Tag: clint eastwood

MOVIE REVIEW | Sully (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “One of the best movies of 2016.”

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“Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.”

Heroics are what movies are made for.  Sure, there’s drama and pathos and catharsis and comedy and a million other things that movies are made for.  But big screens, surround sound, movie star charisma and stunning visuals all get the chance to show off and really go for broke when a movie is built around a hero doing something extraordinary.

On the one hand, it was only a matter of time until a movie was made about the real life heroic daring do of pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger.  Almost just as inevitable was the fact that he would be played the ultimate everyman, Tom Hanks. With so much seeming so obvious about this movie, the one thing that had me optimistically unsure of what to expect was its director. How would the stripped back, no nonsense story telling and film making of Clint Eastwood translate the possible inspirational schmaltz of a movie like Sully? (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** Play Misty for Me (1971)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “”

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“Al, you ever find yourself being completely smothered by somebody?”

Well, even the greats have to start somewhere.  As a director, Clint Eastwood has a career that might be even more impressive than his achievements as an actor.  He’s made some absolute belters, like The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bird and Unforgiven.  In recent years he’s still had strong (and award winning) outings like Million Dollar Baby and Grand Torino.  And of course, for anyone who’s pumped out almost thirty movies, there’s gonna be the odd clunker.  Things like J Edgar and Flags of Our Fathers spring to mind.  But before all that, Eastwood made his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me.

The story is pretty stock standard relationship thriller stuff.  Eastwood plays Dave, a night time DJ in a small town playing sappy jazz and the odd love song dedication.  Often, to the same woman calling in with a request for him to, “Play Misty for me” (hey, that’s the name of the movie.  I see what Clint did there).  Soon, she’s tracked him down to his favourite bar and it turns out she’s played by Jassica Walter…  AKA it’s only bloody Lucille Bluth from Arrested bloody Development!!!  Lucille Bluth (the only name I will ever associate with Walter) takes him home for what Daveassumes is a bit of the old casual rumpy pumpy.  But I guess he’s never seen a romantic thriller before, because it turns out she’s a little clingy, in a stabby kind of way. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Mr Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I loved Mr Wonderful: The Don Rickles Project as a study of a man who I already found fascinating, I also loved it as a history lesson on a period of show biz that just doesn’t exist anymore.”

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“This about Don Rickles? I’m outta here.”

In the 50s, Don Rickles starred alongside legends Clarke Gable and Burt Lancaster in the submarine classic, Run Silent, Run Deep. In the 70s, Don Rickles starred alongside legends Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes.  In the 90s, Don Rickles starred alongside legend Robert De Niro, while being directed by legend Martin Scorsese in Casino.  But despite these decades acting in A grade movies alongside A grade talent, Don Rickles has dedicated his life to acting, he’s dedicated half a century to the art of insult comedy.  Half a century commemorated in Mr Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.


A nightclub comedian who has basically used the same act for decades, Don Rickles should be the epitome of hack.  But when generations of comedians, from Billy Crystal, to Sarah Silverman, wax lyrical about the man and the legend it’s obvious that he’s more than just his jokes.  An insult comic who deals in making fun of race via the broadest and most dated cliches, Rickles’ act shouldn’t work in the modern world.  But as this documentary tells us over and over again, he somehow gets away with it. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | American Sniper (2015)

Sniper

“If you think that this war isn’t changing you, you’re wrong. You can only circle the flames so long.”

I think I’m probably in the majority as someone who had never really heard of or noticed Bradley Cooper until the Hangover. As good and as funny as that movies was (if only the same could be said for the sequels), I also think I’m in the majority as someone who never really expected a prestige, Oscar laden career for Cooper. But here we are, with his third nomination in as many years. Even more impressive, all three have been for completely different performances. Depressed and suicidal in Silver Linings Playbook, to put upon with a small man complex in American Hustle, to PTSD riddled killer, in American Sniper.


Growing up tough in Texas, Chris Kyle (Cooper) lives for nothing more than rodeo riding and picking up chicks. Until one night, watching the news, he sees the report of a terrorist attack on a US embassy. He immediately gets his patriot up and enlists with the Navy. At 30, he defies the odds and makes it through the elite training to become a Navy Seal. Meeting Taya (Sienna Miller) in a local bar, they’re soon married, just in time for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and wars to be declared in Afghanistan and Iraq. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million

“If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.”

I’ve always known that Clint Eastwood was a more than competent director, but for some reason, I’m rarely excited about a Clint Eastwood movie.  And even when they become critical, or awards, or box office successes, I’m still skeptical for some reason.  But when I eventually get around to watching them, I always really like them.  And now that I have finally gotten around to Million Dollar Baby, I think I need to accept the fact that I’m a big Clint Eastwood fan.


Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) is a gruff, cranky old boxing gym owner and trainer.  As told through the voiceover of Eddie ‘Scrap-Iron’ Dupris (Morgan Freeman), an old fighter of his, Frankie is a little more cautious than the average trainer when it comes to who he puts his fighters in the ring with.  Still feeling guilt over Eddie losing an eye in a fight decades earlier, Frankie loses his greatest prospect, Big Willie Little, when he refuses to let Little take on the current champ. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

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“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

The title, the theme song, the lead actor.  Few things represent a movie genre more than The Good the, the Bad and the Ugly represents the Western.  John Wayne would come pretty close, but it’s his entire western filmography that gives him that reputation, not one particular movie that springs to mind.  But even people who have never seen this movie, the title, the music and the lead actor would be likely to spring to their minds when westerns comes up.  So what makes The Good, the Bad and the Ugly such a quintessential, mind springer of a western?


Tuco (Eli Wallach) is the Ugly, a Mexican outlaw plying his trade in Civil War America.  With a $2,000 bounty on his head, he’s captured by Blondie (Clint Eastwood), the Good.  But he’s not so good, because soon Blondie and Tuco have a lucrative partnership where Blondie delivers Tuco to small town authorities, collects the reward, then helps Tuco escape, so they can split the money and run the scam on the next town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)

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“I’ve only been here three days and it’s just a shooting, but give it time, okay. This place is fantastic. It’s like Gone With the Wind on Mescalin.”

Based on the movies of his I’ve seen as a director, Clint Eastwood doesn’t make grand, luscious movies.  Sure, he can make big movies, like the companion pieces of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.  But even at their biggest, they’re still gritty and dirty and free of pomp.  He’s a director with a reputation of coming in before schedule and under budget.  Which is why it’s so inexplicable that he made a movie built so entirely on excess, as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


John Cusack is John Kelso, a journalist sent to Savanah, Georgia to write a story for the society papers about a famous, annual party, thrown by local antiques dealer, the flamboyant Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey).  Given a crash course in the ways of the South, Kelso meets a parade of colourful characters.  Including Williams’ blustery lawyer, Sonny Seiler (Jack Thompson), drag queen and lounge singer Lady Chablis (Chablis Deveau), and shit kicking rent boy, Billy Hanson (Jude Law). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #68. The Unforgiven (1992)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

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“All right, I’m coming out. Any man I see out there, I’m gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only gonna kill him, but I’m gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down.”

The Western might just be the most American of all movie genres.  It might be decades since its heyday, but we still get westerns every few years, and every few years, we get pretty good ones.  There are arguments to be made for things like The Searchers or The Wild Bunch to take the title of greatest western of all time, and they’re good arguments.  While I’d never say The Unforgiven is the greatest of all time, I can’t think of a single western that’s come since that would rival it.  So having said that, what makes The Unforgiven the last great American Western?


In the slightly more than one horse town of Big Whiskey, a drunken cowboy doesn’t just get too handsy with a local whore, he gets too knifey.  With the girl scarred for life, the local sheriff (Gene Hackman as Little Bill) demands the cowboy and his mate deliver a few horses to the whorehouse owner as reparations.  When they decide that a few ponies don’t quite cut the mustard as far as punishments, the whores pool their money and put the word out, they’ll pay $1,000 to anyone who kills the blade happy cowboys. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Kelly's Heroes

“Him? Name’s Kelly. Used to be a lieutenant, pretty good one, too, till they gave him orders to attack the wrong hill.  Wiped out a half a company of G.I.’s. Somebody had to get the blame and he got picked.”

Writing this blog has been great for making me finally get my finger out and watch classics I should have seen years ago.  It’s been great for making me watch new and different things, instead of re-watching old favourites again and again and again.  But the biggest surprise benefit has become going in blind, knowing nothing about a movie before I press play.  Usually, it’s because a title sounds kind of familiar, and that’s the extent of my knowledge.  It doesn’t result in something great every time, but I think I have pretty good strike rate with everything being at the very least interesting and unexpected.  Well, I got interesting, unexpected, funny and really great, with Kelly’s Heroes.


It’s the Second World War, and while complete victory is still a ways a way, the allies definitely have momentum on their side.  During a raid on a Nazi occupied town in France, Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) manages to kidnap a German Colonel.  With the aid if some liquor fuelled interrogation, Kelly learns from the drunken kraut that there is a bank vault, not too far away, filled with $16million in gold.  That knowledge, added to the fact that Kelly’s platoon has just been sent to the rear to have a break from the action, is all Kelly needs to decide that gold is as good as his, with a little help from a rag tag group of movie friendly soldiers. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | American Sniper (2015)

Sniper

“If you think that this war isn’t changing you, you’re wrong. You can only circle the flames so long.”

I think I’m probably in the majority as someone who had never really heard of or noticed Bradley Cooper until the Hangover. As good and as funny as that movies was (if only the same could be said for the sequels), I also think I’m in the majority as someone who never really expected a prestige, Oscar laden career for Cooper. But here we are, with his third nomination in as many years. Even more impressive, all three have been for completely different performances. Depressed and suicidal in Silver Linings Playbook, to put upon with a small man complex in American Hustle, to PTSD riddled killer, in American Sniper.


Growing up tough in Texas, Chris Kyle (Cooper) lives for nothing more than rodeo riding and picking up chicks. Until one night, watching the news, he sees the report of a terrorist attack on a US embassy. He immediately gets his patriot up and enlists with the Navy. At 30, he defies the odds and makes it through the elite training to become a Navy Seal. Meeting Taya (Sienna Miller) in a local bar, they’re soon married, just in time for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and wars to be declared in Afghanistan and Iraq. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

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War movies have long moved past the concept of good guys versus bad guys. While Hitler will most likely remain the ultimate evil of the modern age, recent war movies are more likely to depict the soldiers who served under him as unfortunate kids who were just as innocent and noble as the unfortunate kids fighting for the Allies.


Clint Eastwood decided to take that notion even further, making two entire movies about one seminal World War Two battle, showing it from each side. First, there was Flags of Our Fathers, the story of the American Marines who took Iwo Jima. Then, later that same year, came Letters From Iwo Jima, the story of the Japanese troops fighting to hold it. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

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This might not seem like great praise, but I do mean it that way, Clint Eastwood makes efficient movies. I’m not even close to having seen everything he’s directed, but of the movies I have seen, I’m always impressed with how quickly and simply he can tell a story (J Edgar being the glaring exception). The running times are always lean, the bells and whistles are kept to a minimum, and he always gets to the point. Just the fact that a bloke in his 80s can churn them out as regularly as Eastwood is a testament to his non-messing around. So it’s great to see him go a little bigger, even approaching epic, with Flags of Our Fathers.


When the famous photos of six marines raising the American flag on a hill in the Pacific becomes the inspiration that will hopefully begin the final push in the Second World War battle against the Japanese, those soldiers become the heroes their country needs. Cutting back and forth between their poster boy, fund raising tour in America, and the battle in Iwo Jima that made them poster boys, Flags of Our Fathers is all about perceptions, and that reality can sometimes be what we want it to be, regardless of what it actually is. (more…)