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Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:27 am
by OscarGuy
Geoffrey Rush syndrome?

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:07 am
by Sabin
I found him to be pretty damn annoying. Especially considering that I think the man gave one of the best performances nominated for Best Actor this decade in 'In the Bedroom'. After which, he started slicing the ham and didn't turn back.

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:55 am
by Damien
dws1982 wrote: I love Wilkinson generally; I'm sad to see that he seems to have gone all hamola with Michael Clayton.

I have generally loved Tom Wilkinson, ever since Priest -- at which point I had never heard of him and had no idea who he was. And his is the best performance in Shakespeare In Love. In his defense, I'll say that his character in Clayton is hamola, but I still wish the performance was more nuanced than it is.

Edited By Damien on 1192255013

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:14 am
by dws1982
Damien wrote:Sydney Pollack is pitch perfect, but Tom Wilkinson is annoying as hell, and I kind of couldn't stand it whenever he was on screen -- an Oscar nomination seems inevitable.

I've always thought Sydney Pollack was a fantastic actor. I love Wilkinson generally; I'm sad to see that he seems to have gone all hamola with Michael Clayton.

Can't decide whether I'll see this or We Own The Night next--probably Night since its director has one honest-to-God great film under his belt, while Clayton's director mostly has mediocre screenplays on his resume.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:52 pm
by Damien
I liked Michael Clayton and how it feels like a 70s film, but it's ultimately kept from being a truly outstanding achievement by a) a lack of credibility as to a major plot device {will discuss in detail later after people have a chance to see the picture because it constitutes a big time spoiler} and b) an odd lack of a sense of urgency -- for a paranoid thriller, the film is just too laid back.

Liked Cllooney a lot and Sydney Pollack is pitch perfect, but Tom Wilkinson is annoying as hell, and I kind of couldn't stand it whenever he was on screen -- an Oscar nomination seems inevitable.

Edited By Damien on 1192248360

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:11 pm
by Sabin
My review of MICHAEL CLAYTON for (few spoilers). Incidentally, the film could very well be nominated for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Score, and Film Editing, with Cinematography (too subtle and skillful) not a far cry and hopefully George Clooney not a far cry either. It's an ace performance, but I found Tom Wilkinson to be far too hammy and Tilda Swinton, while excellent, isn't on-screen enough.

MICHAEL CLAYTON (dir. Tony Gilroy)

MICHAEL CLAYTON is a double-coup for Mr. Clooney: the film furthers his reputation as the gentleman with the sharpest sensibilities in Hollywood; and, even more importantly, while watching MICHAEL CLAYTON, Mr. Clooney appears to be the biggest movie star in the world. The former is almost undeniable; after slumming for paychecks in ONE FINE DAY, THE PEACEMAKER, and BATMAN & ROBIN, Mr. Clooney began a decade-long campaign mixing integrity with commerce like few before him. He found just enough to do it his way and he hasn’t looked back. The latter, on the other hand, is dicey. Only occasionally does a Mr. Clooney movie make money. The OCEAN’S series and THE PERFECT STORM are the gentleman’s sole bona fide blockbusters, and with the exception of OCEAN’S 11, none are really anything to brag about; and MICHAEL CLAYTON will finish with less than the first day’s take of any of them.

The magic of Mr. Clooney is that watching MICHAEL CLAYTON, you don’t want to be watching anybody else in any other movie really ever. Overstatement, much? Sure, but what Clooney has bottled is that rare mix of Bogart’s world-weary and Cary’s bourbon smooth, and not distilled an iota, equal parts man’s man and lady’s man. He’s so cool, his movies don’t have to make money anymore. Except for his forays into Coen-inspired goonery, Clooney’s range may be limited to playing the sharpest hatchet in the tool shed, yet what he time and time again exemplifies the best we could hope for like only a true movie star could. Who doesn’t want to be in the George Clooney business? We must pause now and consider the sheer balls on Mr. Tony Gilroy, the newly revered genre guru of such works as the BOURNE series, to stand up to Mr. Clooney and say “I’m the one to direct the film. Not you.” Clooney don’t cower, and yet in the face of Mr. Gilroy, the actor acquiesced and said “You got it.”

His confidence was not misplaced; Gilroy guides his actors through his deliberately bullshit-less prose and his collaboration with P.T. Anderson vet D.P. Robert Elswitt (Oscar-nominated for Clooney’s GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.) produces a film visually stylish enough to compensate for Gilroy’s verbose thriller that sees Clooney’s firm “Fixer” Michael Clayton bounced between the following like a game of pinball towards an inauspicious truth: Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton), the chief legal executive corporation guilty of incredibly hazardous pollution, the law firm run by Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack) paid millions to run the defense despite being totally aware of their guilt, and Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson), a partner off his medication who becomes so enrapt in the cosmic morality of his case that he strips naked in the middle of a deposition and runs away. Standard boilerplate elevated to boiling point, the film’s most effective scene is also its most telling. In preparing for a televised address to clientele, Swinton’s Crowder talks herself up (and down) in the mirror, puts on her stockings, her makeup, rubs her temples, et al, while we cut to and from her actually giving the address live. The scene is smart, stylish, and economical, a total class act just like the film, which is essentially a walking luxury suit of a thriller. Is MICHAEL CLAYTON about the truth? Yes and no. Mostly it’s about Michael Clayton, which is to say it’s about the character Michael Clayton (which is to say George Clooney) up against a system that doesn’t work; and while watching this confident directorial debut, that’s enough.

Clayton himself is a walking paradox of a man: he gambles underground, and apparently not very well; he started an ill-advised business venture into purchasing a bar that went belly up in his efforts to get out of his place; and, when asking Marty why he couldn’t be placed back in court, the response is simple, that he’s had his good days, but also his bad. Michael Clayton is a man who is good enough to be the best, but has made enough mistakes to make too many people think twice. They have found a place for him, and that is in being summoned to make nominal rolls of the dice turn out ever so slightly better. In the opening scene, Clayton appears at the house of a man who has worked himself up into frenzy following his hit and run, blaming even the man for walking in the middle of the road, tossing out impossible solutions like making it seem like somebody else stole his car, and then turning on Clayton for not being his promised “miracle worker”. Clayton responds “I’m the janitor.” This line will be quoted, but the follow up is the more impressive: a telephone call comes in, and the man asks if it’s the police. Clayton: “They don’t call.” Michael Clayton knows the man up and down before he opens his mouth, he knows the situation, and he knows the outcome. He just can’t be bothered enough to entirely care at this point.

That is what makes the film’s final scenes so effective, which I wouldn’t dream of spoiling now despite the film’s deliberately elliptical narrative. Suffice it to say, MICHAEL CLAYTON has it both ways in the best sense, proving itself both ambiguous and dark, and totally satisfying as a crowd-pleaser. In the end, it may only really be a suit but it’s one that Mr. Clooney wears very, very well.

Edited By Sabin on 1192237991

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:31 pm
by 99-1100896887
I mentioned earlier, on another thread, the probability of Tom Wilkinson being nommed for this film, as the reviews--both national and local--have been ****. It is a big draw, as well, as Clooney is in it, and some of us will be lining up to see him, but come away with the realization that we have seen a great performance by Wilkinson.
As Flipp noted, New Yorker raved about it.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:17 pm
by Akash
If this gets Clooney to another Oscar show looking delicious in a nice suit, then that's all I care about.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:50 pm
by OscarGuy
I saw on Variety that Leatherheads was officially moved to 2008, so Clooney's got nothing else to push for this year.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:27 pm
by Sabin
I was going to write the same thing. It's reminding me of 'Capote' a little, wherein it's initially dismissed as *just* a vehicle but as the year progresses, it looks stronger and stronger. 'Michael Clayton' could get better with age. Tony Gilroy is something of a Hollywood success story these days. If he could grab Clooney's respect enough to hold onto directing rights, maybe the Academy couuld follow suit. And if Clooney pushes back 'Leatherheads' until next year, and he campaigns the shit out of the Hollywood Foreign Press, a bevy of Globe nominations could bolster his chances.

Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Editing are now in the cards.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:57 pm
by OscarGuy
So, I guess some people were wrong about this film.

RT shows 90% fresh with 127 critics weighing in. It's at 94% with the "Cream of the Crop".

on Metacritic, it's got a terrific 82 rating (36 reviews).

It's not Ratatouillle high and slightly below Knocked Up, but I think this disproves the notion that it isn't a contender. I think with these reviews we could see this film surpass Syriana for Clooney and could be a major contender even for Best Picture...especially with so many contenders falling by the wayside...It kinda reminds me of Erin Brockovich...except with slightly better reviews.

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:18 pm
by Mister Tee
Reviews on the whole have been far better than I anticipated -- strong notices (3 1/2 - 4 star level) today from Turan, Dargis, Gleiberman, Jack Matthews. If the film does respectable business, it could get a screenplay nod, some actors, maybe even picture with the right breaks.

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:25 pm
by flipp525
There's an excellent write-up in this week's New Yorker about this film. The critic absolutely raves about it.

Edited By flipp525 on 1191634138

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:06 am
by Sabin
Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere. Looks like no nominations or they'd be mentioned as a possibility.

If your idea of a really great film was Michael Bay's Transformers, don't even go to Tony Gilroy's Michael Clayton (Warner Bros., 10.5). It's just not your speed. And I'm not even referring to the fact that some theatres will be asking customers to flash college diplomas before selling them tickets next weekend, and that people with Masters Degrees will be given preferential seating. It's just not violent or mechanical enough, and there are no jokes about E-Bay and no Shia LeBouf- type guys running around acting lively and endearing.

For a while there I was in trouble myself. I love films like Michael Clayton -- I love their moody efficiency -- and even I missed a couple of things the first time around.

But it plays superbly the second time. Seriously -- this is one of those films that you'll like (or value) a bit more when you catch it again on DVD in early '08. I caught it a second time at a plush little screening room in Toronto and came out doubly-pleased. I'm only sorry I wasn't quite smart enough to enjoy it as much the first time. Plus it has, by my sights, one of the coolest, most stylishly uptown closing-credits sequences I've seen in ages. (Which I'm not going to describe.)

Michael Clayton is an assured, tightly written, very well acted moral drama about amoral corporate maneuvers. It's about the cost of being an amiable can-do guy -- the title character played by George Clooney -- in this kind of toney and corrup- ted environment.

This is the kind of sturdy, well-honed drama Sydney Pollack (whose performance as a cynical, world-weary law-firm chief is slightly better than Clooney's, even though he's strictly supporting) used to direct in the '80s and '90s. It's also a little bit like Roger Michell's Changing Lanes, only it doesn't have as many popcorn- payoff moments.

Howard Hawks once said that a movie will always succeed as long as it has...I forget, two or three or four great scenes (and as long as the rest of the film holds its own). Lanes had four or five great scenes. Clayton has two -- one at the very end with a line that invokes the name of a certain spiritual diety in India, and one involving the quietly efficient killing of a man without the usual histrionic crap that all dramas go in for when a character violently buys the farm. There's also a very cool, quiet-down, early-morning scene between Clooney and three horses shot somewhere in Westchester County, so make it three.

The fact that Clayton doesn't have what you might call a heavily-beating pulse is okay...really. People in corporate realms aren't much for that sort of thing. The only guy who really lets loose with serious fire (besides Clooeney and Pollack, I mean) is Tom Wilkinson, playing a brilliant litigator who's lost patience and possibly his mind (certainly his lawyerly bearing and emotional composure) after defending a huge plant-pesticide or plant-growing company called U/North in a class-action suit for several years.

And yet it's always "on the case" and never boring. The material that Gilroy, the director-writer, runs with feels as seasoned and authentic as this kind of thing can be. There's no shovelling -- no "oh, come on...give me a fucking break" moments whatsoever.

Clooney's title character is a "fixer" for a large Manhattan law firm called Kenner, Bach & Ledeen. He basically puts out fires for the firm. He facilitates, cajoles, finagles, paves over. He calls himself a "janitor," and the fact that he's never been made a partner tells you that his colleagues more or less agree.

Grappling with debt, a gambling problem and family issues (a fuck-up brother, a son he's trying to be close and steady with), Clayton is asked early on to clean up a mess after Wilkinson's Arthur Edens suffers a freak-out (rips off his clothes, babbles excitedly, scares people) in some Midwestern state while taking a deposition in the U/North case.

Clayton is initially appalled at -- frightened by -- Arthur's behavior, but gradually learns that his craziness is based upon righteous disgust at the malfeasance he's been spinning all these years, having come upon damning evidence of corporate guilt in the deaths and illnesses of U/North customers.

When U/North's frosty top counsel (Tilda Swinton) discovers that not only Eden but Clayton are onto this, she does what all morally deficient can-do types in films of this sort do -- she hires a couple of low-key hitmen to shut them up. Clayton, at the same time, is gradually coming to the end of his janitor trip and, by and by, a kind of epiphany.

Taking place over three or four days and told largely in flashback (although it doesn't skip back and forth in any kind of irritating fashion), the movie is, truth be told, a little hard to follow at times. But like I've said, it's beautifully spoken -- Gilroy is a master at measured, just-right dialogue that's the opposite of purple -- and it's my kind of adult moral thriller. And I absolutely loved that Swinton lets her flabby stomach be part of a getting-dressed scene. It's just a little too dry and cultivated for the Cabo San Lucas T-shirt crowd.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:54 pm
by Akash
George Clooney is in it. That's all I need.