There was a surge of movie releases this weekend, a harbinger of all the many releases we’ll see for the holiday season. Chad was interested in three, just from the preliminary buzz: We Own the Night, Michael Clayton, and Elizabeth II. We made it to the first two, both at the Irvine Spectrum, both for the first show of day, which is what Chad prefers. (I think I saw the same people there both days – it takes a certain kind of movie junkie to go see a movie in the theater at 10 am on Saturday or Sunday morning.)

We Own the Night (2007 – imdb 7.7/10.0) was a decent picture with a strong acting team: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Eva Mendes – and parts of it were excellent. I’m thinking of the hair-raising climatic scene when Phoenix is blindfolded and brought to the broken down apartment building where there is a massive but silent and focused cocaine packaging operation going on. The kind of muffled silence that happens when a group of people are wearing dust masks and working meticulously accurately,  surrounded by Russian thugs with smashed faces and big guns. On the other hand, parts of the story line, especially towards the end, were far too predictable and the conclusion was too neat. For action entertainment, I give this movie a B, although I know Chad says he’d give it a B + or an A-. I guess you can choose between the girl vote and the boy vote here.

Hello George. I did not prefer Michael Clayton (2007 – imdb 7.6/10.0) because of George Clooney, but I did definitely like this movie better. It was like a cerebral Bourne Supremacy with a much cuter lead. Clooney plays a “fixer,” or what he calls a “janitor;” he’s the guy that minimizes all major messes for a very large, important law firm. Clooney plays the role to the hilt – and I love how the story line (and characters) tilt just off center and maintain a precarious equilibrium between holding it together and falling apart. Life just feels like that to me most of the time. I did have moments, or perhaps minutes, three-quarters of the way through the movie, when I was confused and a little ready to be done, but the conclusion was well-done and satisfying. Tilda Swinton played the barely-ready-to-be-corporate-boss woman just right. I give this movie an A- => pretty good.