October 27, 2016
        "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars        

George Clooney, Ryan Gosling at “Ides of March” premiere – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: George Clooney and Ryan Gosling walked the red carpet in Los Angeles Tuesday night for “The Ides of March,” Clooney’s fourth directorial effort and a serious Oscar contender in this year’s awards race. And while premieres are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, I’m spotlighting this one because I’m really hoping the publicity helps put Clooney’s intelligent, suspenseful drama on everyone’s radar, because the excellent thriller deserves to be seen.

“Ides” stars Gosling as Steven, a brilliant young political analyst working behind-the-scenes for Gov. Mike Morris (Clooney), the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. But during a key campaign stop in Ohio, a scandal threatens to derail Morris’ career, swallowing Steven up in the process.

Clooney’s precise direction helps construct “Ides” like a delicate house of cards. Each piece added to the puzzle helps fortify the mystery, but we get the sense the whole time watching that one false move can bring the entire story crumbling down.

It’s a thrilling ride, made all the more enjoyable by Clooney’s outstanding cast, which includes Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and Philip Seymour Hoffman. “Ides” calls to mind Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck” (nominated for Best Picture, Director and more) in the way it leans on a stellar ensemble as it takes audiences deep into an industry they think they are familiar with but really don’t understand at all. Here, it happens to be politics, but the character traits explored by Clooney’s crackling thriller are universal, and exhilarating.

“The Ides of March” opens everywhere on Oct. 7. Be sure to check it out. Clooney delivers a fantastically tense package that boasts the kind of acting we tend to take for granted. If there’s justice, we’ll be talking about “Ides” all Oscar season long.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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