Tag Archives: George Clooney

The Midnight Sky (2020) Review

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The Midnight Sky

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Content may disturb
Cast:
George Clooney as Augustine
Felicity Jones as Sully
Caoilinn Springall as Iris
David Oyelowo as Commander Adewole
Tiffany Boone as Maya
Demián Bichir as Sanchez
Kyle Chandler as Mitchell
Director:
George Clooney

A lone scientist (George Clooney) in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

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I heard about George Clooney directing and starring in a movie for Netflix, and that the movie would be in the sci-fi genre. I went in with a relatively open mind considering the mixed reviews, and checked it out for myself. I wouldn’t say The Midnight Sky is bad but I wouldn’t call it good either. It’s for sure got some good elements but on the whole is just okay.

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The Midnight Sky consists of two storylines playing at the same time. One is of George Clooney on a base in the arctic, the other is of a crew of astronauts in a ship in space. The Clooney storyline consists of him and a girl trying to make contact with the ship, enduring through harsh and cold conditions to do so. There are aspects of it that could’ve been handled better for sure, but I was relatively interested in it. I liked the simplicity, the dynamic that Clooney’s character has with the girl, and the steady and character driven approach. The whole movie probably would’ve been a lot more effective had it just been this. The other storyline is about a ship returning to earth and it just wasn’t interesting. It holds no emotional gravitas compared to the other, and so the emotional beats fall a bit flat. A big part of that is because we don’t really care about the characters all that much, the characterisation is very weak despite some attempts to define them. Unfortunately, I can’t even really call it a subplot because it has as much screentime as the Clooney storyline, there’s even a whole 20 minute period where Clooney doesn’t make an appearance, almost making you wonder whether he’s actually the main character in all of this. What’s not helping this storyline is that it feels very derivative of other sci-fi movies like Interstellar, Gravity and Ad Astra. Not that it’s inherently a bad thing, but it does highlight that The Midnight Sky just doesn’t succeed nearly as well as those other movies. It really says something that the only moment I really remember from this storyline was when the actors just start singing Sweet Caroline. The movie really is undercut not only by the second storyline, but the constant switching between the two. These two parts don’t really fit together well, and they end up making the tone uneven as they are essentially two separate sci-fi movies trying to co-exist and link together. The third act is where the two storylines come together and intersect, and it’s meant to be quite an emotional punch, but it really fumbles the bag with that and just has no impact at all. As you can probably tell already the biggest issue with the movie is the script, and there are plenty of other issues with it that I haven’t even gotten to yet. The dialogue a lot of the time is stiff and uninteresting, and you don’t really care about many of the plot twists. The use of flashbacks (mainly with George Clooney) weren’t handled the best and feel quite out of place. The longer runtime just makes the viewing experience that much more tedious, 2 hours may not sound long, but with the slow pacing combined with a less than riveting story makes it a bit of a slog. Another side note, the last scene with the credits was really awkward, it’s one of those credits where they play it right in the middle of the scene and so we are effectively watching them roll credits before the ending has actually ended.

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There is a good cast involved in the movie, but generally they aren’t utilised the best. George Clooney does well in essentially the lead role. His character doesn’t amount to much outside of a sombre and quiet person with a regretful past, but Clooney plays him well. The crew of the ship in space are played by Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demian Bichir, and Kyle Chandler. The actors played their parts relatively well but are definitely held back by their bland and underdeveloped characters, and so are quite forgetable.

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The visuals and direction from George Clooney are where The Midnight Sky works at its best. It’s quite a good looking movie, I like the visual effects, and the production quality is good for the most part. The setting that Clooney is at with the snowy wasteland looks great, and gives the film a uniquely chilly atmosphere. The scenes taking place in the ship in space look decent, but they look like every other sci-fi movie only a little worse. There’s also the score from Alexandre Desplat which is really good and does add something to the movie (even if it doesn’t really save it).

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The Midnight Sky is a very flawed movie that manages to have some bright spots. George Clooney acts well in the lead role, and the visuals and other technical elements are solid and impressive at times. However much of the writing is where it holds it back, from a significantly worse second storyline, to a plot that fails to be compelling, interesting or resonant. If it was like 30 minutes shorter, it would’ve been easier to recommend. I guess if you’re really curious about The Midnight Sky, check it out for yourself, but otherwise its probably not worth it.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Review

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

Time: 87 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] contains coarse language language
Voice Cast:
George Clooney as Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox
Jason Schwartzman as Ash Fox
Bill Murray as Clive Badger
Willem Dafoe as Rat
Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean
Owen Wilson as Coach Skip
Director: Wes Anderson

Mr Fox (George Clooney), a family man, goes back to his ways of stealing, unable to resist his animal instincts. However, he finds himself trapped when three farmers decide to kill him and his kind.

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I remember watching Fantastic Mr. Fox around the same time that it was released back in 2009, I remember liking it, but it was very long ago. I wanted to watch it again for some time, especially after having caught up on the rest of Wes Anderson’s movies now. The movie actually turned out much better than I thought it would be coming back to it. It’s funny, entertaining to watch, and well made, especially when it came to the animation.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox is based off the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl (which I don’t think I’ve read myself). From what I heard though, it captures the spirit of the source material. At the same time, the writing is most certainly from Wes Anderson. The script is witty, charming, entertaining and hilarious, with some dry humour too. The dialogue is snappy and quick, again typical Wes Anderson, and the quirky characters are memorable from their writing alone. There are also some strong emotional themes and about family which are fit very well to the movie, even if that’s come to be expected from most animated kids films. Even though it’s a children’s animated movie, both kids and adults can watch and enjoy it, and in fact adults would probably get more out of the experience. Fantastic Mr. Fox is just under 90 minutes long and holds your attention from beginning to end. It really helps that the movie across its runtime is unique and fully of energy, never allowing for a dull moment.

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The voice cast like the casts in most of Wes Anderson’s other movies is large, talented, and very much an ensemble. Just some of the actors enlisted were George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, and Owen Wilson. Each actor gave their respective character distinct personalities and traits through their perfect voice performances, and particularly had flawless comedic timing.

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Wes Anderson is the director of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and like his other movies, he has a distinct style that he added to this film. All the stylistic aspects including the shot compositions, the title cards, the montages, and the bright and striking colour pallets that he typically used in his live action movies are perfectly translated to the stop motion animation from live action. Speaking of which, over a decade later, the stop motion animation still really holds up surprisingly. It’s fast paced, the characters and locations are well designed, and the movements look great. Visually, there is so much attention to detail, including visual gags which you could end up missing if you aren’t paying attention. The soundtrack was perfect too, and the songs are utilised perfectly in their respective scenes. All of these elements were also utilised just as well (from what I remember) from Wes Anderson’s 2018 film Isle of Dogs

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Fantastic Mr. Fox is thoroughly entertaining stop motion animation movie that works well for both children and adults, with some witty and hilarious writing, a great voice cast for the memorable characters, and outstanding direction. It’s great for sure and probably among my favourite animated movies, and if you haven’t checked it out already, then it’s definitely worth watching. You’ll probably like it even more if you’re familiar with Wes Anderson’s other movies.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains violence
Cast:
George Clooney as Seth Gecko
Quentin Tarantino as Richard “Richie” Gecko
Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller
Juliette Lewis as Katherine Fuller
Ernest Liu as Scott Fuller
Salma Hayek as Santanico Pandemonium
Cheech Marin as Border Guard/Chet Pussy/Carlos
Danny Trejo as Razor Charlie
Tom Savini as Sex Machine
Director: Robert Rodriguez

On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid, loose-cannon brother, Richard (Quentin Tarantino), hightail it to the Mexican border. Kidnapping preacher Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel) and his kids, the criminals sneak across the border in the family’s RV and hole up in a topless bar. Unfortunately, the bar also happens to be home base for a gang of vampires, and the brothers and their hostages have to fight their way out.

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I remember watching From Dusk Till Dawn years ago, it had a big reputation for starting off as a crime movie and then halfway through turns into a bloodbath of a vampire movie. It wasn’t that much of a surprise to me, I knew that going in. And in knowing that, it really worked for me and was a very entertaining movie. It’s a violent and bloody grindhouse/B movie that’s a lot of fun.

From Dusk Till Dawn is a very B movie and it wholeheartedly embraces that. As I said, From Dusk Till Dawn is known for basically being two halves of very different movies. The first half is a violent crime movie (probably a typical Tarantino crime film) following the Gecko Brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) as they take a family hostage. The second half is a bloodbath of a vampire movie. I guess I would hide this as for some it was an absolute surprise but its practically a well known fact at this point that it’s not really worth it. As for which half you’ll prefer, I don’t really know. I will say that going in I was more expecting the vampire movie, so I was kind of waiting for that section to come up for a while. Quentin Tarantino wrote the script and you can really feel like it’s his writing throughout, especially with the dialogue. In a way, Tarantino’s writing and Rodriguez’s direction were a perfect match for this kind of story.

The cast for the most part does well. George Clooney gives quite possibly my favourite performance of his. Gone is the charismatic and charming Clooney that would be appear in even his criminal roles like Danny Ocean, here he is a straight up ruthless criminal who still remains likable despite it. Quentin Tarantino despite being a very talented writer and director does get a bit of a bad wrap when it comes to his acting, especially in this movie. I personally think he was actually alright here, no he’s not really that great of an actor but his character Richard Gecko who’s an unstable psychopath, he pulls it off well enough. Maybe other actors could play the part and do it better but he does the job okay. The hostage family is played by Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu, who really play the only redeemable characters in the whole movie, and they did quite well (although Liu is a cut below Keitel and Lewis). We do get some other actors in smaller roles but do their part to stand out, with Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin and Tom Savini being some of them. And of course we have Salma Hayek, who is only in a couple scenes but is one of the most memorable parts of the movie (granted its mostly because of a dance she does around the halfway point but still).

Robert Rodriguez directs this movie, and as typical of (non Spy Kids) Rodriguez, the action is entertaining and really bloody. Early on, when the violence is present, its bloody but it’s kind of disturbing at the same time. In the vampire segment however, it goes really over the top with the gore and its just really entertaining to watch. There is a lot of practical effects used for the gore and its very creative and impressive. These representations of vampires aren’t the Dracula kind of vampires, these are the absolutely grotesque and monstrous kind of vampires. The reason that this movie didn’t get an NC-17 rating is that they turned the vampire blood from red to green, and I guess it worked (and made it stand apart from the other representations of vampires even more).

From Dusk Till Dawn probably isn’t for everyone. The switch from crime to horror in the halfway point did put off some people, you might end up digging one segment much more than the other, I can’t say for certain. If you’re up for a weird and violent action horror movie written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez however, I’d say give it a go.

Batman and Robin (1997) Review

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Batman and Robin

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy
Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson/Batgirl
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Director: Joel Schumacher

This superhero film finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O’Donnell), attempting to the foil the schemes of a deranged set of new villains, most notably the melancholy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to make Gotham into an arctic region, and the sultry Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a plant-loving femme fatale. As the Dynamic Duo contends with these bad guys, a third hero, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), joins the ranks of the city’s crime-fighters.

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Despite mixed reviews of Batman Forever, it did well enough and so Joel Schumacher returned for the sequel. Batman and Robin killed the Batman franchise for about a decade before being picked up again by Christopher Nolan. Even though Batman and Robin is one of the worst superhero movies ever made, out of all the bad superhero movies this is actually kind of enjoyable. It is absolutely a movie that’s so bad it’s entertaining.

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If Batman Forever was cheesy, Batman and Robin takes it to a whole new level. The tone is completely corny and it tries being a really bad cartoon, there’s even a scene where Batman has a bat credit card. This film is extremely over the top, a great example is Batman’s introduction. The dialogue was terrible, for example there are so many puns, most of them ice puns from Mr Freeze. It’s actually hard to summarise everything wrong with the movie, all of that can only be seen if you watch the whole movie.

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George Clooney had the potential to be a great Batman but due to bad direction and writing he wasn’t good at all. The worst part about him is that his Bruce Wayne and Batman identities feel exactly the same with no distinction between the two. The best performance had to be by Michael Gough, who plays Alfred. Throughout all of these four Batman movies he’s been credible, even the Schumacher movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mr Freeze and I have no idea why he was chosen. I have a feeling that it was because he was a big name because he does nothing but deliver bad puns. The most over the top performance was Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Uma Thurman is actually a good choice for Poison Ivy but just look at her performance. She acts like a pornstar obsessed with plants, and it’s honestly one of the most cartoonish performances I’ve seen in a movie.

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A good example of how over the top the action is, is shown in the first minutes: Batman and Robin are skating over ice and are using hockey sticks to get a diamond. The production design is also terrible, there’s a moment when a frozen car door opens and the ice on it wobbles. There’s also some obvious and over the top wire work, at time it felt like a puppet show. The costumes are worse, not just the Batman and Robin nipple suits. Mr Freeze’s suit is a giant neon lit ‘costume’ that just looks plain ridiculous. Fun fact, this movie was made to sell toys and you can see that everywhere. There’s even a scene where Batman, Robin and Batgirl change outfits between scenes without going to the Batcave to change.

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Batman and Robin is a bad movie and is the worst Batman movie. It’s cheesy, over the top, doesn’t make sense, isn’t Batman and it should be watched. I’m not kidding, it’s actually worth watching, more than Batman Forever even though that movie is a better movie. This movie is such a disaster, gets everything wrong and decades later it’s become this fascinating movie that could honestly be watched over and over again. Just know that the movie is absolutely terrible before watching it.

Gravity (2013)

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Gravity

Time: 91 minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language and content that may disturb
Cast:
Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone
George Clooney as Matt Kowalski
Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission is with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who is in charge of the Shuttle Explorer’s STS-157 mission to repair the Hubble Telescope before retiring. After a while, Houston control aborts the mission warning that a Russian missile hit a satellite, causing a chain reaction and now there is a storm of debris coming upon them. This results in Stone and Kowalski losing communication with Mission Control and leaves them completely alone – tethered to nothing and spiralling out into the blackness.

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The movie has a simple premise but it’s the execution of the movie that’s most impressive. The pacing is set right for the movie it’s trying to be. One of the first things you need to know before going into this movie is know that despite it being a thriller, it has many moments where the movie slows down. I’ve heard of many other people who have watched this movie and walking out feeling disappointed saying that it was boring. Don’t expect an action movie, it has thrills but also has many slower moments.

Film Review Gravity

Sandra Bullock is great in this movie. Over time you do learn some things about her character in some of the slower parts. The whole movie follows her journey to safety so if she wasn’t good, the movie wouldn’t work as well. She was convincing as someone stuck in space which is unique in a special effects movie. George Clooney isn’t in the movie as much and you don’t get to learn as much about his character but he was also good in the movie.

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The camera work was mind-blowing. There are very few cuts in the movie, the first cut only happened after like 10 minutes. That first shot is started from a distance at Earth, then after a while the camera zooms in on the satellite being repaired. By the time the first cut happened, I felt like I was in space. In most CGI movies there are usually at least one scene that you can tell are CGI, this movie never had any of those moments. The special effects are the most believable effects I have seen in a while. The movie looks absolutely beautiful. Gravity is best experienced in IMAX 3D, it’s very rare for me to come across a movie that I can say that about. I haven’t experienced the 2D version so I don’t know how both versions stack up against each other. Some people might say this film is just special effects and nothing else, but real time and effort has been put into this movie to make it feel like it’s in space.

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The soundtrack composed by Steven Price is perfect for this movie. It goes from wondrous and thoughtful to incredibly loud and intense, in fact it’s the soundtrack that makes the chaotic scenes even more intense than they already are. The sound effects work for the movie; for example, when things are getting torn apart in space, there is barely any audio. Even less chaotic moments such as a drill unscrewing a bolt sound exactly if you are in space.

Gravity is a visual masterpiece; it is a movie that you can only experience. I watched this a few times and I still enjoy it but there may be others who find that the magic of this movie can only be experienced once. This is the best portrayal of space I’ve ever seen in a movie. I don’t know how accurate the movie is of portraying life in space but it looks very realistic at least to me. The special effects paired with the soundtrack, Bullock, Clooney and the cinematography help to make one of the best thrill rides in a while.