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Non-Review Review: The Peacemaker

It’s interesting to look back at George Clooney’s early road to movie stardom. Indeed, the actor’s first leading roles seem like movies that really should have been star-making turns, but just weren’t. There’s obviously his portrayal of Bruce Wayne in Batman & Robin, a performance not quite as bad as the film around it, but there’s also his roles in films like The Peacemaker. The Peacemaker also was the first film released under Spielberg’s Dreamworks company, and it’s hardly an auspicious début. It’s not that The Peacemaker is a bad film. It’s a very well made, and the production values are excellent.

However, the problem is the premise itself, the plotting, the pacing and the script. The Peacemaker feels like it really wants to be a Tom Clancy thriller, and it really wants us to accept George Clooney as a more dynamic Harrison Ford. Unfortunately, it feels like all the plot points, characters and motivations all came second-hand. There isn’t one thing here that hasn’t been done before, and done better, and those parts aren’t even assembled in an especially original way.

The name’s Clooney. George Clooney.

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Non-Review Review: Patriot Games

Truth be told, I think Patriot Games stands as one of the best American spy movies produced in the last thirty or so years. It helps that it has, for my money, one of the great leading actors in Harrison Ford, but I also think it works because it tries to explore something of how the American espionage services work, while functioning as a thriller in its own right. It’s easy to reduce the American intelligence agencies to mere window-dressing in a conventional action movie, or to heavily politicise the organisations as part of a political drama, but I think Patriot Games works best because it’s a spy movie that actually feels like it’s a thriller about the intelligence gathering community.

Family man or Company man?

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Non-Review Review: The Sum of All Fears

The Sum of All Fears is a strange little beast. By changing the nature of the movie’s threat from Middle Eastern terrorists to a secret cult of Nazis, the film seems to want to avoid seeming “heavy” or “relevent.”However, any form of entertainment that depicts a nuclear attack on a US city on the same scale as that depicted here, seems to carry a lot of weight with it anyway. I think that’s really the core problem with an otherwise reasonable solid film, the fact that it has difficulty balancing what should be an uncomfortable viewing experience with an attempt not to upset anyone.

Ryan, Jack Ryan...

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Let’s be Franco: Actors Who Don’t Like the Interview Circuit…

I actually don’t feel strongly one way or the other about James Franco. I do kinda like that he was willing to experiment a bit by appearing as “Franco the performance artist” on General Hospital, respect the fact that he doesn’t care too much about his image to appear in films like Pineapple Express and Your Highness, but I also feel a little frustrated when I see how incredibly bored he seemed hosting the Oscars. There’s been a bit of on-line discussion about Franco’s public persona, and his perceived lack of interest in his own projects or in giving interviews, to the point where the actor has found himself being compared to Harrison Ford, one of the more notoriously difficult celebrity interviewees. However, despite all that, I find myself having quite a bit of sympathy for actors clearly not comfortable with dealing with the press circuit.

Going to great lengths to get away from it all...

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Non-Review Review: Cowboys & Aliens

This movie was seen as part of Movie Fest, the rather wonderful film festival organised by Vincent and everybody else over at movies.ie. It was well worth attending, and I’m already looking forward to next year. Good job all.

It’s a testament to Jon Favreau’s skills as a filmmaker that Cowboys & Aliens ends up as a watchable, if entirely forgettable, addition to an ever-growing summer schedule. The movie is plagued by fairly fundamental problems, from a miscast lead to a failure to follow through on an interesting premise, right down to being one of the more blandly predictable blockbusters in quite some time. Favreau plays the best hand he can with the cards he has been dealt, offering a passable imitation of Steven Spielberg, but the problem is that none of it adds up to a win.

Not quite a blast...

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Non-Review Review: US Marshals

Robert Downey Jr. apparently once described the film as “possibly the worst action movie of all time.” That’s quite a statement. Too be honest, it’s just a little bit sensationalist from the actor, but it still doesn’t mean that U.S. Marshals is a good film, even on its own merits. When it stands in the shadow of the movie it was intended to follow, the superb Harrison Ford adaptation of The Fugitive, it seems even weaker.

They had some neck making this film...

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Non-Review Review: Morning Glory

Early in Morning Glory, our plucky female lead (TM) is interviewing for a position at a major morning show. Asked to outline her vision, she states that “no story is too high or too low” for the show to tackle. Unfortunately, the film makes it clear that the emphasis on that last part. Because this is exactly what we need – a movie about how morning shows aren’t dumb enough.

It's a news day...

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