Sunday, October 14, 2007

Movie Review: Michael Clayton

It is very difficult balancing a personal/social life with work. I am only used to juggling the latter, although during my law school years I didn't even consider what I did "balancing," because I was either working at law school or helping out at home, visiting my family on weekends. Having my own life is a novelty, and so the only "demand" on my time is work, whereas the rest of my time must be given freely, allocated among various social partners to whom I owe no filial obligation. I've always been a good friend--what I am unused to is being good to myself. And by that, I mean letting myself have fun. Yet somehow others do it all the time, and so I am trying. To that end, I went to see a movie tonight (apparently, it's something young kids these days tend to do on a Saturday night), and may even permit myself mid-week revelry in the form or fancy dinner plans next week (before the joy of the TC visit, the real event of the season).

Anyway, the review of Michael Clayton:

A really good movie! I am a big fan of The Clooney, who deserves to have a definite article before his surname to indicate that he is the definitive suave, debonair heir to Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and Clark Gable. Jude Law you say? I might talk to you again at some point after you have uttered such a heresy. Jude Law is pretty, frothy delight (and too rakish, too easily Bosie and Alfie and other dimunations ending in -ie); George Clooney is handsome and substantial. Sometimes he is too handsome, and so I am too wrapped up in his Clooneyness and am always aware of it. Not that he's not capable of losing himself in a role--Syrianna, The Good German, Good Night and Good Luck--all excellent movies where I would forget very easily the inner Clooney.

Apologies for the long deconstruction of Clooneyness. If you want a real plot synopsis review, read The New York Times'.

Idiosyncratic things I note:

-How much movies like this aggravate my indifference-bordering-on-dislike of New York City, which I no longer attribute to my West Coast elitism of having grown up in what I admit to be banality. I like cities, just not that city as much as others.

-How much I like to watch legal thrillers, but generally dislike reading them as my genre picks.

-How unbelievable it is when Right is Done and The Good Guys Win in such movies, since I'm a cynical lawyer.

-How Tilda Swinton's marvelous acting can't make me forgive the director for making the role of Weak, Trembling, Unprincipled Evil a woman. I mean, good that she was cast as head of General Counsel, but bad that she appeared too weak to deserve her position. Not that female attorneys have to be impervious battleaxes, but I think the most complex female characters are ones that don't give orders to hit men in vague allusions and innuendo. It's like saying "a procedure" when you mean surgery. Be direct! Evil can be hesitant and complicated, but it should always be direct and unequivocating when it makes an order to take someone out. Always ask, "what would Meryl Streep/Cate Blanchett/Patricia Neal do?" But bravo to Costume for making her look blankly anxious and matronly though. I am never going to wear a light blazer on top of a dark skirt again, or big Paloma Picasso button earrings. But I thought Peter MacNichols should have been cast instead; it would have been more interesting to see the uncertain rectitude of Clooney confront the neurotic angsty evil MacNichols could have portrayed.

-How much I love Tom Wilkinson in any role, and how much I enjoy Sydney Pollack such that I forgive him for the execrable remake of "Sabrina."

- How much I love George Clooney.

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