Posts Tagged ‘George Clooney’

The Good German – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 20th, 2010

Review:

In post-war Berlin to cover the Potsdam conference, American journalist George Clooney is sent on his own heroic journey when his driver is killed and old girlfriend Cate Blanchett re-emerges. Steven Sonderbergh made this film as a thriller that was meant to be an homage to film noir, down to black and white photography and the aspect ratio, but ultimately fails on both counts. Sure, the film is twisty enough for a noir classic, but it lacks the subtle charm of those films, and the story is just not all that interesting by modern standards. It’s an extremely ambitious film with many aspects to recommend it, but ultimately it fails to entertain the viewer.

Random Observations:

The Good German at the IMDb

Cate Blanchett plays a German and as such her German should be flawless, which it almost, but not quite, is. George Clooney’s German, on the other hand, is about as good as you would expect from an American living in Germany.

The film might have been a bit better without the war setting and titular good German. Then again, maybe not.

I was really impressed with how alive the film felt, even though it was completely filmed on Hollywood backlots – just like in the olden days.

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010

Review:

Mr. Fox has gone straight since the birth of his son, but he still wants nothing more than one last big heist, taking on the hen houses and cider cellars of his three human neighbours. They, in turn, decide to retaliate, and so the war is on. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, this stop-motion animation by director Wes Anderson is a fun extension of the story, a funny film that is fun to watch. Anderson’s signature style, a combination of a bright palette, a lot of whimsy and something to far removed from words, lends itself perfectly to the animated format. The film doesn’t have the depth that his best works – Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums – have, but it’s simple good family entertainment.

Random Observations:

Fantastic Mr. Fox at the IMDb

Saying “cuss” instead of “fuck” or “shit” might have done wonders for the rating, but is damn annoying. (This post has been rated “R” by the MPAA.)

Some great talent is voicing the characters, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.

Who does Eric Anderson, who voices Kristofferson, sound like? He reminded me of another actor, but for the life of me I can’t figure out who.

The film has only 12 frames per second (compared to the usual) 24 to ensure that everybody recognizes the stop motion technique.

Burn After Reading – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, April 27th, 2010

Review:

After he is fired from the CIA, analyst John Malkovich decides to write his memoirs. Meanwhile, his wife Tilda Swinton is having an affair with George Clooney and decides to divorce him, accidentally causing his computer files to be left in a gym bathroom, where Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt find them and decide to extort money for their return. However, them being idiots, makes the thing a little difficult, and before long, a clusterfuck (to quote J.K. Simmons’ CIA Supervisor) is underway, that is even more complicated than these few sentences can hope to indicate. The Coen Brothers made this film fresh off the success of No Country for Old Men and manage to make a very funny comedy with strong performances all around. Personally, I don’t see the subtext some people claim the film has, but that doesn’t really detract from the film being perfectly watchable.

Random Observations:

Burn After Reading at the IMDb

Brad Pitt is great at playing a moron. It’s good to see him move beyond his good looks once in a while and demonstrate that he can actually act.

Did you know that Frances McDormand is married to Joel Coen? I only recently discovered that and was quite surprised. However, my hopes that Ethan Coen was married to Steve Buscemi were quickly squashed.

Oscar Predictions and Preferences – 2010 Edition

Samstag, März 6th, 2010

Award Season is Crazy Season. If you follow these things at all, you have been bombarded by information about the superiority of one film above another for months now. If you blissfully ignore all that stuff, you might even not have heard that a producer on The Hurt Locker is in trouble for trying to convince Academy voters to vote for his film instead of Avatar. His crime: sending an e-mail to his friends. Yes, things are crazy. So it is a good thing that with the Oscar telecast on Sunday, Award Season will be over. Until May or so, when the first discussions for next year’s favourites and winners will begin once more.

But before the Oscars, the most important of all the meaningless awards, are handed out on Sunday, it is time for my annual Oscar predictions. Last year, I picked 19 of the 24 winners. This year, let’s try to improve on that. But unlike last year, this year I actually feel like I am entitled to my own opinion, having seen 20 of the 58 animated films, 18 of the 38 feature films, and actually having seen all nominated films in three categories. So not only will I now predict the Oscar winners as promised, I will also tell you who should win. (Yes, my opinion constitutes objective truth in these matters.) The following list is ordered rather randomly and incomplete, an alphabetical and complete breakdown of all categories and predictions follows at the end.

(weiterlesen …)

Up in the Air – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Februar 7th, 2010

Review:

George Clooney lives in the air – on planes and in airports. 322 days a year, he is on the really high road (sorry for that horrible joke) in his job of professional employment terminator, i.e. he fires people and helps them cope with the situation by painting it in bright colours as a chance for a better life. And he is happy in that life of hotels and airports without any real human connections. Things change when he meets a woman he actually falls for while also encountering the enthusiasm of a young colleague fresh out of college, who invented firing over the internet. He takes her on a trip to learn the ropes while his life of solitude slowly dissolves. The film is often extremely funny while also dealing with a real dramatic problem (being laid off), but ultimately falls a little flat. It’s great fun to watch for the most part, but the end is hardly satisfying and feels disconnected and unreal.

Random Observations:

Up in the Air at the IMDb

This is the sixth of the ten Best Picture Oscar nominees (more about the Oscar nominations here) I’ve seen and I’m still rooting for one I haven’t seen – The Hurt Locker. The film is also nominated for Best Director (Jason Reitman), Best Adapted Screenplay (Reitman and Sheldon Turner), Best Actor (Clooney) and Best Supporting Actress for both Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Out of those, Clooney’s performance and Reitman’s direction are the most deserving winners, but both are unlike to walk away with the Oscar exactly one month from now.

Because there was an unusually long queue at the ticket counter, I actually missed the first few minutes of the film, something which I absolutely hate, and feel somewhat reluctant about the validity of my critique.

For the most part, the film worked as a realistic tale of human life, but the fact that  somebody whose company fires people for other companies thinks that it might be a good idea to do so over video-chat, was too contrived and repeatedly took me out of the movie.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

Review:

Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at imdb.com

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.

Minute Movie Review – Michael Clayton

Montag, März 3rd, 2008

Review:

Michael Clayton is the fixer or janitor for his law-firm. In seventeen years there, he may not have become a partner, but they know his real value. If there is trouble, he can get it fixed. But when he goes to retrieve a crazed litigator, he discover a problem that may even be too much for him. A thriller with a legal background, Michael Clayton barely manages to grip your attention throughout. Too often it veers into side stories that have little connection to the main storyline and don’t exactly help the suspense. But apart from that, this is decent cinematic fare that certainly seems closer to real life than most thrillers.

Random Observations:

Michael Clayton at imdb.com

Tilda Swinton (in a bit of a surprise upset) won an Oscar for her role in this film. But please don’t ask me why.

A real plus for this film: Probably the only legal thriller were the main character doesn’t suddenly discover their conscience.

Streik, Oscars, New Line und Co

Montag, Februar 25th, 2008

Seit meinem letzten Eintrag über das bevorstehende Ende des Streiks der Drehbuchautoren sind ja doch einige Wochen ins Land gezogen. Der Grund dafür war simpel: Da ich meine journalistische Integrität als wichtiger betrachtet habe als meine schriftstellerische, habe ich ja auch während des Streiks eifrig geschrieben. Kaum war dieser beendet (an dem von mir schon angekündigten Tag) bin ich dann selber in den Streik getreten. Leider hat die AMPTP jedoch bis heute nicht auf meine (sehr moderaten) Forderungen reagiert und mein Streikposten vor dem Kodak Theater bei der gestrigen Oscar-Verleihung hat die Schauspieler auch nicht gestoppt. Wahrscheinlich weil er schon einige Stunden vor deren Auftauchen vom LAPD entfernt wurde. Und somit schreibe ich jetzt auch wieder – und hoffe, dass die Schauspieler, die in der SAG (Screen Actors Guild) vereinigt sind und deren Rahmenvertrag mit der AMPTP im Juni ausläuft, mich bei ihren Verhandlungen nicht vergessen. Denn auch wenn die Führung der SAG noch nicht mit der AMPTP spricht / sprechen will, läuft die PR-Maschine zur Verhinderung eines weiteren Streiks bereits auf Hochtouren. So haben beispielsweise einige der bekanntesten und beliebtesten Schauspieler der USA wie George Clooney und Tom Hanks die SAG schon aufgefordert, die Verhandlungen bald zu starten.

Gestern also war die Oscar-Verleihung – und da mein Versuch, sie zu bestreiken, leider verfrüht gescheitert ist, habe ich es mir natürlich dann doch angesehen. Was soll man dazu schon sagen: 4 Stunden feiert sich die Filmindustrie selber und man wartet als Zuschauer gespannt darauf, dass jemand mal endlich etwas wirklich Witziges sagt. Aber als relativer Oscar-Neuling sehe ich die Show eigentlich schon noch ganz gerne. Jon Stewart als Gastgeber war, wie auch schon 2006, lustig und souverän (auch wenn die meisten Kritiker das anders bewerten) und die meisten Gewinner – erwartete wie unerwartete – waren wohl auch gerechtfertigt. Die größte Überraschung war wohl die Auszeichnung Tilda Swintons als beste Nebendarstellerin, die sich unerwartet gegen Cate Blanchett und Amy Ryan durchsetzte. Auch interessant ist der Gewinn von drei (eher unbedeutenden) Auszeichnungen durch “The Bourne Ultimatum” – man wurde den Eindruck nie so ganz los, dass einige der Academy Mitglieder den Film gerne auch in wichtigeren Kategorien gesehen hätten. Die Gesamtliste der Gewinner kann man an vielen Stellen einsehen – in der Hoffnung dass wenigstens Amazon mich bezahlt, verlinke ich hierfür mal wieder zur IMDB.

Ein bedeutender Anteil der Oscar-Verleihung sind immer die Montagen, also die Zusammenschnitte von Filmszenen oder früheren Preisträgern. Wenn, bedingt durch den Autorenstreik, die Vorbereitungszeit dann noch etwas kürzer wird, spielen sie noch eine wichtigere Rolle. Auch diesmal fehlte nicht das Gedenken an diejenigen Hollywoodianer, die im letzten Jahr verstorben sind. Den Abschluss der Auflistung bildete dabei Heath Ledger. Als Ledger starb, hatte er gerade eine Drehpause von dem Film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” – dem neuen Film von Terry Gilliam. Dieser dachte schon, dass er mal wieder ein Projekt unvollendet abbrechen müsste, aber jetzt hat sich doch noch ein Ersatz gefunden. Oder genauer gesagt gleich drei. Denn die Rolle von Ledger werden in dem Film jetzt Johnny Depp, Jude Law und Colin Farrell übernehmen – in den noch nicht gedrehten Szenen. Wie es funktionieren soll, wenn vier Schauspieler eine Figur spielen, wird sich zeigen, aber der bisherige Erfolg von “I’m not there” scheint darauf hinzudeuten, dass es durchaus möglich ist.

Derweil rückt das Ende von dem beliebten Studio New Line immer näher. Nachdem auch “Der Goldene Kompass” ziemlich schlecht gelaufen ist, deutete sich ja schon an, dass das Studio von Warner Bros. übernommen wird. Die Verträge der Geschäftsführer wurden nicht verlängert und auch wenn die Einigung mit Peter Jackson und die Ankündigung von zwei “Der kleine Hobbit” Filmen nochmal als Hoffnungsschimmer galt, ist spätestens seitdem die Nachfahren von JRR Tolkien New Line verklagt haben, da es nicht für die Rechte am “Herr der Ringe” bezahlt habe, wohl endgültig mit der Eigenständigkeit vorbei.

Um nicht ganz so traurig zu schließen: Bei der Verleihung der Independet Spirit Awards am Samstag hat “Juno” sich als der große Gewinner herausgestellt. Der Film ist jetzt schon in den USA der größte Independent Erfolg seit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” und die Komödie mit der grandiosen Ellen Page in der Hauptrolle läuft am 20. März auch in Deutschland an.

Adventskalender 16

Sonntag, Dezember 16th, 2007

Klick auf den Link, um das sechzehnte Türchen zu öffnen. Click the link to open the sixteenth door.

(weiterlesen …)