Clint Eastwood

Warner Bros.

When American Sniper was released in a few theaters in New York and L.A. last month, it seemed like no one gave it a second thought. Critics were mixed on it, and the mainstream media largely ignored it. Boy, a lot has changed. Now that the Clint Eastwood-directed Iraq War story has been nominated for six Oscars and is on its way being one of the top-grossing movies of the year, it is no longer a film to ignore. It has become a prize for Democrats and Republicans to fight over. Conservatives hail its success as a rebuke to a left-leaning Hollywood that has, in their view, rejected movies that are sympathetic to the military. Meanwhile, liberal commentators are doing their best to expose the film’s propagandistic intent, arguing the inherent pro-war message of an Iraq War film that doesn’t bother to question the reasons America invaded in the first place. So who’s right?

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American Sniper Fake Baby

Imagine that you’re making a movie, and the baby you’ve arranged to be on set for half the day has a fever. No problem, right? You have a backup baby (and producers who plan ahead). Only, your backup baby isn’t available either. You are babyless. What do you do? If you’re Clint Eastwood, you grab the closest piece of plastic you can find in the cabbage patch. American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall explained that they used the absurd baby doll because one infant was sick and the other didn’t show (prima donna), and while it’s appropriately being mocked, it also provides a great lesson about bad solutions to production day problems. This may be what a no-budget production has to deal with, but American Sniper is an Oscar nominee with a $60m budget. How could something like this get through? Most likely the American Sniper fake baby is the result of the Eastwood Laziness Problem that also often sees the first take as the only one worth shooting. Even so, it’s baffling that — in a universe where Marvel got all of the Avengers back together for shawarma and pick-up shots are the norm — a movie like this couldn’t have fixed this scene. Or, better yet, fixed it on the day. To be fair, not having the baby you expected is a problem, but there have got to be better solutions (even on-the-fly) than sending a PA to Toys ‘R’ Us on the double. How vital was it to see the baby […]

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Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood pumps out movies like he works on an assembly line. He moves so fast that he had two films hit theaters in 2014, but while there’s nothing wrong with a workmanlike approach to film making — especially if there’s some obvious passion in the final product — the working man is going to have some off days from time to time. Unfortunately, American Sniper was made on one of those days. The clunky bio pic has a strong performance from Bradley Cooper, but even he can’t make up for this misguided and underwhelming effort. Based on the late Chris Kyle‘s life and autobiography, American Sniper shows Kyle’s (Cooper) life as a son, husband, father, and, most famously, America’s deadliest sniper. Screenwriter Jason Hall (Paranoia) has written less of a film about Kyle than a series of CliffsNotes. The film opens with Kyle questioning whether he should shoot a suspicious mother and child in Iraq, and the way this predicament plays out is shown over the course of the film. Then the film cuts to his childhood, where we see Kyle’s religious father teaching him how to shoot and telling him about the evils of the world. We see how this sticks with Kyle, but it’s not terribly vital to the film or the character. That trend repeats throughout as we wonder why Eastwood and Hall have made certain choices at the detriment of the film’s potential drama. We see why Kyle enlisted, how he met his wife Taya (Sienna Miller), and spend time on his days as […]

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Jersey Boys 1

I can understand the appeal of a jukebox musical on Broadway. In a way, it’s just a concert, albeit for cover artists, with a little bit of story thrown in for fun — like skits on a rap record. On the big screen, though, they just can’t be as enjoyable. There’s no live performance and, unless you find just the right movie theater or wait a number of years for a Drafthouse sing-a-long screening, there’s none of the same audience vibe you get with the real deal. I’m sure the stage incarnation of Jersey Boys is a really good time. The movie version, on the other hand, looks like a real bore of a biopic with an imitation soundtrack. It seems so generic that they’ve probably even thrown in a token sibling death for Frankie Valli. This evening we got our best look yet at the adaptation, directed by none other than Clint Eastwood. And by the look of this new trailer, Jersey Boys looks like a cheap TV series knocking off the period-set popularity of Mad Men. That is especially disappointing, because Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern have made some great historical dramas together, including Letters From Iwo Jima and Changeling, for which Stern received an Oscar nomination. In fact, Eastwood’s usual visuals team is here — costume designer Deborah Hopper, art director Patrick M. Sullivan Jr., effects supervisor Steve Riley — so why doesn’t this look like it fits with the rest? Why does it look like something made for cable? At […]

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hanocck

Clint Eastwood’s influence on John Lee Hancock’s work is pretty clear. Hancock wrote one of Eastwood’s best movies, A Perfect World , and one of his lesser pictures, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Since then Hancock has gone on to direct The Rookie, The Blindside, The Alamo, and Saving Mr. Banks. All of his movies have a workmanlike approach. The camerawork is never showy, always with its focus on character and story. The same goes for Eastwood’s films, so it’s no surprise that Hancock learned a few lessons from working with him. One important takeaway for Hancock was to keep a calm set. Saving Mr. Banks shows a very heated creative process, and when we asked Hancock what’s the best way to deal with those conditions, he discussed a lesson from the zen daddy himself, Mr. Eastwood: “Clint Eastwood was my film school. I didn’t go to film school. I was a lawyer and a writer, but I started to get movies made. I did two movies with Clint Eastwood, and he is the zen daddy. I’m not saying I’ve done it successfully, but I like that model of trying to stay as zen as possible, being upbeat, and enjoying the work. You want a creative workspace like that where everyone can do their best work. I don’t like a lot of yelling or running. There are some directors who like chaos and want to be the eye of the storm, but that just confuses me.”

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news eastwood sniper

It’s been about two weeks since Steven Spielberg dropped out of American Sniper, the upcoming biopic that will star Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Apparently, two weeks is just enough time to line up another hugely popular director- as reported by Twitchfilm, Clint Eastwood is in talks to become Spielberg’s replacement. For Eastwood, this is a pretty big ego boost since he’s apparently the next best thing when Mr. Spielberg is unavailable. For the movie-going public, this news is slightly less terrific. Eastwood’s got a masterful eye for direction, but that masterful eye has been conspicuously absent for his last few pictures- J. Edgar, Hereafter and Invictus all fall somewhere within the ‘mediocre’ category. Perhaps American Sniper will see the actor-turned-director hitting Unforgiven-level heights (or at least Gran Torino-sized ones).

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trailer unforgiven japanese

Like The Wind Rises, which recently had its trailer updated with English subtitles, Sang-il Lee‘s remake of Unforgiven has just been give the same treatment. Even better, this updated trailer (the Japanese-only version first made waves last month) comes paired with three new clips. Thankfully all the clips come standard with English subs. If you’ve seen Clint Eastwood’s original, than the subtitles aren’t really necessary anyway- this adaptation looks faithful enough that those with an understanding of the film should be able to glean the context of any scene through the visuals alone. Check out the English-subbed trailer below along with the three clips.

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ds clint eastwood

Box-sets, much like anthologies, have somewhat of an unavoidable mixed-bag mentality about them. It’s difficult, near impossible even, to ensure that each film within is of equal merit and quality. Increase the number of films, and the odds of consistency decrease in equal proportion. Which brings us to WB’s latest (but doubtfully last) Clint Eastwood retrospective. Clint Eastwood: 20-Film Collection lives up to my theory above thanks in part to a heavy concentration on Eastwood’s most recent output (which few people would argue in favor of), but it does an otherwise fine job of looking across the years at the man’s output both as an actor and a director. WB has also released a 40-Film set onto DVD.

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discs its disaster

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. It’s a Disaster Four couples get together for their monthly brunch, but today’s gathering includes a few surprises. Tracy (Julia Stiles) has brought along a new boyfriend (David Cross), one of the couples is heading towards a separation, and a mysterious incident in the city has left them trapped in the house with little in the way of reliable information. A lack of certainty, loyalty and sanity quickly overcomes the group leading to even more trouble. Writer/director Todd Berger‘s ensemble comedy is easily the funniest disaster film in ages. Most of the cast are (fairly) fresh faces, but in addition to the two names above America Ferrera gets to show a decidedly different side of herself. It’s a simple film, essentially set in a single location, but sharp writing and a lively cast collectively imbued with fantastic comic timing make it a hilarious and energetic romp. [Blu-ray extras: Commentary, behind the scenes, Comic Con panel, viral videos, trailer]

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These 20, alongside hundreds of others, redefine what it means to be a movie veteran.

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boiling-point

If there’s one thing Spike Lee is known for, it’s complaining about racism. Turns out he’s also a sometimes movie director, which I hadn’t realized, what with him being mostly in the news for being an asshole or calling Clint Eastwood a racist. This time he has his sights set on Quentin Tarantino and the upcoming Django Unchained.  Lee blew up Twitter (or at least my Twitter), criticizing the film and his perception that it makes light of slavery and uses it for laughs and entertainment rather than being Amistad 2. Lee said the film was “disrespectful to his ancestors” and called slavery a holocaust via Twitter. His exact words: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.” Wow, seeing Django Unchained must have really gotten under Lee’s skin – or I guess it would have, if he had actually seen it. Yeah, Spike’s diatribe against the film comes from his perception of it, not him having, you know, actually seen it.

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Beyonce Knowles

Here is a riddle: how do you launch a major remake of a beloved modern classic (which was, of course, itself a remake of a remake of a remake) without a female star, a male star, or a start date? Well, in Hollywood, you just keep saying that it will happen. Warner Bros.’ remake of A Star Is Born has had a hell of a time making it to the big screen. Most notably conceived of as a Clint Eastwood directing vehicle and a Beyonce Knowles-starring dazzlefest, the production has been unable to lock down a male lead (remember when Tom Cruise was rumored? those were the days!), has had to reschedule after the one-two punch of Knowles’ pregnancy and Eastwood’s work on Trouble With the Curve, and now they’re facing their biggest challenge yet. Knowles? Yeah, she’s done with it. Variety reports that the actress/singer/prolific dancer has now left the project because “her schedule was already packed and that without a start date the scheduling became too complicated.” That does sound pretty complicated.

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Doctor Strange

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that usually doesn’t get political. But it’s time someone takes a stance on Twilight. It had to be done. This aggression will not stand. One of the best things going in this business — of movie blogging — is Marvel rumors. They’re going to keep us all employed at least until the second Avengers film comes to term, if not longer. Kudos to Rob Keyes at ScreenRant for his astute dissection of how Doctor Strange may fit into Thor 2. Yes, Viggo Mortensen. Yes.

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The Expendables 3 Cast?

Seeing as The Expendables 2 has yet to hit theaters, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything concrete yet nailed down for The Expendables 3. That doesn’t mean Sylvester Stallone and his crew don’t have some ideas about what tricks they want to pull out of their sleeves for the eventual trilogy capper though. And, in a chat with Total Film, Expendables producer Avi Lerner found himself spilling the beans about which big name actors that haven’t yet been involved in the franchise they want to sign up for part 3. According to Lerner, “We’ve approached Clint Eastwood to be one of the guys, we’ve got a character in mind for him. We’re talking to Harrison Ford. [And we want] Wesley Snipes when he comes back from prison. I’ll give you one more name, we’ve got Nicolas Cage to play [one of the characters].” Of course, wanting and approaching doesn’t exactly equal having, so these names should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Two of these guys don’t really do much acting anymore, and one is still in prison, so Lerner could be pinning his hopes on long shots.

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Trouble-With-the-Curve

For a film that opens in less than two months, we’ve seen very little from Robert Lorenz‘s Clint Eastwood-starring feature debut, the father-daughter baseball dramedy Trouble With the Curve, so it’s about damn night Warner Bros. rolled out a trailer for the project. And yet, this first trailer doesn’t show us much beyond what audiences are likely expecting from the film – Eastwood is crotchety! Amy Adams is lovely and sweet! Justin Timberlake is snarky and vaguely sleazy! And also Matthew Lillard is there, being kind of a jerk. One thing’s for sure, however, Eastwood’s character, an aging baseball scout who is also losing his vision, was definitely not a fan of Moneyball (damn computers!). But perhaps we will be fans of this film, which looks to be an inoffensive and possibly even charming entry into more adult-skewed “family” films. Settle into the cheap seats and check out the first trailer after the break.

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A-self-portrait-of-Stanley-Kubrick

Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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tom-cruise

While we certainly all hope that Tom Cruise will return for more of the newly-revitalized Mission: Impossible franchise, he might also be looking to ramp up the musical portion of his career. No, Cruise isn’t following in the steps of his son to become a DJ (that’s real), but he might just take on the lead role in Clint Eastwood‘s A Star Is Born remake. We’ll next see Cruise rocking out as Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, so sure, he could totally be into this project, too. Deadline Rochester reports that “Cruise is talking to Clint Eastwood about joining Beyonce in A Star Is Born” and because he just “morphed into an Axl Rose-like 80s rock icon in Rock of Ages…he’d be able to handle the singing part of that comes with playing an over the hill musician who helps launch the star of an ingenue he falls in love with and who watches him slide while her star soars.” But despite this completely rock-solid logic, even Deadline says that they “have no idea if Cruise will say yes.” Journalism!

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Driving-Miss-Daisy

I was only eight  in 1989, but from what I remember it was pretty much the year of Batman and Driving Miss Daisy; two movies that my 8-year-old self was less than impressed by. Perhaps we’ll talk about Batman at a later date, but today I want to talk about Miss Daisy, a movie that won so many awards and got so much critical praise that it made even those of us who had yet to sprout pubes aware of who Jessica Tandy was. The hype on this thing must have been huge to get me to tear my attention away from G.I. Joe and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles long enough to watch a film about a couple of old people driving around, but it did. The other movie I want to look at is from 2008. It’s Clint Eastwood’s acting swan song, Gran Torino. This one was well-liked, from what I can tell, but it didn’t get the hype or attention that I imagined it would once awards season rolled around, and consequently I don’t think as many people saw it as should have. I mean, with this one’s racial themes and its focus on old people you’d think it was a shoo-in for baiting the Oscars into giving it recognition. Perhaps it had too many racial slurs and too much gunplay to get embraced by the intellectual bourgeoisie that make up the Academy though. Give something a little color and suddenly it can’t be viewed as “serious […]

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johngoodman

Have you been following the development of this baseball drama Trouble With the Curve? It started out as just a glimmer, a hope. It was maybe the project that would bring Clint Eastwood out of acting retirement. A story about an aging baseball scout who is losing his vision and who is embarking on one last recruitment trip in the company of his adult daughter sounded perfect for an old grizzly bear like Eastwood, and since those first days of maybes the project has developed quite nicely. First it became official, and got a release date of September 28, 2012. Then it started filling out its supporting cast with exciting names. Amy Adams came on to play the role of Eastwood’s daughter, and Justin Timberlake got picked up to play her love interest. This thing was looking like an all-star lineup already. But with news that they’re bringing one of the most underutilized players in Hollywood on board, I think this one might go all the way. According to Variety, John Goodman has just signed on to play a baseball scout and longtime friend of the Eastwood character’s named Pete Klein. That’s right, The Babe himself is returning to the world of onscreen baseball.

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justin-timberlake

Now that Warner Bros. has given an official release date to the Clint Eastwood- and Amy Adams-starring father-daughter-baseball-scouting-oops-think-someone-is-going-blind film, Trouble With The Curve, for September 28, it’s time they get to filling out the rest of the roster. Next up at bat? Justin Timberlake! Deadline Memphis reports that Timberlake will co-star in the film as ” a rival scout who is sweet on the elder scout’s daughter.” Both Eastwood and Timberlake’s characters will presumably be going head to head to land a hot new prospect. Other hot things will likely also go down between Timberlake and Adams, if you get what I’m saying here. Timberlake’s focus has switched to acting in recent years, and he’s been rounding his resume out with stuff that has been, at the very least, interesting. He’s hit just about every genre (comedy, romantic comedy, drama, sci-fi, animation), and he’s worked with some great directors (well, mainly David Fincher). Next up for him? The Coen brothers’ Inside Lleywn Davis, which should be another huge cinematic step for the actor. A sports drama co-starring Eastwood? I can see it.

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published: 01.27.2015
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published: 01.27.2015
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published: 01.27.2015
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published: 01.27.2015
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