George Clooney stars in the political thriller by Tony Gilroy

Last chance: George Clooney is ‘Michael Clayton’ on HBO Max

“I’m not a miracle worker. I’m a janitor.” George Clooney simmers as Michael Clayton (2007), a legal “fixer” who works behind the scenes of a powerful New York law firm, in Tony Gilroy’s smart, sharp legal drama. When he’s sent to clean up the moral meltdown of the firm’s leading litigator (Tom Wilkinson), he unwittingly […]

George Clooney is ‘The American’ on Amazon Prime

Anton Corbijn’s The American (2010) is a cool, continental thriller starring George Clooney as the titular American, a professional in the assassination game in Europe. I use the term “thriller” in the generic sense, as this plays out more like Jean-Pierre Melville portrait of isolated underworld professionals, freelancers in the international network of criminal enterprise. […]

George Clooney stars in 'Burn After Reading' from Joel and Ethan Coen

‘Burn After Reading’ – unclassified CIA laughs on Amazon Prime

Burn After Reading (2008) – After the darkness of No Country for Old Men, the Coen Bros. eased up with a deadpan espionage farce played out by small fish convinced that they are in deep waters, a film much lighter and significantly slighter but put together with such perfection that you can’t help but be […]

Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney in the film from director Robert Rodriguez

‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ – B-movie vampire orgy on Paramount+

Quentin Tarantino’s work-for-hire rewrite of a B-movie script became an instant cult item when Robert Rodriguez took the reins of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, R), a gory south-of-the-border horror tale with a spaghetti western flourish. George Clooney headlines the picture as a charming and deadly bank robber who, along with his a psycho brother […]

‘Ocean’s Eleven’ – the art of the modern heist on HBO Max

Steven Soderbergh and his cool cast accomplish what Lewis Milestone couldn’t with the original Vegas playboy Rat Pack back in the 1960s: they swing to the beat of the heist. Ostensibly a remake / reworking of the fun but often flat heist classic with Frank Sinatra and friends, Ocean’s Eleven (2001) is the most shamelessly […]

‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ – third time’s the charm on HBO Max

George Cooney and Brad Pitt reunite to old gang for one more romp in Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), third film in Steven Soderberg’s jaunty heist franchise. This time they’re out to avenge group mentor Reuben (Elliott Gould), who has been cheated by international casino kingpin (Al Pacino, playing the financial shark with teeth bared). While Reuben […]

‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ on Disney+

Wes Anderson turns to stop motion animation for Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book. It’s a delight and, animation aside, a Wes Anderson film through and through. Voiced by George Clooney with his perfectly pitched mix of matter-of-fact cockiness and oblivious confidence, Fox is a happily married husband and uncertain […]

George Clooney in 'Hail, Caesar!,' the loving Hollywood studio satire from Joel and Cthan Coen.

‘Hail, Caesar!’ from the Coen Bros. on Netflix

Hail, Caesar! (2015), the Coen Bros.’s sly lampoon of 1950s Hollywood, is an affectionate and satirical tribute to studio filmmaking and a wittily skewed comedy of cultural politics in early 1950s America, the beginning of the end of the studio era. Set at the fictional Capitol Pictures, an MGM-like studio, and centered on Eddie Mannix […]

‘Good Night, and Good Luck.’ – Why journalism matters on Netflix

David Strathairn plays broadcast journalism godfather Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005, PG), George Clooney’s austere, astounding drama about his career-threatening decision to use the airwaves to take on Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1953. Directing in a stripped down style, Clooney’s direction captures the […]