Tag Archives: George Clooney

Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar

The Cohen mixes fact and fiction in their latest movie, with real life Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix being thrown into a fiction story. But is it worthy of the movie treatment?

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is having a rough day. While he’s trying to solve the messes and avoid scandals on various film projects he also has to find out what has happened to Baird Witlock (George Clooney), who seeming disappeared while filming his latest movie. All this while avoiding the gossip columnists Thora and Thessaly Tacker (both played by Tilda Swinton).

The third film in the Cohen brothers “Numbskull Trilogy” The film is a diverting and entertaining experience. But the main plot regarding the kidnapping of Baird Witlock (George Clooney) by a group called as The Future is arguably the film’s weakest link. There is much more fun to be had watching Mannix (Josh Brolin) going round his different movie projects and sorting out the actors and directors on his various projects. Each of the different films predicted are enjoyable to watch and features nice set pieces, such as the sailor musical featuring Channing Tatum in an elaborate sing and dance number, which is a joy to watch. I guess the kidnapping is meant to be the strand that ties all these plots and films together but instead it slows the actions and makes you wish you were back on the set of Hollywood already.

There is a struggle within the film regarding old Hollywood. While the Cohen’s lovingly recreate old Hollywood pictures –the biblical epic, the show stopping musical, the old fashioned western- there is also the more sinister side on show. Whether it’s the sexism of the female star who must avoid a baby scandal or Mannix himself-a man not afraid to hit a woman to “shake some sense into her”, you can spend an age arguing over the Cohen’s true feelings on one of the golden ages of Hollywood.
With such a strong and accomplished cast as this, the standout actor is Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle. Although Ehrenreich is relatively unknown by most audiences I had previously seen him in Beautiful Creature. While the film was by no means a hit, to me Ehrenreich stood out and I’m glad to see the performance was not a fluke.  As the nice but dim Hobie, Ehrenreich is charming and provides much of the film’s comic relief. It now seems that Ehrenreich’s talents have been acknowledged by the Hollywood bigwigs as he’s since been cast to play a young Han Solo.

Rating 3/5 – a fun but slight experience with a memorable performance from Ehrenreich as a singing cowboy actor

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Money Monster

Money_Monster_poster

Investments and Wall Street have been hot topics in Hollywood over the recent years with The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short taking real life events to the big screen. Now director Jodie Foster takes a fictionalised look at what happens when an investment goes wrong.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a popular show Money Monster giving tips of hot stocks to the viewing audience. During a live show disgruntled viewer Kyle (Jack O’Connell) manages to get into the studio and takes Gates hostage at gun point. As Kyle demands the cameras keep rolling as he asks for answers over a bad investment Gates producer Patty (Julia Roberts) tries to keep Kyle calm and Gates alive.

Considering the combined star power of Foster, Clooney and Roberts involved Money Monster is an accomplished and well produced affair. As in their previous movies together Clooney and Roberts work well together with their real life friendship flowing into a believable on screen chemistry as producer and star of Money Monster. Rising star Jack O’Connell manages to ozze charisma and raw talent as the angry but also somewhat sympathetic gunman. The central three characters are so compelling that the rest of the supporting characters fade fail to make much of an impression, apart from overwhelmed cameraman Lenny (Lenny Benito) and put upon assistant Ron (Christopher Denham) providing some comic relief.

Foster does a good build up, introducing the main players and the background to the events and when Kyle storms the studio it is a moment fills with tension. The film works best in these early stages and the action inside the studio keeps you glued to the screen. Perhaps if the whole film was set inside the studio it would have been a more thrilling, claustrophobic film. However whenever we step outside the thrills die and momentum is lost and struggles to build up again. There’s also the nagging feeling that the film is not as clever as it thinks it is and is not told in a particularly original way.

By the time we get to the last act the film feels too worthy and righteous to satisfy as an engaging thriller and its messages about evil companies are nothing new. It doesn’t help that the real bad guy of the movie is so obvious he might as well have villain tattooed on his forehead.

Rating 3/5 – solid enough but not outstanding despite a strong central trio

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Out of Sight (1998)

When I first saw this movie it was probably my first exposure to the work of Steven Soderbergh, Out of Sight sees Geroge Clooney making up for the previous year’s Batman and Robin. This movie also reminds us that before she became known to the world as J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez was once known for being an actress.

Bank robber Jack Foley (Clooney) is breaking out of prison when a cop Karen Sisco (Lopez) almost foils his escape plan. Having to improvise he bundles her into the boot of his car with him as his friend Buddy (Ving Rhames) drives them far away from the prison. Despite the circumstances Foley and Karen get to talking and find they actually enjoy each other’s company. However they have to return to their normal lives which involves Karen chasing after Foley who in turn is determined to complete one last job.

This film had a lot of attention on it’s release for the chemistry between Clooney and Lopez (as well as about  J.Lo’s behind) and it has to be said the chemistry between them is amazing. The scene where they are stuck together in the car boot  is sizzling with sexual attraction and you can believe they would both take the risks to see each other again while still intent on completing their own separate missions.

Granted I haven’t seen a lot of Lopez’s films but this is my second favourite movie of hers (after Anaconda of course). She makes for a believable kick-ass cop and her relationship with her dad rounds out her character rather than just being Clooney’s love interest. Maybe Lopez needs to return to the crime genre rather than the same old rom-coms she seems to be turning out lately.

As well as the romance, there is also a thrilling story to be told. Soderbergh mixes up the narriative with flashbacks to Foley’s time in prison and explaining how he got to where he was at the beginning of the film. It’s fun seeing the story come together and wondering what Foley’s last job will be and seeing him going up against the proper bad guys lead by Don Cheadle. The script is also fun and snappy whether it’s the sparring between Foley and Karen or Foley’s interactions with Buddy.

This is the film to show anyone when they talking about what on-screen chemistry is, although not the best example for dating tips. (Bundling a girl into a car only works in this film, not in any other situation, even if it is by George Clooney).

Rating 4.5/5 – sexy,fun and thrilling-if only all crime films can be as good as this.

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Gravity

Everything I seem to read about this suggests it will be one of the films of the year and a shoo in for Oscar glory. Safe to say my expectations were rather high when I went to see this.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as astronauts caught out when a space walk is interrupted by debris from a Russian satellite (don’t you just hate it when that happens?). With Oxygen running low and a second wave of debris on the way they have to find a way to survive.

As the first film I’ve seen in Imax 3D  I have to say it was well worth it! The opening scene of watching Earth from space is breathtaking, Clooney’s Matt is right when he says it’s a beautiful sight. The visuals throughout this film is amazing, no doubt this film will win big in the special effect awards.

It’s not just the visuals that were impressive, the film is brilliantly directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Whether its a wide shot of space or pov shots from the astronauts you are completely captured by the film. The camera often follows the astronauts as they move through space, often losing control-so prepared to feel very dizzy by Sandra Bullock floating around and around in circles. The film is so tense I often found myself short of breath as I was so concerned for the characters lack of oxygen I was forgetting to breathe.

George Clooney is strong as veteran astronaut Matt, going from his usual Clooney cheeky, funny self, to being calm and direct when instructing Bullock’s nervy rookie Ryan. Bullock handles the challenges of the film well, intense close-ups for long periods showing Ryan’s distress, giving potentially cheesy monologues to herself which she deals with aplomb.

Sometimes the film felt more like an endurance than something I could sit down and enjoy. But there’s no denying there’s something special about Gravity and it fully deserves all the praise I’ve been reading about it.

Rating 4/5-spectacular visuals and great acting brings this space drama to life

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