Clint Eastwood

The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘What We Do in the Shadows,’ ‘Tig’

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It’s a pretty dry week for new releases — the only one really worth your time (though it’s definitely worth it) is the New Zealand vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows, co-starring and co-directed by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement. But one of the finest indies of the ‘80s hits Blu-ray this week via the Criterion Collection, and Netflix, as usual, can help fill in your viewing gaps.
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The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘American Sniper,’ ‘Girlhood’

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Temperatures are rising and the multiplexes are filling with big summer blockbusters, which is about all the reason you need to say to hell with it, lock the doors, and watch movies in your living room. It’s a particularly eclectic week on the home video front, with Netflix offering up one of the year’s best films thus far, a monster war movie and a revolutionary Shakespeare adaptation on the new-release shelf, and Criterion presenting two flawed but fascinating almost-classics.
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‘American Sniper’ Is Not Your Culture-War Talking Point

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Last night, in a typically loathsome and infuriating appearance on The Daily Show, Mike Huckabee laid out, for all us dense coastal elite liberal types, the problem with our worldview. “There’s a real clash of cultures and there’s a disconnect between people who live in the ‘bubbles’ of New York, Washington, and Hollywood, versus the people who live in the land of the ‘Bubbas,’” he explained, which Stewart interpreted as a contention that “people who live on the coasts are not ‘real.’” It was, in a nutshell, Huckabee (and the book he was there to promote) attempting to jump-start that reliably contentious pseudo-political issue, the culture war. And, Huckabee insisted, the fault lies with the people in the “bubbles,” because “those of us who live in ‘Bubba-ville,’ we get the people in the bubbles — because television shows and movies are all about the people in the bubbles.” Yet according to the paper of record, “Bubba-ville” got its very own motion picture this weekend, and a controversy to go with it — all of which would be much more convenient if the film in question actually were the simplistic flag-waver that it’s being labeled as, on both sides of the political/cultural divide.
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‘American Sniper': How Eastwood Got His Groove Back

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The recent holy-shit freefall of Clint Eastwood’s filmmaking has been, to put it mildly, puzzling. A decade or so back, he could seemingly do no wrong; well into his 70s, he was turning out pictures with a frequency and quality that bested filmmakers half his age. Between 2003 and 2008, he directed six feature films — some great, all at least good. And then, in 2009, he went on an equally impressive run of dogs: Invictus, Hereafter, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys. By the conclusion of that grim roll call, it was looking like maybe it was time for Clint to hang it up; whatever directorial gift had guided him through four decades had clearly vaporized. So it’s a relief to report that his new film American Sniper is not only watchable, but quite good — the kind of lean, mean mediation on masculinity and duty that this particular filmmaker has always done so well.
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The Top 10 Movie Trailers of 2014

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Ah, movie trailers. We love them, we hate them, we don’t quite understand them. We complain that they tell us too much, or deride them for including all the good jokes/explosions/scares, but there’s no doubt that we rely on them to make our movie-going decisions — and that they’ve becoming something of an art of their own. So join us for a look back at the year in trailers, and at ten spots whose artistry and craft rose above mere hype.
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The 10 Worst Movies Based on Real Political Events

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Last week, everybody got a big chuckle (some more than others) out of The Hollywood Reporter’s scoop that Michael Bay — best known for making movies about cars transforming into giant robots and blowing shit up — is in talks to helm 13 Hours, a political drama about the 2012 attack on the US embassy in Benghazi. And while most of those titters come from the participation of meathead entertainment maker and short-short connoisseur Bay (and from speculating on the various ways in which he could fumble the attack’s narrative, in light of its subsequent status as a political football), there’s also some rightful skepticism about the ability of anyone in Hollywood to make this particular “political drama,” since that’s a subgenre the movie industry seems so inclined to fuck up. So on this most political of days, let’s take a quick walk down that hall of shame, shall we?
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How Kurosawa’s ‘Yojimbo’ Became Leone’s ‘Fistful of Dollars’

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His name might not mean much to Joe Moviegoer, but among a certain kind of cinephile, Stephen Prince is a legend. Others may know their Kurosawa, but Prince wrote a brilliant deep-dive on the great Japanese director’s films (The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa), although his movie-geek street cred is mostly due to his Criterion Collection audio commentaries, which appear on the DVDs and Blu-rays for pretty much every Kurosawa film they’ve released–including Yojimbo, which was the one that brought us together. Last weekend, I had the honor of talking to Prince about Yojimbo at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Kansas (one of our favorite under-the-radar film fests). Specifically, we discussed the link between that film and its unofficial remake, A Fistful of Dollars (which also screened at the fest).
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