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Film Fans not fanatical about 'The Ides of March'

In this image released by Colombia Pictures, from left, George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, and Talia Akiva, are shown in a scene from "Ides of March." (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Saeed Adyani) 

In this image released by Colombia Pictures, from left, George Clooney, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, and Talia Akiva, are shown in a scene from "Ides of March." (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Saeed Adyani) 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the film of the week: "The Ides of March." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 stars out of 4

I have to admit, a movie about politics didn't thrill me at first but the all-star cast sure made me glad I went. "The Ides of March" is centered on the campaign of Gov. Mike Morris (played by George Clooney) leading up to the Democratic presidential primary in Ohio. The movie is filled with all the shady deals, media spinning and dirty business of politics we all seem to know happens during campaigning.

Clooney gives you his best as an Obama-like, change-the-world savior with a hot-shot press secretary Stephen Meyers, played by Ryan Gosling. Meyers handles all the day-to-day dealings and ups and downs of running a campaign for president. It starts up slowly with Meyers spinning the media in their favor with a New York Times reporter played by Marisa Tomei but quickly gets out of control.

While trying to win over an endorsement of a senator that could guarantee the nomination, Meyers finds himself in trouble with Morris' campaign manager (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) by having a secret meeting with the rival candidate's campaign manager played by Paul Giamatti. Both Seymour and Giamatti portray the old school political veterans flawlessly. The pulse of the movie continues to speed up. As if things couldn't get worse, Meyers finds himself in the middle of a sex scandal with an intern played by Evan Rachel Wood.

Meyers ends up having to go against his morals to pull himself and his candidate out of all the tangled mess. "The Ides of March" is a supremely acted political drama with twists and turns that build up to an explosive ending. It's definitely a must-see movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you rooting for or against everyone on screen.-- Ken Gamble, Lawrenceville1 star out of 4

The film captures a historic political event within the movie title "The Ides of March" or as captured by William Shakespeare, the day of Julius Caesar's betrayal and assassination.

The film embodies the political process as seen through the eyes of Stephen, played by Ryan Gosling. Stephen works in the campaign staff as press secretary for governor to presidential hopeful Mike Morris, (actor and director George Clooney). Gosling is surrounded by Hollywood heavy hitters Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and George Clooney, but Gosling is the true star of this film. Gosling's character Stephen begins his political career as a not so savvy wide-eyed optimist and believer in the ideals of politics. Like a puzzle piece that doesn't exactly fit, his character evolves into the persona of the disillusioned hardened politicians surrounding the campaign, seasoned with more experience as well as hidden agendas.

The positive aspects of this movie are that George Clooney directed it, and although plays a major role in the movie, steps aside to allow Gosling to shine. Clooney is a thoughtful and intelligent actor, and draws on his father's experience as both columnist for the Cincinnati Post and campaign hopeful for Kentucky's 4th Congressional District.

I've seen this movie billed as a smart political thriller, but I would term it more as a character development film. Although interesting, it was slow moving and held no surprises for me. I recommend waiting for the rental.-- Cathryn Veal, Lawrenceville1 stars out of 4

Despite the enormous casting of high-level talent, this movie tries but fails due to an inept script. Few movies can succeed with an inadequate plan. This is a political story of deceit, viciousness and paranoia. It's human relations gone out-of-control. It stars George Clooney as Gov. Mike Morris who is in a Democratic primary struggling for president. Problem though is Clooney is the poster child for creating bad movies that go nowhere and he has another major underachiever here to add to his growing list. His two top aides, Stephen, (Ryan Gosling) and Paul, (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and a host of interns led by Molly, Evan Rachel Wood, support Mike.

Of course, there is the manufactured bit of intrigue and mystery but what a yawner on balance. There is the obligatory sex with Molly, the "beautiful blonde" intern and Stephen, the perceived political idealist. There is the backstabbing between the big men that Madison Avenue would describe as "spell-bounding." Do not be fooled here though, this is truly a dog with fleas. The only redeeming feature here is, by sheer luck, Ryan Gosling's role is a wee bit compelling but not nearly enough to save this little shop of horrors from an HBO night. Moreover, this is perhaps the most disappointing film for 2011 given its top shelf acting resources.-- Rick Wright, Auburn