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Grit is the operative word as the Coen brothers bring "True Grit" back to the big screen. This time, in the starring role that delivered an Oscar to John Wayne, we find Jeff Bridges as the pitiless, alcohol-sodden federal Marshal Rooster Cogburn.
Most are familiar with the story of 14-year-old Mattie Ross who takes it upon herself to seek justice when her father is senselessly killed by a hired hand. Mattie searches for the toughest, meanest and most effective marshal to track the killer down and the trail leads to Cogburn, a man with true grit.
Thankfully, Hailee Steinfeld doesn't deliver a Mattie that even remotely resembles that of Kim Darby back in 1969, and that is a very good thing. She's perfect -- just enough spunk, charm and raw determination all with a little dose of Wednesday Addams.
Another major improvement is Matt Damon in the role of LeBoeuf, the Texas Ranger previously played by Glen Campbell. Let's face it, Campbell could deliver a tune but will not be remembered for his acting. And then there's the inevitable comparison -- the battle of the Roosters -- and this is where it gets tough. If it's a battle of authenticity and grit, Bridges wins hands down. If you're going for personality, charisma and even a little light-heartedness, it's the Duke. I love them both.
There are a few misfires, like the strange portrayal of killer Tom Chaney by Josh Brolin, and an epilog that left me a little cold. But that's getting picky. Overall, I loved "True Grit."
"True Grit" gets three and a half stars and it's rated PG-13.
"The King's Speech"
The best movie out this week is "The King's Speech" starring Colin Firth as King George VI. Firth is spectacular as Great Britain's Duke of York, who has struggled with a life-long, debilitating stammer. As his father, King George V, requires more and more of Bertie --the Duke's nickname -- the stammering becomes more and more of a liability. When Bertie's wife (Helena Bonham Carter) finds an unorthodox and even controversial therapist, this film starts to deliver cinematic magic.
The King's Speech
–- This is a flawless film. The only red flag would be the language.
Geoffrey Rush is superb as Australian Lionel Loge who indeed does (through very unconventional means) help the Duke -- and soon-to-be King of England -- deal with his dilemma.
This is a flawless film, insightful, delightful and replete with performances that are Oscar worthy. The only red flag would be the language. It seems that during therapy, the Duke's speech smoothes out when encouraged to utter strings of expletives. But hey, it's therapy and it works.
Once in a while a movie comes along that is a gift. This is one. Four stars for "The King's Speech," and again it's rated R for "therapeutic expletives."