Tag: Clint Eastwood


Jersey Boys

June 29th, 2014 — 6:31am

***Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 11.49.28 PM
Jersey Boys- rm
- If you are of a certain age and when you hear the high pitched voice of Frankie Valli singing “Sherry” in full harmony with the rest of the Four Seasons, you want move around and do some dancing, then this film will be a most enjoyable experience for you. We suspect many other generations will also enjoy the musical re-creation of this 50s group. Director and Producer Clint Eastwood has chosen to take this story and the music to the silver screen after a version of it was a successful Broadway Show. This is certainly more of a musical accomplishment than dramatic achievement. Each member of the group was quite distinctive in their personality and story. Frankie Castellucio alias Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) was shown to evolve from a naïve young man to the star he became. Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) was originally the brains behind the group and the one who first recognized Valli’s star potential but didn’t have the know how or the integrity to financially help them thrive and survive as a group. Nick Mass (Michael Lomenda) by dropping out prematurely allowed Valli to complete his career without the intact Four Season. Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) was the last to join the group and was the talented songwriter who probably provided the key ingredient, which allowed Valli and the group to shine so bright. Not only is the music captivating but also there is excellent choreography. There is also some very well done subtle aging of these guys as they grow into mature men. Gangsters and the mob were an important part of the scene in the upbringing of these young men and in their rise to the top. The leading gangster kingpin is well played by Christopher Walken. This is a story about boys growing into men and ultimately loyalty among men is a theme which Director and Producer Eastwood knows well and has brought to the screen many times. The women in their lives are downplayed and almost presented as incidental characters. However there is some attempt to show the meaning of a lost family life. But what will not be lost will be the history of this legendary early rock and roll band and a most enjoyable musical experience.(2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Biography, Musical

J. Edgar

December 18th, 2011 — 8:25am

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J Edgar rm-   There are very few Americans who can be recognized without their last name. J. Edgar Hoover is one of them. Clint (Eastwood) is another such name who directed this biopic about the man who served nine US Presidents and is the person most responsible for the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as we know it today. Enter Leonardo , not DaVinci but DiCaprio who certainly deserves consideration for an Oscar nomination for his magnificent depiction of J. Edgar from his early days in law enforcement until his death as the revered, feared and even despised leader of the FBI. Hoover is shown initially to be a patriot and a sincere crime fighter but his passion and his hate of those he felt were enemies led him ultimately to gather power, overstep his authority, attempt to glorify himself and use his position to blackmail and intimidate anyone who was in his way. Perhaps the most revealing part of this character study was the demonstration of this man to have a stunted emotional growth. He is shown to be completely under the sway of his mother (Judi Dench ) and at least in this version to have an inability to have an adult relationship  with women. His comfort and attachment to Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer ) whom he hired, befriended, made him his Associate Director of the FBI and ultimately lived with,  is a major part of this film. Hammer should be up for a supporting actor award winning performance as he ages from dapper young FBI agent to sickly old man during the course of the film.  It is suggested but never fully clarified wither they had an overt sexual relationship but nevertheless the irony is in your face that J. Edgar sought out other peoples’ secrets which he used against them while he had a very big one himself. This character’s ambivalence and underdeveloped personality makes it hard for us hate him , love him or identify with his persona. If anything we feel sorry for him. Despite the fact that there was nothing in the film to keep us on the edge of our seats, the 2hours and 17 minutes of the film did not seem boring  with credit to Clint’s ability to keep things moving and his skill in telling his story. (2011)

1 comment » | 3 Stars, Biography, Drama

Invictus

January 16th, 2010 — 2:41am

Invictus* * * * *
Invictus

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This is the last verse of poem titled Invictus that Susan’s dad frequently recited to inspire her and her brother. The poet William Henley wrote it in 1867 most probably reflecting his battle with tuberculosis which caused him the loss of a leg and a life with an artificial limb This is also the title and a recurrent theme of the latest movie directed and produced by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. It is small slice of the great accomplishments of a man who spent 27 years in a small prison cell before emerging to be Prime Minister of South Africa and lead his country after the fall of apartheid The story shows how Mandela was determined to bring together the country despite the anger of the blacks after years of oppression and the resentment of the whites after the loss of their power and their majority rule. The vehicle for demonstrating Mandela’s role in unifying South Africa was the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa. Matt Damon plays Francois Pienaar the captain of the South African team originally not up to the task of winning. He becomes inspired by Mandela and helps his team master their fate and perhaps the fate of their nation. The real Nelson Mandela reportedly met Morgan Freeman and hoped that he would play him in a movie . Freeman very much wanted this opportunity and finally found the script where he could do it. He did it so well that when Clint Eastwood met Mandela he said that he thought that the great leader was “imitating Freeman”. It was more than the acting that make this an outstanding film. The breaking down of barriers between people is reflected in subtle nuances of the relationships between the white and black bodyguards of the Prime Minister, in the contrast of team captain Pienaar’s parents and even in the interplay between a youngster and a police officer listening to the big game on the radio. The powerful struggle that his country had to go through seemed to be echoed in the struggle of the Rugby scrum. The final game was shown in some detail and we were told was recreated from the study of tapes of the contest. The television scenes and commentary of the actual game was woven into the movie. Only three of the many rugby players seen in the dramatic battles on the field were actors. One of these with a very small part but with a distinctive face was Scott Eastwood son of Clint. (2009)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography, Drama, Sport

Gran Torino

November 7th, 2009 — 1:25am

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Gran Torino
– rm – Clint Eastwood directs and stars as the crusty widower who is the last relic of a changing neighborhood. Not surprisingly, the character is perfectly played and created a full range of emotional experiences in your reviewers. While the story is somewhat predictable it holds your full attention. We almost didn’t choose to see this movie but are very glad that we did and will not forget it. 2008

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

Changeling

November 7th, 2009 — 12:31am

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Changeling
– sp – The amazing thing about this movie as told to us by long time TV writer, first time screen writer Michael Straczynski is that all the details in this movie are true as is much of the dialog which was taken from court transcripts. The time is 1928 Los Angeles with period clothes and automobiles setting the atmosphere while the story with very fine acting provides the drama and emotion. Director Clint Eastwood stays true to the story and script and once again shows how he has evolved into one of our finest contemporary movie directors. The Los Angeles Police Department is the villain of this movie and a young mother who doggedly wants her missing child returned to her, magnificently played by Angelina Jolie, is the heroine. John Malkovitch also turns in a sterling performer as the anti-police crusading reverend. A totally unsympathetic depiction of psychiatric treatment disturbed Michael but probably was mostly true at the time. 2008

Comment » | 4 Stars, Crime, Drama, Thriller

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