Tim Robbins

MYSTIC RIVER commentary

Clint Eastwood‘s latest film, American Sniper, opens wide this week on its way to some possible (and probable) Oscar nominations, and while I haven’t seen it yet I hope it’s a return to quality filmmaking. It’s been some time since he’s directed a truly engrossing and entertaining film, and one of his last was 2003’s Mystic River. The film, adapted from Dennis Lehane’s bestselling novel, is a Boston-set crime story involving three men who were once childhood friends. It’s a tale of loss, revenge and secret pains, and a major part of its dramatic effect is due to the three leads. Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins deliver stand-out performances, and it’s the latter two who recorded a commentary track for the film. Eastwood doesn’t appear all that interested in the idea of commentaries judging by his numerous home video releases. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River.



Ordell (Mos Def) and Louis (John Hawkes) have planned the perfect kidnapping. Their target is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston), wife to a sketchy businessman named Frank (Tim Robbins) who’s hiding a fortune in a secret bank account. The plan is simple. Kidnap Mickey, tell Frank to pay the ransom if he ever wants to see his wife again and then retire in style. But they never considered the possibility that Frank might not want his wife back. Chronology is a funny thing. The inclination will be (and has been if you check the IMDB page) to label Life of Crime a straight-up rip-off of 1986’s Ruthless People. In actuality though this is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s 1978 novel, The Switch. Keep moving backward and you’ll find that all of these incarnations share an inspiration in O. Henry’s 1907 short story, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” The problem for this film then is how to stand apart from the crowd, and unfortunately, it’s a problem the film never really solves.


Jack Reynor

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting roundup that’s knee deep in nostalgia as it reports on movies based on comic books and toys from its childhood. Due to a little bit of inspiration from the Internet, Michael Bay gave Mark Wahlberg a pretty big part in his upcoming fourth Transformers movie. It’s always been understood that Wahlberg was playing a placeholder character though, who would pass the franchise off to a couple of young kids who would be pushed into the forefront as it went forward. Well, today Bay announced that he’s found the male half of this new duo. Apparently little known Irish actor Jack Reynor is his guy. Bay says that he saw Reynor in an Irish movie called What Richard Did, which a quick Googling tells me has nothing to do with acting opposite giant robots, so let’s all hope he knows what he’s talking about.


Hader and Wiig

What is Casting Couch? It’s not an actual couch, you guys. Seriously, stop it. Kristen Wiig may have walked away from her regular gig on Saturday Night Live to focus on her film career, but she would be insane to walk away from the chemistry she has with her former SNL cast mate Bill Hader; getting those two together is always a comedy goldmine. And though they’ve appeared together as a big screen duo before, they’ve never really gotten the chance to anchor a film together as the stars. That all changes now! Variety is reporting that the twosome have signed up for an indie comedy called Skeleton Twins, where they will play two estranged twins who reunite after both have near death experiences on the same day. Luke Wilson is also set to appear as Wiig’s husband, a character who is described as being a “nature frat boy,” whatever that means. Regardless, the results are bound to be hilarious.


Green Lantern

So much potential and so much promise… and yet so much blandness. I had been trying to stay as hopeful as one could when it came to Green Lantern. Even after Neil – who I usually think is spot on when it comes to his criticisms – posted his review, I still held on to what little optimism I could maintain. “Perhaps Green Lantern would be this summer’s G.I. Joe, a film that is so cartoonish that you just can’t help but to laugh with it,” I thought. But, boy, was I wrong. Green Lantern is no laughing matter. Green Lantern + The guy who reinvented Bond twice + Reynolds’ mojo + Great Sarsgaard + Potential for Space Battles + Mark Strong as Sinestro = what should’ve been a real event film. Wha happened?



What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the movie blogosphere’s diversity action plan. Because too many movie blogs just regurgitate press releases, post POV videos of street luge or bring you the same 25 stories that everyone else already has. We take those 25 stories, smash them together, wipe away the blood and mix ‘em with the best links we can find in a nightly tradition known to its friends as Movie News After Dark… For those Hobbit fans who aren’t completely sold on Peter Jackson doing the thing in 3D, see the above picture. If Gandalf approves, how can the world disagree?



One of the more important secondary characters in the upcoming Warner Bros. comic book adaptation Green Lantern is that of Senator Hammond, the father of the film’s main Earthly villain, Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard). Senator Hammond is connected to just about everyone — and now he’s been cast.



Now that everyone has had time to calm down over the casting of Sylvester Stallone as The Riddler in Batman 3, it’s time to move on to some fresh rumors for other superhero films. Namely, an important and plausible casting rumor for Iron Man 2.



A family friendly look at a post-apocalyptic city buried miles beneath the crumbling ashes of civilization. What about that doesn’t sound like a ton of fun?



While my own review of the upcoming Fox Walden release City of Ember is coming later this evening, I will say this: in addition to some odd human characters, there are also some very interesting creatures within the film.



Moviehole is reporting on a story in the Durham Herald-Sun that claims a sequel to Bull Durham has been green-lit and will begin shooting next spring.


Henry Bean’s latest film, Noise, about a man who tries to silence New York City by breaking into cars and disconnecting the alarms is based on a true story. It’s partly his own. I don’t just mean he wrote the script. I mean it’s based on his own life.


Al Gore has global warming. Rev. Jim Phelps has homosexuality. Uwe Boll has film critics. Everyone needs something to fight whether it matters to the rest of the world or not and director Henry Bean takes noise pollution to task in his sarcastic, clever, witty David and Goliath comedy Noise.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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