October 7, 2011, - 5:47 pm
Don’t hate me for liking the loathsome far-left wacko George Clooney’s new political thriller, “The Ides of March.” But it’s the best of the new movies out this weekend and it’s really against his side of the aisle. Sort of.
* “The Ides of March“: Like many of you, I loathe the self-righteous, far-left king of arrogance, George Clooney, who directed and co-stars in a small part in this movie. But I have to be honest, as it’s an entertaining and tightly woven political thriller. It’s message isn’t new. Not even close. We all know politics is dirty. So, it’s not original. But it’s well done, if a little melodramatic and convenient. And, if it’s any comfort, this movie is about the sleazebags on the Democratic side of the aisle. In fact, Clooney’s character–a far-left, atheist governor who is running in the Democratic primary against an older, more conservative candidate–is a scumbag, a man with few morals who pretends to have them (like almost every other elected official).
The real star of this, though, is Ryan Gosling. He plays a young, bright rising star in Democratic politics who is a little naive, despite his seasoning and experience. As second in command and the media director of Clooney’s Presidential campaign, he has a relationship with a young campaign intern (Evan Rachel Wood) while at the same time, he makes an unrelated misstep and gets pinned every which way by it. But he has an accidental ace to play that could cause a lot of people pain and change the race. To say any more would give it away. Aside from Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman is terrific as the campaign manager. Paul Giamatti is good, too, as the rival candidate’s Machiavellian campaign manager. Marisa Tomei is a sleazy New York Times reporter.
While I prefer the less melodramatic “The Candidate,” that’s not a thriller, really. This is. And it slowly builds to thick suspense. Liberals are the hypocrites and the enemies in this one, even if the message is supposed to be that all politics (left and right) is dirty. It is.
The movie was shot in Michigan and was, unfortunately, subsidized by Michigan taxpayers with a Michigan film tax credit. Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” (he told Republicans and conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama in the later Democratic primaries) is mentioned more than once and scores a plot point in the election machinations.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Real Steel“: I enjoyed this a little more than most critics, who panned it. I enjoyed the ultimate close father-son dynamic, even if it’s not new–we’ve seen the “father and abandoned/neglected young son reunite and team up to help the down-and-out-on-his-luck father fight and bring home a championship and money” scenario before in “The Champ” and “Over the Top.” (Those had real boxing and arm-wrestling competitions and this one has the father operating the robot who does the fighting.) But it’s been a long time since those flicks. Most movies, today, ridicule fathers or portray them as absentee deadbeats. So this was a pleasant change in that respect.
Still, the story was a little lacking in something, and the kid was a little too upbeat and saccharine throughout. In fact, the actor Dakota Goyo in this film resembles David Mendenhall when he played the kid in “Over the Top.” But this is aimed at kids and families. And, for them, it’s fine. It’s based on a “Twilight Zone” episode, starring Lee Marvin, about a down-and-out man who operates an old, out of date boxing robot, and when the robot doesn’t work, he poses as a robot and fights, himself.
The story is different here. The year is 2027 (and the good or bad news is that in 2027 little has changed from 2011, including clothes, cars, etc.). Hugh Jackman similarly plays a down-and-out man operating a mechanical robot, which gets destroyed in a fight with a bull. He has no money left or any way to earn a living, without his robot. But he learns that he had a son with an ex-girlfriend, who just died. And when he goes to court for the custody hearing, he essentially sells the kid to his dead girlfriend’s sister and her husband for $100,000. He gets half now and will get half when he turns the kid in after the summer. Jackman uses the cash to buy a new robot, and the movie follows Jackman and his newfound son’s travails and struggles with new and old robots, as they struggle to make a living in fights with other robots at various venues. At first, Jackman doesn’t want his son, but predictably they grow closer together as they struggle and grow together.
It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not great, either. There are cool special effects and visuals. And if you like boxing, you might like the boxing action and moves. The robot and the kid break-dancing is cute, too. But Jackman’s accent comes through the whole time, and he definitely doesn’t sound like he’s an American. There are many scenes shot in Detroit venues, as this, too, was financed with the Michigan film tax credit subsidy from Michigan taxpayers.
Entertaining, but not a great or tight story. And, as I said, it’s fine for families.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Margaret“: Possibly THE most annoying movie I’ve ever seen, complete with the most universally annoying, self-absorbed characters ever. And it’s 2.5 hours–which felt like five hours–to boot. Waaaay tooooo looooong. It had like a million side stories and tangents with as many characters. The only likable guy in this movie was a cop and the only good scene is when an annoying Upper East Side New York Jewish woman throws her drink on a Hispanic/French man who says Jews and Israelis are “Oppressors.” Like that–the water-throwing part–would ever happen. The Upper East Side Jewish liberal would probably agree with the Jew-hater, which is why she probably voted for Barack Obama. The people who made this movie have to be Jew-hating Jews, too because many of the characters are overtly Jewish and completely obnoxious and annoying. And that’s aside from the endless melodramatic screaming, crying, whining, yelling, etc. OYYYYYYY!
The story: Lisa Cohen (whose father is Jewish and mother isn’t–they tell you this and every other detail), played by Anna Paquin, is a spoiled brat, self-absorbed Upper East Side liberal who goes to a fancy private school, where Matt Damon and Matthew Broderick are her teachers. She is looking for a cowboy hat for a horseback riding trip to a New Mexico ranch with her divorced dad, but can’t find one she likes. So, when she sees a New York bus driver wearing one, she distracts him from driving when she chases after the bus, flirts with him, and tries to get his attention so she can find out where he got his hat. Because she distracts him, he runs over a woman when he runs a red light. The woman’s leg is severed, and she bleeds so much that she dies.
Lisa lies and tells the police the light was green. She never mentions to anyone that this was all her fault because she’s a spoiled monster with no conscience and distracted the driver. But, soon, she decides the driver must pay, so she changes her story, researches the woman who died, seduces and sleeps with her teacher, sleeps with a druggie friend of hers, and tries to get the cops to arrest the bus driver. We also see multiple scenes of her self-absorbed, oblivious Broadway actress mother and her dating and sex life. Uh, no thanks.
I really couldn’t take this horrible movie, and yet, I had to sit through almost three hours of this crap. YUCK! And that doesn’t even include the multiple scenes of a Syrian Muslim student attacking America and defending HAMAS terrorists and the 9/11 hijackers. Why was that in this movie? Or, rather, why does this movie exist at all? Absolute garbage.
Skip at all cost.
FOUR MARXES PLUS A BIN LADEN
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Anna Paquin, Dakota Goyo, David Mendenhall, Democratic Primary, Democrats, dirty politics, Evan Rachel Wood, fathers, George Clooney, Hugh Jackman, Ides of March, Jewish, Lee Marvin, Lisa Cohen, Marisa Tomei, Michigan, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, New York, Operation Chaos, Over the Top, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, politics, Presidential primary, Real Steel, robots, Rush Limbaugh, Ryan Gosling, sons, The Champ, The Ides of March, The Twilight Zone, trailer, trailers, Twilight Zone, Upper East Side