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A Mixed Bag
J. EDGAR (2011) Directed by Clint Eastwood,[written by Dustin Lance Black, this engrossing film focuses on the career of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the Palmer Raids onwards, including his private life purportedly as a homosexual. The film features a remarkable performance by Leonardo DiCaprio as the FBI chief, at turns vain, forceful, dedicated, petty, hateful, and sympathetic. This is no cardboard cutout, but a flesh and blood person. With Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Judi Dench and Ed Westwick.
ANOTHER YEAR (2010) is another low-key drama from writer/director Mike Leigh, who uses improvisation to develop the back stories of his characters and then writes a story that avoids cliché and reflects life in all its messiness. Loose ends are rarely tied up, characters disappear or develop, and relationships sometimes endure. Starring Lesley Manville and Jim Broadbent as an easygoing couple who have been together 30 years or more and their interactions with various friends and family members over the course of a year.It premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the Palme d'Or. It played at the 54th London Film Festival before its general British release date on 5 November 2010. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay.
HEREAFTER (2010), directed by Clint Eastwood, written by Peter Morgan and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, tells three parallel stories about three people who communicate with the dead; Matt Damon plays a clairvoyant but no longer wants to communicate with the dead; Cécile de France is a French television journalist who survives a near-death experience during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; and twins Marcus and Jason (played by Frankie and George McLaren) seem to communicate with each other after Jason dies. The movie is a strange, moody piece, quite unlike anything Eastwood has previously attempted. Although it seems disjointed at first, it ties the plot points up effectively at the finish. Morgan sold the script on spec to DreamWorks in 2008, but it transferred to Warner Bros. by the time Eastwood (who has a long-standing relationship with Warner Bros.) had signed on to direct in 2009. Principal photography ran from October 2009 to February 2010 on locations in London, San Francisco, Paris, and Hawaii.
FALL GUY (1982). A strange comedy-drama, which veers from wild overacting to subtle, moving performances, this Japanese film chronicles the relationship of an insecure stunt man and a former movie star who has fallen on hard times, and the ego-maniacal leading man who brings them together – and stands in their way. Touching at times, but also a bit over the top. Among many awards, it was chosen as the Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony.
WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY (2000) The title only hints at the creepy nature of this film and its lead character Harry (Sergi López) who is obsessed with his old high school chum, Michel (Laurent Lucas), and especially with his aborted writing career (Michel had written bad poetry and fiction then)l; they meet again by accident, and Harry decides he has to remove the "distractions" that are preventing him from writing. That starts with his purchasing Michel and his wife a new car, and extends to eliminating anyone who get in the way of his creativity – like family members. Director/co-scenarist Dominik Moll builds the suspense brilliantly makes the bizarre story believable, avoiding a clichéd Hollywood thriller ending (which will probably turn up in the planned Hollywood remake).
October 27, 2012