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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Clint Eastwood

Preview review: Clint Eastwood finds new life with 'Hereafter'

September 14, 2010 | 10:24 am

Hereafter01 At 80, Clint Eastwood has made it clear he has no interest in repeating himself.

"At the age I am now, I just don't have any interest in going back and doing the same sort of thing over and over. That's one of the reasons I moved away from westerns," he told our colleague Geoff Boucher recently.

Case in point? Eastwood's latest film, his sixth in fewer than four years, a supernatural drama called "Hereafter."

The film -- which we get a glimpse of in a newly released trailer -- centers on three individuals with unique connections to death and what may happen afterward. There's a young boy grappling with the loss of his twin brother (Frankie McLaren), a French journalist who apparently comes back to life after dying in a tsunami (Cécile de France) and a psychic who holds the power to connect with the dead (Matt Damon).

But if you watched the trailer, you likely weren't able to tell that Damon only comprises a third of the film. He's featured prominently throughout the preview (a marketing decision that is perhaps understandable, considering McLaren is a newcomer and American audiences aren't yet all that familiar with De France).

Playing a reluctant medium struggling with whether or not to use his powers, he's inhabiting the role he's often best in -- a man who's hesitant to show his emotions.

Critics are already remarking that the film seems like a departure for Eastwood. Some of that probably comes from the triptych structure, and some of it from the instances of CG (particularly in an opening scene depicting a tsunami). While scenes like these lead us to believe the movie will be visually stunning, we're a bit worried that the movie could have a somewhat maudlin tone. We don't think anyone cracks a smile once in this trailer.

It's Eastwood and Damon, of course, so we're still intrigued. We just hope that the film doesn't rely on stale ideas about the hereafter -- and is able to deliver the emotional wallop it seems to be promising.

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Bryce Dallas Howard and Matt Damon in "Hereafter." Credit: Warner Bros.


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New York Film Festival complete lineup

August 16, 2010 |  1:31 pm

Clint Clint Eastwood's latest directorial effort, "Hereafter," a picture starring Matt Damon about three people whose lives are uniquely affected by death, has been chosen as the closing night movie at the upcoming New York Film Festival.

The festival, which kicks off Sept. 24 with David Fincher's "The Social Network," will feature 28 films and runs through Oct. 10.

As my colleague Steven Zeitchik noted when it was announced that the movie about Facebook would open the fall festival, the event has a reputation for screening "highbrow, twee movies," such as "The Queen" and "The Class" in years past. 

The 48th annual festival seems to follow in that vein. Julie Taymor's adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" serves as the festival's centerpiece, while "Film Socialisme" will mark Jean-Luc Godard's 27th appearance at the New York festival. There are also a number of international selections, including Thailand's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," which won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and France's "Carlos," a film about 1970s terrorist Carlos the Jackal, which is an astounding five hours long.

The festival's complete lineup follows after the jump.

Continue reading »

The three biggest surprises of Oscar morning

February 2, 2010 |  6:40 am

Osc We'll have a full take on Oscar nominations a little bit later in the morning, but a quick rundown of the biggest surprises that hit us right off the bat.

* Screenplay shockers: Lots of mayhem on both original and adapted script sides. First, there's the fact that "District 9" was even considered for adapted. (It's based on a short, and it's always a question how the writers branch is going to view it). Second, it actually landed on the nominee list. Meanwhile, the indie dark horse "In the Loop" joins the South African sci-fiction film in the category, becoming one of the smaller movies ever to get a major Oscar nom. And the original side brought its own surprise: "The Messenger" takes a slot that most thought would go to "(500) Days of Summer."

* Supporting actress: Penelope Cruz getting a nomination for her mistress-y turn in "Nine" isn't a total surprise, but Maggie Gyllenhaal for her role as a single-mother journo in "Crazy Heart" is. The actress pushes out a four-time nominee who had been on almost everyone's shortlist, Julianne Moore in "A Single Man."

* And, finally, the great unknown of this season: the 10 best picture slots. Six films that were virtually a sure bet all made the cut ("Up," "Up in the Air," "Inglourious Basterds," "Avatar," "Precious," "The Hurt Locker"), but the other four saw some drama. "District 9" and "The Blind Side" each take slots, despite doubts, certainly coming into the season, that they would land on the list. "A Serious Man" and "An Education" take the other two spots -- which had been expected but then became more of a question mark of late. The movie that's left without a chair when the music stops?  Clint Eastwood's "Invictus." Not a good day to be Dirty Harry -- his pre-season contender is shut out of both best picture and best director categories.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Oscar statues. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


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