Local critics split on Clint Eastwood's 'Curve'

Two high-profile movies with Oscar potential debut in theaters Friday -- the Clint Eastwood baseball drama "Trouble with the Curve" and the Scientology-inspired drama "The Master" -- and critics in the Twin Cities appear to be split on the merits of each.

By Tim Lammers

Two high-profile movies with Oscar potential debut in theaters Friday, and critics in the Twin Cities appear to be split on the merits of each.

Benching Clint Eastwood's baseball drama "Trouble with the Curve," Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press says the movie suffers from a weak script and an all-too-familiar "crabby act" by Eastwood. Nick Pinkerton of City Pages criticizes the film for not being risky enough.

Colin Covert of the Star Tribune, on the other hand, has no trouble with "The Curve," calling it "an absolute home run" and says Eastwood gives what may be the best performance of his career.

The film marks the directorial debut of longtime Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz, who talked with me about the film (and Eastwood's political controversy) last week.

Here's my review of the film (along with 'The Master") on "KARE 11 Today."

See the trailer for "Trouble with the Curve" below.

This week's other high-profile release is "The Master," writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's look at an erratic drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls under the spell of a charismatic author-turned-leader (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) of a following called "The Cause" -- which Anderson has said was inspired by the early days of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology.

Covert gave serious praise to the film, calling it "a must-see for serious film lovers and a steep challenge for everyone else." Much in the same way Hewitt says in his positive review of "The Master," Covert admits he was challenged by ambition of the film and anticipates more will be revealed in repeat viewings.

MPR's Euan Ker also says he was fascinated by "The Master," but admits it's a little mystifying.

Karina Longworth of City Pages, however, isn't nearly as impressed with the film. She calls "The Master" elusive and notes how Anderson appears reluctant to make a direct connection between his story and Scientology.

See the trailer for "The Master" below.

Bring Me The News news curator Tim Lammers is also a nationally-syndicated movie journalist whose work appears on more than 50 TV affiliate web sites in the U.S. Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career, and locally, he reviews films on "KARE 11 Today" and WCCO Radio. Tim's work is also featured on his website, StrictlyCinema.com.

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