George Clooney

Thoughts on… My Most Watched Actors

I have a Letterboxd account and it’s pretty great. Letterboxd is the movie version of Goodreads so you can log what you watch, write reviews, make lists and follow different users. If you get a Pro account (which is only $19 a year which is about £15 and I think that’s pretty good value to be honest) you get to see what your various movie-related stats are each year you log films and overall on all the films you’ve ever marked as watched.

I’ve been looking at which actors I’ve watched the most overall and there’s some interesting things there but it does make me want to try and change some of my viewing habits.

Out of my top twenty most watched actors, just two of them are women – Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett Johansson was someone I was surprised to be there as she’s not one of my favourite actors nor someone who I’d go to see a film just because they’re in it. Her being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly helped give her a boost and for a younger actor (she’s 32) she’s been in the business for a while and has an eclectic filmography. Rachel Weisz is a new addition because I have been watching more of her filmography recently, trying to get her (and more women in general) into my top twenty. In comparison to Johansson, Weisz is an actor who I love and will seek out films just because she’s in them but she usually stars in dramas or films that aren’t so mainstream hence while she is someone I do really like, her filmography isn’t always to my taste. (more…)

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REVIEW: Money Monster (2016)

COL_BILL_TEMPLATE_21Financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney), his producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) and the entire TV crew are put in an extreme and volatile situation when irate investor Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) takes over the studio with a gun and a bomb.

Money Monster looks into the human cost betting on Wall Street has and how those who play with the figures don’t care while normal people don’t understand what it all means. Kyle has lost everything and he’s now a desperate man who just wants answers. Every scene where he is on screen is intense as you’re not sure what he’s going to do next.

George Clooney does a brilliant job as the smarmy TV presenter who has stopped asking Wall Street the hard-hitting questions. He is rarely off screen and he goes from a nervous wreck to someone who will keep talking because that’s what he’s good at. While they rarely physically share the screen, Clooney and Roberts have an interesting relationship and a lot of chemistry as she sticks by him throughout the ordeal via his earpiece.

Money Monster is great because while it is often incredibly tense and thrilling it also manages to add dark humour to the precedings to give you brief moments to breathe. All the characters’ reactions to the situation are believable and they are all incredibly well-written. People will swear and shout and not hold back in a situation like this and it’s all there to see on screen.

Got to mention the women in this film. Patty is incredible. She’s the director of a popular TV show thrust in an incredibly unusual situation and manages to handle her entire crew and the police while chaos is all around her. Diane Lester (Caitriona Balfe) the woman who is forced to be the spokesperson of an investment company that’s under fire, is also competent and quietly badass. While them two are the main female characters, Bree (Condola Rashad) Patty’s assistant and Molly (Emily Meade) Kyle’s girlfriend also have moments to shine.

Money Monster does a brilliant job of combining thriller with satire and it’s always entertaining. 5/5.

REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

hail caesarHollywood fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) struggles to keep the studio’s stars in line as he tries to find kidnapped movie star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney).

Hail, Caesar! is a Coen Brothers movie so anyone who has watched a fair bit of their filmography will kind of know what to expect with this film. There’s comedy, weird and wonderful characters and some brilliant back-and-forth dialogue scenes. Plus, it looks amazing, 1950’s Hollywood looks glamorous with the various sets and costumes and the music fits the various Hollywood sequences wonderfully.

If you’re looking for a solid plot in Hail, Caesar! you’ll be a bit disappointed as in many ways it’s more of a series of sequences that imitate classic old Hollywood movies. There’s the western headed up by Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) who is now being shoe-horned into a ballroom drama at the studios behest, there’s the Roman Epic lead by the missing Baird Whitlock, there’s the song-and-dance lead by Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) who wears a sailor suit and tap-dances on tables and then there’s the spectacular synchronised-swimming sequence with DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) as a mermaid who isn’t as innocent as she appears on the big screen. All these scenarios have a hint of nostalgia for Hollywood’s Golden Age and they are all good fun.

Eddie Manix is the guy that holds all these characters and set pieces together as he not only struggles to put the ransom money together for his kidnapped star, but he also struggles with his conscience when he lies to his wife about giving up smoking.

All the cast fit their roles wonderfully, in many senses a lot of the characters are Hollywood stereotypes but as you watch Hail, Caesar! you don’t really care about that. They all seem like they are having a lot of fun, and you in the audience have fun too at the sheer delight as the film whizzes from scenario to scenario on a Hollywood Studio backlot. Hail, Caesar! doesn’t always make a lot of sense, and some characters aren’t really around for long but if you don’t mind that and just sit back and enjoy the ride, you might have a lot of fun.

Hail, Caesar! is chaotic and indulgent, it won’t be for everyone, but it really is a lot of fun. I’m in no way a hard-core Coen Brothers fan, I really did not like The Big Lebowski (1998) and that’s supposed to be one of their best loved films, but Hail, Caesar! was incredibly meta and fun and I couldn’t get enough. 4/5.