You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
(KCBS) – Jan Wahl reviews “J. Edgar.” A film that explores the public and private life of one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas and Ken Howard.
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Going all the way back to Play Misty and Broncho Billy, I’m a longtime Eastwood fan. The man can tell a story on film, whether capturing another era (Changeling, Bird, Unforgiven) or character (Gran Torino, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby). At this Veteran’s Day, I’m remembering his fine double hit of Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. But for the first time in a very long time, Eastwood is miscast as director. Instead of a sharp, lively movie about one America’s weirdest, powerful characters..we get distant and clumsy. The story of J.Edgar Hoover is fascinating and important, yet the film is slapdash and confusing. The acting is fine, especially the always reliable Leonardo DiCaprio, but the choice to edit in under written sequences as well as weird absence of period music and details, is just strange for this talented director. The script, by Dustin Lance Black (who gave us the biopic Milk,) is left in the dust by stodgy staging, ridiculous aging makeup and a unclarified view of a self-hating gay man, who tried to destroy anyone in his way. Two and a half hats.
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