Archive for the ‘Clint Eastwood’ Category

Heroism on the Hudson

Sully

sully_ver2

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Valerie Mahaffey, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, Holt McCallany, Sam Huntington, Max Adler

Clint Eastwood has turned into a brilliant director. At the age of 86 after a successful career in iconic films, Eastwood has shown a deft and experienced hand behind the camera. Just think Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.

Now Eastwood as director turns in another remarkable cinematic achievement in the riveting retelling of the fateful day on the 15th January 2009 when an experienced airline pilot Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger makes a decision to land an airbus on the icy Hudson River and by doing so avoids an aviation calamity. As a film Sully is helped by the innovative script by Todd Komarnicki, who employs a non-linear approach to the narrative.

Sully is a top notch portrayal of a good news story, a superb retelling of a bizarre incident which caused 30 years of human experience and a huge desire to save everyone on board, into an unrivalled act of heroism. The feat was stunning. In the shadow of 9/11, for once an aircraft disaster did not end in tragedy over the Manhattan skyline.

sully

Oscar winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forest Gump) in one of his finest portrayals onscreen since Bridge of Spies, plays Chelsey Sullenberger, or Sully as the film title suggests who despite saving all 155 passengers and crew on board a USAirlines flight from La Guardia to Charlotte, North Carolina, goes horribly wrong when the plane hits a bird strike and both engines are destroyed. Sully has to land the airbus in the Hudson River on a freezing January day.

What Eastwood does so cleverly is he sets up doubt immediately in the audiences mind as Sully opens with potential scenarios of what could have gone wrong, the airbus crashing into a skyscraper or worse.

Then besides the doubt and aviation investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into the cause of the crash and whether as aircraft captain, he made the right judgement call, Sully faithfully recreates all the events of that miraculous day from the plane taking off and its descent into the river separating New York from New Jersey.

Hanks is superb in this role, choosing to downplay all the traumatic emotions which usually spring from such a courageous event and focus on his own conviction that whatever could have been simulated would never have occurred in real life, involving experienced human beings dealing with an exceptional situation. What saved all 155 passengers on board that flight was a confluence of timing, experience and intuition.

For what Sully does point out is that most aircraft water landings end in tragedy or worse absolute disappearance like flight MH370 which vanished into the South Indian Ocean soon after take-off from Kuala Lumpur en-route to Beijing in 2014. The wreckage of that aircraft is still being searched for to this day.

Sully is a genuine rendition of a miraculous and courageous event, a well-crafted and mature film cleverly directed by Clint Eastwood and beautifully acted by Tom Hanks. As Oscar season is on the way, then Sully should be one of its first contenders for Best Director and Best Actor. Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney have supporting roles as loyal co-pilot and anxious wife respectively.

Highly recommended viewing. Sully is a must see film.

The Alpha Male Syndrome

American Sniper

american_sniper

Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Eric Close, Kier O’ Donnell, Jonathan Groff

After Bradley Cooper’s amazing performances in two of director David O. Russell’s films Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, Cooper utterly transforms himself physically for the role of Chris Kyle, the most honoured sniper in the American military in director Clint Eastwood’s sparse and taut war film American Sniper.

Cooper plays the ultimate Alpha Male, who is taught to hunt as a boy by his masochistic father and is heavily influenced by the notions of God, country and family something that pervades most of the Republican ethos of Texas. Kyle’s unsuccessful career as a cowboy rodeo rider is short lived after he decides through a series of mediated Television coverages first of the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and then more crucially in the historic events of 9/11 that he must do his part in protecting America from the ever growing threat of Al-Qaeda and join the almighty US military.

Kyle joins the auspicious navy seals and through a rigorous training programme soon transforms into an Alpha male, a lean, mean fighting machine ready to protect American borders at any cost. Kyle is not interested in the politics of the situation, his unrelenting patriotism drives him to commit to the US war effort with an unflinching ferocity.

At Kyle’s wedding to the flirty yet insubstantial Taya following a bar room pickup, he is soon called up to fight in Iraq. Fallujah to be exact, which is hell on earth and symbolic of urban terror and warfare at its most bloodiest.

Kyle’s special gifts as a sniper are put to good use although controversially his targets are not always his equals in those he kills. Sometimes he is forced to pull the trigger on woman and children, a decision which haunts him profoundly on his return trips to the States, where his pregnant wife Taya is attempting to establish some form of domestic bliss.

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Something which Kyle after witnessing and participating in the atrocities of a vicious war in a foreign land, finds himself difficult to reconcile with. Kyle’s shock at being back in American domestic life is akin to the World War One soldiers suffering from shell shock after attempts at reintegration have failed.

After spending four tours in Iraq at the height of the US-Led invasion of Iraq from 2003 onwards and over 1000 days in a conflict zone, any recourse to settle down is a long way off. This conflict between Kyle’s wartime experiences and his scenes with his wife and children back home, especially those between him and Taya, played by Sienna Miller, is not as convincingly portrayed as in Kathryn Bigelow’s superb war drama The Hurt Locker.

Unlike Zero Dark Thirty which delved into the complexity of the American invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, American Sniper clears politics from the cinematic palette, making it a much harsher film especially the unnerving scenes in Iraq which Kyle handles with an intensity and bravado which Cooper imbues with his complete physical transformation. In short Bradley Cooper utterly captivates the audience with his tragic and sombre performance of Chris Kyle, a quintessentially doomed American hero.

Eastwood’s direction is steady and besides the domestic scenes which are questionable due to Sienna Miller not having the emotional resonance to make Taya Kyle utterly believable, the warzone sequences are utterly riveting and Bradley Cooper’s performance as Chris Kyle lifts this films out of being just another patriotic tribute to American heroism especially considering the bizarre circumstances of Kyle’s tragic end to his life, which is underscored with irony and a profound message about America’s constant fascination with artillery and the second amendment.

American Sniper is an excellent film, highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed The Hurt Locker and Fury and is sure to spark controversial debate especially in light of the current Geo-political tensions occurring between America and the Middle East specifically Iraq and Syria.

 

62nd Golden Globe Awards

62nd Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 16th January 2005 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

aviator

Best Film Drama: The Aviator

sideways

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Sideways

million_dollar_baby

Best Director: Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Best Actress Drama: Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

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Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Jamie Foxx – Ray

Being Julia

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening – Being Julia

closer

Best Supporting Actor: Clive Owen – Closer

Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman – Closer

sea_inside

Best Foreign Language Film – The Sea Inside (Spain)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/62nd_Golden_Globe_Awards

77th Academy Awards

77th Academy Awards

27th February 2005

Oscar Winners at the 77th Academy Awards

million_dollar_baby

Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby

Best Director: Clint EastwoodMillion Dollar Baby

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Best Actor: Jamie Foxx – Ray

Best Actress: Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby

aviator_ver5

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett – The Aviator

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Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

sideways

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor – Sideways

sea_inside

Best Foreign Language Film: The Sea Inside directed by Alejandro Amenabar (Spain)

finding_neverland_ver2

Best Original Score: Jan A. P. Kaczmarek – Finding Neverland

Best Documentary Feature: Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski

aviator

Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson – The Aviator

Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell – The Aviator

Best Film Editing – Thelma Schoonmaker – The Aviator

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Best Visual Effects: Spiderman 2 directed by Sam Raimi

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/77th_Academy_Awards

 

 

 

 

Vehicle for a Fascinatingly Taut Film

Gran Torino

Don't mess with my Torino!

Don’t mess with my Torino!

Gran Torino Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film was suitably impressive with a solid and mean performance by Clint Eastwood in a story which has a lot more depth than it first appears with references to inter-cultural and generational differences in suburban America. What a cinematic feast  about the differences that divide and the similarities that bound us all…

A circular narrative whilst maintaining its thematic strength. One of Eastwood’s best films since Unforgiven and as a starring role since The Bridges of Madison County. Clint Eastwood stars as Walt Kowalski a Korean war veteran who has to deal with the onset of having new immigrant neighbours in Detroit and the attempted theft of his 1972 Gran Torino. Bee Vang stars as Thao and Christopher Carley stars as Father Janovich. Recommended viewing!

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