Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is best known for his machine gun dialogue for movies like “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men.” It should be no surprise that he also takes a rat-a-tat approach for his first effort as director, “Molly’s Game.” The method fits the subject matter perfectly. Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who ran a multi-million dollar poker games. When the FBI busts her for unwittingly allowing Russian mobsters in the game, lawyer Charlie Jaffey, played by Idris Elba, comes to her defense.
Chastain and Elba are more than up to the challenge of Sorkin’s quick-witted repartee and it’s an arresting true story. There are moments, however, when you want Sorkin to take a break from the lightning chatter because all of the characters start to sound the same. Still, “Molly’s Game” will fill the bill for people who want something to think about when they go to a movie.
The fact that director Ridley Scott got his movie “All the Money in the World” into theaters by the end of the year is a more impressive an accomplishment than the movie itself. At the last possible minute, Scott re-shot all of the scenes that featured Kevin Spacey as billionaire J. Paul Getty, replacing him with Christopher Plummer. It was a good move. Plummer perfectly embodies the skinflint oil mogul who refused to pay ransom for his kidnapped grandson in 1973.
Michelle Williams is equally good as the boy’s harried mother who had to contend with kidnappers, indifferent police, a meddling ex-CIA operative played by Mark Wahlberg, as well as her greedy father-in-law. “All the Money in the World” is a sad but involving drama about the ultimate consequences of greed.
Also opening this week, “Faces Places” is an acclaimed French documentary about the friendship between filmmaker Agnes Varda and photographer JR.