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American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

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The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Play Scoobie-Doobie-Doo for Me

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BIG SUR, CA -- The Dirty Harry style, Clint Eastwood was explaining, is simplicity itself: "You start with this ultimate fantasy character, this guy who's always fighting the establishment, who isn't interested in the intricacies of society, who tells his boss to go to hell. You equip him with a .44 magnum, pointing out that it's the most powerful handgun in the world. You make him a cop and send him out into the streets. And you whittle down his dialog." Eastwood, as unlike this description as possible, was sipping herb tea on a veranda overlooking the Pacific. The dry December sunlight spilled down and the hills of Big Sur rose behind him, and his dialog wasn't whittled down at all. Among other things, Eastwood talks a lot more than the characters he plays, perhaps because he has more to say.

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