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Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky

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Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky Empty Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky

Post by Admin Wed 09 Dec 2020, 19:57

Hmmm, among all the rave reviews, anointing George for an Oscar, there are some quite bit names who aren't liking this:  


https://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/2559898/netflixs-the-midnight-sky-review-george-clooney-directs-a-pretty-but-shallow-sci-fi-drama

Netflix’s The Midnight Sky Review: George Clooney Directs A Pretty But Shallow Sci-Fi Drama



ERIC EISENBERG

DEC. 9. 2020 2:00 PM

It’s a tired drama built on familiar story beats that, in retrospect, is rendered occasionally nonsensical in moments thanks to its bad twist ending.

His one time as Batman notwithstanding, George Clooney has a mostly positive relationship with the science-fiction genre. Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is a bit middling, and Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris but has a tough time standing side-by-side with Andrei Tarkovsky’s original, but Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is phenomenal, and he gets points for being an executive producer on Richard Linklater’s awesome adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. It’s obviously not a stunning track record, but it’s good enough that news of his first directorial venture into the arena perks one’s ears.

Disappointingly, with The Midnight Sky, an adaptation of the novel “Good Morning, Midnight” by Lily Brooks-Dalton, Clooney belies his reputation within the genre. It’s a film that’s well shot, with the director/star clearly taking some inspiration from Cuaron for one space-set action sequence, but mostly it’s a tired drama built on familiar story beats that, in retrospect, is rendered occasionally nonsensical in moments thanks to its bad twist ending.

Scripted by The Revenant co-writer Mark L. Smith, the film follows two storylines – one set on Earth during its final days of existence following an unspecified “event,” and the other in the far reaches out outer space as a vessel called the Aether makes its way back home. At the center of the former is Dr. Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney), a scientist with a terminal cancer diagnosis who chooses to stay behind as the remaining human population boarded transports heading into the cosmos looking for a new home. He opts to go down with the ship, so to speak, while at a base in the Arctic Circle so that he can communicate with research teams returning to the planet and tell them to turn around.

What deeply messes with this plan is A) the realization that his signal isn’t strong enough at his facility, and B) the discovery that he’s not alone, as he discovers a mute girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) has been hiding out with him.
Meanwhile, the crew aboard the aforementioned vessel (Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demian Bichir, Kyle Chandler) is eager to make their way back to Earth, having just discovered a hospitable planet called K23, and knowing nothing about what’s been going on at home during their absence. The journey is impeded when an incident results in the ship veering off course, requiring them to risk the danger of flying through uncharted space.

The movie goes back and forth between the two stories, following Lofthouse and the girl as they brave the elements going to another station that can provide a better signal, and the astronauts experience the perils of the galaxy.


The Midnight Sky offers nothing in its story we haven’t seen before.

What doesn’t work out so well for The Midnight Sky is that said elements and perils don’t create any impressive or original conflicts that make the individual excursions standout in a genre where these kinds of stories are boilerplate. On terra firma there are issues with making shelter on shaky ground, and blinding snowstorms, and out in space there are clouds of space debris/meteoroids and technical failures (prepare for a new round of “Spacewalk = Death”) . There isn’t any interpersonal conflict to mine, as there is harmony between all of the characters in both halves of the story, so you’re just left wanting more from the terrors of creation. And is that too much to ask for in a movie about the end of the world?

This isn’t the forum to discuss it in-depth, but it should also be recognized that the curveball that the film tries to throw in the third act is a widely errant wild pitch. The best twists are those that add extra layers to a movie, and make the rewatch experience because you possess a kind of inside information. The Midnight Sky does the opposite of that, as some confusing events make even less sense, and others are revealed as artless misdirects. As the credits roll, you try and piece things together in your head, but they don’t add up as they should.


It’s nice to have George Clooney back as a movie star, and he delivers a solid performance.

The movie sports George Clooney’s first feature film appearance in about four-and-a-half years, and it’s understandable why he took on the part. Augustine Lofthouse is a rich character. Playing the last man on Earth is one thing (and Clooney gets in his requisite pensive stares before finding the young girl), but there is also the double-whammy of forced paternity and a deadly illness. Being the talented and consummate performer that he is, the actor does a great job with the part – though it’s also not a turn one would rank among the best or most memorable of his career. It’s work you expect, but it’s also not particularly special.


Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, and the rest of the Aether crew aren’t given much to work with.

The ugly dark side of George Clooney’s prime role is that Augustine Lofthouse has more personality than every member of the supporting cast combined. The relationship between the characters played by Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo is notable because she is pregnant with his child, but beyond that all of them share the exact same disposition: determined astronaut willing to risk everything to get back home. As alluded to, there is never any disagreement or clashes within the group, which means that you don’t even get access to deeper thoughts via strong personal opinions. All we get is a running “joke” with members of the crew suggesting names for Jones’ baby.

Though it was always developed as a Netflix production, The Midnight Sky certainly has the look of a big budget blockbuster, with some impressive set pieces and sharp visual effects and production design, but it all proves to be pretty aesthetics propping up a shallow narrative. It gets credit for ambition, but that ambition ultimately doesn’t take it incredibly far.

RATING: Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky 4.yellow

REVIEWED BY:



    • ERIC EISENBERG










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Post by Admin Wed 09 Dec 2020, 20:00

https://collider.com/the-midnight-sky-review-george-clooney-netflix/





‘The Midnight Sky’ Review: George Clooney Still Struggles with Tone in Haphazard Sci-Fi

BY MATT GOLDBERG


Watching Clooney’s latest directorial effort, one can’t help but feel like the material needed a stronger and steelier vision.

After becoming one of the most beloved film actors in Hollywood by the early 2000s by wisely teaming with Steven Soderbergh on movies like Out of Sight and Ocean’s Eleven, George Clooney stepped behind the camera for 2002’s darkly comic and surprisingly deft Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

He then followed it up with the Oscar-nominated Good Night, and Good Luck. and the slight-yet-charming Leatherheads. But then Clooney’s directing skill started to fail him and his directorial efforts have diminished in strength, usually resulting from a muddled tonality that never seems completely certain in the kind of story being told.

That problem continues to dog Clooney with his latest effort The Midnight Sky. What should be a dark, unforgiving sci-fi at the end of the world instead plays as schizophrenic as the stakes never make much sense and the script struggles with its dual storylines of survival. The film tries to make a stab at exploring the importance of family at the end of the world, but even here Clooney stumbles with a saccharine and unearned reveal that only makes the film more convoluted.

Set in the year 2049 and “three weeks after the event”, which is an apocalyptic occurrence that’s some undefined mashup of plague and nuclear fallout, scientist Augustine (Clooney) has resolved to live out his final days in the Arctic Circle’s Barbeau Observatory dying from a terminal illness while the rest of the world dies from “the event.”

However, his plans are thwarted when he not only discovers a young girl (Caoilinn Springall) still living at the outpost, but also that the spaceship Aether is returning from its two-year mission exploring a habitable environment on one of Jupiter’s moons. Augustine feels he must warn the spaceship off, and so resolves to take the young girl and make their way to a better satellite as crewmembers Adewole (David Oyelowo), Sully (Felicity Jones), Maya (Tiffany Boone), Sanchez (Demián Bichir), and Mitchell (Kyle Chandler) obliviously make their way back to an uninhabitable home.

I don’t want to spoil anything other than to say that as the narrative unfolds, Augustine’s plan doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it’s only after a major reveal that his motives become clear and almost completely divorced from their original intent. It’s just poor plotting that’s struggling to serve a story about Augustine’s lifelong regrets and an attempt to make amends by giving his final days of life to preserve some semblance of humanity in the face of Armageddon.

In more competent hands, this isn’t a bad story, and as far as a performance goes, Clooney remains a terrific actor. But his performance is in service of a weak story that stumbles between life-and-death stakes on Earth and a spaceship full of people who don’t know that there are life-and-death stakes.

The Midnight Sky should be a much sadder film given its story, and yet more often than not it simply feels disjointed and bizarre. When Mitchell is sitting with a hologram of his family eating breakfast, it should feel completely tragic and depressing since we know that his family is probably dead, and they’re not waiting for him back home. But since we never learn much about Mitchell beyond his job on the spaceship, there’s not much pathos beyond a general feeling of, “Oh, that’s sad.” The same goes for the other crew members, and even to some extent Augustine, who needs the assistance of flashbacks to explain to the audience why he’s burdened with regrets.

Watching The Midnight Sky, I was reminded of recent sci-fi films, and one that came to mind was 2016’s Arrival. Like The Midnight SkyArrival deals with deep loss, grief, and regret within the bounds of a science fiction narrative, but you can see the clear mastery of Denis Villeneuve in that film, and Clooney doesn’t have that.

The cinematography in The Midnight Sky doesn’t express remoteness and even the score from the usually reliable Alexandre Desplat feels out of tune. It’s a movie about what makes life worth living in the face of certain death, but Clooney’s direction fails him as we never feel that impact. It’s a movie that, more often than not, shies away from tragedy and is afraid to look directly at death, and this circumspect approach saps the film of any power it may have had.

Given that this is the first film Clooney has made since becoming a father, it’s kind of sweet that he wanted to tell a story about the lengths parents will go for their children, especially when they had previously devoted their life to work instead of family.

But as a director, Clooney’s skills haven’t developed and evolved to tell this kind of story with the kind of gravitas and empathy it requires. His motives are sound, and his themes are worthwhile, but the execution just isn’t there. The saddest thing about The Midnight Sky is realizing that Clooney’s work as a director peaked over a decade ago.

Rating: C-
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Post by Admin Wed 09 Dec 2020, 20:02

Those are some serious criticisms of the film.
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Post by Admin Wed 09 Dec 2020, 20:09

And another:


https://www.slashfilm.com/the-midnight-sky-review/

‘The Midnight Sky’ Review: George Clooney’s Post-Apocalyptic Drama is a Well-Intentioned Misfire

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 by Chris Evangelista


Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky The-midnight-sky-review-700x321

It’s the end of the world as we know it in The Midnight Sky, a post-apocalyptic drama from director George Clooney. Set in the year 2049, an unspecified event is quickly killing off the planet, sending people underground. But there are also people much, much higher above – a group of astronauts who have been on a two-year mission and have no idea they’re heading back to a near-dead planet. Can the seemingly last-man-on Earth warn them to turn around before it’s too late? The clock is ticking, and the stage is set for what could be a thrilling, emotional, intense journey. It’s none of those things.

Clooney launched his directorial career with the wonderful Confession of a Dangerous Mind and followed it up with the even better Good Night, and Good Luck. Since then, though, the actor-turned-filmmaker has struggled with the material he’s embraced (the less said about his terrible 2017 movie Suburbicon the better). With The Midnight Sky, Clooney makes what might be his most ambitious movie yet – a film with two intertwined narratives and loads of special effects. But Clooney the filmmaker loses sight of what should really be driving his movie: emotion. The characters in Midnight Sky are in constant grave peril, all in the midst of an apocalyptic event. We should feel for them; worry for them. We don’t.

Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky Fslogo-green
As the film opens, it’s “3 weeks after the event.” We’re never told what the event is, exactly, and that’s a great touch. We don’t need to know the details – we just need to know it’s bad. There’s a lot of talk about bad air; birds drop out of the sky; the world at large has gone silent. Clooney is Augustine, a brilliant, and lonely, scientist. He’s also suffering from a terminal illness, and as a result, is in no hurry to try to flee to safety when “the event” happens. Augustine has been stationed at a research facility in the Arctic, and while everyone else has left to go be with their families, Augustine remains behind, alone, seemingly waiting around to die.

But first, Augustine wants to warn some astronauts who have no idea what’s going on. They’ve blasted off to explore K23, a planet Augustine once theorized could sustain life – and serve as a new home for humanity since we flushed our current home down the toilet. Augustine wants to tell the crew of the ship to turn around, but the satellite at his current location isn’t strong enough. He resolves to set off to another location with a stronger signal – but he’s not traveling alone. A mostly-silent little girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) has accidentally been left behind, and now she’s accompanying Augustine across the frozen tundra.

These scenes on Earth work the best. Clooney is appropriately weary and beaten-down, and his interactions with Springall are sweet. As a director, Clooney, along with cinematographer Martin Ruhe, captures some oft-stunning imagery of Augustine and Iris trudging across a landscape that seems constantly whipped with snow and ice. We can feel the cold wafting off the screen. Clooney peppers these scenes with memorable scenarios: Augustine finds a crashed private plane loaded up with artwork; Augustine and Iris spend the night in a camper that suddenly starts sinking into the ice; white, ghostly wolves stalk the corners of the frame. These moments – which are mostly free of the cloying, on-the-nose dialogue that populates Mark L. Smith’s script – prove that Clooney can still shoot. But his storytelling ability is another matter.

Meanwhile, up in space, the crew of the Aether is slowly making their way home. But they can’t seem to get anyone on the radio, and everyone is feeling on edge. The crew is made up of a mish-mash of people who have very little personality. There’s Sully (Felicity Jones), who is pregnant. The father of the child is Captain Adewole (David Oyelowo), who…likes to play cards? There’s really not much more to him. Then there’s newbie Maya (Tiffany Boone), old pro Sanchez (Demian Bichir), and Mitchell (Kyle Chandler), the type of character who just wants to get back to his family, no matter, damn it.

The space moments allow Clooney to go big with lots of special effects and some admittedly great production design. The futuristic tech is both space-agey and realistic, and the interior design of the ship is refreshingly organic, with structures all over the walls that look like the ribs of whales. It’s neat, but it’s not enough to make any of these off-world moments amount to much. Yes, we want the crew to survive on a basic human, empathetic level. But in all honesty, it’s hard to care whether or not they ever get in touch with Augustine.

Some not-so-good reviews for The Midnight Sky Fslogo-green
As if all of this wasn’t enough, The Midnight Sky also keeps cutting to flashbacks of Augustine as a younger man, played by Ethan Peck with Clooney dubbing his voice. These are the most egregious moments in the film, and they pay off in the worst possible way. I spent the whole movie wondering why the hell we were even being shown these scenes, and when I finally found out, I felt myself deflate. It’s a wild miscalculation.

Another wild miscalculation: Alexandre Desplat‘s score, which is obtrusive and downright dumb. To be clear: Desplat makes beautiful music, but here, Clooney asks him to do a ton of heavy lifting. We know a scene is supposed to be scary because the music has suddenly gotten loud and booming; we know a scene is supposed to be sad because there is an abundance of string instruments. It’s cloying and blunt. Subtlety is not in this film’s vocabulary. The Midnight Sky is ambitious in its attempts at pathos. There’s the germ of something beautiful buried in here; a story trying to tell us that every last life is worth saving even if all seems lost. That’s something worth hearing, but The Midnight Sky fails to even get the conversation going.

/Film rating: 6 out of 10 
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Post by party animal - not! Wed 09 Dec 2020, 22:25


Mm, I see that the Independent gave it a glowing five-star review, but George's favourite

newspaper, The Guardian, a few less. Maybe it's a Marmite sort of film..........

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Post by LizzyNY Thu 10 Dec 2020, 16:00

Ouch! These two really hurt. I hope they're wrong. I hope this isn't another Monuments Men or Suburbicon, where his good intentions don't translate to the screen.

There's something amiss when you have all the tools in the toolbox - talent, resources, financing - and still don't quite hit the mark. Maybe he should just pick one side of the camera and stay there.
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