At the end of 2010, with royal watchers going mad about the engagement of William and Kate, a movie about William's great grandfather seems timely. And Colin Firth watchers are certainly swirling around the possibilities that his portrayal of King George VI in The King's Speech could make this, the second of two notable back to back performances (including last year's The Single Man), his year to win the Academy Award for best actor.
The King's Speech begins in 1925, when Prince Albert, Duke of York, must step in for his father (Michael Gambon as King George V, whose health is failing) and give the annual speech to the people, which takes place in Wimbley Stadium. The scene successfully depicts a man filled with shame at his lack of control over his stammering and a solemn crowd filled with pity and disgust for him. The eyes of the people (very effective extras) firmly conveys the fact that the people simply do not want this sort of weakness in a royal figure.
After the opening scene, the time period shifts to 1934 to a pre-WWII England – one that will soon lose their ailing King. Guy Pearce (best known for Memento and L.A. Confidential) plays the son who will be King. David (who will be King Edward after his father dies) is everything his brother isn't, and Pearce adds a nice flourish to the handsome boyish playboy who will shirk his duties to marry a morally questionable (twice-divorced) American socialite. As the second born son, Albert ("Bertie" to his family and close friends) has been made to feel second best by his father and the people, which clearly does nothing to help him in the confidence department. Gambon is effective in playing a King who is almost cruel regarding the failings of his second son....Read More
I think the current trend in Hollywood is that if you don't have an original idea for a movie, either remake an old movie or reinterpret a literary classic. The well must have been pretty dry because not only do we get a modern Gulliver's Travels, but we get to see the studio milk us for a few extra bucks by converting the film to 3D.
For the sake of full transparency, I want to start this review by revealing that I've never seen the John Wayne version of True Grit nor have I read the novel by Charles Portis. I've come to the Coen Brothers take on True Grit with a completely open mind, and after the credits rolled, I must say I was blown away. This is hands down the best movie...Read More
Tron: Legacy is not a reboot or a re-envisioning of the cult sci-fi classic Tron. Rather it's a retooled and amped up version of the same. Ultimately, there's nothing new here. The story follows the template set up in the first one. Hero has problem in the real world. Hero is zapped into virtual world. Hero solves problem in virtual world and the real world problem is somehow...Read More
Isabelle Huppert is a treasure of European cinema, held in the same esteem that Meryl Streep is in America. A perpetually searching, hungry actress, she has worked for many of the most vital and demanding filmmakers in her nearly forty year career. Bold and confrontational in films like The Piano Teacher (2001), Ma Mere (2004), and Loulou (1980), she has never been concerned about being disliked by an...Read More
How Do You Know is the latest movie from James L. Brooks, and while it may not be his best film, it will still fulfill everything you're looking for in a smart romantic comedy – mostly. The film centers on the unlikely love triangle of Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), an unwillingly retired professional softball player, George (Paul Rudd), an executive being investigated by the federal government, and the stereotypically...Read More
Boxing is not the populist sport it once was, when workaday men listened to the fight on the radio, saw replays on a movie screen, and were the king-makers elevating Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano to legendary status. The sport has become marginalized, viewed at home mostly by those who pay out for premium cable or pay-per-view and attended by the elite (at least when championships are on...Read More
First of all, I liked the first two Narnia films, but I always found it hard not to look at the series and immediately shout, "Harry Potter rip-off!" After all, both film series are based on books (seven of them, oddly enough), both are about children caught up in mystical fantasy battles, and both replaced their directors after the second films (a coincidence, yes, but still an interesting...Read More
Mirrors are a key symbol in many horror films, suggesting hidden aspects of mysterious characters, mocking and scrutinizing its subject into madness. The Wicked Queen of Snow White was undone by a particularly catty mirror and so is Swan Queen Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, a film ostensibly about the world of ballet but is at its essence one about mirrors.
Do you know that ratty old shirt you love, but no one else seems to appreciate? That shirt is The Tourist. Some of the buzz for this movie hasn't been very impressive, but if you're looking for a fun two hours, The Tourist can help. It's an unthreatening caper flick that should appeal to most viewers.