Reel Reviews: ‘Gold’ and ‘Split’

By on February 1, 2017

When the going gets tough…

For those of you looking to see Matthew McConaughey in his full-hunk glory, you may be disappointed in “Gold.” For his role as Kenny Wells the actor shaved his head, donned fake teeth, and gained 45 pounds by eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer and milk shakes. Whether it was the looks or the hook, this story of rags to riches to rags failed at the box office; you could say, McConaughey’s milkshake couldn’t bring the girls to the yard. (That’s a reference to one hit wonder Kelis’ 2003 hit “Milkshake.”)

Based on real events, “Gold” tells the story, with some poetic license, of the 1997 Bre-X collapse, which defrauded investors of billions of Canadian dollars. In “Gold,” Wells is the third generation owner of Washoe Mining, a prospecting investment firm, which has fallen on hard times, enough so that they operate out of the local bar. The Seagram’s-swilling, chain-smoking Wells has a dream and drops everything into golden boy Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramírez, “The Bourne Ultimatum”); the two find what seems to be the largest composite of gold in the world and Wells ascends to the top, ringing the opening bell on Wall Street, flying high in the lap of luxury, and losing the love of his life, Kay (Bryce Dallas Howard “Jurassic World”). Then it all comes crashing down.

This is director Stephen Gaghan’s first theatrical release in 11 years, since “Syriana.” The soundtrack for this movie is phenomenal, and the original song, “Gold,” written by Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton), Gaghan, Daniel Pemberton, and Iggy Pop, garnered a Golden Globe nomination.

Opening at 10th in the box office rankings means this flick will be coming soon to a Redbox near you, but if you like character driven, story-telling films, get out and see “Gold.”

Matthew McConaughey doesn’t look like his normal “hunky” self in his role of Kenny Wells in “Gold.” Like the look, “Gold” didn’t go over well at the box office, either.

Matthew McConaughey doesn’t look like his normal “hunky” self in his role of Kenny Wells in “Gold.” Like the look, “Gold” didn’t go over well at the box office, either.

Also in theaters: ‘Split’

My well published love/hate relationship with Pennsylvania’s own M. Night Shyamalan continues, but his newest film is much more accessible than his previous offerings like “The Village.” After a strong second week, the film is holding on to first place at the box office and looking ahead may be for some time.

James McAvoy (the new Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise) plays a man with a split personality whose original name is Kevin Wendell Crumb, but harbors 23 others in his psyche. Dennis, his strong, obsessive compulsive, henchman-like personality has teamed with alter-ego Patricia to take over, and cast aside the benevolent characters inside Crumb. To satiate The Beast, the inner monster of super human strength, Dennis has taken three girls hostage.

Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson, “The Edge of Seventeen”) and Marcia (Jessica Sula, “Honey Trap”) are two popular girls who find themselves stuck with outsider Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) as they try to escape their prisons.

In true Shyamalanian fashion, I’m forced to ask, “Whose story is this?” Ultimately this is Crumb’s story as his egos are termed The Horde by the media and a sequel of some sorts is implied, but we learn more about Casey than we really do about Crumb. Who is the main character in this film is a question that can be debated for hours.

Essentially — and major spoiler alert — with “Split” Shyamalan seems to be setting up a future superhero showdown, and I’m stoked. He’s the right guy to draw the craze of superheroes into a new, uncharted direction. Will he unseat Marvel? No way. But, if he is doing what I think he is doing we may be at the dawn of a new, uniquely presented franchise.

“It has begun.” – Mr. Glass, “Unbreakable”

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