Slandering Others Anonymously

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Tag Archives: George Clooney

Slandering Others Anonymously #41

The focus for this episode is current films – some still in theatres, some on video, but all from this year. Documentaries, dramas, thrillers, horror… The usual smorgasbord.

Listen to or download the show below, and click “read more of this post” to view a complete breakdown of the topics discussed in this episode.

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DAILY BULLETIN: Under The Dome miniseries, Gravity has a release date, more on Upstream Color

I couldn’t find anything too thrilling in my daily scrounging, so today’s update will be short and to-the-point.

Under The Dome miniseries premiere date revealed
under-the-domeCBS has announced the airdate for the first episode of their upcoming miniseries Under The Dome (based on the Stephen King novel). Deadline reports the first of 13 episodes will air on June 24th. The show has a typically King-ish high-concept premise: a small town in Maine (where else?) is suddenly and randomly sealed off from the rest of the world by a large, transparent dome, and chaos ensues. I’m not terribly excited about the miniseries, mainly because the book wasn’t great. When it comes to King’s books, the destination is rarely as good as the journey, and that was absolutely the case with Under The Dome. I really love his style of writing, but he always seems to paint himself into a corner and then just go, “Deus ex machina to the rescue!”

Despite my reservations, I’m still looking forward to King’s next book, Joyland, which is about an amusement park serial killer. It comes out in June, under the Hard Case Crime imprint.

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Slandering Others Anonymously Podcast Episode #17

On this episode, Mike is once again flying solo. As promised, this episode features quick reviews of Moneyball, Melancholia, and The Ides Of March. And nothing else!

Listen to or download the show below, and click “read more of this post” to view a complete breakdown of the topics discussed in this episode.

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2011: The Best Of The Rest

The summer blockbuster season was a pretty big disappointment to me, and this year’s crop of movies feels pretty underwhelming in general. So far I’ve only seen one film I consider particularly memorable (Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris). (EDIT: Make it two! Add Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life to my list of memorable films. Oct. 7) Looking back at last year, I count at least six or seven films I really loved. With two thirds of the year gone, it’s starting to feel like time is running out.

But the good news is there are still plenty of movies to come in the next four months or so. In all, I count around 40 more films I’m at least somewhat interested in seeing. So as we head toward Oscar season, now’s a good time to separate the wheat from the chaff and count down my top 10 most anticipated films for the rest of 2011.

10. Tyrannosaur
The story: Olivia Colman stars as Pam, a woman stuck in an abusive relationship. Peter Mullan plays Joe, a man struggling with his own personal demons who finds himself drawn into the conflict.

Why I’m interested: This is actor Paddy Considine’s first feature as a director, and I’m curious to see what he can do. He walked away with the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance, so the signs are good. The cast looks promising too. I loved Peter Mullan in Boy A. Eddie Marsan was great in Red Riding, and looks positively frightening in the trailer. I haven’t seen Olivia Colman in a serious role before (though I remember liking her in Hot Fuzz) so I’m looking forward to seeing a different side of her.

Effusive early praise from a random critic: “A powerful film you can’t shake and won’t want to revisit anytime soon.” – Matt Singer (IFC.com)

Release date: I couldn’t find a North American release date so it could be awhile, but the UK release is October 7. (trailer)

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Up In The Air

I was having a hard time thinking of an opening for this review (probably why I don’t do this for a living… yet), so I thought I’d read what Roger Ebert had to say, as I respect his opinions a great deal. I was pondering making a comparison to The Messenger because both that film and this one feature characters who travel around and give people bad news. It seemed like a good intro. So I was both slightly annoyed and slightly pleased to read Ebert making the exact same comparison in his review of Up In The Air. On the one hand, I don’t want to see like I’m just parroting him, so now I’ve got to come up with another opener. On the other hand, it’s cool to know we’re operating somewhat on the same wavelength. But all that being said, I’m about 150 words into this post and I still haven’t started reviewing yet. So, take two…

Jason Reitman’s newest film Up In The Air doesn’t quite live up to the abundant hype it has generated, but, helped along by a trio of great performances, it comes pretty close.

George Clooney fits perfectly for his role as Ryan Bingham, a man hired by large corporations to fly around the country and fire people (excuse me, let people go). It’s a life lived perpetually on the road. He has no time for meaningful relationships, and no real plans for the future aside from the hope of one day collecting 10 million air miles, which he then has no particular intention of using. This probably sounds pretty dreary but thanks to some very quick and polished editing, the scenes of Bingham checking out, packing, going through security checks, boarding flights and renting cars are almost dizzying to behold.

Despite his dedication to efficiency, it’s clear from the outset Bingham has no sense of a greater purpose in life. He’s going nowhere in a hurry, happy with his job and his lifestyle. And as we see in a scene featuring a cameo by J.K. Simmons, he is most definitely good at what he does. There’s a lot more to it than simply booting former employees out the door, and the film does a good job of showing that. These scenes are some of Clooney’s best as he skilfully moves from blunt dismissals to words of cautious encouragement depending on the reactions of the people he’s been brought in to handle.

The scene with Simmons is one of many in Up In The Air featuring a performance by a great actor in a small role. Among others in bit parts are Jason Bateman, Sam Elliott and Melanie Lynskey, just to name a few. Using fine actors like these for peripheral roles seems a bit of a waste at first, but ultimately what it means is there are no weak links in the cast. There’s never a scene dragged down by a poor line reading and the script is solid, so the film moves along nicely.

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