George Clooney

Film Review: Suburbicon

by Carrie Kahn on October 27, 2017

Clooney emulates the Coens in adequate film noir      

Maggie (Julianne Moore) and her brother-in-law Gardner (Matt Damon) have an unwanted conversation with a visitor.

George Clooney is clearly a huge fan of the Coen Brothers. After starring in four of their films (Hail, Caesar!; Burn After Reading; O Brother, Where Art Thou; Intolerable Cruelty), he tries his hand at directing one of their screenplays with Suburbicon, marking his first return to the director’s chair since 2014’s The Monuments Men. The result is more successful than that mostly forgettable attempt, but his fan-boy energy permeates his new film almost to distraction. Tonally and stylistically, the picture is an unabashed imitation of a Coen Brothers production, which, if you’re a Coen Brothers fan, is super, but does mean that Clooney offers no cinematic originality here.
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Foster’s uneven Monster lacks bite  

Lee (George Clooney, l.) tries to reason with upset investor Kyle (Jack O’Connell).

With Money Monster, the actress Jodie Foster wears her feature film director’s cap for the first time since 2011’s Mel Gibson-helmed The Beaver (she’s done TV work in the interim, including Orange is the New Black and House of Cards), and the result, unfortunately, is nowhere near as good as an episode of either of those shows, and only slightly better than that odd Gibson picture. Here, Foster seems to want to make a cutting-edge indictment of a global financial system that is rampant with corruption and inequality, à la The Big Short, but what she ends up with falls, well, short. Big time.
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Film Review: Hail, Caesar!

by Chad Liffmann on February 5, 2016

A silly, subversive, colorful day in the life of a 1950s Hollywood studio fixer — as only the Coens can envision.

Channing Tatum the singing, dancing sailor.

Channing Tatum the singing, dancing sailor.

Expectations were high for Hail, Caesar! the new film from the modern great American filmmakers, Joel and Ethan Coen. Three years after their award-winning triple play of 2009’s A Serious Man, 2010’s True Grit, and 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis, the sparkling musical trailers for Hail, Caesar! began hitting the web, and suddenly Coen fever began spreading again. However, unlike the washed-out colors and quiet dramatic quality of the former titles, Hail, Caesar! seemed to promise bright colors, outlandish musical numbers, and an unbridled sense of fun. The question I found myself asking was — would Hail, Caesar! embrace the darkly comic bizarreness of early Coen films such as Raising Arizona and The Hudsucker Proxy, or the cynical chastisement of Hollywood in Barton Fink? Well, the answer is really ‘no’ to both. The most wonderful thing about Hail, Caesar! is that it has its own new brand of Coen humor, one of PG-13 lightweight, sarcastic and playful tones, but still filled to the brim with the filmmakers’ unparalleled attention to detail and love of subtle and not-so-subtle references.

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Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann present their Top 10 Films of 2013.  Here’s Chad’s list, presented in the order of which he feels they deserve to be ranked (1 being the best, 10 being pretty damn good too!)

1.) Inside Llewyn Davis
"If it was never new and it never gets old, then it's a folk song"

“If it was never new and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song”

The Coen brothers newest film is a hilarious, thought-provoking, darkly intelligent, musical journey into the 1961 New York folk music scene.  Featuring masterful performances under the direction of master filmmakers, Inside Llewyn Davis is a documentary of sorts — accurately capturing a time period and a historical mentality…yet its message is timeless.

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Film Review: Gravity

by Chad Liffmann on October 4, 2013

An exhilarating, suspenseful, emotional thrill ride unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Sandra Bullock takes on the universe in Gravity.

Sandra Bullock takes on the universe in Gravity.

It’s hard to describe Gravity without using a superfluous amount of positive adjectives.  The action drama directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien)is a somewhat simple story of two astronauts who are marooned after their craft is left battered and adrift after being struck by debris from a botched Russian satellite dismantling.   The film is more complex than that though, tapping into an unimaginable terror unlike any film has done before.  It’s nice to have a visual spectacle of this magnitude also feature incredible performances.   The visuals can only bring the audience in so far, but the stellar performances by George Clooney and, especially, Sandra Bullock help seal the deal.  I can’t stress this enough — you are PULLED into this movie and firmly grasped for 90+ minutes!  You won’t believe the wizardry of what you see on screen.  And you won’t be able to shake the emotions for a while.

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Judy Greer with Matthew Lillard in THE DESCENDANTS

The Descendants is a very strong contender for the best film of 2011. Directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election) from a script he co-wrote with Jim Rash (Dean Pelton from Community) and Nat Faxon, it tells the story of Matt King (George Clooney), a Hawaii lawyer whose life is turned upside down after his wife is left comatose following a jet-skiing accident. He attempts to rally their daughters, troubled teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley in a revelatory performance) and tween Scottie (Amara King), but is devastated when Alexandra spitefully informs him their mother was having an affair. As his wife’s condition continues to deteriorate, Matt and his daughters embark on a journey of emotional discovery that eventually leads to Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard, in a surprisingly potent dramatic performance), the other man. It also leads to his wife, Julie, who is played by Judy Greer.

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Film Review: “The Ides of March”

October 7, 2011

starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Max Minghella, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle written by: George Clooney, Grant Heslov & Beau Willimon directed by: George Clooney MPAA: Rated R for pervasive language

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