The Kings SpeechThis film is your typical Oscar bait that comes out this time every year, but I did enjoy this one more than most. I liked that it was a piece of history that I didn't know much about and it really kept my interest. I did know a lot about King Edwards abdication, but had no idea about George VI's speech problems, and I was intrigued on both fronts. Director Tom Hooper has shown in the past his attention to be historically accurate with HBO's Elizabeth I and John Adams, and this film is no exception. I enjoyed the the chemistry between Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush(Rush is very funny), but overall I liked the scenes with the royal family more. Guy Pearce is great as the spoiled and irresponsible King Edward and Michael Gambon is powerful as a sad and domineering King George V.*SPOILERS* My only dislike for the film is the end. I wish the King's speech would have been a recording of the real speech, it would have been more memorable and fascinating to hear the real result. The end of the film drags on for about 5-10 minutes too long. The principals are slowly walking around after the speech, head nodding, and basking in their success. This is fine, but it doesn't stop and it's been done to death. Overall it's a good film that's better than you typical English Oscar bait film. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
It always takes several viewings for me to appreciate a Coen Brothers film, but this one was just a delight the first time. Great cast, well written, and Roger Deakins photography is astounding ( I love when he does westerns)! I was wondering if Jeff Bridges voice would get on my nerves when I first watched the trailer, but he character is so real and charismatic that he deserves the Oscar nod. Hailee Steinfeld was amazing and holds her own against the Hollywood heavies and really carries this film. Matt Damon's Dandy Ranger and Josh Brolin's Mongo-Like criminal are just hilarious and both have proven whatever film they do they don't disappoint. The viewer, like Mattie Ross, is introduced to all these colorful individuals, and with the exception of Rooster Cogburn, no one lives up to their reputation. It's a great character study and all of the side characters,especially Barry Pepper, were fascinating. The film is realistic and has a wonderful pace and I thought the epilogue was well done and accurately portrayed how Mattie would end up in later life. 4 out of 5 Stars
David O. Russell may be bat shit crazy, but who cares, the guy hasn't made a bad film yet. Russell earned years ago the right that no matter what he directs I will see it. I had the same reaction to The Fighter trailer I had with the Three Kings trailer, horrible. I see Russell's name at the end of the trailer and that makes me see the film, and like Three Kings, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the film. The Fighter is nothing ground breaking, if fact it's a typical boxing film that really doesn't have a lot of originality. It didn't matter, I really got into the characters, the story kept my interest, and in the end I enjoyed myself. Russell's craziness always seems to get the best out of his actors(I think Wahlbergs best performance to date is I Heart Huckabees).Wahlberg and Amy Adams are good, but this film belongs to Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and the Eklund sisters. Leo and Bale are shoe-ins for the Oscar this year and they both deserve it, your eyes focus on them in every scene. Even though the story is typical I thought it was original that Micky needs Dicky to ultimately succeed. Overall Dicky and the family are not only anchors to Micky's career, but if used right give him the confidence and coaching he needs to win. I am a sucker for boxing films, but it occurred to me after watching this film that 80% of all boxing films are about white boxers. Besides Ali I couldn't think of a great film about black boxers. Very entertaing film and I hope one day a film shows up of O.Russell and Bale having a shouting match while making this movie. 4 out of 5 Stars.
I was really torn after I saw this film, and it took me some time to decide if I liked it or not. I knew I enjoyed it, but wasn't sure how much, and I weighed the pros and cons over the next few days. I came to the conclusion that any film that creeps in my head several days after a viewing is a good thing, so overtime it grew on me. I am not a huge Darren Aronofsky fan, I do respect him as a director, but his style can be his Achilles heel at times. His stamp is what makes him a fan boy favorite, but I think it's a little immature. Like Brian De Palma, he is all style with little substance and a little too much film school mentality. Aronofsky's style is the only thing I didn't like about Black Swan. At times the film making is too chaotic and subtly is thrown out the window. Too much shaky cam, too many cheap jump out and scare you horror tricks, and too many tattoos of black wings on Mila Kunis's back. Aronofsky is great with actors and storytelling, but a tripod and letting the audience use their imagination a little more could have made this a great film. What really won me over was how great the performances were. Natalie Portman is amazing as a up and coming ballerina toppling under the pressures of stardom. The other standout is Vincent Cassel as a ballet impresario who will do anything to get a top performance from his dancers. Cassel and Portman have a great dynamic, and it was my favorite part of the movie. Their relationship reminded me of a exotic version of The Red Shoes (1948), and I was captivated when they were on screen together. Kunis was convincing as the rival dancer and Barbara Hershey was great as her creepy looking domineering mother. Overall I enjoyed a film about a girl who must get off so she can be successful, but I wish Aronofsky would have held back and be more conservative like he was with The Wrestler. 3.5 out of 5 stars