I caught “Letters from Iwo Jima” yesterday with my good friend and AR Times enterinment editor Jim Harris.  This is a very fine film and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it was made in Japanese.  I am very impressed that Eastwood was able to make both “Flags of Our Fathers” and this film in the same, the moviemaking abilities evidenced in the cinematography and score are some of the years best.  Ken Watanabe gives a masterful performance. Awards are not everything by any means, but good performances shouldn’t get lost in the end-of-the year Oscar rush.  Eastwood originally planned to release this film in February, theoretically, propelling “Flags” to Oscar gold and launching the 2007 campaign for “Iwo Jima.”  But that didn’t happen and “Iwo Jima” is in the mix for the Oscars this year.  As a result Watanabe’s performance may go overlooked.  While it should not diminsh the quality of the performance (the film may be overlooked in many categories), it’s a shame.  As for Eastwood, he’s a vain old man.  But he’s made one hell of a film.

I also caught “The Painted Veil” yesterday at Market Street.  The theatre was hopping with folks going to see “The Last King of Scotland” (shocking).  There was a very decent crowd in this film starring Naomi Watts, Ed Norton and Liev Schreiber.  Another very fine film with a brilliant performance from Naomi Watts.  It’s is one of the prettiest films of the year and is complemented by a dazzling score. 

Today I’m going to see “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Last King of Scotland.”  A good weekend indeed.