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Entries in Clint Eastwood (21)

Saturday
Oct112014

YNMS: Tomorrowland, American Sniper, Black Sea

Tonight is the "Closing Night" of the New York Film Festival (Birdman and I'm happy to report that it's wondrous) though there are screenings tomorrow making the title only honorary, really. We'll wrap up soon with Inherent Vice and Birdman thoughts and things we learned at the fest. All the screenings and the first wave of Oscar seeking interviews (coming at'cha soon) have left us seriously behind on the matter of movie trailers / teasers so here are three which you may well have seen already but let's discuss in abbreviated Yes No Maybe So fashion.

TOMORROWLAND
Yes - This does what teasers, hell trailers themselves, should do: intrigues but doesn't give the game away. If only full trailers would follow suit. Come on studios: Help moviegoers rediscover a little something called curiousity. 
No - It's not really fair since he's had a couple of low key years but I'm feeling Clooney fatigue for some reason. Was it the wedding?
Maybe So -According to the vague summaries the story, about a futuristic utopia created by technology, is actually led by Britt Robertson (seen here discovering it via a magic pin) with Clooney in co-lead position as a former whiz kid she enlists to help her get back to this magical place and something something. Like I said: Vague. That's the best kind of pre-release info.

 

AMERICAN SNIPER
Yes - Trailers that are essentially one scene clips with flourishes round the edges to convey a movie are big "yes" moments. This scene, a sniper trying to decide whether to kill a woman or child is properly lose-lose upsetting. 
No - that tagline "the most lethal sniper in US history" paired with "12.25.14" is gross. Thanks for the coal in the stocking, Warner Bros! Merry Christmas to you, too.
Maybe So - It's a Clint Eastwood film. As you know his aesthetic is way too dreary for me to fully enjoy (even the recent musical was dreary!) but this kind of film can get away with dreary and probably should. Don't know about the banal easy juxtaposition of "American family life!" shoved aggressively into this Middle Eastern war zone via all those inserts but I like how mundane Bradley Cooper's voice sounds in this context.

BLACK SEA
Yes - Two obvious things. 1) Submarines and ocean settings in general often make for fine thrillers given the claustrophia or 'all alone in the world' madness. And 2) Jude Law, for all of the unevenness of his career, is always watchable. Isn't it great that "he's a liability" is voiced over our glimpse of Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Place Beyond the Pines)? He's anything but a liability in movies but of course he is just that in context since he's so good at playing shifty/dangerous characters. Scoot McNairy is also in it.
No - A cuisinart presentation of the whole movie, albeit without grotesque spoilers just general spoilers that the men turn against each other. But we kinda figured that with the pitch in the first minute. Still, where is the hook to care about this? Or is it assumed we will through that blaring music and fast-cutting.
Maybe So -  Kevin Macdonald. Is the jury still out on him (The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle, State of Play, How I Live Now) or does everyone just expect a range from *shrug* to 'quite watchable' but never great?

Wednesday
Jun252014

Let's Stop Pretending We Don't Have The Talent Base For Great Movie Musicals

Over at IndieWire Max O'Connell writes an impassioned essay about the terrible direction that keeps sinking movie musicals. While I do not agree that Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys is the best-directed musical of the past 10 years (yikes!) the case is stronger than I was expecting that that is at least debatable.

Why does Hollywood have such a hard time making musicals?

Many of the essay's points are memorize / share worthy. I merely wish that Max didn't succumb to the tired notion that there simply aren't enough charismatic stars with musical theater chops for the genre to really be alive again. This notion is brought up nearly every time people talk about the state of the film musical (or when they're casting and have to defend strange choices) but it's just patently false. 

Here's that bit of the otherwise stellar article:

Maybe there aren't enough modern equivalents to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers or Judy Garland has made it difficult to churn out great musicals on a regular basis.

That last bit might have a lot to do with it: Few movie stars have the song-and-dance skills required to knock a musical out of the park, and not all musical theater performers have the charisma required for the camera. That leaves a lot of directors to choose between Russell Crowe and Pierce Brosnan warbling their way through well-known songs or John Lloyd Young, the original star of "Jersey Boys," who reprised his role in Eastwood's film, showing up and singing beautifully -- but lacking the fire to keep Frankie Valli interesting when he's not singing. There is a third option of pulling a Marni Nixon and dubbing Michael Cerveris singing over Johnny Depp or Patti LuPone over Helena Bonham Carter, but then you've got a star's ego to deal with.

(Sigh)

Repeat after me: There is ALWAYS a better choice than Crowe vs. Brosnan vs. Someone People Have Never Heard Of Who Isn't Great on Camera. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun222014

Box Office: The Jersey Boys Fail to Entertain Audiences

Amir here with the weekend’s box office report. Every other article today is using the ‘boys versus men’ pun but not us. We will just stick to reporting. The Jersey Boys fell far behind Think Like a Man Too at the box office, barely edging out Maleficent for the fourth spot. Nathaniel described the Clint Eastwood musical as a film “low on entertainment value and low on colour” and audiences seem to agree with him. Since Eastwood kissed Western goodbye with Unforgiven, he’s tackled a lot of genres and themes to varying degrees of success, but a Jersey Boys musical surely felt like an adventure too far before it was even made.  

"Man" opened big. The "Boys" did not.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
01 THINK LIKE A MAN TOO $30 NEW 
02 22 JUMP STREET $29 (cum. $111.4)
03 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $25.3 (cum. 95.1)
04 JERSEY BOYS $13.5 NEW Review
05 MALEFICENT $13 (cum. $185.9) Podcast

Edge is surprisingly good. But due to its huge budget it's a bomb.06 EDGE OF TOMORROW $10.3 (cum. $74.5) Capsule
07 FAULT IN OUR... $8.6 (cum. $98.7) Review
08 X-MEN: DOFP $6.2 (cum. $216.7) Review
09 CHEF $1.8 (cum. $16.9) 
10 GODZILLA $1.8 (cum. $194.9) Review & Podcast
11 A MILLION WAYS... $1.6 (cum. $40.3) Guest Review
12 NEIGHBORS $1.3 (cum. $145.7)  Review & Podcast

Below Think Like a Man Too, Kevin Hart’s second great success this year after Ride Along, 22 Jump Street beat How To Train Your Dragon 2, something I emphatically predicted would not happen. Still, I maintain that in the long run, Dragon is going to come out on top. On the limited end of things, the biggest name opening is Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur, a kinky, mildly entertaining trifle that is one of the director’s more forgettable efforts – I reviewed it here.

I continue to be nailed down to my sofa and completely enchanted by the World Cup, a far more interesting option than the new Eastwood (especially since I have little affection for his post-Unforgiven career). But I'll get around to Dragon, Jump Street and Obvious Child during the week. What did you watch this weekend?

Saturday
Jun212014

Review: "Jersey Boys"

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

 

‘I’m looking for sky blue and you’re giving me brown,' a fey producer sighs when the Four Seasons are in the recording booth. They’re just going through the motions rather than livening up their material. He could just have easily been dissing Jersey Boys itself, Clint Eastwood’s needlessly dull adaptation of the Broadway smash. In truth the band’s performance in this scene isn’t appreciably worse than their performances elsewhere in the movie. If you can’t readily spot differences in inspiration and creative fire from one performance to the next, maybe there’s none to be found?

“Brown” isn’t quite the color of it, though. Clint Eastwood’s aesthetic favors underlit rooms, heavy blacks and washed out color. You’d think that aesthetic would change for a splashy musical but you’d be wrong. I mean, why shouldn’t a musical about a famous band with a gift for hooky pop gems look as depressing / dead-end as a drama about desperate boxers or a war film about an island massacre?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr182014

Yes No Maybe So: "Jersey Boys"

From Tommy Lee Jones directing himself and The Swank we turn to another far more accomplished actor-turned-director. Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars in his career from two films (Unforgiven & Million Dollar Baby) but the 83 year old director has had a bit of a rougher run than usual in recent years, critically speaking. He's back with Jersey Boys based on the Broadway jukebox hit about the Four Seasons.

Let's divvy up our reactions to the trailer.

YES
• There will be a lot of music 
• Counterprogramming in the blockbuster realm of summer movies could help with critical reception so that's a smart move.
• Newish handsome actors in plum star-making position (if the movie is good and they ace it)
• Clint went from two-a-year to radio silence for two years. Maybe the time off did him good? This is, the longest break he's ever taking from directing since between The Gauntlet (1977) and Bronco Billy (1980). Maybe the time off will rejuvenate him...

NO

•... because Changeling/Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009)  Hereafter (2010) and J. Edgar (2011) were a dire quintet with hard-to-miss quality drops-off between each.
• The moment when Clint Eastwood's name comes up and it's paired with a suddenly plaintiff piano note is almost self-parodic considering his somber repertoire and his unfortunate desire to score all of his own movies. Something must have drawn him to this topic but have he and his chief accomplice (other than himself) Tom Stern smothered the joy from the Four Seasons music?
• People narrating directly to camera like they're still on the stage. Pass me the advil. Or revolver. Insufferable 
• Do we need more film celebrations of goodfellas bro-centric style Jersey? 
• If this is a hit, maybe Clint Eastwood will feel emboldened to remake A Star is Born with Beyoncé as he'd originally hoped. And nobody needs that remade. Again. (Three times would have to be enough right?)

MAYBE SO
•  Jersey Boys is a traditional biography (with a ♪ beat) and Clint is Clint so traditional forms ever so slightly tweaked (Unforgiven, Letters From Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby) are exactly what produces his best work.
• There doesn't look to be as much color and joy as one would expect from a pop culture musical but it doesn't look as inky, heavy and self-serious as recent Eastwood flicks and that has to be considered a smart change of pace at this juncture.
• Doesn't look like an Oscar play (not that that couldn't happen) which is something of a surprise.
• It's kind of a relief not to see famous miscast faces or at least it's a treat to get new faces, since the musical is about new stars. John Lloyd Young, playing Frankie Valli, won the Tony on stage. It's been a long time since a Tony winner was afforded the opportunity to transfer with their star-making vehicle. Not that you can't biff it if you stick with the original cast (see: Rent for a "why not to do that") but it doesn't happen enough not to celebrate it when it does. One can only assume that Meryl Streep turned down the role of Frankie Valli.

 

Monday
Mar172014

The Link World

Gilt City contest to see IF/THEN the wickedly talented one and only Idina Menzel's new Broadway show
The Wire is documenting the Kevin Spacey / Rob Ford feud
Instagram Madonna dresses up as Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons
Coming Soon 3D retrofitting continues for animated films and The Incredibles and Ratatouille are in process
i09 another "Let it Go" cover (they never end) this time using famous Disney cartoon voices 

Cinema Blend rumors circulating that Halle Berry has been cut from X-Men Days of Future Past. Less bad wigs in a movie is always a plus
In Contention Guy Lodge on the winners of the Miami Film Festival includeing the Brazilian thriller A Wolf at the Door. Could it be their Oscar submission this year?
Variety talks to Scarlett Johansson about Woody Allen and like Cate Blanchett she's level-headed about it

Ongoing Controversy
Felicia Day is upset, like we are, about the casting of a white actress as Tiger Lily though I'm linking up to this because even in the pro-ethnic casting majority people keep perpetuating the notion that it would be a risk and no such famous actors exist because they don't get the opportunities and in all of this so few people ever mention the fact that there IS a Native American actress who is beautiful, not completely obscure, and the right age for it who has already carried a movie. How can people have forgotten Q'Orianka Kilcher from The New World this quickly? She is 24 and talented and beautiful and this is ridiculous.  Obviously I missed my calling to be a casting director and slap sense into everyone.

I had already posted this on Twitter but just to remind everyone this is the movie she starred in and this is what she looks like now.

Q'Orianka in The New World (2005) and last year at an Oscar Party

In Development
Variety because there hasn't been enough film and television related to Silence of the Lambs, a new possible biopic of a psychiatrist who treated the man who inspired Buffalo Bill 
Variety casting on Greta Gerwig's sitcom continues. Adorable Nicholas D'Agosto from Masters of Sex on board
Coming Soon it's tough to keep track of Clint Eastwood's projects but after Jersey Boys he's doing American Sniper and it looks like Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller will star as man and wife in the true story about a legendary Navy SEAL.
Empire Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) is working on an original film musical !
Cinema Blend Jon Hamm and Zach Galifanakis will headline the comedy Keeping up with the Joneses about a suburban couple whose neighbors are undercover agents. No word yet on the casting of the wives

And FYI... our own Amir Soltani is launching a new podcast called "Hello Cinema" with a focus on Iranian Cinema. Here's the teaser...

Tuesday
Apr092013

Curio: Mitch Frey's Film Typologies

Alexa here. The German photographers Bernard and Hilla Becher pioneered the art of the typology: grids of images of various examples of a single type of object. The technique was to photograph a series of similar objects, usually industrial structures, from similar vantage points to highlight what their differences were. Illustrator Mitch Frey has used this technique to create grids of types from the world of film, including these 70s movie men. He's turned the typology into a fun guessing game of "Name That Movie!"

We'll continue the guessing games after the jump, with 70s ladies, and typologies of Clint Eastwood through the years...

Click to read more ...