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“Unforgiven,” 25th Anniversary Presentation, at Film Forum August 4-10

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN (19

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven.”

August 3, 2017.  Director and actor Clint Eastwood’s 1992 quadruple Oscar winning movie (including Best Director and Best Picture), “Unforgiven,” will have a run at Film Forum, in a stunning 4K restoration, from August 4 – 10.  “Unforgiven is a dark, violent western that explodes the mythology and violent glamour of the old west. It is a story which movies in directions that are unpredictable and which defy expectations of the western genre.

“Unforgiven” is a fascinating meditation on the nature of violence, specifically the ideal of a “shoot ‘em up” versus the reality of actually killing someone.  The difference between the “good guys” and “bad guys” in this film all depends on whose side you’re on.  In this regard, “Unforgiven” is reminiscent of the Italian westerns, called “Spaghetti Westerns,” in which protagonists were not necessarily the “good guys,” a genre in which Eastwood made his bones as an actor. This influence is particularly felt in the film’s final credit, “For Sergio and Don” – Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.  Leone directed Eastwood in his Italian westerns – “A Fist Full of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966).  Siegel directed some of Eastwood’s movies state side, including the iconic “Dirty Harry” (1971), in which Eastwood plays a police inspector who lives by his own code. Read the rest of this entry

Now You See Me (better left unseen)

The gang in 'Now You See Me"

The gang in ‘Now You See Me”

 

I hope my readers appreciate the bullets that I often take for them.   The most recent of these “bullets” (more akin to a rapid machine gun blast) is the new movie “Now You See Me.”  The story is so contrived, and conveyed so confusingly, that it delivers absolutely no level of audience satisfaction whatsoever.

The story has to do with a group of four illusionists/magicians who stage elaborate, Vegas like arena shows in which they steal from the rich and give to the poor, their audiences.  How their supposedly cash strapped audiences can even afford tickets to their shows is another matter.

“Now You See Me” relies on that old magician’s bromide that magic is all about misdirection.  The concept is that magicians get their audiences to look in the wrong directions while they pull off their tricks.  Once we accept this basic premise, along with the idea that a magician always has to be several steps ahead of everyone else, the filmmakers seem to feel that they can throw anything at us and we will just accept it because the characters are, after all, illusionists.  Uh, no, sorry, you still have to make the events believable, otherwise that means you hold all of the cards and have no responsibility to your audience. Read the rest of this entry