Saturday, October 23, 2010

“Movie Review | Hereafter: Plot problems keep Eastwood from making his point about what lies ... - Columbus Dispatch” plus 2 more

“Movie Review | Hereafter: Plot problems keep Eastwood from making his point about what lies ... - Columbus Dispatch” plus 2 more


Movie Review | Hereafter: Plot problems keep Eastwood from making his point about what lies ... - Columbus Dispatch

Posted: 23 Oct 2010 03:21 AM PDT

Hereafter reveals that, yes, Virginia, there is an afterlife - yet exactly where and what it might be remain a mystery.

Bright lights are almost certainly involved, but the rest of the details are hidden by a lens seemingly streaked with Vaseline.

The drama also reveals that, at age 80, director Clint Eastwood isn't content to give audiences what they might expect from a longtime Hollywood icon.

Hereafter tells three (mostly) separate stories of two adults and one child touched by death. Its American leading man (Matt Damon) is a somber, albeit supernatural, observer of the human condition.

The movie also dares to exist in French with subtitles for fully one-third of its running time. Heck, uninformed viewers might even think they've wandered into one of those fancy art films.

That Hereafter works as well it does - although it's far from Eastwood's best - is a credit to the filmmaker's consistent hand and a cast of actors giving performances that, considering the material, could have easily crossed over into hokum.

The sometimes-languid and laboriously plotted film was written by Peter Morgan - a surprise given that his resume is peppered with credits that demonstrate just the opposite (see The Deal, The Queen, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United).

Damon stars as George Lonegan, who views his ability to contact the dead as a curse, not a gift. Once somewhat famous, he spends his days working in a factory and his nights listening to Dickens on CD.

Marie (Cecile De France) is a French TV journalist whose near-death experience during the 2004 tsunami haunts her long after she has returned to Paris. She suddenly has questions that no one else - especially her boyfriend, a producer (Thierry Neuvic) - takes seriously.

London schoolboy Marcus (twins Frankie and George McLaren), meanwhile, mourns the tragic death of his best friend and most intimate confidant.

The lives of the three main characters will intertwine, of course, although their encounters are anticlimactic. What works best are the moments when these confused souls reach out for understanding with limited degrees of success.

George, for example, cozies up to his cooking-class partner (Bryce Dallas Howard), who mistakes his talents for a type of parlor game.

Marcus, unencumbered by the cynicism of adulthood, tries to find a legitimate envoy to the spirit world - then becomes a cynic.

Hereafter ultimately proposes that the search for what lies "beyond" brings us back to terra firma, where human contact stands in for the divine.

The film ends with a tearful reunion and the inkling of a new romance.

Perhaps Eastwood gives audiences what they want after all.

nchordas@dispatch.com

 

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Movie explores Rutland's moxie - Burlington Free Press

Posted: 23 Oct 2010 03:21 AM PDT

A documentary about the revitalization of Rutland, "The Blood in this Town," will have a sneak preview tonight at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.

The movie, made by New York City filmmaker Art Jones, began as a look at New England's largest blood drive -- a campaign that collected a record 1,024 pints of blood in December.

(The Rutland record was broken last month at Fenway Park, with a 1,177-pint effort; Rutland vows to win it back in December, organizer Steve Costello said).

The Vermont blood drive not only spawned a fierce competition with Boston, it inspired Jones' documentary.

Jones, 46, is a graduate of Brown University. As a kid, he drove through Rutland on his way from New Jersey to Jonesville for summer vacations with his family.

He spent a greater amount of time in Rutland in 2001, when his film company, Great Jones Production, was commissioned to make a movie about Central Vermont Public Service.

"There was a certain spirit there," Jones said. "It was a kind of two-fisted, gritty, post-industrial town. To me, that's a place where I think a lot of the work gets done -- when Americans talk about reinventing a small town or nation."

He returned with his crew to Rutland in December to shoot the annual blood drive, the Gift-of-Life Marathon, at the Paramount Theatre.

"What caught my eye this time, in the thick of the economic crisis in America, here is this town, hard hit, that was banding together and was daring to break one-day blood donation records," Jones said. "I liked the spirit. And thought maybe this is a bright spot in the middle of a dreary national landscape that might point to a small center of renewal."

With the blood donation campaign serving as "visceral sign of life" in Rutland, Jones became curious about what the effort might say about the town and its character, the people and their priorities.

The more he talked to people, the more interested he became in Rutland and what was happening there, Jones said.

"We were completely amazed at how the community came together," Jones said. "I wanted to learn more about the town. If Rutland is really worth its salt, it can't hinge its energies on one day a year. What else is it doing?"

His documentary explores that question, and looks at projects like Rutland's creative economy and the bike path in Pine Hill Park.

"It really is a portrait of a town, as opposed to the story of a record-breaking blood drive," Jones said.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: "The Blood in this Town"
• WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today; 1:30 and 4 p.m. Sunday
• PRICE: $25 today, a benefit for the Paramount. $6, adults; $4, children, Sunday
• TICKETS: www.paramoutlive.org; 775-0903
• WEBSITE: www.thebloodinthistown.com BLOOD DRIVE
• WHAT: Gift of Life Marathon blood drive
• WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21
• WHERE: Paramount Theatre in Rutland

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Directing a church can be like a movie - Statesman Journal

Posted: 23 Oct 2010 03:13 AM PDT

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