Molly's Game reviews

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Precious Doll
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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:17 am

This was something I had no intention of seeing. The subject matter of gambling rarely makes for an enjoyable experience for me but there have been exceptions like Bay of Angels (1963), The Gambler (1974) & The Cooler (2003). But nabbing a screenplay adaptation made it a very reluctant must-see.

And what a trial it has been to see the damn thing. I went along to a screening yesterday, being the super cheap day, and about 35 minutes into the film the cinema's fire alarms went off, the cinema (all 10 screens) were evacuated as per regulations and an hour later received my money back plus a free ticket.

I was very unimpressed with the first 35 minutes of the film. The set-up was tedious as was the relentless voice over. I went back to the cinema today arriving about 2 minutes before the alarms had gone off the day before and thankfully the film improved (the cinema also gave me a free very large Coke which was very nice of them). The narration got a bit more interesting and so did the unfolding of events. The father/daughter relationship aspects of the film like an attempt to give it some depth but it didn't really work that well.

All in all a reasonable first director effort from Aaron Sorkin but I think he should stick to screen writing. A more experienced director would have potentially have worked the material better. Though a long haul (2 hours & 20 minutes) it moved reasonably well, though I don't know if the 24 hours break coloured my perception of that.

Though I don't think it deserved a nomination, even in a weak year, one can understand why. There is just so much screenplay. In addition to it's narrative there is the extensive use of voice over.
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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:41 pm

I like this more than Sabin, though I don't put it in the Social Network/Steve Jobs league. I found intriguing BJ's notion, that the reason is that Molly's sphere is fairly two-bit next the worlds of Facebook and Apple. With Facebook/Social Network, I can agree -- that film seems to be about much of our modern world, and covers a wide range of class issues. But I never felt I liked Steve Jobs because it was about a big subject; I liked it because it had an insistently compelling dynamism, and more great lines than half a dozen movies might kill for. (I found myself wishing I was writing them down, because they were going by too fast for me to remember them all.) Molly's Game has plenty of snappy dialogue, but not as many bon mots as the earlier movies. That, for me, is the reason this is a lesser, but still completely engaging effort.

I definitely don't agree that Jessica Chastain is at fault. I liked all her verbal sparring with Idris Elba, and I truly loved her exchanges with Chris O'Dowd -- the way she half-listens to him, half-mocks him (all the while missing something that turns out essential). I find this a way more interesting performance than Miss Sloane. And as for Elba! -- I can't believe he isn't getting any supporting actor traction. His speech in the prosecutors' office is the movie's highlight, and what would seem an Oscar clip nonpareil. Kevin Costner also does generally well, though I agree his therapy session scene is too glib -- it attempts to achieve by fiat what Sorkin doesn't take the time to bring about organically. The scene "plays", but doesn't ring true.

In many previous years, Chastain and Elba would be prime Oscar hopefuls; it was their misfortune to come along in one of the decade's strongest contests. But the film is worth seeing, regardless.

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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:35 pm

I predicted that Aaron Sorkin would get a screenwriting nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press (his seventh out of eight features written!) but had I seen Molly's Game, I likely wouldn't have done so. On the other hand, hey if you love Aaron Sorkin, you should love this. It features the legal framing device of 'The Social Network,' the explanatory voice-over of 'Moneyball,' and the Daddy issues of 'Steve Jobs.' It's a greatest hits album for a story that probably played better on the B-side. It feels very tidy, especially when it comes to Molly's drug addiction.

Some people have a problem with Aaron Sorkin's reliance on stock devices. I don't. Sorkinville is a world that I enjoy returning to when I don't find it insufferable (see 'The Newsroom'). But this isn't a very inspired chapter. Or maybe it could have been if a different actor had played Molly. Eventually it becomes clear that 'Molly's Game' is a character study in self-deception, as Molly is literally subjected to "a year's worth of therapy" in one bench session with her father. But there's nothing at the center of Jessica Chastain's performance. She's picked up the habit of playing guarded people, like Zero Dark Thirty's Maya, Elizabeth Sloane, and Molly Bloom, but when it comes time for them to reveal what's underneath, I feel nothing. Maybe another actor could've added the weight necessary for 'Molly's Game' to feel like it was going somewhere but not her. She's better than usual but I'm still not a believer.

I don't think that Aaron Sorkin thinks this story needs to be told, but rather this is a character we need to meet. I think she was miscast. The result is diverting, but a footnote in Sorkin's career.
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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:57 pm

In a way, Molly's Game feels like a throwback to an earlier era of filmmaking -- I mean, not THAT long ago, but let's say the '90's, when it was actually pretty common for Hollywood to regularly turn out smart, entertaining films for grown-ups that didn't feel confined to the awards season niche. Molly's Game may well get some nominations this season -- Sorkin's screenplay seems pretty likely, and Chastain/Elba seem like they'll at least be in the conversation -- but I think its pleasures are more on the entertainment side than the artistic one. I should clarify that I don't necessarily mean that as a pejorative, just simply that the film lacks the greater emotional depth that (I felt) elevated The Social Network and Steve Jobs to something greater.

One question I assume a lot of folks will ask -- how is Sorkin as a director? Well, he's clearly a writer first, and this script has all the pleasing hallmarks of Sorkin's work -- mile-a-minute dialogue, effortless weaving between multiple time frames, thematic exploration of capitalism in America. I'd say he directs a lot like he writes, keeping the images moving along fast and furiously, immersing the audience into the very specific world of high-stakes poker and basically letting us catch up with the details as the plot barrels along. I don't think he brings quite the level of visual imagination that Fincher and Boyle brought to his last scripts, but he serves his own voice well.

In particular, I think Sorkin's verbal flash does a pretty bang-up job of masking the fact that the true-life story at this film's core is, to put it frankly, not terribly notable. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs created innovations that changed the world; Molly Bloom ran poker games that led her to commit some minor legal offenses, and there's a degree to which the stakes in this story feel a bit low. This becomes most apparent near the film's conclusion, where Molly's reasoning behind why she chooses to deal with her case in the way she does feels rather thin, and the ending just sort of dribbles away. This can be a challenge in true-life stories -- the way Molly's story actually did resolve just wasn't that interesting -- and while I don't think Sorkin finds his way around that hurdle, the fact that his film buzzes along winningly for so much of its running time is a testament to his panache as a writer.

This is a great part for Chastain, though I wouldn't say it showed a new side of her as an actress -- the character has a lot in common with Miss Sloane, which felt to a degree like a Sorkin creation. Still, she proves wonderfully adept with Sorkin's rat-a-tat dialogue, and has a real old-fashioned movie star presence that carries the movie along with great dynamism. And Elba provides a great sparring partner for her -- I don't think I've ever seen the actor feel so light and loose on screen, and Sorkin gifts him with the film's most pleasing monologue. Costner is fine, but doesn't really have much to do (and I actually thought his key "therapy session" scene with Chastain was a bit on-the-nose.)

Not perhaps a top-drawer candidate, but as Okri suggested, a solid Christmas entertainment.

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Re: Molly's Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:35 am

I like Jessica Chastain and do see her as an Oscar winner, but not for this.

Gambling films have a limited audience. Sorkin's films have too much clever dialogue for their own good. He's better suited to TV where his bon mots are more leisurely paced. Chastain's performance looks like a retread of Miss Sloane with way too much narration. It's off-putting. Oscar voters may be more inclined to champion her as 1890s portrait painter and activist Catherine Weldon in Woman Walks Ahead, which is being shown at Toronto, but has no distributor as yet. She's also got Oscar-baity roles as Tammy Wynette in George and Tammy and Ingrid Bergman in Seducing Ingrid Bergman about Bergman's affair with wartime photographer Robert Capa coming up. She'll get there sometime.

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Molly's Game reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:40 am

Those of you who were saying "Jessica Chastain - no" a few days ago might have to do a rethink. She's getting her best reviews since Zero Dark Thirty. The film seems a strong candidate for the less populated adapted screenplay category, as well. And Idris Elba/Kevin Costner are getting solid reviews.

http://variety.com/2017/film/reviews/mo ... 202552430/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... ew-1037071

https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/mol ... 81.article


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