they appealed to them to launch an investigation into hiring practices by major studios in Hollywood. Citing information from 50 female directors, the groups stated that they uncovered discriminatory recruiting and screening practices, stereotypical evaluation of women, and a lack of enforcement of industry agreements to increase the number of women and people of color in various roles.

“In the year since our report was released, there has been much lip-service paid to furthering opportunities for women, but few definitive steps and no serious movement in the number of women directors hired,” the organizations stated Wednesday. “We are confident that the government will corroborate our work and push industry leaders to address the ongoing violations of the legal and civil rights of these directors and of all women in the film and television industries.”

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Report: Ben Affleck Seeking to Reconcile with Jennifer Garner

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner spent time with their three kids in Paris last weekend, there’s a report that the Batman v Superman actor wants to reconcile with his estranged wife.

“Ben wants Jen back,” a source close to Garner claims to People magazine, adding, “But it’s all up to Jen.”

However, the insider cautions, “Jen is not ready to take Ben back,” and that the couple is still planning to divorce.

Affleck and Garner announced their split last June. They married in 2005.

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Tick, Tick, Tick: “60 Minutes” Correspondent Morley Safer Is Retiring

John P. Filo/CBS(NEW YORK) — Morley Safer’s time with 60 Minutes is up. After a distinguished career that included 46 years with the newsmagazine program, he announced Wednesday that he is retiring.

“After more than 50 years of broadcasting on CBS News and 60 Minutes I have decided to retire,” Safer, 84, is quoted as saying in a story published on “It’s been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air.

“But most of all I thank the millions of people who have been loyal to our broadcast,” he adds.

CBS will pay tribute to the correspondent with a special, Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life, airing Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time, after 60 Minutes.

Safer became a regular on 60 Minutes in 1970, six years after joining the network and two years after the show debuted. His first report back then was about the training of U.S. Sky Marshals. His last report, which aired in March, was a profile of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.

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Woody Allen Hasn’t Read Son Ronan Farrow’s Essay About Dylan Farrow Molestation Allegations

Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images(CANNES, France) — A day after his son Ronan Farrow penned an essay in The Hollywood Reporter about his sister Dylan’s accusations of sexual assault against their father, Woody Allen, the director has responded.

“I never read anything about me, these interviews I do, anything,” Allen said, referring to the fact that he hadn’t read Farrow’s piece, according to Variety. Allen made the comments during a press lunch he attended on Thursday for the Cannes Film Festival, where his latest movie is being featured.

Allen also referenced a 2014 guest column he wrote for The New York Times, where he responded to the past allegations by writing, “Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father.”

After saying that this New York Times column was his only full rebuttal to the accusations, which first began in the early 90’s and resurfaced in 2014, Allen added, “I have moved so far past it. I never think about it. I work. I said I was never going to comment on it again. I said everything I have to say about it.”

In Ronan Farrow’s piece for The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, the journalist shared his disgust for the continued reverence of Allen, 80, despite his sister’s claims.

“It sends a message to victims that it’s not worth the anguish of coming forward. It sends a message about who we are as a society, what we’ll overlook, who we’ll ignore, who matters and who doesn’t,” Ronan, 28, wrote. “‘It’s not personal,’ one once told me. But it hurts my sister every time one of her heroes like Louis C.K., or a star her age, like Miley Cyrus, works with Woody Allen. Personal is exactly what it is — for my sister, and for women everywhere.”

Allen was vehement at the luncheon that “I never read anything,” including the Farrow piece.

“I never read what you say about me or the reviews of my film. I made the decision I think five years ago never to read a review of my movie. Never read an interview. Never read anything, because you can easily become obsessed with yourself,” he continued. “Forget about all that. Just work. It’s worked for me. I’ve been very productive over the years by not thinking about myself.”

Variety notes when one of their reporters reminded Allen they weren’t talking about a critic, but rather his son, Allen replied, “I’ve said all I have to say about it.”

The accusations from Dylan Farrow first surfaced publicly in 1993, when Allen and Mia Farrow were going through a custody battle over their three children, including Dylan’s brothers, Ronan and Moses. Allen had begun a relationship with his ex’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, whom he married in 1997.

Allen has consistently denied the abuse allegations, and no criminal charges were ever filed against him in connection with them.

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Are Chris Evans and Jenny Slate Dating?

Jesse Grant/Marvel/Disney; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Could Chris Evans and Jenny Slate be Hollywood’s newest couple?

“They’re enjoying spending time together,” a source tells People magazine.

Evans and Slate, both 34, worked together on the upcoming drama Gifted, and in a joint interview for Anna Faris’ podcast Unqualified last month, the Captain America: Civil War star and the Obvious Child actress discussed their first meeting.

“The first night we hung out I was like, ‘Oh, I could hang out with Chris for like 90 hours,'” she told Faris. Added Evans, “Oddly enough, I’ve only known Jenny for a few months, which is insane to say because we’re like the same animal.”

Incidentally, Faris is married to another onscreen Marvel hero, Evans’ Guardians of the Galaxy star pal, Chris Pratt.

Slate reportedly split from her husband of nearly four years, Dean Fleischer-Camp, recently.

Evans has previously been linked to actresses Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel and Emmy Rossum.

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Minnie Driver Denies Neighbor’s Allegations in Property Dispute

Stefanie Keenan/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Oscar-nominated actress Minnie Driver is speaking out regarding the property battle with her Hollywood Hills neighbors, Daniel and Mary Lou Perelmutter.

The 74-year-old disabled veteran and his wife have filed a lawsuit against Driver, alleging the movie star is “verbally harassing” the couple and construction workers and “blocking access” to the Perelmutters’ property.

In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Driver said, “I have definitely lost my cool. I’ve never been that angry with another human being.”

The Perelmutters claim in the lawsuit that Driver threw “baby food jars filled with black paint against the walls of the home.”

Driver denied those claims to ET, saying, “I would not stoop to breaking the law, to vandalism of any kind. I will be happy to settle this in court.”

Daniel Perelmutter shared with ABC News videos he claims he took of Driver during one of their altercations. After Perelmutter tells her, “This is my property,” Driver is seen in the video saying to Perelmutter, “I would never have a son as disgusting as you.”

The Good Will Hunting star says Perelmutter has been aggressive against her and her son. Last year she got a temporary restraining order against Perelmutter.

Driver told ET, “He’s blown smoke in my son and my nephew and nieces’ faces. He started name calling and cussing at my son.”

Perelmutter’s lawyer, Brandon C. Fernald, denied Driver’s accusations in a statement to ABC News.

“Simply put, this dispute has absolutely nothing to do with Minnie Driver’s children,” the statement read. “This dispute was started by Ms. Driver in response to lawful construction on property adjacent to her home.”

A court summons for Driver was issued Friday, and the two are set to go to trial in August.

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George Clooney Mowed Over by Birthday Gift from Wife

George Clooney in “Money Monster”; Atsushi Nishijima/©2016 CTMG, Inc.(NEW YORK) — George Clooney got a brand-new set of wheels from his wife Amal for his 55th birthday — a riding lawn mower.

While promoting the upcoming film Money Monster at the Cannes Film Festival in France with his co-star Julia Roberts, Clooney, whose birthday was Friday, told Entertainment Tonight Canada, “We have a beautiful front lawn at our house in England and I used to mow lawns when I was a kid, so she bought me this giant riding lawn mower that is sitting at the house right now and I’m very excited about putting that to work when I’m home.”

Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster, stars Clooney as a Wall Street newsman who gets held hostage onscreen by an irate investor. It opens nationwide on Friday.

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Johnny Depp Surprises Disneyland Visitors as the Mad Hatter

Peter Mountain/Disney(ANAHEIM, Calif.) — It’s not every day that visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, get to see Johnny Depp in character, but that day happened recently.

The actor, dressed in his Mad Hatter get-up from Alice Through the Looking Glass, surprised people via a livestream on a small electronic billboard kiosk at the theme park. As patrons walked by and checked out the apparent digital photo of Depp in full costume, he suddenly began speaking and interacting with them. At one point, Depp as the Hatter sneezed, and bubbles erupted from the top of the kiosk.

You can imagine their surprise, or you can check it out for yourself — Disney shared a video of what went down on YouTube.

The follow-up to Alice in Wonderland opens May 27.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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