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Showing posts from December, 2010

Review - True Grit

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True Grit (2010), PG-13, 110 minutes - It took a week longer than I had originally planned, but today I was finally able to see one of the movies I had been looking forward to the most this year. And it didn't disappoint.

The Coen Brothers add another excellent entry to their growing catalog of films with True Grit. The do so this time around by taking a classic western, and staying pretty true to form. There are only a couple relatively small differences between their new take and the John Wayne driven original. Having said that, this newer version stands on it's own. When watching, it doesn't play out like a complete re-hash. Credit the Coens for knowing better than to mess with the content and tone of a quality story, as well as for employing the proper cast to bring that story to life.

Excellent performances are prevalent throughout True Grit, with newcomer Hailee Steinfeld leading the way. She more than stands her ground and takes charge in many scenes. Somet…

Review - The Fighter

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The Fighter (2010), R, 115 minutes - Another 'based on a true story' movie, The Fighter, while chronicling the trials and tribulations and the rise of Mickey Ward to the world light welterweight championship, is really more about one's family and the drama they can create.

Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is the younger half brother of Dickey Eklund (Christian Bale), who's 15 minutes of fame came when he knocked Sugar Ray Leonard down in a match. In the time since, Dickey has let fame go to his head and has become a washed up, strung out shell of his old self. He acts as Mickey's trainer and their mother Alice (played by Melissa Leo), Mickey's manager.

While claiming to help Mickey rise through the boxing ranks, the family is really still hung up on Dickey's previous exploits and his supposed come back. The entire family is even being followed around by HBO for a story about Dickey's come back (or so they think). After Dickey ends up in jail due to some …

Review - Black Swan

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Black Swan (2010), R, 108 minutes - The latest film from Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan is driven by Natalie Portman's performance as a newly promoted ballerina and her relationship with her theater manager (Vincent Cassel) and a rival dancer (Mila Kunis).

Nina Sayers (Portman) is one of the ballerina's being considered for the lead role in a new staging of Swan Lake (taking over for Beth Macintyre, the long running lead played by Winona Ryder). The theater manager, Thomas Leroy, doesn't believe that Nina has it in her to portray both parts that he requires for this re-invisioning of Swan Lake. She confronts him about it and, after biting him when he makes a pass at her, lands the role as he sees the 'imperfection' in her that he was looking for for the part. Black Swan proceeds from there, exploring Nina's psychological transformation into the ballerina that she needs to become the lead.

Black Swan is full of strong performances. Not only out of Portman, but…

Review - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009), R, 147 minutes - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is the third and final installment in the Millennium trilogy based on the novels of the late Stieg Larsson. If you have not read the books or seen the previous two movies (my reviews can be found here and here), you'll definitely want to before jumping into this one. There are a handful of flashback sequences that touch on major plot points, but they really don't cover all that you need to know to fully understand what is going on this far into the story.

Hornet's Nest picks up immediately where The Girl Who Played With Fire ends - with Lisbeth being airlifted to the hospital after her confrontation with Zalachenko and Niedermann - and advances through Lisbeth's trial while Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the staff at Millennium magazine try to expose the government conspiracy against her.

Noomi Rapace continues her amazing portrayal of computer hacker …

Review - Tron: Legacy

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Tron: Legacy (2010), PG, 127 minutes - For the few people who don't know, Tron: Legacy is the sequel to Disney's cult classic about a programmer who gets stuck inside the computer system he is working on. I say 'cult classic' and not 'classic' because I re-watched the original Tron a couple months back and it doesn't really hold up at all. It looks cool considering the time at which it was made (1982), but that's about it. Anyway, this isn't about the original, it's about the sequel, which I feel is a better overall movie. It takes Tron's basic concept and builds upon it, taking place 20 years after the original.

Garrett Hedlund plays Sam Flynn, the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges, retaining his role from Tron). After investigating a page that came from his father's old office, he is transported into The Grid, the same computer program world that his father has been trapped in for 20 years. He learns that his father not only disc…

It's Been A While...

...and I'm not referring to one of Staind's more popular songs. I have somehow managed to not update my blog here in a hair under two months. I'd love to claim that I've been wicked busy and/or just hadn't seen any movies to review. The truth is more along the lines of pure laziness and just not getting excited enough about a movie to sit down and type up a review that same day.

So, since I have no real excuse(s), and I really have no idea who (if anyone) checks in to this blog on an even somewhat regular basis, let me mention the couple of upcoming updates that I do have planned in an effort to get back in the habit of regular review posting:

1) This past weekend was a pretty successful new movie viewing weekend, so reviews of Tron: Legacy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, and Black Swan will be forthcoming. I had originally planned on banging those out this evening, but work was work and it sucked all of the motivation out of me.

2) As the end of the…