True Grit Review

True Grit was a film that I walked out a bit disappointed with to say the least. It was a film I saw at the midnight premiere and walked out a bit downtrodden because what I saw wasn’t the movie I expected to see at all. Looking back over True Grit I began to do what all of the Coen Brother’s movies force me to do. I began to think. In my pondering over the past few days after seeing what was for me the most anticipated movie of the year, I realized yes, True Grit wasn’t the movie I was expecting to see, it was better.

Before delving deep into that conundrum and my review I’d like to state that I’ve never seen the original True Grit nor have I read the original book. I went in completely blind and will review this movie based on the movie it was not how well it followed the book or original John Wayne movie. That being said, True Grit, like almost all Coen Bros. films, was a masterpiece. I just didn’t quite realize it at first.

Now when I said, I went in expecting something different, that obviously begs the question, what did I expect? What I thought True Grit would be, was some kind of guns blazing, dark look into the west. A movie that would kind of mirror the themes of No Country for Old Men, but in the west. A western that might even surpass my favorite western, Unforgiven. What True Grit was, was actually one of the most light-hearted of the Coen Bros. films and on top of that, one of the most light hearted westerns I’ve seen.

Sure there was some gunplay, but for the most part, it was dialogue driven. It was a film that cared not about its action, but its story. We get to know these characters well and join them on their journey of “retribution”. Maybe True Grit isn’t the greatest western or all time and maybe its not the most enjoying, but it is undoubtedly the most real. Its not a western that’s looking to tell of a journey through the west complete with different villains, escapades and epic showdowns. It’s a film that makes you feel as if you’re right there on a horse having a whiskey with good ol’ “Rooster” Cogburn.

It was a film written and directed as well as a movie can get. I can’t expect much else from my favorite filmmakers in existence. Jeff Bridges was downright brilliant in what might just be my favorite role of his. The main character though was newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, there’s nothing profound about her performance that I’m sure you haven’t read anywhere else suffice it to say, from what I was reading, I expected a lot and she blew me away.

Early I stated that it was “better” than what I was expecting it to be. I’d like to jump into that comment a little more. I explained that what I expected was kind of a combination of my favorite western, Unforgiven and my favorite Coen Bros. film, No Country for Old Men. That’s a lot to expect out of a film. No I’m not saying that True Grit is “better” than either of those films. I am merely saying that it’s “better” that True Grit was the movie that it was.

I realized in my pondering that I don’t want True Grit to be No Country for Old Men because if I want to watch No Country for Old Men, I’ll just watch No Country for Old Men and I realized that no western will ever come out that will be better than Unforgiven. Of course better movies might come out, but no other western will because Unforgiven is a brilliant commentary on the entire idea of the west and the western genre. That being said, True Grit isn’t No Country for Old Men and its not Unforgiven, its just True Grit and what True Grit was, was a masterpiece.

Grade: A+

Black Swan Review

Black Swan isn’t something that you can simply call a movie. It’s an emotionally draining experience on all accounts and in that way it is brilliant. There have been many movies that in the past had pushed the envelope on visual and idealistic levels and no I’m not gonna say that Black Swan did it best or was the most “wacked out”, but I will say that I’ve truthfully never seen a movie that pushes the envelope so beautifully.

Something film critics enjoy saying is “I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen” or “it was impossible to blink”, implying that the images and story at hand were so moving that you didn’t want to miss a thing, that’s exactly the case with the film Black Swan. It tells an original story we’ve never seen before in an intense and visceral way. The exact story that Black Swan was attempting to convey was told and told flawlessly. I can’t ask for anything else from a filmmaker.

Black Swan is the story of Nina Sayers, a ballerina who is chosen to play The Swan Queen in a new rendition of the “classic” ballet Swan Lake. The role takes its toll on Nina and a rivalry emerges between sweet Nina and another reckless ballerina in the troupe. Black Swan isn’t a story that should be told in writing though because the way this story is told on film, even the greatest writer couldn’t give it justice.

Natalie Portman is absolutely breathtaking as the main character that requires a pitch-perfect performance. This is the role that she will be remembered for. Kunis was actually surprisingly good as Portman’s rival. Sure she wasn’t amazing, but she definitely was able to find her own stride. All the performers did their jobs and did them well, but at the end of the day, its truly Portman’s movie. She’s the one who deserves praise and she deserves a lot of it.

Now I’ll say it again, Black Swan tells a story we’ve never seen before and it tells it flawlessly. There are a lot of movies out there that are told flawlessly and its your job to develop an opinion on which stories you get the most enjoyment out of watching. What I’m saying is that Black Swan isn’t for everyone and even though it was flawless, it might not be one of your favorite movies because of the content or it might be the greatest you’ve ever seen. That’s up for you to decide though.

Grade: A

127 Hours Review

I haven’t seen all of his movies, but I’ve always been a huge Danny Boyle fan. Slumdog Millionaire was his Oscar winning feel-good film, 28 Days Later was undoubtedly the best zombie movie ever (if you consider it a zombie movie) and Trainspotting is one of my favorite movies ever made. With 127 Hours, Danny Boyle releases yet another masterpiece.

Like all Danny Boyle films, everything is there, the music, the characters, the writing, the wit, the fun, but its amplified in every aspect. 127 hours is a full-fledged experience. Rarely was I ever as emotionally engrossed in a film than I was with Aron Ralston’s inspirational story. It was a film that literally needed to be made perfectly for it to work, I’m sure Danny Boyle knew it would be difficult going in, but he took the challenge and succeeded admirably.

The film is based on a took entitled “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, which tells the unbelievable true tale of outdoors-loving, climber Aron Ralston being stuck in a canyon between the canyon wall and an immovable boulder. What takes place is inspirational, to say the least, and absolutely breathtaking.

Obviously, 127 hours is basically a one man show, so not only do you need great directing to keep the audience interested watching one person for basically an entire movie, but you also need a moving performance and James Franco gave nothing short of that. Hearing at first that the role would be played by Franco I was actually a bit weary. He’s good, but I’ve never seen him in a role of this caliber. He never let up once, he was amazing and now I truly couldn’t see anyone else in the role.

All and all, 127 hours is truly a must-see. I seriously can’t see any reason why someone wouldn’t like it, that’s how good it is. Even if you feel you’ll get queasy during some of the undoubtedly brutal parts, you could just close your eyes or something. Everyone owes it to themselves to experience this masterpiece.

Grade: A+