Suburbicon is the Pick of the Week

George Clooney's take on a Coen Brothers' script leads this week's new releases.
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The Coen Brothers have been some of my favorite filmmakers for a long time.  I first saw their work with Raising Arizona but it wasn’t until Fargo that I actually knew who they were.  That film blew me away.  It remains a favorite.  I love the Coens' directorial style and their quirky, dark sense of humor.  

George Clooney is one of my favorite actors.  He is incredibly handsome and utterly charming. He’s a movie star in the old Hollywood sense.  He isn’t the greatest of actors, in fact he has a pretty limited range, but he seems to understand this and generally takes roles that fit that range and makes them awesome. As a director, he is less impressive. I’ve enjoyed the films he’s directed (Good Night, and Good Luck; Leatherheads; The Ides of March; The Monuments Men).  They are good stories and loaded with great actors but there is something missing from all of them.  That special spark that turns a good movie into a great one is just not there.

I’m hoping that having the Coens write the script for Suburbicon will translate Clooney’s latest directorial effort into something amazing.  It stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac and satirizes the clean cut idealism of 1950s America.  All of which gets me excited.  The reviews have not been great but I remain hopeful.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Shoes:  Milestone Films is releasing this newly restored cut of Lois Weber’s 1916 feminist classic about a poor shop girl trying to scrap out a living.

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno:  In 1964, the great French director set out to make an epic drama about a hotel manager who becomes possessed by the demons of jealousy.  Three weeks into shooting, the project was stopped, leaving what was rumored to be incredible footage stuck forever in the can.  Decades later, Serge Brombert along with Clouzot’s widow pieced together the film along with re-enactments, interviews, and storyboards to create both something of a completed narrative film and a documentary about the project.  I should be getting my own copy soon and will have a review when I do.

Elevator to the Gallows (Criterion Collection):  Louis Malle’s classic French drama about a murder gone wrong gets a new Blu-ray transfer and more from Criterion.

LBJ:  Woody Harrelson stars as the Vice President turned President trying to keep a nation together in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.  It was directed by Rob Reiner and costars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bill Pullman, and C. Thomas Howell, which gets me all sorts of interested in it ,but both critics and audiences turned their noses on it so I’ll be back burning it for awhile.

A Bad Moms Christmas: The Bad Moms, including Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Kathryn Hahn, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon are back for more raunchy fun.  This time at Christmas.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight:  Since at least the Silver Age, DC Comics has made distinctions between the normal continuity of its fictional universe and plots and comics that fit somewhere outside of that continuity.  Starting in 1989 with Gotham by Gaslight, many of these non-continuity stories were published under the Elseworlds imprint.  With this adaptation of that story, these Elseworld stories are starting to get released as DC animated movies.  It puts Batman in the Victorian age trying to catch Jack the Ripper. Sounds fun.

Only the Brave:  Ben Hardy, Jennifer Connelly, Taylor Kitsch, Miles Teller, and Josh Brolin star in this drama about the elite crew who battled a massive wildfire in Arizona in 2013.

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