Hereafter reviews

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Postby Sonic Youth » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:43 pm

Clint Eastwood film Hereafter is pulled from Japan
BBC News

Warner Bros has taken movie Hereafter out of Japanese cinemas following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, features scenes of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people.

In Japan, the official death toll stands at 2,400 but estimates suggest at least 10,000 may have been killed.

Thousands are still unaccounted for as the relief effort continues.

Warner Bros official Satoru Otani said Hereafter's terrifying tsunami scenes were "not appropriate" at this time.

It opened in Japan in late February at around 180 cinemas and was originally intended to run until the end of this month.

The film company has also postponed the release of exorcism film The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, which was due to open this coming weekend.*

In a statement Warner Bros said: "In deference to the tragic unfolding events in Japan, we have pulled Hereafter from the theatres and will postpone the Japanese release of The Rite to a later date."



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Postby Sabin » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:36 am

Mike D'Angelo gives it a 25/100!!!

[But with a difference! Unlike other recent terrible Clintflix, this one doesn't announce its idiocy right from the jump -- only in retrospect does the full force of its pointlessness hit you like that opening tsunami. (All downhill from there.) Of the three cross-cut narratives, only Damon's avoids a sense of marking time, thanks to Bryce Dallas Howard's live-wire turn; otherwise, there's not much to do except wait impatiently for the inevitable convergence, which (a) Peter Morgan engineers via phony character traits and dopey coincidences that would make even Guillermo Arriaga smack his head in disbelief, and which furthermore (b) culminates in absolutely nothing whatsoever. Seriously: SQUELCH. Turns out Hereafter fancies itself less a multi-strand story than a sort of gentle "meditation" on the nature of life after death. Trouble is, Morgan has no remotely interesting thoughts on the subject, and it's not as if Eastwood's renowned as a gap-filler. Ambitious, well-intentioned, useless.]

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:14 pm

Screen Daily. Copied from someone else's copy.

13 September, 2010 | By Mark Adams, chief film critic

Dir/music: Clint Eastwood. US. 2010. 123mins

Clint Eastwood takes a bold change of pace with Hereafter, a compelling and thoughtfully structured delve into the world of the supernatural, weaving together three separate storylines that all finally converge to satisfying effect. This is no spooky chiller though…instead a fascinating look at how death affects a series of completely different people.

Cecile de France is thoroughly enchanting as the glamorous TV presenter who finds her life unraveling.
The film is scripted by Peter Morgan – whose impressive track record includes The Queen and Frost/Nixon) - and he has set Eastwood a rather different directorial challenge. This is not a film dominated by action or effects, but instead a complex interwoven story of people trying to deal with the traumas and find solace rather than solutions.

That being said, Hereafter does open in quite spectacular fashion. Successful French television reporter Marie (the spectacularly good Cecile de France) is on holiday with her TV director boyfriend at a tropical beachside resort and one morning she wanders into the nearby town to look for trinkets to take home to Paris.

The resort is then hit with a massive tsunami, and she finds herself swept away in the terrifying torrent of water. She is plucked from the water, and while two men try and save her she finds herself mentally seeing ‘the other side’, strange shadowy white figures against a misty backdrop. She is miraculously brought back to life, but cannot forget or totally comprehend her near-death experience.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, factory worker George (Matt Damon) is trying to hide away from his previous career as a psychic who could communicate with the dead. For him his power is a terrible curse rather than a gift, and he tries to hide himself away and not get close to people.

Taking a night school course in Italian cooking – Damon is engagingly clumsy chopping tomatoes – he meets a woman trying to start her life over (Bryce Dallas Howard), but when they start to get close she asks him to ‘read’ her. He delves into her past and tells her truths which drive her away.

In England young twins Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) try to protect their druggie mother from the local social service, but when Jason is killed in a car accident Marcus finds himself taken away from his mother and also haunted by the loss of his brother.

The threesome of George, Marie and Marcus are all touched by death in different ways, and each struggle to find ways to deal with the ways that their memories and emotions drive them to find answers.

Marie takes a leave of absence from her job and writes a book about her experience in the tsunami and about the afterlife – after taking a side trip to Switzerland to talk to an academic who ha studied the hereafter (Marthe Keller in a nice cameo) – while young Marcus visits fake psychics and doctors as he looks to find a way to communicate with his brother. While searching the net he comes across an old website detailing George’s abilities.

The three finally come together in London. George is there on a holiday – and a way to escape his brother (Jay Mohr) and his plans for George to go back into the psychic business – and Marie is in the city on a book tour. The three meet by accident at a book fair, where George is drawn to Marie at a reading and where Marcus spots George and follows him back to his hotel.

Eastwood ends the film with no crash-bang effects or profound announcements. Simply that these three very different people find ways to deal with their brushes with death. George helps Marcus to let his bother go, and in a low-key moment at the end George and Marie find the possibility of love.

Clint Eastwood does not resort to any clever editing to tell the three parallel stories, instead opts for a linear style switching between each storyline in 10 minute bursts, and allowing each of the characters to develop gradually. He does a great job in reflecting the socio-economic circumstances of each character (Marie is wealthy and glamorous, Marcus has a tough housing estate life and George lives modestly and along and works in a local factory) and with no fuss of grandstanding elegantly weaves the parallel storyline together.

Cecile de France is thoroughly enchanting as the glamorous TV presenter who finds her life unraveling after the tsunami (a brilliantly staged effects sequence), while Matt Damon underplays impressively as a man trying to hide from life. Young Frankie McLaren has a tougher job as the tormented youngster, called on largely to look doe-eyed and sad for most of the film, but he holds his own a his storyline develops.

It is good to see Clint Eastwood trying something very different. Fans expecting to see a supernatural thriller will be disappointed….but those interested in a shrewdly made and well-scripted drama about loss and compassion will be intrigued and impressed.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:10 pm

And, Hollywood Reporter. Obviously everyone was told to hold till midnight eastern.

Hereafter -- Film Review
By Kirk Honeycutt, September 13, 2010 12:00 ET

"Hereafter"Bottom Line: Another strong and unexpected drama from Clint Eastwood.

TORONTO -- Clint Eastwood continues his search for challenging stories that delve into extreme reaches of the human condition in "Hereafter," a globetrotting inquiry into the nature of the afterlife. The film also marks an unexpected turn in the screenwriting of Peter Morgan, away from his survey of political personalities in such films as "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" and into metaphysical speculation. The film never is less than intriguing, right from its tour de force opening sequence, and often full of insights into why people long for answers, sometimes with great urgency.

By now Eastwood has established a reputation for the unexpected, so his admirers -- "fans" no longer seems the right word -- plus anyone curious about the subject matter certainly will line up when Warner Bros. releases the film domestically Oct. 22. The film should do very well in Europe next year as well.

One would expect such subjects as mortality and the afterlife would mean a contemplative, even moody piece. But Morgan has planted a sense of immediacy within these international stories about three people searching for answers.

Strange as it sounds, the film reminds a little of old Claude Lelouch movies -- and not just because Marthe Keller, looking wonderful, shows up in one sequence -- because Morgan's story plays with fate and destiny as people's paths eventually cross after incidents in different parts of the world send them on a collision course.

A tsunami tears through a tropical beach town, causing a French television news anchor (Cecile de France) to have a near-death experience. An otherwise normal American (Matt Damon) desperately wants to flee his "curse," a psychic ability to communicate with the dead. Two twin boys in London are inseparable until they are separated by death, leaving the shyer, more dependent brother (Frankie McLaren) desperate to reach beyond the grave for assurance.

Each story has its own subplots and captivating characters. The French woman, something of a celebrity, is in a relationship with her married producer (Thierry Neuvic). The experience has so shaken her that he suggests she take time off to write a political book. She does, but her writing veers off course as she investigates scientists who research the afterlife and the stigma attached to their work.

The psychic aches to get out of the "reading" business, but his brother (Jay Mohr) knows a gold mine when he sees it, and a fledgling relationship with a bright, pretty woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) falls apart because of his unwanted ability.

The twins' mother (Lyndsey Marshal) is a junkie. Following the death of the "older" brother (George McLaren), social workers and even the mother finally agree that his brother must go into foster care while she rehabs. It couldn't happen at a worse time for the lad.

All three stories have a sense of urgency: these are people tormented by the inexplicable. Eastwood establishes their stress but never hurries the film. Many absorbing moments dot the movie that luxuriate in situations and details, such as a cooking class where the psychic meets a potential lover or a London Underground sequence where an enigmatic event rescues the brother.

Eastwood's actors underplay what has potential for hokey melodrama. Indeed, the film nimbly maneuvers through territory few American films enter. Perhaps for good reason: Remember the debacle of "What Dreams May Come?"

Even with all this, the ending is a letdown. It's too facile, too ... well, Lelouch, as a matter of fact. One wants a film dealing with the ultimate metaphysical issue to end on a more profound note than the finish Morgan comes up with.

However, it certainly will give audiences something to debate on the way home. As with "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood has made a movie that shakes up the whole notion of what studio movies can be.

A final note: Eastwood's lilting musical score is among his best.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:07 pm

Variety -- hot off the presses.



Clint Eastwood moves into risky new territory with old-fashioned grace and sturdy classical filmmaking in "Hereafter." An uneven but absorbing triptych of stories concerning the bonds between the living and the dead, the 80-year-old filmmaker's latest feature is a beguiling blend of the audacious and the familiar; it dances right on the edge of the ridiculous and at times even crosses over, but is armored against risibility by its deep pockets of emotion, sly humor and matter-of-fact approach to the fantastical. Oct. 22 release may divide even Eastwood partisans, but should generate sufficient intrigue to portend positive B.O. readings.
The screenplay by Peter Morgan (taking a break from dramatizing the lives of British celebrities) quickly establishes three parallel narratives, the first of which kicks off in disaster-movie mode: French TV journalist Marie LeLay (Cecile de France) is vacationing in the tropics with b.f. Didier (Thierry Neuvic) when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hits. Borne along by the rapidly moving tides, rendered with inexpert visual effects but a vivid sense of peril, Marie hits her head, blacks out and has an otherworldly vision -- all blindingwhite light and ghostly silhouettes -- before regaining consciousness.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, George Lonegan (Matt Damon), a construction worker trying to repress his apparently genuine psychic gift, fends off requests from acquaintances and strangers hoping to communicate with their lost loved ones. Finally, in London, young twin brothers Marcus and Jason (played interchangeably by George and Frankie McLaren) try to ward off social services by covering up for their alcoholic mother, yielding unexpectedly tragic consequences.

Eastwood allows each of these stories to develop in unhurried fashion, always keeping the specter of death hovering in the background. Marie returns to Paris but has trouble readjusting to her job after her traumatic experience, while one of the boys, Marcus, becomes eerily obsessed with psychic phenomena. And George, in an unusually charming development, joins an Italian cooking class (taught by Steven R. Schirripa, boisterously channeling Emeril Lagasse), where he's paired with a beautiful stranger, Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard).

The question that propels "Hereafter" is how these three yarns will eventually converge (the answer: creakily), and on the face of it, this fractured, globe-trotting tale of fate and mortality bears a strong resemblance to the work of scribe Guillermo Arriaga, specifically "Babel." But while the film trades in too many coincidences -- suffice it to say the tsunami is not the only real-world disaster the film invokes -- the mitigating charm of Eastwood's approach is how subdued, unportentous and laid-back it is. He seems in no hurry to establish the missing links, trusting us to engage with the characters before we know exactly how they fit together.

As though aware of the raised eyebrows that may greet his borderline-schlocky choice of material, Eastwood pauses midway through to register a healthy measure of skepticism; a montage shows one character consulting a series of psychics, every one of them a charlatan. Even still, we're meant to take it on faith that Damon's George is the real deal (his gifts are even given a biological explanation), and the film presents his frequent glimpses of the netherworld -- similar to Marie's near-death visions -- in an unquestioning manner that viewers will have to either accept or reject.

As unabashedly suffused with emotion as any of Eastwood's films, "Hereafter" is finally less interested in addressing life's great mysteries than in offering viewers the soothing balm of catharsis; the portal to the beyond, as conceived here, serves merely as a practical gateway into inner peace, romantic renewal and, most consolingly, the reassurance that our loved ones never leave us. This sentiment is conveyed when George reluctantly performs a reading for Melanie, all the more powerful for its apparent disconnection from the rest of the story.

The fact that much of the film is set in Europe lends it a unique look and texture in the helmer's oeuvre; Tom Stern's camera at times pulls back to take in the varied landscapes, but bathes many of the interiors in his customary inky blacks, the intense chiaroscuro serving to up the hushed, spiritual quality of the film's most intimate moments. As usual, Eastwood's score is a tad overinsistent if melodically spare, its few notes reiterated on various instruments (including piano, guitar and harmonica), and supplemented here by snippets of Rachmaninoff.

Damon and de France (toplining her first major studio picture) are sympathetic enough as characters who are more or less at the mercy of the cosmos, while the brothers McLaren eventually cast off their Dickensian-moppet shackles, particularly in the final reel. But it's Howard whose relatively brief presence really lingers, her performance starting off goofy and ingratiating before taking on an almost otherworldly intensity. With: Lyndsey Marshal, Richard Kind, Steven R. Schirripa, Jenifer Lewis. (English, French dialogue)

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:51 pm

From Emauel Levy's web site but obviously not written by Levy:

Hereafter C+
By Patrick Z. McGavin

Toronto Film Festival (Special screening)--A puzzling and solemn story about loss and recovery, Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” is animated by challenging and contemplative ideas of three radically different people, all haunted by intimations of their own mortality.

The prolific output of Eastwood (who turned 80 in May) over the last decade has been assured and unconventional. Unfortunately, “Hereafter” is one of his least imposing works behind the camera.

The script, by the prolific English writer Peter Morgan (“The Queen,” “Nixon/Frost”), has ambition and verve, but it also flat and ill-considered. The text is potentially risky and rich, but the movie is trapped by some false notes and empty flourishes that deprive it the mysterious, enveloping quality that this kind of story requires.

The overall result is strange, uninvolving, and self-enclosed. Some very good actors periodically turn up the heat and give the movie something resembling a pulse. However, taken as a whole, the movie lacks the coherence, dramatic tension and observational precision of the director’s best work.

"Hereafter" world-premiered at the Toronto Film Fest and will play as closing night of the New York Film Fest before being released theatrically by Warner in late October.

Eastwood’s good films (among which are “Bird,” “Unforgiven,” “A Perfect World,” and “Million Dollar Baby”) have a commanding and dramatic presence at the center. The inherent difficulty of “Hereafter” is that almost everything is loaded down with meaning and significance, but strangely it feels dramatically inert. The drama is fragmented, as the story shifts among three people in different countries; the entire film lacks the solidity and texture of the director’s strongest works.

Spielberg, one of the film’s producers, has worked with Eastwood before, on “The Bridges of Madison County,” which managed the impossible task of making a decent film out of a terrible novel. The material of “Hereafter,” particularly the parts exploring the supernatural or the inexplicable, is obviously closer to Spielberg’s sensibility. The movie opens, in fact, with a startling and thundering ecological disaster, depicted by elaborate visual effects and CGI imagery. Spielberg would have emphasized the dark magic and potency of the scene, but with Eastwood, it comes off as thundering and over-emphatic.

Morgan’s script is meant to be a vivid dissection of lives, but it unfolds as yet another triptych that tends to forestall the drama or magnify the strained ridiculousness of it all.

Marie (Cecile de France), a beautiful, highly competent French TV journalist, is trapped in the tsunami that violently wrecks a resort community where she is vacationing. Though surviving, Marie is haunted by the visions or hallucinations that crossed her consciousness at the moment she nearly went to the other side. Returning home to Paris, she takes a sabbatical from work, after her on-air performance noticeably declines to write a book.

Meanwhile, in London, two adolescent twins named Jason and Marcus (played by the brothers Frankie and George McLaren) strenuously cope with their drug-ravaged mother. The older one by 12 minutes, the conversational and confident Marcus, maintains the general order as he gently orders his more diffuse and less assertive brother. Both boys are avid to anything approaching normalcy. The more aggressive need for control has horrible consequences when he suffers a horrifying fate.

Cut to San Francisco and George (Matt Damon), a longshoreman who‘s also repudiated his own questionable past as a psychic. Depending on the point of view, he is either blessed or cursed with supernatural ability to “connect,” or commune with the recently deceased. George’s brother (Jay Mohr) wants him to mine the commercial potential and extend his brand. But George just wants to erase that part of his life. He holds that the emotional detritus of his talent, like learning damaging personal information about intimates, has prevented him from developing any sustained relationships.

The crisscrossing, echoing structure certainly yields some interesting parts and moments, and the actors are never less than compelling.

Damon offers an entirely different portrait than his previous collaboration with Eastwood on “Invictus.” Here he plays a more conflicted and emotionally closed part, and his awkward and bruising physical reactions and muted emotional interaction serves his role well.

In a showy part, the superb France, still unknown in this country, is also good at conveying the vulnerability and unsettledness of a talented and gifted woman who’s slowly unraveling.

However, the film’s structure is increasingly episodic and uneasily patched together, with major movements seemingly imported at random. For instance, the middle of the tale is built around George’s tentative and fascinating romantic courtship of an attractive young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) who’s his cooking partner at his Italian gourmet chef night class. Rather than color and shape deepen George’s character, the subplot ruptures with an incriminating judgment on a character that’s not even in the film.

“Hereafter” is often hurt by that kind of uncertainty. It becomes all too symbolic of the larger work and the absence of subtlety and grace necessary to link the disparate parts. Some of the situations and storytelling are quite risible, like a subway sequence in London that traffics in the terror and social disruption of recent events there in order to make a point about the boy’s deepening awareness of his missing brother’s watching over him.

The London material is not well integrated into the other parts, from the mannered handling of the mother’s drug addiction and attempted recovery to other questionable means, like a strange montage dedicated to various quacks trying to take advantage of the boy’s need for emotional resolution.

“Hereafter” is also marred, as several late period Eastwood films are, by sentimentality and a quite frankly atrocious use of music. Eastwood has again composed his own music. The moody, spare and melancholy tone poem is indistinguishable his musical contributions to his recent work. (Too bad that he no longer draws on the talent and support of his frequent collaborator, Lennie Niehaus.) In this picture, the score is strained and earnest, signaling too much bathos.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire

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