News: In theaters December 14: THE MULE, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood!

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I didn't even know Artforum carried movie reviews. But it does, and Nick Pinkerton's review of The Mule is a good one:

A BIZARRE, BRAZEN, AND OFTEN WONDERFULLY SURPRISING FILM, The Mule will slink into cinemas without the benefit of year-end awards season campaigning—its director and star, Clint Eastwood, is a two-time Best Director winner, but despite all his past prestige success, he has somehow managed to retain a distinct tang of the déclassé.

The emotional core of The Mule is Earl’s own late-in-life reckoning with his relationship to work and play and all the preoccupations that have rendered him, to his belated regret, a stranger to his family, and when dealing with these family affairs Eastwood moves into melodrama, a mode he slips into as easily as a cozy pair of hiked up khakis. His film has an endearing pokiness about it, a confident, ambling pace mirrored in Earl’s roundabout runs, which always leave time to pull over for a good pulled pork sandwich, to stop and smell the daylilies.

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: Yesterday at 09:42:39 PM »
Happy to be here ...
And we're happy to have you. 8)

However ...

Honkytonkman and Hocine, I've enjoyed reading your long and very personal posts in French, but they don't really belong in this thread ... and a lot of our members don't read French. I wish you could paraphrase them, in English, in a couple of threads that are more suited:

The Definitive List Of Eastwood Related Books

What was your first Clint Eastwood movie, and how did it affect you?

How'd you become a Clint fan? (We've had other threads on this topic, but this old one is the only one I could find easily.)

Anybody met Clint?

Or feel free to start a new thread on some of these topics, such as why one should never see an Eastwood film that's been dubbed! But in English please, because we'd like everyone here to keep up with the conversation. :)

Good observation, honkytonkman. Even Unforgiven has some very funny moments involving Clint.

Thank you for responding! I think the pic is there. Huge, but there. I did put it up for auction last night on eBay.
Thanks again!

I've reduced it for you. :)

Good luck with the sale!

Eastwood News / Re: RIP Sondra Locke
« on: December 13, 2018, 10:34:50 PM »
It's not a hoax, sadly. This is Variety:

Actress and director Sondra Locke, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination in her first movie role for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” died Nov. 3 at 74. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed her death.

Apparently her last starring role was in Ray Meets Helen, directed by Alan Rudolph (his first film in 15 years). It was released earlier this year, and got a favorable review (Critic's Pick) in the New York Times:


Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 13, 2018, 03:08:34 AM »
Peter Debruge, chief film critic for Variety, liked it with reservations:

From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly a decade because he doesn’t look the part of a courier.

... Eastwood is a minimalist, and instead of building on what has come before, he whittles away, recognizing that the almost imperceptible uptick of an eyebrow or a discreet downturn of the mouth is more effective than a full-blown grimace or reams of dialogue.

The film is full of small supporting characters, including Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, and Laurence Fishburne as a trio of thinly sketched DEA agents, although Earl’s is the only role that could reasonably be described as a three-dimensional human being. The others are almost insultingly flat, which is most troubling when it comes to the Latino characters. A few of them actually have names, but most are little more than reductive stereotypes: generically menacing Mexicans who almost certainly have more nuanced reasons for doing what they do. If only the movie afforded them the same attention it lavishes on understanding where Earl is coming from.

If you’ve read this far, then you are at least receptive to the idea that “The Mule” could do better where its identity politics are concerned, and that’s perhaps the biggest letdown in a movie that’s otherwise classic Eastwood: spare, efficient, and morally complicated enough (regarding Earl’s motives) to deliver a satisfying night at the movies. This isn’t the role that will earn Eastwood a legion of new fans, but it’s almost sure to delight those who appreciate him already.

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 13, 2018, 02:50:15 AM »
An intriguing opinion.....

I know I said in the first post of this thread, "Only quote enough to give us the gist, not entire articles," but in the case of a tweet, as long as you include the link it's perfectly OK to quote the whole thing. In this case:
Mark Asch @therealmarkasch

THE MULE [Eastwood 2018] If THE STRAIGHT STORY was about Burt Lancaster's vainglorious pensioner-cocksman from ATLANTIC CITY. Clint directs with the sly creakiness of Ford and looks like the skeleton from da share z0ne. Possibly a masterpiece.

And in general, I think it's better to include at least a brief quote to give us an idea of the tone and general content of the article, not just a link. :)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 13, 2018, 02:41:56 AM »
Tim Grierson in Screen Daily is largely positive:

The minor-key Clint Eastwood drama The Mule presents all that’s comforting and limiting about the 88-year-old director’s classical storytelling approach. Inspired by the true story of a nonagenarian who became a drug mule for a dangerous cartel, the film relies on Eastwood’s weathered, easy-going charm as the titular driver desperate for money — even if it means risking imprisonment or worse.

As with his other recent movies, the Oscar-winner favours sentimentality over subtlety, and yet The Mule resonates because of its straightforward look at America’s crooked War on Drugs, as well as its portrait of a flawed, aging man running out of options and second chances.

AKA, I'm very impressed with your success at scoring a ticket to the premiere and arranging a lightning cross-country trip to get there in time! You must be one of the most dedicated Eastwood fans I've ever met. 8)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: December 11, 2018, 11:28:22 PM »
I've moved a few posts with links to videos featuring Clint out of this thread and into the "Reviews and Features in the Media" thread. Now that the film has had its premiere, we'll put all such material in that thread. Keep them coming, please! :)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 11, 2018, 11:24:12 PM »
I've moved a few posts (the last five above this one) from the "Production Information and News" thread into this one. Now that the film has had its premiere, we'll put all media features such as these videos in this thread. :)

Off-Topic Discussion / Happy Birthday, Christopher ...
« on: December 10, 2018, 11:27:17 PM »
... 36!  :D

Happy Birthday, "old" friend!  :)

Have a wonderful day!  8)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 10, 2018, 10:48:24 PM »
Saman Moradkhani and Hocine, I edited a couple of your last posts where there was just a video link to add a bit about the subject of the video.  Thanks for posting them! :)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: December 10, 2018, 10:36:21 PM »
Huh. So you don't think that my analysis was indicative of being mentally unbalanced then?  ;D

Well, we know you ARE ... but you can't tell that from that analysis! ;D

(Just kidding, AKA. I  think you're as balanced as they come! :) )

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: December 10, 2018, 08:20:04 AM »
Sorry, I'm sure this must have been asked before but I was away from the board for a while and wouldn't know where to find the answer.
Clint said Gran Torino would be the last movie in which he would act but after it, had Trouble with the Curve and now the Mule. What made him change his mind? :)

Aline, I don't know and I don't think he's ever said, but my guess would be he just found scripts he liked that had a leading part for a man of his age. :)

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: December 10, 2018, 03:48:10 AM »
Clint dedicated Flags of Our Fathers to Henry Bumstead, his production designer in many movies, and to Phyllis Huffman, who was his casting director for many years.

Thanks, Hocine! I had forgotten that.

(I modified your message to show where your comment began.)

According to Box Office Mojo, it's going to be in 2,400+ theaters. That's the fewest of the three films that are opening "wide" that weekend. The other two are Mortal Engines (3,000+), which is "from the filmmakers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit," and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (3,400+), an animated, well, Spiderman-genre movie. Both of those sound like they won't have anything to worry about in the way of competition from The Mule.

His last film as actor, Trouble with the Curve, grossed $12,162,040 ... but it was in 3,200 theaters. Of his last two as director, Sully grossed $35,028,301... but it was in 3,525 theaters and was also an I-Max release. The 15:17 to Paris grossed only $12,554,286 from 3,042 theaters.

And this one, with virtually no advance publicity, in fewer theaters and with pretty attractive (not to me, but still) competition for ticket buyers' bucks?

Sorry, Clint. Because you acted in it as well as directed, I'll go as high as ... $13.3 million.

Hope I'm wrong ... that is, hope I'm guessing way too low, of course.

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 09, 2018, 07:52:30 PM »
To get us started, here's a feature from the Boston Globe, by Mark Feeney:

Earlier this fall, much was made of the fact that Robert Redford, 82, was starring in “The Old Man & the Gun.” A lot of the attention focused on the fact that Redford had announced that it would be his last acting role.

Why retire from acting at a mere 82? On Friday, “The Mule” opens. It stars Clint Eastwood, 88. Age cannot wither nor custom stale the glint of that classic Clint squint. Eastwood also directed.

Like Redford, he’s been a star since the ’60s. Eighty-eight is about as old as a leading man can get and still be leading. Yet Clint, being Clint, has announced nothing about future plans. Why would he? The tersest movie star this side of the Silent Era, he is to announcements what empty chairs are to Republican conventions.

You’d have thought Eastwood’s starring days were behind him. His last lead role came six years ago, in “Trouble With the Curve.” His last classic-Clint role — meaning angry dude, age irrelevant, preferably armed — was four years before that, in “Gran Torino.”
The film boasts an impressive cast: Bradley Cooper, Diane Wiest, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Andy Garcia. This is one of the things that people often overlook about Eastwood the director. Yes, he’s a master of visual economy and screen action. But performers love to work for him.

Actors who’ve earned Oscar nominations under his direction include Gene Hackman (“Unforgiven,” 1992); Meryl Streep (“The Bridges of Madison County,” 1995); Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Marcia Gay Harden (“Mystic River,” 2003); Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman (2004, “Million Dollar Baby”); Angelina Jolie (“Changeling,” 2008); Matt Damon (“Invictus”); and Cooper (“American Sniper”). Hackman, Penn, Robbins, Swank, and Freeman all won. That’s a track record worthy of Elia Kazan.

It’s also worth noting that Eastwood directed himself to acting nominations, for “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby.”

Eastwood News / THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media
« on: December 09, 2018, 07:40:36 PM »
This will be the "official" thread for media reviews of The Mule and current features about its cast and crew. Please try to keep it to major print, broadcast and online media, not random blog posts or tweets.

Remember that all quoted material should be formatted as such (surround it with [ quote] [ /quote] tags, without the spaces); only quote enough to give us the gist, not entire articles; and always, always give a link to the source (or publication information if it's not online). Also, please identify the author of the article, if it is not in the quoted material. The Moderators reserve the right to edit posts that don't follow these guidelines.

Please read through recent posts before posting new material to make sure someone hasn't already posted the same story or review. And remember that these are frequently reprinted, so try to find the original source if possible.

Eastwood News / Re: THE MULE: Production Information and News
« on: December 09, 2018, 07:30:59 PM »
AKA, I quite agree with your analysis. And I completely agree with this:

Clint dedicated Unforgiven to his mentors; Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. Do you really think he actually considers dedicating a "bad" movie to Richard and Pierre, two of his best friends?

If I'm not mistaken, Unforgiven is the ONLY other movie Clint dedicated to anyone, in that case to his two cinematic mentors. If he chose to dedicate this one to two people who were longtime followers and promoters of his career, I believe that says a LOT about how Clint, himself, views this film.

It's funny that you talk about that .... Coincidence: I own the original edition of this remarkable book by François Guérif, signed by Clint himself (that I could meet with a mix of good information and of luck last year in Venice, between 2 shots of "15:17 to Paris"). I do not tell you the emotion because I have been a fan for almost 30 years. You can see me in the presence of the Legend, in the video link below (the guy with glasses at 2'30 is me):

Thanks for posting that link, honkytonkman! So you're the guy in the glasses with dark hair, wearing a gray t-shirt, right? Congratulations on getting so close ... and getting your book signed. 8)

CLINT EASTWOOD 'SOTTO ASSEDIO' - Fan e turisti impazziti per il regista-star, appena esce tutto si blocca
(Clint Eastwood "besieged": Fans and tourists are crazy about the director-star: as soon as he goes out, everything comes to a standstill.)

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