Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Clooney v. Pitt - Too close to call


directed by George Clooney
starring Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle
based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon

IN A NUTSHELL: Slick, entertaining, if shallow political drama that ultimately doesn't have an original bone in its body. "All the President's Men" this ain't, despite the heavy stylistic homage to Pakula's classic. None of the characters is really well developed - some, if not all, seem much more like devices than characters - and most of the plot twists are fairly predictable. Yet despite all that, the film is damn watchable, thanks to the sharp acting and even sharper pacing. Don't look for any new insights here on the corrupting effects of political power; just enjoy the spectacle of a bunch of terrific actors playing a game of political "Survivor."



directed by Bennett Miller
starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Robin Wright
based on the book by Michael Lewis

IN A NUTSHELL: Unexpectedly quiet and thoughtful for a movie that's set in the high-stakes universe of major league baseball. Perhaps thoughtful to a fault: at times, the film feels a tad sluggish, and its earnest attempts to develop the psychology of Billy Beane (Pitt), the GM who pioneered the sabermetric revolution, can feel a bit forced. Not so surprisingly, the parts dealing with Beane's own failed career as a ball player fit more smoothly into the film's overall trajectory than the parts dealing with his (fictional?) relationship with his daughter and ex-wife. In a way, "Moneyball" is the exact inverse of "The Ides of March": it's got all of the character (and other) depth "Ides" lacks, but none of the pacing. Nevertheless, engaging overall, with fine work by Pitt and an unprecedentedly subdued Hill.


Full reviews to come