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Author Topic: Who saw J. EDGAR? Members' Comments (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE)  (Read 8230 times)
KC
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« on: November 09, 2011, 12:11:51 AM »

J. Edgar will be opening in a few U.S. theaters today, November 9, and more widely on Friday, so it's time to start the threads for members' comments.

We welcome all thoughts and comments and even full-fledged reviews of the film, but please... NO SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD. If you feel that what you want to say about the film may spoil it for those who haven't yet seen it, then please post in our SPOILERS thread for J. Edgar:

http://www.clinteastwood.org/forums/index.php?topic=9074.0
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Christopher
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 09:45:54 AM »

Any memebers of the board planning on seeing J. Edgar this weekend? I was wanting to but it's not at a local theater where I was hoping it'd be. But I'm leaning toward trying to see it possibly Monday. We will see, though. Since Space Cowboys, the only Eastwood movie I haven't made it to see in theaters was Invictus.
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bwaynef
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 05:14:50 PM »

I saw it today at an 11:15 a.m. "Early Bird" showing where tickets were only $5.50.

I liked it.

I don't think it's a "great" film, and not Eastwood's best, but it moved along at a good pace, surprising considering its 137 minute length, and I found it a moving experience, also surprising since it concerns a man I have long believed to be more villain than hero. Those critics who call it a love story are correct, but it's an odd love story in that the lovers are too emotionally repressed to ever fully express their feelings. Overall, I think it's a rather sad film, and I do believe I heard some sniffles from audience members sitting nearby. This is not what I would have expected. This could have been more of an action-driven film concerned mostly with the hunt for bad guys, or an indictment of a man who abused his power. Instead, it's a mostly sympathetic portrait of a mostly well-intentioned, but seriously flawed human being.

Tom Stern's cinematography is nice and dark, rather noirish, I thought, and the period detail seems authentic. It shifts back and forth in time in clever ways. In one memorable scene, Hoover and Clyde Tolson step onto an elevator as old men talking about an incident in the past. When they get off, we're in that past, and the two are young again.

As for those critics who have criticized the makeup (Armie Hammer's old man makeup was "astonishingly bad," Leonard Maltin said), I really don't know what they're talking about. It looked fine to me, and Hammer's performance is absolutely first rate. He deserves an Oscar nomination as supporting actor. I'm thinking DiCaprio will not only be nominated, but could even win this time. What a gusty actor! After Titanic, he could have chosen to remain the heartthrob and do silly romantic comedies or brainless action movies. Instead, he takes on these parts that I don't think many other actors his age would ever consider tackling. Of course, he's also careful in his choice of director. It's hard to miss when you work with Spielberg, Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and now Eastwood.
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 10:29:59 AM »

I saw J. Edger by default yesterday.  "Default" because I had no intention of making a conscious effort to go out of my way to spend any kind of time, money and effort to see it on the big screen.  As it turns out, my day took a left-turn from what I had planned and I wound up seeing it with my wife's uncle.  We both enjoyed it.  DiCaprio as the star sure helped.  I enjoyed his performances in The Quick And The Dead, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and especially The Departed. 

For those of you who've read my recent, negative criticisms of Hereafter and thoughts on movies he directs but does not appear in, I stand by all I've stated.  In my book Eastwood's 2 for 10.  I'm looking forward to Trouble With The Curve next year. 
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2011, 03:41:13 PM »

As for those critics who have criticized the makeup (Armie Hammer's old man makeup was "astonishingly bad," Leonard Maltin said), I really don't know what they're talking about. It looked fine to me

I totally agree.  I saw the film today and the makeup for the older characters was outstanding.  I think people just look for things to criticize when it's not even there.

As for the film itself, I was really surprised how much I like this film especially since I'm not a big fan of biographies.  But this movie might just be one of the best made biographies that I've seen.  While in typical Clint fashion, the movie moves at a leisurely pace but yet it never drags.  It's really a character study with DiCaprio being in almost every scene in the movie.  He is really good here as is Hammer.  I'll have to see the rest of the films this year but right now, it would be hard for me to believe that DiCaprio won't get the best actor Oscar.

Some people have not liked the way the movie constantly goes back and forth in time but I think it works great.  And I really like the way so many scenes blend together where something takes place during one time period and then fades into another time period in similar surroundings. 

I don't think this film is dramtically powerful like say Mystic River but for a biography film, it is really good. It successfully reveals the life of Hoover.  And cudos to Tom Stern's cinematography .. the gray/greenish  really adds to the authenticity of the story.
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AKA23
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 11:14:07 AM »

I saw "J. Edgar" in it's entirety yesterday. Overall, I liked it better after having seen the complete film. The acting by Leonadrdo Dicaprio was great. It's the best performance I've ever seen him give. With the exception of "Blood Diamond," which I enjoyed, I am not the biggest fan of Dicaprio as an actor. In this film, however, I felt he gave an Oscar-caliber performance. I would not be at all surprised if he won his first Oscar this year. Dicaprio's performance is the strongest thing in the film. Despite this, I don't think he was the ideal choice for the role. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman would have been a much better choice, as he would have been able to more convincingly portray Hoover as an older man, and would have been better at conveying his inner demons and moral depravity. Even though I thought Dicaprio was miscast, I thought the performance he did give was excellent.

As for the other members of the cast, I thought Armie Hammer did very well, and would not be at all surprised to see him score a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. With the exception of the hotel scene, where I felt his acting was too showy and not realistic (think Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"), his is a very understated performance. He was perfectly cast in the role. Judi Dench and Naomi Watts are both fine, but mostly wasted in their roles. Neither role gives them much to do, and neither role really warranted actresses of their caliber.

Technically, I felt the film was very good as well. The cinematography, costume design, and editing were all very good. The make-up for the most part was good, although I didn't feel they did a very good job with aging Armie Hammer. I think it probably would have been more realistic and believable had Eastwood chosen to use computers rather than make-up to age the characters, but that's not what he chose to do. I expect an Academy Award nomination for Best-Make up.

This film has the hallmarks of Eastwood all over it. The subdued nature of it, the washed out cinematography, the understated score, the chiarascuro lighting, and the attempt to present a balanced portrait of a very complicated man. The problems that I had with this film were in the script. It is all over the place, and the focus in parts is off. The film spends an inordinate amount of time on the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping, which is a mostly uninvolving storyline, yet gives short shrift to the Civil Rights Movement, and many other more significant historical events that are far more interesting. Overall, I think the screenplay tries to do far too much, and it is in the writing where this film falls short. I think it would have been a more effective film had Eastwood chosen to focus on a few specific, significant historical periods in a more linear fashion. As it is, the coverage is too broad, and the events that are highlighted are not always the most interesting or important in Hoover's life. The script needed a few rewrites before being shot. I think this is a case where Eastwod's penchant for shooting the first draft doesn't always serve him. Had this been rewritten a few more times, I think it would have resulted in a more focused film. 

Historically, I also had a few problems with the film. This paragraph has a few minor spoilers, but they have been written about in most of the press reports. Eastwood says that he took great pains to ensure that everything was historically accurate, but the hotel scene in particular, with the infamous kiss between the two, is not a documented evident, nor is the scene where he chooses to wear his mother's dress. The dress event in particular was only suggested by one person, who had been convicted of a crime, and had an axe to grind against Hoover. There is zero historical evidence that Hoover was a cross-dresser. Had I directed this film, I wouldn't have included either of these scenes. Both are done in a sensitive and understated fashion, but both cannot be substantiated on the basis of the historical record. I think the scene of them holding hands in the back of the limousine is fine. It hints at a possible homosexual relationship, but doesn't definitively state that one exists. I think that can be justified. There is considerable debate about whether Hoover and Tolson were engaged in a homosexual relationship, and I think it's fine to allude to that possibility in the film. I think that the scenes with them holding hands, and their demeanor together, were more than enough to convey the possibility of a homosexual relationship between Tolson and Hoover. I personally didn't appreciate the hotel scene or the cross-dressing scene. I don't think either can be proven, and I was disappointed that Eastwood chose to portray something that was not factually accurate in a film that he claims was based on the historical record.

Besides the script, which I had my problems with, I felt the music in the film, which was composed by Eastwood, was very weak. The film would have been stronger and more powerful if it had a better score, but like all of his most recent films, Eastwood chose to go with the same few piano notes played over and over again. Sometimes it works, but in this particular film, the fact that the score did not serve the film in the best way was especially noticeable.

On balance, I liked the film far more than both "Invictus" and "Hereafter," but felt that it could have been better. With the subject matter of the film, and the importance of Hoover as a historical figure, this film could have been a masterpiece. It isn't. It is merely a very good film. One that is most definitely worth seeing, but one that misses an opportunity to define Hoover more clearly, in a way that is more focused and interesting. 
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Christopher
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2011, 11:02:22 AM »

Any memebers of the board planning on seeing J. Edgar this weekend? I was wanting to but it's not at a local theater where I was hoping it'd be. But I'm leaning toward trying to see it possibly Monday. We will see, though. Since Space Cowboys, the only Eastwood movie I haven't made it to see in theaters was Invictus.
I obviously haven't made it yet, and seem to be running out of time! :o
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Hemlock
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 03:36:46 PM »

Again we Finns have to wait until we get  to see new Eastwood film:J Edgar opens in Finland 6.1.2012  >:(
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Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 07:57:30 AM »

Again we Finns have to wait until we get  to see new Eastwood film:J Edgar opens in Finland 6.1.2012  >:(

You are getting it before us in the UK. Our release date is January 20th. 2012  :'(
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Hemlock
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 03:26:48 PM »

You are getting it before us in the UK. Our release date is January 20th. 2012  :'(

Really?That`s weird  :o

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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 09:54:38 PM »

My wife and I finally saw J. Edgar at 10:00 am this morning. We both enjoyed the film and had no problem following it.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 03:43:28 AM »

J.Edgar`s here (Finland) O0 ...now if only I`d have time to go watch it.

Btw our local newspaper,Helsingin Sanomat gave three stars to the film and called it"a typical Eastwood film,formally competent(or something like that) and old fashioned"  ::) No point me to put the link here as it`s only in Finnish.
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2012, 05:23:35 PM »


I went to see " J.Edgar " for the release day in Paris.  At 16h, there were more than 70% of audiences.    " J.Edgar "was a good movie.  :)
Before all, the story of this movie was very human that I impressed very much!   The music was very agreeable, fully used the classic and Clint's music just fitted this movie.   The art was beautiful and distinguished and very good sound effects, again.     The performance of Leo seems the best until now.....but old Tolson was likes Frankenstein, a little......!!  ???
Kyle played a classic contra bass with old hair style!!   :D          The end, several people applaud..... 8)
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 08:04:54 AM »

Saw the film last night.I really liked it.All the actors were superb as was Eastwood's low profile direction.Don't know about you guys but I consider this movie  a masterpiece .
10/10 and big applause for Mr DiCaprio whose performance is top class ( and I don't even like the guy).
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2012, 03:43:58 PM »

Eastwood has been a favorite for life, but this film didn't do it for me.  It started out good - very interesting for the first hour or so...and then got very slow, very dull.  I was so depressed at the end I went to the liquor store and stocked up on booze.  There was absolutely no point of view on Hoover at all, no real insight, so it was a bit maddening in that respect.  When you make 40 or 50 movies, there are going to be a few that don't work (remember "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"?), so that's okay.
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Christopher
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2014, 06:43:34 AM »

You know, I still haven't watched this movie. I rented it within the last few weeks and watched a little bit of it, and then decided I'd rather have a mini-Dirty Harry marathon. :D  It does seem like it's probably interesting enough from what I've seen, but it didn't really pull me into it at all.
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KC
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2014, 07:16:05 PM »

Well, an early scene is set in the Library of Congress. I have to say ... that pulled me right in. :D
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Dan Dassow
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2014, 09:42:35 PM »

Well, an early scene is set in the Library of Congress. I have to say ... that pulled me right in. :D

If I had the money, I would love to spend a week or more at the LoC.
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