The Midnight Sky – A Movie Review

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of The Midnight Sky when I saw its title card appear on Netflix. The description and trailer didn’t totally captivate me, but they didn’t repel me, either.

In the end, I watched it because I generally like George Clooney and because I enjoy “realistic” science fiction movies about space travel–recent films like Moon, Interstellar, Arrival, The Martian, and Ad Astra immediately spring to mind.

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, the year is around 2049, a global catastrophe has occurred, and George Clooney’s character is one of Earth’s last survivors as he manages an observation station in the far north. He has taken it up on himself to try to contact a space crew returning from Jupiter in order to deter them from entering Earth’s atmosphere.

The good news is that I only intended to watch an hour of the movie before going to bed and, instead, I ended up watching the whole thing while staying up far too late. It is an interesting, exciting film that keeps the audience guessing and holds them in a constant state of anticipation.

I also appreciated that it suggested horrible tragedy and violence in many cases without actually showing anything terribly gory.

My primary issue with The Midnight Sky, however, is that I felt as though I’d seen bits and pieces of this movie in several other films. The Road seemed to be a heavy influence, as did those other science fiction movies I already mentioned, especially The Martian. It was made very well, it had great pacing, and it looked good, yet none of it struck me as original. Finally, George Clooney, who has made a career off of his charm, displayed none of that natural charisma. That–coupled with the David Letterman beard–made for a pretty dour character.

The Midnight Sky is fine. It’s not bad–not by any stretch of the imagination. After all, it kept me up an hour more than I intended. It’s a perfectly acceptable, enjoyable science fiction movie. But it’s also not necessarily a unique experience that will make you feel like you’ve seen something new.

Burn After Reading – A Movie Review

I have to be honest, as I watched Burn After Reading, I found it more than a little dull and plodding.  While touted as a “dark comedy,” I didn’t find much funny about it at all, and actually suffered more apathy in regards to the film than anything.

However, and here’s the sign of good moviemaking, once it ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

And then, as I kept thinking about it, I started connecting all these little nuanced dots that didn’t reveal themselves until the end of the film.  The movie kept creeping into my thoughts, and I suddenly found much of it very funny.  Then I realized what a complexly simple, well-written movie had been made, and I appreciated it all the more so.

Burn After Reading is a series of interrelated events of absolutely no relevance that have dastardly (and mercilessly funny) consequences.  Frances McDormand and George Clooney steal the show in this Coen Brothers project, but Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton more than hold their own.  This is a fine cast of fairly likable actors who successfully made their characters unlikable yet charismatic at the same time-especially Tilda Swinton.

 Burn After Reading is a “slow burn” of a movie, but one that will demand your consideration even after you’ve finished watching it.

Good Night, And Good Luck – A Movie Review

I must admit that the premise of this movie is not the most exciting of plots. A reporter, Edward R. Murrow, takes on Joe McCarthy, the father of McCarthyism. However, I’d heard rave reviews of the film, both from friends and from the critics, and so I thought I should check it out.

It was stupendous.

The story itself, especially in today’s climate, was nothing less than inspirational. A few men dared to stand up for what was right, despite the repercussions, and eventually a tainted politician fell as a result. The director, a surprisingly talented George Clooney, kept the pace perfect and mixed his filming with actual footage seamlessly.

Most impressive, however, was the lead actor who played the newsman Edward R. Murrow, David Strathairn. I am completely unfamiliar with this man’s work, and I had never heard of Edward R. Murrow before this film, but Strathairn was nothing less than completely magnanimous and charismatic as the reporter. He played Murrow as deadpan, intense, and low key, and it worked perfectly. I completely understand his nomination for Best Actor at the last Academy Awards.

Along just being a great movie, this film provoked a lot of thought about what’s going on with today’s politics, the reporters covering the news, and television and its purpose. There is a strong message being conveyed, a message that I happen to agree with. See the movie and tell me if you agree with it as well.