Thumbnails Jan 10
by Tony Medley
True Grit (9/10): Jeff
Bridges and 13-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld are as good or better
than 1969ís John Wayne and Kim Darby, in this film that disdains
contractions Š la Damon Runyon. The charactersí manner of speaking is
one of the filmís many charms. But to advertise Josh Brolin as the third
lead when heís onscreen for probably less than 3 minutes borders on
fraud. Even so, this is a movie so good that time passes without your
The Fighter (9/10):
Boxing is an anachronistic remnant of gladiators, so movies about them
are generally deplorable. But this, based on a true story of real
people, is not your typical boxing movie. Shot in 33 days in Lowell,
Mass., spectacular performances by Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg,
Melissa Leo, and the luscious Amy Adams make this wonderfully involving.
The end credits are shown over a clip of the real people portrayed by
Wahlberg and Bale which shows the remarkable similarity between Baleís
performance and the real person.
How Do You Know (8/10):
Terrific performances by Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson highlight this
romantic comedy that rivals the best of the past. Reese Witherspoon
gives a perfect, Doris Day-type performance as the woman in the middle.
As if that isnít enough, thrown in are delightful supporting turns by
Jack Nicholson, and Kathryn Hahn.
Black Swan (7/10): This
is a horror film that defames the world of ballet, containing a graphic
lesbian scene of oral sex and also graphic scenes of violence. While
involving, this is not an easy film to watch, despite fine performances
by Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Barbara Hershey.
The Kingís Speech (7/10):
Notwithstanding Guy Pearceís misleading representation of abdicating
King Edward VIII as outgoing and self-confident, and Timothy Spallís
mystifying, wholly inaccurate interpretation of Winston Churchill as an
unsmiling, unappealing grump, director Tom Hopper gets magnificent
performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in this little known story
of the courage of King George VI assuming the throne despite a
debilitating speech stammer.
Faster (7/10): The Rock
(the movie star sometimes known as Duane Johnson) is back! The
performances are all very good, especially Johnson who has yet to
disappoint me. The story line, which includes a theme of moral
renascence of forgiveness and redemption, is elevated above what one
generally gets in the action film genre. Even so, itís a film with quite
a bit of violence that will probably appeal to guys a lot more than
The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (6/10): Disney walked after the
second in the series, Prince Caspian, made only half the money of
the first, so Fox stepped in and picked it up. The 3D, while very well
done, was pretty much wasted on me. After a few minutes you forget itís
in 3D, but the special effects are spectacular. Even though the fantasy
is entertaining, it dragged even though itís 20 minutes shorter than
The Tourist (3/10): Who
woulda thought that you could concoct a recipe including heartthrobs
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, supporting actors like Paul Bettany,
Timothy Dalton, and Rufus Sewell, all directed by Florian Henckel von
Donnersmark (The Lives of Others, which won the 2007 Oscarģ for
best foreign language film) and come up with a plodding turkey like
this. The lack of chemistry between Depp and Jolie is stunning
Tron (1/10): Poor Jeff
Bridges, stuck inside a bleak, high tech computer game full of mindless
special effects in 3D with no discernable escape. I could empathize; I
was stuck inside a theater having to watch it.
Little Fockers (1/10):
Worse than awful.