HEREAFTER (Clint Eastwood, 2010)

Clint Eastwood is a cold, distant, crabby man who, as director, makes cold, distant, crabby films. One scarcely associates charm with Eastwood. However, the final five minutes or so of his Hereafter are indeed charming, full of the quiet, soulful spark of budding romance. For the most part, the film is tedious, morose, repressed; but […]

INVICTUS (Clint Eastwood, 2009)

Except that Morgan Freeman’s low-keyed performance as Nelson Mandela disappoints (Mandela had been petitioning Freeman for years to play him), I found Clint Eastwood’s Invictus substantial and engrossing. Perhaps guided by Anthony Peckham’s script, based on John Carlin’s book, Eastwood took the proper route: establishing President Mandela’s intention to be a racial conciliator for the […]

THE INFORMANT! (Steven Soderbergh, 2009)

Marvin Hamlisch’s raucous, slapstick score—musically, of course, dreadful—busily proclaims how funny a film The Informant! is. Only it isn’t. A few chuckles are provided, and there’s a persistent air of arch amusement; but Steven Soderbergh’s exquisitely photographed film—Peter Andrews, a.k.a. Soderbergh, is the color cinematographer—isn’t sharp enough to be particularly funny. At best, it beams. […]

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (Paul Greengrass, 2007)

Sufficiently open-ended to allow for an addition to the now completed Ludlum/Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum becomes onscreen a propulsive thriller in which “Jason Bourne,” a super-trained amnesiac C.I.A. assassin, continues trying to discover who he really is while dodging assassination attempts, and protecting others, from the organization, which has sent him out into the […]

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES (Billy Bob Thornton, 2000)

One approaches this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel with caution. Director Billy Bob Thornton had his final four-hour cut slashed by the distributor to two hours so theaters could squeeze in twice as many shows per day. In retaliation, Thornton has vowed to keep the complete version away from view (for instance, in a director’s […]