You too will be won over by Colin Firth’s craft in ‘The King’s Speech’
Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter star in “The King’s Speech.”
- “The King’s Speech”
★★★★ (out of four)
2010, Tom Hooper, U.K., R
- New Films
Director: Simon West.
Starring: Jason Statham, Ben Foster.
The plot: An elite assassin (Statham) takes on an apprentice
(Foster) who has a connection to one of his earlier targets.
Genre: Action, drama.
Director: Mikael Hafstrom.
Starring: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins.
The plot: A thriller centered on a disillusioned American
seminary student who attends exorcism school at the Vatican, and
his encounter with demonic forces.
Genre: Drama, horror.
- Film Roundup
★★★ 1/2 (out of four)
I responded so strongly to David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” an
old-fashioned underdog narrative that wears sentimentality on its
The difference between Russell’s film and the dozens of other
similar, less successful sports dramas is that here, the filmmaker
lets emotion develop organically from the characters and their
histories. Instead of attempting to manipulate viewer responses via
swelling music and tearful exchanges and all manner of riffraff,
Russell (most noted for “Three Kings” and “I Huckabees”) has gone
back to basics. For one, the film has a very rugged, neorealist,
almost documentary-like style that immediately lends a certain
degree of authenticity to the proceedings. Clearly, Russell has
seen Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler.”
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.
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011 8:44 am
We continue to play catch-up with late-2010 Oscar-bait movies
as, in the interest of my own sanity, I do my very best to steer
clear of the new wide releases (I won’t endure Ashton Kutcher for
anyone — least of all you). So next week look for a review of “Blue
Valentine,” which, along with this week’s “The King’s Speech,” was
one of the promising titles that I unfortunately missed before
publishing my year-end top 10 list a couple weeks back. We’ll get
’em all knocked out sooner or later.
I must admit some trepidation when approaching films that rely
on what could be perceived as “gimmick” performances — those
“challenging” roles that Oscar voters love but, in actuality, offer
very little to viewers looking for more than mere exaggerated
caricatures (e.g. Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump,” Sean Penn in “Milk,”
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:44 am.