Monthly Archives: January 2012

Retrospective #1: Dirty Harry (1971)

 Dir. Don Siegel 

“When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross”

(spoilers within)

My Dad loves Clint Eastwood. I assume most men of his generation probably do though. He always seemed to me like a tougher, funnier and cooler version of John Wayne (ironic then that he was one of many stars in the running for the lead role here). At least the characters he portrayed anyway. His smart arse, gruff, take-no-shit persona (exemplified as Harry Callahan) was/is a blueprint for the modern action star. The Alpha male. So thanks to my Dad I grew up watching many of his films. To me what they actually were about was kind of a blur when I was a pre-teen. It was either a Western or a cop movie. Of course too, home viewing in the 80’s was all about cropped pan and scan versions for the VHS/TV market. Though I enjoyed watching many films this way, it’s funny when you don’t know what your missing (Widescreen? 35mm? These were words I had no concept of until at least age 14). Considering now too, thanks to DVD, we are all presented with films the way they are meant to be seen – most of the time, and take it for granted.

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The Descendants (2011)

As a significant Alexander Payne fan I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed with The Descendants, his forth feature film and his first since 2006. At least compared to his three previous efforts and especially his last and my favorite, Sideways. I don’t really think as a director he is overrated like some do, but maybe his latest film is. Perhaps it is somewhat unfair to do so, but his movies tend to warrant comparison given their similar cues and nuances; all low key stories composed merely with different players and settings. I couldn’t really review this one without making them unfortunately, though I tried not to let that overtake the experience too much.

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