Casting James Franco and Robert Pattinson in a movie set in pre-World War One Arabia is a pretty gutsy move. Unfortunately for director Werner Hertzog, it doesn’t pay off. Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) works largely because his appearances are scattered through this film; a look at the real-life exploits of Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) as she explored the desert and met with many of its tribes.
High-energy cable TV finance expert Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of fairly crass cable TV show ‘Money Monster’, so when he’s taken hostage during a live broadcast at first his viewers think it’s part of the act. Then when the bullets start flying, only his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) keeps a level head.
When problem child Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) – his crimes include kicking stuff, burning stuff and loitering – is relocated to a New Zealand bush farm by somewhat intense social worker Paula (Rachel House), he’s taken under the wing of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her silently menacing husband Hec (Sam Neill).
The trouble with reviewing a sequel when the original was a): awful, but b): successful, is that there’s not much of a point in complaining about the same stuff all over again. Clearly whatever was wrong with the original wasn’t enough to keep audiences away, so in a sense it clearly wasn’t “wrong” in the first place. On the other hand, Alice Through the Looking Glass… is still pretty much terrible.
The original Bad Neighbours – in which a young, no-longer hip, dope-smoking couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) had to deal with a frat house next door – was a surprise delight, managing the tricky act of being dumb in a very smart way.