Reporting Eric Henderson
Click above to watch my review segment on a couple new releases.
Of the two, Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar is obviously the better, but it was also probably the bigger disappointment. I expected Jack & Jill to be even worse than it was, but it was still rotten to the core. So I got exactly the bad time I expected there.
But I thought J. Edgar might fall in line with some of Eastwood’s better recent efforts (i.e. Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima). Instead, it belongs in the maddeningly uneven company of Gran Torino, Flags of Our Fathers and Mystic River.
Eastwood is usually at the mercy of his scripts (being that he, reportedly, just shoots off the drafts without any real embellishment), and here Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk) falls into a few standard-issue biopic traps.
That said, his central concept of making a biopic surrounding one of the most ambiguous and private individuals in American public service does have the intelligence (without spoiling much, I hope) to embrace the hagiography approach.
As for Jack & Jill, just peel your fingernails off with a claw hammer. Quicker, cheaper, less painful.