If you are looking for a movie to take your dad to see (or a dad looking for something to see this weekend), this is it. It has sports and Clint Eastwood, is completely inoffensive and well-acted and is a pleasant enough way to spend a few hours. But while that may make for a fine bonding experience, it doesn't really make for a memorable movie.
It's a Pixar-palooza! Also, a Gooniepocalypse. And possibly an Eastwoodaclysm. But definitely a Cher-nobyl.
Clint Eastwood's low-key filmmaking style may not be for everybody, but with an engaging story, he can (and often does) create masterpieces. Unfortunately, none of the three stories in Hereafter are engaging, or believable, or even particularly original, so when they clumsily come together in the final act, it's like watching a slow-motion tidal wave full of debris crashing onto the beach, and pulling away to leave... nothing, really. Even that sounds more exciting that what actually happens in the movie.
This week brings the drama, with heavy, Oscar-nominated films coming out alongside frothy confections that dissolve in your mouth. Plus, films from France, India, Japan and the wild, wild west.
We're actually kind of disappointed that Clint Eastwood didn't appear in this movie himself, in addition to directing it. He would have made a great Mandela, squinting at those who question his ability to unite blacks and whites in a post-Apartheid South Africa, asking them if they feel lucky, then scaring off brawling gangs by pointing a rifle at them and telling them to get off his lawn. (Also available via Movies on Demand.)
In Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Michael Douglas returns to the role of disgraced financial guru Gordon Gekko, but he's not the main character. No, our new Charlie Sheen in this scenario is Shia LaBeouf, who plays Gekko's protegé and future son-in-law. It's a role he's become pretty good at -- after all, he was basically Indiana Jones' intern in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and he scampered around after Keanu Reeves in Constantine and Will Smith in I, Robot like a little puppy dog. He could have a lucrative career just playing the hero-in-training, which is why we came up with a list of older leading men Shia should shadow in future films.
Spike Lee is far better known for what he does off the screen than what he puts on it. It's a shame, because Lee is one of the few directors working today whose style permeates every movie he makes. Like Scorcese's work, one need only look at a few shots to immediately peg a Spike Lee Joint. And like the people IN Scorsese's work, Spike Lee appears to relish picking fights. After settling the fight he had over WWII movies with Clint Eastwood, Spike has now set the stage for one with penis-obsessed director-producer Judd Apatow. For what Apatow has done to shame my Johnson, he deserves to get punched out.
You all remember how mad Spike Lee was at Clint Eastwood (and the Coen Brothers, too) at Cannes, right?
Well, as one would expect from Dirty Harry, Eastwood came out with guns blazing in response, in an interview that ran Friday in The Guardian. All of the buzz about Clint's interview is focusing on one line: that Spike should "shut his face." Clint did say that, but the interview contains plenty more controversial tidbits:
Let's see what's going on at Cannes. Spike Lee is mad, Hollywood's not buying anything, pandas are doing kung fu and Tommy Lee Jones is starring in a movie named after a Dolly Parton song. Sounds like a typical day in France to me.
- First up: Spike Lee, one of the few directors working today who, for good and bad, still has his own immediately identifiable style, took the Coens and Dirty Harry to task for their most recent movies. He chides the Coens, his former NYU classmates, for taking death too lightly. "Look, I love the Coen brothers; we all studied at NYU. But they treat life like a joke. Ha ha ha. A joke. It's like, 'Look how they killed that guy! Look how blood squirts out the side of his head!' I see things different than that." Spike, if Javier Bardem wants to be cast in your next film, RUN.
At one point in Clint Eastwood's latest movie, Invictus, a rugby-loving white South African tells a soccer-loving Black South African that "Football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans, and rugby is a hooligan's game played by gentlemen." It's an old saying, and while its veracity depends on your opinion of rugby players, it's interesting to think about, given this film's pedigree. Despite the Oscar-winning director, historical origins and fancy Latin title, Invictus is essentially a feel-good sports movie. I mean, it's not Major League or anything like that, but aside from some moments where the cast sits down and thinks about what Nelson Mandela went through in prison, it's a fun ride, and occasionally very funny, mostly thanks to Freeman playing Mandela as a man who is not above lightening the mood with a joke.
Yes, I know new DVDs came out yesterday, but compiling all of the nominees for our annual Tubey awards and interviewing sexy Species star Natasha Henstridge took precedent for the day, so I'm just getting to this now. Too bad, because yesterday was a heck of a day to go DVD shopping. I suppose today can be, as well -- I doubt stores have sold out of Gran Torino.