Is “Molly’s Game” a safe bet? “All the Money in the World” valuable? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- True stories about poker and kidnapping are new in local theaters...and both are worth the gamble. Check out Russ and Shawn's reviews of two new dramas!
 1) MOLLY'S GAME (R)

STX Films

Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is best known for his machine gun dialogue in 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 serves the subject matter well.

Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who ran 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. While “Molly’s Game” isn't all aces, it's still a pretty good bet for a night at the movies.

Shawn says, “ A big fascinating story gets the brilliant Aaron Sorkin treatment with some of the best dialogue in years. Jessica Chastain is a champ. Idris Elba is great. One of my favorites of the year.”

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

2) ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (R)

TriStar Pictures

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. In addition to her greedy father-in-law, she had to contend with kidnappers, indifferent police and a meddling ex-CIA operative played by Mark Wahlberg. “All the Money in the World” is a sad but involving drama about the ultimate consequences of greed.

Shawn says, “What director Ridley Scott did was amazing. A solid piece of filmmaking that borders genius. I buy Christopher Plummer as Kevin Spacey’s replacement and Michelle Williams deserves a dance with Oscar.”

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

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