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Entries in Clint Eastwood (20)

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 ...

Saturday
Jan122013

Emmanuelle Riva's Oscar Birthday And The 100 Oldest Living Oscar Nominees

Emmanuelle Riva at the NYFCC Awards earlier this weekGuess who has a birthday on Oscar night this year? Emmanuelle Riva! What fortuitous timing.

The legendary French actress of Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) fame, was Oscar-nominated just a few days ago for her haunting downward spiral in Michael Haneke's Amour (2012) and on her 86th birthday she could become the oldest winner of any competitive acting Oscar. Christopher Plummer, who turned 83 last month, currently holds that record for his win last year for Beginners. Riva's abundantly well deserved nomination makes her, at this writing, the 64th oldest living Oscar nominee or winner, just a few days younger than American screen legend Sidney Poitier.

So, as we gear up for Oscar night, I thought it was time to look back with gratitude on our elders. Let's pay homage to the Oscar nominees and winners that are still with us. Investigate these talents with your DVD queues and perhaps they'll feel the vibes of new fans "discovering" their cinematic contributions. That would have to be a sweet (and deserved) sensation. 

I'm posting today, not just due to the discovery that next month's Emmanuelle Riva Birthday Celebration will involve all the biggest stars in the world, but because it's January 12th, on which we always say happy birthday to #1 on this list. I hope you enjoy!

100 OLDEST LIVING OSCAR NOMINEES/WINNERS
to clarify: I included Honorary Oscars even if the person was never up for a competitive statue

Luise Rainer and Luise Rainer1-10

01 Luise Rainer (1/12/10)
HAPPY 103rd BIRTHDAY, LUISE!
Recently name-checked not so flatteringly in Hitchcock, she was once known as the "Viennese Teardrop" and sits in the record books as the first back-to-back Oscar winning actor for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937). She's been very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in. Her career ended for more complicated reasons. Other key works: Not really. Not films she liked at any rate. Her career was over almost as soon as it began.

99 More Greats After the Jump 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep232012

Trouble With The House at the End of Watched Curved Street

It was a photo finish this weekend with Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jake Gyllenhaal all struggling to land in first place. We won't really know who did until tomorrow. If you ask me that's a poor showing for Jennifer (given that horror is an easy cash grab on opening weekends) and Clint and a redemptive showing for Jakey who pundits always like to claim is over as a bankable leading man if he ever was. But maybe that's my bias spinning it since I have yet to seek treatment for the Gyllenhaalism. (Next up Maggie G in Won't Back Down!)

Box Office Fifteen
[TIE] 01 END OF WATCH  $13 *NEW*
[TIE] 01 HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET $13 *NEW*  
03 TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE $12.7 *NEW* 
04 FINDING NEMO 3-D $9.4 (cum $29.9 this time 'round)
05 RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION $6.7 (cum $33.4)
06 DREDD $6.3 *NEW* 
07 THE MASTER $5 (cum. $6.0)
08 POSSESSION $2.6 (cum. $45.6)
09 LAWLESS $2.3 (cum. $34.5) REVIEW
10 PARANORMAN $2.2 (cum. $52.5) 
11 THE BOURNE LEGACY $1.6 (cum. $110.4) 
12 THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN $1.5 (cum. $48.6) REVIEW
13 THE EXPENDABLES 2 $1.4 (cum. $82.9) Let's cast a female version
14 ARBITRAGE $1.2 (cum. $3.9) 
15 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES $1.2 (cum. $443.1) REVIEW

The Master had the healthiest per screen average among the wide openings (though it's only just barely "wide" now) but P.T. Anderson movies have never made as much by the end of their run as The Odd Life of Timothy Green already has (approaching $50 million) which is totally why we can't have nice things. Adults with taste continue to destroy Hollywood by staying at home and watching their premium channels instead of supporting films made for them at the theaters.  In limited release Perks of Being a Wallflower led the arthouse with a very healthy per screen average and a quarter million gross in its first weekend.

What did you see this weekend? And who is still going to Batman? He hung up his cowl, people!

In more timely news, are you watching the Emmys with us tonight? If so "see" you in the comments section.