Suburbicon is a dark comedy directed by George Clooney and written by George Clooney, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Grant Heslov. The movie is set in a new, up and coming suburban neighborhood in the year 1959. Racism, hate and just plane stupidity runs rampart throughout the community of Suburbicon. I’m not sure this is what America needs right now with all the crap we’re already putting up with these days.
The attraction to this advertised, peaceful, all-white neighborhood called Suburbicon was no blacks, no crime, no crowds and no traffic. When an African-American family moves in, everything changes. The natives grow restless and start a situation that pales by comparison to anything bad they thought Blacks would cause. Right in their own backyard Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) and his wife, Rose Lodge (Juliann Moore) would experience their own crime when robbed by a couple of white men who breaks into their home and chloroform Gardner, Rose, Margaret (Juliann Moore), Rose’s twin sister and Nicky Lodge, (Noah Jupe) Gardner and Rose’s son.
Between this highly racist neighborhood, and the scary, murderous Lodge family, you’re in for a crazy ride of anger and a whole lot of senseless murder. At some point you are not even sure of what you are seeing or hearing, especially after a police lineup leaves you somewhat confused. It all starts to become clear as the whole neighborhood gets out of control and bodies start dropping. The film becomes ambiguous again when the next day comes and the cleanup begins and the film ends with no explanation as to the prognosis for the neighborhood, the Black family or Nicky. You’d have to see this one yourself to make your own determination as to the value of Suburbicon. These writers have a pretty sick mind, but then we are talking the Coen brothers and George Clooney.
Hail Caesar! has a lot going on. Considered a comedy/satire, it takes place in 1950s when Hollywood was having a rough time because of television as a major competition and the McCathy Era (aka the Cold War era). Directed by the Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan), known for their wacky, satire films, certainly live up to their reputations for this one. In Hail Caesar!, they try to follow the real life of Eddie Mannix (James Brolin) who is known as “the Fixer” of the film industry. There are several plots which makes the focus a just little difficult.
Eddie has a growing amount of problems that need his attention. Since Eddie works for the production studio, which is in the throws of producing Hail Caesar!, he must get these problems resolved as soon as possible. Actress, Deeanna Morgan (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant and single. Eddie is resolving her potential scandal by having her adopt her own baby without revealing herself as the biological mother. Braid Whitlock (George Clooney) is starring in the studio’s epic film, Hail Caesar!. Someone drugs and kidnaps him, then sends a ransom note demanding $100,000 dollars for his release, signed by “the Future”. Eddie plans to use the studio’s petty cash to pay them off. Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton) are twin sisters who have rival gossip columns. They are a constant threat, as they are always hanging around looking for the latest scoop and don’t mind playing dirty to out-do one another or to get the information they want. Currently, Thora is holding info about Whitlock that she plans to release but Eddie is able to hold her off with a promise to give her info on another actor/singer Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), who is cast in a drama directed by Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes). Recently, Laurence has informed Eddie that Hobie’s acting abilities are sub par and he want him replaced but Eddie has convinced Laurence to take Hobie under his wing and make him a better actor.
There are more problems for Eddie and many more stars in Hail Caesar! You can see why it’s a little hard to stay focused. You can get all the plots and answers on DVD/Blu-Ray, if you like this kind of satire and/or the Coen Brothers. I think it’s an okay film to rent!
[Hail Caesar! is nominated for Production Design]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alden ehrennreich, braid whitlock, coen brothers, cold war, deeanna morgan, eddie mannix, george clooney, hail caesar!, hobie doyle, james brolin, laurence laurentz, ralph fiennes, scarlett johansson, the fixer, the future, thessaly thacker, thora thacker, tilda swinton
Ever wonder what happens to your money when the market crashes? Money Monster sort of makes you open your eyes and give notice to some of the terms that float around like “computer glitch” as an excuse for a huge loss. Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) is an ordinary guy who really doesn’t have the means to invest but does so on a tip from Lee Gates, (George Clooney) a money market TV guru host of a show called Money Monster. Lee practically guarantees a profit if you take his advice. Of course, this is his personal opinion and research that can guarantee nothing. The stock market is a gamble just like going to Vegas or Atlantic City and playing casino games. If you can’t afford to lose, you shouldn’t invest. We’ve all heard this a thousand times but we do it anyway. When Kyle loses his $60K of inheritance money, he wants an explanation. This is where the story falters because an explanation would not really be offered in the real world, even with a gun and hostage at bay, but we’re talking Hollywood. IBIS Global Capital’s stock inexplicably cratered due to a glitch in a trading algorithm, costing investors $800 million. IBIS’ CEO, Walt Camby (Dominic West) was to appear on Lee’s show for an interview about the crash, but Camby unexpectedly left for a business trip to Geneva. The movie is interesting and well acted but unrealistic. Julia Roberts plays Patty, the network director and love interest for Lee, who has never really been taken seriously. Kyle poses as a delivery guy, gets in the studio, takes Lee and the staff hostage and demands answers. It’s interesting to see how they get to the bottom of the problem with the help of IBIS’ Chief Communications Officer, Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe), Lee and Patty of Money Monster and their staff. In the end, it turns out that IBIS’ explanation is logical but far from ethical and is truly a gamble.
In my opinion, if you really want to see a movie, you won’t be bored seeing Money Monster but for the money, you probably should wait for the DVD.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged caitriona balfe, diane lester, dominic west, george clooney, ibis, jack o'connell, julia roberts, kyle budwell, lee gates, money monster, patty, walt camby
Given this movie was designed to appeal to the younger adult crowd, I think it was pretty good, even for us older youth. It’s a little corny and a little dragged out but still entertaining. I heard a lot of bad reviews, picking Tomorrowland apart in ways critics don’t usually pick apart other similar movies. I’m beginning to believe Hollywood has something against George Clooney or at lease the critics do. Tomorrowland is a fantasy movie about an enigmatic place existing somewhere in space and time where the gifted assemble, free from bureaucracy and red tape, to create and put their ideas into full swing in hopes they can make this world a better place. Wow, That was a mouthful — but this is the best definition I can come up with since no one seems to really know. There are four main characters: Frank (George Clooney), Athena (Raffry Cassidy ), David Nix (Hugh Laurie) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson). All characters are brilliantly played. Frank is a genius inventor, Athena is an Audio-Animatronic droid recruiter, living in Tomorrowland, Nix is the leader of Tomorrowland and Casey is also a genius who doesn’t know her own potential. Frank and Athena meet at the 1968 World Fair where he brings his latest invention, which doesn’t work well, to be entered into the science contest, judged by Nix. Instantly falling for Frank (Thomas Robinson), who is a little boy at the time, Athena gives him a pin and instructions to follow her on a special ride that ultimately takes him to Tomorrowland. This is a tough movie to critique without revealing spoilers. The movie builds to a lot of excitement then mellows out for some time before the next bout of excitement arouses your senses. Slowly, the pieces come together and all is well. Many years later, Casey acquires a pin and finds herself entangled in the whole mess. Together, they must somehow save the world. Being a Disney movie, the special effects are awesome and the budget is endless. Tomorrowland is a good escape movie despite what the critics say. This older kid enjoyed it!
The Monuments Men is a true story that takes place during WW2 and covers a very important era in history. However, I am sorry to report that this film is not what one would expect. It was a little confusing in the beginning, as I felt the director (George Clooney) assumed we knew military lingo and protocol proceedings. It was as if the characters were carrying on their very own private conversations during an ambiguous opening. The plan was to retrieve art stolen by the Nazis and return it to the rightful owners. The plan was hard for the audience and, surprisingly, the military to understand. I tried to follow along but soon became lost. Midway through, The Monuments Men started to come to life. I feel this was a noble gesture on the part of the US Military and was carried out to the best of their ability. The Nazi’s still managed to destroy millions of paintings rather than allow the owners to repossess them.
For some reason, George Cloony, who plays Frank Stokes, is hard to take seriously. He always seems to have a humorous persona. Bill Murray as Richard Campbell and Matt Damon as James Granger were brilliant as was John Goodman, who played Walter Garfield and Bob Balaban who played Preston Salvatz. Cate Blanchett played Claire Simone/Rose Valland, the real life curator of the Jeu De Paume museum in Paris, France. Rose documented all the paintings that came through the museum and their rightful owners. You can imagine how valuable this information became for this “special tasked platoon” known as The Monuments Men.
I don’t think this was a terrible movie but it wasn’t a good one. Aside from the confusing lead-in, I found The Monuments Men a bit lack luster and at times, a bit boring. George Clooney and Matt Damon seemed to dominate most scenes leaving Murray and Goodman overshadowed and under used. Overall, once you get past all the unsettleing beginnings, it finally gets much better. The Monuments Men is now on DVD and is worth an otherwise unfruitful evening.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged art, bob balaban, cate blanchett, claire simone, frank stokes, george clooney, germany, james granger, jeu de paume museum, john goodman, matt damon, military, nazis, paris france, preston salvatz, real life curator, recovers, rose valland, stolen, stolen art, the monument men, walter garfield, ww2
There’s been a lot of buzz about Gravity being an Oscar contender as well as Sandra Bullock getting a best actress nod. I agree Sandra Bullock did an outstanding job, but I don’t think this movie is as great as advertised. I can’t say much about the story without adding spoilers so I’ll just say it was intense, well acted and had great special effects. I didn’t feel a connection to the characters and I didn’t particularly like the story line. I didn’t think a lot of it was believable. I saw it in 3D because it was all about space, however I believe it would have been just as effective in 2D. If you should decide to see Gravity, skip spending the extra bucks for 3D, as it didn’t do that much for the special effects.