Clint Eastwood

David Thomson on Films: Can You Watch?
March 19, 2011

We are looking down on a plain building, without distinction or appeal. Its one point of interest seems to be that rapid, rushing water surrounds it to the height of ten feet or so. Then, the story begins. On the current of this water, a sequence of empty automobiles reverse tidily round the corner of the building—it’s very prettily done and somehow confirms the suspicion that drivers may be the problem in cars. A line of them, six or seven, complete the turn, without collision or dispute, and then reverse out of frame.

The Healer
June 15, 2010

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA—It was as clear as the film’s most famous scene: The work of reconciliation in South Africa is not done yet. In February 2008, a video appeared online showing four white students from South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS) hazing their black janitors as if they were new freshmen. There’s a beer-drinking contest, a footrace to “Chariots of Fire.” Near the end, the boys appear to pee into bowls of stew and urge the janitors to eat up. It was supposed to be an in-house joke, a protest against a plan to integrate their dorm, a student residence called Reitz.

The Healer
June 15, 2010

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA—It was as clear as the film’s most famous scene: The work of reconciliation in South Africa is not done yet. In February 2008, a video appeared online showing four white students from South Africa’s University of the Free State (UFS) hazing their black janitors as if they were new freshmen. There’s a beer-drinking contest, a footrace to “Chariots of Fire.” Near the end, the boys appear to pee into bowls of stew and urge the janitors to eat up. It was supposed to be an in-house joke, a protest against a plan to integrate their dorm, a student residence called Reitz.

Please Tell Me You're Not Calling Obama A Fake Cowboy Now
June 09, 2010

Earlier this week, Matt Lauer had this exchange in an interview with President Obama: MR. LAUER: -- that this is not the time to meet with experts and advisers. This is a time to spend more time in the Gulf and -- I never thought I'd say this to a president -- but kick some butt. PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Chuckles.) MR. LAUER: And I don't mean it to be funny. PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. And I understand. And here's what -- I'm going to push back hard on this, because I think that this is just an idea that got in folks' heads and the media has run with it.

Oscar Grouching
February 04, 2010

The Oscar nominations rolled on out this week, but with a difference: In a rather explicit admission that it does not trust its own judgment, the Academy has upped the number of Best Picture nominees from the usual five to ten. Let’s begin there. Best Picture Last year, there was widespread disgruntlement that critical and popular hits Wall-E and The Dark Knight missed the cut for this award. So the Academy decided, in essence, to protect itself from its own ineptitude by nominating more pictures.

The Mini-Review: 'Invictus'
December 11, 2009

Though the story is set in South Africa, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is a hybrid of classic American forms, the triumphant sports movie and the high-minded political film. There is much to like in the film, and a fair amount one might dislike as well, but in the end one’s overall feelings are likely depend on one’s enthusiasm for these genres in general and for their peculiar marriage in this instance. Invictus tells the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major international sporting event to take place in South Africa following the collapse of apartheid.

Made His Day
December 05, 2008

The National Board of Review have their film awards out today, and they evidently really, really like Clint Eastwood. Both his efforts this year, Changeling and Gran Torino, made their list of top 10 films of the year, and for the latter they also awarded him best actor and screenwriter Nick Schenk best original screenplay. Now, I'm a longtime Eastwood defender, but these were two of the worst films I saw all year.

The Worst Cinematic Trend Of The Year
December 02, 2008

When Ed Harris decided that producing, directing, and starring in Appaloosa wasn't enough for him, and he needed to co-write and sing the movie's theme song ("You'll Never Leave My Heart") over the credits, it was a painful, but endurable, event. The song includes lyrics such as these (he's referring, rather ungallantly, to co-star Renee Zellweger's character) Being scared and lonely, acting so darn looseScrewin' who you want to and believing you're excused and Harris's singing voice might be charitably described as unmemorable.

Spike Vs. Clint, Continued!
June 08, 2008

The best feud in Hollywood has just gotten uglier. It all started when Spike Lee complained that Clint Eastwood's 2006 World War II dramas--Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima--did not show any black soldiers. Eastwood responded by saying that the people who raised the flag over Iwo Jima (the subject of Flags) were all white, and added that Lee had complained about Eastwood directing the Charlie Parker biopic Bird back in 1988: "He was complaining when I did Bird.  Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that's why. He could have gone ahead and made it.

Matters of Fate
January 29, 2007

In the otherwise brilliant opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, dramatizing the American landings in France on D-day, Steven Spielberg made one small slip. He completely engulfs the viewer in the American assault; but when we are thus immersed, he inserts a brief clip of German machine-gunners firing at the Americans. This complete switch in view cracks our involvement. It takes a few seconds to become American-absorbed again. Knowingly or not, Clint Eastwood has converted the Spielberg slip into a triumph.

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