Cecile de France

Foreign Objects - Large

Cyril is looking for his dad. The boy was dropped off at a state-run foster home by his father and told it was just a temporary thing while the man got his act together financially. But the days became weeks, and now when Cyril tries calling he gets a recording that the line has been disconnected. He runs away from the home eventually making his way back to where he used to live. But his father is long gone. The Kid With a Bike offers up a sad story, but it avoids melodrama through honest writing, beautiful acting and Cyril’s sheer force of will. The boy refuses to accept his abandonment at face value and pursues the truth regardless of the walls erected in his way. It’s alternately heartbreaking and hopeful, and it’s never less than engaging. Most surprising for a simple drama, the movie is easily one of the year’s most suspenseful as Cyril’s fate and future hang precariously in the balance.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on his ghostbusting gear to take on the two big spiritual flicks in the theaters. He suffers through a tsunami in Hereafter and struggles even more to get through Clint Eastwood’s latest Oscar-bait flick. Then he sets up a stationary video camera to capture any strange goings-on while he sleeps. He plans to sell the film to Paramount as Paranormal Activity 3: More Shots of Nothing Happening.

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The sort of movie for which the critical cliché “tone poem” was invented, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter evokes an eerie serenity in the face of death. With three interlocking storylines centered on our awareness, perceptions and ultimate acceptance of the afterlife, on what the notion that you start dying the moment you’re born really means, the picture ought to cast a particular, carefully controlled spell. Yet Eastwood, an adept handler of “meat-and-potatoes” narratives and more naked emotions, fails to transform the precise, melancholic sensibility at the heart of Peter Morgan’s screenplay into an affecting cinematic experience. Long-winded, ponderous and without much in the way of compelling drama, Hereafter sputters across three countries, filled with haunting imagery but never offering the visceral, subtle transcendence of a film by a more adept chronicler of spiritual sensations.

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defrance-eastwood

Clint Eastwood is less than a month from releasing his next film, Invictus, and it already appears as if the old goat is working on his next masterwork…

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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