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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
-Unknown-
Cast:
Clint Eastwood, Various
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
For 35 years Clint Eastwood has called Warner Bros. home. In The Eastwood Factor (Extended Version), film historian Richard Schickel ventures beyond Eastwood’s tough, iconic screen personas to reveal the easygoing and thoughtful man behind the magic. Morgan Freeman narrates this insightful profile that features memorable film clips and visits to movie locations, the Warner Bros. lot and Eastwood's hometown Carmel where, with humor, candor and intelligence, Eastwood illuminates the craft behind his legendary work on both sides of the camera to create a rare experience that is pure, unadulterated Clint.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Japanese
Portuguese
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime:88 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 6/1/2010

Bonus:
• None


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Eastwood Factor (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 26, 2010)

As part of a major Warner Bros. retrospective for the acclaimed actor/director, we get a documentary entitled The Eastwood Factor. Directed by film critic/historian Richard Schickel, the film focuses on Clint Eastwood’s career mostly via chats with the man himself.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman and created during the shoot of 2009’s Invictus, Eastwood chats a bit about his family and childhood, and he also gets into his early career and what led him to his longtime affiliation with Warner Bros. That period dominates Factor and becomes the focus of Eastwood’s remarks, as he discusses his directing/acting in many of the scores of flicks he’s made for the studio.

When Eastwood speaks, he tends to provide fairly good information. The director/actor looks back on his career in a frank manner and delivers a mix of reasonably worthwhile thoughts about his work.

Key phrase: “when Eastwood speaks”. Much of Factor revolves around film clips. Rather than concentrate on interviews and other informative bits, most of the program focuses on snippets from Eastwood's movies. These are fine, but we simply find too many of them. The documentary lacks balance, and the heavy presence of the movie snippets means that Factor occasionally threatens to turn into nothing more than a promo reel.

To some degree, how much one enjoys Factor will depend on how many of the films one has seen. If you’re an Eastwood junkie with no Clints unturned, then you’ll probably find yourself somewhat bored here. You’ll already know the movies, and the various insights aren’t substantial enough to keep you interested.

More casual fans will probably feel more satisfied, however. Factor will expose them to films they don’t know and potentially prompt them to check out those flicks. Spoilers occur, unfortunately, but Clint’s remarks will do nothing to prevent future enjoyment of movies unseen.

Though I do think Factor is more useful for casual Eastwood partisans, I don’t view it as a particularly strong program for any audience. It’s just too general, and it never lives up to the DVD’s claim that it’ll deliver “an intimate portrait of a legendary career”. Instead, it offers a moderately enjoyable but inherently superficial five-cent tour of Eastwood’s work.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus F

The Eastwood Factor appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD. Due to those dimensions, the image has NOT been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The 1.33:1 ratio is far from a constant, and actually probably constitutes the minority of the program. Interview bits with Eastwood come 1.78:1, and many movie clips are also 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. This means lots and lots of windowboxing and decreased resolution; Factor should’ve gone with 1.78:1 anamorphic and pillarboxed the occasional 1.33:1 elements.

In any case, the visuals tended to be pretty mediocre. Sharpness usually looked acceptable. Some movie clips appeared soft, especially in wide shots that came with the 2.35:1 material. However, the majority of the pieces were moderately concise and distinctive. Largely because of the lack of anamorphic enhancement, some jagged edges and shimmering occurred, though these didn’t seem major. Light edge enhancement also popped up at times. Source flaws occurred in a few movie clips, but these were minor; I saw the occasional speck and that was about it.

Colors varied dependent on the sources and generally looked decent, though they tended towards some heaviness. The tones were a bit thicker than I’d like and came across as a little dense, though usually reasonably accurate. Blacks also varied and went from fairly deep to somewhat flat and inky, but they were usually decent, and low-light shots followed suit. Those were acceptably visible but not tremendously concise. Overall, the image of Factor did little to come across as stellar, but it remained watchable.

Similar thoughts greeted the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of The Eastwood Factor. The talky program mostly concentrated on the forward speakers. Speech dominated the program and stayed in the center. A lot of music adapted from the films also appeared throughout the show, and those elements demonstrated pretty positive stereo imaging. Effects duplicated the original material reasonably well, though without quite the same breadth as the source movies, as these stayed somewhat in the background most of the time. The surrounds simply echoed the forward channels for the most part, and they didn’t present anything more than general support.

Audio quality appeared fine for this material. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, with only a smidgen of edginess at times. Music didn’t display full range because those elements usually stayed in the background, but the bits of score sounded reasonably full and dynamic. Effects also mostly kept a little to the rear, but they were acceptably detailed and lively. Those various pieces never worked as well as they would in the movie DVDs themselves, but they seemed satisfying for a documentary. Bass response was fair, though not better than that. Ultimately, the audio was fine for this sort of piece and that was about it.

No extras show up here, which doesn’t totally surprise but it disappoints. I see no reason the producers couldn’t have included extra interview footage with Eastwood; there must be hours of additional material, so why not toss in more here?

In truth, The Eastwood Factor probably should exist as a DVD bonus feature, not as a standalone product. The program remains reasonably entertaining, but it lacks the depth necessary to make it a truly engaging, worthwhile retrospective. The DVD offers mediocre picture and audio and omits any supplements. I don’t dislike Factor, but I think it provides a lackluster career overview that won’t give Eastwood fans much insight into the filmmaker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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