Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Review- The King's Speech

Award season is in full effect with the Screen Actors Guild awards this past Sunday and the Academy Awards coming up next month. The big winner last night at the SAG awards for Best on Screen Ensemble in a Motion Picture went to The King's Speech which starred Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush. I should also note that Colin Firth won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture for his role as King George VI; its pretty much in the bag that the actor is going to win the Best Actor Oscar next month. The question is, which film will bring in the Best Picture award? It's pretty much going to be a showdown between The Social Network and The King's Speech. I never did get around to writing a review for The Social Network, but I'm sure most of you don't need another person to tell you it was a brilliant film. My predictions is the honor is going to The King's Speech, not because I necessarily think it was a better film than The Social Network, but because the Oscars tends to be bias towards historical fiction pieces.

I was a little late in making my way around viewing The King's Speech, but I finally got a chance to see it in the theaters last week. The story focuses on King George VI when he is thrown into becoming King of Great Britain after his brother abdicates the throne in order to marry. When King George VI comes into power, it is at the start of the Second World War. During this time period, a ruler addresses his people through the use of radio. During a time of impending crisis, the King must speak publicly more than ever in order to draw the support and keep the morality of his people. This is a bit of a problem for King George VI because he has a unfortunate stammering problem. His wife seeks out the help of an unconventional speech therapist to help her husband.

As I mentioned earlier, King George is played by Colin Firth in the film with Geoffrey Rush playing the speech "doctor." The pair had great chemistry together and put on two the best performances I've seen this year. George's Queen was played by Helena Bonham Carter and was wonderful (as she is in everything) in this supporting role. The performances of these talented actors is really what made me love the film as much as I did. The dialogue in the film is incredibly sharp and witty and adds a good dose of humor to the film. Our speech doctor uses several strange and unconventional strategies to help the King work through his speech problems which included having him swear and sing. Seeing Colin Firth sing makes me hope he'll star in a musical sometime soon.

Overall, the film is a very charming piece about friendship. It was great watching the developing friendship of these two men: a King and a commoner. It is also a great period piece about this royal historic figure and his struggle with his confidence and his reluctance to be King. Colin Firth's performance makes the audience really fall in love with him and admire his story. I really think this film can be enjoyed by a wide audience. It's not limited to historical non-fiction lovers or critically-acclaimed film lovers. Definitely a must watch of 2010.

Final Score- 10/10

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cool Sh*t!! Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I didn't get a chance to update my blog at all last week because I got to take a trip to none other than Hogsmeade! That's right! I stopped by Zonkos and got some Extendable Ears and Honeydukes to get some overpriced Chocolate Frogs (Rowena Ravenclaw was the card that got with it) as well as Dervish and Bangles and Ollivanders. I also stopped by Three Broomsticks to get some delicious grub and Hogs Head to buy three pints of delicious Butterbeer! Afterwards, I headed over to Kings Cross and got on the Hogwarts Express which took me straight to Hogwarts where I got to check out Dumbledores office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and meet Harry, Ron and Hermione! Allright enough with the nerd lingo. As you can guess, I unfortunately didn't discover the real location of Hogsmeade or Hogwarts but I did get a chance to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter located at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. The park was created very faithfully to both the films and the novels and was surprised by the amount of detail that went into everything. Definitely worth checking out for all Harry Potter geeks out there like me. I snapped a few photos and thought you all may be interested in taking a looksie.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movie Review- True Grit

So sorry, I know its been awhile since I've updated. I've been on a bit of a Holiday/ New Years hiatus. Looks like I've got a bit of catching up to do with my reviews! Let's start with True Grit. Most of you have probably already heard that it's a good film but the film may not be what you expect it to be. Based off the previews, I walked into the theater expecting something more along the lines of No Country For Old Men- very serious and violent in tone. I do enjoy those kind of slow and serious western films such as The Unforgiven and 3:10 to Yuma; however, True Grit is more in line with the older, humorous, and sarcastic Western film. True Grit is very in line with classic Coen brothers previous works.

The storyline is pretty basic. We got 14 year old Maddie Ross looking for her father's murder Tom Chaney. She finds a Federal Marshall by the name of Rooster Cogburn (played by Jeff Bridges) who has a reputation of killing his prisoners. Her slick tongue eventually gets Chaney to agree in taking on the job. Maddie has every intention of seeing Chaney be caught and executed, therefore insists on accompanying Cogburn on the hunt. Before she can leave with Cogburn, she runs into a Texas ranger by the name of LaBouef (played by Matt Damon) who is also looking for Chaney for a crime he had committed in Texas. LaBouef and Cogburn prepare to enter Indian territory in search for Chaney until Maddie stubbornly follows the pair. Refusing to travel with a girl, LaBouef leaves the party and Coburn reluctantly agrees to allow Maddie to travel with him.

Their travels leads them to run into some interesting characters and makes for a few laugh out loud moments. Watching the chemistry between the main three characters was quite enjoyable. LaBouef and Cogburn do not really work well together and the two spend more time strifing with each other than progressing anywhere. The movie trailer for the film makes the duo out to look like a pair of bad ass cowboys but they turned out to be a couple of very laughable yet likable characters. You'll also be surprised how little screen time Josh Brolin, who plays Tom Chaney, gets in the film. The entire films builds up to the moment when our trio can confront this dangerous fugitive, and when we do reach that moment, his dim wittyness doesn't make him the most intimidating guy which you were expecting.

True Grit really is a prized piece of work in many ways. The Coen brothers did a wonderful job writing a great script. Maddie really makes a place for herself in a environment dominated by men. There's a great scene where she's haggling with a sales man and gets away with all the winnings and leaves the guy nearly bankrupt. Maddie is played by Hailee Steinfeld and is the true star of the film. I'm really hoping she'll get recognized at the Oscars this season. All the characterization in the film is great to go along with the wonderful script and all the actors do a great job delivering it. The Coen brothers are also able to create a good sense of urgency and tension in many of the scenes, which is helped by a wonderful score to compliment it.

In the end, True Grit is a western film that is more about the characters than the story itself. What I loved about this movie the most was the strange humor that came with it. If you're expecting some bad ass, action packed, western film- you may want to look elsewhere. If you're a fan of the typical Coen brothers sarcastic, dark humor film, you definitely can't skip this one. This film definitely deserves a nommy for Best Pictures at the Oscars this year. I was quite disappointed when Golden Globes did not recognize it.

Final Score- 9/10