Category Archives: clint eastwood

Rango

Rango ~ The first animated feature from George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic is a disaster.

Take Don Knotts, pump him full of hallucinogenics, and have him play a computer animated lizard. Yeah, that’s what Johnny Depp as Rango is like – and none of it in a good way. This is an ugly film with a bare skeleton of a plot that pretends to be much more than it is.

There are some interesting visuals done with the CGI, clever angles, different textures, but mostly a whole lot of ugly as it’s about desire dwelling creatures. It’s like bad scary cartoon taxidermy, and it’s hard to watch.

The bat-riding hillbilly varmits arrive much too late to save this flick. The western character templates (like Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood) and cliches, and the Chinatown comparisons and parodies can’t save it. Even the Hunter Thompson cameo in the beginning can’t save it. Avoid at all costs, unless you are a die-hard Depp fan, or need a nap.

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Quickies 4-2-2010

Gran Torino ~ As much the story of an Asian family under assault from gangs as it is about Clint Eastwood’s Oscar nominated performance as a stubborn racist widower. Eastwood was nominated but it’s the supporting cast that is really phenomenal. Highly recommended.

Captivity ~ This should have much better than it actually is. Someone’s watched far too many bad Saw sequels. More gross than suspenseful or scary. And if I wanted to hear Elisha Cuthbert scream this much I could just watch early “24” reruns with my finger on the rewind button.

The Hangover ~ Disturbing slob comedy that could have been so much better and so much funnier but it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. It’s part Dude, Where’s My Car? and part Very Bad Things (and not the good parts of either), and far far too heavy on the Zack Galifianakis. The Dan Band is fun for about two minutes toward the end. Pass on this one unless it’s free and you can’t reach the remote.

24 Hour Party People ~ A brilliant, funny and insightful docudrama that takes the viewer on a musical journey following the story of Factory Records in the 1970s. Steve Coogan is terrific. If you love the music, you’ll love the movie, and even if not, you’ll be entertained and informed. Worth seeing for the brief appearance of baby-faced young John Simm as New Order’s Bernard Sumner if nothing else. Recommended.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past ~ As if I needed more proof that Matthew McConaughey is a slimy womanizer, he plays yet another one in this throwaway flick. An unoriginal lift from the Dickens school of helpful ghosts, this movie just bored me. Even though there was at least comedic potential, this is just massive fail. Avoid.

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That Time of Year Again

The last few weeks of the year are here and it’s time for Hollywood to roll out their finest stuff in hopes the Academy will take notice and bestow an Oscar on these films. There are a lot of them out there.

Doubt is getting a lot of hype. Milk and Gran Torino promise career performances from Sean Penn and Clint Eastwood respectively. The much talked about reverse-aging epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is out there as well. There’s also Will Smith in Seven Pounds, Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, the animated Waltz with Bashir from Ari Folman and Revolutionary Road from Sam Mendes.

Like I said, there are a lot of them, and this is the way it’s been at the end of the year for the last couple decades. The studios want their Oscar hopefuls in the Academy’s faces right before nomination time, and for the most part, this simple ploy usually works. Mark my words, most of the above flicks will make up the majority of the noms this year.

This is bullshit in my opinion. Time of year shouldn’t matter. A good movie, an Oscar-worthy movie, is Oscar-worthy no matter what time of year it is released. If these studios had any reall balls they would release all of these in January. If a flick is really that good, the Academy will remember it come December. And if not, if the Academy is that dim-witted and memory-handicapped, why are they allowed to vote?