November 12, 2018

Film Review: Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” & Stephen Elliot’s “A Few Best Men”

J EDGAR

137mins

M rating

Director: Clint Eastwood

Distributor: Roadshow Films

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts and Dame Judy Dench

The Oscars love a bio-pic so how apt it is that this Clint Eastwood directed film would make an appearance just at the start of award season.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays John Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI and a man fraught with social ineptitude and mama’s boy issues. For those unaware of the Hoover’s legacy, J. Edgar shaped a lot of the American political life and was instrumental in changing the way criminals were found and trialed in court. He established forensics and instilled the fingerprint system however he was a very unlikable character and caused as much controversy as he did justice.

Eastwood delivers a film in which he tries to explain the man behind the anger and frustration.  Along with the examination of his gay relationship with Clyde Tolson and the love/burden of his mother, the movie is edited between Hoover’s early life and the latter years of his reign. This causes a lot of confusion as the audience member can sometimes get lost on what is occurring in that moment since it changes quite fast.

DiCaprio is at first very hard to believe as the older Hoover but as the film progressed I grew to enjoy his performance. In saying that DiCaprio still delivers a good enough interpretation to enjoy the film but I feel it is Armie Hammer who plays Hoover’s lifetime companion Clyde Tolson who really captures the film. Hammer is an exceedingly attractive man and I questioned his ability to pull off a very complex character but he did it with a brilliant result. Other great roles include Judy Dench as the over-bearing mother and Naomi Watts as the dedicated secretary of Hoover’s.

Overall, Clint Eastwood provides a loosely based bio-pic that is both adequate and somewhat enjoyable. Along with the curious cinephile, I think lovers of American history and 20th Century criminal history will also find this film pleasant.

3 out of 5.

A Few Best Men

97 mins

Director: Stephen Elliot

Distributor: Icon Film Entertainment

Cast: Xavier Samuel, Rebel Wilson, Olivia Newton-John and Kris Marshall

The director for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has stated that “he hasn’t had this much fun on a set since Priscilla.” If that isn’t an indication to go see this film then I don’t know what is. However, don’t get caught up thinking this is similar to ol’ Priscilla.

The plot isn’t overly original. David meets Mia on an island, they fall in love and he proposes to her. He’s English, She is Australian. He goes home to London to break the news to his mates and hauls them to Oz for the wedding.

Now things would go accordingly, however David’s mates are complete f-up’s and continuously cause havoc. In addition, the bride’s family is just as screwed up with a politically sheep loving father, a house wife who turns into a party girl/milf and a sister who pretends to be a lesbian.

This film is lots of fun and the only flaw I found was the lacklustre performance of the lead male Xavier Samuels of Twilight: Eclipse fame. Now I know this is a comedy meant for entertainment but he’s just not good, or funny. Who is funny though is Olivia Newton John as the bride’s mother. Talk about removing herself as far as possible from Sandy of Grease. Newton-John is just brilliant and camp and you want to be with her all of the way. In addition, Rebel Wilson as Daphne and Kris Marshall as Tom are comic gold.

Stephen Elliot directs a humorous film that some may consider stupid but it’s a film of entertainment, not life changing. With a cast that certainly delivers the ha ha charm I would totally go and see this film with mates as you’ll laugh your ass off after it.

4/5.

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