Tim Moore

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Gran Torino Review


Terrible
Do you miss Archie Bunker? Are you curious to find out how Carroll O'Connor's stone-cold bigot would have reacted to our current, culturally diverse society? And did you ever dream of seeing racist old Archie packing heat as he spewed bile all over the "spooks," "gooks," and other non-Caucasians who were unlucky enough to cross his path? Then Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino is the movie for you.

Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) served his time in the military, paid his dues at the auto plant -- American cars only, of course -- and wants to spend his days as a widower in peace. He is disgusted by his ignorant, oafish sons and their selfish children -- the ugliest characters you'll see on screen this year. But his disdain isn't limited to kin. Walt also hates the "eggroll," "fish-head" "Charlie Chans" who've moved into his blue-collar Detroit suburb.

Continue reading: Gran Torino Review

Letters from Iwo Jima Review


Good
In his landmark book of military history The Face of Battle, John Keegan did something extraordinarily rare for his field when describing a battle -- he didn't just tell us how many forces fought in what manner at a certain time, he told us what it was like for those soldiers. Keegan knew it wasn't just important to know how British archers defeated the French knights at Agincourt, but also that prior to the epic battle the British had been waiting for their better-armed and horse-mounted enemy, on foot, in several inches of deep mud, freezing from the cold and aching with hunger from a lack of food. Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima has just such a similarly humane touch about it. As a chronicler of one of the most monumental battles in modern history, Eastwood not only has the scope of vision to show how, on a grand scale, the battle progressed for the defenders in strictly military terms, but also the little details about the Japanese soldiers themselves: They wrote anxious letters home, many feared the battle itself was meaningless, they fought while suffering from dysentery. It's this compassion which raises the film far above some of its shortcomings.

Eastwood made cinematic history by being the first director of his stature (or any stature, really) to make two feature films about the same battle, each one about a different side in the fight. Flags of Our Fathers, which came out a few months ago, was about the American soldiers in the Iwo Jima invasion force involved in the raising of the flag which was captured in the iconic photograph. It was a skillfully made, if sometimes dramatically stagnant, piece about the dehumanization of wartime propaganda. In Letters, which tells the battle story from the Japanese perspective, Eastwood also deals with the same issues -- there are almost as many Japanese soldiers who are fiercely patriotic as those who are embittered by years of cynical manipulation -- but he achieves a greater effect by making us more privy to these men's inner lives.

Continue reading: Letters from Iwo Jima Review

Bobby Jones, Stroke Of Genius Review


Terrible
If Jim Caviezel wanted his next project after The Passion of the Christ to be bland, uncontroversial, and utterly forgettable, he picked a winner in Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius. The only people bothering Caviezel will be fanatical golfers desperate to find out how he duplicated Jones's classic swing.

Presented by the Bobby Jones Film Company and approved by his heirs, so you know it's brutally honest, Stroke of Genius details the first half of Jones's life, which is presented with as much narrative élan as a fifth grader's book report. A sickly boy, Bobby watches with rapt attention the matches on the golf course near his house. He spends hours practicing in the vast Georgia countryside, and as a teenager becomes a star amateur. Later, after years of struggling, he becomes the best golfer in the world.

Continue reading: Bobby Jones, Stroke Of Genius Review

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