Joe Kidd (1972)

Joe Kidd (1972)

An ex-bounty hunter named Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood) is asked by a wealthy landowner, Frank Harlan (Robert Duvall) to join his posse in order to help them capture a troublesome Mexican revolutionary named Luis Chama (John Saxon). Chama has organized a posse of his own and is trying to give the land back to his people by attacking settlements and driving the settlers out of the new Mexican town of Sinola. First, Kidd attempts to remain neutral, but when he falls for Stella Garcia (Helen Sanchez) he must decide where his loyalties lie.

With the original story written by Elmore Leonard (Jackie Brown, 3:10 to Yuma) and directed by John Sturges (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven) and starring Robert Duvall as well as Clint Eastwood, you’d think that this film would have hit it out of the park. However, being that it’s just a watered-down attempt at Sergio Leone’s “Man WIth No Name” trilogy, it really wasn’t up to par.

However, you do get a solid performance from ol’ Clint, and that’s really the draw for anyone seeing these types of films. Also, it was interesting to see Duvall portray such a cad. He was pretty believable. (And what was up with his teeth?!)

Overall, I think the film was just the right length to not make it a bad watch. The story can be sort of nonsensical at times, but the style makes up for it. Also, if you’re the type to look for strong women characters, you won’t really find any here. Sanchez has screen presence, but her defiance is her strongest point.

It’s not the best western movie out there, but it’s decent.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997)

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997)

Original Theatrical Release: November 21, 1997
Director: Clint Eastwood

This film was based on a novel by John Berendt , of the same name.

A New York journalist, John Kelso (John Cusack) travels to the slower-paced Savannah, Georgia to write a feature for Town And Country Magazine on the massive annual Christmas party that Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) throws. After the party, Williams kills his violent and childish lover, Billy Hanson (Jude Law) and claims it was self defense. Sensing a hit-story and novel, Kelso stays in Savannah to cover the trial and ends up meeting all sorts of wacky characters including an African-American transvestite night club performer named Lady Chablis (Who plays herself) and a vocalist named Mandy Nichols (Alison Eastwood) whom John has a romantic interest in.

PHEW.

With a crazy cast of characters and a long-winded, potentially boring story…certain things have to come together for the film to be successful. Clint Eastwood’s direction seems to capture the essence of the slow, down-to-earth southern lifestyle of Savannah, Georgia. The movie sometimes follows too closely to that pacing and seems to lead down roads that go nowhere, blissfully taking its time in its own atmospheric qualities, which thankfully are good more often than not (the graveyard scene, anyone?).

I’m a huge fan of Spacey and Cusack, so I admittedly would watch almost anything either of them are in (probably even porn, if it existed…JUDGE ME NOT), but I think Spacey’s performance in this film almost borders on being a parody, which actually works. The man’s a genius, I’m telling you.

Cusack, while I love the guy, didn’t really turn in too much more than we usually get from him. The character in this movie is almost the same one from 1408 (which obviously came out later on), but you can’t help but watch the man work.

I think whether you like the book or not, the movie is a different animal. The atmosphere of the movie is the star and Eastwood did a good job with it.

JOE Rating: ★★★

Movie Trailer For Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil