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Author Topic: GRAN TORINO: Reviews and Features in the Media  (Read 133876 times)
higashimori
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« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2008, 05:11:18 PM »

 :) " A couple who hosted Clint Eastwood but never got to meet him "

       http://www.freep.com/article/20081221/NEWS01/812210428/1001/rss01

       
Quote
Clint Eastwood spent two months last summer working in the Highland Park home of Dana and Jeffrey O'Farrell.


But guess what? They never met the guy.

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« Reply #61 on: December 22, 2008, 07:41:10 AM »

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/movies/news/story/819778.html
Posted on Sunday, 12.21.08           
MOVIES
Hanging tough with the old master Clint Eastwood
 
Photos BY RENE RODRIGUEZ
rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com
Quote
As Gran Torino opens, Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood) has just buried his wife -- and with her, his remaining interest in the world around him.

An unapologetically racist, judgmental and foul-tempered misanthrope, the only thing Walt cares about is the cherry 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in his garage, a car he helped assemble decades ago as an autoworker for Ford Motor Co. You can imagine his reaction, then, when he catches Tao (Bee Vang), the teenage son of the Hmong family that has moved in next door, trying to steal it as part of a gang initiation ritual. ...

Eastwood recently talked on the phone with The Miami Herald about Gran Torino, his return to acting and his thoughts about the possibility of finally winning a Best Actor Oscar. ...
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« Reply #62 on: December 22, 2008, 08:21:30 PM »

LEE PFEIFFER ON "GRAN TORINO": A LATE CAREER TRIUMPH FOR CLINT EASTWOOD

Quote
Back in the early 1980s I wrote a book called The Films of Clint Eastwood. I remember my editor being astounded at its success. He said to me, "But you treated him like he was some kind of world-class filmmaker". I'd like to find that editor today and take him to a screening of Gran Torino to see his response. I'm not one for saying "I told you so" but in this case, it would be merited.- Lee Pfeiffer

This is from Cinema Retro magazine.
http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/2730-LEE-PFEIFFER-ON-GRAN-TORINO-A-LATE-CAREER-TRIUMPH-FOR-CLINT-EASTWOOD.html
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #63 on: December 24, 2008, 06:19:56 PM »

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/393380_grantorino25q.html
Philadelphia's internet video channel
Gran Torino
December 23, 2008

This article has a lot of information on the casting and production.
Quote
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in the drama “Gran Torino,” marking his first film
role since his Oscar®-winning film “Million Dollar Baby.” Eastwood portrays Walt
Kowalski, an iron-willed and inflexible Korean War veteran living in a changing world,
who is forced by his immigrant neighbors to confront his own long-held prejudices.
Retired auto worker Walt Kowalski fills his days with home repair, beer and
monthly trips to the barber. Though his late wife’s final wish was for him to take
confession, for Walt—an embittered veteran of the Korean War who keeps his M-1 rifle
cleaned and ready—there’s nothing to confess. And no one he trusts enough to confess
to other than his dog, Daisy. ...

http://www.gainesvilleregister.com/business/local_story_359115328.html
Gainesville Daily Register
Published: December 24, 2008 11:53 am         

Quote
Eastwood's "Gran Torino" is one of year's best

Give this movie a test drive. In my opinion, it’s the best of the lot so far this year, despite what my collegues in the DFW film Critics Association said.

The movie is a typical Clint Eastwood tough guy movie. It’s sort of like Dirty Harry on a pension — with his same attitude and tough guy demeanor and prejudices. ...

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/393380_grantorino25q.html
Last updated December 23, 2008 5:25 p.m. PT

'Gran Torino:' Clint Eastwood is still kicking butt at 78
By WILLIAM ARNOLD
P-I MOVIE CRITIC

Quote
The title of "Gran Torino," Clint Eastwood's second movie this year (after October's "Changeling"), refers to a pristine '72 Ford that his character, Walt Kowalski, keeps polished in his garage. It symbolizes for him all America once was and has now lost. ...
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #64 on: December 25, 2008, 07:16:01 AM »

http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2008/12/25/dirty_harrys_neighborhood/

Movie Review
Boston Globe 
Dirty Harry's neighborhood
Eastwood reworks an icon's legacy in 'Gran Torino'

Quote
In the context of Clint Eastwood's career as a star, an actor, and a filmmaker, "Gran Torino" is an endlessly fascinating movie. If only it were a good one.

Eastwood, of course, has long since reached the point where he can do as he damn well pleases, and one of the things that has pleased him in recent years is to drop a movie at the very end of the Oscar season and thoroughly reshuffle the field. "Million Dollar Baby" was one such movie; this awkwardly conflicted drama about inner-city racism, struggle, and redemption is not. Still, if you want to see Dirty Harry collide with Eastwood's idea of the real world, "Gran Torino" is something to see. ...

Your reaction may depend upon how much affection you bring to this film, for Eastwood the ornery, intelligent movie icon, and for Eastwood the questing filmmaker. Some people have come out of early screenings intensely moved, others shaking their heads. The man has made the movie he wanted to, so the only question remaining is whether you feel lucky. Well? Do you, punk?

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@globe.com. For more on movies, go to www.boston.com/movienation.

Boston Herald link

‘Gran’ slam! Clint Eastwood scores another winner as ornery vet on a tear
Boston Herald
 By James Verniere / Review
Thursday, December 25, 2008 - Updated 9h ago

Quote
Gran Torino: A
“Gran Torino,” Clint Eastwood’s second 2008 release, is a knockout punch delivered by the best old brawler in the business. I think Clint just KO-ed himself an acting Oscar.

If beef jerky could walk, talk, spew epithets and beat up gangbangers, it would be Walt Kowalski, the Korean War vet and retired Detroit assembly-line worker Eastwood plays. ...

In a sense, all the vigilante cops, mythic gunslingers and grizzled pugilists Eastwood has played - and all that Eastwood represents to audiences around the world - have been a prelude to this rancorous, old American misanthrope.

Like Wallace Beery, John Wayne, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, Eastwood understands that screen acting is a relationship the audience and actor take together. “Gran Torino” is just the latest milestone. Take the ride.

Rated R. At AMC Loews Boston Common and suburban theaters.

(“Gran Torino” contains violence and profanity.)

- jverniere@bostonherald.com

http://www.mercurynews.com/eyeheadlines/ci_11303911

'Grand Torino': Eastwood on his game
By Kenneth Turan

Los Angeles Times
Posted: 12/24/2008 12:00:00 AM PST

Quote
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. ...

This role may sound like standard Archie Bunker, but it is hard to resist when Eastwood, an actor with presence to burn and who snarls dialogue like a cornered wolf, takes it on. Perhaps the best thing about Shenk's script is that it enticed Eastwood to end his self-imposed acting hiatus and bring his one-of-a-kind aura back to the screen.  ...

Classically against his will, Kowalski is drawn into the life of the neighborhood, specifically the plight of Thao (Bee Vang), the fatherless teenage boy next door who is being pressured to join a local Hmong gang and foolishly attempts to steal Kowalski's prize Ford Gran Torino. Kowalski also likes the sassiness of Thao's slightly older sister Sue, played by Ahney Her, an actress who like the rest of the neighbors is a member of the Hmong community.

As this closeness grows, "Gran Torino" will start to feel familiar and create concern that this is all there is to the film. It is familiar, but only up to a point. Suddenly, that point is past, and much more serious questions come up, questions of responsibility, of vengeance, of the efficacy of blood for blood.

These questions seem to take Kowalski by surprise. It's almost as if Eastwood all at once finds himself in a different movie than either he, or us, really expected. But if the past few years have proved anything, it's that anywhere Eastwood is, movie audiences are wise to follow.


http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/122408a.html

'Gran Torino': Clint Eastwood in Winter
By Lisa Pease
December 24, 2008

Quote
Clint Eastwood stars in and directs this amazing film. Fresh and original, hilarious and heart-rending, this film will seize a hold of your heart and not let go. And if you enjoy snappy dialog, consider "Gran Torino" this year's "Juno."

Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a veteran of the Korean War who has not adjusted to the changing times. He's a racist, sour bigot, whom his own family avoids. His recently departed wife's wish was for Kowalski to confess to their priest, something Kowalski is loath to do, considering the priest's young age.

How can he confess to someone who knows less about life than he does? ...

Eastwood gives a remarkable performance. It's nearly over the top, at times, but it works. The rest of the cast gives powerful performances. As with so many great films, one of the stars of this film is the script itself.

One of the fascinating parts of the film is the introduction to the Hmong culture. First-time writer Nick Schenk penned the script based on a story he and Dave Johannson conceived. Schenk drew upon his Hmong co-workers as he worked at a factory in Minnesota for inspiration.

And although the part of Kowalski seems tailor-made for Eastwood, Schenk did not write the script with Eastwood in mind. Perhaps because of that, this film just might bring Eastwood his first Academy Award as an actor.

Don't let this one get away. Give "Gran Torino" a chance to steal its way into your heart.

Lisa Pease is a historian and a movie buff.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 08:19:12 PM by KC » Logged
higashimori
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« Reply #65 on: December 25, 2008, 05:55:40 PM »

:)  " The Gruff Rider " 
       
        With 'Gran Torino,' A Well-Armed Eastwood Delivers Once Again
        By Ann Hornaday Washington Post Staff Writer

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/24/AR2008122402353.html?wprss=rss_print%2Fstyle

Quote
A Scrooge for the 21st century has arrived just in time for Christmas, and wouldn't you know he's come back in the form of Dirty Harry? As the spitting, swearing, hate-spewing lead character of "Gran Torino," Clint Eastwood delivers a lacerating and hilarious valedictory of a career as America's most lovable vigilante. Here, he makes the ugly American a thing of almost primitive beauty, as an antihero worthy of Dickens.

Quote
And anyone familiar with Eastwood's movies, especially weepers like "Million Dollar Baby," will not be surprised at the tear-jerking streak that runs through "Gran Torino" like a broken yellow line. In this case, another "Camille"-like subplot ends not sentimentally as much as sacramentally, with a character splayed out in a symbolic crucifixion that, staged by any other filmmaker, would invite eye-rolling derision.

But "Gran Torino" isn't the work of just any filmmaker. It's a Clint Eastwood production, and as such it overcomes its only-in-the-movies conventions to exude its own undeniable, and uniquely potent, brand of authenticity. There's a gentle, elegiac grandeur to "Gran Torino," even at its most self-conscious and highly pitched, that befits Eastwood's transcendent place in American culture. Indeed, probably only someone of his symbolic vengeful power could deliver such a welcome seasonal message of tough, twisted redemption. So, Merry Christmas -- and Clint bless us, every one.

   " MERRY MOVIE CHRISTMAS! "

       " Clint Eastwood's 'Gran Torino' makes Detroit's day " 

       " 78-year-old star's gritty performance is best thing about locally made movie "

       http://www.freep.com/article/20081225/ENT01/812250325/1035/rss04

Quote
Ultimately, "Gran Torino" is not recommended for its moralizing or its scenery, but for Eastwood's compelling performance. He has hinted that Walt might be his last movie role. But that, like the push for a late-December release, just might be a ploy to court Oscar voters, who have awarded Eastwood two best director awards (for "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby"), but never singled out one of his performances.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 08:16:03 PM by KC » Logged

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« Reply #66 on: December 25, 2008, 08:16:45 PM »

Higashimori, I "prettied up" your post a bit by unscrambling the "quote" codes. Thanks for posting! :)

EDIT: And Dan, I edited your last post to shorten a link so it wouldn't throw the page format off. Thank YOU too, for this post and all of yours! :)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 08:20:32 PM by KC » Logged
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« Reply #67 on: December 26, 2008, 05:08:41 AM »

Boston Globe Interview Link

Q&A 
The tough guy in the director's chair
By Mark Shanahan
Globe Staff / December 26, 2008

Quote
Clint Eastwood shows no sign of slowing down. The legendary Hollywood filmmaker both directs and stars in his latest movie, "Gran Torino," about a retired auto worker who's none too happy about the changing demographic of his Detroit neighborhood. We spoke to Eastwood recently about moviemaking, his impressive work ethic, and the future. ...

Q. Many were also acting for the first time, right? Was that difficult? Eli Wallach, who worked with you on "Mystic River," told me that you just told him to come to Boston for the day and then you started shooting. Is that really the way you work?

A. (Laughs) It depends on the situation. First-time actors are a little different than Eli Wallach, who's the consummate old pro. I knew I could bring Eli in, talk to him about old times, and then try him out. With these kids, we'd talk about the sequence and a few things and then, sometimes, we'd roll the camera when they didn't know it. They thought we were rehearsing. You don't always use the material, but you hate to leave a good take on the floor.

A. Did you have a translator on the set?

A. Yes. The kids could translate for the older people, but we had a lot of people on the set. It was kind of the same way with "Letters From Iwo Jima." ...
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« Reply #68 on: December 26, 2008, 05:55:40 AM »

Washington Post Link

washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition  > Weekend Quick Take
Eastwood: He's No Nice Guy

Friday, December 26, 2008; Page WE26

Quote
Movie fans have their very own Scrooge this Christmas, and wouldn't you know it's Dirty Harry?

In "Gran Torino," Clint Eastwood delivers a breathtaking performance in a by turns appalling and hilarious role that recalls great ghosts of Eastwood vigilante thrillers past. Playing Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, Eastwood spits, swears and seethes as a man who watches the world change from the front stoop of his Detroit house. Surrounded by Hmong immigrants he persists in calling "slants," "slopes" and "gooks," at least Walt is an equal-opportunity bomb-thrower. He has an epithet for everyone, even growling and glaring at his grandchildren. (He does love his dog, and the restored 1972 Gran Torino in his driveway.)


Grand Forks Herald Link

Crookston native co-writes story for Clint Eastwood film'Gran Torino'
Paulette Tobin Grand Forks Herald
Published Friday, December 26, 2008

Quote
In his very first movie writing project, Crookston native Dave Johannson can find his name just below Clint Eastwood’s on the publicity posters for “Gran Torino,” the Hollywood icon’s latest movie.

That’s because Johannson, who works in sales for Centerpoint Energy, a Minneapolis utility company, shares story credit for “Gran Torino” with screenwriter Nick Schenk.
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« Reply #69 on: December 26, 2008, 03:39:37 PM »

 :) "  Movie Review: Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino Rides like a Charm "

        http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/12/26/103414.php

       
Quote
Clint Eastwood proves that he is at the top of his game with his latest effort, Gran Torino. Revolving around the story of Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), a retired Ford employee and decorated Korean War vet, the movie explores themes of loss, coming to terms, friendship, and ultimately, sacrifice and redemption.
Quote
Much has been said about Gran Torino being Eastwood’s last acting role. Having watched the film, I wish it isn’t. At 78, he anchors the film with his larger than life presence, displaying blatant machismo, shades of classic humor, and quiet sensitivity, in a role that demands Academy Award recognition. He plays it as he sees it, both as actor and director; you will not find over-the-top, method acting here. Essentially, it is Eastwood playing Eastwood directed by Eastwood, and, all things considered, it is probably one the finest acting jobs he has done thus far. Compared to today’s fast-paced, effects-ridden contemporary films, this movie comes out of nowhere to remind of you of life’s basic mores and values by none other than the anti-hero himself.  It is also difficult to find a role befitting a man of his age and stature, so much can be said about Eastwood's nose for the good story by Schenk.

Words like “masterpiece” or phrases like “tour de force” seem clichéd and misleading, so it is hard to summon up a definitive word to describe the themes and feelings that Gran Torino evokes, but there is a piece of dialogue in the movie that mentions the word “bittersweet.” It goes something like this: “It’s bitter because of the pain, but sweet because you’re at peace.” Rest in peace, Clint. But only for a while, because knowing the way you work, you won’t stop.
 
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« Reply #70 on: December 26, 2008, 05:59:38 PM »

Seattle PI Link

Last updated December 26, 2008 3:22 p.m. PT

Clint is in Command
With two films in Oscar contention, Eastwood, at 78, is as vital a filmmaker as ever
By BRUCE HEADLAM
THE NEW YORK TIMES

Quote
CARMEL, Calif. -- Being introduced to Clint Eastwood is something like seeing a California redwood for the first time. The difference is that this redwood, even at the age of 78, reaches out to shake your hand with a firmness that still intimidates no matter how much time you spent preparing your grip (for the record: three days).

He arrived for the interview at the Mission Ranch restaurant here as if he owned the place, and it didn't make any difference that, in this case, he does. He had his first legal drink in the bar while he was stationed at the nearby Army base in the late 1940s. In 1986 he bought the property and rebuilt it to his taste, with a piano bar, heart-stopping views of the ocean spray on Point Lobos and plenty of meat on the menu. Despite what you might have read on Wikipedia, Eastwood is not a vegan, and he looked slightly aghast when told exactly what a vegan is. "I never look at the Internet for just that reason," he said. ...

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

And he may not be done. There were reports 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."

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« Reply #71 on: December 27, 2008, 02:54:28 AM »

These reviews all seem  positive.. Interesting that Eastwood mentions he might have two movies on the go next year.. Wonder what the other one is..
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« Reply #72 on: December 29, 2008, 07:08:17 PM »

 :)  " At 78, 'politically incorrect' Eastwood still finds edgy roles "

       http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/29/eastwood.gran.torino/index.html?section=cnn_latest

       By KJ Matthews
       CNN
     
       LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Clint Eastwood doesn't know if he's a legend.

       
Quote
Maybe, what is it?" he asks, before making a reference to a line from director John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

But for more than 50 years, he's appeared on the screen and behind the camera. His film credits include "Dirty Harry," "Every Which Way But Loose" and the three "Man With No Name" Westerns. He owns four Oscars -- two for direction of "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby" and best picture wins for those two films -- and he's been nominated for six others.

 
Quote
CNN: You've got "Changeling," and then you've got "Gran Torino." Both of them are getting a lot of buzz. What's your reaction to the fact that you'll probably be getting a lot of [award] nominations?

Eastwood: Oh, I don't know about that. I don't think about that. I just make the pictures and where they fall is where they fall. If somebody likes them, that's always nice. And if they don't like them, then too bad.

It's just you -- you just make this picture. Actually, I kind of make a film for myself to sort of express myself. Or it's a story I might want to follow. I never think too much about anybody seeing it. And then when you're done with it, you go, "Oh my God. Now we got to see if anybody wants to see this thing."

So we're at that period right now, at least on "Gran Torino."
 
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« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2008, 09:56:05 AM »

http://www.fwbusinesspress.com/display.php?id=9177

Modern has ideal film to begin New Year

BY MICHAEL H. PRICE
December 29, 2008

Quote
The “flowering of one’s better nature,” as Roger Ebert has phrased the phenomenon in describing a new film from Clint Eastwood, figures fairly widely in the stanbard crop of holiday-season movies. The general-release Eastwood picture, Gran Torino, might seem the antithesis of festive feel-good filmgoing, but it also is one of the more uplifting jobs on view just now — a caustic polemic with political correctness that also states a persuasive case for common decency against the formidable odds of reciprocal bigotries. ...

More efficiently provocative is Eastwood’s Gran Torino, which contrasts Eastwood’s lean and energetic screen presence against the backdrop of a middle-class Detroit neighborhood gone to rot as a consequence of encroaching poverty and youth-gang activity. As retired autoworker Walt Kowalski, Eastwood seems the embodiment of bigotry until it becomes plain that he is an equal-opportunity race-baiter, longing for frank openness in place of walking-on-eggshells political correctness.

A vain heroic streak of vigilantism asserts itself any time Kowalski senses a trespass — he is as ready to protect his own property from interlopers as he is to defend a new-neighbor Asian girl (Ahney Her, in a fine no-nonsense performance) against a bunch of gutter-punk hoodlums.

Longtime admirers of Eastwood will be delighted to see a glimmer of Dirty Harry in Walt Kowalski — but Eastwood has a great deal more on his mind than nostalgic self-parody. Gran Torino is a polemic, indeed, on several fronts, calling out the myth of race, the myth of “growing old gracefully,” and raising issues of health and self-preservation and questioned faith to an extent sufficient to fuel many hours of after-show discussion and argument.

The wrap-up of Gran Torino plays out a bit too neatly for the character’s greater good, but the film is about so much more than a pat resolution that the finale scarcely matters. Thin-skinned adherents of political correctness are best advised to take a Pasadena on this one, but those of open minds and questing intelligence will find Gran Torino a challenging pleasure. ...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/12/29/eastwood.gran.torino/

updated 8:16 a.m. EST, Mon December 29, 2008
 At 78, 'politically incorrect' Eastwood still finds edgy roles

By KJ Matthews
CNN     
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) --

Quote
Clint Eastwood doesn't know if he's a legend.

"Maybe, what is it?" he asks, before making a reference to a line from director John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

But for more than 50 years, he's appeared on the screen and behind the camera. His film credits include "Dirty Harry," "Every Which Way But Loose" and the three "Man With No Name" Westerns. He owns four Oscars -- two for direction of "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby" and best picture wins for those two films -- and he's been nominated for six others.

His most recent contribution to the film world is "Gran Torino." In the film, which Eastwood also directed, he stars as Walt Kowalski, a Korean War veteran who is forced by immigrant neighbors to challenge his prejudices.

Kowalski is a recognizable type, the gruff, sometimes bigoted old man who may be hiding more heart than he lets on. Even though he's not too caring at the start, "he ends up expressing love to a family he's never known before," Eastwood said.

CNN talked with Eastwood, 78, about the movie, his future as an actor and what he expects in terms of awards. The following is an edited version of that interview: ...
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« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2008, 10:08:37 PM »

http://www.connpost.com/ci_11336796

Eastwood in high gear in 'Torino'
Connecticut Post Staff
Updated: 12/30/2008 05:42:40 PM EST


Quote
When does Clint Eastwood sleep?

At an age when most filmmakers and actors begin to slow down -- or retire -- the 78-year-old Eastwood is in the midst of a period of incredibly sustained high-level work.

You would have to look to the world of letters and novelist Philip Roth (the 75-year-old writer has produced six acclaimed novels since 2000) to find a suitable comparison for what Eastwood has been up to over the past few years.

Since 2003, the actor-director has given us "Mystic River," "Million Dollar Baby," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Letters from Iwo Jima" and "Changeling."

Now, less than four months after the gripping and tough-minded "Changeling" opened, Eastwood is back with "Gran Torino," which he directed and stars in.

Eastwood seems to be racing with the clock to use his peerless position of respect and power to make as many movies as he can while he is still capable of taking on the back-breaking responsibilities faced by any director who helms a major Hollywood studio release. ...
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« Reply #75 on: December 31, 2008, 06:14:01 AM »

LA Weekly Link

The 10 (or 17) Best Films of 2008
Coming soon to a theater, er, HDTV near you
By Scott Foundas
Published on December 30, 2008 at 8:33pm

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2. Gran Torino: Leave it to the 78-year-old Clint Eastwood to come up with the year’s most au courant American film. Because Gran Torino doesn’t wear its sentiments — or its themes — on its sleeve, it has been misunderstood (and dismissed) by some as a comic spin on Eastwood’s patented Dirty Harry franchise. But in Eastwood’s typically subtle, stealthy way, the film has more to say about the things that really matter in this country — race, economic disenfranchisement, the fog of war — than any other movie in recent memory.

New York Times Link

Films Reach Theaters a Drib Here, Drab There
 
By MICHAEL CIEPLY
Published: December 30, 2008

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... Four years ago Warner Brothers unveiled “Million Dollar Baby,” which eventually won the best picture Oscar along with a directing award for Clint Eastwood, in an excruciatingly slow release that began with eight theaters in mid-December and did not reach most of the country until six weeks later.

The studio this year has dribbled out Mr. Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” — starting with just six theaters on Dec. 12, and fewer than a hundred by Christmas — even while widespread publicity has piqued the curiosity of an audience that will be largely unable to see the film until it moves to still more theaters on Jan. 9.

“You should see my e-mails,” Dan Fellman, Warner’s theatrical distribution president, said recently of the inevitable response by would-be viewers, many of whom find it hard to accept that New Yorkers and Angelenos should spend weeks with a big-star movie before it gets to their hometown malls. ...

Gold Rush, Hollywood Reporter Links

December 30, 2008
Oscar for Eastwood, the actor?

Veteran media and marketing journalist T.L. Stanley brings her insider attitude to Gold Rush, The Hollywood Reporter's year-round awards blog. Read more
Send tips to tellestanley@yahoo.com

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He growls and scowls for the duration of the two-hour movie, and his is a polarizing, openly bigoted, racist, crusty character with, as it turns out, a heart not so far underneath.

If you walk into "Gran Torino" knowing that -- or better yet, embracing it -- you might really feel drawn to the movie, as we did, and Clint Eastwood's compelling performance in it.

Does that mean the iconic Eastwood deserves an Oscar nomination for his work here? Never mind that he's said, not so definitively, that this could be his last acting gig.

The question has kept critics and bloggers busy lately, with folks like the Village Voice's Michael Musto, Variety's Anne Thompson, InContention's Kris Tapley and a few others saying that not only will Eastwood be nominated but he'll win. ...

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KC
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« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2009, 11:16:21 PM »

This should probably go in the "Minor Mentions" thread, but I really like it, so I'm putting it here. (I'm the mod, I get to decide.)

It's near the end of a story in the New York Times Sunday magazine (Dec. 21, 2008) about Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom the author (Lynn Hirschberg) doesn't hesitate to anoint "the greatest character actor of our time." I almost didn't read it, then I was glad I did. Hoffman is of course currently visible opposite Meryl Streep in the Oscar-contending Doubt, also a film featuring troubled Catholics.

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“Sometimes when I see a great movie or a great play I think, Being human means you’re really alone,” Hoffman told me on another cold winter night. We had just seen “Gran Torino,” the new Clint Eastwood film in which he directs himself. Eastwood plays a racist, cantankerous curmudgeon named Walt Kowalski who befriends the Hmong boy who lives next door. Kowalski is a symbol of a dying America — blue collar, militaristic, practical, afraid, proud. There’s a stylistic link between “Doubt” and “Gran Torino” — both films are rich in character and take place in a time of change. “Doubt” is set in 1964, before the upheaval of the late ’60s, and there is only one black student at the parish school in the Bronx. Similarly, “Gran Torino” depicts the last breaths of a certain kind of man: Kowalski is a former autoworker who lives his life according to strict beliefs and rules. Both films begin and end in the Catholic Church; both suggest an uncertain future. “And they are both filled with regret,” Hoffman said. We were having some pasta at an Italian restaurant near the movie theater where we had seen “Gran Torino.” “So many things I’m interested in come down to the subject of regret,” he continued as he ate his spaghetti. “That’s Capote alone on the plane at the end of ‘Capote,’ the priest and the nun in “Doubt” who make judgments they may wish they hadn’t and Clint Eastwood tonight. I try to live my life in such a way that I don’t have profound regrets. That’s probably why I work so much. I don’t want to feel I missed something important.”

Hoffman fell silent. “Gran Torino” is emotional, and he was clearly affected by the film. “I still get wide-eyed,” he said. “It’s true that I’ve made a lot of movies, and I know there’s a microphone over there and a camera back there, but when you see something great, you lose all that. I’m sitting forward, and I’m being moved, and I have no idea how he did it. I don’t know Clint Eastwood, but what’s amazing is that you have the sense that he’s doing exactly what he wants to be doing. He’s so committed. In this film, he keeps the action going, and the people don’t ever behave against their true nature. That’s what I look for in my work: when a writer can deftly describe the human experience in a way that you didn’t think could even be put into words. That doesn’t happen often, but it gives me something to play inside. Too much of the time our culture fears subtlety. They really want to make sure you get it. And when subtlety is lost, I get upset.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/magazine/21hoffman-t.html (the above quote is from page 7)

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« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2009, 02:43:21 AM »

Thats a great piece KC...
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« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2009, 04:08:29 PM »

 :)  " Eastwood proves you're never too old to learn "

        http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/1359890,CST-FTR-clint03.article

       
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January 3, 2009

BY MARK SHANAHAN
Clint Eastwood shows no sign of slowing down. The legendary Hollywood filmmaker directs and stars in his latest, "Gran Torino," about a retired auto worker who's none too happy about the changing face of his Detroit neighborhood. We spoke to Eastwood recently about moviemaking, his work ethic and the future.

Q. At 78, you seem to be working harder than ever. You've made two movies this year, "Changeling" and "Gran Torino."

A. Well, it just seems like when the stories are there, you ought to go ahead and tell them.

Q. "Gran Torino" is by first-time screenwriter Nick Schenk. What appealed to you about the script?

A. Everybody has someone or knows somebody who has someone like this in their family. You know, someone who's out of sync with the current generation, someone who comes from the generation before all the PC stuff that we have now. All of this guy's friends have died off, and he looks around and, all of a sudden, these Asian people have moved into the neighborhood. I like the story because you see that this character, Walt, is never too old to learn -- to learn anything, much less about tolerance.

Q. You talk about all the PC stuff, and then what Walt learns is tolerance. That's kind of PC, isn't it?

A. Sure. And that's not a bad thing. But he has to be a person of a certain generation to have somewhere to go, somewhere to grow. He looks in the mirror at one point and says, "I have more in common with these people than I do with my own spoiled, rotten family." He's surprised to feel this way.

Q. Many in the cast were acting for the first time. Was that difficult? Eli Wallach, who worked with you on "Mystic River," said you just told him to come to Boston for the day, and then you started shooting. Is that really the way you work?

A. It depends on the situation. First-time actors are different than Eli Wallach, who's the consummate old pro. With these kids, we'd talk about the sequence and a few things and sometimes we'd roll film when they didn't know it. They thought we were rehearsing. You don't always use the material, but you hate to leave a good take on the floor.

Q. In "Gran Torino," you seem to take a dim view of religion, at least based on the character of the priest, or the "padre," as Walt calls him dismissively. Are you religious?

A. No, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I had no organized religion growing up. My family moved all the time. I must have gone to five or six denominations of churches over the years. ... But I must say, I was never into any of that 'God will strike you dead' stuff. I liked religion when it wasn't being threatening.

Q. This movie marks the return of the tough guy for you. Your character has a line: "Ever noticed how you come across someone you shouldn't have [expletive] with?"

A. I know those guys. I was in the military. It's not a generation that rolled over easy. Now we're afraid to say anything about anything.

Q. You distinguished yourself as an actor ages ago, but over the years, you've become better known as a director. Do you have a preference?

A. You know, in Europe, I used to be considered a director who sometimes acted, and in the U.S., I was an actor who sometimes directed. I've been doing more directing lately, and I enjoy it. If I could do only one, I'd direct. Acting is about the character, and if I find something interesting, I'll do it.

Q. You're certainly working at a frantic pace.

A. It's the material. It just happened that way. In the old days, everybody did that. John Ford and Howard Hawks and all those guys made a lot of movies.

Q. Is there something that you're still looking to do?

A. If there wasn't, I guess I'd hang it up. I'm doing a story in March about Nelson Mandela.

Q. So directing gigs mostly?

A. Yes, directing gigs. There aren't going to be a lot of acting gigs. They don't write a lot of great scripts for 78-year-olds.

 
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 04:21:05 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 #79 on: January 03, 2009, 05:31:48 PM »

Box Office Mojo Poll Link

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What is your top choice to see in January?
21.8% Gran Torino
12.2% No interest in January's releases.
11.9% Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
10.0% Bride Wars
9.3% Defiance
9.2% My Bloody Valentine 3-D
5.6% Inkheart
4.6% Paul Blart: MallCop
4.0% The Unborn
3.9% Taken
3.3% Other
1.9% Notorious
1.1% Hotel for Dogs
0.6% The Uninvited
0.4% New in Town
0.1% Not Easily Broken

1,225 users polled.


http://www.boxofficemojo.com/polls/

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When will you see 'Gran Torino?'
30.6% On DVD
20.8% Never
20.6% Sometime in Theaters
20.4% Opening Weekend (wide on Jan. 9)
7.6% On TV

461 users polled.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 06:32:23 PM by Dan Dassow » Logged
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