13 items from 2014
George Clooney is an undervalued filmmaker. With Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Clooney showed he was the real deal behind the camera. He followed that, his best film, with the widely acclaimed Goodnight and Good Luck, as well as the overlooked Leatherheads, and one of 2011′s best films, The Ides of March. His films have no shortage of ambition or passion, but his newest movie, The Monuments Men, suffers from perhaps too much of both. Hitler started stealing art during World War II in the hopes of creating a cultural town made up of all these stolen pieces. He was robbing people of their history and culture, and in retaliation Fdr commissioned a team to go retrieve the art and find their rightful owners. George Stout (Clooney) led the group and convinced Fdr to support the mission and his team of non-traditional soldiers. For the most part, this ensemble features the kind of limited character definition we »
- Jack Giroux
As the trailers and post-holiday pushback release suggested, George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" is dead on arrival. What went wrong? As a writer-director, Clooney is hit-or-miss. He's in love with old-fashioned Hollywood genres like the Cold War spy thriller comedy ("Confessions of a Dangerous Mind") or period sports romance ("Leatherheads") that would be a challenge for any director to pull off. They were both duds. On the other hand, black-and-white newsroom drama "Good Night, and Good Luck" earned six Academy Award nominations, and "Ides of March" scored another for scribe Beau Willamon, who went on to write "House of Cards." Unfortunately, "Monuments Men," adapted from Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter's book by Clooney and his co-producer Grant Heslov, is one of Clooney's more flat-footed efforts. It means to be a John Frankenheimer wartime thriller with soldiers in danger trying to rescue the world's great works of art from the Nazis--art-lover Hitler has. »
- Anne Thompson
In his past films, George Clooney has shown himself to be surprisingly deft at working with genre and mood. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a stunning directorial debut that melds comedy, paranoia, tragedy, and drama, and his following works all have a smart, sensible core (although I'll admit his previous picture, The Ides of March is slightly shaky). Unfortunately, his confident direction is nowhere to be found in his latest film, The Monuments Men. The story is scattershot in structure, narrative, and tone. The premise is fascinating, but Clooney can never seem to find the right angle, and it's unclear if we're watching a drama with comedic elements or a rousing World War II picture with moments of tragedy. There's almost a total lack of cohesion, and while Clooney is occasionally able to regain control of the picture, the best moments rely almost entirely on the performances. The Nazis »
- Matt Goldberg
George Clooney is now five films into his career as a director, which gives us enough room to try to discern a voice or a thematic intent or a unifying vision for the films he's made, and yet, when I look at those five films, what ultimately emerges is a portrait of a somewhat invisible man. I think "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind" is a very stylish film, and he navigated a fairly tricky piece of writing there. I understand why so many directors were drawn to Charlie Kaufman's script, and I understand why so many directors ultimately chose not to »
- Drew McWeeny
More than just individually two of the biggest stars in the world, Matt Damon and George Clooney have a habit of producing some great work together when they collaborate. First getting together as part of the ensemble of Steven Soderbergh.s Oceans 11 back in 2001, they.ve since appeared in four other movies together, the fifth coming out this weekend: The Monuments Men. But while it.s clear that the two actors have a great working relationship and enjoy doing projects together, their latest features an important dynamic change. Monuments Men is the first time that Damon has worked with Clooney as a director on a full feature (discounting the quick cameo the former made in the latter.s debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). While you may think that would have a certain effect on the on-set relationship, however, the reality is that the two had enough trust in each »
The Monuments Men, an all new action drama directed by George Clooney is about to hit theaters. Recently, Wamg attended The Monuments Men press day where George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett and co-writer Grant Heslov sat down with press to talk about the film… as well as a prank that George Clooney played on Matt Damon. Check it out below.
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by Fdr with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission : with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and wight the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, »
- Melissa Howland
In a handful of projects, George Clooney has proven himself as equally suave and confident behind the camera as he is in front of it. At the same time, however, his handsome visage has grown steadily worse for wear as he has mellowed into middle age — and the movies have followed suit. The result has been a decidedly tamer, if never entirely dismissible, pop culture artist intermittently successful at making smarter Hollywood movies. While his Charlie Kaufman-scripted "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" had experimental bite, and the superbly restrained "Good Night, and Good Luck" explored its topic with oodles of intellectual élan, the earnestly upbeat sports comedy "Leatherheads" flopped hard, and "The Ides of March" displayed its "all-politicians-are-monsters" polemic a little too broadly. But like Clooney's slick grin, the later movies reflect an eagerness to satisfy audience expectations on par with attempts by the earlier ones to challenge them. »
- Eric Kohn
I consider George Clooney's directing work to be 4-for-4. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is a brilliant debut, Good Night, and Good Luck. is a perfectly timed critique of the Bush Administration, Leatherheads is a ton of fun, and The Ides of March, while it has some issues, is still an assured piece of filmmaking. His latest, The Monuments Men, has a terrific premise—a true story about a group of soldiers trying to rescue art from the Nazis—and an outstanding cast. I have no reason to believe he won't be 5-for-5. I'm pleased to announce that we're giving away 20 admit-two passes to The Monuments Men. Hit the jump to find out how you can see the movie early and for free. The Monuments Men opens on February 7th, and stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. »
- Matt Goldberg
It’s not only the great works of European art that have gone missing in “The Monuments Men”; the spark of writer-director-star George Clooney’s filmmaking is absent, too. In adapting writer Robert M. Edsel’s account of the men charged with protecting the Western world’s aesthetic treasures from wartime destruction, Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people. Fronting an all-star cast and top-drawer craft contributions in every department, this expensive-looking Sony/Fox co-production should outpace the $75 million worldwide gross of Clooney’s previous turn in the director’s chair (2011’s “The Ides of March”), but doesn’t amount to more than a footnote in his remarkable filmography.
When Clooney started out as a director, it was clear he’d learned a great deal about technique from his many collaborations with Steven Soderbergh, »
- Scott Foundas
Sam Rockwell is one of the greatest actors working today. If you’re not already in agreement with me, look over his diverse body of work. Rockwell has killed roles, both lead and supporting, in movies as weird as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, as shattering as Conviction, and as breathtakingly original as Moon. Along the way, he’s played integral parts in classics like The Green Mile and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. He’s one of my favorite actors because, no matter how many great roles I see him in, he just sells it every time.
A Single Shot, a relentlessly bleak and atmospheric noir drama, is no exception. As hunter John Moon, who accidentally shoots and kills a young woman, only to uncover a huge amount of money she was guarding, Rockwell is absolutely terrific. It’s a very physical part for the actor, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Sam Rockwell’s inability to secure an Oscar nomination for a career filled with hilarious and dazzling turns in films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Moon and The Way, Way Back has not stopped the actor from attracting a large fanbase and much love from the independent film community. In Park City to promote Lynn Shelton’s new comedy-drama Laggies, Rockwell is now starting to drum up support for The Eel, which he will star in for writer/director Roberto Bentivegna, whose script appeared on the 2012 Black List.
The Eel should be a darker turn for Rockwell, who will play an escaped convict drawn back into a life of crime when a corrupt sheriff kidnaps the heiress to an oil fortune. As Kevin Walsh, one of The Eel‘s producers, told Deadline, Rockwell’s role “of a criminal on the run… reminded us of Drive and Cool Hand Luke. »
- Jordan Adler
Actors’ behind-the-camera debuts are rarely great. There’s generally a safeness to those movies, where it feels more like an actor testing the waters than having a story they need to tell. A big exception to that trend: George Clooney. Clooney took a major chance on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Sure, he had a script written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation), but he made bold choices as a filmmaker. From the film’s complex style, the timeline they have to show in two hours, and the tonally tricky humor, Clooney’s first directorial outing was an ambitious introduction. Since then he’s tried his hand at varying material, constantly pushing himself as a filmmaker. Nothing against his films since 2002, including the overlooked Leatherheads, but Confessions of a Dangerous Mind remains his best picture. This is a film where big choices were made, and every single one of them hit their mark. It »
- Jack Giroux
Who does not love Sam Rockwell? He has given some of the most indelible, darkly comic performances of the last 15 years, in films as diverse as The Green Mile, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Moon. His off-the-wall portrayal of kind-hearted slacker Owen was the quixotic high point of 2013′s sweet, if predictable The Way, Way Back. Although Rockwell is a stellar character actor who relishes drama and comedy, he has never landed an Academy Award nomination.
Well, that could all change with Better Living Through Chemistry, which Samuel Goldwyn just cued up for a March 14 release in the United States. In the dark comedy, Rockwell stars as bored pharmacist Douglas Varney, who begins a sex and drug fuelled affair with customer and trophy wife Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde, living up to her last name). Rounding out the rich ensemble cast is Michelle Monaghan, Ben Schwartz, Ken Howard, Ray Liotta and Jane Fonda. »
- Jordan Adler
13 items from 2014
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