After 2011's dog-killing craze, everyone's wondering what the new movie trend for 2012 will be. Travelling back in time? Getting attacked by aliens? Superheroes, again?
I'm happy to reveal that it's something else entirely. 2012 is officially the year of looking over hedges. Or, as I shall now be calling it, hedging.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - 17th February
Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Matthew Lillard, Nick Krause
“My friends on the mainland think because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise. Like a permanent vacation, we’re all just out here drinking Mai Tais, shaking our hips and catching waves…”
That’s how Alexander Payne’s latest film – his first in seven years – begins. With a clichéd voiceover that sticks out like a sore thumb covered in neon fairy lights.
Matt King (Clooney) is a father whose wife Elizabeth is in a coma after a jet-ski accident. His kids don't like him much and he's also facing a tough decision about selling off the oodles of Hawaiian land he's inherited. To top it off, it turns out Ellzabeth was cheating on him. All of these things we can work out without his unnecessary opening monologue, which seems to exist just for its closing sentence: “Paradise? Paradise can go fuck itself.”
Trailer: The Descendants (2012)
Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: George Clooney, Amara Miller, Shailene Woodley
Release Date: Friday 27th January
From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar®-winning SIDEWAYS, THE DESCENDANTS is set in Hawaii and follows the unpredictable journey of an American family at a crossroads. Matt King (George Clooney), a husband and father of two girls, must re-examine his past and navigate his future when his wife is in a boating accident off Waikiki. He awkwardly attempts to repair his relationship with his daughters - 10 year-old precocious Scottie (Amara Miller) and rebellious 17 year-old Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) - while wrestling with a decision to sell his family’s land.
Handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries, the Kings own some of the last priceless virgin parcels of tropical beach in the islands. When Alexandra drops the bombshell that her mother was in the midst of a romantic fling at the time of the accident, Matt has to take a whole new look at his life, not to mention his legacy, during a week of momentous decisions. With his girls in tow, he embarks on a haphazard search for his wife’s lover. Along the way, in encounters alternately funny, troublesome and transcendent, he realizes he’s finally on course toward rebuilding his life and family.
Director: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giamatii, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Politics is bad. It’s shocking, I know, but it turns out that Presidential Elections are a hotbed of backstabbing and betrayal. Which is why the morally-minded Governor Morris (Clooney) offers such a ray of hope for assistant campaign manager Steve (Gosling). But can ethics and idealism survive in such a cutthroat world? (Spoiler: it can’t.)
After The Ides of March UK premiere on Wednesday, Alexander Payne's Hawaii-based film about a father and a husband was bound to invite yet more questions about George Clooney's desperate need to find a nice girl, settle down and become a dad.
But other issues were raised, thankfully, and the Shallene Woodley, Sideways director Alexander Payne and Clooney discussed a range of topics, from Batman and the film's tropical location to the importance of reading scripts.
Here are five things we learned from The Descendants press conference:
Director: Alexander Payne
Cast: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer
Hawaii isn't just a surfer's tropical paradise or a tourist's garden of Eden. It's a place where real people live. In the words of Clooney's lawyer Matt King, "Paradise just can f*** itself". King has been living in a world of saline drips and cannulae for the last three days - ever since his wife had a boating accident, Matt has had to put down his paperwork and pick up his life.
There’s something about George Clooney. Maybe it’s his good looks. His charming smile. His irresistible charisma. His twinkly eyes.
Whatever it is, there’s something about Old Cloonmeister that makes women swoon, men smile, and journalists constantly ask the same questions about his girlfriend or his children.
But of course, Clooney is more than that. He’s a producer, a director and the co-writer of The Ides of March, based on Beau Willimon’s play, Farragut North.
A gripping tale of corruption, ambition and morals during a presidential election, Ides is a smart drama that makes intelligent (if already well-known) points about the political industry.
With this sophisticated depth in mind, here are five things we learned at The Ides of March premiere:
It’s only a few weeks until the London Film Festival returns for its 55th year. Of course, everyone’s raving about the must-see films, from George Clooney in The Ides of March to Steve McQueen’s second film, Shame.
But if you’re only in the capital for a weekend or an afternoon, forget about Clooney’s two-pronged attack, Rachel Weisz's double-decker, or the Michael Fassbender naked sandwich.
Here are 12 other double-bills you should see at the LFF:
The London Film Festival 2011 line-up has been announced - and this year I shall be referring to it as the London Fassbender Film Festival. Mainly because George Clooney already dominated the thing in 2009 with more than one film. And his name doesn't begin with an F.
Oh, and also because Michael will be naked for at least two films during the festival. Now that's something worth celebrating.
As we already know, the festival opens with 360, Fernando Meireles' feature-length sex roulette starring Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Eminem. It closes with Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea, which stars Rachel Weisz (again) and Tom Hiddleston, but sadly no sharks.
Those disappointed with the lack of LL Cool J blowing up fish can take comfort in the fact that silver shark Clooney is still swimming in several seas. His political thriller The Ides of March (with the super-mega-hot Ryan Gosling) is making an appearance, alongside Alexander Payne's The Descendants.
Literary folks will be looking Lynne Ramsay's way, as We Need to Talk About Kevin makes its inevitable arrival in London, while Andrea Arnold scales Wuthering Heights and Tess of the D'Urbervilles gets the Winterbottom treatment with Freida Pinto and the amazing Riz Ahmed. Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus is holding Shakespeare's end up, while Roland Emmerich takes it to pieces with Anonymous, starring Rhys Ifans and David Thewlis.
And a special mention should go to The Artist, Michael Hazanavicius' silent film, which looks absolutely gorgeous.
But enough of all that, let's talk about The Fassbender.
We all know that Ryan Gosling's gorgeous and amazing. We also know that George Clooney is gorgeous and amazing.
But while The Ides of March is gearing up to be all gorgeous and amazing at the Venice Film Festival, there's a new The Ides of March clip up on t'internet. And you know what? It's gorgeous. And amazing.
Part of that credit goes straight to Evan Rachel Wood, whose sparky intern completely out-charms Gosling's campaign manager. The clip's only 62 seconds, but if Grant Heslov and George Clooney's screenplay is anything to go by - and given Good Night, and Good Luck, it probably is - then this adaptation of Beau Willimon's play is going to be superb.
The Ides of March is out in the UK on Friday 28th October. You can expect it to turn up during the first week of the London Film Festival, but until then, check out The Ides of March trailer, or read on for the new video.