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Suburbicon reviews

Post by party animal - not! on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 22:27

..........The Independent

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........The Mail

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by annemarie on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 22:31

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[size=47]Venice Film Review: George Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’[/size]


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SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 | 05:00AM PT

Director George Clooney turns an old Coen brothers script into a lightly sneaky 1950s cousin to 'Fargo,' starring Matt Damon as an entertainingly scuzzy suburban scoundrel.


The names Joel and Ethan Coen pop up on a lot of screenplays these days (“Bridge of Spies,” “Unbroken”), now that they’re getting credit for the kind of script-polishing they used to do anonymously. But “[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Suburbicon” marks the first time a script that could have been a full-blown Coen brothers film has been brought to the screen by someone else. The movie, directed by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]George Clooney, who along with his partner Grant Heslov re-wrote an old unproduced Coen brothers script (all four are now credited), stars [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Matt Damon as a dour, weaselly, amateur family-man criminal in the U.S. suburbs of 1959, and it’s clearly a close cousin to “Fargo.”
There are moments when you can taste the heightened comic spin that the Coens, as filmmakers, would have brought to the material. They would surely have made a bigger fetish of the Atomic Age trappings and decor (the way they did with the mid-’60s Midwestern Jewish visual detail of “A Serious Man”), and each time the blustery vulgarian Uncle Mitch (Gary Basaraba) showed up on screen, I couldn’t help but imagine him played by an actor like Michael Lerner or the late Jon Polito.



Yet Clooney, in taking over what might once have been a signature Coen project, was right to make the material his own; he tailors it to own less cheeky, more personal temperament. The film opens with a satirical kitsch documentary prologue that introduces Suburbicon, a community that has drawn people from diverse regions of the country (all of whom look like they stepped out of the same white-bread Norman Rockwell painting), celebrating it as a cookie-cutter American paradise. But then the movie settles down and becomes a straight-up, rather grubby film noir — and taken on those terms, as a period-piece “Fargo” with more sleaze and less irony, it’s a lightly sneaky and entertaining movie.
From the moment he began directing, George Clooney has been a stylish, visually rhythmic, avidly engrossing yarn-spinner (the one exception, speaking of irony, is his biggest hit to date, the dud World War II art thriller “The Monuments Men”), and so it is with “Suburbicon.” It’s a movie that reels the audience in and keeps it hooked: with smart little kicks of surprise, with a sidelong but still highly charged social theme (the perilous cataclysm of integration), and, of course, with the squalid bad behavior of ordinary people who think that they can wriggle out of their unhappiness through furtive, cut-rate schemes. “Suburbicon” is probably too much of a compact, no-frills genre exercise to have much traction at awards time, but it’s enough of a plucky, well-made lark to find an audience.
The movie gets rolling with a crime that plays very oddly, and before long we learn why: Gardner Lodge (Damon), a local financial VP in button-down white shirts and tortoise-shell glasses, wakes up his son, Nicky (Noah Jupe), and brings him downstairs, saying, “There are men in the house.” The men turn out to be a couple of menacing sadistic robbers (Glenn Flesher and Alex Hassell). Instead of looking for cash, they tie up the whole family and berate them, chloroforming everyone into unconsciousness. (We keep thinking: Why doesn’t Gardner look more scared?)



It’s a rather eccentric family, because it includes Gardner’s wife, Rose, a saintly wholesome fuddy-duddy blonde in a wheelchair (she was the victim of a car accident), and Rose’s far saucier brunette identical twin sister, Margaret — both of whom are played by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Julianne Moore. The incident turns into a tragedy when Rose, due to her frail nature, fails to wake up from the chloroform; instead, she lies in a coma in a hospital bed, then dies. That’s the film’s set-up — but, of course, the whole lurid event we have just witnessed is a set-up. Gardner goes back to work, stolid and shaken and crying a few crocodile tears, but when he’s called in to identify the two crooks in a police line-up, and deliberately fails to do so, we know that something is up.
In “Fargo,” which is still the Coen brothers’ greatest film, the William H. Macy character was such a bumbling, underhanded jerk of quiet desperation that we rooted for him to succeed and, at the same time, were only too happy to see the law close in on him, especially once the film invited our identification to shift over to the now-classic character of Frances McDormand’s quippy detective Marge Gunderson. In “Suburbicon,” we identify with Damon’s Gardner up to a point, but the actor has created another fascinatingly dark scuzzball scoundrel to add to his gallery of quiet sociopaths.
Gardner might be described as an untalented Mr. Ripley. He’s a morose and smoldering nerd bulldog who appears, for a while, to have thought everything out, but not really. He’s a drone who fits right into the plastic homogenized landscape of Suburbicon, but he still wants out. There’s a hidden kinkiness to the proceedings, expressed in a brief scene of late-’50s S&M (with a Ping-Pong paddle used in place of the whip that would probably be there 10 years later), that’s funny and startling but also speaks to everything that the 1950s were repressing.
In “Suburbicon,” there’s no Marge Gunderson to take over the film, but there is a kind of detective: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]Oscar Isaac, geekishly dapper in a tan suit and pencil mustache, as an insurance-company claims investigator who knows all the angles because his mind is working a mile a minute. In an enjoyably charged scene, he sits down in the kitchen with Moore’s Margaret — willowy, slightly spaced, now blonde (can you say dime-store “Vertigo”?), not too good a liar — and blitzes her with so much information that he susses out what’s going on in five minutes. Isaac makes his very flippancy electrifying; he knows he’s just dealing with two more losers, but he’s alive with his mission.
As Gardner’s scheme begins to come apart, the movie turns bloody, but it never loses its petty-scam logic or its driving, if rather familiar, pulp-noir urgency. Clooney keeps it all nice and tight. He also — eventually — makes the film’s racial theme pay off, though for a good while what happens to the Meyers (Karimah Westbrook and Leith M. Burke), the first Negro family to move to Suburbicon, almost seems to be taking place in a different film.
The couple have purchased the house next door to Gardner’s, and in their adjoining fenced-in backyards their son, Andy (Tony Espinosa), strikes up a tentative acquaintance with Gardner’s son Nicky. But to put it as simply as the movie does, the Meyers are tormented and terrorized: by a smug mailman, by the manager of a supermarket who basically tells Mrs. Meyers she can’t shop there, and by a vast group of “concerned citizens” who rise up against them in full, ugly, white-supremacist fervor.
Clooney, who added much of this to the script, includes period newsreel footage on television of suburban whites “rationalizing” the separateness of their neighborhoods, and what he captures, with stark (and, at moments, rather overstated) force, is that even the suburbs could act as their own version of the KKK. You might ask: What does all this have to do with the tawdry crime of passion “Suburbicon” is about? But by the end, we see just how much it has to do with it. The thing that drives Gardner to crime — the airlessness of his existence — is the very premise of white homogenized suburban life. That’s why he does all he can to escape it. And why it had to change.

Venice Film Review: George Clooney's 'Suburbicon'


Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competition), September 2, 2017. Running time: 105 MIN.

Production


A Paramount Pictures release of a Paramount Pictures, Black Bear Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment, Smoke House Pictures production. Producers: Grant Heslov, George Clooney, Teddy Schwarzman. Executive producers: Ethan Erwin, Barbara A. Hall, Joel Silver, Daniel Steinman, Hal Sadoff.

Crew


Director: George Clooney. Screenplay: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov. Camera (color, widescreen): Robert Elswit. Editor: Stephen Mirrione.

With


Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell, Marah Fairclough, Megan Ferguson, Noah Jupe, Michael D. Cohen, Jack Conley, Diane Dehn, Tim Neff, Gary Basaraba, Emily Goss.


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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by annemarie on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 22:34

The Independent


[size=48]Suburbicon, Venice Film Festival review: The darker the storytelling becomes, the funnier the movie gets[/size]

Clooney fills ‘Suburbicon’ with Hitchcock-like touches and references to film noir
    


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The Independent Culture

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Julianne Moore and Matt Damon star in this darkly comic tale of White America Black Bear Pictures
Dir: George Clooney, 104 mins, starring Matt Damon, Oscar Isaac, Julianne Moore
There is a telling scene in George Clooney’s Suburbicon, which had its world premiere at the Venice Festival this weekend. An upstanding family man is spotted late at night, pedalling a bicycle down the tree-lined streets of his  home town. Asked what he is doing, he blithely replies that he is “out for a ride”.
What he doesn’t explain is why his shirt is caked in blood and why he has been trying to hide the corpse of a murdered man.
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Suburbicon is surely Clooney’s finest film as a director since Good Night And Good Luck. Co-scripted by the Coen brothers, it is both wildly entertaining in its own macabre, violent fashion, and also very perceptive about racism and hypocrisy in middle-class white America.
Although set in the 1950s, it feels timely given recent events involving white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. In one of the film’s less subtle moments, we see rioters draping the Confederate flag on a window sill of the home of the black family they want to kick out of their cosy suburban neighbourhood.
The film unfolds in Suburbicon, a model town founded in 1947. The town has every amenity imaginable, including a first-rate hospital and even in its own choir. The townsfolk are living their version of the post-war American dream, and basking in a new era of consumer affluence. They are cheerful and hyper-friendly – at least until the black family moves in. “We don’t want them here,” the white folk quickly make very clear.
Matt Damon plays yet another all-American type. His character, Gardner Lodge, is a seemingly affluent husband and father with a 10-year-old son, Nicky (Noah Jupe.) His wife Nancy is in a wheelchair, and her lookalike sister Margaret (Julianne Moore) is also living with them.
Gardner couldn’t be more wholesome and upstanding – or at least, that is how it appears. When two thugs break into their house, we begin to see different, less savoury sides of his character
This may be bright, sunny, Eisenhower-era America, but the filmmakers go out of their way to show its dark underbelly in as comic a way as possible. We’re in a world in which husbands have affairs, spank their lovers with ping pong bats in their basements and plot all sorts of murderous misdeeds.
The storyline here is every bit as far-fetched as those found in the melodramatic operas that the insurance investigator (Oscar Issac) so enjoys.
Clooney fills Suburbicon with Hitchcock-like touches and references to film noir: a killing witnessed by a character hiding under a bed, who can only see the shoes of the victim; suspenseful scenes in which we never quite know who is going to eat the poison first; ominous close-ups of knives and guns, and lots of pounding music at the most climactic moments.
The increasingly bizarre and psychopathic behaviour of the adults is witnessed by the boy (played with wonderful wide-eyed innocence by Jupe). 
There are two parallel narratives here. One (full of sex, murder and conspiracy) involves the Lodge family. The other deals with the victimisation of their black neighbours. “You’d think we were in Mississippi,” one character observes as the liberal-seeming white folk build walls around the black family’s home, refuse to sell them food in the supermarket, and taunt and intimidate them in merciless fashion.
The darker the storytelling becomes, the funnier the movie gets. Julianne Moore gives a perfectly judged comic performance as a Barbara Stanwyck-like femme fatale,whose only drawback is that she is so utterly dimwitted. Damon is droll but increasingly creepy as the repressed family man who dreams of living on the beach in Aruba. Oscar Issac is in an energetic groove as the insurance investigator who has a nose for fraudulent claims.
Clooney, his co-writer Grant Heslow and the Coen brothers are paying their own twisted compliment to the citizens of Suburbicon. They’re showing that these conformist middle-class Americans have far more imagination and capacity for mischief than anyone could have guessed.
They may be covertly racist, they may struggle to express themselves – but given half a chance, they’ll manage to leave utter carnage in their wake.[/size]

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by annemarie on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 22:41

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[size=34]George Clooney’s black comedy Suburbicon is immensely stylish and darkly funny... but has still divided audiences, writes BRIAN VINER[/size]
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PUBLISHED: 11:45 EDT, 3 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:44 EDT, 3 September 2017

    

Of all the films I have seen so far at this year’s Venice Film Festival, none has divided audiences more than George Clooney’s black comedy Suburbicon, which some absolutely loved and others just as wholeheartedly disliked. I tilt more towards the former camp; it’s immensely stylish, darkly funny, and has dialogue partly written by the Coen brothers, which never hurts.
It also has Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, although stealing their collective thunder is the English child actor Noah Jupe, who played Hugh Laurie’s son in the BBC drama The Night Manager. He is tremendously good here, and shining in such illustrious company offers further evidence that he is a talent to watch.
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+3


George Clooney’s black comedy Suburbicon, which stars Matt Damon, has divided the nation. Some absolutely loved and others just as wholeheartedly disliked
His character, Nicky Lodge, provides a story of murder, greed and bigotry with its moral core. Most of the grown-ups around little Nicky are morally irredeemable, for one reason or another, and that includes his father, Gardner, played by Damon in one of those everyman performances of his. Gardner has a haircut as neat as his tie-knot, is superficially decent and God-fearing, but has no innate decency at all. Aptly, this everyman lives in everytown, which is just the same: inoffensive on the outside, rotten within.
The Lodges’ home is in Suburbicon, a model community built in 1947 and clearly based on Levittown, the prototype of the neat, purpose-built post-war American suburb. It is now the turn of the Sixties and the town has everything anyone could wish for, except bi-racial harmony.
When a quiet, genteel black family moves in, the middle-class white folk of Suburbicon express their outrage in a petition, which declares that they are in favour of integration “but only when the Negro shows he’s ready for it”. Soon, a vicious campaign is underway to drive out the newcomers with drums and even choirs outside their house at all hours of day and night. Alas, this is based on an actual 1957 case of sustained harassment in Levittown. Just to remove any ambiguity, Clooney gives his family the same name, Myers, as the real-life victims.
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+3


I tilt more towards the former camp; it’s immensely stylish, darkly funny, and has dialogue partly written by the Coen brothers, which never hurts

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Yet for the rest of the film, this story unfolds in parallel, hardly ever converging, with something else happening across the street, where the Lodges live. Gardner is married to Rose (Julianne Moore), who has been left wheelchair-bound after a car accident. Her sister Maggie (also played by Moore) is paying them a visit, helping to look after Nicky.
One night, two brutish men enter their home. The Lodges are all tied up and chloroformed, with fatal consequences for one of them. At first, we are led to believe that this might have something to do with the fact that young Nicky, earlier that day, was sent to play baseball with the new black kid opposite. Do the two men represent some terrible gang of white-supremacist vigilantes. But no, as I say, the twin narratives of this film do not collide, which can be a little disconcerting, almost as if the writing team – the Coens, Clooney, and his regular collaborator Grant Heslov - weren’t sure whether either storyline was quite strong enough on its own.
Still, there are enough pleasures for this not to matter, not least Oscar Isaac’s arrival, late in the film, as a canny insurance claims investigator. By now it has become clear exactly what is going on, though Clooney has kept us waiting. To reveal anything more would count as a spoiler, but suffice to say that Coen fans will be reminded strongly of the brothers’ wonderful 1996 film Fargo. Suburbicon is not quite in the same league, but it is thoroughly entertaining nonetheless.
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+3


Coen fans will be reminded strongly of the brothers’ wonderful 1996 film Fargo. Suburbicon is not quite in the same league, but it is thoroughly entertaining nonetheless

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by it's me on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 22:47

I didn't read all (fear of spoiler)


So? What do they say ?
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by melbert on Sun 03 Sep 2017, 23:25

From what I've read on other sites, about 85% of reviewers don't like it.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 00:18

That's not the case mel. Most reviews are saying it's watchable and entertaining. They just don't like George changed the Coens script and add that racism subplot. 

In Venice Official local Critics Grid it got 3.22/5, and 4/5 from the audiences, which is quite positive. Audiences seem to enjoy it. About 5 people from AwardsWatch who watched it all said they liked it.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 00:22

This reviewer called it perfection:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by it's me on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 00:29

Good !!! Very Happy
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Missa on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 00:42

It's currently at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a drop from 65% yesterday, but the rating still reads "not enough reviews for consensus", so hopefully it will go up.  Its reception in Toronto will be important. The negative reviews I've read seem to fall under two categories: either the reviewers not generally liking the Coens' vibe, which I think is unfair (if you don't like that kind of film, why are you reviewing it?) and that George has muddled two stories and couldn't seem to tell either well, which unfortunately reminds me of Monuments Men.  I hope the real issue is the former, and the reviews going forward turn around.  In general I find that Coens' style movies are love-'em-or-hate-'em affairs, so maybe we won't really get any consensus at all.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 01:08

Missa someone who was also at the press screening said they seemed to quite enjoy it but those top critics just won't forgive George for adding a subplot to a God-like Coens script! They wrote what they had to write even though they had fun. That original person liked it and ranked it as one of her favorite Clooney's works as a director. PS: She's Never a George fan or something, also hated Monuments Men and Leatherheads.

The issue you talked about wasn't something too distracting during her watch actually. And she watched in a public screening, people afterwards mostly were saying it's a good film. More commercial than Awards-type maybe.

And don't worry even the harshest review so far also admitted it's a distinct improvement from Monuments Men. It's a shame that they found it way better but gave this a similar score. Maybe it's for the festival competition thing. I'm sure it's going to be received better at TIFF.

Suburbicon starts at 3.3/5 on Letterbox. also quite positive.Similar to Ides of March, while MM eventually got a 2.6.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Doug Ross on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 01:30

Someone called it his finest word since "Good Night and Good Luck".

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 01:41

ScreenDaily:
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White Little Lies:
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Daily Beast:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Donnamarie on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 02:11

Thanks for the links Sevens.  I was just going to post 'The Daily Beast' review but you beat me to it.  Here is a not so great review from 'The Hollywood Reporter'.  It does seem that some of the negative reviews want to criticize George for the way he handled a Coen Brothers script.  Like you said Sevens some had issues with the parallel storyline of the black family moving into the neighborhood.

It was the reviewer from 'The Daily Beast' who commented that this was George's best directorial work since "Good Night and Good Luck".

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 02:17

Donnamarie yeah Mail and Independent critic also called that.


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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Missa on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 02:29

Sevens - hope so! Its funny you say that they think it will be more commercial than critical success; I feel like Coen bros' movies are usually the opposite. 

I also don't think the trailer is doing it justice, which may hurt.  The trailer I've seen, at least, makes it out to be in the Fargo-vein, IMO, and to hear George tell it, it isn't like that at all.  I think that's why he keeps emphasizing how "angry" it is; he doesn't want people going in thinking it's a comedy and getting upset when it turns out it's not the movie they were led to believe.  When I first saw the trailer I was wondering if the storyline with the black family had been cut, since it's nonexistent there. Hopefully the more critics and festival attendees see it, word will improve. 

The purely cynical side of me believes that this might be his best chance at the director Oscar, since Hollywood/the Academy LOVES message films, and the current political climate couldn't be better for an anti-white supremacy/ "America was never great for everyone" film.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 02:47

Missa Oscar is not realistic at the moment but A couple of noms at.the Globes is still possible as long as it should have a commercial success. 

BOX is currently projecting it to make 14/45M in the US while there's lots of potential overseas.

I think it's clear that the word out of Venice is the general audiences loved or liked it while the critics may hate it.That's a good thing for its boxoffice prospects I guess.

The Mail critic also confirmed this was the most polarized film in Venice so far:

Of all the films I have seen so far at this year’s Venice Film Festival, none has divided audiences more than George Clooney’s black comedy Suburbicon, which some absolutely loved and others just as wholeheartedly disliked. I tilt more towards the former camp; it’s immensely stylish, darkly funny, and has dialogue partly written by the Coen brothers, which never hurts.

However the Audiences socre for it is currently the highest among the competition lists. Common audiences seem not to be bothered by an adapted Coens script. Heck, most moviegoers might not know who Coens are but they surely know Matt and George's names.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Missa on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 04:02

I wouldn't rule out Oscar just yet. Moonlight wasn't on anyone's radar at this time last year; Suburbicon has been on every early Oscar contender list I've seen, in kiltiple categories. It's not a lock, for sure. But the Academy already gave a Best Picture award to a lousy movie simply because of its "RACISM IS BAD" message. A decent-to-good film like Suburbicon seems to be certainly stands a chance, at least in a few categories.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Missa on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 04:04

Sorry for the typos, typing on my phone.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 04:21

Missa but the MC score for moonlight is 96 or 97 just undeniable it's almost impossible for the Academy to nominate a 50 or 60s MC film as Best Picture. It does have a better change at Production Design, Score, Customs Design I guess.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 07:09

The message I received from AW:


Hi Sevens,
Yes indeed I quite liked it.
The film is topical and presents an intriguing take on racial issues in a smart and entertaining way.
Julianne Moore was great in it and Damon was also very good. Production design especially was superb.
I don't get why it was panned this way. The audiences here LOVED it and gave it the highest rating of any film here!
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by it's me on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 07:31

Thumbs up!
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Katiedot on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 08:06

spank their lovers with ping pong bats in their basements
Is this a George thing do we think or a Coen Bros thing? George had his wonderful 'machine' in his basement in Burn After Reading . . .
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 10:25

Review from a couple of guys:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 11:35

Four star from Evening Standard:
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Rave from Filmink:
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Positive from RogerElbert:
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B from The Playlist:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by it's me on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 13:22

cheers
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 13:34

Another 4-star from BBC! cheers
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by annemarie on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 13:52

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[size=52]Film review: George Clooney’s Suburbicon[/size]



George Clooney’s new film is a collaboration with the Coen brothers that is set in 1959 but ‘sickeningly pertinent to 2017’, writes Nicholas Barber.




  • By Nicholas Barber



4 September 2017
The delicious new pastel-coloured Hitchcock homage directed by George Clooney – and co-written by Clooney, Grant Heslov, and the Coen brothers – is set in 1959, but it is sickeningly pertinent to 2017. Alongside Detroit and Bushwick, Suburbicon is one of several current films that were in production well before the Trump presidency, but which could have been made specifically in response to the Charlottesville rally. 
The upbeat opening sequence is an animated brochure advertising Suburbicon, a gleaming new town comprising thousands of rows of identical bungalows. This Stepford-ish community is a “melting pot of diversity”, oozes a voice-over, in the sense that clean-cut, white families have moved there from all over the US. But then comes an exquisite skit in which a jolly neighbourhood postman visits a family that has just arrived in the area. “Is Mrs Meyers in?,” he asks the black woman who comes to the door. When she (Karimah Westbrook) replies that she is Mrs Meyers, the postman’s pained grimace promises that we’re in for a race-relations satire to savour.

It’s a macabre farce with too many noirish twists, revelations and gruesome murders to count

A few scenes later, however, Suburbicon turns its attention to the Meyers’ neighbours, Gardner (a bespectacled, unsmiling Matt Damon), his wife Rose and his sister-in-law Maggie (both played by Julianne Moore), and his lonely son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Like everyone else in the town, they seem to believe that the place is as goshdarned free of crime as it is of communist sympathisers, but they have a rude awakening one night when two thugs break in and tie them to their spotless kitchen chairs. And the family’s troubles don’t end there. Gardner knows more about the thugs than he has told his wife, and so, having twanged our nerves with a pitiless home-invasion scene, Suburbicon becomes a macabre farce with too many noirish twists, revelations and gruesome murders to count.
A draft of the screenplay was written by the Coens 30 years ago, and its ingredients have been stirred into their films ever since - Fargo in particular. There are temptresses and blackmailers, there are sharp-eyed detectives and bumbling but vicious mobsters, and there are superficially respectable men who are pushed by their financial worries towards some not-so-respectable deeds. It’s fizzingly entertaining. Clooney and his team revel in their pastiche of the all-American 1950s lifestyle that still obsesses certain US citizens, and the actors revel in their roles. Damon paints his white-collar, white-bread breadwinner with subtly darker shades as the film goes on; Moore shines as a desperate housewife with the hairdo and the breathy coo of Marilyn Monroe; and Oscar Isaacs practically dances through his virtuoso cameo as a cocky insurance claims investigator.
But if Suburbicon is more enjoyable than most films, it’s not a complete success. Partly, that’s because the Coen brothers have made so many comparable comedy-thrillers since they wrote the screenplay that it all seems quite familiar: it’s like watching a tribute band playing polished cover versions of your favourite band’s greatest hits. But a bigger issue is that the Meyers are pushed to one side.

The entire film is a joke about blinkered white privilege

While Gardner is sinking ever deeper into a swamp of debt and danger, his new neighbours are being terrorised in scenes inspired by the harassment of the Myers family in Levittown, Pennsylvania in 1957. First people erect a high wooden fence around their property. Then they lean over that fence, shouting and banging drums, day and night. But, of course, none of these persecutors would admit to being racist. It’s just that they “demand our civil rights to live where we like and with whom we like”. See what I mean about it being sickeningly pertinent?
Lodge is oblivious to what the Meyers are going through - and that, I assume, is the point. While the newcomers are quietly and bravely enduring a nightmarish ordeal, the supposedly wholesome folks next door can think only of the troubles they have brought upon themselves. The entire film, then, is a joke about blinkered white privilege: it’s surely no accident that Mr Meyers isn’t given a single line of dialogue. But, as crafty as Clooney’s ironic tactics may be, it still feels as if he is telling the wrong story. Maybe at some other time we could have luxuriated in the Coens’ underworld high jinx, and we could have admired the pointed conceit of the black characters being under-used. But with everything that is happening in America at the moment, it would have been better if the Meyers had had their own film, rather than being stuck in a subplot of someone else’s.
★★★★☆ 
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Donnamarie on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 15:00

Thanks Sevens and Annemarie for the latest reviews.  Enjoyed the "funny guys" review.  They don't seem to know who Grant is.  Referred to him twice as the other writer....

As critical as some reviewers are over the way the Meyers' storyline isn't more intertwined into the main plot I guess George and Grant purposefully didn't want to make a more direct connection ....  other than through Nicky and the Meyers' son, and that they have their reasons.  Reasons that are lost on the critics.  I'm not defending George's decision.  I will have to see the movie first.  It does seem that most reviewers do find the movie enjoyable and fun to watch despite their reservations.  I think that's good news for general audiences.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Mon 04 Sep 2017, 15:34

WOW! Yesterday I asked if anyone had seen any reviews of the movie. Now I'm sorry I asked! Very Happy It does seem mostly "love it or hate it" - and the BBC critic seems to think George should have anticipated Charlottesville and made a standalone film about the Myers family - because George is psychic, of course.

I'm left wondering what the reviews would have been like if the connection to the Coen brothers hadn't been made public. A lot of the critics seem to be showing off how much they know about the Coens' films as much as they're reviewing "Suburbicon".

(Going off topic a bit and giving away my age, but I grew up in that era in Pennsylvania. The de facto separation of the races existed then and it still exists now - although to a lesser extent. The attitudes that existed when I was a child still exist in many people - and not that far under the surface, either. At the time this film is set, the kids might have tossed a ball around but they wouldn't have been able to openly become friends. It would have been frowned upon. And even if Julianne Moore's character had been cordial to her African American neighbor over the fence, she wouldn't have interfered on her behalf in the supermarket. It wasn't done and the greater community wouldn't tolerate it.

Side note: My aunt and uncle bought their first home in Cleveland, Ohio in the late 1950s. The neighborhood into which they moved was all white. Shortly after they moved in a neighbor sold to a black family. Within weeks the homeowners were inundated with phone calls and letters telling them to sell their homes before the values fell so low they couldn't be sold at all - all because one black family moved into the neighborhood.This was called "block-busting". Within a year the neighborhood had gone from all white to 90% black and most of the people who sold out would tell you it was a financial decision that had nothing to do with race. They probably believed it. It really is complicated.)
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Tue 05 Sep 2017, 04:15

This is a really good review that everybody should read:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Donnamarie on Tue 05 Sep 2017, 14:48

Yep that's a really good one Sevens.  It says all that I want this movie to be.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Thu 07 Sep 2017, 12:34

Two good reviews:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by it's me on Thu 07 Sep 2017, 13:55

Basketball
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Sevens on Thu 07 Sep 2017, 14:16

Financial Times:
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by fava on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 13:55

Pretty mediocre reviews in the Washington Post and New York Times today.  I'm always a little apprehensive when I read that works "burlesque" and "slapstick" in reviews of the films George has directed.  My least favorite director George.  Both reviewers also complained about the black family not being characterized/highlighted more.

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 15:12

Several reviews made the same complaint. They felt that the story of the black family should have been given more prominence, especially considering the climate created by the Trump administration. IMO that's an unfair criticism, since the movie was made before things got so ugly here. Does the integration story distract from the crime story? Does the crime story make the integration story seem trivial? I don't know. I haven't seen it yet, but seems to me maybe this should have been two movies.

 I do wonder why George felt the need to combine the two plots. The fact that they both took place in the same time frame doesn't mean they are related enough to combine them in the same film. It seems he tries to put too many ideas into his films at once and nobody tries to stop him. I've said before that he needs someone to help him edit - not just the finished film, but the script. IMO writing is his weak point and I'm surprised the people around him (Grant especially) don't speak up and tell him "This isn't working".
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Donnamarie on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 15:46

Reviews I’ve read so far have not been kind.  Biggest complaint has been that George didn’t get the tone of the movie right.  (Tone was also a big problem with Monuments Men). The second biggest criticism was not making the story of the black family a more prominent component of the film.  From George’s comments I heard him say that he purposely didn’t want to focus too much on the black family to further make a point.  I guess the critics didnt get his intent and feel this secondary story was an afterthought and not fleshed out.  Maybe that criticism was colored by last summer’s Charlottesville events.  But as Lizzy said that seems an unfair criticism since filming was completed months before.  As I recall the story of the black family was what was added by George to the Coen’s original story.  Interesting that I saw no trailers for the movie on TV.  Anyone else?


Last edited by Donnamarie on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 15:57; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correct text)
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by party animal - not! on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 16:12

Mm, the LA times comments are interesting. The headline is ironic and then the writer (who may or may not be white) says it is condescending to white people........when George asked someone whose view he values (Norman Lear) to see it and comment hesaid something along the lines of it being the angriest film he'd ever seen.........../

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 17:48

Donnamarie - I have seen a few trailers on tv, but not many and less in the last week. It's being reviewed by the tv movie critics today - I guess because it's being released today - so maybe they're saving money by letting the reviewers do their publicity for them - although, considering that the reviews are all over the place, that might not be a good idea. The ABC critic just said that although George is as good a director as anyone out there, the movie doesn't work because George tried to cram too many ideas into one movie.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by carolhathaway on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 18:36

On former movies, George was critisized for trying to educate people too much. Now he's critisized for not educating enough. What do you think, the headlines would look like if George made a movie just about the Myers family moving into this neighborhood?
I try not to pay the critics too much attention because I quite often see a movie completely different than they do. I really enjoyed 'Monuments Men', but 
a) my English is not good enoughto have gotten everything right without having watched it in German before
b) most of the scenes were filmed nearby, so of course there was much more medial coverage than normally, and I also know quite a few people who worked as extras on that movie and eho really talked a lot about it and how great George was etc.
c) I've seen so many WW II movies who were just depressingly sad (not that wars aren't the worst which ever happens to mankind, ut films about wars are mostly either just very serious and focus on the battles and the fate of people), so I did enjoy seeing one which doesn't focus on that issue too much (although there are tough scenes like when Jean Dujardin dies or when they find ental gold from the jews who were killed)
d) Germans aren't stereotyped as in many other WW II movies.

Over the weekend, I'll go to the movies with my kids, and we'll see a teenager comedy which us very popular. It's a sequal so I know what to expect: stupid jokes, drunken people and unintelligent pranks. The critics really love the movie...
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 23:31

Carolhathaway - If George made a fact-based movie about the Myers family moving into Levittown the internet would explode. Some people would be furious that "Mr. Liberal Hollywood" was trying to teach them a lesson. Others would say that he has a lot of nerve telling a black family's story. Even if he's sympathetic, how could he possibly know what it was like for the Myers family? He's white. He's seeing things from a different perspective. IMO he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

PS - I liked Monuments Men, too. Smile
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by annemarie on Fri 27 Oct 2017, 23:47

He definitely is damned no matter what he does.

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by PigPen on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 16:07

Sounds like the death knell has begun to ring on our fav guy's Hollywood career ( director, star, writer)


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Suburbicon’ shows it’s time to stop getting so excited about George Clooney movies
By Stephanie Merry October 28 at 7:00 AM
Play Video 2:31
Trailer: 'Suburbicon'

0:00

Written by the Coen brothers and directed by George Clooney, this movie is about a deceptively peaceful community hides a violent underbelly. (Paramount Pictures)
“Suburbicon” has so much going for it — a very Coen-y Coen brothers script, George Clooney in the director’s chair, Matt Damon and Julianne Moore leading the cast, and big-time festival appearances at Venice and Toronto, all fueling its awards hopes.

But it didn’t take long for reality to dash those hopes. As soon as critics in Italy got a chance to see the movie, they realized something: It isn’t very good.

The film, which opened Friday, feels like a Franken-movie, because that’s what it is. Part of the 1950s-set story is a “Fargo” knockoff. It was an old Coen brothers script that sat around for decades; now it features Damon and Moore as bumbling criminals. The other section, added by Clooney and frequent collaborator Grant Heslov, follows a black family that is just moving into the same suburban idyll, where the white neighbors respond to the newcomers not with freshly baked bread but with riots.

[Review: George Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’ bristles with rage and bitter humor]

The two stories work in concert — sort of. Witness the monstrous white families trying to “save” their neighborhood from a perfectly nice black family, while down the street a murderous plot is underway. But so little time and attention are paid to the more racially charged thread that it gets short shrift. The movie ends up being yet another example of how Hollywood’s output marginalizes people of color.


This wasn’t the way things were supposed to go down, right? All the hype; the ubiquitous advertising; Clooney — dreamy as ever — giving charming interviews. And yet, if we look back at history, “Suburbicon” follows a recent trend: Neither the movies Clooney has starred in nor those he’s directed have done particularly well. And yet the tendency when a new Clooney film comes out is still feverish anticipation.

“Should George Clooney and the cast of his upcoming film ‘Suburbicon’ start blocking off their Sundays during award season?” CNN wondered ahead of the movie’s festival premiere. The awards prediction site Gold Derby labeled “Suburbicon” an Oscar contender way back in July.

It may be time to rejigger our expectations.

After all, Clooney’s directing output has always been iffy, with a mix of critical failures, box office bombs and a couple of worthy standouts. “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” in 2002, was the first movie he helmed, and it made $33 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. A bigger bomb followed with 2008’s “Leatherheads,” which didn’t come close to recouping its $58 million price tag. “The Monuments Men” and its stacked cast made money, but expectations for an Oscar bid were undone, first when the release was pushed back from late 2013 to early 2014 and then when people actually got to see the movie. It currently has a 30 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Clooney proved his directing talent in 2005, with the small-budget “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which brought in cash, got critics excited and scored six Oscar nominations. That high point partially explains why he continues to get so many chances. The other reason is that he’s Hollywood royalty, which earns him a free pass to keep making so-so movies.

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With each one, there’s a distinct disconnect between anticipation and outcome. “The Ides of March,” for example, was a critical and commercial hit. But considering how aggressively it was marketed, its performance still felt like only a minor victory. In its opening weekend, the plodding action movie “Real Steel” easily won the top spot at the box office, and audiences — who are lenient graders — gave “Ides” a B CinemaScore.

Clooney’s movies look great, and they capture the period detail of whatever era’s on-screen, but the stories almost always feel comparatively lightweight.

[‘Suburbicon’ is the latest film that uses horror to process the realities of 2017]

On the acting side, Clooney’s past few films have been middling at best. “Tomorrowland” was a massive bomb, while “Money Monster” was forgettable, and “Hail, Caesar!” irked audiences enough to give it a C-minus CinemaScore. The Oscar winner still gets plum roles in movies such as “Gravity” and “The Descendants,” but those have been interspersed with “The American” and “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”


On the plus side, Clooney — as a producer — won the best picture Oscar for 2012’s “Argo.” Despite early predictions, it doesn’t look like he’ll be back at the lectern this year. If we had paid attention, we probably could have seen that coming. Maybe next time Clooney makes a movie, we’ll slow down on the Oscars talk.

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Way2Old4Dis on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 17:21

I would remind you of all the stars/creators for whom that supposed death knell has sounded, who are now mounting yet another peak in their careers. And most of them are not as talented as Mr. Clooney.

Don't count George out.

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Donnamarie on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 19:41

No doubt that George’s film career has been struggling lately. He says that he makes the movies he wants to make and isn’t really interested if he finds a big audience for them. But he must realize these misfires. I have to think he is not happy when he comes up short. I don’t know if there is a blind spot in his approach to filmmaking. Sometimes I wonder if he and Grant are not as suited to challenge each other to come up with the best way to tell a story. But George values loyalty over success and I don’t think he would change the current arrangement.

George is such a good actor and he has good directing instincts, but the writing is a weak point. Lizzy, fava and others have said as much here. I just feel bad for him. He has had a number of successes ... but not for a while. I want George to continue to succeed. His heart is in the right place and he is such a decent and gifted guy. I just hate to see his work get criticized as often as it has been in the last few years.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by PigPen on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 20:34

Way2Old4Dis wrote:I would remind you of all the stars/creators for whom that supposed death knell has sounded, who are now mounting yet another peak in their careers. And most of them are not as talented as Mr. Clooney.

Don't count George out.
I hope you're right, but..........................

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Sat 28 Oct 2017, 21:47

I just don't get why, when they're editing the movies they make, they don't see what we see...that there's something that isn't quite working. The tension or pacing is a little off - or there's something that needs to be punched up or toned down. Does he notice too late to fix things or is he too in his head to see there's a problem? Whatever it is, it's not a one-time thing. It's an on-going problem that needs to be fixed.
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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by Way2Old4Dis on Sun 29 Oct 2017, 00:40

I've said this before. George and Grant are not 'natural' writers. They are actors and producers who have learned the structure and rules of content of writing screenplays. Good writers have the ability to 'kill their babies.' No matter how great a line or scene, if it doesn't absolutely do its job and propel the story to a particular point, it has to go. Nothing can be too precious.

I don't think they have that instinct.

And when that failure makes it to the shooting stage with the director being the same person with the blind spot, well, it's obvious what can happen.

This is all general observation. I haven't seen the movie yet, so I don't even know if this applies to 'Suburbicon.'

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Re: Suburbicon reviews

Post by LizzyNY on Sun 29 Oct 2017, 01:18

Way2Old  - I get that when you're the author it's sometimes hard to look at your work objectively. It's even harder when you haven't really trained for it. Still, when they sit down to edit their movies, don't they see what others do? Doesn't anyone on their team have the guts to say something isn't working? Especially when they're working on the final cut? They're basically seeing what we're going to see. Why can we find the flaws when they seemingly can't?

Sorry. I know I'm rambling and there really isn't any way you can answer. It just ticks me off that he can get great actors to star in what should be really good, interesting films and then they just fall flat.
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