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Film critic publishes book (George mention)

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Film critic publishes book (George mention)

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 18 2010, 11:46

I may just be tempted to ask for this.

From The Irish Independent

Excepts (full article at link):

the film critic who leaves 'em reeling
David Thomson's movie companion has bite, writes John Boland

Saturday December 18 2010

Just in time for Christmas comes the fifth edition of a reference book that has long been an indispensably quirky bible for movie lovers. The author himself, an Englishman who's been living for decades on the west coast of America, has deemed it "personal, opinionated, unfair, capricious" and to those epithets one could add infuriating, perverse, irresistible, unputdownable and quite a few more.

In other words, the title, which suggests a sober and impartial work of scholarship, is deeply misleading. Yes, David Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film is alphabetically arranged, but here are 1,500 passionately argued mini-essays on most of the key figures in cinema over the last century, with unabashed enthusiasms disarmingly declared and intense dislikes frankly conceded.

. . .

Still, the book is full of cherishable insights and opinions. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia "carries the automatic sentiment of a dog in a film about people"; Oliver Stone affects "the tireless way of someone who believes he contains multitudes"; George Clooney's tendency to be "pleased with himself comes in advance of our response and takes the edge of decision away from us"; Jeff Bridges has become "a model of stoicism and a guarantee of the forlorn"; while Christopher Walken is now "the ghost that haunts American film, hired to be spooky, pale, staring, eccentric."


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Re: Film critic publishes book (George mention)

Post by PigLove on Mon Dec 20 2010, 01:41

Here's what Thomson says about GTC (from The Guardian)

"By a margin, I suggest, George Clooney is the most interesting male movie star around today. Although he'll be 50 next year, he is still unquestionably attractive to both sexes. Has he ever looked better, or at such a point where handsomeness is so blended with maturity? That may sound obvious, until one considers near rivals – Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt – none of whom is aging with the same insouciance. Indeed, the only fault I can find in Clooney, and it's not a small one, is that he handles this passage not just with ease, but with a hint of smugness. It is there that he falls short in the wishful comparison made by many fans – of being our modern Cary Grant.

Of course, a movie star these days is not what he once was. Only a few weeks ago, Clooney opened in the US in The American, where he plays a hired killer with conscience, charm and a wish to be in love. That counts as an intriguing package these days, but the picture did so poorly that by now it has disappeared from US theatres. So much for the feeling that in Up in the Air, his previous film, Clooney was not just poised, smart, funny and sad, but able to put his smug look to good use. Up in the Air showed he was a real actor, not given over to vanity but ready to enter into a risky venture – the young director, Jason Reitman, seems to have felt initially that he had no chance of coaxing such a big star into so odd a picture.

But Clooney said yes, and that is part of his apparent contract with the picture business in which he seems to think if he does a Danny Ocean picture every few years (three so far) he can cash in that silliness for things he cares about. Especially if he keeps his clout intact as a producer, too. So the relaxed nemesis of our casino culture has also done Solaris, Intolerable Cruelty, Syriana, Michael Clayton and Burn After Reading. He won the supporting actor Oscar for Syriana as a secret agent seriously encumbered by middle age, and he was nominated for lead actor in Michael Clayton. In my estimate, both those films were treated generously. On the other hand, Clooney's understated comic touch in Intolerable Cruelty and especially Burn After Reading (both films out of the Coen house) are so promising they have been neglected.

What do they promise? There's the question. The resemblance between Clooney and Cary Grant leaves one hoping for a great comedy, like…? Well, like movies made a long time ago, and hard to imagine now simply because the tradition of writing and directing such pictures is not much in evidence. Clooney is plainly comfortable with Steven Soderbergh, who is seemingly ready to try nearly anything – except comedy. Burn After Reading gets funnier every time you see it, but it has a dark edge that restricts its audience. Nor am I sure the Coens really want to develop comedies for stars in romantic situations. Their strength is in group portraits where you begin to see that dementia has spread, especially in the ranks of the solemn and straightfaced.

In fact, the best and most adventurous comedy in which Clooney has acted may be Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which he also directed. That reminds us that Clooney is a promising director – not for Leatherheads (his most recent effort), not even for Good Night, and Good Luck, which was utterly conventional beneath its impasto of noir style. Still, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – the story of a crazy American game show host, Chuck Barris (who may be a spy) – is haunting, original and frighteningly funny.

The film also initiates a key thematic in Clooney's career: the man with a double life. It's there in Syriana, Michael Clayton, Burn After Reading and Up in the Air. It may even play a part in Clooney's public persona: the guy always being voted the sexiest man alive who finds such things absurd and who is protecting a private life. That is not too far from Cary Grant. Maybe the smug grin is just a front for a worrier who fears the world has gone mad."

Shooting hoops with George Clooney

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