Dec 23 2010

The King’s Speech

Based on true events The King’s Speech review’s the story behind King George VI (Colin Firth), his unexpected rise to power just before the beginning of World War II, and his affliction– stuttering. Moreover, the film illustrates the involvement of Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) in the shaping of the King, and the influence of another vitally important man, a speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Powerhouse acting from this ensemble is gripping. The screenplay is engaging to the point we want to follow the characters further. And, artful story telling and direction from Tom Hooper makes this quietly talked up film worth noting and worth seeing, I smell Oscar attention on this one. The King’s Speech is rated R.

Dec 23 2010

True Grit

In the brutal wild west a precocious 14 year old girl named Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld) is out to avenge the death of her father. To assist in the job Mattie hires the grizzled and weathered Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and  the help of a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon). But, getting to her father’s killer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), will be no easy task and will come at a hefty cost; will Mattie, Rooster and LaBoeuf be willing to pay that price? Written and directed by the golden boys of Hollywood, Joel and Ethan Coen I admit my expectations were indeed high. And, with a cast of what appears to be some of the Coen’s favorite actors it seems as though the film was destined for greatness. The end result? A solid traditional western, tempered with a splash of the Coen’s dark humor and violence along with characters who are unfortunately flawed in very real ways. Acting from the ensemble hits the spot and feels strong from start to finish. Although, because the Coen’s stay so true to the original source material for their screenplay we don’t exactly get the full on quirky nature we’ve come to expect from the brothers, and, I have to admit, I kind of missed it. Bottom line, not my favorite, but still a commendable job and worthy of your attention. True Grit is rated PG-13.

Dec 17 2010

Tron: Legacy

Twenty years after the mysterious disappearance of digital guru Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is still haunted by what exactly happened to his father all those years ago.  Now a grown adult Sam is drawn to investigate further only to accidentally be pulled into the same digital world his father worked to create.  Now in a wicked landscape of digital programs and games Sam must find his way back to the real world. But first he’ll meet his father, his father’s evil clone known as Clu, and of course a gorgeous sidekick named Quorra (Olivia Wilde).  Now the question becomes how to rescue his father and set things right in the digital world — before the digital world attempts to destroy the terrestrial world in search of perfection. Expected to be the big front-runner for the weekend; unfortunately, audiences are about to experience the same reaction they had practically 30 years ago with the Original Tron, which I distinctly recall was “meh, what’s the big deal?” As much as I want to like this film and as much as I had my hopes up, I’m sorry to report it misses the mark on too many levels. For the zillions of dollars Disney poured into this to make a 3D visual experience that would blow our eyes away, I can’t help but feel a bit cheated, again another film that doesn’t take full advantage of the 3D experience. More to the point, the visuals we are given feel anemic and about on par for the majority of video games on the market today. From the script perspective, we’re left with a bottom line that just isn’t very interesting or compelling– to the point we don’t really care if the characters ever make it out of the digital world or not. Acting side, there aren’t really any major faults, and I will add that Michael Sheen’s character as Zuse is a definite scene-stealer, but it’s just not enough to wow me into loving the film.  In conclusion, while the film merits a watch on the big screen….sort of, I’m just hard pressed to say it’s worth it. More of a rental. Tron: Legacy is rated PG.