Published on: November 16, 2018The Old Man & The Gun
is an elegiac piece of work featuring Robert Redford - in a role sometimes described as his last film role, though I wouldn’t be so sure - as a fictionalized version of Forrest Tucker, an unapologetic bank robber who has been imprisoned 18 times … and who has escaped 18 times and gone on to pursue his life’s work. Redford also is unapologetic about using that movie star smile and the twinkle in his eye to work both the audience and the characters who populate the movie … it is as if we’re being treated to a lovely bit of performance art from the Sundance Kid and Johnny Hooker (his character from The Sting
The movie catches up with Tucker as he continues to rob banks with a group of fellows that has been dubbed “The Over The Hill Gang,” played with verve by Danny Glover and Tom Waits. Tucker’s method is simple - he just goes into the bank, says he has a gun, and then charms the money out of the tellers. When it is over, they mostly comment about how nice and well-mannered he was.
Most of the movie concerns the pursuit of Tucker by a police detective, played by Casey Affleck, who starts to figure out Tucker’s patterns; it also focuses on Tucker’s romantic pursuit of a widow (a luminous Sissy Spacek), who doesn’t quite know what he does for a living but manages to unexpectedly get under his skin.
Written for the screen and directed by David Lowery, The Old Man & The Gun
is leisurely in its storytelling without ever dragging; it is as if it belongs to an earlier, less peripatetic filmmaking age, which is sort of true, since its subject and performers certainly do. But it is utterly charming, and made me ready to go back to see much of the Redford oeuvre, which has delighted and challenged audiences for decades.The Old Man & The Gun
is a lovely piece of work, with a movie star at its core who, I hope, will continue to work. He’s still got more chops than actors half his age.
On CBS All Access, the producers of “Star Trek: Discovery” continue to roll out what they’re calling “Short Trek,” little movies that take place in the “Discovery” universe or at least are tangential to it. It is a smart idea, both keeping audiences engaged until “Discovery” returns for its second season and using the writers room to spread their wings and challenge themselves a bit.
The newest one is called “Calypso,” written by novelist Michael Chabon, and it goes 1,000 years into the future as a man named Craft (Aldis Hodge) is rescued from his escape pod by Discovery, which seems to be unmanned and in some sort of holding pattern. The entire movie is a dialogue between Craft and the ship’s increasing sentient computer, and it is alternately disturbing and charming, posing very few questions that ever get answered and yet managing to stand well on its own.
Best thing about it - Chabon also is on the writing staff for the new Star Trek series that will feature the further adventures of Jean-Luc Picard, and this makes me think even more that it will be something special.
There’s news on both the Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch fronts … which I mention because I know there are plenty of MNB readers who are fans of both series.
Published reports say that the Jack Reacher film series - Tom Cruise starred in two of them - is done, and author Lee Child is developing a TV series approach that he hopes will be bought by Amazon or Netflix, or one of their brethren. In interviews, Child has conceded what readers of his books always have known - that Cruise was way too small to play Reacher, who is described in his best-sellers as being an enormous human being, and that in fact his bigness is a critical part of the character. I think this is excellent news … and would suggest that Chris Hemsworth would be excellent casting. Apparently they are open to suggestions, and I’m curious how the fans lean on this one.
As for “Bosch,” Amazon announced that the series has been renewed for a sixth season - even before the fifth season has been aired. (It’ll probably be released early next year.) Again, excellent news - Titus Welliver’s portray of Michael Connelly’s creation is dead-on, and the scripts, adapting various novels, have been excellent. For me, “Bosch” is a template for how to adapt a series of novels for television, and I’m thrilled that it will continue.
By the way, one of the reasons that “Bosch” works so well on Amazon is that it also sells all of Connelly’s books - it is terrific synergy. Which is why “Reacher” would also work well there.
I just hope that the new Netflix film of Ace Atkins’ “Wonderland,” which is part of the Spenser continuum of novels, is as good as Bosch.
A wine to recommend this week - the 2015 Overlook Pinot Noir from Landmark Vineyards, which is described as being a blend of pinot nor grapes from California’s Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Monterey counties. I liked this a lot … I thought it was incredibly smooth, and went as well with a hamburger as with some blackened salmon. All good.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.