REVIEW: J. Edgar

29 03 2012

Is the biopic headed the way of the sports movie?  “J. Edgar” seems to point towards a larger genre decline.  Clint Eastwood’s latest attempt at biography moves slower than molasses or “Invictus,” whichever better communicates the idea that this movie is boring and stuffy.  Everyone knows that he can do better, and with this following “Hereafter,” I have to wonder whether Eastwood should just retire after his next good film (if there is ever another good one).

Really, “J. Edgar” is more worthy to be analyzed as a Dustin Lance Black movie.  The Oscar-winning writer of “Milk” seems to be far more interested in Hoover, the rumored closet homosexual, than Hoover, the revolutionary founding director of the FBI.  There’s so much hinting when it comes to his sexuality and so much omission when it comes to his career that Black’s portrait really amounts to little more than a pencil sketch on café napkin.  If he intended to make Hoover a counterpoint to Harvey Milk, he should have just outright said it.

Eastwood claims “J. Edgar” is not a love story, but the tenor of the movie he intended to direct is directly clashing with Black’s script.  As a result, the film just feels like a half-hearted attempt at everything it sets out to do.  Black writes so many scenes with sexual overtones that so flagrantly obvious, but Eastwood tries to keep it as platonic as he possibly can without changing the lines.  What ultimately makes it onto the screen is just awkward and uncomfortable as everyone seems far too worried about slander or decorum to go for it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements




REVIEW: Public Enemies

9 08 2009

Everything was in place for “Public Enemies” to become a sensational achievement in film.  It had great actors such as Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard (Oscar winner for “La Vie en Rose”), and Johnny Depp.  It had a highly respected director, Michael Mann, who directed such memorable flicks as “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat,” and “The Insider.”  It had unbelievable source material from Bryan Burrough’s fascinating volume of the 1933-34 War on Crime “Public Enemies.”  However, even with all these things in place, the movie manages to underwhelm.  My main quarrel with it was the script, which is less historically accurate than “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”  It takes everything that made Burroughs’ book so engrossing and discards it completely.  Even captivating performances by Depp and Cotillard cannot save the muddled mess of a movie.

John Dillinger (Depp) is the FBI’s Public Enemy #1.  He was a bank robber, but he was also a celebrity.  In the most difficult of times in America, Dillinger became a legend for stealing from the bankers who caused the crisis.  He became popular for only stealing from the vaults, saying that he didn’t want to steal money from the hard-working American people.  While avoiding his captors and holding up numerous banks, Dillinger falls in love with Billie Frechette (Cotillard).  She knows the risk of being with Dillinger, but she is attracted to something about him and becomes part of the gang anyways.  The movie also shows the story of Melvin Purvis (Bale), the man that FBI head honcho J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup, “Watchmen”) has chosen to hunt Dillinger down.  But in the 1930’s, the FBI didn’t have the power that it has today.  Purvis and his inexperienced agents are bumbling idiots, messing up even the most simple of tasks. Read the rest of this entry »