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Author Topic: THE MULE: Reviews and Features in the Media  (Read 5621 times)
AKA23
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« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2018, 11:22:15 AM »

I thought this was a pretty cool story that no one has discussed yet.

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Clint Eastwood has always been a hero to actor Daniel Moncada. So when the “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” actor was cast alongside Eastwood in the new American thriller “The Mule,” now in theaters, it was a major honor.

Moncada, who immigrated from Honduras as a child, had gotten caught up in the wrong crowd as a youth. At first, he was bullied for being the immigrant kid with broken English. Later, he was in gangs and did multiple stints in jail. He was even shot at, and he still has a scar from the time he was stabbed by a machete. This tumultuous past is what makes his journey to the Eastwood flick especially impressive.


https://journalstar.com/entertainment/movies/how-this-actor-went-from-prison-to-acting-alongside-clint/article_6077e03d-0f01-5f00-ae6f-f81d23455e56.html
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AKA23
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« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2018, 08:53:01 PM »

I thought that this article from "National Review," which is a conservative publication, had a unique and thought-provoking take on the movie that I hadn't read before. With the exception of listing the wrong screenwriter (they've listed the man who wrote the original article upon which the screenplay is based instead of the writer of the film screenplay), it's a nice analysis. I've read the author before, and he is a bit of a contrarian at times, so he has a different take on the movie than a lot of the other print reviewers did.   

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Why Eastwood’s The Mule is a new, modest classic
The exceptional pleasure of Clint Eastwood’s The Mule begins with its difference: Against today’s dominant comic-book version of behavior, it tells the casually realistic story of retired Korean War veteran and horticulturalist Earl Stone (lanky, gnarled Squint Eastwood), who matter-of-factly participates in the drug trade. He makes deliveries from El Paso to Chicago for a Mexican cartel (100 kilos per month, totaling $3 million). Rascally Stone — a roustabout who likes growing day lilies, driving, and doing more than flirting — recalls classical, Old Hollywood moralism. No wonder it’s been ignored by this year’s award hacks.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/movie-review-the-mule-clint-eastwood-honest-classic/
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KC
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« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2018, 10:02:44 PM »

^ Armond White, many years ago now, was a film critic for a local "alternative" paper, the New York Press (long defunct). He always had intelligent, thoughtful views on films, often taking (as you say) a contrarian position ... praising films most critics disliked, and tearing apart films most praised.

Here is another quote from White's review:

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Movie classicism — the practice of traditional craft — has become rare, and The Mule is the year’s best example of modest excellence. Nothing here equals the doubled-reality cell-phone moment in Eastwood’s daring, experimental [!] The 15:17 to Paris, but The Mule’s straightforward storytelling stays coherent, sparks reflection, and gathers meaning. Its depth might shock viewers who expect to have their self-righteousness pampered. “You lived so long you lost your filter,” Stone is told. “Never realized I had one,” Eastwood answers back. Modesty becomes this actor-auteur’s refinement.
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AKA23
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« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2018, 04:12:18 PM »

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KC
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« Reply #44 on: December 31, 2018, 08:17:22 PM »

^ Worth quoting from ...

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Move aside, Dirty Harry. Earl Stone is making Clint Eastwood's day.

Eastwood's new film, The Mule, packed a major punch at the holiday box office, earning a better-than-expected $61.1 million in its first three weekends of play at the U.S. box office. The film is holding at No. 5, no small feat considering the crowded holiday marquee. And it's besting newer studio offerings, such as the Sony comedy Holmes & Watson and the Dick Cheney pic Vice.

Older adults have turned out in force to see The Mule, both directed by and starring the prolific 88-year-old filmmaker.

The Mule has already surpassed the entire lifetime gross of the last film Eastwood starred in, Trouble With the Curve, which topped out at $35.8 million domestically in 2012, not adjusted for inflation. Box-office experts expect that The Mule will get to at least $90 million in North America, and possibly $100 million.
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AKA23
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« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2019, 04:40:14 PM »

"Newsweek" has a really interesting and thought-provoking article which is part career retrospective and part a review of "The Mule." I really enjoyed reading it. There are some minor spoilers for "The Mule" in this.

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It may be his most unique work as a director. And his finest—and quirkiest—as an actor. But what’s remarkable about Clint Eastwood’s most recent release, The Mule, isn’t just how fresh the movie is, or how different it is from anything he’s ever done. This movie directed by, and starring, an 88-year-old about a 90-year-old Korean war vet turned horticulturist turned drug runner landed at number 2 in its opening weekend at the Box Office.

More remarkable, three of the last four films Eastwood has directed have opened at either number 1 or number 2 at the box office. American Sniper, released in 2014, was the highest grossing of his career, raking in nearly $500 million in worldwide box office receipts.


How has he done it? Algorithms? A team of data scientists? The answer is something more archaic; his gut instincts. And the love of a good story. Indeed, Eastwood’s movies are a throwback to a time when stories—great stories and character development—dominated the movie landscape.

https://www.newsweek.com/what-clint-eastwood-can-teach-modern-media-about-storytelling-1276260
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Hocine
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« Reply #46 on: January 01, 2019, 08:32:08 PM »

"Newsweek" has a really interesting and thought-provoking article which is part career retrospective and part a review of "The Mule." I really enjoyed reading it. There are some minor spoilers for "The Mule" in this.

https://www.newsweek.com/what-clint-eastwood-can-teach-modern-media-about-storytelling-1276260

Thank you for sharing this article, AKA23 !
Indeed, it’s a good article.
However, I would add Letters From Iwo Jima among the great movies Clint did since Unforgiven.
Of course, Letters From Iwo Jima is not really popular, unlike the movies mentioned by the author of the article.
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Hocine
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« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2019, 09:24:43 PM »

I would like to share this interesting article, comparing The Mule with Bronco Billy:

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/01/01/the-mule-review-further-proof-clint-eastwood-is-hollywoods-all-time-great/
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Gant
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« Reply #48 on: January 02, 2019, 10:19:59 AM »

Thats a great article Hocine. Really enjoyed that.. Thanks

I'd love to see Bronco Billy on the big screen.. I missed it first time round..
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« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2019, 12:21:41 PM »

Thats a great article Hocine. Really enjoyed that.. Thanks

I'd love to see Bronco Billy on the big screen.. I missed it first time round..

You’re welcome, Gant !
I hope you’ll be able to see Bronco Billy on the big screen some day.
Seven years ago, before J. Edgar came out in France, there was a retrospective of all the movies directed by Clint in the French cinematheque. Dirty Harry and The Good the Bad and the Ugly were screened too.
So, I had the opportunity to see all the movies I hadn’t seen on the big screen yet, such as The Eiger Sanction,
The Gauntlet, Firefox, Heartbreak Ridge, The Rookie.
Bronco Billy, I think that I had seen it before that retrospective, in a small movie theater in Paris.
I think that Bronco Billy remains one of his best and most charming movies.
His performance is also one of his best. Many people believe that the way Bronco Billy handles his Wild West show is similar to the way Clint handles his Malpaso company. Bronco Billy is close to Honkytonk Man and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Even I have not seen The Mule yet, I’m not really surprised that someone made a parallel between Bronco Billy and The Mule.
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AKA23
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« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2019, 09:02:24 AM »

This a great article about Arturo Sandoval's work as a composer for this film and how he collaborated on the music with Clint. I particularly am surprised by the fact that Eastwood actually composed his own score for "The Mule," but didn't use it because Eastwood liked Sandoval's score more than his own. Clint has a bit of a reputation for wanting to be in complete command of films in which he directs, with some justification, as he often has multiple roles (actor/director/producer/composer), but this article shows that he does what he feels is best for each particular film and that he is not averse to ceding some of that command if it is to the benefit of the film. I have posted excerpts of this article below. 

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Cuban-born musician Arturo Sandoval is well known as a top trumpeter and recording artist in the jazz world. Now, at 69, he’s thinking of changing careers, and hopes his score for Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule,” based on the story of an elderly Midwestern horticulturist who stumbles into a job transporting cocaine for the Mexican cartel, will be a big step in that direction.

Eastwood, who plays jazz piano, usually composes the themes for his films, and sometimes even entire scores, as he did for “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Changeling” and others. But thanks to Andy Garcia, who played Sandoval in the HBO biopic “For Love or Country,” and who co-stars in “The Mule” as a drug lord, the director and musician met at Warner Bros., initially to discuss creating the Latin source music that would be needed for a party at Garcia’s character’s lavish digs.

 
Sandoval brought his portable keyboard, improvised a few cues against the picture, “and I think at that moment he made a decision to hire me as a composer,” Sandoval says of Eastwood.

Eastwood visited Sandoval’s studio every day for a week and could not resist sitting down at Sandoval’s grand piano (once owned by another jazz great, Oscar Peterson). He also listened to the composer’s demos and made suggestions about the music. Eastwood preferred cues to be “extremely simple, not too much movement,” Sandoval says...

Eastwood actually did compose a theme for “The Mule,” McGeary discloses, but the veteran director liked Sandoval’s better. Eastwood told Sandoval: “Go with yours, don’t even bother with mine.”

https://variety.com/2019/film/news/arturo-sandoval-score-clint-eastwood-mule-1203097859/?fbclid=IwAR1wOyr7XbE_IYldMSofCpxPR0IcLACX6GuFeJ3_W3-o2cSJlb46F84PMWQ
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honkytonkman
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« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2019, 05:09:08 PM »

It looks like "The Mule" exceeds the estimates and could exceed 100 million recipes in the States by the end of January, maybe even sooner. This seems to be a new success for our dear Clint. And from what I see on the box office, the success did not come at once, as for Gran Torino or American Sniper, but rather gradually, as for Million Dollar Baby, which is less common. I'm too impatient to see this movie on January 23 (European release). https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=themule.htm


You can compare with Space Cowboys, which started with 18 million on the 1st weekend and which, after 4 weekends, came to a little over 63 million. https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=spacecowboys.htm
The mule started at 17.5 million on the 1st weekend, and after 4 weekends the film exceeds 80 million. https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=themule.htm
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 05:45:20 PM by honkytonkman » Logged
AKA23
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« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2019, 05:32:35 PM »

Roger Freidman at showbiz411.com seems to really like "The Mule," and feels it should be rewarded with Oscar nominations. I don't think that's going to happen, since I think the film is too politically incorrect to be nominated by the current Academy membership, but it's a nice article. 

https://www.showbiz411.com/2019/01/05/clint-eastwoods-the-mule-hits-80-mil-this-weekend-without-golden-globe-nominations-or-any-accolades-how-will-oscar-voters-react
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« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2019, 09:24:29 PM »

Roger Freidman at showbiz411.com seems to really like "The Mule," and feels it should be rewarded with Oscar nominations. I don't think that's going to happen, since I think the film is too politically incorrect to be nominated by the current Academy membership, but it's a nice article. 

Yeah, I agree as well.  But maybe the Academy will have a similar thought like they did when it nominated John Wayne (and of course he won) for True Grit but the movie only got one other nomination I believe for best song.
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« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2019, 09:31:10 PM »

The Times had a special Oscars section today, with full-page ads for most of the films in contention for major awards. (Full-page movie ads in the print newspaper otherwise seem to be a thing of the past.) But nothing for The Mule.
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Perry
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« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2019, 03:13:32 PM »



               The Times.......That reminds me I have to get toilet paper at Costco today..
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AKA23
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« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2019, 03:26:48 PM »

I feel like most critics are being really unfair to "The Mule." I think it's a much better movie than it was indicated to be based on the critics reviews that I read. Sure, it's not on the level of "Million Dollar Baby," or "Unforgiven," but it's very entertaining, and I don't know any other filmmaker who at 88 could have even come close to making it!

After having seen it twice, I don't really see anything in it as particularly racist. The movie prominently features large-scale drug trafficking. The people that traffic in that are usually not salt of the earth choir boys. I've never seen a Hispanic drug trafficker with a heart of gold story, so I'm not sure how Eastwood could have still made this story and satisfied the critics.

"Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," both of which are critically acclaimed TV shows, also have some pretty menacing Hispanic characters, just like "The Mule."

I also recently read a fascinating book on the drivers of the opiod/heroin crisis in the United States, which was called Dreamland. It's an award winning book by a well respected journalist. The author states that nearly all the heroin that enters the United States comes from particular areas of Mexico, and that drug traffickers there exploited the opoid crisis and saw opoid users as future consumers for heroin, and that they spread that heroin across the United States, which made the crisis worse.
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Hocine
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« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2019, 06:47:01 AM »

I’d like to share this interesting conversation between Michael Goldman, author of Clint Eastwood: Master Filmmaker at Work, and cinematographer Yves Bélanger on shooting The Mule:


http://www.studiodaily.com/2019/01/podcast-cinematographer-yves-belanger-csc-shooting-clint-eastwoods-mule/
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AKA23
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« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2019, 09:06:09 AM »

This is great, Hocine. Thanks for sharing. I find the most interesting thing about this to be that Clint appeared to sometimes forget his lines, which at his age would be expected, but would improvise instead. That shows that his mind is still pretty sharp, since that's a difficult thing to do at any age.

Another thing that I found pretty cool is that the cinematographer thinks that Clint might have another movie he's doing in the spring, and that Yves doesn't think that this will be Clint's last role as an actor.

Similar to "The Bridges of Madison County," it seems like Clint resisted including some of the big emotional scenes that other directors seeking Academy Awards for their stars might have included, and that Clint and the editor Joel Cox often chose the more light hearted scenes to include in the movie. Perhaps "this is the last one, so help me God," might have been one of the scenes that was left on the cutting room floor as a result.
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Hocine
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« Reply #59 on: January 16, 2019, 07:41:37 PM »

This is great, Hocine. Thanks for sharing. I find the most interesting thing about this to be that Clint appeared to sometimes forget his lines, which at his age would be expected, but would improvise instead. That shows that his mind is still pretty sharp, since that's a difficult thing to do at any age.

Another thing that I found pretty cool is that the cinematographer thinks that Clint might have another movie he's doing in the spring, and that Yves doesn't think that this will be Clint's last role as an actor.

Similar to "The Bridges of Madison County," it seems like Clint resisted including some of the big emotional scenes that other directors seeking Academy Awards for their stars might have included, and that Clint and the editor Joel Cox often chose the more light hearted scenes to include in the movie. Perhaps "this is the last one, so help me God," might have been one of the scenes that was left on the cutting room floor as a result.


You’re welcome, AKA23.
Yes, I agree with you. I think that it’s pretty nice that Clint could improvise.
I think that Clint is not really obsessed with telling the right lines.
For example, if an actor doesn’t tell the right word but sounds authentic enough, it’s alright then.
Clint thinks that some mistakes can help the scene to look real.
For instance, in Mystic River, during the first police interrogation scene, Sean Penn accidentally spilled his cup of coffee on the table, after Laurence Fishburne asked him an embarrassing question about his criminal past. The fact that Sean spilled his cup of coffee wasn’t planned at all but Joel Cox and Clint put this mistake in the movie because it looked real.

When Yves Bélanger announced that Clint may shoot a new film in the spring, I was really excited.
I hope Yves was right.
I’m curious to know more about this new project. What about Impossible Odds ?
We have no news since October 2016.
In my opinion, it seems that Clint gave up Impossible Odds. But who knows ?
And I also hope that Clint will be back in front of the camera someday.

About choosing the light hearted scenes:
It reminds me an interview with Meryl Streep on shooting The Bridges of Madison County.
In an Oscar worthy scene, Clint was supposed to cry. But instead of showing his tears to the camera and the audience, Clint turned his back. Meryl Streep was surprised about that because many actors would have shown their tears in order to win an Oscar.
So I’m not really surprised that Joel Cox and Clint decided to leave some tearjerking scenes on the cutting room floor.

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