Warner Brothers cries Macho and lets slip the Cock of War
By Jim Bray
Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood's latest film is a leisurely but ultimately enjoyable and mostly entertaining story that, as it turns out, took about 50 years to make.
Not that Eastwood is a particularly slow director, but as you'll see in the supplements that come on the Cry Macho Blu-ray (a 4K disc wasn't offered for review yet, and that's a shame because the film looks terrific), Eastwood first came in contact with the story way back then, but for various reasons (including that he thought himself too young to play the lead) it took until now to come out.
It was worth the wait.
Oh, sure, it's no Unforgiven, and I don't think it's quite up to the cinematic heights Eastwood reached with Gran Torino, but Cry Macho is a lovely story about an old and burned-out retiree who finds new life – and a new life – after his former boss hires him to drag his 13-year-old son back home to Texas from his mother in Mexico City.
If you're expecting action, this isn't your flick. Instead, it's a gentle and sweet tale about a few people who in various ways find new meaning for their lives, from Eastwood and the kid's (Eduardo Minett) to a total stranger and her family that they happen to meet while trying to avoid the authorities as they drive back to the Home of the Brave from Mexico City.
Eastwood's Mike Milo used to be a rodeo star, but he broke his back and he carries that injury with him every day – as Eastwood the performer makes clear in a performance that ranks up there with his best. Well, the best of his that I've seen. He's old, pretty well decrepit, but he's also honest and decent and that's apparently what made his ex-boss (Dwight Yoakam) choose him for the mission to be The Mule (no Eastwood movie pun intended – or at least not much of one) for his son's trip north.
The trip, financed well by Yoakam's character Howard, should only span a few days, but thanks to drama being necessary in a good tale, it stretches to a few weeks. This is mostly because Rafo's (the kid) mother is hell-bent on him not going back to his father and so she sics the authorities and her current main squeeze on the fleeing old man and young boy, causing them to rely on back roads and holing up in a one-horse town that has many horses.
In the end, pretty well everyone except the kid's mother is pleased with the results (and she probably is, too, deep down), though those results may not be what you expect going into Cry Macho (on the other hand, you can kind of see it coming…). And several people learn things about life and love and character in a sweet manner that doesn't beat you over the head with virtue signalling.
So, what does any of this have to do with Macho? Well, as it turns out Macho is Rafo's cock, a rooster he enters in cockfighting events and insists on bringing with them on their trip north. This actually, eventually, turns out to be a very good thing, and not because they're in the middle of nowhere with no fresh food around. And of course, I'm not going to spoil it by telling you how this happens.
Cry Macho is a tad slow in places but I liked it a lot and will watch it again, soon – especially if Warners sends a 4K disc because the 1080p picture quality of the Blu-ray they did send is darn spectacular.
There's no Dolby Atmos track, which is fine, and the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is actually very good as well. This isn't a big explosions or other big sound thingies movie, but the mostly dialogue-oriented track offers excellent fidelity and none of the overpowering bass I find on some Warner Brothers releases. It won't test your home theatre audio's limits like some movies will, but this isn't that kind of cinematic experience. What there is, is just fine.
There aren't a lot of extras on the disc (the package also includes a code for a digital download), just a couple of reasonably short "making of" featurettes. But I enjoyed both of them.
The first, "Back in the Saddle: The Making of Cry Macho" is barely over 12 minutes long, but it's mostly meat, featuring comments and footage with Eastwood, co-screenwriter Nick Shenk, producer Albert S. Ruddy and cast members including Yoakam, Minett, and various other supporting characters.
The other feature "Macho and the Mustangs" looks at Eastwood and a few others as they talk about the actor/director's love of animals and the challenges posed to him by the movie's horse-riding scenes. Why? Because Eastwood hadn't ridden a horse, apparently, in about 30 years (since the time of his masterpiece Unforgiven), so there was a certain amount of re-learning going on.
Okay, it's a relatively small and meandering movie, but it's believable and enjoyable – and it features a superb performance by the 91-year-old filmmaker and actor. Well done, Mr. Eastwood!
Meanwhile, I've been trying the Linearflux HyperCharger "Ultimate 8-in-1 fast charger" which the manufacturer says "takes magnetic true wireless charging to the next level." It's a nifty charger that's claimed to work with all smartphones with Qi-wireless charging capability, including the iPhone 8 and right up to the iPhone 12.
Well, wouldn't you know my iPhone is older than that, so I can't charge it wirelessly, but I can use it to charge the phone via its Lightning port, and for that it works just fine – though I'd hesitate to call it "fast charging." It actually seems about as quick as the old cheap portable charger I got from Costco several years ago. Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with that and the HyperCharger is far more flexible than that old unit!
Retailing for 60 American dollars, the HyperCharger XX won an innovation award at the prestigious Consumer Electronics Show. Designed for both Apple and Android, it boasts a variety of ports and technologies to power up devices and, according to the company, can charge any smartphone and device with Qi-wireless charging technology.
What's unique to the HyperCharger XX, is that it can also snap to any smartphone, desk or car magnetic mount magnetically. That's pretty cool. Or it would be if I didn't have a rubber case on my iPhone…
On the other hand, stick this thing on the back of your phone and it suddenly gains about three times its depth, so if you want to keep your slim device slim, don't do this.
Alas, its "vibrant LED display that indicates the battery capacity and when it is in HyperBoost mode for rapid charging" leaves something to be desired to these eyes – it reminds me of Inigo Montoya, in that I'm not sure what it's displaying is really what it wants to display, but that could just be me. Fortunately, I didn't really care about that since I'd just keep it charged up, and then just plug my device into it and not worry about what it was reading out.
And that way, it works just fine! It works great with my iPad, too, when I need to charge it in a pinch.
The company says the HyperCharger XX utilizes LinearFlux's "award winning HyperCharger technology featuring a USB-A port with QC3 and a USB-C input/output port with PD." They claim this lets you charge "most current smartphones" from zero to 50 per cent capacity in less than 25 minutes. It also boasts 15 Watt Qi-wireless charging capability and is claimed to be "simply the fastest true wireless charging technology available today."
So, if you're looking for a charger you can take with you to keep your phone topped up, this one deserves a look, though as mentioned it does seem a tad cumbersome when you piggyback the charger with your phone. But of course, you may not care about that, in which case you may just love this little gadget.
Copyright 2021 Jim Bray