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George Clooney Is MICHAEL CLAYTON! First Test Screening Report!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

As far as I know, this is the first reaction we’ve had for the new George Clooney film directed by Tony Gilroy that Warner Bros. may be releasing later this year. There’s no firm release date anywhere I’ve been able to find. I’m not sure how finished the version that screened was, so keep that in mind. I think the movie sounds pretty interesting, and I’m always down for a Clooney starring role. Out of all the A-list guys working right now, I think he’s one of the most consistent. He’s just as playful and genuine about his choices as Johnny Depp. Clooney’s got taste. And I’m always happy to see a writer start directing, so I hope Gilroy nails it. Anyway... here’s the review...

Yo dudes

I went to a test / advance screening of a new George Clooney movie called Michael Clayton tonight at the Paseo Colorado movie theater in Pasadena tonight.

I didn't know much about the movie before going in, other than the tiny bit of info i read on the IMDB page that said something about it being a lawyer-type thriller movie. you know the type. It was free, and i didn't have anything to really do tonight (except that i found out afterwards that there was an episode of Ghost Hunters on tonight that i missed!! damn it! i still haven't seen all of season 2!! was it a season 2 episode?! oh well, anyway, the movie was definitely worth missing the show for) so i went and saw it. This was the first screening i've been to where they actually have a section of the seats roped off for VIPs or whatever, and before the movie started a woman came out in front and said the whole deal about it being the first time it's ever been shown and that it was an unfinished print, etc. etc. "please stay in your seats when it's over because we want you to answer some questions." There were some guys dressed up in suits that sat in the roped-off seats, and i don't know if they were the guys that made the movie or just the press, but i think that, judging by the way they all knew eachother and were dressed up, they were probably the filmmakers. Anyway it was my first actual test screening rather than advance screening so i was psyched.

The story starts with George Clooney's Michael Clayton, a lawyerish law guy that works at a law office doing some back-room gambling at a chinese place and then getting a call to go help some butthole rich client guy that had done a hit and run on a jogger. After taking care of that situation and leaving, he stops at a field and looks at some horses. Then all of a sudden his car blows up two times!! Then the movie goes "4 Days Earlier", and the main story starts.

What goes on is basically that Mr. Clayton is a powerful law guy but he's down on hard times with a bar he tried to open having fallen apart and him having to sell every fixture and item in the place at auction, right down to the metal mixing bowls. The money still isn't going to cover the expenses he owes. He also has to deal with a buddy at the law firm that has gone crazy because he didn't take his pills, and his actions are threatening the future of the big law firm in the midst of the gigantic case he was working on for years and years, in which the law firm was hired to defend a fertilizer/farming chemical company called U North. That woman from Constantine that played Gabriel that was also in Narnia and The Beach (Tilda Swinton) plays the head of the legal team of this U North company, who are being sued for the deaths of hundreds of people because of the toxic chemicals used in one of their products. The lawyer that was on the case and subsequently flipped out is played by Tom Wilkinson (juntao from Rush Hour, and Batman Returns, and also Eternal Sunshine Of THe Spotless Mind). He experiences a change of heart and decides he wants to undo all the evil he's helped to defend while working as a lawyer and he wants to turn the tables on the U-North company to cleanse himself of his wrongdoings. This just won't work out good for anyone, and this sets off a chain of events that include said carbomb, a few really efficient and pretty cool spy/surveilance/assassin guys, some cars driving around a lot, and a lot of stubble on george clooney's face.

The movie was good, but felt long. It was pretty much exactly 2 hours long, but i heard people saying when it was over that it felt like it was 3 1/2 hours long and i agreed. I'm not very familiar with the law thriller type movie that follows lawsuits and carbombs and grizzled madman lawyers, but the way this one sticks out to me compared to what i am familiar with is that it wasn't all that "intense" at all. There was a lot in the middle and beginning about George Clooney's character's relationship with his son, and a book the boy was reading that i'm assuming was supposed to be like Harry Potter or something, but it was all pretty unnecessary and really killed the pace, i think.

I read on the internet afterwards that it was directed by the guy who wrote both of the Bourne movies and that this is his directorial debut. This did feel like Bourne Identity, just minus most of those little explosive action scenes. you know how the rest of that movie was kind of the type of stuff that would seem boring but was actually pretty interesting and you found yourself entertained even though it was just some dudes in an office talking about what they should do next? That's kind of how this movie was. There really aren't that many twists and turns, and since the car blowing up four days in the future at the very beginning was so unexpected and sudden, when the reason for it and the people behind it are explained later in the movie, it doesn't really come off as a surprise, it comes off more like, "well, oh, hey, ok, that's what it was then!"

I guess what i'm saying is the movie was pretty good, with the potential after some more editing and lots of cutting of extraneous scenes to be really awesome.

Before the movie, i heard some dude talking to one of the ladies running the whole event, and he said that he had gone to see Lady In THe Water the night before and that he thought it was stupid and blah blah, M. Night is a dork for putting himself so much into the movie, blah blah whatever. I haven't seen that movie and i don't really have any intention to, but not because i really care - quite the opposite - i don't care. Anyway, when the movie was over i saw that guy walk past that woman as she was handing out the survey things, and he said, "that was way worse than Lady in the Water! That movie was just stupid, but this one was painful to watch!" then he walked away. I don't think the guy could have stuck out more, because it seemed to me that everyone in the audience really enjoyed the movie. Everyone gasped at the right moments and clapped at the end, and i didn't hear any heckling whatsoever. So i would say that it received a good response. The suit guys from the roped off area were smiling and chatting with eachother happily out in the lobby afterwards, so i think they were happy, too. I just hope they don't slack off on the editing.

Edit this baby down and i think it could find a good amount of fans!


Thanks for drinking a few cups of coffee before you sat down to write, Llephen. Nicely done, and feel free to write if you see anything else.

"Moriarty" out.

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