Gran Torino

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Zahveed
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Postby Zahveed » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:26 pm

dws1982 wrote:(My sister and brother-in-law saw it this weekend and both said it was one of the best movies they had seen in a long time.)

This is what my dad and stepmom said, but once again I listened to them and was disappointed. They seem to like anything I don't care for.
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Postby dws1982 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:56 am

Domestically, this has already outgrossed every other Eastwood film by almost $10 million, and seems on track for $125-130 million at least.

Whether you liked the movie or not, this is a pretty amazing feat for a movie with a mostly amateur cast, whose only major star is a near-octogenarian whose name alone hasn't been a box-office draw in quite some time. (I'd argue that his name alone didn't turn Million Dollar Baby, or Mystic River, or even Space Cowboys into popular successes. And his name couldn't turn Blood Work or True Crime into hits.) The Eastwood factor, and hype about this being his possible last performance ever, seems to have been a draw, but something about this movie seems to have really caught on. (My sister and brother-in-law saw it this weekend and both said it was one of the best movies they had seen in a long time.)




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Postby dylanfan23 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:58 am

jack wrote:The scene where his son and his wife come over on his birthday and try to convice him to more to the retirement village was one of the most unintentially funny scenes I've seen this year.

I'd first like to take issue with this one post. How is this scene not intentially funny? This is probably the biggest attempt at humor of the entire film. With the wife giving him an "easy grabber" or whatever you call it and bringing pamplets of retirement communities to a guy like walt. Did you think they were attempting a serious scene here jack?

Ok moving on to the film. After reading some of the thoughts on the is page i really thought i might not like this film at all. But the complete opposite. I thought it was a good film and one i enjoyed very much. The pace and the "intentional" humor made this a very enjoyable film. Is this a groudbreaking film, i wouldn't go that far, but is it one of my favorite films of the year, i would go that far. Its right up there with the other underappreciated clint film this year changeling. As for clint's performance, I don't know if it deserved a nomination, probably not. I can't say its better than del toro's or hoffman's(his lead performance in doubt) or dicaprio's. But none of those got nominated either, so i wouldn't have minded hearing his name called but oh well. I did prefer it over pitts and slightly over jenkins.

I have to say eastwood is probably my favorite filmmaker of the past decade. Since mystic river he's 6 for 6 for me. He's made 6 wonderful films and i just hope we get a few more.

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Postby dws1982 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:22 pm

Bog wrote:However, I feel objectivity is my nature...Absolute Power and True Crime do not have much redeeming value for me.

Haven't seen Absolute Power in 10+ years, but I could mount a defense for True Crime. Not a defense for the race-against-the-clock antics, or the James Woods/Denis Leary newspaper plots. But I like it as a clean, concise case against the death penalty, which is more affective than a loud, bullying take on the subject. I like that, even though the lead character starts off with self-serving motives, he ends up pursuing the case, not out of self-interest, but because it's the right thing to do and he feels duty-bound to try to see things through. (Letters From Iwo Jima states this theme of Eastwood's outright at one point: "Do what is right, because it is right.") I like the general decency that he gives the characters, the fact that we never see the particulars about who stops the execution is an indication that Eastwood believes that anyone had the decency in them to do it. And I love that he takes those three character actresses Diane Venora, Hattie Winston, and Lisa Gay Hamilton and gives them what could be standard characters who take on depths and textures that they almost certainly wouldn't have with lesser actresses or with a director who didn't care about those characters. They're typical second-banana types (except Winston, whose character would be a toss-off anywhere else), but Eastwood gives them equal footing with the stars, and they are excellent, all three of them. Hattie Winston, in particular, enters the picture pretty much out of nowhere, and shakes it off its axis expressing a lifetime of heartbreak and disappointment as an older lady faced with truths about her grandson that she desperately wants to avoid. (She goes over the top in her second scene unfortunately.) Diane Venora takes the wronged wife role to heights that most actresses wouldn't approach (the scene where she confronts Eastwood is one of the best in the film), and the always-underrated Hamilton is just excellent as the death-row wife.

It's not necessarily one of his masterpieces, but there's a lot that's worthwhile in there.

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Postby Bog » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:11 pm

Sabin wrote:then collapses in a self-righteous finale that deifies the actor and director in such a fashion that is rather embarrassing. How is this a heartbreaking tale of redemption?

SPOILERS


I see it as basically a Dirty Harry movie and classic Eastwood western filmed in real time 2008 but with the same iconic central figure, now almost 80 years old. It is a western at heart, but it's filmed in the slums of downtrodden Detroit. He used to live amongst his fellow cowboys, but times have changed...and this is portrayed in every facet of the way that old figure acts througout the film. I feel this a major part of what was being put on display here, with his children, the gangs, the state of the barren city of Detroit.

The ending is not different from that of many an Eastwood film...but realism befalls this formerly stoic character. He's William Munny or Dirty Harry or even Blondie, but aged and sick and dying. He takes his lumps and aims for redemption. But as I've stated it's within the realm of the real world here...not the semi-fantasy type western/hard-nosed unstoppable cop basis. He can no longer just fire his gun 6 times and kill 6 men, or save every distressed hostage by shooting the perp's arm, then their head. Here it is sacrifice that keys the redemption. This is what leads to Damien's quote of it being beautiful yet heartbreaking. The old Eastwood hero did not need heartbreak as a corollary to his redemption. He has gone to less fantastical and more real world outcomes and it has spurned his recent success and maturation as a filmmaker. Whether it's his main character cold bloodedly murdering his wrongly accused lifelong friend and the police unable or maybe unwilling to do justice; tragedy striking a homemade national boxing hero with no happy ending; or getting inside Japanese soldiers in a lost cause World War II effort. This is just the most personal and stretched this iconic character has ever gotten, and I felt his death was a symbol (among other things) for the once and for all end of the way he used to make movies. That time has passed with him on screen, and likely that will be his last.

I don't feel I am bending over backwards for this film personally, and I hope that I don't come across that way. Eastwood is my Wes Anderson or Blake Edwards or Leo McCarey or Ron Howard to Criddic...haha. However, I feel objectivity is my nature...Absolute Power and True Crime do not have much redeeming value for me. Gran Torino is pretty wonderful

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Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:15 pm

As I watch more Clint Eastwood movies, he's emerging as one of my favorite filmmakers ever and I think he made more great movies that nobody ever talks about in the nineties like A Perfect World and White Hunter, Black Heart. I'm still playing catch up with a lot of other of his films but I think for all its flaws Blood Work is the stronger self-referential work than Gran Torino and I don't even really like that film all that much.

I feel like you guys are bending over backwards for this film. I genuinely don't understand how anything truly meaningful is being said. I think the broadness of the beginning extends some 45 minutes into the film and then collapses in a self-righteous finale that deifies the actor and director in such a fashion that is rather embarrassing. How is this a heartbreaking tale of redemption?
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Postby Damien » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:50 pm

I think Gran Torino is pretty wonderful. But I also recognize that, as Daniel indicated, to appreciate it you probably have to appreciate Eastwood as a major filmmaker and an imporatnt cultural icon.

This is a very contemplative and self-referential work, and Eastwood examines both his own persona and the macho male ethos in general -- something which he's been doing since at least The Gauntlet in 1977. I admit that the beginning sequences of the film are a bit broad and the treatment of the relationship with the sons is slightly glib, but such reservations are minor and fall by the wayside as the movie's emotional depth accumulates. And Eastwood's probing of violence and Harry Callahan-style vigilantie-ism is fascinating and quite moving (and, because it is more personalized, it may be even more memorable than his examination of violent traditions in Unforgiven).

And in Ahney Her's Sue Lor, Eastwood has given us another memorable strong, funny, feisty independent woman -- one of the many traits for which to admire Eastwood is how he has consistently imbued his major female characters with nuance, grit and grace.

Above all, Gran Torino is a beautiful and heartbreaking -- yet inspiring -- tale of redemption.




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Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:41 pm

The minute you formulate your thoughts, please let me know.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby dws1982 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:11 pm

This is on track for a $25-30 million weekend, and unless the Saturday/Sunday grosses drop off from Friday, it'll finish ahead of the latest horror movie and the Hathaway/Hudson movie. Which means that by the end of the weekend, this will have outgrossed Eastwood's last three movies.

I'm trying to prepare some thoughts on this for later. But as I speculated before, it is one that divides Eastwood's casual fans from everyone else. Casual fans, or people tired of Eastwood's run of the past five years will not find much to like here. People who are expecting another Eastwood Oscar-baiter will find something about 180 degrees removed from that.

I loved it, and I recognize that will come as a surprise to absolutely no one.




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Postby Bog » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:56 pm

I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder...I thoroughly enjoyed the film's entirety. It is not a groundbreaking film, and I am fairly certain Clint will go without a competitive acting Oscar, but I found it to be heads and tails above such lauded average efforts as Slumdog Millionaire destined for Oscar lore.

I did not find any part of the film to be laughably bad, or even bad at all. It is stereotypical, and the bigotry is scripted to make one laugh, but I did not find self indulgence in the ultimate redemption key to the film. So many thoughts on the film that I will have to flesh out later, but my initial reaction is that of finding several redeeming factors that (finally) will be looked upon highly in the Eastwood canon.

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Postby Sabin » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:11 pm

And the ending is very powerful, with Eastwood's favorite themes (religion, vengeance, penance, etc.) front and center.

I think the ending is incredibly self-indulgent full of imagery that I think is far too cheap and easy for a filmmaker like Eastwood. On the one hand, this is as schematic and uninteresting a screenplay as one is bound to see all year so it's to Eastwood's credit that as schizophrenic as this film is (the first 40 or so are amateur hour), it does pick up around then and become more interesting. That being said, there is an outward laziness to this film that I can't forgive. I don't care how amazing it would be to work on an Eastwood set and see a movie done in less than two weeks. While some compositions and moments are dependably strong, it doesn't feel there Eastwood had much consideration for it as a cohesive whole, or even for using his racism as the comedic punctuation as it's so clearly designed to be. Even As Good As It Gets knew how to film Nicholson's comments. In Gran Torino they exist boringly on the margins.

I didn't care for Eastwood's performance at all. His mutterings seem rather forced and his sneer is beyond overkill. This character has no inner-life to speak of and that's fine if you want to portray a bitter racist old man, but this is not a compelling performance. On a side note, Million Dollar Baby was such a perfect distillation of Eastwood's persona and left him in such a wonderful place by the end of it that it's sad to see him likely going out on such a discordant note.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby criddic3 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:02 am

Under-30s are advised to stay away. Seriously -- you'll just be wasting your time. Especially younger women. But over 35, over 40 and especially over 50 types are welcome. Guys who've been around for the long Clint ride and know what it's always been about I've seen it twice now and GT is about as good as this sort of thing can get. You just have to know what "this sort of thing" really and truly means.


I'm only 31, and i'm sure I'd be interested in this movie at a younger age. Whether it will work for me is a different matter, but I reserve my opinion till I see it. Fact is that there are people in their 20s and 30s who have seen numerous Eastwood movies, and they likely would want to see Eastwood in this mode one last time. I have the feeling this may be his final on-screen starring role, unless he finds something irresistable in the near future.
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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:03 am

This is a strange movie. For the first forty minutes or so, I thought it was laughably bad, full of scene after scene of silly racist insults and grossly over-the-top characterizations. (The depiction of Eastwood's family throughout the film is practically parody.)

But then once the story really starts to kick in, it actually becomes something pretty good. The relationships that develop between Walt and the young man and woman next door are compelling and tender. Once the stakes become heightened, the plot becomes rather gripping. And the ending is very powerful, with Eastwood's favorite themes (religion, vengeance, penance, etc.) front and center.

I view Eastwood's performance in about the same terms. At the start, his growling seemed a little ridiculous. But as the film goes on, he loosens up quite a bit, and has a number of heartfelt scenes in the second and third acts.

So I understand Mister Tee's ambivalence -- Gran Torino has a lot of moments that are really good, and a lot that are really bad, and I'm not sure whether or not I prefer it to Changeling's more even-keeled mediocrity. Still, I don't think either of Eastwood's '08 efforts are any kind of major accomplishment, though both are worth seeing.

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Postby dws1982 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:16 pm

Looks to me like this is an Eastwood film that will divide his auteurist fans from...everyone else.

Can't wait to see it myself.




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Postby Cinemanolis » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:22 pm

Gran Torino

3/10

First of all i hope this was intended to be a comedy. If that's the case it's not very funny, if it was meant to be a drama, it is laughable. The worst thing in it, and the element that sets the tone of the film is the performance of Clint Eastwood. The words that come to my mind regarding his performance are over-the-top, caricature and grotesque. The NBR awards are IMO inexplicable, since the screenplay of this b-movie is also very week. The best part of the film is the song, which is far from mastepiece, but it's good and far better than the crap they usually nominate.




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