Emotion develops in old-fashioned underdog story
Mark Wahlberg starts in “The Fighter.”
- New Films
“The Company Men”
Director: John Wells.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper.
The plot: A drama centered a year in the lives of three
businessmen who look to what’s next in their lives after being laid
off by their company.
“No Strings Attached”
Director: Ivan Reitman.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher.
The plot: A comedy centered on casual friends Adam and Emma as
they try to keep their relationship strictly physical.
Genre: Comedy, romance.
- Film Roundup
★★★★ (out of four)
The filmmakers behind such adult-oriented movies as “Blood
Simple,” “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men” might not seem like
the most logical choices to adapt Charles Portis’ classic western
“True Grit,” about a 14-year-old girl who forges an unlikely bond
with an ornery pseudo-lawman during their hunt for her father’s
killer. But the Coens are always full of surprises. They’ve dealt
with lighter material before (“Raising Arizona,” “The Big
Lebowski”), and with “No Country for Old Men” they displayed a
clear knack for working with a Western motif. Still, I wasn’t
prepared for the delicacy with which the Coens handle “True Grit,”
which is essentially a heartfelt family film set against a violent
“Black Swan” is Darren Aronofsky’s borderline-experimental
attempt to immerse the viewer in madness and, in effect, replicate
the experience of complete mental collapse. Naturally such a film
requires an intensely psychological approach, but to my surprise,
Aronofsky keeps everything under control in the midst of absolute
chaos, never allowing his wilder impulses to engulf the carefully
structured narrative. This is the work of a master.
“I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS”
Jim Carrey is a great actor. He never gets his proper due, but
over the course of the past 12 years — starting with “The Truman
Show” and then “Man on the Moon” and “Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind” — he has demonstrated not only keen dramatic skills,
but also a willingness to throw himself into difficult roles with
absolute confidence and commitment. Carrey may have made a name for
himself by dressing in tutus and talking with his butt, but these
periodic forays into strange and dark territory have proven that he
is willing and able to deliver brilliant, completely unique
performances when given the right material. (I know I’ll get flack
for this comparison, but honestly, the only other high-profile
actor I see routinely displaying this level of creatively and
risk-taking in his performances is Daniel Day-Lewis. Yeah, chew on
that for a while. You know it’s true.)
This is exactly what Dwayne Johnson needed. After years of
ignoring his true calling as a badass action star, preferring
instead to parade around in tutus in a bizarre attempt to establish
himself as a “family-friendly” nice-guy talent, the actor once
known as The Rock has finally flung himself full-force into
The bare-bones story of a man out for revenge against the
criminals who murdered his brother, “Faster” delivers some
decidedly nasty thrills and puts Johnson’s larger-than-life image
center stage. It’s a choice role in a good film, but unfortunately,
Johnson is forced to share too much screen time with other, less
compelling characters. The film is solid as it stands, but if
Johnson had the stage to himself, there’s no telling how
bone-crunchingly awesome this thing could have been.
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:22 am
I’ll continue to do my best catching up with some late 2010
releases while we wait for the new year to really get going. So in
that vein we’ve got a brief look at the awards-season favorite “The
Fighter,” along with my predictions for this year’s Oscar
nominations. Completely meaningless, but kinda fun.
Friday, January 14, 2011 9:22 am.