Blog Archives

…Hit the Mark

American Sniper“American Sniper,” shows a side of war that is often overlooked by Hollywood. Clint Eastwood’s film takes a closer look at the invisible scars left by war.

“American Sniper,” tells the true story of US Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. Read the rest of this entry


…Spin Your Wheels

Okay, America, I’m calling a time out.

It’s just barely over a month into 2012, and we’ve already lost our political minds.

It’s time to stop and take a breath when the most controversial Super Bowl ad features Clint Eastwood and is for Chrysler.

For those who missed it, “Halftime in America” features Eastwood walking through the streets of Detroit, along with some inspirational lines about America making a comeback.

The metaphor is a bit cheesy, but the sentiment is nice (if you forget who the quarterback and wide receiver are who got us into this mess).

As innocent as it may seem, the commercial has been criticised as political and, more specifically, as in support of President Obama’s re-election campaign.

There’s obviously some political undertones. The government (we) did bail out the auto industry after all (still waiting for that thank you card).

However, I missed the line about politicians rebuilding the country. I also didn’t see the President standing in the background in any of the shots.

True, there’s subtext in everything. Frankly, I am shocked that the Doritos’ sling-shot baby hasn’t received some heat (Where were the human rights activists on that one?).

But, enough is enough. We’re about to be assaulted by millions of actual political commercials. Can’t we just let this one be an inspirational car commercial, and be done with it?

Okay, time in.

More on the Story:  Reuters

…just for fun:

…speaking of political subtext…Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens.  You’re looking good for 200:

…Shed Some Light

“We must never forget our history.”   A weathered J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) shares this sentiment with a young agent as he takes down his memoirs.

It’s an admirable thought, and is ever present in director Clint Eastwood’s, “J. Edgar.”

However, for better or worse, the real driving force in this film is not the history, but the people who created it.

Named the head of the Bureau of Investigation at the age of 24 and later on becoming the founder of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover was easily one of the most influential men of the 20th century. He was an intimidating man whose private life and career were shrowded in mystery.

Telling the tale from both ends, Eastwood’s biopic tries to shed some light on J. Edgar, but winds up leaving us still in the shadows.

With some scenes so dark (literally) that a flashlight wouldn’t hurt, it’s easy to see what this film is trying to be. It comes complete with a slew of well-known historic figures. Robert Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), Charles Lindbergh (Josh Lucas), Ginger Rogers (Jamie LaBarber), Lela Rogers (Lea Thompson) and Richard Nixon (Christopher Shyer), to name a few. They provide some important and “that’s neat” moments, but don’t add much to the film.  Interesting characters like Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and the prophetic Anne Marie Hoover (Judy Dench) are kept on the sidelines.

It always feels like we’re being kept at a distance. Artistically speaking, keeping that air of mystery isn’t a bad thing, but a little emotional connection doesn’t hurt either. Everytime a moment starts to resonate, we’re wisked away to another time and place.

It should come as no surprise that despite this films short comings, Leonardo DiCaprio is phenomenal as always as J. Edgar.  He commands attention in every scene, and plays the aged Hoover with an ease that is remarkable.   He makes as much of a connection as is appropriate when playing a historical figure known for his secrets.

He is aided by Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar’s number two man. Mr. Hammer has his work cut out for him with this role. The film not so subtly hints at Tolson and Hoover’s romantic attachment, and with the choppiness of the film it could have easily played for laughs. Hammer’s genuine personality and likability make Tolson a sympathetic character.

While not without its redeeming qualities,”J. Edgar” leaves you wanting something more.  But perhaps that’s the way Mr. Hoover would have wanted it.

…just for fun: