Posts Tagged ‘George Clooney’

US actor George Clooney

George Clooney

That’s what I wondered after the first 15 minutes of The Descendents.  Even though the opening scene has George Clooney disclaiming the myth of Hawaii  as a perfect paradise,  it’s hard to let go of our illusions or delusions for that matter.

There have been so many rave reviews about this movie already, I’m not sure what my two cents could possibly add.  Many reviewers have been citing Clooney’s performance as his best yet.  I had heard that before I saw the movie and attributed it to the usual hype.  I thought George was great in Michael Clayton, Good Night and Good Luck and Syrianna.   However, those movies were big Hollywood production and his characters were big.  The Descendents,  seemed more like a small movie, not quite and Indie but other than the panoramic shots of Hawaii, we watched an intimate movie.  Actor Clooney showed us a wide range of emotions mostly played out on his face.  He truly seemed to embody the character of Matt King.

Special note should be given to the young actress, Shailene Woodley.  Most of her prior acting experience has been as a lead character on the TV series, The Secret Life of an American Teenager.  She is confident, fresh and handles herself with great ease in the presence of a star, and is able to hold her own in every scene.  I think an Oscar nomination might be in her very near future!

The story itself is poignant at times, a little slow at times and as directed by Alexander Payne, I felt I was watching one part About Schmidt and one part of the eternally long novel, Hawaii by Mitchner.  It was beautifully acted, the portrayal of the human condition handled exquisitely by Clooney. 

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George Clooney. Castle Vechio, Italy,

Run George Run

YUP that’s right – the title is a spoiler so if you don’t want to know anymore about the movie STOP READING now.

So here we have a thinner, trimmer George Clooney and unless he had a body double (duh!) he also showed off some very visible Pecs and Lats.  He bears the same sad, detached and tired demeanor that was characteristic of  Michael Clayton.  These characters are haunted men,   weighted down under the heavy cloak of their misdeeds and sleepless over their sins.  Was it all done in the line of duty? Duty?? We’re not talking about a soldier in the defense of his nation – we’re talking about MONEY, mercenaries if you will, a gun for hire, well  Mr. Clark kills, I don’t think an actual death was part of Michael Clayton’s job description.

Anyway the travelogue is beautiful as Mister Butterfly flits through Sweden and Rome and into the hills of Tuscany.  And the butterfly thing – what was that all about?  Were we supposed to see the softer side of this killer?  From cold-blooded murderer to lepidoperist all in an afternoon.  He even had a butterfly tatttoo!

This isn’t going to be a long review, the movie was long enough or so it seemed.  And why did it seem that way? Because it practically felt that it was being shot in real time. It moved ever so slowly.  I thought it was too slow and then I thought maybe this was the way movies used to be made, you know with the long shots and no cuts and not made up of hundreds of sound bytes.  This question is still up in the air.

Basically we watch Clooney kill a few people, get shot at by a few people and see how he forms an ego-manical sexual liason with a prostitute.

Edward Clark, a/k/a Mister Butterfly to those  from whom he is hiding his real identity, is a loner, a man who turns to a whore for sexual solace and ends up caring for her (??) – that’s debatable since he was prepared to shoot her during their picnic.  He suspects everyone and well he should because this character is the perfect exemplification of the cliche:  What goes around comes around. He can trust no one – even his boss (?) tells him not to make friends.

Following a tried and true and time-worn story line;  we see the bad guy who wants to get out of the game and wants NOT to be alone anymore so he picks a woman definitely below his own intellect but one who either satisfies him sexually or feeds into his own lack of self-esteem so he doesn’t deserve any better – does this sound like Paul Newman in The Hustler?

Anyway Clooney’s fate is sealed-Hollywood does not want to send the message that is okay to kill people and get away with it.  They stopped doing that when they stopped making John Wayne and Gary Cooper westerns.

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I just came home after seeing Crazy Heart and am more convinced than before that Jeff Bridges truly deserved the Best Actor Academy Award.  He was convincingly the aging, washed up, alcoholic country singer.

The best actors take the risks.  And they make it look easy, so easy in fact that you don’t even think they’re making it look easy. Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake was an outstanding example of an actor willing to let it all hang out, both figuratively and literally.  At 60 years old, he was brave enough to take off most of his clothes and let’s be honest, he wasn’t exactly sexy in his tighty whities.  Actually it was the scene in the movie where he vomits and lays down on the bathroom floor wearing only his underwear – that was when it really hit me….he was a drunk, moaning and then passing out.  Every expression, every movement of his body…. and then I realized, he’s NOT ALONE in this room; the cameramen, the lighting people, the grips, and the electricians, the script reader, set decorators, make-up and on and on are all around him – it’s almost unbelievable that he was so …. vulnerable!

And then as I said in my previous Oscar-related blog, when you compare his performance to that of his competition, there really wasn’t any competition.  That’s not to say that George Clooney and Morgan Freeman and Colin Firth aren’t great actors – they are.  The role and the depth of your character certainly plays a huge part in your ability to bring an Oscar home.  Even though you often read in a review the statement that the actor brought depth to the role , there are some roles that just don’t allow an actor to stretch. This blog is not about criticizing the other nominees or their roles; it’s only about singing the praises of Jeff Bridges in what surely was his best role ever.  Best Actor – Jeff Bridges Indeed!

Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake

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