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Cry Macho (Eastwood 2021)

I'm a big fan of Eastwood as an actor and director, so I wanted to love this last film from Clint. Sorry to say I didn't love it and I don't think it's anything noteworthy, but it's a nice film...sort of a Karate Kid ala Eastwood in Mexico. The weak spot is the script which plays out like a first draft that's been recycled from Eastwood's last movie The Mule, but only up to a point. However there are some smiles here too, in what could be called Eastwood's most family friendly film.


I'm glad that you posted commentary about Cry Macho. I watched it last night, and felt like making some remarks here, but I didn't have the calling to do a full review.

The picture had more problems than solutions. IMO they should have emphasized much more strongly early in the movie that Mike (Clint) had experienced severe and impairing spinal injury. That would have made it easier to watch him move around in a very doddering manor, which might have been Clint's normal gait at the time of filming, at aged 90. The scenes of him trying to dance with the cafe owner were almost painful to watch.

The plot, as simple as it was, felt scattered and haphazard. In fairness the project has been in many hands since the 1970s, based on the novel by N. Richard Nash. But still, screenwriter Nick Schenk might have come up with a more cohesive effort. The dialogue in particular was oftentimes right up next to parody.

In that regard Dwight Yoakum gave one of his least believable performances that I can recall, which was probably mostly the fault of poor writing. The actor who played the kid was miscast. His overacting made the part seem silly.

On the bright side, Natalia Traven, was superb as the tavern owner and mutual love interest to Clint. She was so warm, charming and alluring that I'd have to say she was the best part of the film. I was surprised to learn that she is American. I felt sure she was Mexican or South American.

The music was first rate by Mark Mancina (Moana, The Lion King). The photography was picturesque, as one would expect given the locales. If they'd left out a few words here and there it could have received a PG rating rather than PG-13, and I'm all for that. Still, I think it's a film that kids would like, and could relate to in our modern times.

IMO Clint should limit himself to producing and directing. He's simply too damn old to be very convincing in anything. But my guess is that he simply enjoys MAKING films, and has fun at it, even though he probably over estimates his capacity to star in them. He's made so many wonderful films, and has such cachet that few will criticize a production like this, even though critics would cut it to shreds if it had been made by anyone else.

Clint will make films as long as he is able. I just hope he's a little more pragmatic and introspective about his role in them.



Body Fever (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1969)
5/10
Blood Shack AKA Tne Chooper (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1971)
4-/10
Nice.*(I actually watched Blood Shack last night and will likely post a review soon. Will it be unreasonably generous and rambling? All signs point to yes.)



26th Hall of Fame (REWATCH)

The Celebration (1998) -


I was looking forward to revisiting this film and, fortunately, it was just as great as I remembered. I found myself impressed by the mystery of the family, but even more so by the terrific style and the cinematic technique Vinterberg employed throughout the film. Initially, the rough and unpolished camera shots (which I don't consider to be a flaw, btw) and unorthodox camera angles and shooting positions mildly impressed me. As the film went on though, my admiration over those aspects grew more profound. As more revelations about the family were revealed and as the party guests kept turning on each other, the bizarre camerawork resonated with me in the best way possible as it matched the craziness of the situation at the birthday party. Some people may be distracted by its noticeable low budget, but I actually think the film's low budget contributes to its greatness. The grainy cinematography added to the craziness of the film as it lead to many shots feeling reminiscent of a grainy horror film made in the 70's or the 80's. I can't imagine the film giving off the same effect with a higher budget. If I had to nitpick something, it might be better to build to the unorthodox cinematography as opposed to utilizing it right at the start of the film. This isn't to say I disliked the unorthodox cinematography in the first act per se, but since it worked best for me when paired with the family conflict, it might have been cool to have the camerawork escalate in weirdness, with it growing more unorthodox and dreamlike as the story grew more bizarre. However, this minor issue was ultimately lost in the grand scheme of everything I loved about the film, so I don't mean to imply this matters much. Just some food for thought.




Left Bank (2008, Pieter Van Hees)

Another one of those films that start off with a compelling mystery but end up failing to resolve it in a satisfying way (well, for me at least).
Solid first half with some good acting and atmosphere, disappointing (and at times kinda ridiculous) second half.
Still definitely worth a watch for fans of moody European folklore horror.
I really like both Schoenaerts and moody horror, so I'll have to check this one out. I don't think I'd even heard of it!

Yes it is!

Practical Magic (Griffin Dunne, 1998)
6/10
I love Practical Magic and watch it probably once a year, while at the same time totally agreeing that it's a solid 6/10 film.



Kate (2021)

A definition of a dime a dozen. Passable (barely at times) action, twists you know are coming 10-15 minutes into the film, and some modern idiocies.
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I'm glad that you posted commentary about Cry Macho. I watched it last night, and felt like making some remarks here, but I didn't have the calling to do a full review.

The picture had more problems than solutions. IMO they should have emphasized much more strongly early in the movie that Mike (Clint) had experienced severe and impairing spinal injury. That would have made it easier to watch him move around in a very doddering manor, which might have been Clint's normal gait at the time of filming, at aged 90. The scenes of him trying to dance with the cafe owner were almost painful to watch.

The plot, as simple as it was, felt scattered and haphazard. In fairness the project has been in many hands since the 1970s, based on the novel by N. Richard Nash. But still, screenwriter Nick Schenk might have come up with a more cohesive effort. The dialogue in particular was oftentimes right up next to parody.

In that regard Dwight Yoakum gave one of his least believable performances that I can recall, which was probably mostly the fault of poor writing. The actor who played the kid was miscast. His overacting made the part seem silly.

On the bright side, Natalia Traven, was superb as the tavern owner and mutual love interest to Clint. She was so warm, charming and alluring that I'd have to say she was the best part of the film. I was surprised to learn that she is American. I felt sure she was Mexican or South American.

The music was first rate by Mark Mancina (Moana, The Lion King). The photography was picturesque, as one would expect given the locales. If they'd left out a few words here and there it could have received a PG rating rather than PG-13, and I'm all for that. Still, I think it's a film that kids would like, and could relate to in our modern times.

IMO Clint should limit himself to producing and directing. He's simply too damn old to be very convincing in anything. But my guess is that he simply enjoys MAKING films, and has fun at it, even though he probably over estimates his capacity to star in them. He's made so many wonderful films, and has such cachet that few will criticize a production like this, even though critics would cut it to shreds if it had been made by anyone else.

Clint will make films as long as he is able. I just hope he's a little more pragmatic and introspective about his role in them.
I agree with most all of that.
I've wondered if Cry Macho was meant to be viewed as farcical? I mean there's a rooster named Macho in the movie. And yet the movie is played straight. So then I wonder if Clint was making a film for his fans who still want to see him get the girl and punch the guy.

Natalia Traven the cantina owner was the bright spot of the film for me. I don't speak Spanish so I have no idea what she was saying but she lit up each scene she was in with those sparkling eyes and that warm smile. If she wasn't in the film then I'd rated it a 2.5 instead.

I was sad to see the 'man with no name' looking so frail. I mean he's 91 and still making movies, so more power to him! But he looked much weaker than he did in The Mule.

Agreed that Dwight Yoakum could not act...OMG! I liked the kid sort of, but yes he did over act at times.

I wish the movie had left out the crazed mom in her mansion and the drug gunman who came chasing after Cline. Hell the real story should have been just about how hard it was for a 91 year old to honor his debt to his former boss and drive a 1000 miles to retrieve his boss's son. And it was about 1000 miles that he would've drove too. The road trip alone would provide enough drama and human interest without all the trappings of the Mexican drug dealers. I mean we seen that in The Mule.



Gaia (2021)




Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17817519

The Last Wave - (1977)

After the directing the haunting film Picnic at Hanging Rock in 1975, Peter Weir's next film focused on premonition and an environmental apocalypse. Rain and chunks of ice fall from the bright blue sky - then frogs and oil. Lawyer David Burton's dreams come to life in terrifying visions - and they keep going as the end creeps closer. The Last Wave is a dream-like film that uses some aspects of Australian aboriginal culture and melds them with contemporary white culture. The result is wonderfully strange, disorientating and creepy. This one, compared to Hanging Rock, really snuck under the radar. It's now high on my 'Criterion Edition' wish-list, as it's had a Criterion release. I love how the entire film slips into a kind of dream logic as it goes along as everyday reality breaks apart. I really like this movie - it's grown on me a lot since I first saw it.

8/10


By Impawards.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21558757

Green Card - (1990)

Weir wrote the script for this movie specifically for Gérard Depardieu - it was his first English-speaking role. While waiting for him to be available, he directed a little film called Dead Poets Society. Green Card is a pretty average rom-com bit of fluff with funny moments. I've got nothing against Depardieu, but Andie MacDowell often grates on me a little bit. I just don't think she's a very good actress.

6/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3254390

Caché (Hidden)- (2005) - France - Rewatch

Great Michael Haneke film. I found it just as impactful this time around - and I wonder about it's prospects as regards to the 2000s countdown coming up soon.

9/10
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : Tower (2016)




Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17817519

The Last Wave - (1977)


8/10



Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3254390

Caché (Hidden)- (2005) - France - Rewatch

9/10
Two great films, love em both!



The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

Has anyone brought ancient mythology to the big screen more vividly and creatively than Ray Harryhausen. Once again from rich blue skies to jagged cliffs, islands, jungles and of course his iconic stop motion monsters; he manages to wonderfully capture the essence of a classic legend and transport the audience there through his technical and artistic brilliance. I don't think it's quite in the same league as Jason and the Argonauts but it's still a fantastically enjoyable adventure.
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Very slow paced, almost fell asleep midway through. Story was confusing and not very interesting to be honest.
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Watched the 1973 horror comedy Theatre of Blood yesterday. The plot: a veteran actor takes his revenge upon the films critiques who didn't praise everything he'd ever done. Fantastic acting in this one though. Can whole-heartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys a good stake through the heart (or even poodle pie for that matter).








The In-Laws - I know this is a movie related forum so there are probably loads of people here that have watched this or maybe had friends mention it but I still wish more people knew about this film. The unanticipated and yet perfect pairing of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin combined with the right director in Arthur Hiller and screenplay from Andrew Bergman. Lots of potential projects look great on paper but every once in a while lightning will strike.

Mild mannered NYC dentist Sheldon Kornpett's (Arkin) daughter is soon to be married to the son of Vincent Ricardo (Falk). He's an odd bird, filled with hilariously absurd stories of his time spent in the jungles of Central America for his unspecified job. But he's also strangely lovable, as is Shelly Kornpett. The two actors certainly look like they're having a blast making this movie and their easygoing camaraderie will win you over. Vincent is actually a CIA operative and as the movie opens he's taken delivery of some stolen U.S. Government property. It's all part of a convoluted plan to stop a global crisis before it happens. Vincent cajoles the unwitting Sheldon into retrieving the hot goods from his Manhattan office. This simple favor for a future in-law is what plunges the perpetually bewildered and overwhelmed Shelly into a nonstop blitz of confrontations, shootouts and chases and ultimately turns him into a fugitive from justice.

This is, at least for me, one of the most quotable movies out there and Bergman's script is packed full of gems. But it's Arkin and Falk's deliveries that ultimately sell it. From what I understand the two actors were looking for the opportunity to work together so I'm assuming they were friends and it shows onscreen. There's a genuine fellowship between the two. The rest of the cast performs ably in wholly supporting roles but it's Richard Libertini that almost succeeds in stealing the movie from the two stars as the sublimely loopy General Garcia. If you want an example of serendipitous casting this will not disappoint. Watch this or watch it again. Oh and steer clear of the 2003 remake.









The In-Laws - I know this is a movie related forum so there are probably loads of people here that have watched this or maybe had friends mention it but I still wish more people knew about this film. The unanticipated and yet perfect pairing of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin combined with the right director in Arthur Hiller and screenplay from Andrew Bergman. Lots of potential projects look great on paper but every once in a while lightning will strike.

Mild mannered NYC dentist Sheldon Kornpett's (Arkin) daughter is soon to be married to the son of Vincent Ricardo (Falk). He's an odd bird, filled with hilariously absurd stories of his time spent in the jungles of Central America for his unspecified job. But he's also strangely lovable, as is Shelly Kornpett. The two actors certainly look like they're having a blast making this movie and their easygoing camaraderie will win you over. Vincent is actually a CIA operative and as the movie opens he's taken delivery of some stolen U.S. Government property. It's all part of a convoluted plan to stop a global crisis before it happens. Vincent cajoles the unwitting Sheldon into retrieving the hot goods from his Manhattan office. This simple favor for a future in-law is what plunges the perpetually bewildered and overwhelmed Shelly into a nonstop blitz of confrontations, shootouts and chases and ultimately turns him into a fugitive from justice.

This is, at least for me, one of the most quotable movies out there and Bergman's script is packed full of gems. But it's Arkin and Falk's deliveries that ultimately sell it. From what I understand the two actors were looking for the opportunity to work together so I'm assuming they were friends and it shows onscreen. There's a genuine fellowship between the two. The rest of the cast performs ably in wholly supporting roles but it's Richard Libertini that almost succeeds in stealing the movie from the two stars as the sublimely loopy General Garcia. If you want an example of serendipitous casting this will not disappoint. Watch this or watch it again. Oh and steer clear of the 2003 remake.

"The benefits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program."



The Visitor (1979)


Sort of a ripoff of The Omen but with aliens. It feels like some substances were consumed during the creation of the film, but it's not as dreamy as Fulci at his best. Recommended for the lovers of weird, even though it's not as weird as some say.



WIND RIVER
(2017, Sheridan)
A film featuring Native American characters



"You don't catch wolves looking where they might be, you look where they've been."

Wind River follows Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a remote Wyoming town. During a routine hunt, he finds the raped and dead body of the daughter of a family friend in a local Indian reservation. When they bring young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to work the case, she enlists Lambert in the manhunt because of his hunting and tracking skills.

The film is loosely based in real-life accounts of rapes, murders, and disappearances of Indigenous women in the US. The story is pretty strong, even if the dialogue is at moments a bit clumsy. There are a couple of moments of bad expository dialogue and cringey interactions, but they are few and well scattered. What Sheridan does well is create a constant sense of oppression in these characters, which might be a result of their surroundings as well as their history and decisions.

Renner and Olsen are pretty solid. Unfortunately, her character doesn't really have an arc which makes her feel not fully realized. On the other hand, Renner has better moments to show depth and emotion, but overall treats his character as a subdued "badass", which seems a bit out of place with what seems to be his background. I would've appreciated if he would've let the vulnerability he shows in other moments to seep through all the film.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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