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Doug
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2008, 04:49:04 PM »

Or maybe he hasn't seen Gran Torino yet.

I still stand by my earlier commentary on Eastwood's actor prospects, but beyond that, I don't see this film competing. 


So you've seen the film already?  Or is this "prediction" based on something else?
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2008, 05:28:22 PM »

Hey Doug. He's seen Gran Torino . In one of his articles on child actors this year he mentioned that he liked one of the performances. He didn't mention the name of the actor or the character he was referring to.

I have not seen Gran Torino . I will be seeing it on the 19th. I won't be able to see it before that. I base my thoughts on the reviews that have come out, which mostly highlight Eastwood's performance. This doesn't surprise me, as I never thought this film had the scope or scale that would make it a Best Picture contender. It has an outside shot at screenplay, but I don't believe it will be a contender elsewhere in the major categories. This is probably a discussion for the Oscar speculation thread, so I will leave it at that here. If you'd like to discuss this further, I'd be happy to do that there. Thanks for your question.
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2008, 02:45:30 PM »

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3ie8946cda1b3f6da2c40312cddd9898ef

'Gran' illusion
ANATOMY OF A CONTENDER: Forced to delay a South African project, Clint Eastwood turned to a story about the Hmong people.
By Todd Longwell
Hollywood Reporter
Dec 8, 2008, 11:00 AM ET

Quote
Back in the early 1990s, Nick Schenk was working the night shift at a factory in Bloomington, Minn., packaging VHS tapes. It seemed like a lousy job at the time, but ultimately it would lead him to the biggest break of his career.

Many of his co-workers were Hmong, an Asian people from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia and China who began immigrating to the U.S. in the wake of the communist takeover of Laos in 1975. "We had a lot of time to talk," Schenk recalls. "They'd ask us stuff like, 'Why do you guys eat so much?' And we'd ask them things like, 'Why do you have the same first name as last name?' "

Schenk also learned deeper things about the Hmong, such as how they had sided with the U.S. in the Vietnam War, only to wind up in refugee camps, at the mercy of communist forces, when American troops pulled out. And he learned about how they came to the U.S. thinking they'd be seen as heroes, only to find nobody knew they existed. But that was as far as it went. When the job ended, the plight of the Hmong slipped to the back of his mind. ...


Behind the scenes
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"Gran Torino": Warner Bros.; release date Dec. 12

Nick Schenk wrote the script in longhand at Grumpy's Bar in northeast Minneapolis.

Clint Eastwood completed shooting on the film in 33 days, two days under his already-tight schedule.

The film's initial budget was less than $30 million. The expected tax rebate from Michigan will reduce it another $5 million.

The 2000 U.S. Census counted 169,440 persons of full Hmong ancestry living in the U.S. Today, the number is estimated to be between 200,000 and 250,000.

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AKA23
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2008, 03:09:10 PM »

Jeffrey Wells, who runs a site called Hollywood Elsewhere, has seen the film, and has a review. He was a huge fan of Million Dollar Baby, was lukewarm on Flags, felt Letters was much better and that Changeling was good, but not great. He likes Eastwod, but certainly is no Eastwood apologist, and so I was looking forward to his review. It's a very positive one. Although I usually wouldn't post a blog review, he really seems to understand the appeal for Eastwood on a deeper level, and rebuts much of the criticism that has been lodged against the film. I found his review a worthwhile read.

Quote
No offense, but the people who've been slamming Gran Torino have their heads up their posterior cavities. Or maybe just broomsticks. They sure don't seem to understand the legend and the mythology of director-star Clint Eastwood, which is what this film is mainly about (apart from the sections having to do with love, caring, guilt, moral growth and father-son relations). But to watch and fail to get this thing is to admit to a failing -- a void -- in your own moviegoing heart. Anyone who mocks this film, I mock them back double.

Set in a lower middle-class Detroit neighborhood, Gran Torino is a plain, straight, unpretentious...okay, a tiny bit hokey-here-and-there racial-relations drama by way of an older conservative sensibility -- Clint's, obviously, but also, it seemed to me, John McCain's. Get off my lawn, etc. McCain needs to see it and review it for the Huffington Post -- seriously. That would be perfect.

It's an old-fashioned film in that the pacing is gradual and methodical in a good 1962 way, but primarily this is a clean, disciplined, older-guy's urban western -- a kind of growly, sardonic, at times lightly comedic racial-relationship drama. But also a sad and fatalistic Shane movie about a morally compromised guy facing down the baddies at the finale. Light and darkish, brusque and kindly, spitting up blood. Old-guy angst, doubt, warmth, uncertainty, fear-of-death, fear-of-life, family-- the whole magillah. What's to dislike?

Popcorn-wise, this is a doddering Dirty Harry vs. evil-ass gangbangers conflict piece, except it takes its time getting to the Big Showdown parts and there aren't that many of them to begin with. Like Shane, GT keeps the guns holstered and makes every shot count.

But the confrontation scenes in this vein are awfully damn satisfying because we're watching the same old Harry, a little weathered but just as fierce as he was nearly 40 years ago, standing up and refusing to take any $#!t from any cheap-ass punks. But at the same time Walt Kowalski -- i.e., Clint's character -- is the kind of guy who's always letting slight little shafts of light in as he deals with and talks to others. The kind of light, I mean, that comes in odd underhanded ways. Blunt honesty, kindliness, vulnerability, consideration, and tender-gruff father-son conversations, etc. Tough sentiment, but not sentimentality.

Either you get and cherish the Clint thing, or you don't get and cherish the Clint thing. There's no third way. Either you understand that he makes films that sound a certain way, share a certain pictorial signature, are cut a certain way and unfold at a certain pace -- the same way Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima, The Bridges of Madison County and all the rest of them played, looked and unfolded -- or you don't understand that.

I understand that. I got it. I admired it. Gran Torino knows itself, is true to itself. And there's nothing the least bit embarassing or short-fally or Razzie about it. Not in the least. David Poland, hang your head.

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'll get into it again tomorrow, most likely. The other actors, the jokes, the warmth moments -- there's a lot that's rich and rewarding in this film.

Is Clint's performance likely to draw a Best Actor nomination? Most likely, yeah. Partly a gold-watch thing, partly for the acting itself. The current inside his acting is quite strong, his whole life running through it. It'll feel weird if a nomination doesn't happen -- put it that way.

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2008/12/i_finish_things.php
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AKA23
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2008, 03:21:18 PM »

Clint Eastwood was on a show called Reel Talk. There's a 12 minute video interview posted online, which I will link to. In it, he addresses the rumor that he is retiring from acting, and seemed to be much more tentative and less willing to close the door completely.

Since many of you may not want to watch the whole interview, here are the comments that address this directly:

Jeffrey Lyons: There was a distressing announcement that this is going to be your last acting role. Is that true?

Eastwood: Well, I dont know about that. You know, you kind of muse out loud some time in front of a journalist and they put it down as an absolute. I just say you know I'm getting into the point in life where at my age they just dont write that many good roles. This role came along. I enjoyed it. Million Dollar Baby came along. I enjoyed that story. But how many good stories are going to come along for senior actors? Maybe not that many.

http://video.reeltalktv.com/player/?id=862664&dst=rss|reeltalktv|#videoid=862664
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« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2008, 02:02:10 AM »

Lots of great news regarding Gran Torino, unfortunately I can not find any conclusive release information for my area. All I've found is limited release information. Disappointing if I have to wait for DVD....
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AKA23
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« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2008, 03:57:22 PM »

Here's another positive review from Village Voice by Scott Foundas:

Quote
  Clint Eastwood Finds Salvation in Gran Torino
             
Walt Kowalski growls a lot—a dyspeptic rumble that wells up from deep inside his belly when he catches sight of his midriff-baring teenage granddaughter text-messaging her way through her grandmother's funeral, or when his good-for-nothing son and daughter-in-law suggest that he sell his house in a gang-infested corner of suburban Detroit and move to one of those plasticine retirement homes that look so nice in the brochures.

Like many characters Clint Eastwood has played in his six-decade screen career, Walt Kowalski is a man outside of his own time—a man who senses on some deep, inarticulable level that he has outlived his own usefulness. He's a little bit of "Dirty" Harry Callahan, brandishing his disgust (and his firearm) at the unsightly blemishes of a value-less society; a little bit of Million Dollar Baby's Frankie Dunn, the rundown boxing trainer who's been as much of a disappointment to himself as to his estranged family; and more than a little bit of Unforgiven's Bill Munny, the has-been gunslinger haunted by the sins of his past but unable to refuse one last ride in the saddle. And much like those movies, Gran Torino (which Eastwood directed from a generally superb script by newcomer Nick Schenk) is about what happens when circumstance hurls Walt Kowalski into direct conflict with the present.

Like Unforgiven, Gran Torino begins with the death of the Eastwood character's unseen but implicitly saintly wife, after which Walt only has eyes for two things—his faithful canine companion and the gleaming 1972 Ford Gran Torino that sits in his garage, a reminder of the now-defunct assembly line where he spent most of his adult life. Back then, Walt's neighborhood was an enclave of the blue-collar sons and daughters of European immigrants. Now, those same streets have been taken over by another immigrant population—the Hmong people of China, Thailand, and Laos, who fought on "our" side during the CIA's Vietnam-era shadow wars, even if, to Walt, they're no different from the "jabbering gooks" he fought against in Korea.

As Walt rants about the "zipperheads" dragging down the neighborhood, brushes off the barely postpubescent priest who comes around to give Walt confession, and growls some more, Gran Torino looks to be shaping up as something of a gently un-p.c., geriatric crowd-pleaser of the Space Cowboys variety. And if that's all you want or expect of Gran Torino, then that's exactly what it will be—no matter that Eastwood, for whom moviemaking has long been symbiotic with his love of jazz, merely uses the bass line of a butt-kicking Clint Eastwood action movie to play a series of complex variations on his career-abiding themes.

Mostly, Gran Torino is a two-hander between Walt and the literal boy next door—an introverted, fatherless Hmong teen, Thao (Bee Vang), who caves to pressure from a gangbanger cousin and tries to steal Walt's car in a botched initiation rite. Gradually and grudgingly, Walt takes the boy under his wing and takes it upon himself to "man him up" a bit—but only after Walt first steps across the property line and into the Hmong world. At its most didactic, Gran Torino has Walt stare into a mirror and realize that he has more in common with these "foreigners" than he does with his own flesh and blood, but more often, the movie works by subtle implication. Where Korea was Walt's war, Vietnam was the Hmong's. Both understand that a man who has seen war can never not be that man, and that the kind of absolution Walt Kowalski seeks won't be found in a confessional.

This is hardly the first time Eastwood has played a man with a shadowy past, but rarely have the shadows been so vividly illuminated (no matter the director's trademark preference for chiaroscuro lighting). "We used to stack f@#ks like you five feet high in Korea and use you for sandbags," Walt barks while shoving his old M-1 in the face of one of the gang members who continue to terrorize Thao's family—a moment (one of the finest Eastwood has ever acted) that echoes the image of the Iwo Jima survivor stirred from a nightmare at the start of Flags of Our Fathers. Only, Walt Kowalski is wide awake, and the nightmare is still unfolding.

"The thing that haunts a man most is what he isn't ordered to do," Walt says in Gran Torino's defining scene, and the thing that has long haunted Eastwood is the legacy of American violence and the false heroic myths on which that legacy has been written. For him, romanticized movie violence long ago lost its allure, and at least since Unforgiven, the act of killing another human being has been depicted as one that leaves a permanent scar on men's psyches. In Gran Torino, that strain of investigation reaches its apotheosis in an inversion of Unforgiven's climactic barroom standoff, a scene that brings the curtain down on Eastwood's cycle of urban-crime films as hauntingly as the earlier one did on his Westerns.

I'm not sure if Gran Torino is Eastwood's "best" film, to whatever extent such trivial distinctions matter. Certainly, it's a rougher, less formally elegant one than the masterly Unforgiven and A Perfect World. But especially when viewed in light of this year's earlier Changeling (which, on the surface, looks like the more "important" movie), it seems like one of Eastwood's most personal, right down to his raspy warbling of the self-penned end-credits song. Above all, it feels like a summation of everything he represents as a filmmaker and a movie star, and perhaps also a farewell. "That," future generations of fathers will someday tell their sons, "is what Clint Eastwood was all about."

http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-12-10/film/clint-eastwood-finds-salvation-in-gran-torino/
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Perry
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2008, 03:54:49 AM »

   

    good stuff
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AKA23
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« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2008, 10:54:10 AM »

Andrew Sarris from New York Observer has posted another positive review. It looks as if of the major critics (the kind who would compose the metacritic score) the reviews have been mostly positive so far. At this point, Kirk Honeycutt's Hollywood Reporter review (which I didn't read because it apparently had significant spoilers) seems to be the lone negative review. 

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  Clint Makes My Day as Aged Avenging Angel

Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, from a screenplay by Nick Schenk, based on a story by Dave Johannson and Mr. Schenk, caps his career as both a director and an actor with his portrayal of a heroically redeemed bigot of such humanity and luminosity as to exhaust my supply of superlatives. The movie begins with Mr. Eastwood’s gloweringly cantankerous retired Polish-American autoworker, Walt Kowalski, presiding over his beloved wife’s funeral, and visibly disapproving of everyone in attendance both in the church and at the reception afterward in his Detroit domicile. These include his spoiled but moderately successful sons, their wives and children; his parish priest, Father Janovich (Christopher Carley); and all his Hmong neighbors, who he feels have invaded his once solidly Polish-Irish community. In short, Walt, like many retirees, refuses to accept a changing world on any terms but his own jaundiced view of humanity, and his hostility has not escaped the attention of a Hmong matriarch sitting on the porch next door, who asks him ironically why he has not left the neighborhood with all the other “white people.”

But Walt is too stubborn to change his ways or his locale. When his children suggest that he might be happier moving to a retirement community they have chosen for him, he virtually throws them out of the house. However, he soon discovers a new perilous problem in the area, that of emerging ethnically and racially divided disaffected young gang members: Hmong immigrants from Southeast Asia, African-Americans and Latinos. On one occasion, he rescues a cheeky young Hmong girl named Sue Lor (Ahney Her) from a menacing group of African-Americans by flashing a handgun he has kept in his possession since the Korean War—in which he served with distinction, and possesses the medal to prove it.

We learn later that he is still haunted by the memory of a North Korean youth he killed in hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, the story shifts to a fatherless Hmong youth, Thao Vang Nor (Bee Vang), living next door, who is being intimidated by a Hmong street gang, to which Thao’s cousin belongs, into stealing Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino, which he keeps lovingly polished in his garage as a reminder of happier times in his life. When Walt, gun drawn, surprises Thao in the garage, the boy flees in a panic to his home, where he is dominated by his mother and two sisters.

When the gang members come after him, a fight breaks out and spills over to Walt’s neatly tended lawn. An outraged Walt springs out of his house with an M-1 rifle in shooting position, causing the gang members to flee and thereby lose face.

Suddenly, Walt is hailed as a hero by his Hmong neighbors, who start bringing him food, drink and plants despite his pleas for them to stop. But when Thao’s family sends Thao to Walt’s house to apologize for his attempted theft of Walt’s Gran Torino, and to offer his free services for a few weeks as an act of contrition, Walt begins to look at his neighbors in a new light. He also strikes up a friendly relationship with Thao’s older sister, Sue.

As for Thao, he begins regarding Walt as the father he never had, and the two become friends. Nonetheless, the Hmong gang members resume their raids and other depredations with explosive firepower of their own. The stage is set for Walt’s climactic confrontation with this new enemy in his life. In the process, Walt has been transformed into an elderly avenging angel with love in his heart for people of a different color, religion and ethnicity.

Mr. Eastwood worked closely with his writers, Mr. Schenk and Mr. Johannson, who were just starting out in the industry, but also with longtime collaborators like cinematographer Tom Stern; production designer James J. Murakami; editors Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach; costume designer Deborah Hopper; and above all casting director Ellen Chenoweth and her associates, Geoffrey Miclat and Amelia Rasche, who had to scour the country for the film’s nonprofessional Hmong performers. The results of all these collaborations add up to a genuinely pioneering production very much worth seeing for the emotional thunderbolt that it is.

http://www.observer.com/2008/o2/clint-makes-my-day-aged-avenging-angel
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AKA23
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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2008, 10:56:35 AM »

Lisa Schwarzbaum's Entertainment Weekly review has been posted. She gives it an A- overall.

Quote
Gran Torino takes its title from a 1972 Ford beaut parked in a driveway — a fetish object and memento mori in this curious, striking drama directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. He plays Walt Kowalski, a widowed, retired autoworker alienated from his grown sons and just about everybody else. Walt spends most of his time growling, tinkering, mowing his postage-stamp lawn, and raging against a world that's changed and won't change back no matter how hard he glares. Change has certainly come to his run-down Detroit neighborhood: Hmong immigrants with strange, foreign ways have moved in. Next door, there's a fatherless, multigenerational family that includes a quick-witted daughter (Ahney Her) and an uneasy younger teenage son (Bee Vang) who struggles to steer clear of the local Hmong gangbangers pressuring him to join them.

Walt thinks people stink. He's obnoxiously rude to a baby-faced Catholic priest (Christopher Carley, with the puss of a young Spencer Tracy) who, fulfilling the dying request of Walt's late wife, urges the SOB to go to confession. And the character regularly lets loose with such a vile spew of racist epithets that it's clear Eastwood is looking to inflame the PC ears of a contemporary audience.

Then, when someone attempts to steal Walt's prized car, the coiled Korean War vet reaches for his weapon. (A different Eastwood in a different movie might have rasped ''Do you feel lucky?'') But in the aftermath of his rage — as if breaking and entering were the only way to open the old man's emotional door — this twisted, post-9/11 version of Dirty Harry warily develops a relationship with the strangers next door. The connection leads to — well, to a shocking spiritual salvation, in fact. And to gang warfare. And to a movie at once understated and radical, deceptively unremarkable in presentation and ballsy in its earnestness. Don't let the star's overly familiar squint fool you: This is subtle, perceptive stuff.

Eastwood has devoted his recent work to refracting the image of American men in decline. His movies, pared and sinewy in both production and performance style (with the exception of the 2008 showpiece Changeling), meditate on compromises and losses, and even (most memorably in Million Dollar Baby) on serious questions of religious faith. Gran Torino, though, grafts those signature late-career preoccupations onto a story that's got the energy of a gangly youth, right down to the naturalistic performances by the mostly nonprofessional Hmong cast. The inquisitive script is by newcomer Nick Schenk, from a story by Schenk and fellow first-timer Dave Johannson — two talents lucky to dodge the indie virus that would surely have hit them had they aimed their script toward Sundance cred, tidy and full of lessons. Hey, punks: Do ya think many Sundance smoothies would dare set Dirty Harry among the Hmong? Well, do ya? A–
Quote

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20245342,00.html
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« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2008, 01:42:12 PM »

 :) " Cullum stunned by Eastwood's personal request "

       http://uk.news.yahoo.com/1/20081210/ten-cullum-stunned-by-eastwood-s-persona-c60bd6d.html

       
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Jamie Cullum didn't hesitate to compose music for Clint Eastwood's next film - because the Hollywood legend phoned him up to ask the favor personally.

The jazz star was left stunned after receiving a phone call from acclaimed director Eastwood, who asked him to write the main score for forthcoming film Gran Torino.

And Cullum insists he didn't think have to think twice about taking on the project.

He says, "Getting a call from Clint Eastwood is possibly the coolest thing in the world."       8)

     " Eastwood: Unknown 'Gran Torino' cast a chance  "

        http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081210/ap_en_ot/film_clint_eastwood_2

     
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NEW YORK – As one of Hollywood's most honored figures, Clint Eastwood can be selective about his on-screen company — and for "Gran Torino," he didn't choose a group of people making their film debut. He chose a group of people making their acting debut.

Eastwood went with a group unknown, untrained actors for his latest film (with a screenplay by first-time scriptwriter Nick Schenk).

The Oscar and Golden Globe winner also stars as Walt Kowalski, a bigoted retiree who has trouble accepting his changing Detroit neighborhood, but is forced to reassess his prejudices when he becomes a hero by defending the family next door from a Hmong gang.

Like his character Walt, Eastwood says he, too, is ever-changing and learning.

"The real lesson that you learn is that it is amazing that you still can learn," the 78-year-old actor explains. "Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it."

Eastwood spoke with The Associated Press about "Gran Torino," Angelina Jolie, the election and his recent war of words with Spike Lee.

___

AP: The principal actors in "Gran Torino" were first-time actors. Did you feel you were taking a risk casting them?

Eastwood: Yes, I was taking a chance. I felt that was the only way to do it. There certainly weren't many Hmong actors. There was only one that I know of. It is very obscure for us. We don't know a lot about that group of people and that is what made it interesting for us.

AP: Is "Gran Torino" your last acting film?

Eastwood: I don't know. I never think of retirement really. The only reason I ever thought about retiring from the front part of the camera as opposed to the back is sometimes you think, "How many roles are there for someone my age?" I enjoy working. ... I keep working because I learn something new all the time.

AP: Have you ever felt pressure to have plastic surgery?

Eastwood: I think being able to age gracefully is a very important talent. It is too late for me. The horse is out of the barn. We don't need to worry about that (plastic surgery). ... In past generations, people would try to play younger than they really are. My trick is, I don't try to play younger than I really am.

AP: You've seen firsthand the paparazzi that surrounds Angelina Jolie. If you were coming up in this time, would you have gone into acting?

Eastwood: I suppose. I like doing the process. Of course when you get to the franticness that she (Angelina) is at, at this present time, it is out there. It wasn't that way when I got in. ... It has always been a little different for guys than it is for girls. Girls get in the glamour aspect of it. They get more attention. Sometimes people get attention who haven't even done anything.

AP: Did you feel that Spike Lee's criticism for not having any African-Americans in "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima" was to gain attention for his own World War II movie?

Eastwood: Probably. I like him. I don't know him well. He did that a little bit when "Bird" came out. He said, "Why is this white guy making this picture about Bird (Charlie Parker)?" The answer to that was because I was the only one who wanted to make it. Later he told me, "I didn't mean to say anything about that because I like your work."

AP: So, were you surprised when he criticized you again?

Eastwood: I just kind of thought, "What the hell?" Go ahead and promote your film and good luck with it, but don't try to make a racial thing out of it. ... Yes, there are stories of black military in Iwo Jima, but this was a story about the guys who raised the flag and they happened to be white.

AP: You supported John McCain. Were you disappointed when he lost?

Eastwood: I met him years ago when he first came back from Vietnam. This was back when (Ronald) Reagan was the governor of California and he had a big function for all of the prisoners of war who were released. I thought he was a terrific guy, a real American hero. I didn't dislike the other man either. As far as who was going to be the best person still remains to be seen. You hope whoever it is that they are going to be great. (Barack) Obama is my president now and I am going to be wishing him the very best because it is what is best for all of us.
 

    "  Being PC is boring - Clint Eastwood  "
 
       http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20081210/ten-being-pc-is-boring-clint-eastwood-5f8abb3.html

       
Quote
The screen legend - who plays a racist war veteran in new movie Gran Torino - said he isn't afraid of being controversial.

Speaking at the Hollywood premiere of the drama thriller, which he also directed, Clint said: "I enjoy being politically incorrect because I think political correctness is boring.

"You talk to people who are walking around on egg shells all the time and it is kind of boring."

The 78-year-old laughed when a reporter told him his younger co-stars had admitted being intimidated by him. "Good, I hope they say that!" he joked, but added: "No, it is probably because they're 16 and 17."

The actor didn't confirm whether Gran Torino would be his last on-screen role, saying only: "I don't know, maybe. Could be."

Clint also revealed he'll be sat in front of a cinema screen like many of us over Christmas. "I'm looking forward to seeing all of them," said the star. "Unfortunately when you're working a lot you don't see many movies so I've seen very few, but I intend to see a lot this holiday because I'm not working for a while."

Clint was last to arrive at the screening. Sniffling because of the chilly weather in LA, he asked his wife: "Have you got a Kleenex?"

He then joked with a photographer who'd offered him something to wipe his nose on, laughing: "A bar napkin, where have you been?"

Gran Torino opens in the UK in February





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AKA23
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« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2008, 03:16:26 PM »

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone has given the film 3 and a half stars.

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Clint Eastwood has hinted that his role as bigoted Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski — a gun-toting widower living in Detroit near the struggling Ford auto plant and even nearer to the Asian immigrants crowding him out of his run-down, racially mixed hood — may be his last role as an actor. Eastwood, 78, has two Oscars for directing Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, and two nominations for starring in them. But an Oscar for acting? Not yet. Get busy, Academy.

I don't think Eastwood will ever turn down a juicy role. But Gran Torino, named after the 1972 car that Walt garages and polishes like a symbol of his idealized past, is a humdinger of a valedictory. Directed by Eastwood from a script by newcomer Nick Schenk, Gran Torino is Eastwood's hell-raising salute to every hardass he's ever played. Cranky Walt often communicates in a growl that sounds like a demon in need of an exorcist (wait till you hear Eastwood rasp a few bars of the film's memorable title song). Walt squints at the Hmong family next door, especially Thao (Bee Vang), a teen with a rustler's eye on the Torino. Thao's smart-mouth sister, Sue (the wonderful Ahney Her), can defrost Walt with a beer and food that isn't his usual beef jerky, but only Walt's dog, Daisy, dares to get too close. Cocking his rifle when gangbangers intrude on his territory, Walt snarls, "Get. Off. My. Lawn." Terrific stuff. And it gets better when Walt confronts some hoods playing grabass with Sue: "Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while that you shouldn't have messed with? That's me."

And that "me" isn't just Walt. It's the Man With No Name taking aim in those spaghetti Westerns. It's Dirty Harry Callahan asking, "Do you feel lucky, punk?" It's William Munny, from Unforgiven, digging deep to note, "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." It's even Frankie Dunn, the fight manager from Million Dollar Baby, who knows "tough ain't enough."

Tough has never been enough for Eastwood. It's a credit to the film's twist ending that Walt exorcises his demons without easy violence or bogus redemption. A lifetime in movies runs through this prime vintage Eastwood performance. You can't take your eyes off him. The no-frills, no-bull Gran Torino made my day.

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/23306978/review/24991126/gran_torino
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2008, 04:25:41 PM »

   

    good stuff

Here is the video of the interview on Hulu:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/47886/nbc-today-show-clint-eastwood-on-%E2%80%98gran-torino%E2%80%99
Clint Eastwood on ‘Gran Torino’NBC TODAY Show
Excerpt |04:12 |
Dec. 9: TODAY’s Natalie Morales talks to Clint Eastwood about directing and acting in his new film "Gran Torino."
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« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2008, 02:49:27 PM »

 :) " Cars and 'Gran Torino' make Eastwood's day "

        http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2008-12-10-clint-cars_N.htm?csp=34

       
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He doesn't want people mistaking Gran Torino for a car movie. "No, it isn't," he says. "At the end, it's just a symbol."

Eastwood has a passion for cars, though he jokes he's no Jay Leno: "Jay has a huge collection. I'm not that much of a collector, but I have a couple of old cars.

"I still have that old Lincoln convertible limousine we used in Honkytonk Man," he says.

In the 1982 film, Eastwood co-starred with his son Kyle Eastwood, who was then about 14. Eastwood played an ailing country musician in the Great Depression, headed to the Grand Ole Opry and in need of the young boy to drive him.

Kyle, 40, and a jazz guitarist, often co-writes music for his father's films. In Gran Torino, his father sings part of the title theme, co-written and performed by British singer/songwriter Jamie Cullum.

Sentimentality plays into another of Eastwood's prized cars. "I have a '32 Ford Roadster that I always wanted when I was a kid and never could afford."

He values another quality, too: uniqueness. "I've got a Morris Mini Countryman. That's kind of an interesting little car. It came from England and has all the Mini Cooper S racing gear but in a mini station wagon.

"It's a cool car, because there aren't many like it."
 


 " Being PC is boring - Clint Eastwood "     This is Video which Clint wipe his nose with a kleenex ! He seems to catch cold that I'm afraid . I wish he take care to himself .

    http://www.daventrytoday.co.uk/latest-entertainment-news/Being-PC-is-boring-.4780482.jp

   
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The actor didn't confirm whether Gran Torino would be his last on-screen role, saying only: "I don't know, maybe. Could be."

Clint also revealed he'll be sat in front of a cinema screen like many of us over Christmas. "I'm looking forward to seeing all of them," said the star. "Unfortunately when you're working a lot you don't see many movies so I've seen very few, but I intend to see a lot this holiday because I'm not working for a while."

Clint was last to arrive at the screening. Sniffling because of the chilly weather in LA, he asked his wife: "Have you got a Kleenex?"

He then joked with a photographer who'd offered him something to wipe his nose on, laughing: "A bar napkin, where have you been?"

Gran Torino opens in the UK in February.

 





« Last Edit: December 14, 2008, 02:19:17 PM by higashimori » Logged

" They just don't make then like this anymore ."      " I just don't meet then like him anymore !! "
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« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2008, 04:02:58 PM »

Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times has weighed in:

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At this point in his career, when Clint Eastwood stars in and directs a film, all bets are off. Things that would be old-school and sentimental in other hands morph into something different when he is involved. If Tina Turner's motto is that she doesn't do anything nice and easy, Eastwood's would be that the ordinary is just not his style.

Which brings us to "Gran Torino," Eastwood's second directing project this fall, his first work as an actor since 2004's "Million Dollar Baby" and a film that would be less interesting if he were not involved.

Working from a script by first-time screenwriter Nick Schenk, Eastwood has, with his impeccable directing style and acting presence, turned "Gran Torino" into another in his ongoing series of films that ponder violence, its place and its cost. It combines sentiment and shootouts, the serious and the studio, in a way that has become distinctly Eastwood's own.

It is also a film that is impossible to imagine without the actor in the title role. The notion of a 78-year-old action hero may sound like a contradiction in terms, but Eastwood brings it off, even if his toughness is as much verbal as physical. Even at 78, Eastwood can make "Get off my lawn" sound as menacing as "Make my day," and when he says "I blow a hole in your face and sleep like a baby," he sounds as if he means it.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-torino12-2008dec12,0,5039535.story
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« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2008, 04:23:13 PM »

A really nice interview in the New York Times, by Bruce Headlam:

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Mr. Eastwood has already won the best actor prize for “Gran Torino” from the National Board of Review, and the Oscar talk — he has never won as an actor — is running high. He claims not to care deeply about awards. When asked whom he makes films for, Mr. Eastwood said, “You’re looking at him.” Calculated or not — those films do have a habit of showing up (sometimes unexpectedly) in prime Oscar campaigning season — that stance seems to charm the voters some 300 miles to the south in Los Angeles, who have rewarded his movies richly in the past 15 years, including two best-picture awards. Mr. Eastwood has become the George Washington of the awards season: if called, he will serve. But he doesn’t seem to believe in term limits.

“Gran Torino” is the 29th full-length movie Mr. Eastwood has directed — more than Scorsese, more even than Spielberg — so perhaps it’s an accident of memory that his name first conjures up the impression of the squinty guy on a horse. Starting in the mid-1980s he began to change some minds by pushing the boundaries of his cowboys-and-cops image with films like “Honkytonk Man” and “Tightrope,” but he said about his reputation, “If that’s how people want to pigeonhole me, that’s fine.”

If anything, his directing pace has picked up in the past five years.

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To Mr. Eastwood being able to play 78 is just one of the benefits of a long career. “It’s ridiculous when you won’t play your own age,” he said. “You know when you’re young and you see a play in high school, and the guys all have gray in their hair and they’re trying to be old men and they have no idea what that’s like? It’s just that stupid the other way around.”

The other benefit is that, even after a great career in the movies, you can fashion another. “After ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ I walk down the street and everybody would whistle out” — here he sang the movie’s famous theme. “Then it became ‘Do I feel lucky?’ and ‘Make my day.’ But it’s progressed along. Whether it’s taken this turn on purpose, I can’t say.”

Walt Kowalski has a catchphrase too in “Gran Torino.” “This is what I do,” he tells the Hmong teenager before the film’s final act. “I finish things.” So does Mr. Eastwood, just not in the way anybody would have expected.

And he may not be done. There were reports — again on the Internet — that this would be his last role, a rumor he helped fuel but now says is not necessarily true.

“Somebody asked what I’d do next, and I said I didn’t know how many roles there are for 78-year-old guys,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with coming in to play the butler. But unless there’s a hurdle to get over, I’d rather just stay behind the camera.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/movies/14head.html

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« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2008, 07:23:55 PM »

And now we have what I think it's safe to call a rave from Manohla Dargis in the New York Times:

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Hope for a Racist, and Maybe a Country

By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: December 12, 2008

Twice in the last decade, just as the holiday movie season has begun to sag under the weight of its own bloat, full of noise and nonsense signifying nothing, Clint Eastwood has slipped another film into theaters and shown everyone how it’s done. This year’s model is “Gran Torino,” a sleek, muscle car of a movie Made in the U.S.A., in that industrial graveyard called Detroit. I’m not sure how he does it, but I don’t want him to stop. Not because every film is great — though, damn, many are — but because even the misfires show an urgent engagement with the tougher, messier, bigger questions of American life.

Few Americans make movies about this country anymore, other than Mr. Eastwood, a man whose vitality as an artist shows no signs of waning, even in a nominally modest effort like “Gran Torino.” Part of this may be generational: Mr. Eastwood started as an actor in the old studio system, back when the major movie companies were still in the business of American life rather than just international properties. Hollywood made movies for export then, of course, but part of what it exported was an idea of America as a democratic ideal, an idea of greatness which, however blinkered and false and occasionally freighted with pessimism, was persuasive simply because Gene Kelly and John Wayne were persuasive.

While it’s easy to understand why the last eight years (or the last 50) have made it difficult to sell that idea to the world or even the country, it’s dispiriting that so many movies are disconnected from everyday experience, from economic worries to race. Pauline Kael used to beat up on Stanley Kramer, the director of earnest middlebrow entertainments like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” but at least these movies had a connection to real life or an idea about it. Ms. Kael also famously branded Don Siegel’s “Dirty Harry” as “deeply immoral,” even fascistic, but the film became a classic because of its ambiguous engagement with American violence and masculinity. Mr. Eastwood and a .44 Magnum did their bit too.

Dirty Harry is back, in a way, in “Gran Torino,” not as a character but as a ghostly presence. He hovers in the film, in its themes and high-caliber imagery, and of course most obviously in Mr. Eastwood’s face. It is a monumental face now, so puckered and pleated that it no longer looks merely weathered, as it has for decades, but seems closer to petrified wood. Words like flinty and steely come to mind, adjectives that Mr. Eastwood, in his performance as Walt Kowalski, expressively embodies with his usual lack of fuss and a number of growls. A former auto worker at Ford, Walt has just put his longtime wife in the ground when the story opens. From his scowl, it looks as if he would like to join her.

Instead he sits on his front porch chugging can after can of cheap beer in the company of his yellow Labrador, Daisy, watching the world at a safe distance with a squint and a stream of bitter commentary. Kept at bay, the remaining members of his family — including two sons with big houses, big cars, big waistlines — have no choice but to let him stew alone. Yet the rest of the world refuses to leave Walt be, despite his best efforts and grimace. The world first creeps into his peripheral vision, where a family of Hmong immigrants live in the rundown house next door; and then, through a series of unfortunate events, some artful and others creaking with scripted contrivance, it stages a life-altering home invasion.

Written by a newcomer, Nick Schenk, the story eases into gear with an act of desperation.Under violent threat from some Hmong gangbangers, the next-door neighbor’s teenage son, Thao (Bee Vang), tries and fails to steal Walt’s cherry 1972 Gran Torino, and in the bargain nearly loses his life to its angry, armed owner. Thao’s family, led by his mouthy, friendly sister, Sue (a very good Ahney Her), forces the teenager to do penance by working for Walt, an arrangement that pleases neither the man nor the boy. No one seems a more unlikely (or reluctant) father surrogate than Walt, a foulmouthed bigot with an unprintable epithet for every imaginable racial and ethnic group. Growling — often literally, “Grr, grr” — he resists the family’s overtures like a man under siege, walled in by years of suspicion, prejudice and habit.

Walt assumes his protector role gradually, a transformation that at first plays in an often broadly comic key. Mr. Eastwood’s loose, at times very funny performance in the early part of the film is one of its great pleasures. While some of this enjoyment can be likened to spending time with an old friend, Mr. Eastwood is also an adept director of his own performances and, perhaps more important, a canny manipulator of his own iconographic presence. He knows that when we’re looking at him, we’re also seeing Dirty Harry and the Man With No Name and all his other outlaws and avenging angels who have roamed across the screen for the last half-century. All these are embedded in his every furrow and gesture.

These spectral figures, totems of masculinity and mementos from a heroic cinematic age, are what make this unassuming film — small in scale if not in the scope of its ideas — more than just a vendetta flick or an entertainment about a crazy coot and the exotic strangers next door. As the story unfolds and the gangbangers return and Walt reaches for his gun, the film moves from comedy into drama and then tragedy and then into something completely unexpected. We’ve seen this western before, though not quite. Because this isn’t John Wayne near the end of the 20th century, but Clint Eastwood at the start of the still-new 21st, remaking the image of the hero for one more and perhaps final time, one generation of Americans making way for the next.

That probably sounds heavier than I mean, but “Gran Torino” doesn’t go down lightly. Despite all the jokes — the scenes of Walt lighting up at female flattery and scrambling for Hmong delicacies — the film has the feel of a requiem. Melancholy is etched in every long shot of Detroit’s decimated, emptied streets and in the faces of those who remain to still walk in them. Made in the 1960s and ’70s, the Gran Torino was never a great symbol of American automotive might, which makes Walt’s love for the car more poignant. It was made by an industry that now barely makes cars, in a city that hardly works, in a country that too often has felt recently as if it can’t do anything right anymore except, every so often, make a movie like this one.

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/12/12/movies/12tori.html?ref=movies
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« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2008, 11:15:59 AM »

Hey KC. Thanks for posting this NY Times review. I've read it several times now, and there's a lot about it that I don't fully get. Although it certainly is a well written review, much of it seems disconnected from one's purpose. I understand that she appreciates that Eastwood tends to make films that are relevant to the times and reflective of the human experience, but it seems to me as if she's written a social commentary on the economic difficulties we are having as a nation and the precarious position of the auto industry more than she has written a review of the actual film itself. Her first three paragraphs barely even mention the film. Then she goes for a few paragraphs peripherally talking about the film thematically, before returning to continue her commentary on our economic and social ills again. Perhaps I missed it, but what exactly does Eastwood making this film have to do with the American ability to produce cars or work, and how is Eastwood's film a contrast to a society which she claims "can't do anything right anymore?" I would assume that most people reading her review would be doing so to receive an answer about whether this movie is worth their $11 dollars and their 2 hours, not to be inundated with questionable social commentary and subjective value judgments. This whole analysis seems oddly misplaced to me.
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« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2008, 02:19:50 PM »

Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino: Who Knew He Could Act? Like John Wayne in True Grit, it May Lead to an Oscar
by Michael Russnow

The Huffing Post

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Clint Eastwood is an American icon, having been a major movie star since the sixties. His films have made millions and millions of dollars for his company and the studios that have produced them. As a director, he surprised us, first with the quirky Breezy , starring William Holden in 1973, and through the years with epic and meaningful dramas.

But as an actor he was not distinguished. His fame and fortune rested on magnificent good looks and a no-nonsense personality that rode him through the westerns and Dirty Harry movies. Other than his tall stature and a handsome face, his rather monotonous and spiritless speaking style didn't lend much and thus limited his range, save for a few poignant moments in films like Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, where the force of the movies, which won him Oscars for directing and producing, landed him two acting nominations.

However, in Gran Torino, which I saw at the Directors Guild theatre last night, it all came together and he was gifted with a role that fit perfectly with his persona. Because of it, and perhaps in spite of his limitations, what emerged was a lovely portrayal -- not always easy to watch -- of a man faced with a transition that comes just in time at the tail end of his life.

It's a simple story, which Eastwood produced and directed as well, about a curmudgeonly old man, who has just lost his wife. He doesn't get along with his kids and grandchildren and seems to have a humorless and insensitive attitude towards life.

Added to that, he is enormously prejudiced. A bigot that would make Archie Bunker appear almost liberal. His Michigan neighborhood has been overrun with Southeast Asians, mostly Hmong from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and to say he is not welcoming would be an understatement.

He has neither empathy or interest in them and resents their intrusion into his way of life. He doesn't hesitate to pepper his initially brief and hostile conversations with them calling them every known racial epithet under the sun.

A momentary action changes this when a gang harasses the family next door and they intrude upon his modest lawn. He comes forth with an old army issued rifle he has kept since the Korean war, more intent on getting everyone off his property than aiding his beleaguered neighbors.

However, they and everyone in the vicinity treat him like a hero, bringing him food and flowers, the latter of which he immediately tosses into the trash. Without giving up any of the plot further, he is forced into a relationship with Thao, the studious teenage boy next door, who is being pressured to join an Asian gang, played in a wonderful tormented fashion by Bee Vang, and also unexpectedly forges a bond with the boy's sister, Sue, imbued with terrific spirit by Ahney Her.

Eastwood's voice is not suddenly full of fire. It is equipped with an old man's crackle and doesn't often shift no matter the emotion of the moment. But in this story by Dave Johansson and Nick Schenk and with the spare and pointed dialogue in Nick Schenk's screenplay, and with those ever haunting eyes that always made you believe Eastwood would kill you as Dirty Harry, it all comes together and works.

Perhaps only for this film in this wonderful manner, but no matter because it's a superb achievement.

There are wonderful actors who never become stars and a few who did like Laurence Olivier, Dustin Hoffman and the younger generation's Leonardo DiCaprio. And there are stars like Eastwood, who like John Wayne, managed to wow audiences via the sheer scope of their personality.

John Wayne found True Grit towards the end of his career and now Clint Eastwood has done the same with an unforgettable performance in Gran Torino, a film that is so simple in its telling that it almost slips by how powerful it really is.

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« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2008, 07:22:01 PM »

Lou Lumenick in the New York Post gives it three and a half stars ...



(Warning, there is what I would consider a spoiler in this review)

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Quickly shot over the past summer, "Gran Torino" is so loose-limbed it could easily be mistaken for a newcomer's Sundance Film Festival entry rather than the year's second release (after the big-budget "Changeling") from a 78-year-old icon who's been directing movies since 1971.

I mean that as the very highest compliment. Eastwood obviously put a lot of effort into working as a director with the Hmong, none of whom are professional actors.

It pays off with a very funny and touching movie that delivers its message of tolerance with a most agreeable light hand.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/12122008/entertainment/movies/go_ahead__steal_my_car_143803.htm



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