News: Now showing in theaters: CRY MACHO, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood!


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Author Topic: GRAN TORINO: Reviews and Features in the Media  (Read 129278 times)
KC
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« Reply #80 on: January 03, 2009, 06:10:04 PM »

Well, it's good to see Clint's film is beating Bride Wars, My Bloody Valentine 3-D  and Paul Blart: MallCop in at least one Internet poll! ;D
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« Reply #81 on: January 03, 2009, 07:23:25 PM »

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

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

Thanks, Higashimori. That excellent interview first appeared in the Boston Globe, and Dan Dassow gave us a link to the full version of it on the previous page of this thread.

Boston Globe Interview Link

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

Some very good quotes there ...

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

Quote
Q. You distinguished yourself as an actor a long time ago, but over the past decade, you've become known more 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 US, 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. But if it's monotonous or the character doesn't change at all, I wouldn't be interested.
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« Reply #82 on: January 04, 2009, 09:48:39 AM »

Minneapolis Star Tribune Links

A long article with interesting background information. I grew up in the Twin Cities 27 years ago and found it somewhat strange to read about local landmarks.

'Gran' slam
The framework for "Gran Torino" -- Clint Eastwood's latest Oscar vehicle -- was built in Minnesota by a jack-of-all-trades.

By COLIN COVERT, Star Tribune

Last update: January 4, 2009 - 7:41 AM

Quote
Clint Eastwood has his pick of A-list screenwriters, so it was a surreal moment when Nick Schenk -- a former Minneapolis Teamster -- heard that Eastwood would direct and star in his drama "Gran Torino." The script had humble roots in Schenk's friendships with old soldiers he met while clerking at the St. Anthony Village Liquor Warehouse and with his Hmong co-workers on the night shift at a Bloomington factory that packaged videotapes.

Hollywood's call came in February, and Schenk met Eastwood in April and flew to the set in Detroit in July as filming began. The movie opens Friday in the Twin Cities amid considerable Oscar buzz. It still seems like a dream, Schenk said in an interview.

"Warner Bros. sent over a poster that Clint Eastwood signed. It's hanging on my wall. You look at that and think, 'Wow, that's really something.'"

Schenk's script, centering on Walt Kowalski, a racist Korean War vet, and his Asian neighbors, won the National Board of Review's award for best original screenplay, just as Diablo Cody's "Juno" did a year ago. "The importance didn't dawn on me until people started sending bottles of Dom Perignon and 16-year-old Scotch," said Schenk, who favors Summit Pale Ale. "I couldn't be more pleased, but I don't watch the Golden Globes. I'd rather be in an ice-fishing house."

The movie's original setting was Minneapolis, but shifted to Detroit when Michigan offered Warner Bros. a 42 percent production rebate. "Gran Torino" retains some Minnesota flavor, however.

Several Twin Cities actors play significant roles. The pivotal part of Thao, a Hmong teenager whom Walt protects from predatory gangs, went to Bee Vang, a 17-year-old junior at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth with no stage experience. When Bee won the part at a May casting call at a Hmong community center in St. Paul, his family and friends were incredulous.

"I told them I was cast for this role and they said, 'Until I see you in the trailer, I'm not going to believe it.' Now everybody's like, 'Remember the little people.' My friends all call me a prima donna like I'm a big shot or something, which I'm not."

'Too stupid to quit'

While it sounds like a Cinderella story, Schenk's good fortune at age 43 isn't beginner's luck, but the culmination of years of ups and downs. His beginner's-luck episode was his first feature film script, a 1994 comedy about slackers running a day-care center. Disney bought the script and put it on the fast track. But when the studio's head of production left a few months later, the project "died that same day," Schenk said. "And nothing happened for years and years and years."

For the next decade-plus, he never stopped writing. "I was just too stupid to quit. I remember watching that first one go and thinking, this is easy, and spending all the money just like a drunken sailor. I bought all my redneck fishing buddies sushi. And at the end of the year, it was gone."

Schenk had plenty of practice living broke. He attended high school in Columbia Heights, "where you get a hard hat and a lunchbox instead of a diploma when you graduate." He enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and graduated with a degree in fine art, "which is useless. I think I painted a fence since I got out of school. I did a pretty good job because I didn't get much paint on the grass."

Odd jobs paid the bills. "In Minnesota you could live on 16 grand a year" with housemates, he recalled. "We lived like children for years and years and years."

He roomed with comedian Rich Kronfeld, collaborating on "guerrilla-style cable access" shows and the syndicated TV sports spoof "Let's Bowl." His first agent "thought I was an actor because we all were appearing in these things, because we couldn't afford performers."

Schenk spent years commuting between Los Angeles and Minnesota. "I just wrote things that amused me. I ended up having no agent and no manager, but I kept writing.

"I was told not to write 'Gran Torino.' It's not commercial, it's too racist, it's about an old guy. Someone said the lead character would be great in a nursing home comedy. It was unsellable, it was uncastable. By that point I'd had so many near-misses that I didn't listen anymore because what's the difference?"

In 2005, he was living on a friend's couch, working construction jobs, driving a fruit truck, and on the outs with Hollywood. "It was crazy," he said. "I was paying dues to the Teamsters and I was in the Screen Writers Guild at the same time. I'd get a few small jobs in L.A., then come back to Minnesota and put the tool belt on.

"Loading trucks every day, your back was tired but your mind was fresh. And I had met all these old vets at the liquor store. They came in every day for a pint of their 'medicine,' with stories they couldn't tell their wives and children. I was the outlet. So I'd just roll into Grumpy's [Bar, a northeast Minneapolis dive], where my friend was the bartender, and write the stuff longhand on a pad of paper.

One joke in "Gran Torino" came straight from the bartender's mouth, Schenk said. It begins, "A black guy, a Mexican and a Jew walk into a bar...." The punch line is unprintable. So much for "Minnesota Nice."

Schenk spent a year polishing the script with his longtime friend Dave Johannson of Shoreview, a furnace salesman for CenterPoint Energy who shares a story credit on the film.

"We'd act out the parts," Johannson recalled. "We're not brilliant performers so it wasn't the most compelling entertainment, but Nick is very funny and fun to be around. We'd read the part where Walt is on his porch holding his M-1 rifle and telling his neighbors, 'Get off my lawn!' We probably shouldn't have, but we just found that incredibly funny."

"Everybody knows a guy like Walt," Schenk said. "It's the perfect time for a story like this because everything's changing. These old guys and this mind-set's going away. Walt's problem is not that he's an unrepentant racist; it's that his soul's hurting and he's got to heal that before he meets his maker."

Bragging rights for his parents

"Gran Torino" feels tailor-made for Eastwood. Walt is an aging tough guy who loves his guns, growls toss-off wisecracks and owns the same classic '72 coupe as Dirty Harry. That was all sheer coincidence, Schenk said. "I'm not a car guy. I just wanted one that sounded like a movie title. It could have been 'Gremlin.'"

The screenplay bounced among 70-something actors, including the late Paul Newman and Gene Hackman. Anthony Hopkins passed (to Schenk's relief; that would have been epic miscasting). Eastwood snapped it up, hustled it into production and shot it verbatim.

"When Clint got on board, it was great bragging rights for my parents," Schenk said. "They could finally see the end point of all this work. He's one of their peers. It's not like I'm trying to explain who Jake Gyllenhaal is or something like that," said Schenk, who now lives in Los Angeles.

Relocating the film to Detroit was not a seamless transition, he said.

"There's a scene in [the original script] where the son calls up Walt and says, 'You know that guy at the plant who's got the Vikings season tickets?' That doesn't translate to the Lions. They don't sell out."

Another Hmong actor in the film, Ahney Her, a native of Lansing, Mich., who plays Thao's bossy older sister, noted that Detroit, with 8,000 to 10,000 Hmong residents, has a "pretty big population, but nowhere near the Twin Cities'." She knows that firsthand. An avid soccer fan, she travels every July 4 to the national Hmong soccer tournament in St. Paul. She hopes to return this summer because she and Bee are "like family now."

Johannson, who accompanied Schenk to the premiere on the Warner Bros. lot, glows at the memory of the celebratory mood when the lights came up. "You show the movie and there's kind of a cocktail social afterward. I think we were the last two guys to leave because we were having so much fun. [Schenk] made a joke about it that we were the Minnesota guys, standing around draining the keg and getting thrown out of there."

Schenk, who regularly visits Minnesota, likes Midwestern flavor in his movies. His next script, already in preproduction, is a romantic comedy about a Type A New Yorker who flees to an icebound North Woods cabin when her life implodes. And he's currently working on a story set in North Dakota.

"That one will be all meat raffles, beer and snowplows," he promises.

Colin Covert • 612-673-7186
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #83 on: January 05, 2009, 08:40:46 PM »

Edmonston Sun link

Mon, January 5, 2009
Clint Eastwood won't be 'put out to pasture'
By LIZ BRAUN, Sun Media
 
Quote
What does an icon do for an encore?

If you’re Clint Eastwood, you just keep working. And attract Oscar talk with your newest movie.

That’s what’s happening with Eastwood’s Gran Torino , which opens in theatres on Friday. ...

Eastwood, 78, inhabits this role in a way that has betting people putting their money down on him finally winning an Oscar for acting. (The four Oscars Eastwood already has, for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, are for directing and best picture.) ...

Eastwood has said that he learns something new with every movie he makes, and Gran Torino was no exception. His character lives in a Detroit neighbourhood where there are a lot of Asian immigrants, mostly Hmong, and Eastwood says he learned a lot about that culture.

“But you also learn something about yourself, too,” he said. “With every picture, you think, ‘I wonder if I can pull this off?’ but then you go ahead and dive into the pool. I always wonder if I’m the right guy to be doing this.

“I’ve played similar characters before,” said Eastwood, mentioning Sergeant Thomas Highway, his tough vet character in Heartbreak Ridge, and Frankie Dunn from Million Dollar Baby. “But I’ve never played anyone quite like Walt.”

As for Walt’s bad habits, “I never did smoke much, except in films, but I did like to drink a few beers, so drinking those Pabsts on the front porch was no strain for me.”

Eastwood laughs out loud. He laughs again at the Internet posting that describes him as a vegan.

“You find all kinds of things written about you that you don’t have the foggiest notion where they came from. I’m not a vegetarian. I love sushi and stuff like that. I do have to watch my fat intake, because I’m 78 years old.” ...
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« Reply #84 on: January 06, 2009, 12:15:43 AM »

I don't know if this is the right topic but here is the link to "Gran Torino"music video by Jamie Cullum

http://www.firstshowing.net/2009/01/05/check-this-out-clint-eastwoods-gran-torino-the-music-video/
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« Reply #85 on: January 06, 2009, 04:25:33 AM »


The soundtrack score sounds real good.

Anybody any ideas as to when it will be released?
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« Reply #86 on: January 06, 2009, 11:48:49 PM »

A very negative review  :(

New University link
University of California, Irvine
Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” Running on Fumes
by David Lumb
Volume 42, Issue 12  |  Jan 05 2009
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« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2009, 06:20:29 PM »

The Envelope - LA Times link

Clint Eastwood shines up his 'Gran Torino'
He's a Hollywood icon -- actor, director, composer. Just listen as . . .
By Geoff Boucher
January 7, 2009

Quote
In the afternoons, there's a hush and warm amber glow in Clint Eastwood's office, which, unlike other bungalows at the Warner Bros. studio lot, has a rustic feel and furniture that manages to be just as practical as it is stylish. All of that suits the 78-year-old Hollywood icon who started off his career as John Wayne but seems to be finishing it as John Ford.

The newest addition to the office décor is a grim poster for "Gran Torino," Eastwood's 66th feature as an actor and his 29th as a director; in the black-and-white photo, the movie star's face is clenched up in his famous scowl, a weapon that's been brought to bear on cinema street punks and sidewinders for decades.

Eastwood will be the first to say that, for "Gran Torino," there's a bit of false advertising at work in that theatrical scowl and its message to longtime fans who might think the new movie is about "Dirty Harry" Callahan working a grand theft auto case. ...

The Envelope - LA Times link2

Unlikely front-runners face a still-formidable Clint Eastwood
Frank Langella, Mickey Rourke and Richard Jenkins are expected to vie with the craggy icon in the lead actor race.
By Pete Hammond
January 7, 2009

Quote
This year's lead actor and supporting actor categories offer no end of irony.

Although certifiable leading men like Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Leonardo DiCaprio in "Revolutionary Road," Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino" and especially Sean Penn in "Milk" (by far the year's most lauded performance) are in the hunt, many of the other prime top-tier contenders likely to hear their names called when Oscar nominations are revealed on Jan. 22 are veteran actors who have spent most of their film careers (lately at least) racking up supporting roles. ...

Of course, these three will still have to contend with another vet who has always been the star of his films, two-time acting Oscar nominee and four-time winner (for directing and producing "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby") Eastwood, who at 78 is hinting that "Gran Torino" will be his final role.

"Clint is in a class by himself and we've watched him play this persona for 45 years and he's wonderful in the film," says critic and historian Leonard Maltin, who also deeply admires Rourke, Langella and Jenkins. ...

Slate link

The Movie Club
The Problem With Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino
From: Dana Stevens
To: Jeannette Catsoulis, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Jessica Winter, and Stephanie Zacharek
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, at 5:04 PM ET

Quote
Chiming in quickly here to refine my earlier query about Clint Eastwood (not least because of the e-mails I've been getting from readers with vigilante justice in their eyes): When I asked whether anyone else found him overrated, I was referring to Eastwood the director, not Eastwood the actor. To carp about the latter would be like objecting to the cracks in the Liberty Bell. Stephanie's right: He owns every crease in that monument of a face, and his great strength as a performer, especially as he ages, has been to understand and inhabit that monumentality with an ironic intelligence that, in this year's Gran Torino.

Comes close … until Eastwood the director comes galumphing in with what I think even a lot of his fans agreed was a mawkishly heroic ending, which (I can state without spoiling either movie) shares a weird messianic logic with the finale of the award-winningly lousy Seven Pounds. The Manichaean split between Eastwood's bad guys (that slavering child-murderer in The Changeling, warbling "Silent Night" under his execution hood) and his good guys/gals (Angelina Jolie, bruised and trembling in the snake-pit psycho ward) is just too stark for me to take seriously the moral plight of either. Isn't the righteous masochism of Gran Torino (or The Changeling or Million Dollar Baby) just an inversion of the righteous sadism of the Dirty Harry movies?

Carry on,
Dana

Tucson Weekly link

PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 8, 2009:

The Jolly Racist

Clint Eastwood gets sloppy in the unrealistic, not-so-subtle 'Gran Torino'
By BOB GRIMM

Quote
Gran Torino, with Clint Eastwood at the helm (following up his very good Changeling), is a sloppy movie with Eastwood depicting a grousing, racist ass searching for some kind of redemption. The film feels like a rush job, and it probably was. ...
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 12:36:39 PM by KC » Logged
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« Reply #88 on: January 08, 2009, 06:06:51 AM »

Richmond Times link

BY DANIEL NEMAN TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published: January 8, 2009

-- You can say one thing for Clint Eastwood: He has amazing arms.

Quote
The man is 78, and his arms are muscular and strong. If he had to, he looks as if he could easily lift a small Volkswagen. They speak volumes, those arms, of the determination of the man to whom they belong.

Ordinarily, after watching an Eastwood movie, we would be talking about his many talents as a filmmaker. But the only thing that impresses about "Gran Torino" are his guns.

Coming from the man who most recently made the fascinating "Changeling" and the absolutely masterful "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Gran Torino" is a huge step backward. It's simplistic, obvious and clichéd. And even the acting is not up to par.  ...

Winston Salem Journal link

Eastwood's Gran Torino is a ride worth taking
-- Christy Lemire

The Associated Press

Published: January 8, 2009

Quote
Considering that Clint Eastwood's most iconic roles have been serious ones, it's easy to forget that he can be funny -- that he possesses terrific timing with his sly sense of humor.

He grumbles and growls his way through his most entertaining performance in years in Gran Torino as Walt Kowalski, a Korean War veteran and lifelong auto worker who's disgusted with the changes in his blue-collar, suburban Detroit neighborhood. ...

Akron Beacon Journal link
Eastwood steers 'Gran Torino'
By Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel


Published on Thursday, Jan 08, 2009

Quote
The racist, homophobic ''Dirty Harry'' Callahan has retired in Detroit. Sgt. Highway of Heartbreak Ridge might not wear his stripes, but he still keeps his rifle loaded. And William Munny, the haunted, aged gunfighter of Unforgiven, has one last shot at redemption.

It took Clint Eastwood's entire career to build Walt Kowalski, the tough and bitter old bigot the actor plays in Gran Torino.

It's a film about race and tolerance and a culture clash that, if Walt is lucky, will end in a draw. That's the best the embattled old white retired auto worker can hope for in an America that's a lot more multicultural than it used to be. ...

The Arizona Republic link

Colliding cultures
Jan. 8, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino takes place in a decaying Michigan neighborhood filled with Hmong refugees.

Quote
It could just as well be Arizona. Or anywhere else in our country that has struggled to come to terms with newcomers.

We recognize the dynamics. The retiree hunkering down as the makeup of the neighborhood changes. The communication barriers. The frustration. The anger.

The misunderstandings, the movie reminds us, work both ways. ...

Cleaveland Plain Dealer link

Quote
Clint drives it home: edgy Eastwood groans, growls in compelling 'Gran Torino'
by Clint O'Connor/Plain Dealer Film Critic Wednesday January 07, 2009, 3:07 PM

"Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!" has never carried quite the resounding curmudgeon-next-door rancor as it does spewing forth from the locked-and-loaded lips of Clint Eastwood. This is one scary old dude you do not want to live near.

In the neighborhood-racist movie "Gran Torino," Eastwood, as angry white guy Walt Kowalski, boots unsavory types from his lawn at gunpoint while uttering a shortened version of that classic scold. Actually, he doesn't "say" much in this film. He grunts, he groans, he grimaces. Mostly he growls.

This is Eastwood 4.0, an elder Dirty Harry blended with the score-to-settle gunslinger from "Unforgiven," teetering just this side of caricature. ...


Salt Lake Weekly link

Cinema | Unforgiveable: Clint Eastwood bids a limp farewell to acting in the laughable Gran Torino.

By Scott Renshaw
Posted 01/08/2009

Quote
Clint Eastwood is not a great actor. Twenty years ago, that wouldn’t have been a particularly daring critical statement; the odd outlier like Tightrope notwithstanding, he was known primarily as a guy who could squint one-dimensionally while firing a gun, or squint one-dimensionally while being punched by an orangutan.

But at some point during his cinematic dotage, we all started cutting Eastwood way too much slack. We confused the absence of out-and-out thespianic suckitude in great movies like In the Line of Fire, Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby for real acting chops. And now, as Eastwood delivers his self-professed farewell performance in Gran Torino, people are lining up to hand him gold statuettes—this despite the fact this may be one of the worst performances ever by a guy who’s turned in a lot of fairly lame ones. ...

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Christopher
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« Reply #89 on: January 08, 2009, 10:09:02 AM »

Ouch, that last one's kinda rough. I wonder if the people who dismiss Eastwood's acting have actually watched all of his movies, and really paid attention through them all. Obviously tastes differ, but I've always thought he was a good actor because he knows how to use his eyes to convey emotion.
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« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2009, 03:36:09 PM »

Ouch, that last one's kinda rough. I wonder if the people who dismiss Eastwood's acting have actually watched all of his movies, and really paid attention through them all. Obviously tastes differ, but I've always thought he was a good actor because he knows how to use his eyes to convey emotion.

It seems like critics can be categorized as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Scott Renshaw seems to fall into The Ugly.
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« Reply #91 on: January 08, 2009, 10:20:23 PM »

The Hook link

MOVIE REVIEW- Gran's grand: Eastwood is older and better
By STEVE WARREN
Published January 8, 2009 in issue 0801 of the Hook

Quote
This may turn into a love letter to Clint Eastwood, for which I apologize in advance. The guy is the personification of, "I'm not getting older, I'm getting better." At 78, he's still doing some of his best work, directing Changeling and Gran Torino back to back, starring in Gran Torino, composing the score for Changeling, and writing a song for Gran Torino, which he sings in a voice that rivals Pierce Brosnan's. (Thankfully, Jamie Cullum takes over after a verse or two.)

Most directors half Eastwood's age would be proud to have either of those films to their credit, but both by one man in one season is just amazing. ...

Directing himself and his mostly nonprofessional co-stars couldn't have been a walk in the park for Eastwood, but he makes it look that way. Come to think of it, if you're walking in the park after dark you might want him along for protection. There's still a lot of Dirty Harry in him.

Gran Torino makes a good case for buying American, at least when it comes to movies.

Tulsa World link

Best Bets: Mr. Eastwood, with a gun, in the car

By Staff Reports
Published: 1/8/2009  2:25 AM
Last Modified: 1/8/2009  2:34 AM

Quote
Clint Eastwood returns to acting — perhaps for the final time? — and to the directing chair for "Gran Torino," his second major film of the year following October's "Changeling." ...

Reuters link

"Torino": Go ahead, make my payday
Fri Jan 9, 2009 2:17am GMT

By Carl DiOrio

Quote
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's not a completely open road to box office glory, but Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" holds the pole position this weekend as the urban drama expands nationally after four rounds in limited release.

With some $10 million already in the tank, the film could pump another $20 million into its total this session and top the domestic box office in the process.

The gradual rollout is in keeping with distributor Warner Bros.' established pattern in catering to the older moviegoers who tend to support Eastwood's films. But in relative terms, the "Torino" expansion has even easier on the gas pedal than some of the filmmaker's previous releases. For instance, Warners broadened 2003's "Mystic River" wide after a single session in limited release, and Universal was similarly quick to expand "Changeling" last year.

"Clint and I spent a lot of time talking about 'Gran Torino,' (and) we thought this was a film that was going to be well-received not only critically but through word-of-mouth," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "We thought the best plan in a crowded marketplace during the holiday was to let it go out more quietly and then build into a wide release."

The strategy seems to be working: "Torino" has grossed more than any previous film released in fewer than 100 theaters. Also notably, audiences have grown younger during the four-week span that the film has toured the marketplace.

"The best advice for this and other similar films is not to get caught speeding," Fellman said. ...
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« Reply #92 on: January 08, 2009, 10:26:39 PM »

Variety Link

Directors play favorites with editors
Eastwood, Allen stick with usual collaborators
By PETER CARANICAS

Quote
Why do some directors keep hiring the same editor film after film? It's all about chemistry -- and being on the same esthetic wavelength.
This season's awards-worthy entries include the pictures of two veteran helmers who have worked with the same cutters during the latter parts of their careers.

Joel Cox, who cut Clint Eastwood's "Changeling" and "Gran Torino," has edited most of the director's films since 1977's "The Gauntlet." Alisa Lepselter, editor of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," has edited every Woody Allen picture since "Sweet and Lowdown" in 1999. ...

After decades of collaboration, Cox and Eastwood have also reached an easy working rapport. "There was a bit of turmoil at the beginning ... and he watched me like a hawk," Cox recalls. "(But over time) our relationship came together because he saw in me things I could do that others hadn't done. He said, 'I don't know what your plans are, but I would like to have you on all of my films.' I said, 'Well, I'm here.' "

Yet there are still unexpected moments. "By now I pretty much know where he's going with it, but he still surprises me," Cox says. "He once told me, 'Don't second-guess (anything). I don't do that as a director. I want to see what your first instincts are ... because I trust what you are doing.'"

Coincidentally, Cox and Lepselter both faced similar linguistic issues on their latest films. Some of the dialogue in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is in Spanish, and "I was skeptical about the language at first," says Lepselter. "Neither Woody nor I speak Spanish, so I thought at first it would be difficult, but it turned out to be not a problem."

"'Gran Torino' has Hmong people in it speaking their language," Cox says. "It's amazing to edit a film and not understand one word they're saying. Clint said, 'When you listen to them, you get the rhythm of it.' We got the rhythm."
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« Reply #93 on: January 08, 2009, 11:00:32 PM »

Ouch, that last one's kinda rough. I wonder if the people who dismiss Eastwood's acting have actually watched all of his movies, and really paid attention through them all.

I had some very similar thoughts when I read that one.
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« Reply #94 on: January 09, 2009, 03:25:23 PM »

I haven't read the review-personal policy for a movie I want to see in the theater-but judging by the headline,The Baltimore Sun film critic didn't like it:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/movies/reviews/bal-to.gran09jan09,0,5881362.story

Quote
Clint Eastwood, 'Gran Torino' are stuck in neutral

Film may be a star vehicle, but the actor-director doesn't deliver

By Michael Sragow
    January 9, 2009

Does self-love mean never having to say you're sorry?

Clint Eastwood directed and plays the lead role in Gran Torino, and it's come out as a mash note to the star who, like him or not (and I sometimes do), transformed himself from a TV hunk to the most durable big-screen hard guy of our time. It's engineered, coarsely but shrewdly, to exploit his gnarly side while enabling him to try a little tenderness.

It's a star turn of a particularly obvious kind. (No wonder it's been talked about for Oscars.) Eastwood played an aging man of action more cleverly in In the Line of Fire and more humorously in Space Cowboys. But he's never done it with more crowd-pleasing shticks and turnarounds than he does in Gran Torino. To express toughness, he twists his mouth and pulls it down on one side, or growls with a crackle, like Satan crossbred with a bear. But when he settles in for a good session of porch-sitting, with his faithful dog, Daisy, a cooler full of beer at his feet and his emerald '72 Gran Torino staring back at him from his driveway, he looks almost as mellow as he did in the quieter moments of Bronco Billy.

For those who've been yearning to see Dirty Harry clean his hands, or have been waiting for another big action hero to play Messiah ever since Paul Newman stretched his arms out crucifix-style in Cool Hand Luke, this movie delivers the second- and third-hand goods.


Quote
Gran Torino is far, far from Eastwood's best. But he gets to leave his die-hard fans clapping and crying. For the rest of us, it's so thoroughly mediocre it operates like a potent soporific

Ouch.....
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 06:41:46 PM by Elwood » Logged
Dan Dassow
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« Reply #95 on: January 09, 2009, 05:43:03 PM »

CNN link

updated 7:52 a.m. EST, Fri January 9, 2009
Review: 'Gran Torino' offers great Eastwood
By Tom Charity
Special to CNN

CNN -- You may have noticed: Clint Eastwood has become respectable in his old age.

Quote
To judge by the release pattern and some of the more reverent reviews, you would think the 78-year-old director's second movie of the season (after "Changeling") was another prestige picture with Oscar firmly in its sights, along the lines of "Million Dollar Baby" or "Letters from Iwo Jima."

Nominations may be forthcoming, or they may not (we'll find out January 22), but trust me, "Gran Torino" is not that kind of animal. It's a crude but pungent stab at popular filmmaking, blue-collar and bare-knuckle.

Which is not to say it's disappointing. On the contrary, it's an entertaining star vehicle that does its job well. ...

Schenk's screenplay isn't subtle, and some of the young cast struggle to camouflage its crudeness, but Eastwood revels in the pragmatic design and roughneck humor of the piece. Walt may be a dinosaur, but he carries a big footprint. In a similar way, "Gran Torino" is no classic, but at least it's a star vehicle worthy of a true legend.

Score Card Review link

Gran Torino
By Jeff Bayer • January 8, 2009

Quickcard Review

Gran Torino

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Sue Lor, Bee Vang
Running Time: 2 hrs
Rating: R

Quote
Plot: Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) just lost his wife, and now the Korean war veteran is knee-deep in “old curmudgeon” mode. He helps out his Hmong neighbors and becomes a sort-of father figure as they try to escape the violence of a local gang.

Who’s It For? Eastwood fans will flock and bow down to this performance. And by the crowd’s reaction to this film, I am guessing most people will think it’s a comedy. Eastwood really plays up his persona to please fans here.

OVERALL
If you take Eastwood out of this film it’s some of the worst acting I have seen all year. But that’s the thing: you can’t remove Walt’s Eastwood from this movie, not for a second. He taps into the racist, stereotypes we all (hopefully) hate our grandparents/parents/society for holding on to. And he absolutely nails it. Now “Get off my lawn!” can be the geriatric version of “Make my day!” ...

Minnesota Public Radio link

'Gran Torino' a movie made in Minnesota, almost
by Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
January 9, 2009

Quote
The story of an out-of-touch war veteran and his Hmong teen-age neighbors has generated plenty of Oscar buzz. It has also marked a breakthrough for screenwriter and Twin Cities native Nick Schenk.

Schenk won a best original screenplay award from the National Board of Review, the same honor bestowed last year on former Minnesotan Diablo Cody for the film "Juno." ...

Broadcast Dates
Morning Edition, 01/09/2009, 6:25 a.m.

Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinal link

Duane Dudek | Film Critic

Critic's Rating: 3 1/2 stars
'Gran' finale for Eastwood?
If 'Torino' really is his last as actor, he's riding out in style

Posted: Jan. 8, 2009

Quote
If prejudice is fear of what you don't understand, then what should we make of Clint Eastwood's character in "Gran Torino?"

He's obviously prejudiced - every other word is a racial epithet - but he's also fearless. And he doesn't really discriminate; he hates everyone. He scowls and growls through gritted teeth at the grown sons from whom he is estranged and at the disrespectful grandchildren who couldn't care less about him, about whom the feeling is mutual. ...

Eastwood's recent films have been a pleasure and a surprise, but "Gran Torino" in particular exudes a sense of renewal and promise. Despite the character's xenophobic rantings, the film is not a lamentation for an America that once was but a celebration of America as it is today, by a vital and fearless filmmaker reflecting on his life and ours with style and grace.

E-mail: ddudek@journalsentinel.com

KARE-11 Minneapolis-St. Paul link

New Eastwood film generates excitement in Hmong community

Quote
After decades in Hollywood it doesn't take much to convince a movie goer to see the latest Clint Eastwood film.

Wameng Moua has always been a fan of dirty Harry but now, on the eve of what may be Eastwood's final acting film, Moua is proud of the Hollywood legend.

"To see it in the movies, it's brought a lot of excitement to the Hmong community," Moua said.

The it is the presence of Hmong actors in the new film "Gran Torino." ...

"It is really refreshing for young people to see someone of their community on the big screen."

Star Tribune Minnapolis-St. Paul link

Minnesota Hmong are proud of their central role Clint Eastwood's new film "Gran Torino."

By KRISTIN TILLOTSON, Star Tribune

Last update: January 9, 2009 - 11:41 AM

Quote
We haven't often seen the words "Hmong" and "Hollywood" in the same sentence -- until this week.

"Gran Torino," which opens today in the Twin Cities, is the first major-studio film to feature several prominent roles for Hmong actors, including some with Twin Cities ties. With heavyweight Clint Eastwood as both director and star, the film is sure to draw national attention to an ethnic group well-known in Minnesota, but not all parts of the country. ...

At an advance screening of the film Tuesday night, Dyane Hang Garvey of St. Paul got more excited than most people in the audience. As a technical adviser on the film, she spent two weeks on the set to ensure cultural realism in everything from food presentation to subtitle translation. This was the first time she had seen the final product. Her first impression? ...

When St. Paul filmmaker Bryan Vue first heard about the movie more than a year ago, "I thought it was a joke," he said. "I had to actually call the casting company in New York before I believed it was real."


The Houston Chronicle link

Dirty Harry reborn in Gran Torino
 
By AMY BIANCOLLI Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Jan. 8, 2009, 6:37PM

Quote
We all need Dirty Harry. Even Clint Eastwood needs him — with his you-feel-lucky-punks and that all-perceiving squint of moral discernment. Clint-as-Harry isn’t a man’s man; he’s a man’s man’s man, a paragon of taciturn machismo that other paragons look to in times of crisis. When you need some dude to come along and wreak justice upon the scum of the Earth, he’s pretty much your guy.

So I understand, really I do, why Eastwood the director dusted off Dirty Harry and hired Eastwood the actor to play him in Gran Torino. He isn’t called Dirty Harry in the movie — he’s an old fart named Walt — but there’s no mistaking the rasp in his voice or the uncompromising crankiness of his Weltanschauung. If you wondered whatever became of Inspector Callahan after The Dead Pool, well, look at him now: a widowed Polish-American Korean War vet stubbornly hanging onto his house, his ethnic hatreds and his 1972 Ford Gran Torino in a tough part of Detroit. ...

Eastwood does a better job directing the largely non-professional Hmong cast than he does directing himself. He just keeps doing his Dirty Harry glare, whipping out guns real and imaginary. But it’s hard not to see him as Mr. Wilson — Dennis the Menace’s crotchety neighbor. Skinnier, hairier, no mustache. All the same, a startling resemblance.

amy.biancolli@chron.com

« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 05:44:41 PM by Dan Dassow » Logged
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« Reply #96 on: January 10, 2009, 10:11:38 AM »

Dayton Daily News link

Gran Torino: Behind those narrow eyes
By Eric Robinette | Friday, January 9, 2009, 07:43 AM

Quote
Just before I saw Gran Torino, I told a friend, “Time for me to go watch Clint Eastwood growl at people.”

I was being silly at the time, but after I saw the movie, I realized that what I said had a ring of truth to it. More than any film he’s made since Unforgiven, Gran Torino tries to turn Eastwood’s take-no-guff persona on its head - and for the most part, it works.

When I first saw the trailer for the film, I didn’t know what to make of it. The movie looked like a weird Afterschool Special starring an Archie Bunker type who actually kicks people to the curb. The combination seemed jarring and it looked like a step backward for our best actor turned director.

As usual, though, Eastwood knew exactly what he was doing when he chose to star in and direct the film. He knows that people enjoy watching him give people their comeuppance - and in Gran Torino, he spins it a little differently than he has in the past, not only by having his character wear racism on his sleeve - but by having someone call him on it. ...

Gran Torino shouldn’t be mistaken for one of Eastwood’s great movies, but as a tale of redemption, it’s much more affecting than, say Seven Pounds. By the time the credits rolled, Walt’s heart had softened - and so had mine.

GRADE: B+

Press Democrat link

Vintage Clint
Pleasure to watch Eastwood snarl, squint in entertaining but predictable 'Gran Torino'

By BOB STRAUSS
LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 4:20 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:52 a.m.

Quote
There's great pleasure in watching Clint Eastwood snarl, swear and, of course, squint his way through the first two-thirds of "Gran Torino." Accessing decades of tough-guy poses in our collective cinematic memories, the 78-year-old actor is a scream as cranky, tightly wound racist Walt Kowalski.

We meet him growling his way through his wife's funeral, and, at the reception afterward, we realize that his loss is no excuse. The man's always been a grumpy bastard, and the poor woman who lived with him for so many years no doubt earned her last reward. ...

In "Gran Torino," Clint Eastwood collects and distills everything we know he is capable of doing on screen -- some of which we might wish he hadn't done, but most of which we love. Even if we might be a little ashamed to admit it.

The Advocate link

Movie Review: Gran Torino
'Gran Torino' fits Eastwood nicely

By John Wirt
jwirt@theadvocate.com
Advocate movie critic

Quote
Certain scenes in Gran Torino, the latest film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, echo his Dirty Harry movies and classic westerns. But Walt Kowalski is no mythic avenger on a horse or system-bucking cop. He’s an angry old man. ...

Eastwood, the actor, overdoes the angry old man bit. Eastwood, the director, again shows what a great storyteller he is. So even if the human and moving Gran Torino ends up getting a borderline art house-cinema release, it’s another grand film from an American master.

Scripts News link

Hollywood's he-man
Submitted by SHNS on Fri, 01/09/2009 - 12:14. By BARRY PARIS, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette People and Celebs

Quote
Old actors never die. They prefer to let their really old film characters die for them.

Movie history is filled with the swan songs of late-life stars, running the geriatric gamut from poignant to pathetic, iconic to ironic. They often come in duets -- Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda's "On Golden Pond" comes to mind, or Kate and Spencer Tracy in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"

Sometimes you get a trio, as in "The Whales of August," somewhat overloaded with Bette Davis, Lillian Gish and Ann Sothern. For the male animal, such tours de force frequently consist of grumpy old men in comic pairs (Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) or a grizzled, cantankerous curmudgeon, playing out his last lonely chess match with the Reaper.

They don't get grumpier or more grizzled than 78-year-old Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino." He plays aging Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, a not-so-distant cousin of Stanley -- and not so gracefully aging. He is a bigot in general but particularly abusive and hateful toward his Asian neighbors -- until they get in trouble with a noxious gang. That requires him to shift into AARP vigilante mode and gradually reveal his heart of grumpy gold. ...

His crews call him "Zen Daddy" on the set. As director and actor alike, he seems to be aware of his own limitations and to be beloved, no matter what he does, short of a Pee-wee Herman impersonation. "Mystic River" (2003) brought acting Oscars to Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. "Million Dollar Baby" did the same for Hilary Swank. "Gran Torino" might do the same for Eastwood this year.

Will it be the old cowboy's final acting role? Don't bet on it. He has already had almost as many valedictory performances as Judy Garland. And he's got longevity in the genes. His mother, Ruth, just passed away two years ago at the age of 97. In a recent interview with Gail Sheehy, Eastwood recalled one of his last exchanges with Mom:

"I said, 'C'mon, Ruth, we're going to make 100!' But she said, 'No, I've been here long enough.' ... When the time comes that you don't enjoy it, that's a good time to give it up."

Judging by "Gran Torino," he's still very much enjoying it.

(Barry Paris can be reached at parispg48(at)aol.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)
Must credit Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

News and Observer link

'Torino' no classic, but it is classic Eastwood
By Craig D. Lindsey - Staff Writer
Published: Fri, Jan. 09, 2009 07:30AMModified Fri, Jan. 09, 2009 08:33AM

Quote
Clint Eastwood must've snapped while he was putting the finishing touches on "Changeling."

I guess after all those months of shooting Angelina Jolie crying over her lips and wailing about getting her son back, the ornery ol' cuss in Eastwood must've come bursting out of him. "No more of this Lifetime movie-of-the-week stuff," the ornery ol' cuss told Eastwood (I'm assuming). "Let's make a movie for tough SOBs like us, like we used to!"

And thus, "Gran Torino" was born.

Man, what I can say about this film? It's certainly not like his recent work not in the slightest. It's a melange (yes, I said melange!) of politically incorrect dialogue, laughably stereotypical characters, amateur-dramatic performances and all-around old-man bitterness. It's wrong in every sense of the word. And yet, that's what makes this mess so appealing and even, a little bit brilliant. ...

Even though Eastwood's name has been associated with award-winning excellence in recent years, "Torino" probably won't be held in the same regard. And I'm beginning to think that was the movie's and Eastwood's intention all along. In an infernal season of self-important prestige flicks vying for major-award attention, "Torino," much like its protagonist, couldn't care less. A foul, tacky, tongue-in-cheek vigilante flick for "Matlock" viewers, "Gran Torino" couldn't have come at a better time.

craig.lindsey@newsobserver.com, (919) 829-4760 or http://blogs.newsobserver.com/unclecrizzle

Variety link

Clint, 'Bride' on box office ride
Films vying for awards take center stage
By DAVE MCNARY, PAMELA MCCLINTOCK

Quote
... "Gran Torino," from Warner Bros., is expected to beat out the more commercial "Bride Wars," which Fox opens in 3,226 theaters. The female-skewing comedy, starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson, should turn in a strong performance as it walks down the aisle. ...

Telegram and Gazette link

Friday, January 9, 2009 
‘Gran Torino’ shows Eastwood going strong

MOVIE REVIEW
By Daniel M. Kimmel TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
 
Quote
Since 1990, Clint Eastwood has starred in 10 films, directing most of them as well as several other films. It’s interesting to note that he’s still going strong at 78. What’s even more interesting is that the last two decades includes some of the finest work of his career. People who once dismissed him as primarily an action star in crime movies and westerns — including this reviewer — have discovered a confident actor and director contemplating the perspective that comes with age.

“Gran Torino” represents Eastwood’s second 2008 film (after “Changeling”) but his first screen appearance since 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby.” Although it has its share of violent action, this is essentially a character study of an old man drinking away his remaining years who finds there’s still work left to do. ...

If the film has a drawback, it is that Eastwood inexplicably chose to sing the title song over the closing credits, an ode to the car Walt lovingly built and maintained. Given his body of work, it’s an indulgence most viewers will be willing to grant him.


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« Reply #97 on: January 11, 2009, 11:16:46 AM »

Lyons & Bailey Reel Talk link to video

Clint Eastwood interview with Jeff Lyons from January 9, 2009 episode (12:59)

Highlights
  • Gran Torino
  • Gary Cooper
  • Raising money for a movie
  • Comment about this being his last acting role
  • Changeling
  • Being recognized throughout the world
  • Acting teacher
  • Jim Garner
  • Gary Cooper
  • James Cagney
  • Henry Fonda
  • John Wayne
  • Work prior to acting
  • How he got into acting
  • Bit parts at Universal
  • Young actors in Gran Torino
  • Don Siegel
  • Playing anti-hero
  • Subbing for Charleston Heston at Oscars
  • Winning Oscars

Note: I could not get this to work with Internet Explorer, but it works with Firefox.
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« Reply #98 on: January 11, 2009, 11:32:40 AM »

Box Office Mojo link

Domestic Total as of Jan. 11, 2009: $40,065,000 (Estimate)
  • Fri Jan 9 - $9,650,000 (Estimate)
  • Sat Jan 10 - $12,150,000 (Estimate)
  • Sun Jan 11 - $7,225,000 (Estimate)

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« Reply #99 on: January 11, 2009, 12:34:36 PM »

Box Office Mojo link

Domestic Total as of Jan. 11, 2009: $40,065,000 (Estimate)
  • Fri Jan 9 - $9,650,000 (Estimate)
  • Sat Jan 10 - $12,150,000 (Estimate)
  • Sun Jan 11 - $7,225,000 (Estimate)



These box office numbers for Gran Torino are just super.  When it was just on 84 screens, many people I talked to who saw it said the show was sold out.  I saw it for a second time yesterday at a 1pm matinee and the theatre was packed.  I think most people who are just so-so on this film will eventually realize what a tremendous movie this is. It moves along without a dull second and is both dramatic and really humorous at the same time.  At both showings, most people were laughing constantly at all of humorous dialog. I'm pretty sure that Clint has more funny lines in this movie than any other he has ever been in.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 12:36:49 PM by exit00 » Logged
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